so, it’s finally here. a massive thank to everyone who’s been so supportive and wonderful throughout the whole process of writing this absolute monster of a fic. it’s been a real labour of love, and an absolute disaster at times, but i’m really proud of how it’s turned out in the end.
also, a massive massive thank you to the wonderful @robertjacobsugdens for creating the most incredible art (here and here!!) for this fic. she’s a superstar and i’m obsessed.
the end of a relationship is supposed to be the hardest part, but the last night aaron sees robert, it’s the first promise of a happy ending he gets from the other man. a year, to sort their problems, and they’ll meet back in paris, and give their love the chance it deserves, after the whirlwind of a year they’d spent together, in paris, falling more in love than either of them had been before.
what could possibly go wrong in a year?
“If you think you could still love me a year from now, meet me here.” Robert said, a bright grin on his face as they stretched out on the grass, beers in hand. It was getting close to midnight now, and even after the so many times he’d seen it, Aaron still felt a bubble of anticipation in his stomach as they waited for the Eiffel Tower to light up.
He’d never admit it aloud, but it had felt magical, that first time Robert had brought him to watch the tower light up. Aaron had seen it before, with Ed, but with Robert - well, his heart had been in his mouth and Robert’s lips had been on his neck, murmuring softly about how Paris was the only place in the world where anyone should try and fall in love, really.
Glancing over at Robert, admiring the way his fringe was falling over his forehead, hair messy and soft, making him look so much younger than he was, Aaron raised an eyebrow. “You what?”
Robert shifted so he was leaning on his side, giving Aaron an intent gaze. “I know we’ve both got our shit to sort out,” he said, glancing at the wedding ring that still sat on his finger, mind still clearly on the life in America he’d only really stepped out of, the life that was waiting for him to come back to. “But if we’ve got it sorted in a years time, we’ll give it a proper go.”
“You’re mad,” Aaron snorted, taking the wine bottle from Robert’s grip. He’d lost count, of the evenings they’d spent sprawled out on the grass, trading wine flavoured kisses and stupid jokes.
It felt like he was living in a movie sometimes, being with Robert, being with Robert in Paris. He’d never imagined he’d feel such a connection with the city when he’d first moved over, but every inch, every winding street and tiny café, was painted with memories of Robert, of dates and kisses and arguments and all the ways they’d fallen in love, messy and wonderful and the very best thing he had in his life.
“Hear me out before you judge me!” Robert rolled his eyes, checking the date on his watch, the familiar scent of his cologne assaulting Aaron’s senses as he moved, their bodies inches from each other as they laid together, stretched out on the grass, one of Robert’s ankles hooked over his own. “It’s August 31st.”
“Well aware, mate.”
“Not your mate,” Robert smirked, before he continued. “Meet me right here, under the Eiffel Tower, before midnight on August 31st, 2018.”
Aaron rolled his eyes. “And what if one of us doesn’t turn up?”
“Then we know its over,” Robert said, a sad crack to his voice as he spoke, as though he didn’t want to pretend as though the possibility of one of them not showing up was real, as though he couldn’t accept the idea that this, them, could be over just like that.
Aaron couldn’t quite accept it either. “Just like that?” he asked, looking down at the sticky wine label, peeling the edge of it away from the glass bottle. He’d had a lot of moments like this, over the past year or so, moments when he’d wonder if he’d ever be able to let Robert go.
If he was strong enough to walk away.
“Just like that.” Robert confirmed, easing the wine bottle from Aaron’s fingers, so he could take a drink himself. He was wearing a floral shirt Aaron pretended to hate, more casual than Aaron often saw him, Robert a fan of fitted suits and expensive watches, ever the local on the fashionable streets of Paris. “A year to sort our shit, think you can do it?”
Aaron thought about Emmerdale, about the mess that awaited him if he went home, if he left the life he’d built for himself in Paris and faced up to the problems he had in England.
Thought about the life in America Robert still had, the wife he had to divorce, the business empire he’d helped to build that he stood to lose, if he left her.
“Do you think you can?” he countered, amused at the glimmer of shock that crossed Robert’s face.
“I’d do it for you.” Robert said quietly, saying everything he couldn’t with his eyes, with those gorgeous, open, expressive eyes of his. They were similar, in a lot of ways, both of them unsure of how to truly express their love, the depths of what they shared.
It was scary, to love someone the way they loved each other.
But whats life without a little fear?
Eva’s favourite phrase rung in his mind as he mulled over the proposition, thought over the absolutely ridiculous plan Robert had just suggested.
“Okay,” Aaron breathed his agreement.
“It’s absolutely mental, but yeah. I’ll meet you here this day next year,” Aaron laughed, laughed at the ridiculousness of what he was agreeing to. Who knows where he would be in a year, what he would want?
Who he’d want.
He’d want Robert. Of course he’d want Robert, of course he’d want to man he’d spent eleven months falling in love with, the man who’d opened his eyes to a whole new world, a whole new life filled with happiness, and endless long, happy days full of love.
A life he’d never thought he could have, if he was honest.
Aaron had never believed he’d get his fairytale ending, the happy ever after and the husband, not after he’d come out. Being gay, it had been a struggle from day one, to come to terms with it, and Aaron had begun to think he was destined for a life of failed relationships and brief interludes of happiness.
And then he’d met Robert.
This smug, pain in the arse businessman who had changed his entire world, changed how he looked at the world.
“Promise me then.” Robert nudged, holding out a pinky finger, making Aaron laugh as he hooked his finger around Robert’s, holding tight.
“I promise you, Robert Jacob Sugden, that if I still love you in a year, I’ll be right here at midnight.” Aaron recited solemnly, pulling a face as he made the ridiculous promise to his boyfriend.
“I promise you the same, Aaron Dingle.” Robert sealed their promise with a kiss, holding Aaron close as they kissed, a hand on the back of Aaron’s head, cradling him close.
Aaron revelled in the feeling, knowing tonight was the last he’d get with Robert, the blonde on a one way flight back to Boston in the morning, knowing he too would have some big decisions to make, knowing he’d have to decide if he’d go back to Emmerdale, if he’d face up to everything he’d done, the chaos he’d left behind.
But that was tomorrow. That was all for tomorrow.
The world lit up golden as the Eiffel Tower came to life, lighting up the Parisian night sky. Robert grinned at him, hair as golden as the sparkling tower, a wide smile on his face.
“Anyway, we’ll always have Paris,” he quipped, eyes bright as he laughed at his own joke.
Aaron snorted, holding Robert close. “You’re an idiot, you know that?”
Soft dad Au where Yoongi’s and Taehyung’s son totally picks up the habit of playing with Yoongi’s ear piercings exactly the way Taehyung would when they were kids.
Of course, Yoongi didn’t always have a number of ear piercings he has as an adult. His first ear piercing was kind of a accident really. Yoongi had been seven years old and his elder brother had been an angry thirteen years old going through a rebellious phase. The day his Hyung had shown up at home with a bright pink ear and a glimmering silver stud sitting on his left lobe, Yoongi had begged and cried until he himself was taken by his father to get a matching one.
No one had loved it more than Taehyung. The then five-year-old had instantly lit up the way he would on Christmas as Yoongi walked into class the next day with his head slightly turned to show off his earring. Taehyung’s wide doll-like eyes literally shined with awe at the small little silver hoop that hung from Yoongi’s left ear.
Then comes nap time.
Like every day when Mrs. Lee called their class in from the playground for nap time, Yoongi and Taehyung laced their fingers together and held hands as they walked to get their little mats from the classroom cubby. It wasn’t an odd thing for them to place their mats together for nap time. Mrs. Lee had learned the only way to get Taehyung to sleep was to have Yoongi next to him and so when she looked over to see the two students side by side she smiled softly and shut the light off.
Yoongi was only half way to sleep when he felt something soft and warm brush up against his ear. The elder slightly jumped in his spot as he turned his head to see what was brushing up against his ear and his small eyebrows furrowed in confusion when he saw Taehyung’s small fingers gently playing with his earring. The younger hadn’t even seemed to notice he was doing it either because when Yoongi looked at his friend, the little boy had his eyes half shut and the thumb on his other hand In his mouth. Remembering how sad Taehyung got when he was woken up, Yoongi just smiled and turned his head back to allow his friend more access to his ear before falling asleep himself.
As they grew, it became a habit that Taehyung never dropped.
When Yoongi turns twelve he gets his next ear piercing because of a dare. This one is another silver hoop right above the one he got at seven years old. Taehyung had spent the week after it was fully healed just laying beside Yoongi in the elder’s bed while they watched anime with his fingers rubbing against the silver in his best friend’s lobe slowly until he’d fallen asleep.
At fifteen Yoongi gets his third earring, this one after a fight with his mother when he finally admits he doesn’t want to date Mrs. Park’s pretty daughter. It’s a black hoop that is a bit thicker than the other two silver ones he has but sits right above them prettily. Taehyung holds his, now boyfriend, in his arms and listens to him cry about how his parents don’t understand him while he tries to sooth the elder by lightly shifting his earrings in a soothing manner without even realizing he’s doing it.
Yoongi gets his final two piercings at twenty-three years old, right before his wedding. These are golden hoops that sit snugly in his right lobe next to each other and his parents, along with Seokjin, almost kill him when he shows up the next day to the altar with a bright pink ear. Taehyung doesn’t even notice them until three days later when they are in Paris for their honeymoon. The younger smiles and falls asleep that night wrapped up in the love of his life’s arms while his fingers rub against the golden hoops and the Eiffel tower lights up their room through their hotel window.
At twenty-six years old, Yoongi feels small chubby fingers that aren’t Taehyung’s against his ear playing with the two golden hoops he’s never taken out since his wedding. The elder instantly grins as he slowly paces his son’s bedroom and he feels said child sleepily pushing one of his earrings back and forth slowly. It’s late, the clock on the wall shows it’s three in the morning, and Sanghyuk, their son, had woken up with tears in his wide brown eyes. Yoongi instantly found himself lifting the chubby child out of his crib as he attempted to rock his precious son back to sleep.
A warmth fills Yoongi’s stomach as Sanghyuk’s sleepy baby sounds quiet to almost nothing yet the child’s fingers never leave his earrings.
“Just like your dad.”
Yoongi lovingly chuckled quietly as he watched Sanghyuk’s eyes fall shut.
You’re walking in the middle of the paved street. Any paved street. The streets are all the same. They cross and turn, the old, Haussmannian buildings leaning over as titanesque small-windowed walls, and soon you find yourself at the big, dark green door where your journey began. You frantically search for the round, glowing M, your sole beacon of freedom. The maze has no exit, and the M still doesn’t show.
You know this is your end. A sea of contradictory signs and colors lies before you, silhouettes swimming desperately not to drown. You had heard the rumors, yet you did not suspect the RATP would build huge underground stations to trap people in and feast on their flesh. You catch a name. You’re in Châtelet-Les Halles.
You have heard before of the dark side of Paris, where overpriced buildings are visited by middle-aged Catholic families and boys who are exact clones of the singers from One Direction, eagerly waiting to ensnare you into their trap. Your mother makes you promise never to go in the 16th arrondissement.
Your friends from Rive Gauche hate your friends from Rive Droite. Your friends from Rive Droite hate your friends from Rive Gauche. You remember, then: no one has friends from Rive Gauche. Rive Gauche doesn’t exist. Rive Gauche is Mount Olympus.
The people around you all seem to have the same, blank face, tall silhouette framed in black clothes and suits. They all walk fast, slaloming between others with practiced ease that reminds you of a ballet. A lost soul asks you where the closest Métro is. You don’t want to admit you’re as lost as he is. You show him the opposite way.
You often wonder how long the cars around Place de l’Etoile have been driving. You wonder if they know they’re going in circles, and that there is no escape.
You see them, watching you greedily with round eyes as you eat your overpriced ham-and-cheese sandwich. Pigeons, everywhere, grey spots over greyer pavements. You hated them at first, always kicking them when you had the chance. You don’t mind them that much now. They become company. Some even have personalities. Some have atrophied or missing limbs. They eat the same overpriced ham-and-cheese sandwich.
You rush down the stairs of the Métro. Someone else rushes alongside you, pushing people around and breaking necks on the stairs in his murderous rage to enter the next train. You step on the platform as the man passes the automatic doors. They close on his body, pressing into skin, crushing bones. The passengers don’t try and pry him out.
The doors to the train open, and a man with an accordion makes his way in. The people around you slowly turn to you. Their smiles show rat-like teeth.
It is a beautiful, late summer afternoon. You sit on the terrace of a café, which serves the same 3-euro espresso as any other. The terrace, as the people, all look the same. A woman smokes an extremely long cigarette under sunglasses that cover half her face, but you can still feel the disdain in her missing eyes as she sips on her happy-hour mojito.
None of your neighbors owns any instruments, yet you still hear the distant sound of piano keys every night when you come home from work. They always play the same song.
Just like a virus, they spread, green and white as Pestilence. Teenage girls with the same Longchamp and sequined Vanessa Bruno handbags come out with glasses full of ice and milk as they idly light a cigarette. When you tell someone to meet you there, they ask you “which one?”. You remember. There are six Starbucks Coffees at St-Lazare, and all of them are a trap.
A wall of tourists block the path, walking excruciatingly slow in front of you. You feel the wave of rage building in you before you have time to control it, and you know the Parisian brainwashing takes over. Your shadow moves, and you hear bones breaking.
You reach the exit of the Métro. The stairs coil around like snakes, and you begin your ascension towards polluted air. You climb and climb and climb, yet you do not seem to ever reach the top. You wonder how much time you’ve been stuck in the loop of stairs.
You walk through a wave of tourists in Montmartre, and you see it. Starbucks has spread even through immune arrondissements. A woman screams.
July in the city is hot and sunny. Clear blue skies contrast with the dark green of the Seine and the pale yellow of sand dumped on the quays. Children play in bathsuits and women tan in bikinis, while someone sells expensive ice cream. Paris-Plage is in full bloom, yet you still stare at the murky water. A diver comes out, oxygen tank on his back and what looks like a decaying arm in his hand. You see the arm wave at you.
You hear it. Melodious and still deeply uncanny, the repetitive clinking of metal against metal, as you reluctantly elbow your way through the Champs-Elysées and the overwhelming mass of tourists, sad pile of consumerist bodies. You see it then: the illegal seller, and in his hand, the hundreds of pocket-sized, golden Eiffel Towers. You turn your head away, yet the Eiffel Tower is still here, always finding its way into your field of vision. There is no escaping the Eiffel Tower.
Some people tell tales of what lies beyond the périphérique, but they all come from an aunt’s second cousin. You heard no one has ever come back from there. You hear the RER is a one-way train towards miles and miles of stinky rapeseed fields. Your brother tells you he leaves today, for the flea market in Saint-Ouen. You tell him goodbye one last time.
Summary: Ladybug discovers the true identity of HawkMoth: none other than her school crush, Adrien Agreste.
A darkened Parisian skyline. The golden Eiffel Tower in the distance. A fresh, crisp breeze blowing through his hair…
What a beautiful night for patrol.
As soon as he was close enough to the Eiffel Tower, Chat Noir realized that Ladybug had beaten him there for once. He could make out her bright red suit pacing back and forth on the beam where they always met up.
She was flustered about something. It immediately put Chat Noir on high alert, ready for whatever was threatening his lady this time. Without hesitation, Chat Noir extended his baton and scaled the tower as quickly as possible. The second he pulled himself onto their usual beam, Ladybug spun on him.
summary: In which sweet Marinette leads Adrien Agreste into a rebellious night on the town. a/n: THIS IS NOT SMUT. But there is a makeout scene in the story, as well as a little fluff, post-reveal, and it was something I came up with at night. Just them OTP feels, eh? Lay them all on me. I do hope you all enjoy! (Also, I’m imagining them as around seventeen/eighteen here.)
Yonder to the edge of his father’s estate, lay a city bursting with colours of life. Hues of gold stretched across the buildings, wrapping it in a warm glow and allowing the lifeblood of the city to explode. From a distance, he could hear the streets humming their song that he could barely even get access to a second-hand taste from pixelated scraps off of the radio.
Adrien sighed, leaning further on the sill of his window. Sometimes, his life truly did scream the essence of the “lonely rich kid” stereotype.
His eyes snapped open, and he lifted his chin off of his hand. “What…?” Adrien glanced around. “Is… someone there?”
“Look down! Over here!”
Hesitantly, he complied with the voice’s request, and almost did a double-take at the sight.
Close to midnight, stood at the bottom of his garden, and decked out in warm winter wools (consisting of; a burgundy beret and dress, black stockings, cream wrap, and brown ankle boots–a majority of it being hand-made, he guessed), stood the person he had least expected to see.
Beautiful. That was exactly the word he needed at this very moment. Not
the stars and the moon on the heaven’s tent, nor the lights on the
balcony, and not even the golden shine of the Eiffel Tower in the
distance – it was Marinette who deserved this description most.
In chapter 6 of my MariChat fic SleepwalkingMarinette wears a dress and I needed a reference pic for my description of it c: So yeah, this is how I imagined the dress… and Chat’s hand is there for obvious reasons ♡