Ticklish to the point that you don’t even have to touch her; just raising a finger and drawing it close to her sides will make her squirm. She laughs that uncomfortable, manic giggle and draws up into herself, the defensive stance of an armadillo, and it’s hilarious and adorable.
And I guess this makes me a bad person, but the more she begs me not to tickle her, the more I want to.
If she didn’t make such a big deal out of it, you know?
I catch myself thinking about it sometimes when we’ll be out in the park, or riding in a car together, or strolling past the shops down on Main Street. I’ll see the expanse of her side, the way her shirt bunches up against her torso, and I’ll get the urge to poke her.
But it’s like she has a sixth sense about it; before my hand can get in close, she’ll jerk away and laugh and squirm, but I could swear sometimes I see something else in her eyes. Some dark, hooded look, like fear.
Still, the urge to push my luck was overwhelming. It was like curiosity, that terrible gnawing feeling of wanting to know what’s on the other side of a locked door.
But I got her good, finally.
She was sitting on a park bench, reading a book in the fading afternoon sun. I crept up behind, quiet, stealthy, barely holding in my own laughter; it abbreviated each breath into a stifled pant. But she didn’t seem to notice my approach, and when I came within reach I lunged, extending both hands to reach around from behind.
I goosed her, fingertips dancing up and down her ribs like playing a xylophone.
But she didn’t laugh.
She didn’t squirm.
She sat bolt upright, as though frozen in place, and let out a breathy gasp of shock. From my angle, partway beside, partway behind, I could just make out the edge of her eye - wide and rimmed in white.
She began to writhe. Or - no. Her skin writhed. It rippled as though something were trapped beneath it, thick ropes twisting just under its surface, pushing outward. Her mouth opened, as if to scream; her eyes widened further, impossibly huge, the eyeballs rolling backward and revealing whites lined with bulging red veins.
The flesh of her face seemed to rearrange, somehow, like butter softening in the sun; her features melted and sagged. Her mouth fell in an asymmetrical gash, chin dropping to her chest, teeth coming loose in sagging gums and protruding up at odd angles before falling. They hit the grass with a soft patter.
I stood, frozen in horror, unable even to withdraw my hands, as the ropes beneath her skin twisted and bulged and, finally, burst free.
I felt the the warm spatter of blood wash over me; it felt like a viscous goo, and it seemed to spread and slide over my body in a way that didn’t feel like blood at all. It felt like globs of semi-liquid gelatin that clung to my clothes and pores and, somehow, spread.
But I was distracted from that by the… thing… standing before me, where my friend had once been.
The park bench sat on its edge, knocked aside - despite being solid concrete, despite likely weighing several hundred pounds - and standing near it was…a thing I have no name for.
It was about my friend’s height, but broad. At first, it seemed hugely fat - and then I understood that what I was seeing was not its body but tentacles, hundreds of them, thick muscular ropes of flesh that writhed like snakes. That’s what I had seen under her flesh; that’s what had burst out of her body, spattering me with gore.
The creature’s actual body was slim and shapeless, more like a tube of meat than anything. Tentacles waved, snakelike, from all directions; they were the purplish-pink hue of uncooked steak, and dripping with the same viscous gore as now covered me.
It turned to face me, if you could call it that - for it had no face. Merely a wide, misshapen mouth, with a single huge white eye centered above it, lidless and staring.
The huge white eye fixated upon me, and its gaping mouth gaped ever wider. Tentacles twisted toward me, extending, and in my mind I heard a thought, crystal clear, as though spoken into me by telepathy.
On the twenty-third of November, the Chat Noir Fan Club
officially met for the first time. It was an incredibly prestigious and
important event, where to get in, one had to sign their name – print was
acceptable; few had actually perfected cursive at this time - take a pledge –
“Chat Noir is my hero and has a purr-etty face” - and memorize the secret
codeword – cataclysm, so secret that no one outside the club could possibly
guess it. Seven girls and four boys showed up, as well as Patch the
neighborhood cat (after being convinced to come inside the small shed the club
was held in with a bit of catnip Martin brought from home), so twelve members
total were recorded, all age six save for Samantha (a proud seven year old) and
Patch (whose real age the world might never know). It was impressive, to say
The meeting started once everyone was inside and signed up,
proudly wearing homemade cat ears or tails in honor of their hero. The first
order of business was to scrawl whiskers on each other’s faces with a permanent
black marker. It was messy, crude, and a few members ended up with beards or
mustaches, but overall a success. That complete, the club members then began
creating letters and pictures with two sixty-four packs of crayons (the ones
with sharpeners in them because of course this was a very elite club) to send
to Chat Noir to tell him how much they loved him. Some drew his stick-figure
image proudly, others drew sketched hearts and wrote I love you’s, and a few doodled
pawprints and ladybugs and let him know they were rooting for him in his
pursuit of Ladybug’s heart.
It doesn’t last very long; most members had naps to take and
snacks to munch, so they wave and say goodbye and promise to meet the next
weekend. Overall it was considered a success, and they all couldn’t wait for
the next week.
In the next meeting, the members were buzzing with excitement
after a recent akuma attack. They had crowded inside Samantha’s house around
the computer, constantly refreshing the Ladyblog to watch their hero in his
battle against evil. At last, the video is uploaded, and they quickly press
Ten minutes later, their happy, excited faces were replaced
with disappointed frowns, grumpy scowls, and the threat of oncoming tears. Chat
Noir had appeared in the video a single time, when using his cataclysm, and
even that was cut off to watch Ladybug do her thing. The report beneath the
video was full of nothing but praise for Ladybug (Samantha read while her
mother corrected her pronunciations), without a single sentence about their
Obviously, this meant war.
The meeting after they went to work, using bits of cardboard
Cody had snatched from his recycling to write how they felt. “We want Chat
Noir!” one proclaimed. “Chat Noir’s our hero!” another declared. Cries for Chat
Noir were scrawled down on the cardboard in neon green marker, the words
spell-checked by Samantha, and though there were a few backwards r’s and
smudged n’s, the members believed they got their point across.
Miss Alya, founder of the Ladyblog, was Tina’s babysitter, so
she led the Chat Noir Fan Club members (including Patch, held struggling in
Martin’s arms) to her house. Once they arrived, the held up their signs and
shouted at the top of their lungs.
“Where’s Chat Noir?!”
“We want Chat Noir!”
“Chat Noir’s our hero!”
“Chat Noir’s the best!”
“You forgot Chat Noir!”
It took some time, but eventually Miss Alya opened the door
and, after snapping a few pictures of her protesters, tried to make peace with
the Fan Club. She apologized for not having so many shots of Chat, and promised
to make more of an effort to include him in future reports. Satisfied that they
had succeeded in their first club protest, the members went home happy and
At the next meeting, they were surprised and delighted to find
themselves on the Ladyblog, holding up their cardboard signs. “Chat Noir fans
stand up for their hero,” Samantha read, and the members cheered and
high-fived. They had done it! They won!
Their cheering stopped at a knock on the door, and they
crowded around to see who it was. Martin had the deepest voice, so he asked the
intruder, “What’s the secret codeword?”
There was a pause, a soft chuckle, and then, “Would it happen
to be… cataclysm?”
The members gasped and threw open the door, in wide-eyed
amazement when there stood Chat Noir himself, grinning down at them. He waved,
tail curling slightly as he looked them over. A moment passed, then two, and
then there was a scream.
“You’re Chat Noir!”
In an excited wave of tiny arms and legs, the children
launched themselves at him, to hug him or touch his tail or hold out one of
their pictures for him to see. Chat laughed and kneeled down to their level,
making sure to gift everyone (even Patch) an official Chat Noir hug and let
them touch his suit as they pleased. He looked at each and every letter and
picture, gathering them up and promising to put them all over his walls at
home. He signed autographs on balls or favorite toys, on random pieces of paper
and even on cheeks. Throughout it Chat was laughing and grinning, happy to see
that he had fans who actually liked him for him and not for Ladybug.
Eventually they dragged him inside the shed, explaining that
today’s game was Duck Duck Goose and insisting he be first. The members sat in
a circle on the floor, and slowly Chat touched the top of each person’s head
before selecting a “goose” and dancing around the circle. They played several
rounds – he made sure other children were picked and not just himself – and
Chat let them catch him every time.
The day slowly came to a close and Chat said he had to get
going, but he asked when the next meeting would be and promised he would be
there again since it was so much fun. Each member hugged him goodbye, sniffling
slightly but he brushed away every tear with a wink and a grin. After giving
them a salute, Chat took off for the Parisian rooftops.
Chat Noir always came to every meeting after, sometimes
bringing gifts or snacks for his fan club to enjoy. They in turn would give him
more drawings and advice on how to get Ladybug to like him. He let them “patrol”
with him sometimes, and slowly Paris got used to the sight of Chat Noir being
followed by a pack of children with whiskers on their faces while Ladybug
stared, unsure whether to find it adorable or concerning (adorable, of course,
and soon the club received an anonymous gift box of handmade Chat Noir hoodies
with cat ears on top). She’s happy for her partner, and the grin on his face as
he parades them around proudly is worth every extra pun from the Kitten Noirs.
Not many know this, but Chat Noir carries around three
pictures in his pocket at all times. They are there to remind him why he
fights, why he continues to do what he does, who he’s protecting. The first is
of his classmates, their first class photo, with each new friend he had slowly
and awkwardly made. The second is of Ladybug, a Ladyblog photo that he had decided
did some justice to her radiance. The third and final, though, is of a group of
children in cat-eared hoodies and a cat held in the middle, grinning up at the
camera. They are the Chat Noir Fan Club, they are his Kitten Noirs, and they
are why he fights.
Dean lay sprawled across the bonnet of the Impala, the
chill night air causing goose bumps to dance across his skin. His brawny arms
were tucked behind his head, causing the bottom of his shirt to rise and reveal
a portion of smooth, tan skin. His gaze was locked on the multitude of bright
beacons shining above, his eyes sparkling in the starlight. Dean had always
admired the night sky, and often frequented the bonnet of his car after a day’s
hunting with Sammy. Tonight was no different. The inky darkness was permeated
with pinpricks of light, twinkling here and there as he looked up. A light,
cool breeze shifted his hair and brought with it the pine scent of the
woodlands behind him. Once again he had lasted throughout the day. He had survived
to see the glittering dark blanket above him. Whilst the stars offered him some
form of comfort, Dean longed for someone to share their beauty with, someone to
get lost in their magnificence with.
“Hello Dean.” Cas. Dean
swiftly sat up, an uncontrollable smile breaking out across his face. Castiel
had appeared close to the side of the Impala, his blue eyes piercing through
the darkness and his sandy trench coat rippling gently in the nights whispering
breath. “How are you Dean? I hope I’m not interrupting you.” Cas asked in his
low, gruff voice.
“No Cas, you’re fine. I was just admiring the view. Is
everything ok?” Dean inquired.
Cas ignored Deans question, instead moving around the
front of the Impala to stand next to him. Dean felt his heart rate quicken and
begin to flutter in his chest. Castiel had never fully grasped the concept of
personal space, something that Dean was silently thankful for. Dean followed Cas’ gaze back up towards the
sky. “They’re beautiful.” Cas murmured under his breath, as hypnotized by the
starlight as Dean. Dean ached to tell Cas how he found his beauty greater than
all of the stars put together. But he hesitated, denying himself the
opportunity yet again to tell Cas how much…STOP. Castiel was an angel of the Lord. Dean was a broken and
damaged shell of a hunter, unworthy of such a pure and beautiful soul. Cas
deserved better, more than Dean could ever give him. Every time Dean thought
this, he felt a stabbing pain in his heart, yet he knew the truth. He couldn’t
allow himself to love Castiel. He just couldn’t.
Castiel turned his head to face Dean, tilting it to the
side. “There are times when I feel like the stars you know,” Cas exclaimed
Dean went along with the tangent. “Why’s that then?
Silent and broody like you, is that it? Or do they remind you of your camp
sparkly side? Heheh.” From Cas’ face, Dean could tell that this was a serious
moment, but he knew that without a joke he would be vulnerable and exposed.
Nevertheless, the smirk disappeared from Dean’s face, and
his eyes locked with Castiel’s. “They are so close to each other, yet unable to
touch.” Castiel continued, unphased by Dean’s digression. His icy blue eyes
seem to cut through to Dean’s very core, decimating his protective wall and
reducing it to dust.
Cas raised his hand up and let it hover closely to the
side of Dean’s cheek, causing the hair on the back of Dean’s neck to stand on
end and his heart rate to increase further. The static in the air faded out as
quickly as it arrived, Cas withdrawing his hand and letting it drop limply back
to his side. “Dean…” Cas hesitated,
unsure whether to continue, “…Dean, I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t.
How I feel…Dean… I…” Cas trailed off. Dean frowned and slid off the
bonnet, standing up next to Castiel and placing a hand on his shoulder. A shock
of electricity ran up Dean’s arm and throughout his whole body. “Cas, what’s
wrong? You’re worrying me man.” Cas looked into Dean’s eyes, his own deep with
an intense longing that Dean had never seen in anyone before. “I’m fed up of
pretending Dean. Pretending that every time you say we’re family my heart
doesn’t feel like it’s imploding. Pretending that these feelings of tenderness I
have when I look at you aren’t real. Pretending that you aren’t my everything…”
He trailed off. Dean felt tears well in his eyes and his heart soar.
Cas was still staring at Dean, staring into his very
soul. Dean raised his own hand and cupped Cas’ cheek, warm and rough beneath
his palm. “You have always been more than a brother to me Cas. You keep me
together man, you always have. You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to say
something, how many times I’ve wanted to reach out and take you into my arms
and never let go. You are my moon and
stars. You light up my life Cas, you light up the darkness.” Dean’s voice
cracked at the last sentence, tears streaming down both of their faces. Cas’
features had softened and his blue eyes shone like gleaming beacons, leading
Dean pulled Cas’ head towards his own until their
foreheads were pressed together. The spark that Dean felt from the contact was
almost too intense to bare, but it was impossible to pull away. Cas pulled Dean
into an embrace that he had been longing for since the moment he had first laid
eyes on his angel. One of Cas’ hands gently stroked Dean’s face, the other arm
was around his waist, pulling their bodies closer together. Dean, in turn,
placed his other hand on Cas’ collar, yearning to hold him so close and tight. Their
lips were so near, their breath dancing together in the night air.
“I love you,
Dean.” Cas’ gruff voice was shaky, the most beautiful sound. “I love you too
Cas.” Dean’s lips connected with Cas’ and a feeling of the purest serenity and
peace washed over him. At this point, Dean knew exactly what Heaven felt like.
That feeling of being complete. Of feeling safe. That elation. Cas’ chapped
lips were gentle, fitting Deans perfectly.
Cas became more urgent, his hand moving to run through Dean’s hair. Dean
parted his lips, welcoming Cas’ warmth into his mouth, feeling Castiel’s tongue
run playfully along his bottom lip. Their tongues touched blissfully, the heat
of their breath becoming one. Cas kissed Dean with such a fierceness that Dean
pulled back, panting, taking in a large lungful of air. Cas gave him a smile so
pure, so perfect that Dean wished he could preserve it forever.
At that precise moment, a blazing star shot above them in
the sky.“Shooting star. Make a wish.” Dean said to Cas.
“I don’t have to Dean. In my eyes, you’re perfect. You
must be my shooting star because you’re everything I ever wanted. You’re everything
I’ll ever need. And I love you more than all of the stars in the sky combined.”
Their gazes met and that’s when Dean saw it in Cas’ eyes. His own beautiful
constellation. His own forever.
Clarke wrenched the key out of the door, dropped her bag inside and slammed the door behind her, uncaring about Ms. Jackson’s disapproving speech. She was not in the mood to listen to the old lady going on and on about the odd hours Clarke was keeping.
She was a doctor for fuck’s sake, odd hours were her life.
Her coat ended up on the floor next to her shoes and she dragged her tired feet through the small, cluttered apartment until she entered her room. Her bed was still a mess from the morning when an emergency had her rushing to reach the hospital in time, and yet she couldn’t remember the last time it had looked so inviting.
Clarke wanted to snuggle under the covers and sleep off her tiredness, but she was splattered with blood and what not, her scalp itched and her underwear was sweaty and uncomfortable. She took off her scrubs and sent them flying in the general direction of the bathroom. Her socks were next, and then she was left only in her underwear. Just as she was about to pull off her panties, something in the corner of her eye caught her attention and she paused, suddenly hesitant to get completely naked.
Turning to the side, she peered through her open curtains – it was fairly dark outside, and the apartment across appeared empty judging by the lack of lights (and wasn’t that a shame; her neighbor was quite pleasing to look at).