“When you accepted Keith as the new leader of Voltron, it proved that you value a strong team over your own need for glory. Just like my father.”
“I won’t let him down.”
Does anyone else want to cry at the fact that boy Allura first woke up to, first saw, after her father being her last vision before falling asleep, ended up being the person she, in a sense, passes his legacy to?
Oh my God, we're so sorry we blocked your doorway. Now go get your ear muffs.
I’ve had a long respectable career in game development. A couple of years ago I’ve abandoned it for a cushy corporate job, and now spend most of my days missing gamedev.
This story takes place about 10 years ago at the apex of my career.
I was the lead on a AAA project. Our parent company, for which videogames was just one of many lines of business, was going through changes. We had to move offices three times in one year. Second of the three moves, always intended to be temporary, put us into the basement of an older building long occupied by satellite departments not involved with development.
The basement we were given had been empty for years, save for the most distant office. You entered the basement through a dimly lit staircase. Then, after you snaked through a horror-movie-like maze of corridors and interconnected small rooms, you’d eventually arrive at the farthest room of all.
rang in the pocket of your jacket making you jump by surprise. You answered the
call before showing your index to your friend Archie, meaning that it would
only take a minute.
is (y/n) speaking.”
(y/n), how are you?” You instantly recognised the groggy voice behind the
I’m good! What about you?” From the corner of your eye, you would’ve swore you
saw Archie rolling his eyes.
So, what are you up to this evening? I thought we maybe could’ve hung out
tonight. You know, me, you, at Pop’s?” You chuckled lightly.
Juggie, I was planning on spending the night with Archie… You can tag along
if you want? I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” A small sigh made its way into your
ear. You had to admit that you spent a lot of your recent time with your new
red-haired friend. Jughead still occupied the position of best friend. He
didn’t have to worry about it.
we’ll do something together tomorrow, alright?” It was silence for a while
before you heard back,
sure.” You pursed your lips, mentally cursing yourself. It wasn’t the first
time that you had turned down your best of friend for Archie. Lately it had
been happening more than before. It made you feel like the worst pal.
With that, Jughead hung up. You understood how he felt. It wasn’t right that
you weren’t spending as much time with him.
wasn’t it?” You looked up and saw Archie sprawled across the black beanbag in
your bedroom. His hands were attached on the new acoustic guitar his dad had
got him for his birthday. You nodded and played with the sleeves of you
sweater. Your friend continued strumming the strings of his instrument.
wrote this song last week, and I wanted to know what you thought about it. I’ve
been trying to talk to Josie about her playing some of my compositions, but
she’s not that into it. You’re her friend, right? Maybe you could listen to it
and try to talk to her?” He asked questioningly.
go ahead.” His fingers moved to the tuners and accorded them as his other hand
rested on the waist of the guitar. A few seconds later, a pleasant melody
filled the room. Archie then started singing the lyrics he had written. The
song wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was quite catchy. The redhead friend of
yours had talent. Before Archie could go on, you blurted out something you soon
probably spend the day with him tomorrow.” The small tune that Archie had
started suddenly came to an end. Archie hadn’t spoken to Jughead since this
summer. The tree of you and Betty we’re supposed to go on a road trip the
fourth of July but Archie left you hanging at the last minute. Since then, the
boys stopped talking completely. When you mentioned one of them to the other, you saw the irritation and
annoyance in their expression.
you were coming to my game tomorrow. I’m playing in the varsity football team
this year, remember?” You bet your lip and fiddled your hair with your
Arch. I haven’t seen Jughead in a while now and I don’t want him to feel like I
stopped being his friend. I’m making a vow that I’ll show up to your next game,
how about that?”
it always have to be about him? Everything constantly has to be about
Jughead.” Your were caught off guard by the sudden raise in his voice.
not it… I’m just trying to do what’s best here.”
ditching me at the last minute, that’s how your making things better? I didn’t
think of you as an inconsiderate and selfish person.” He replied bitterly. In
all the time of you guy’s friendship, you had never seen this side of Archie.
Usually, he would be sweet and just shrug off any problem that faced his way.
But the words he had just told you, they hurt your heart. Your eyes were
starting to fill up with tears and your bottom lip started quivering.
spent all my time with you for the last month. You. Not Jughead. Why are you
treating me like this?”
what? I don’t want to spend any more of my time with you right now.” With
that, Archie got up and left you alone in your room. Without even noticing, a
trail of tears had made its way down your cheeks. A sob escaped your mouth and
your hands covered your face as you poured your heart out. You laid in your bed
and continued crying.
It was all
your fault. Archie now hated you and would probably never talk to you again.
Why did you had to be so stupid? If only you had kept your mouth shut. Maybe he
still would have been on that beanbag, singing.
an hour later, you heard the wooden creek of your door meaning that someone was
coming in. You didn’t even move, your pillow pressed against your face. The
mattress shifted to the side from the sudden weight that it now had on it. You
felt a piece of your hair being put behind your ear. You smiled at the sweet
gesture and assumed it was your mother. You slowly got up and saw Jughead
sitting beside you. Automatically, you vaulted in his arms tearing up once
It’s going to be okay.” He rubbed your back comfortingly. Your forehead was
against his chest, his two upper limbs protectively holding you. Your eyes were
probably red from all the crying but you couldn’t care less. You continued
sobbing in his chest until you eventually felt calmer.
are you here?” You asked with a small voice. Jughead gently whipped your cheek
with his thumb.
saw Archie leave in a rush and realized that you two probably had a fight. She
heard you crying and thought that you would be more willing to speak about it
with me than her.” You grinned at the boy.
your shirt.” You noticed, and felt guilty.
to worry about (y/n/n). I never liked that jersey anyway.” You giggle with
your best friend. You sniffed and observed Jughead who his face was only about
a foot away from you. You had to admit that he was good looking. His prefect
blue eyes were mesmerising and his pink lips appeared so kissable. Forever you
considered the boy as nothing more than a platonic relationship to you. Never
had you ever felt anything for him. But in that moment, something clicked. Jughead
wasn’t only a friend to you, not even a best friend. A stronger feeling overwhelmed your body. You
felt love. You loved Jughead Jones.
He was the one who your mother called when you were sad. He was the one who came rushing to
your house as soon as your mother hung up. He was the one who was holding you and
comforting you, whispering sweet nothing to you as you were crying. He
was the one who was there for you.
He raised his eyebrows at you.
You asked yourself in your mind if it was the right time to confess your
feelings towards him. Your breathing started quickening as the anxiety rose in
I-” He watched you with intending eyes, indicating to continue your phrase.
“I think I
love you.” Jughead eyeballed you, astonished at your revelation. He quietly
answered, almost inaudible for you to hear.
“I think I
love you too.” He leaned towards you and slowly pressed his lips to yours.
Fireworks were going off in your stomach. The heaviness on your shoulders
disappeared. In this moment, nothing else mattered in the world. Both of your
lips moved in sync as you played with his raven locks. His arms pulled you
closer to him, leaving no space between you two. Jughead backed away and kissed
every each of your face, including your cheeks, temple and chin.
the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” He whispered in your ear. You gave
him a last long peck on the lips before saying,
want to lay down and cuddle with me?” He moved his head up and down calmly and
took a blanket that was already on the bed to cover you. Cuddling was not
something new for the both of you. You had always cuddled together, and
whenever. His hand ran through your hair bringing a comforting and fuzzy
feeling. His body pressed behind your back and his hot breath was tingling your
neck. Before you even knew it, you and Jughead had fallen in a deep slumber,
both dreaming about each other.
Dean woke up around 5am on Monday morning. It had been three months since you, his 18 year old sister, had decided to take your own life. Him and Sam never got a note, you were just gone and that was all they knew. They were too late to save you and that bothered him. Every morning since that day he woke up at 5am. He realised there was no going back to sleep so he climbed out of bed and headed to the door. When he opened the door he was surprised to be greeted with a small box in front of his feet. Dean looked left and right and noticed Sam wasn’t around to have just placed the box there. He sighed, picked it up, shut his door and walked back to his bed.
As he opened up the box he was confused as he noticed that all was inside were tapes. Why would someone give him a box of tapes? Dean rummaged through the box on his shelf and found his old tape player that John had given him when he was a kid and wanted to listen to AC/DC. He put the first mysterious tape inside the player and pressed play.
“Hello,” the familiar voice that he hadn’t heard for three months spoke which almost hurt his ears to know that he could hear in tape form. He must have been mistaken… It couldn’t be!
“My name is Y/N Winchester,” your tape continued. “I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended… And if you’re listening to this tape,” The tape paused for a moment and Dean waited in suspense. “You’re one of the reasons why.”
He pulled the headphones off his head and sat there for a moment. He couldn’t believe the voice or words he was hearing. How could this be real? How could he really be hearing it? Having to listen to the voice of his deceased sister was hard for him, but the only way to find out more was listening to the tapes… So he continued. It wasn’t a fast decision, he took a breath and thought about just throwing them away. But then he would never know the reason why. This was like your suicide note, only in the form of 13 tapes.
His shaky hands picked up the headphones and placed them carefully on his head. He pressed play on the tape player and continued to listen. “As there are to every story, there are 13 different sides to this. I’m going to tell you all of them. Each tape is based on one of the people that are the reason my life ended. So, once you’ve listened to all the tapes you need to pass these on to the next person. If you don’t, well, just know that someone is always watching every single one of you and will make sure that all the tapes are listened to by every person. Now that you understand.. Let me begin with my first tape.”
Dean closed his eyes and followed the story you were telling. “First up, we have the thing that started it all… It was a normal day for you maybe, but not me at all. I didn’t know about hunting or any of that, not until you told me. I went to find you after mom had said she saw you earlier that day, I thought maybe it would be a chance for me to meet my father for the first time. Incase you hadn’t figured it out by now, we have our first person of the story. Welcome to your tape, John.”
Dean realised that John could have been the one these tapes outside of Dean’s room. He almost forgot that both of his parents now lived in the bunker with him and Sam. John must have listened to the tapes before him. Or maybe it was Mary? Since you died they both acted weirdly around both the boys, but then again, Mary acted strangely around you anyway so maybe she had something to do with all of this. He didn’t have time to think as the tape continued to play and tell Dean the story of what happened to you.
* * *
You were a nervous wreck ever since you joined your father and his two sons. Your mom insisted on you moving in with John so that you could bond and get to know your father after all those years of wishing you knew him. You knew it wouldn’t be easy meeting him when the day came, but you never expected it to be that hard.
He told you all about hunting and all his excuses of why he left you and your mother. They were stupid and you hated listening to him explaining, you needed someone to take your anger out on and that person was John. You needed to scream and shout at him every now and then for small things just so you could release some of the pain that he made you feel for most of your life.
But that shit didn’t fly with John, you either did as he said or you were gone. “It’s my way or the highway,” you recalled him saying to you a few times after your arguments. Sam and Dean didn’t live with John really, it was more like John lived with them, along with Mary Winchester. They owned this thing called the Men Of Letters Bunker. The place was huge, so many bedrooms you couldn’t count, you could have sworn you found a new room there everyday.
Before John moved in here, him and his wife (who was also the two boy’s mother) had come back to life after so many years. They didn’t fit into the word exactly so they relied on hunting as what kept them grounded. Sam, Dean, John, Mary and you. That’s how it was. Of course, being the youngest meant that you had to follow everyone’s rules and it was for your own ‘safety.’
* * *
“For my own safety? That was complete bullshit,” you spoke smoothly through Dean’s headphones. “You just wanted someone to boss around, dad. You couldn’t control Sam and Dean anymore, so you made sure that you could completely control me. Before that I didn’t have anyone controlling me, I could do what I wanted and act however I thought was right for me. You took that from me… That’s where it all started going down hill, it’s where I started to break.”
Dean once again paused the tape. He checked his nightstand and saw that it was now 6am. How had time moved so quickly? How long had it taken him to listen to this short part of the tape? He knew he had taken it out at the beginning because it was too hard to listen to, but he never knew he was stalling for so long.
A break from this right now seemed appropriate. So, he took the headset off, left it on his bed and headed to the kitchen to get something to eat. Every step he took felt heavier than the last. This wasn’t something new, it had been happening ever since you took your life, but now it was hitting him harder. It made every movement more painful than they had been before; he didn’t even know that was possible until now.
Once he reached the kitchen, he was pleasantly surprised to see that Mary, John and Sam were already there and eating breakfast. Sam was still at the stove, finishing up cooking some eggs and the rest of the bacon while John and Mary sat opposite each other and ate what they already had. “Dean,” John said by surprise. “You’re up later than usual.”
“It’s 6am,” Dean replied with a gravelly voice that he always had when he was tired. Lately, it seemed to be the only voice he had.
“You’re usually up at around 5,” John noted. Sam came and sat down next to Mary at the table and placed a plate down for himself and for Dean.
“You hungry?” Sam asked and Dean joined them at the table. “How you holding up?”
“I feel… Different to what I have for the last few months,” Dean replied to his little brother. “You know, I actually woke up at 5am again today. I stayed in my room because I found something left outside my door.”
All of their eyes widened as Dean spoke. They looked at each other before John spoke. “So she finally finished listening to them.”
“What? Who?” Dean questioned as he squeezed his fork tightly in his hand.
“We can’t talk about this,” Mary recalled before picking up a piece of bacon from her plate and eating it.
“You can’t do that to me! Who are you talking about?!” Dean demanded as he threw his fork down.
“The last person that had the tapes,” John told him which earned a glance from Mary and Sam.
“The tapes… You’ve all listened to them?” Dean looked around at them all. They were faces of the people he knew, they were his family. But they all felt so unfamiliar, like strangers with secrets.
“We can’t talk about it, you need to listen to the tapes,” Sam finished before taking his plate over to the trash can and throwing his food away.
“Are any of you on there? Who is the ‘she’ that you’re talking about? Is it someone else on the tapes?” Dean asked quickly, not giving them time to answer any of them as he continued. “Are you all on the tapes?”
“Dean, we can’t,” Mary snapped. “You have to just listen to the tapes, everyone on there had to.”
He stood up and made his way to the exit of the kitchen but stopped in his tracks.
“It’s hard to listen to,” Dean admitted with a sad voice. He stood in the door way as he spoke to them. “It’s the voice of my dead sister.”
“Dean!” John hissed. He looked at his son standing in there, he looked so heartbroken and vulnerable. “Please son, just listen to the tapes.”
Dean glared at them all. If looks could kill, they would all be dead in a second. He stormed off and went back to his room, it turned out he didn’t get any food or a drink to soothe his feelings of anxiety right now. He returned in the same state he was in before. Dean placed the headset back on his ears and continued to listen to John’s tape.
“But that wasn’t all, was it dad?” You questioned rhetorically. “No, you did more than just boss me around. When you realised you couldn’t do it anymore, you did the only thing that you thought you could do to end the lack of control…”
* * *
It was a few months after you had moved into the bunker and began your training to become a hunter. It wasn’t the physical side of it all because you already knew how to fight after your countless years of being bullied at school. That’s why the boys and your dad were so okay with you going hunting with them; they knew you could take care of yourself.
It was the research of it all. You weren’t used to connecting the dots with how certain monsters acted or what they did with how the victims had died. You gradually became better at it, but you weren’t as good as your brothers because they grew up doing it. You knew that. You understood that.
John didn’t seem to though. All he did was compared you to Sam and Dean and demanded that you become a smarter person. That wasn’t something you could just do, you can’t just snap your fingers one day and get what you want. You have to work for shit like that, it takes time and patience… But those were two things that John lacked.
It was that one day in the motel you were all staying in. The report in the paper said that the bystanders smelled sulphur after the woman was attacked. That was easy enough to figure out, right? Wrong. You weren’t trained enough in the mythology of monsters and you had no idea that sulphur was a sign of demons. You read past it and said there was nothing in there that could have been your kind of thing.
John insisted that you had missed something, just like he always did. You hated when you had to look for cases in the paper. Either you would misjudge it and say you had found a case or you would read past it too quickly and not realise that there was your kind of thing going on. No. You never got it right, so John always checked.
He held the paper in his hand as he sat opposite you at the small table in the motel. You watched nervously as his eyes scanned over the front page and read about the current murder spree going around. “Jesus Christ,” he groaned as he slammed the paper down on the table. “You’re kidding me right, Y/N? You don’t see a case here?”
“Uh, no, sir,” you replied shakily. Sam and Dean noticed your worry from where they were sitting on the beds. Mary was currently out on a supply run.
“It says here the by passers could smell sulphur,” John stated as he looked over at his sons.
“So what are we thinking, a demon?” Dean asked while he continued to clean his gun.
John clicked his tongue and Dean’s answer as if it was obvious. “Exactly… A demon.”
“A demon?” You questioned as you looked between all of them.
“The smell of sulphur is an instant alert for a demon,” Sam told you with a smile. He didn’t mind teaching you, he actually enjoyed it. He liked passing on his knowledge with you and helping you become a better hunter. He had patience… John didn’t.
“Yeah,” John snapped. “Every hunter should know that.”
You hated when he got like this because you instantly knew it was a dig at you and you were tired of it. The boys saw nothing of it because they didn’t pay enough attention. That’s why they thought you were in the wrong when you snapped back.
“Well, I’m still new at this so you can’t expect me to know everything,” you hissed which got John’s back up. You were glad it pissed him off, it was time that he took you seriously.
“You do not speak to your father like that!” He shouted as he stood from his chair and pushed it back aggressively.
You stood up too so you could regain dominance in the conversation. “What kind of father are you? I barely even know you!”
“This isn’t about me,” he replied with a steady tone.
“Yes it is!” You screamed. “This is about you… This is about what you didn’t do. You weren’t there because you were too busy hunting with your other family. And yes, I know that you died when I was a kid, but even when you came back to life you didn’t bother looking for me.”
“I thought we were past this,” he growled with flared nostrils.
“We are. We are past this,” you lied. You weren’t over it, but you had to pretend you were for the sake of everyone else. “I’m not reminding you about it because I’m hurt, I’m reminding you because you need to understand my point of view. I’m not good at researching cases with you because I was never here for it. And you’re not good at being a father to me because you were never there.”
When you finished your statement it was as if the world stopped for a minute. You came to terms with what you had said and realised that you meant it; John wasn’t as accepting towards the statement as you were. The boys both gasped as they saw John’s hand being drawn back.
Before you could react to his movement, John’s hand made harsh contact with your cheek. It was enough force that if pushed you to the floor. You breathed heavily as you stood up; you were holding your hand against your cheek in disbelief.
“You asshole!” You growled as your stood on your feet. “You fucking asshole!”
“What the hell is going on?” Mary demanded as she walked through the door. “Y/N? What happened to your face?”
“It was dad! He slapped me!” You screamed. “You’re a dick, how could you?!”
“Dad, you crossed the line,” Sam said. “You don’t hit your kids.”
“Things just got out of hand,” Dean insisted. “They should never have gone this far, you need to talk about this and sort it out because this shit has been going on for too long. All you do is argue with each other over the smallest things.”
“Dean! He hit her!” Sam defended as he stood up in annoyance.
“We’ve all hit each other! Hell, we’ve tried to kill each other before,” Dean recalled. You couldn’t believe Dean would actually try and defend his father, you thought he had changed.
“Why are you defending him?!” You fumed.
“I’m not,” Dean said calmly. He put his arms up in defence as he continued to talk. “All I’m saying is we have all done terrible things to each other, our family is messed up. This is something that’s needs to be dealt with and then we move on.”
You scoffed at his words. John looked down at you the same way he always did, his eyes full of hatred and boiling with anger. “There’s nothing to talk about. I want you gone, Y/N.”
“No!” John spat. “I want you gone, get the fuck out of here. Go back to living with your mom, the hunting life isn’t for everyone and you’re most definitely not meant to be a hunter.”
You couldn’t believe the words that were leaving his mouth. You looked at your brothers and saw that even they didn’t know what to say. You grabbed your things, threw them into a backpack and walked out like you weren’t even bothered. But of course you were. You were so desperate for one of them to follow you and beg you to come back… But no one ever did.
* * *
“You hit me in the face. It hurt. But not as much as it hurt when you hit me with rejection and hatred. You wanted me gone… I hated you, John, more than I had ever hated anyone. You felt the same way about me and I wasn’t going to stick around for that so I headed back to my moms.”
Dean once again removed the headphones and paused the tape. There wasn’t long left of this tape but it was so hard for him to listen to. He checked his clock on his nightstand once again and saw that it was now 1:35pm. Food. He needed food.
Another walk to the kitchen with pain in his steps led to a nervous feeling in his stomach. What John had done to you was so bad, what if Dean’s was worse? What if he had hurt you but had no idea that it had affected you so badly? Dean was pulled out of his thoughts when he saw his father sitting alone at the kitchen table and drinking a beer.
“Hey, son,” he said with a soft voice. “You doing ok?”
“I’m great,” Dean snapped. “I won’t talk to you and piss you off though, I don’t wanna get a beating.”
John sighed and rubbed his palm over his face. “You listened to my tape.”
“I haven’t finished it yet,” Dean shook his head. “It’s still hard to listen to.”
John didn’t reply to what Dean said, he just took another swig of his beer and stared at the wall. Dean went to the fridge and pulled out some left over bacon that was cooked that morning. He put the plate in front of him and his father at the table as he came and sat opposite him. “Stop staring at the wall and look at me,” Dean demanded. John looked at the disappointment in his sons eyes. “Feeling sorry for yourself won’t bring her back.”
Now he saw something in John that he had never let him see before. It was weakness. “I remember that day,” Dean continued. “I remember that I defended you when you hurt her because I was scared that what you did would make her leave. I was selfish and I wanted her to stay so I tried to justify what happened.”
“I’m not finished,” Dean snapped. “What you did drove her away from our family… The only reason she came back was because she had nowhere else to go after she went home and found her moms dead body. If you didn’t send her away she would never had seen that.”
“You don’t think I know that!” John shouted which caught Dean by surprise. He sighed as he realised his anger had once again got the better of him. “Dean-” his voice was steady and low, “-the reason I did that to her was to protect her.”
“You hit her to protect her?” Dean demanded.
“I pushed her away to protect her,” John said as tears began to form in his eyes. “Before I slapped her I kept snapping at her and being nasty to her because I wanted her to leave so she could be safe. I knew that if I told her that she wouldn’t leave, and no matter how many times I shouted at her or was a complete dick to her she would just get upset… But she would stay. I had to do something that would finally make her leave; I had to make her think that I hated her so that she would hate me. If she stayed with us she would have continued to hunt and I wanted better for her.”
John wiped his tears away before drinking more of his beer. It was as if he thought the alcohol would soothe the sting, but it only made it worse. “I loved my baby,” he cried. “She was my only daughter and she made me proud every day. I’ll never get a chance to tell her that.”
Dean shook his head. He understood why John did what he did and he sympathised with him, but it didn’t matter. That wouldn’t bring you back. It wouldn’t fix anything. “She’s dead because you were too scared to love her.”
Dean didn’t plan on saying it, it was just a thought that popped into his head but he needed to get it out. Secrets were one of the reasons you ended your life, he didn’t want to keep them anymore.
John had no idea how to respond to Dean. How could someone reply to that? He was one of the causes of his daughters death because he was a coward. Dean didn’t even know what to think anymore. He needed to know more. He had one more bite of the bacon before he put the plate back in the fridge and headed back to his room.
They were still there when he got back. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but he was hoping that the tapes weren’t real and that you were still there in the bunker. When you moved in you told him that you wanted your room next to his so you could knock on the wall if you wanted to talk to each other.
He picked the tape player up, it felt colder than when he last held it. A chill shot down his spine as he thought about the tapes again and how they were all you left behind. Your voice played again in his ears.
“After you kicked me out, dad, I went back for my mom. I ran in to my house, crying my eyes out because of what you did. I wanted comfort from my mom,” you explained. “She was all I needed right at that moment because in my whole life she was all I ever had. But I never got to speak to her… I went into her room and found her covered in blood. She didn’t move… Or breathe… She did nothing.”
Your voice broke as you spoke about your mothers death and Dean closed his eyes at the thought. “And this, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to my second tape. And you know who you are when I say that on my next tape, we’re going to talk about the person that murdered my mother.”
6 year old Jake alternates between pulling little Amy’s pigtails and running around exhibits with her older brothers.
He tires himself out and falls asleep halfway through the afternoon planetarium space show. Mrs. Santiago has to carry him around the museum for half an hour after that, until he’s awake enough to walk around on his own.
7 year old Jake makes it his personal mission to win every single party game that year. Any other kid might cry over how competitive (i.e. mean) Jake is being, but Amy stands her ground and manages to beat him in nearly every game.
In the end, Jake’s the one who’s in tears. Karen has to pick him up early because he’s inconsolable after losing Pin The Ring On Saturn.
8 year old Jake is on his best behavior through the morning (partly because Karen gave him a lengthy talking-to on the car ride over, but also because he’s been kind of subdued overall since Roger left a few months prior). He does go ham on lunch, especially when they bring out Amy’s blue cake.
Mrs. Santiago has to cradle him in her lap during the space show because he has too much of a tummy ache. (The Santiago brothers make fun of him for at least a week after that, but Amy defends him with her life and also sends him a Get Well Soon! card.)
9 year old Jake has just discovered Star Wars and spends most of the party trying to find planet models of Hoth and Tatooine. While the other kids just laugh at him, Amy informs him that Star Wars is both fictional and inaccurate then proceeds to tell him about how awesome the real universe actually is.
The two of them unknowingly break off from the group at some point because Amy’s too engrossed in telling him about the International Space Station, and Jake’s just hanging on to every word she says. They’re officially lost for a whole 12 minutes, but Mrs. Santiago eventually finds them in the full-scale space shuttle replica, laughing and pretending to be space pilots slash jedi.
summary : nothing beats winter in new york, except maybe walking to school in the snow with a certain peter parker.
wc : 2.4k
author’s note : tags are under the read more and ik it’s august but it’s winter in my soul !
There were people who dreamt of a Christmas in New York. People who sat by their windowsills, gazing past the confining glass screens and wishing to one day set their eyes upon a town blanketed by a mass of snow. In the city, it was a sight to behold and cherish. You go to Rockefeller Center and look up at the tree, lit with hundreds of lights and looking like a dream, and your Christmas in New York is complete. It was a thing of fiction for many people, but for you, it was the harsh reality.
You were not yearning for a white Christmas the way some people would. You were, however, hoping that your parents would surprise you with an impromptu vacation to the Bahamas for a month while the snow in your beloved city melted to more of a slush, whisking you away to a paradise where you were not forced to trek through the piles of snow surrounding your apartment building as you attempted to make your way to the nearest A train.
It was a miserable day, to be quite honest. You had forgotten your hat in your apartment after you had scrambled to get out of bed, you had underestimated the temperature outside and so you were wearing way lighter a jacket than you should be, and your jeans were soaking wet due to the way you had sunk knee deep in a pit of snow. This was absolute bullshit and you were ready to march back home, prepared to draw up an essay as to why you shouldn’t attend class that day until Peter Parker practically ambushed you in the middle of the sidewalk.
He had ran nearly a block to try to catch up with you. Peter had been waiting to take the train with you and walk with you to school for nearly two weeks now, but he had never gotten out of his apartment early enough, and if it wasn’t for his profoundly excellent eyesight, he probably would’ve spent another day walking alone. The sight of a boy dashing down the street with his jacket blown open by the wind and a ridiculous hat pulled down over his ears was enough to make anyone laugh, but you had been too preoccupied with fuming to hear his thunderous footsteps behind you. He nearly knocked you over when he finally caught up to you, his cheeks rosy from the bitter wind nipping at his face as he ran and his breath coming out in harsh pants.
“Oh my God!” You whipped around, taking a step backward and holding a hand to your heart. He did a little shrugging motion, somewhere between an apology and pleased with himself for managing to surprise you for once.
Grinning, he fell into step beside you, though not easily due to the random, deep pockets of snow that covered the path ahead. He bumped his shoulder against yours. “Not God, just me, though it’s been said that we’re practically the same thing.” You laughed, bumping his shoulder back.
“No one has ever said that, and no one ever will,” you replied, pulling your sweater down over your hands for more warmth. Peter examined your attire with a shake of his head.
“You realize it’s not fall anymore, right?” He quirked an eyebrow, and you rolled your eyes in response, gesturing a hand at the mountain of dirt stained snow piled in front of an apartment building.
“Nah, didn’t notice at all.” You huffed. You crossed your arms, trying to preserve as much warmth as possible. “Especially ‘cause of the snow that’s starting to come down now, really throws a girl off.” As you said that, the puffy white flakes fluttered down and landed in your hair. Peter, ignoring the blatant sarcasm, pulled his hat off his head. “You didn’t gel it down today?”
“Nope,” he said, catching your wrist in your hand and forcing you to stop. “Didn’t feel like it.” Also, you said you like my hair when it’s curly, I heard you talking to Michelle. So here I am. Do you realize this yet? He stretched the hat out before plopping it down on your head, tugging it so that it covered your eyes. You lifted it back up, staring up at him questioningly. “You’re gonna catch a cold. The snowflake hair look is cool, but your health is better.” He said it because he knew it sounded ridiculous, and because he was sure you’d affectionately punch his arm or something and he liked the fuzzy feeling in his stomach that he got whenever you touched him.
“That’s lame,” you said, just the way he had expected. You smiled slightly at his ruffled mop of hair, reaching up to tousle it in a way that he supposed he should have found irritating, as it made his hair even messier than it had been before. “Nice hair.”
You turned to continue walking, pulling him along with you as he smiled smugly to himself. He tugged on a lock of his hair, the strand that had settled in the middle of his forehead defiantly. “Oh, you like it? Didn’t know that. Thanks.” You headed down the steps of the 71st avenue station, a little past Queens boulevard. You only needed to ride it one stop, but it was better to waste the $2.75 on your metro card than continue trudging through the snow with a murderous expression adorning your face. You boarded the F train together, Peter managing to find the only open seat and sliding into it quickly, laughing at the face you made at him. You took a step forward to grab onto the pole in the middle of the train but it lurched forward suddenly, and you surely would have been thrown to the other side of the car if Peter hadn’t grabbed your arm and pulled you backwards into his lap before you could embarrass yourself even further. The trains were tricky, and he knew you had more of a knack for falling down than anyone else.
You exhaled, turning your head to stare at Peter. He was staring back with a sheepish expression, the tip of his nose pink. “Thanks Peter,” you smile, patting his shoulder. His arms were still secured around your waist when he shrugged, appearing utterly nonchalant even though internally, he was sort of screaming. Sort of. “When did your reflexives become so good? You struggle to do one push up in gym, no offense.” Oh, you know, just when I become Spider-Man. I save Queens daily. I saved you once but you didn’t know. Should I tell you? Probably not. One day.
“Oh, um, you know, I need good reflexives so I can save your clumsy self from tripping down the stairs at school every day,” he lied not so smoothly, giving your knee a little tap. You nodded thoughtfully. Seemed simple enough. “You can keep sitting here, if you want.”
Mistaking this for sarcasm, you went to move. “Oh shit. Sorry Peter, I’ll get up.” Surprising himself with his own confidence, he pulled you back. “What are you doing?”
Peter didn’t know what to say to this. Just savoring the feeling of you on my lap? Too creepy, and too exposing. You’d sound like one of those cat callers on the street, the ones she screams back at with vicious insults and creative threats. Get it together, Peter. “You needed a seat and, uh, you know, this one is… available. I wasn’t being sarcastic or anything.” He winced as soon as the words came out of his mouth, moving his head to play it off like he just wanted to look out the window. There was nothing to even look at it. It was dark.
“I’ll take it then,” you said softly, and, for his sake, you pretended not to notice how embarrassed he was that he had said what he did in the first place. He was endlessly thankful for that, because the fact that you were sitting on his lap right now was enough to make him sweat through his winter clothes even though it was below 25 degrees fahrenheit. If you had started teasing about him saying that his lap was an openly available seat, he most likely would have imploded. Before either of you could say anything else to shatter the silence that had settled there, the train screeched to stop again, and Peter’s grip on your waist tightened. You glanced down at his hand, sitting there on your waist, a fist bunched in the sweatshirt you had thrown on in this morning not knowing how fucking deathly it was going to be outside. You stood up when the doors opened, your hand absentmindedly wrapping around Peter’s wrist as you pulled him up toward the doors with you.
“If you’re still cold I can give you my jacket, I don’t mind,” Peter said, glancing down at your hand, locked on his wrist. You bumped into someone as you turned around, giving them a quick apology.
“Peter, stop giving me your clothes-” Before you could finish your sentence, a guy cut in between you two, your hand slipping from Peter’s as he abruptly interrupted the conversation.
“Hey, you and your boyfriend are cute, but the PDA is too much. Lay off for a second, yeah? It’s uncomfortable.” The guy clapped Peter on the shoulder, then swiftly exited the car, leaving you and Peter to stumble out, flushed with embarrassment because while the guy was leaving, you had called out, “He’s- he’s not my boyfriend, actually!”
Okay, am I that bad? Does she seriously think I’m that, like, repulsive? Oh, God, she hates me and I made her sit on my lap. I’m awful. And creepy. Ew. I’m sweating too much. Is that why she doesn’t like me? Because of the sweat? I need new cologne.
You two trekked the rest of the way to school in awkward silence, as opposed to the tranquil one that you had felt on the train. You had Peter’s hat still tucked over your head and to be honest, you were in desperate need of his jacket at the moment. But you knew the words you had said on the train, shouted at the retreating man’s coat with such ferocity, had wounded Peter a little. You hadn’t meant for it to come out so harsh, like you could never be his girlfriend or that you hadn’t ever thought about it, not even once. You had thought about it on multiple occasions, in multiple scenarios. It just wasn’t the reality.
You were around the corner from your school when Peter turned you around and placed his jacket over your shoulders. “You’re gonna need it,” he said, stepping away from you.
“Huh? Why?” In replacement of a proper answer, a verbal one that is, Peter gave you his signature saccharine smile and threw a snowball at you, laughing when you shrieked, your hands flying to zip up his jacket. He was nearly doubled over with laughter when a snowball landed in his hair, the white flakes sticking to his curls and dampening his hair.
“Hey!” He exclaimed, wiping the snow off his hair frantically. “I have a look I need to uphold!” He launched another snowball at you, hitting the side of your leg.
You threw one back and hit his shoulder, laughing hysterically. “Look? What look, Peter? The disheveled curly mess look?”
He stopped, a half made snowball in his hands that was already beginning to melt. “You like it, don’t even lie.”
Instead of replying, the way he had done earlier, you chucked another snowball at him, and it was soon a full blown war of flying snow and screams of laughter, messy hair and flushed cheeks and the nothing but the brightest of grins. “We’re gonna be so late, oh my god,” you panted, your hands practically frozen from the amount of snow you had picked up.
“We’re geniuses, we’ll deal with it somehow,” he answered, watching your hands. He moved closer, taking his sweater sleeves and pulling them over his hands, then grabbing your hands in his and slipping them underneath his sleeve. “Just ‘cause you’re cold.” When you smiled up at him thankfully, your cold hands squeezing his, Peter knew that if he didn’t kiss you right then and there, he’d regret it for the rest of his life. You take a step closer to him, because you knew that he’s thinking the same thing you are and you need this, too, but you slip on a sheet of ice. This time, he doesn’t catch you, he falls right down alongside you. You land on your back with a groan and he lands on top of you, hoisting himself up so that he’s able to hover over you.
“Y/N, I have to ask,” he sighed, biting his lip, then continued, “why’d you sound so offended when that guy said that we were dating? Would I be that bad to date?” There was a slight pout to his lips as he looked down at you, his hands beginning to shake slightly from the pressure of holding himself up. “’Cause I kind of have a confession to make, depending on your answer.”
You place your arms around his waist and he falls down on top of you, his eyebrows raised in surprise, but he wasn’t one to complain about the position he was in. “You’d make a wonderful boyfriend, Peter.”
“Your boyfriend, maybe?” He tilted his chin, lips inches away from yours.
“I could get behind that.” Soft lips met yours, but Peter was smiling so hard he could barely do it right. Your hands moved to his face, tracing over his dimple. It was perfectly impossible to resist smiling back into the kiss. The snow was still falling, falling, falling, but neither of you deigned to move. He took a deep breath before opening his eyes, face still bright.
You continued your walk to Midtown holding hands this time, well aware that you were twenty minutes late but too blissed out on the kiss to even pretend to care. “I like being called darling.”
“If we’re gonna do the whole boyfriend and girlfriend thing, you need to call me darling.” You paused. “It’s my kink.”
He knew you were joking around with him, but he still shook his head, playfully rolling his eyes as he wrapped his arm around your shoulder. You said weird stuff like that all the time, it was no different now than it had been yesterday, except this time he was your boyfriend, and if it was going to make you happy, he’d call you darling for the rest of your life. “I could get behind that.”
I think SJM is referencing Erilea and Aelin and the TOG world. Hear me out,
“Koschei, too- confined and bound by his little lake on the continent”
Is it just me or does Koschei sound like the creature in the lake that Rowan and Aelin encounter when training. Afterall, The Bone Carver and its siblings are said to be around for tens of thousands of years.
“All before Prythian, before this land was carved up and Any High Lords were crowned… Ancient Fae”
SJM droppin some hints here about the timeline difference between Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series. That the TOG world came first.
“Clever, that Fae warrior. Her bloodline is long gone by now- … No one remembers her name. But I do. She would have been my salvation, had I not made my choice long before she walked this earth.”
Uhhhh Sound like Aelin to anyone?? No one remembers her name, making her The Nameless once more. She knows how to open wrydgates, it’s how she could have gotten the Bone Carver and his siblings, and Amren, home.
“She could not kill them in the end- they were too strong. They could only be contained”
Foreshadowing the next TOG book?
This just stood out at me a lot and we all know how SJM is with slipping in details.
A/N: This is a reworked version of the piece I had originally posted. Based on the novel of the same name.
You stood at the river’s edge and stared out across the black water. Your eyes caught in a daze wondering what your life was like if you had just been born like everyone else. What your life would be like if you had come from a womb instead of test tube. You had always dreamed of crossing the other side, to see what life was like outside of the city you were placed in. But as you thumbed the folded piece of paper in your pocket you knew that you would never get the chance.
You slipped the paper from the confines of your pocket and re-read it for the 55th time. Your first donation was scheduled a week from tomorrow. You had to report to the hospital in 5 days for preparations and blood work to make sure that your perfectly created body was still perfect.
Jungkook’s smile flashed before your eyes and a lump caught in your throat making it hard to hold back the sobs that were trying to escape your lips. He was waiting for you back at the hospital. It was after all, the eve of his second donation. Even though you had been through this process almost a hundred times before, it still made your whole body shake with nerves.
And now it was your turn.
You looked at the paper in your hand and over to the black water lapping at your feet. You adjusted your feet against the chain link fence, the only barrier between you and the unknown, and leaned forward. You watched as the paper floated on the surface of the water but didn’t sink. You gripped one hand on the railing and the other reached forward.
The silver bracelet on your wrist suddenly came alive as your hand hit the floating paper. The cold water stung your fingertips as the alarm from your wrist echoed through the night. You pulled back and planted your feet back on the earth beneath you. But the beeping didn’t stop.
It wasn’t long before the sound of tires pulled up behind you. You didn’t turn around as their footsteps approached, you being the target. One of them cleared their throat and you finally turned around to the face the men that had come to collect you. “It’s time to go, Y/N. Jungkook is going to be worried about you” the man told you.
You cocked your head to the side and scoffed, “So the rumors are true, watchers do exist”