he carpenter

8

Horror Favorites Meme: [1/6] Franchises - Halloween, 1978-2002

“It was a movie where the main character, the guy in the mask, really isn’t altogether human. He has no characteristics. He’s, uh, almost like a machine. He was just pure evil. That was what I intended to do. It’s evil out of nothing, evil from no background, which completely creeps me out as a human being, that evil could arrive at my doorstep without a purpose, without a past, without an origin. So that’s the idea behind it. It was put together to scare you. That’s all.” - John Carpenter

Is Will Byers Gay?

@byelertrash wrote a great analysis of Will Byers’ sexuality. I wanted to add to it – this is a sort of long post, so bear with me. 

I was looking for a script of the pilot online, and while I couldn’t find the shooting version, I did find a version of the pilot when the show was still called Montauk. It’s really interesting to look at all the differences: for one thing, Steve’s character is still what the Duffers intended him to be in the first place — a shallow asshole, he and Nancy have sex basically right away, and from what I remember, Barb dies.

There are lot of minor dialogue changes, but there was one discrepancy that caught my eye, from the scene between Joyce and Hopper when Joyce first reports Will’s disappearance. 

In the actual scene (i.e.: the one that aired), Joyce says “[Will’s] got a couple of friends, but you know, kids, they’re mean. They make fun of him, call him names, they laugh at him, his clothes…” Hopper then says, “His clothes? What’s wrong with his clothes?”, to which Joyce responds, “I don’t know, does it matter?”

The Montauk pilot makes a critical change. When Hopper asks what’s wrong with Will’s clothes, Joyce responds saying it’s because they’re too colorful. Here’s a screenshot:

I initially thought this part of the scene was an allusion to the Byers’ poverty; that maybe kids laughed at Will’s clothes because they were hand-me-downs or unfashionable or worn out. But I really don’t know what else about colorful clothing kids could take issue with, apart from the fact that it could theoretically imply homosexuality. I’m not sure why the Duffers removed the line (though I imagine it’s probably a matter of subtlety) and I’m not sure what it means as far as the canon is concerned. But I thought it was interesting.

Moreover, the entire scene itself is EXTREMELY loaded with meaning. It initially confused me, because I wasn’t sure why Joyce would bring up her son’s perceived homosexuality at that particular time. It didn’t seem immediately relevant to his disappearance. But, I think the Duffers wanted to hint that Joyce was worried about her son because he’s already a target. It’s important to note that Hopper asks about Will’s sexuality — when Joyce says that Lonnie used to call Will a fag, Hopper asks, “Is he?”. Later in the show, Troy says that his dad speculates that Will is dead; probably killed by “some other queer”. So, it would appear that even other adults are aware of Will’s perceived homosexuality, and that to some extent, it’s a topic of speculation and gossip in the town itself, and not just at Will’s school. So, I think Joyce, in this scene, is trying to explain to Hopper that Will’s disappearance isn’t just symptomatic of his age — she’s trying to explain that he’s queer, other people know it, and that makes him vulnerable. 

It’s ESPECIALLY worth noting that Joyce says “he isn’t like you” to Hopper right after he mentions “screwing Chrissy Carpenter”. This probably means that Will isn’t the type of person to skip class at all, but it could also mean that Will isn’t the type of person who would skip class to do something like screw somebody. Perhaps it’s because Joyce, who we know is very close with Will, has never observed him express romantic or sexual interest in anyone. One possible interpretation is that he hasn’t had those feelings yet, but another, more probable one, is that he has, but a) is confused and scared by them, b) knows that it’s unacceptable to have same-sex leanings let alone articulate them, and c) is already worried about being a ‘freak’ and an outcast, and therefore chooses silence. (But I bet you Joyce already knows this about Will, that’s kind of what I think the subtext of the “I was so proud of your rainbow ship” scene was…)

If you need anymore evidence of this, throughout the show, Lucas, Mike, and Dustin all express romantic interest in someone. Will, however, never does. There is only one instance where Will is paired with someone at all, and he neither initiates it nor seems too enthusiastic that it’s happening. Will’s own romantic inclinations have been unaddressed thus far, and I think that’s intentional. If the Duffers were really concerned with portraying Will as straight, the girl he danced with at the Snowball would have been introduced earlier in the show, if briefly. They would have included some shot of him looking at her longingly, or added a small subplot where he laments how being “zombie boy” has affected his romantic opportunities. And I’m almost certain they would have had him ask her. Instead, the girl is a rando; we don’t even know her name. We’re meant to be uninterested in her. The fact that she asks Will to dance is absolutely critical, because it means we have yet to see Will’s own romantic impulses – we only see someone projecting theirs onto him.  also Will doesn’t lament his romantic choices because he already has a crush on Mike.

Now, of course you could make the argument that assumptions about Will’s sexual identity don’t necessarily have any bearing on his actual identity. I would agree. But I don’t know why a) Will has repeatedly been targeted for being queer when Lucas, Mike and Dustin, all outcasts, have not, b) why even adults seem to be aware of this rumor, and c) why Joyce feels it’s necessary to bring up in a meeting with Hopper about his disappearance. And of course, there’s this clue from the pilot script, which is, IMO, unquestionably about him being gay.

Again - I’m not arguing that the speculation itself proves that Will is gay, I’m arguing that it seems like too much of a conscious effort on the Duffers’ behalf to amount to nothing. It seems that the Duffers are developing Will’s storyline, by planting subtle hints at his sexuality. They did it in the first season by belaboring everyone’s speculation about his orientation, and in the second season by emphasizing his close relationship with Mike. (I could write an entire tumblr post about the way their relationship in the 2nd season was shot alone). 

I think it’s especially possible given the fact that we have yet to really get to know Will as a character independent from the supernatural trauma he’s had to survive the past two seasons. If the Duffers are going to keep the show fresh, and I imagine they will, they’re going to change things up, which means we’re going to get to know Will in a different way. Dustin, Lucas, and Mike all have had romantic storylines, and each of these have deepened our understanding of and love for them. It would be repetitive and boring to yet again introduce a new character to be a love interest for Will, so in lieu of that, we may get more evidence to Will’s sexual identity. I am NOT suggesting that we will get Byeler, and I doubt we will see Will “come out” (because he’s 13 and this is 80s Indiana), but I don’t think that doesn’t mean he’s not canonically gay. It just means that we have to wait and see. 

7

arbitrary astronaut photosets (3/?): the Mercury Seven + baby photos

“you must’ve been a beautiful baby, ‘cause baby, look at you now”

I squealed when I saw this photo of Jane “I’m Not Gay Though” Fonda wearing the Official Uniform of Sapphics™, so I’d thought you’d all like to see it. (🌹)

buzzfeed.com
We Tried To Get Keegan Allen To Spill All The "Pretty Little Liars" Spoilers
Try again, sweaty. (This post may or may not contain spoilers, you've been warned.)
By Tahlia Pritchard, Jemima Skelley

A.D.’s storyline definitely makes sense.
“The whole storyline makes sense to me now. It’s like filling in the golden puzzle piece for sure. Fans will have the biggest, mind-blowing, exploding heads… it is the absolute bookend the show needed, it answers a lot of questions, it puts a lot of things into perspective, and it’s a great send-off.”

Toby will be in a scene with A.D during the finale.
Remaining tight-lipped on this one, Keegan simply answered that he will share the screen with A.D. in the last episode.

And when asked about the Spencer’s twin theory, Keegan talked a lot about Toby and his beard.
BuzzFeed: “We haven’t seen Toby since he slept with Spencer in the cabin, and now his phone is switched off. Is this because Toby actually slept with Spencer’s TWIN?”
Keegan: “You know I’ve heard a lot of theories about this kind of stuff. I feel like at the end of everything, all these theories will be debunked, answered, and everyone will have what they want. I can tell you though, I was rocking a pretty sick beard during that scene – it was a real beard – and then in the finale I was going to have an even BIGGER beard but I had to shave it. I went through three-and-a-half hours of makeup to have a huge beard, and I went on the set and no one could take it seriously, because I looked like I was from Castaway… so we took it off. So in the finale, I don’t have a beard anymore, like I might get fired but the show is already off the air… um, I just told a big secret, I don’t have a beard anymore in the finale! Anyway, that was that.”

Just like Ezra’s stress stubble, Toby’s beard was symbolic of his grief and stress.
“I remember really badly wanting to keep my beard for that scene in the cabin because I was like, ‘man, Toby’s really gone off the deep end, like his wife has died, I mean c’mon, he’s not gonna shave ever again!’ I can grow a beard within like three days. Like a FULL beard. I just squeeze my face and my pores shoot hairs out. A lot of people think Toby’s beard is A.D. and it’s gonna come off and be like 'I’ve been here all along’. But that’s just a Tumblr thing.”

Even Keegan is unsure about Toby’s police training.
“I feel like Toby decided to be a cop one night, around 8:30pm, logged onto his computer, went to RosewoodPD.com, printed off his diploma, went to work the next morning, and was a police officer. The only reason I think that was a reality was… the fact he’s such a BAD cop, he’s not a terrible person, he’s just a better carpenter you know? He’s a better carpenter than he is a cop, and he is an OK carpenter. I think that’s why he ultimately retired!”

Apparently Toby’s partner Lorenzo just moved on up in the police force.
“Ahh Lorenzo…. Uh huh. So he became a detective in the beginning of Season 6, and I remember going into work and being like 'hey man, why do you get to wear a suit?!’ and he’s like, 'well I’m a detective now’, and I was like 'what the hell man? I’ve been a cop for like three seasons why don’t I get to be a detective?’ So I think he just became a detective and he just worked his way up and he’s important now, he’s on like Lethal Weapon now or something!”

Toby’s experience with the drugged gummy bears ~probably~ got him “fired”.
“He was high AF and ended up being like 'Where I am?’ and the police officers all around him were like, 'Dude you can’t be a police officer anymore, cause you’re high’. He was just lit, and then he got fired, pretty much,” Keegan joked.

And Toby wearing a du-rag in the earlier seasons was a complete accident.
“That was actually a mistake that scene! My hair was really long and I had to look like I had a shaved head. And they put on the du-rag just to keep my hair down, and they were gonna take it off when I was about to shoot, and my hair would be slicked back and I’d look really dangerous and juvenile. But when we were shooting, Michael the director was like, 'OK we’re gonna shoot the rehearsal’, and I had the du-rag on, and I didn’t take it off, I was just in the middle of the scene. Then months had gone by, and the production editor showed Mandy (the wardrobe person), and she was like 'what the hell is this, why is the du-rag on his head?!’ and everyone was like 'what are you talking about? This has already been in production for months’ and she was like 'oh my god NO!’ It ended up staying in… It was nobody’s fault, just an accidental mess up!”

It was only during filming the finale that Keegan started to piece together what was going on, and he was definitely shocked by who killed Charlotte.
“The truth is, I wasn’t really keeping the storyline straight. I couldn’t keep up. What ends up happening when we were shooting most of the time was that we’ll have the writer and you’d be like 'hey, what’s going on?’ and they’ll give you just snippets you need to know for your character, because there are so many storylines that your circuits would get crossed and you’d go crazy. Then if you dare, later you could go back and start to piece things together. But up until the finale I hadn’t been piecing anything together, then I started to when we were shooting the finale. I remember reading last week’s episode when there was all this info that was dumped on the audience. And me being part of the show I was like, 'wait, WHAT… Who killed Charlotte?!’ I was so enamoured by our show in that moment. Because you’re part of a show and you love doing it as much as people love watching it, but then you also get sucked into the fandom and canon of storytelling and get shocked by it.”

He even said there were some plot holes you could “literally drive a train through”, when asked about Detective Wilden covering up Marion Cavanaugh’s death.
BuzzFeed:
“Jessica DiLaurentis bribed Detective Wilden to cover up Toby’s mom’s death, after ~Bethany~ pushed her off the roof at Radley. According to our calculations Wilden would’ve been a young teen at the time, so there’s no way he could be a detective. Is that right?”
Keegan: “I don’t know. That’s more a question for Marlene King. Because there are some plot points during the show that you could literally drive a train through… until the end of the show, that is. The finale will make so much sense to so many people, because they’re like, 'This show has plot holes the size of Swiss cheese!’ and like yeah, but it will make sense at the end. There’s something that happens and just collectively you’re like, 'oh shit that makes total sense now, of course!’ and that’s what will happen. Hopefully.”

And Keegan mentioned while he did get a laugh out of trolling his PLL fans, he’s been dropping clues this WHOLE time.
“I love trolling the fans! But I also love placing little easter eggs, because there is sometimes truth to things I’m saying. When the show ends, I can go back and be like: 'I said this and nobody picked up on it!’ I’ve done interviews and I’ve totally divulged things but nobody picks up on it. Once the show ends I’ll do an entire investigation into my own past stuff that I’ve said and I’ll be like, 'haha, I told you guys!’.”

BTW, he loves memes.
“I don’t really have friendships, they’re just direct message memes, so I love trolling fans (with memes). I think the sweaty thing, the misspelt sweetie meme, is my favourite thing ever. I kept doing it and fans were like 'you misspelt sweetie, what’s wrong with you!’ and 'I’m like, no, no that’s the meme guys!’.”

Here you go, hope you enjoy! To check out some more if you feel like it, I have a masterlist here that has everything I’ve written for ACOTAR and TOG in it!

***

Having children was never something Amren was inclined to do. She found them irksome, and the way they couldn’t care for themselves and were so overly dependent was annoying. She had never truly loved a child until her family had started procreating. First was Cassian. She thought his son might be the true spawn of irritation like his father, but that feeling melted away the first time he clenched her finger in his fist, and she saw the dimples on his cheeks. Then Rhysand and Feyre popped out a little girl, and she had never felt the urge to protect as strongly as she had then. As more and more of them had children and her life was filled with calls of Aunty Amren and the sound of high-pitched laughter, her heart settled on the idea of kids – not her own, but loving someone else’s. No matter how much she loved her nieces and nephews, there was no way she would ever want to give birth. The problem? Her lover of centuries, Varian.

Amren couldn’t miss the way he stared longingly at families if she tried. It had started small at first: a lingering glance full of envy as he stared at Azriel and Mor with their son and daughter, being willing, even wanting to change shit filled diapers, holding babes close to his chest and just closing his eyes. But it became more than that. Tarquin gave him full reign of care over his children, and Varian took every opportunity he could to whisk them away and be the best uncle he could. Amren could admit that he would be a wonderful father. As for her? That just wasn’t something she’d ever considered or wanted. She’d seen women give birth, and there was no way in hell she was doing that. Amren knew this like she knew the sound of Varian’s breathing, like she knew the beating of her heart if he was near. So, as she looked at him now with Tarquin’s youngest giggling in his arms, she was afraid. Scared that this male she loved so much, who owned the key to her locked heart and soul, would leave her.

Varian threw his niece into the air and caught her, her little giggles echoing around the atrium.

“Thank you for bringing her back safely,” Tarquin said. His other children had been busy in tutoring today, but his little girl couldn’t read yet let alone learn history or languages. That meant that while Tarquin had a date with his mate, Varian got his daughter.

“Same time next week?” Varian kissed the toddler’s forehead.

Tarquin approached him while nodding before lifting his girl out of Varian’s arms. The High Lord cooed at her and cuddled her tight, the tot snuggling eagerly into her Papa’s chest, tiny hands clenching onto his jacket’s lapels.

“I’ll see you soon, take care.” Tarquin left, muttering things under his breath to his daughter about how much he loved her and how much her missed her during the day.

Amren would never be able to give Varian that. There was just no way she could ever carry a baby in her body.

That night as Varian released himself in her and groaned her name, a tear escaped her eye. Every time that she now made love to him might be the last. It was inevitable. Amren could not give him a child.

_____

It had started to happen.

Amren knew Varian too well for him to be able to hide his emotions from her. She could tell he was steeling himself to ask her if they could try to conceive a child. The first time she noticed was the morning after their five-hundredth and eighty-third anniversary, when she awoke to find him running his fingers over her bare abdomen. Then one day while they were walking down the Sidra he stopped to look at baby clothing, even though the clothes were too small for any child they knew. The week proceeding, she caught him reading a book of names, the fortnight after that he asked Azriel to teach him how to be a carpenter so he could build furniture for him and Amren. The piece he made? A crib. The first time something like this happened a seed of dread planted itself in Amren’s stomach, and every situation since had only watered it until it had grown to the size of her body, completely consuming her.

Amren could not give birth.

She sat across from Varian at their table, barely picking at the food while he enthusiastically ate. He kept giving her strange looks as she used her fork to push her peas into the shape of a dagger, but he didn’t comment. He did keep tapping his fingers on the hardwood table though, something he only did when he was nervous.

“There’s something I wanted to talk to you about,” he said as he laid down his cutlery.

Amren had dreaded this moment, but resigned herself to her fate. “Yes?”

“I’ve been thinking about us a lot lately. We’ve been together so long, and these years have given me nothing but joy when I’m with you. There hasn’t been a war in Prythian since the King of Hybern, and there are strong treaties between all the Courts. We’re perfectly safe, and I think that now would be the perfect time to maybe extend the little family we’ve made for ourselves.”

The look of pure hope on his face made Amren want to throw up the small amount of food she had managed to eat through her anxiety. She didn’t reply, just turned her head to the side. Varian misread her distress as hesitancy so he got up from his chair and came around the table to kneel in front of her. He took her hands in his, the rough feel on his calluses from centuries of sailing on her skin was the most comforting feeling she could hope for at a time like this.

“I don’t know…”

“Amren, I love you. I have since the first time I say you in Adriata and you looked like you were going to murder me, but then stood and drank with me anyway when I was feeling lonely. You are everything to me, and I can’t imagine a life without you. It’s been nearly six-hundred years, Amren, and I think we’re ready to-”

“Don’t say it.” She hissed.

Varian’s face fell slightly, but he tried to hide it with a smile. “Amren?”

“I can’t,” she breathed.

“It doesn’t have to be now, for now we could just talk about the idea of a child.” He lifted his hands to caress her face but she grabbed his wrists to stop him.

“I’m never going to be able to give you what you want, Varian.” She stood up and stepped away from him, releasing his wrists and looking away.

“I… This – okay then.” Varian’s shoulders slumped. “I’m happy with just you Amren. I always have been and I always will be.”

When Amren finally looked up, she didn’t see a man content with his relationship staying the way it was. She saw a man with tears in his eyes and a hand on his forehead. She saw a man whose hands were shaking slightly and whose cheeks had reddened. Varian was no liar, he meant what he said about her, or at least he thought he did. Sometimes, the person who knows your emotions best isn’t yourself. Amren looked away, covering her mouth with her hand to supress her emotion. Amren could see the truth between them like shadows dancing – Varian was already a father. A father, who because of her, did not, and never would, have a child. The last six hundred years had been the best of her miserable existence. They had been a light, love and happiness that she did not know possible, and it was because of the male in front of her. If she did not let him go now, then she would destroy him. She would shatter him into a million bitter pieces where not even one was capable of a selfless love. She would make him like her.

“This is it,” she said.

“This is enough,” he genuinely believed.

“No, it’s not.” Amren turned her back to him, her face crumpling. Amren prided herself on her control, so as the tears fell down her face it was just another reason for her to feel ashamed of herself. “This has to stop.” She whispered.

Varian came behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his face in the crook of her neck. “I agree. I don’t want to fight with you. Let’s just go to bed, okay?” He kissed her neck, and it only made her cry harder. “You’re shaking,” he said with concern, tightening his arms.

This is over.”

“Amren?”

She turned and because she was selfish and she loved him she kissed him one more time. She breathed the last of her soul into that kiss, tasting him for long enough that she prayed his essence would stay on her lips forever.

When it was over, she put her cheek to his and pulverized her heart. “We can’t be together anymore.”

As he stood there in utter shock, his eyes wide and mouth unmoving, she left him.

It was for the best. That’s the only thing that made her capable of walking out that door.

____

Varian stumbled into the palace of Adriata, guards yelling in concern as he did. The way he was walking and breathing made them think that Varian had been attacked, that somehow he was injured, but the reality was much, much worse.

The red marks his tears had marred down his face were so raw it looked like he had been clawed at. His breathing was so shallow and inconsistent that his sobs were no longer possible. His chest hurt so much that he had a hand clutched to it at all times.

As Varian crossed the threshold to the opening atrium, his knees buckled and he fell to the floor. He could hear people calling his name and feel their touch as they tried to make him stand, but nothing could be done. His eyes were glazed and he could see nothing but the blurred ivory marble floor.

How could this be? How could she be gone? What could he do to get her back?

Eventually, it was Tarquin and Cresseida that picked him off the floor, his cousin carrying him over his shoulder and taking him to his room at the palace. A healer was called, but after confirming that there was actually nothing physically wrong with him, she left. His two closest family members sat with him, his sister in tears with worry and Tarquin begging him to tell him what’s wrong. Varian could not find the words to say what happened with Amren, so he simply closed his eyes and hoped when he woke up he would have a miraculous answer on how to fix this mess.

____

“I know what happened,” Tarquin said as he passed Varian a tray of breakfast.

“How?” he croaked.

“I contacted Amren and she told me that she ended the relationship. But why? Varian, I had no idea you two weren’t happy. I wish you had told me so I could’ve helped you.”

Varian sat up in his bed, a pile of cushions behind him so he could easily lean and be comfortable. His throat was so dry from the night before that when he saw the glass of water Tarquin had for him he greedily drank it. His throat was still burning though, his whole body was, and he doubted it would end soon.

“We were happy. Or I was. I had no part in this decision.” If Varian closed his eyes, he could pretend that the night before had not happened. That he hadn’t been stupid enough to bring up the possibility of children when she was so obviously uncomfortable. He has such an ass, thinking that maybe if they talked it through she might be more open to the idea; instead, all he’d managed to do was push her away.

“What happened? You two have never seemed… I never thought you would end.” Tarquin asked hesitantly.  

“I want children and she does not.” Varian whispered. The image he’d been picturing for a hundred years now was disintegrating in his mind. An image where he walked along the shore of Adriata with his child in his arms and his wife at his side. An image where together he and Amren taught their boy or girl to sail and fight and lead.

“At all? She seems to enjoy spending time with children. Maybe that maternity doesn’t spread to her own offspring.”

Varian was no idiot; he knew exactly why Amren wouldn’t want kids, and he should’ve thought of that before broaching the subject. “I think the more likely problem is that she doesn’t want to be pregnant. When it comes to her body… It has always been purely her own. She doesn’t eat certain things because she doesn’t like the thought of it being inside her, will only let certain healers treat her if she’s injured, doesn’t like it if people touch her without her explicit permission. I think she sees growing a baby as a violation to herself. Or, not a violation, but an intrusion. She would never be the same after that – that’s where the problem lies. And Cauldron, I can’t blame her for feeling that way. Thousands of years and she’s finally proud of the skin she walks in, I could never insist on taking that away. I’m such an idiot.” Varian groaned and put his face in his hands. He was so ashamed for thinking about his wants and desires before considering the impact it would have on her.

“Varian, just as there is nothing wrong with her not wanting to be pregnant, there is nothing wrong at all with you wanting children. Have you considered other options?”

“Like what?” Varian unintentionally snapped. “We could adopt, but where the hell would we find an unwanted child? Not even the Illyrians abandon their bastards anymore. Or I could make her endure a surrogate, what women doesn’t want to watch her man fuck another female? Mother above, we were in our twenties when we went Under the Mountain. I don’t know how to actually live without her, Tarquin. What am I – what am I going to do? I – I-” Varian’s tangle of words ended in a shaking sob.

Tarquin, having raised five children at this point, knew how to be soothing. He sat next to his cousin and best friend and put his arm around his shoulder, letting him cry into his shoulder while he smoothed back his hair.

“Do you want to be a father, Varian?”

“Yes,” he hiccupped. “But only with her. I could never look at another woman.”

“I might have a solution for you,” Tarquin offered. “But first I want you to take some time to yourself first, just give me a week and I promise I can give you at least one thing you want. Do you agree?”

“I’ll do anything,” Varian resigned.

Tarquin nodded and then left Varian with his food and guilt.

____

Amren had not left their home in over a week. Or was it now just her home? Varian had not come anywhere near it, she would know if he had. She had spent the miserable days without him alone, the only interaction she’d had with another person was when Tarquin had messaged her frantically to say something was wrong with Varian and she must come. She replied saying in time Varian would heal, and explained in a single sentence that they were no longer together. All it took was a single sentence, and suddenly the past six hundred years of her life were exactly that – the past. She would no longer wake up to Varian at her side every morning, would no longer sail the world on a whim, would no longer feel like she belonged in this world dominated by High Fae.

Her friends and family had come by desperately wanting her to let them in so they could help her, but she sent them away. This was a problem she needed to deal with on her own. The only person who could get through the wards she had laid around her home were Varian, and hopefully he had embraced the fact that he was better off without her.

She sat at her bay window, clutching a pillow to her chest and gazing out into the rolling sea. The way the moon shimmered off the thrashing waves reminded her of sunlight glinting of Varian’s hair, and it made her smile. When she looked at the stars, she only saw the constellations Varian had taught her while they were on the sea so that no matter where she was, she’d never get lost.

But what if I lose you? she had joked. When she was with him was the only time she allowed herself to be vulnerable, and under her joke hid a serious question and insecurity.

He had kissed her until she had forgotten her words, and made love to her until she knew for sure that the only way they would be parted was through death, and maybe not even then.

Amren’s gaze jolted away from the window as she heard a faint but insistent knock on the door. Who the fuck broke her wards? She was fuming. She didn’t care that her hair was a gritty mess on her head and that all she was wearing was one of Varian’s old shirts, she was ready to murder.

She stormed to her door and picked up a dagger on her way, fully prepared to throw it in the face of whoever was disturbing her. She threw open the door snarling, but went silent as she saw Varian in front of her. The dagger dropped to the ground with a clang, and she lowered her arm.

“Varian? What are you doing here?” She had a lot of things to be embarrassed about, but she found herself not caring that he was seeing her in this state. He had seen her at all her best and worst moments, and been there for her through every one. Surely, he could handle seeing her break down like this too.

“I have only two questions, and it could change everything. All you have to say is yes or no.” Varian looked put together. He was clean shaven and bathed, the scent of salt and lavender that followed him everywhere invading her senses. He had on a Summer Court suit made of fine whites, golds and greens, and he was adorned with golden jewellery.

She had lost the ability to produce coherent words so she just nodded. She didn’t think for one second that Varian’s appearance meant he was taking this easier than she was, but she was intrigued about why he had put so much effort in his lookds when he was just seeing her.  

“Am I correct in saying that when it comes to us having a child, the obstacles have to do with pregnancy and birth more so than raising a child?” His eyes glimpsed up and down her. They were filled with longing and sorrow, likely mirrored in Amren’s.

“Yes.”

“If there was a way for us to have a child without having to conceive it, would you? With me?”

Amren had never considered this option. Adoption in Prythian was very uncommon. On the rare chance a child had no parents, someone else from the family would swoop in and take them to raise. After the war there had been a few children in need of homes, but that was quickly sorted. The Illyrians no longer abandoned bastard children, and even then Amren had no right as a fae to take one of them to raise for herself. Surrogacy, or a donor mother, was something that was beyond the bounds of possibility. For a fae to get pregnant was unlikely enough, let alone one who was willing to do so just to give the child away. And it also meant that Varian would have to intimate with another woman. Polyamory was something they had experimented with before, but only together. She didn’t think she could handle him being with someone else if she wasn’t there too. All it was, was another failed alternative.

“There’s no way-”

“Just answer yes or no. If we could have a child without you giving birth, would you do it?” His hands were the only part of him that betrayed how nervous he was about her answer. They were fiddling with his belt, and she wanted nothing more than to reach out her hand and stop his fretting with a kiss to his palm. But they couldn’t do that anymore. There was one thing she could do though.

“Yes,” she answered again.

His fingers stopped and a smile as wide as the Sidra graced his beautiful face. “I love you,” he breathed.

“That doesn’t change anything! I still can’t give you what you want. You have to have children, Varian. And when you find a female that you love and who can give you that you will be the best father in Prythian, but that woman can’t be me.” She stepped away from him and tried to close the door, but he stuck out his foot so it was in the way.

“If you come with me I can show you something that I swear you’ll want to see. You just have to keep an open mind.” He put his hand on the door frame and wedged himself further inside their home.

She rolled her eyes and put her hands on his cheeks. “I will never stop loving you, and I wish I was able to give you a child, wish I could watch you as a father to our baby but I cannot, and will never, get pregnant.”

He leaned forward and quickly kissed her. “You don’t need to.”

_____

Amren was led by Varian to Adriata’s palace. His steps were hurried and he never let go of her hand as he pulled her down the stone spiral staircase that led to the infirmary. She had no idea what was going on and knew that she should probably be nervous about whatever shenanigan he was going to lead her into, but his excitement made her slightly giddy.

Before she had left she had quickly thrown her hair into a bun and put on pants – the situation would probably require them. When they had made it to the infirmary, Varian bypassed the healer on shift and went straight to the room at the end of the hall. The stopped outside the door when he turned and kissed her again.

“I love you,” he reminded her.

He reached his hand out, it was trembling slightly, and opened the door.

The inside of the room was the nicest area Amren had ever seen in an infirmary. The navy drapes covering the walls made the room seem bigger and warmer, and the carpet was a bright red colour. There was a multitude of mahogany dressers lining the walls and in the exact centre of the room was a white cradle.

Amren stared at it, and Varian pulled her forward so she could see more.

Inside the cradle was a small infant, with white curls and lovely dark skin. The baby had pointy ears like the fae and tiny little hands and feet, which were kicking as the baby looked up at them. The baby’s eyes were the most precious green, like seafoam.

“She’s ours, if you want her.” Varian let go of Amren’s hand so he could pick up the little girl. She tucked into his chest, one of her hands making a fist as she grabbed onto his shirt. It was exactly how Tarquin’s daughter acted when held by her father.

“How?” Was all Amren could manage to say.

“One of our patrols found her near the border, completely and utterly alone. She couldn’t have been older than a few days and as hard as they tried to find her family they couldn’t. They waited to see if someone would come to claim her, and when no one did they informed Tarquin. Amren, don’t you see? We wanted a child, so the Mother gave us one.”

Amren’s breathing became unsteady as she looked at the small girl. “What if I’m a terrible mother?”

“You won’t be, I’m certain of it. Amren I’ve – I’ve already signed the certificates making her officially my daughter. We’ll wait for you, if you need some time.”

Amren knew from that statement that Varian was one-hundred percent in this, and his confidence in himself made her feel better about her being a parent too. Even if she did everything wrong, if she was absolutely terrible at being a mother, Varian would be good enough of a father to make up for it.

Amren walked forward and peered at the tiny baby, her green eyes staring curiously back. Amren put out a hand and ran a finger down her soft cheek, and in response the baby closed her eyes. And just like that, she was asleep.

Amren looked up at Varian and held out her arms. With a smile on his face, he handed the baby to her to hold. Amren shuddered a breath with the baby in her arms, and she knew the truth. This baby was her daughter, and she would try to be the best mother she could be.

“Our baby,” Amren sniffled.

“I love you.”

“I will never be able to thank you enough, my love.”