Harry put his arm up in front of me, biting down on his lip.
I groaned as I looked up at him. “What, Harry?”
“I just… want to make sure you’re okay,” he told me. “You’re very hard to read, and, okay, I’m not the best at reading people, but… I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
I kept my expression blank as I stared at him. I was hard to read? That was the fucking point, idiot.
Harry sighed, dropping his arm out of my way. But he didn’t let me pass before he said, “You know, you can always talk to me, Mase. Always. I’m a good listener. I know I talk a lot sometimes, but I will always listen.”
All I knew for sure were two things: I had a lot of thinking to do, and I hated when he called me Mase.
You Bring Me Home // Coming Soon
Mason Worton’s mum is getting married - again.
This means Mason has a very difficult decision to make: stay in America and ditch the wedding, or go back to England and see her family and everyone else from her past, which completely defeats the whole purpose of coming to America in the first place.
Harry Styles, much to Mason’s dismay, wants to help make the whole situation easier.
Sitting on the sink-counter, she looked washed-out in the harsh fluorescent light of their bathroom, a little spatter of blood staining the shoulder of her light blue scrubs, her skin a wintery kind of pale and her freckles fading as though they’d been one of God’s afterthoughts. Her braid rested tattered and ripped down her spine, long red strands falling in front of the bruises on her cheek, and as he carded her hair back behind her ear, she flinched involuntarily, her shaky hands stilling on her lap, her breath hitching.
“It’s okay,” he whispered, the bag of ice in his hand hovering before her, his brain buzzing in the overtired way he used to feel accustomed to. If his circadian rhythms were reliable, then he and his body estimated that three in the morning, maybe half past, had come and gone. A long time ago, she’d told him that keeping lights on from the nighttime hours of ten-to-ten harmed the brain’s ability to produce melatonin, but he figured that light would be the least of their worries tonight.
Softly, she met his gaze, then looked back down at her lap.
“Sorry,” she said, wincing at the word. “I’m just…I’m still a little shaken up.”
He nodded, then gingerly brought the ice to her cheek, and though she recoiled at first, luckily she eased against his touch, let out a deep, exhausted breath.
“Is there any bleeding?” she asked, her voice muffled by the ice.
“None at all,” he said.
She swallowed, said, “The nurse there seemed like she was doing a great job of cleaning it.”
“And you’re absolutely sure you’re not concussed?” he asked as he leaned against the sink, the house around them so still and silent that it made the winter beyond them feel heavier and thicker than it already was.
Looking up at him, she delicately pressed her lips together, said, “Had the nurse check. No headache or dizziness. I’m fine, Mulder.”
“Okay,” he said, nodding to himself.
Though she avoided late shifts and preferred not to work on Saturdays, she’d been on a Saturday evening to Sunday morning emergency room shift, eight pm to eight pm, but a one am call let him know that a drunk patient, a punch to the face, and some police involvement meant that she would be coming home early. The last time he, in her words, went caveman left them both embarrassed and uncomfortable, but now, he wished he could’ve been there, could’ve watched over her and had her back so that some drunkard would’ve never decked her behind a modesty curtain, wouldn’t have had a chance to let her head thud against a sterile linoleum floor before punching her again. Though he wanted to think of this protectiveness as more than an ancient biological imperative, though he wished he didn’t find himself at fault for something so clearly irrelevant to his existence, he still brought Duane Barry and Phillip Padgett and all of the other men who had wronged her to mind, wondered once more if he could’ve done more. While at the Bureau, he could’ve argued that he was her partner, that it was of the utmost importance for them to watch each other’s backs, but now, he could hardly merit the wish.
And had he been there, he probably would’ve been decked too, only he would’ve cried about it instead of stoically driving home afterward like she did. Sometimes, he figured, the universe chose to punch the ones who could take it, not the ones who couldn’t.
“You’re never working a night shift again,” he said, hoping to elicit a laugh or at least a pained smile; thankfully, she reached toward him, wrapped her fingers in his open hand, kept her eyes down but let him know that she was present and receptive anyway.
“I sure hope not,” she said, “but if they ever want me to, I’m sure that citing this incident will make them change their minds.”
Softly, he laughed, and though he figured it would hurt her to smile, the purplish and red smears of bruises on her cheeks keeping her from moving her face too much, she still quirked her lip, the movement minute but visible.
“Did you have any Advil before you got home?” he asked.
“I had one before I left the hospital.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to sleep?”
She sucked her lips in again, met his gaze, so he nodded in understanding. He figured neither or them would be getting much sleep tonight.
“Well,” he said, his voice turning theatrical, “I can offer some warm milk-”
“No hot liquids,” she said quickly. “Have to keep the swelling down.”
“Okay,” he said, off-put. There went his ideas for chamomile tea and maybe a warm bath in order to calm her down. “Then, cold water.”
He squeezed her hand.
“What are you looking for, then?” he asked. “My mind goes numb after midnight.”
Taking a deep breath, she said, “A movie, something mindless. Just until we feel we could fall asleep.”
So she shed her blood-smeared scrubs and opted for pajamas and thick socks; while she migrated to the couch, held the ice against her more bluish cheek, he rifled through their bookshelf, found Sleepless in Seattle and liked the irony it provided, so he popped the tape in, the lights off in their living room, the fish tank fluorescent and bubbling in the background, the winter winds shifting the shutters on their fixer-upper farmhouse. He sat on her less-bruised side, and as she spread a shared blanket over their laps, he fast-forwarded coming attractions of many years ago, her two hands wrapping around his free one. While the movie began, he tuned Meg Ryan out and kept his eyes on her instead, tried to survey her body for telltale signs of stress.
She’d told him long ago that she felt anxiety not in her mind but in her limbs, in her joints; while her thoughts told her to push forward, her body cringed and faded, her demise coming not from her will but from her physical breakdown, so he’d tried to be a constant for her, had kept track of her hours and made sure that, even when she seemed so determined to finish just one more stack of paperwork, she would go home for a good night’s rest instead. From those many times, he knew what to look for: raised shoulders, shaky hands, huffed breaths, glasses pushed up far more often than one would expect. However, tonight shifted that response because her breakdown had come from a patient, not from herself, so while she took shallow breaths during the movie, he traced his thumb against the back of her hand, let her lean into him with her face angled so that his shoulder and her bruises never quite made contact. As four am ticked past, he realized that he’d never watched this movie in full, but because he’d distracted himself during the first half of the film, he hadn’t a clue where the plot went.
“Scully?” he whispered, almost wincing at how his voice interrupted the special, rural silence around them.
When she didn’t shift, he craned his neck, and though he should’ve been able to tell through her long, languid breaths against his chest, he only noticed that she’d fallen asleep when he looked down and saw her closed eyes. Reaching for the remote, he turned the television off, and with deft, gentle motions, he managed to lift her up without waking her - after all, she could sleep anywhere, from passenger’s seats of cheap rental cars to bleach-ridden motel beds to his old leather couch back before he’d been able to offer her a bed instead - and carried her upstairs though his aging joints protested with each step.
Thankful that he’d left the bed unmade after she’d called, he managed to slip her beneath the overturned sheets on his side of the bed, tucked her in before he climbed in on the other still-made side. Out here, the nights were dark save for the endless lines of unobstructed stars in the sky, so he kept their bedroom’s blinds up, soft light falling over her bruising face, the rise and fall of her chest shifting the duvet while she slept. Her pillow smelled like that lavender shampoo she liked, and though the stuffing was too thick for him, he found that he could still relax into it, their respective alarm clocks off for now, her bedside book-stack dwindling as his seemed only to grow larger, her reading glasses askew and the closet door left open in a way that would’ve scared him as a child.
And he presented himself with two lonely options: either he could work out hundreds of different scenarios that left her unscathed and him some kind of half-assed hero, or he could watch her soft breaths until their cadence lulled him to sleep. For once, he picked the second option and drifted off before morning began to creep through the windows.
i. it’s been a while, i didn’t think you’d be the first to call | Sungjin [Untitled Fic teaser]
i. it’s been a while, i didn’t think you’d be the first to call
flangst | series | Sungjin x OC
Sungjin has read somewhere, that you can only hold a smile for so long. After that, it’s just teeth. But not until this moment, standing on the wooden platform and holding onto his white Gibson Les Paul like a lifeline, has he given the phrase any thought. The fact that he remembers at all gives him pause. As far as he can tell, he has had no discernible reason to keep such words bookmarked, yet here they are in striking clarity. As if the universe has known all along that one day these words will return to mock him.