hovels

The "cursed" Die

So we have a dragonborn barbarian, elven rune mage, elven rogue (me), and a tiefling sorceress. We’ve decided to help the lord of the city reclaim it after a series of events caused him to lose and and came to make a report.

Bieri (dragonborn): *attempts to open locked door, decided to break it down*

Nok (rogue): No Bieri just open it. *rolls 16+9 lockpicking, goes inside* See it’s open.

Fia (mage): I thought it was locked.

Nok: it’s open.

DM: It’s a cluttered hovel, there are papers strewn everywhere and a desk shoved along a wall to the side near a bed.

Nok (ooc): I can loot the place right? *perception 17+5*

DM: you find a bottle of Dragon’s Blood Ale with gold leaf on it in the desk. As it turns out, that’s actually a thing, not a scam.

Alcohol is still illegal in this town.

Nok: Here Nell (sorceress) hold on to this for me.

Fia: I don’t think Sunama is here right now.

We leave

Nok (ooc): I can lock the door again using the lock picks right? *Nat 20*

DM: OH COME ON, I SWEAR THAT DIE IS CURSED! IT ONLY HAS TWO SIDES, YES AND TWENTY!

It should be noted that this has become a common occurrence for my rolls in this campaign.

Nok (ooc): So I lock it right?

DM: YOU DON’T JUST LOCK IT, YOU CHANGED ALL THE TUMBLERS WHILE YOU WERE AT IT!

Nok (ooc): not my problem *sneaks off, 19+9*

Later we would return to find that Susama broke his own door down when the key stopped working.

10

Morgana, 4.06 - A Servant of Two Masters

“Don’t be like that. We have a lot of catching up to do. After all, I haven’t seen you condemned my sister to a slow and painful death, thwarted my plans to take over Camelot and forced me to live in a hovel.”

I am currently very tired so this probably might not even make sense in the morning but… 

I’m imagining a D&D minigame (probably lasts 1-2 hours tops unless you’re having fun with it) meant to break the ice for new groups, in which the DM controls an adventuring party and the players control NPCs as they naturally pop up. Specifically, it could help new players get comfortable with roleplaying without the pressure of sticking to a character they just made. If you do this before the character creation stage, then even better because they may stumble into a character they like acting out.

Rules that I’m just rambling out please forgive me if they are nonsensical: 

  • It’s all improv. Don’t break a scene to look up game mechanics like prices, or which checks to make, or what would give advantage/disadvantage. This is about the acting so if it’ll throw off the groove, make it up on the spot. It’s all about quick thinking.
  • No modifiers. You’re all making things up on the spot so if you have to roll something, don’t waste time justifying who would have what stats. You could even go without dice altogether. The d20 is just an optional element of chance here.
  • Mandatory introductions. I don’t care how goofy it is. state your name, race, class/occupation, a random character trait, and how their day’s been going up until this point. As many as you can off the top of your head. Go nuts because things get silly before they get really creative, in my experience. Note: Character voices are encouraged. For funsies.
  • Everyone participates in a scene. No pressure on how much they interact, but in each new setting, every player has to put one NPC in that tavern, shopping square, riot crowd, etc.
  • Plot not needed. The adventuring party strategically wanders in a way that builds a town/city/etc as the players make it up. The DM isn’t in charge of telling a story here, just keeping the energy of the improv scene going. This includes-
  • Leading Questions. This one’s the challenge for you, DM who likely already has a control complex and likes to plan out every detail of everything in their world because it gives them a sense of security. If anything, you are the one who most needs to be good at rolling with whatever your players hand you. For the sole purposes of making you uncomfortable, the newcomer adventuring party knows absolutely nothing about this town. Thankfully, the citizens know everything about it. Which is good because you need directions to find your way out of your rented hovel room let alone to the temple–oh that’s right. Who’s the patron there? You sure don’t know! Better ask someone! Get that DMs?? YOU KNOW NOTHING. 
    • Important: If the scene starts slowing down, it’s up to you to either encourage and interact with these townsfolk some more, or get moving somewhere else.

Example scene: order of NPC choice is determined by an initiative roll. 

DM: “Alright, so four adventurers walk into the tavern you’re in–”
Player 1: “Oh! I call the bartender.”
Player 3: “Aw… I had a bit I was gonna do.”
Player 1: “Okay, okay fine, I’m the owner of the tavern, Marcus McMuffin the half orc–stop laughing–and uh… I have a tattoo of a dwarf lover that literally no one else knows about? And my day’s been…hm. It’s been awful because I got stood up for a meeting. DM, I basically live in here, so I’d know they’re new, right? I wanna know if these guys look like trouble makers.”
DM: “The Barbarian’s flexing at anyone who looks in his general direction but other than him fancying a typical bar brawl, they seem decent–if lost.”
Player 2: “I’m the elven bard in the corner and I start trying to seduce the Barbarian with my beautiful voice!!”
DM: “Listen… you can’t just use your character from the last game. Cherry the Elven Bard would’ve totally seduced the barbarian but who are you now?… Nah it’s fine, dude. Take your time. We’ll come back to you.”
Player 3: “I’m the crazy old village drunkard who’s a human named Steve–”
Player 1: “I thought you said you wanted the bartender!”
Player 3: “–Who samples a lot of the wares and is thus the village drunkard! I said I was doing a bit, jeez! DM, I start rambling loudly at the strangers about something that sounds like one of those super infuriating sidequests–you know the kind–where you have to go through a lot of bullshit busywork and the longest fetch quest of your life but there’s a promise of GREAT loot at the end so you consider it anyway. You know what I mean? What do I do for that, roll deception? Persuasion?”
DM: “Nope. No rolls. Personally, I am so on board with this but I need you to make this speech right here and I need you to sell it.” 
Player 3: “Oh boy.”

If for some reason you want to try this please give me a rundown of how it went because I feel like it’s the perfect recipe for hilarious trainwrecks that come with all good icebreakers. (I feel like it’d be a fun drinking game somehow? But I don’t play enough to know how to work alcohol in in a reasonable manner. I’ll leave that one up to house rules.)

Taverns & Tanneries, never coming to a game store near you lmao

Edit: I just realized that when the group starts playing a real campaign, you can embarrass them by working their goofily-named NPCs in, keeping an entirely straight face while doing so. Watch as they squirm and laugh-cry over having to discuss the fate of the world with Marcus McMuf’an. If only they’d known. 

If only they’d known what was to become of Marcus McMuffin.

Inquisition Protagonists I Wish Existed

You’re a city elf, who has been dragged along to the Conclave to wash your noble human employer’s chamberpots and act as a drudge as you endure their insults with a strained smile on your face, just as your parents and their parents and their parents before them have endured for generations. That is, until the events of the Conclave, and the elven servant nobody gave a second thought about becomes the most powerful religious icon in the modern ages. 

Instead of being a noble rogue Trevelyan, you’re a street rat who was raised in a cramped hovel in Denerim with your six brothers and sisters, growing up fast and learning how to scrape out a living until you’re picked up by a gang of thieves who go after increasingly bigger marks. You’re tasked to pose as a servant in order to steal gold and valuables from the Chantry clerics at the Conclave, until the job went wrong in every possible way. 

As an unpopular and common-born Circle mage, you were easily made Tranquil. You were never from a wealthy noble family and thus had none of the protection, so you were made Tranquil over a petty charge. You were brought along to assist with clerical duties for the mages. Due to events at the Conclave, you have been exposed to the Fade for the first time in years, and have permanently regained your emotions along with a glowing mark on your hand. Your continued existence is a threat to the Chantry, in more ways than one. 

It’s Cold: A Feysand Mini-Fic

Inspired by this post by @greenfire2908art. I hope you don’t mind me writing this inspired by your post…? I saw it a long time ago when I first jumped back on Tumblr and it always stuck with me. And since I’m trying to get to some older fic ideas, I decided to finally jot it down. Thank you for sharing such a melancholy, haunting Feysand headcanon with us!!

It’s Cold

It’s nearing dawn when Feyre wakes up. Even inside the tiny hovel she calls home, winter is thick in the air. The chill wraps her up thicker than any blanket she sleeps under forcing her skin to break out into goosebumps.

Where she sleeps on her side, she can feel a lump of warmth behind her radiating close to her back. Nesta. Or maybe Elain. She can’t remember which one crawled into bed after her.

Fighting off the yawn that will only make getting up that much harder, Feyre sits up in a fog and rubs at her eyes, elbows propped on her knees. She thinks she sees her bow in the corner near the dresser, but maybe she doesn’t. She’s not sure. And it’s too early to tell where her clothes are, but she always sets them out so they’ll be there somewhere.

She stands up and blindly shuffles along with little light to see by. But if she waited longer to wake up, most of the big game to hunt will have already taken cover for the day and there is little left in the woods for her to chase as it is.

Finding her pants, her tunic, her coat, Feyre shrugs everything on noticing how tired she is, more so than usual. Winter does that to her. She allows herself to risk falling back asleep as she sits on the floor to lace up her boots rather than do it standing up. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s fallen asleep in the middle of getting dressed.

The floor looks oddly different without the light of day on it, she thinks. Her fingers pause on the laces as her eyes gloss over trying to focus and make sense of the wood grain. It’s darker than it should be or… maybe that’s just a trick of the dark early morning light.

Her eyes fall heavy and she’s almost asleep right where she sits until…

The bed creaks behind her, one of her sisters turning over no doubt and enjoying the extra space Feyre has vacated in getting up. The noise snaps Feyre back awake and she stands up.

But she didn’t finish lacing her boots up properly and as she steps, reaching for her bow, she stumbles a little, but she’s near enough to the wall where the bow leans that she can brace herself on it.

The collision startles her and Feyre feels something inside her mind shift. There is a scent in the room that shouldn’t be there. She’s not even sure why she smells it at all. And with every second it’s starting to press in on her more and more and Feyre has but all of a second to think that one single word before a hand gently grazes her shoulder.

Faerie.

She spins and the fae male is more than she dared imagine. He is tall and seems to fill up all of the space inside the room. Behind, a pair of dark membranous wings are tucked in tight at his back. He leans in and for a second Feyre thinks he means her family harm, means to kill her, but then he’s looking at her with such concern, and his eyes are soft, and there are little wisps of darkness dancing off his skin. And his touch is kind, not rough. And he’s… he’s…

Feyre looks down at the floor where she nearly fell. Her bow isn’t there.

“Feyre?” Rhysand says.

Her mate. The man is her mate and it was all just an illusion. A cruel reminder of a harsher time brought by the cold winter night to haunt her.

Feyre feels a horrible weight drop into the pit of her stomach sinking lower and lower to betray her all too trusting heart that has grown comfortable, grown safe in her court.

Rhys brings his hands up to cup Feyre’s face and the full weight of his scent envelops her finally. When Feyre looks at him, her mate looks pitifully heartbroken.

“I know,” and it’s all Feyre says, nodding to make sure he knows she realizes she is awake now and understands.

She closes her eyes and Rhys pulls her in close, kissing her forehead. He helps her undress, change back into her night gown, and when she’s done, he carries her to bed.

Feyre doesn’t fall back asleep. She rarely does when this happens. And it has happened before. Not often, but every now and then when the night is particularly cold and nothing in her court seems amiss.

She knows Rhys will pretend to sleep for her sake, but eventually, he’ll wink an eye open and tug at the corners of his lips in an almost smile. “I love you,” he’ll say. “You know that right?”

“I know what you know,” Feyre always replies. “And I love you too.”

xx

anonymous asked:

Hello girls!!!! Last night I was thinking that Jamie was King of Men and Red Jamie in season two. Men feared him and respected him, saw him as a great soldier. What if one of these men from the army saw a sweet moment between Jamie and Claire? Seeing how caring and loving Big Bad Jamie actually was only with his wife? Please and thank you in advance for your amazing work!!!!! I admire all of you so much!

“Step lively, now! I thought English soldiers always loved marching!”

Corporal Alexander Lake bit back a retort and leaned heavily on the shoulder of Private Oliver Mason (his real name being unpronouncable, due to the odd fact that he was of all things a Lithuanian mercenary), hobbling as best he could to keep his weight off the broken ankle. Mason wasn’t in much better shape – with blood slowly darkening the scarlet of his lieutenant’s coat, and missing the top half of his right ear.

What a bloody farce this all was. All that planning – all that stupid confidence that they’d glorify the King by crushing this damned rebellion led by these filthy Scots. And now here they were, sliding through the mud as prisoners of war on their way to what Mac-whatever had said was their field hospital.

Field hospital? Did they even have hospitals here?

Mac-whatever heartily clapped a compatriot on the back as they rounded a corner toward a barn that had clearly been converted into some kind of military facility. Men sporting all kinds of wounds milled about the courtyard – clutching broken bones, blinking against pain, wandering in a daze, still in shock from the very quick and very bloody battle.

“All right, lads! Just go through that door right there – I’m sure the ladies would love to take care of ye!”

The Scot pointed a grubby finger in the direction of the barn door, where a weary, kerchiefed woman waited. The small, sad column of prisoners grimly filtered through the door.

Lake’s first impression was of surprise – for the field hospital was quiet, orderly, and organized. Run with military-like precision.

“The British! The British prisoners are here!” piped up a young, panicked woman as they entered.

With the crowd of men in front of him, Lake couldn’t tell who the woman was addressing – some kind of general, perhaps? But then Rhead – ever wanting to show his mettle as a leader – piped up:

“We mean you no harm, madam – but we do require your assistance.”

The fool sounded like he was begging. How dare he? How –

But the voice that responded – Christ almighty. An Englishwoman.

Leading a Scottish military hospital?

None of it made sense – had he been struck by a bullet or saber after all?

But before long he was laid flat out on a straw pallet – surprisingly clean – and the Englishwoman was lifting his eyelids and prodding his joints.

“Swelling looks normal for a break…any tenderness around the other joints? Were you struck by anything?”

Too dumbstruck to respond, Lake could only shake his head.

The Englishwoman – whoever she was – clearly knew her way around a wounded body. Sweat shone on her forehead. Blood – likely from a mixture of several people – had soaked a good six inches up the hem of her skirts. Still more blood spatters coated her arms, with one smear tantalizingly just above her bosom.

This woman was in charge – and absolutely breathtaking in her beauty.

“You’ll just have to lie here for a while – there are many other men more gravely wounded than you. Do you understand?”

Even if he didn’t, could he tell her no?

He must have nodded, for before long she was gone in a swirl of skirts, issuing commands to the dedicated women buzzing around the room.

It could have been hours or days that Lake lay there, contemplating. Watching more and more injured Scots trickle in – listening to the dispirited murmurs of conversation between the prisoners around him – admiring how one of the younger women never seemed to rest, despite her clear exhaustion.

But more than anything, wondering how She had made it here.

Clearly She wasn’t under duress – clearly She thrived in this environment. Perhaps She had wedded herself to the Scots’ ridiculous cause? Perhaps She had grown up in Scotland – but then where would She have gained such impressive medical experience? The Scots weren’t exactly known to let their women out of their hovels or castles.

She hadn’t been part of his army – he doubtless would have heard of her. She certainly had a tongue to match the most seasoned soldier – and wasn’t afraid to use it.

Christ, what a woman. Clearly respected by both the men and the women in the room. None of the men even attempted to touch her skirts, or look down her bodice – for fear, perhaps, but definitely for respect.

Dim memories from school flooded into his mind – Boudicea the warrior queen. Elizabeth Regina. Cleopatra, even – all fearsome women in their own right. All queens – just as this strange woman was.

The door crashed open – and Lake’s blood ran cold. For in strode Red Jamie – the man he’d seen cut down at least five of his comrades that morning. The man the generals talked about in their councils – about how smart and ruthless he was. How he’d charm you right into a trap. How he was so dangerous that he should be captured – if not shot – on sight. And here he was, filthy shirt stained with the blood of his brothers.

And here he was, striding toward Her. Holding Her. Framing her blood-smeared face in his blood-stained hands.

Kissing Her.

Bloody hands impossibly gentle.

Christ almighty. She was Red Jamie’s wife. The Stuart Witch.

Their reunion – lingering, tender – mesmerized him.

For such love to exist – to thrive – in such a place…

And then She stormed outside – and he turned to survey his wounded men.

Lake coughed - suddenly feeling very tired - and finally closed his eyes.

Hate it or Love it: 50 quotes from MLK that white people can use besides ‘hate cannot drive out hate’

Every year around Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone likes to drop an inspirational quote from Dr. King. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a multifaceted philosopher and an amazing orator with a plethora of accessible speeches, sermons and books; yet, somewhere along the way it seems as if a rule was created, restricting white people to one quote in particular:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I don’t know the reason behind the restriction; perhaps because this is one of the better quotes to try to push the “I don’t see color; we’re one race – the human race” agenda. Or perhaps the darkness and the light can be used to represent black and white and thus play into the white savior movement. Whatever the reason may be! BlackHistoryDay.tumblr.com is here today to give you 50 quotes from Dr. King that I encourage you to keep in mind for your future references:

1. “No movement of essentially revolutionary quality can be neat and tidy.”

2. “The only answer that one can give to those who would question the readiness of the Negro for integration is that the standards of the Negro lag behind at times not because of an inherent inferiority, but because of the fact that segregation and discrimination do exist.” 

3. “There is no more torturous logic than to use the tragic effects of segregation as an argument for its continuation.”

4. “It is one of the ironies of history that in a nation founded on the principle that all men are created equal, we’re still arguing over whether the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character.”

5. “There comes a time, my friends, when people get tired of being plunged across the abyss of humiliation, where they experience the bleakness of nagging despair. There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life’s July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November.”

6. “There are some things that we’ve got to learn to sacrifice for. And we’ve got to come to the point that we are determined not to accept a lot of things that we have been accepting in the past.” 

7. “We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality…”

8. “We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”

9. “What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?” 

10. “Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.”

11. “If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

12. “That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can’t hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out.” 

13. “Through our scientific and technological developments we have lifted our heads to the skies, and yet our feet are still firmly planted in the muck of barbarism and racial hatred. Indeed this is America’s chief moral dilemma.”

14. “To keep a group of people confined to nasty slums and dirty hovels is not a State Right, but a State Wrong.”

15. “It may be true that morals cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated.”

16. “It may be true that laws and federal action cannot change bad internal attitudes, but they can control the external effects of those internal attitudes.”

17. “The law may not be able to make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me.”

18. “Even this nation came into being with a massive act of law breaking; for what implied more civil disobedience than the Boston tea party…there’s nothing new about law breaking.”

19. “God has brought us here for this hour to tell us to save America because our white brothers is carrying it more and more to destruction and damnation.”

20. “We’re called to do it so that means we can’t stop. This should make us more determined than ever before.”

21. “Now they always tell us to cool off and I know that when you get people cooling off too much they will end up in a deep freeze. They tell us to slow up and some of them even say that the Negros in Albany out to go home and be quiet because there’s a political campaign going on and you may help elect some particular candidate that shouldn’t be in office. Well I don’t know if you have an answer for them and I don‘t know if I have an absolute answer but I want to say to those who are telling us to stop merely because a political campaign is going on that this is a moral issue for us. We’re moving on towards freedom’s land. We cannot stop our legitimate aspirations for freedom merely because some immoral person will use this for his own political aggrandizements…”

22. “We worked in this very nation 2 centuries without wages. We made cotton king; we built our homes and the homes of our masters in the midst of injustice and exploitation. Yet out of a bottomless vitality we continue to grow and to live and if the inexpressible cruelties of slavery didn’t stop us, the opposition that we now face cannot stop us.”

23. “The absence of brutality and unregenerate evil is not the presence of justice.”

24. “As the nation passes from opposing extremist behavior to the deeper and more pervasive elements of equality, white america reaffirms its bonds to the status quo.”

25. “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance.”

26. “It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn.”

27. “To find the origins of the Negro problem we must turn to the white man’s problem.”

28. “It seems to be a fact of life that human beings cannot continue to do wrong without eventually reaching out for some rationalization to clothe their acts in the garments of righteousness.”

29. “The greatest blasphemy of the whole ugly process was that the white man ended up making God his partner in the exploitation of the Negro.”

30. “Just as the ambivalence of white Americans grows out of their oppressor status, the predicament of Negro Americans grows out of their oppressed status.”

31. “Negroes have grown accustomed now to hearing unfeeling and insensitive whites say: ‘other immigrant groups such as the Irish, the Jews and the Italians started out with similar handicaps, and yet they made it. Why haven’t the Negroes done the same?’ These questioners refuse to see that the situation of other immigrant groups a hundred years ago and the situation of the Negro today cannot be usefully compared.”

32. “The Negro was crushed, battered and brutalized, but he never gave up. He proves again that life is stronger than death.”

33. “A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard. It is the desperate, suicidal cry of one who is so fed up with the powerlessness of his cave existence that he asserts that he would rather be dead than ignored.”

34. “What is needed today on the part of white America is a committed altruism which recognizes this truth.”

35. “True altruism is more than the capacity to pity; it is the capacity to empathize. Pity is feeling sorry for someone; empathy is feeling sorry with someone. Empathy is fellow feeling for the person in need— his pain, agony and burdens.” 

36. “I can never be who I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made.”

37. “True education helps us on the one hand to know truth, but more than that it helps us to love truth and sacrifice for it. It gives us not only knowledge, which is power, but wisdom, which is control.”

38. “If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”

39. “We will move out of these mountains that have so often impeded our progress, the mountain of moral and ethical relativism, the mountain of practical materialism, the mountain of corroding hatred, bitterness and violence, and the mountain of racial segregation.”

40. “…Always have faith in the possibility of getting over to the Promised Land. Don’t become a pessimist and feel that we cannot get there; it is difficult sometimes, it is hard sometimes, but always have faith that the Promised Land can be achieved and that we can possess this land of brotherhood and peace and understanding.”

41. “An individual who is not concerned about his selfhood and his freedom is at that moment committing moral and spiritual suicide…”

42. “But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

43. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

44. “Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion.”

45. “Many sincere white people in the south privately oppose segregation and discrimination, but they are apprehensive lest they be publicly condemned.”

46. “’Do not conform’ is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drum beat of the status quo.”

47. “This tragic attempt to give moral sanction to an economically profitable system gave birth to the doctrine of white supremacy.”

48. “Unlike physical blindness that is usually inflicted upon individuals as a result of natural forces beyond their control, intellectual and moral blindness is a dilemma which man inflicts upon himself by his tragic misuse of freedom and his failure to use his mind to its fullest capacity.”

49. “Only through the bringing together of head and heart-intelligence and goodness shall man rise to a fulfillment of his true nature.”

50. “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Enjoy.

Solitude

Summary: Jughead reflects on why the road trip with Archie meant so much to him; and when his deep, dark secret is exposed, he doesn’t know what to do.

~~


Frankly, Jughead knew, deep inside him somewhere (even though it was probably buried so deep, it would have to be excavated), that Archie didn’t mean it. The redhead didn’t mean to leave his best friend waiting for three hours at the spot they’d meant to have met, instead opting to text him with five words- “Sorry Jug, can’t make it.”

To others, it seemed like such a small thing to stop talking about- one cancelled road trip, but to Jughead, it was going to mark a pivotal moment.

The moment when he’d tell his best friend, the one he can trust with everything, that no, Jughead currently didn’t have a home- only an excuse of one. He’d been debating whether to tell Archie, let alone his friends, for weeks, but had only now decided to accept that his living situation was just shitty and he needed help.

But of course, Archie didn’t show up, which just reiterated the doubt that had always lingered at the back of Jughead’s mind- what Archie was to him, he wasn’t to Archie.

What was so incredibly frustrating was that now, Jughead couldn’t tell anyone else. Even if he’d wanted to, when Archie drifted away, so did Betty, who was devoted to him. Who did he have to turn to now?

As he sat in the lunchroom if Riverdale High, blasting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ through his earphones, his shoulders slumped.

Maybe he was talking to Archie, and consequently Betty, now, their friendship wasn’t what it used to be before.

And when Jughead found out later that Archie ditched their road trip so that he could ‘do the do’ with that pedophilic teacher on July 4th, Jughead couldn’t help but feel resentment boil inside him.

This is what their years spent hanging together in treehouses and sneaking behind their parent’s backs meant to him?

Therefore, Jughead couldn’t bring himself to admit that now, with the drive-on closing, he really might have no one to turn to.

Ignoring the strange sensation in his chest-sadness, if he wasn’t mistaken, he increased the volume of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, tuning out the din of the lunchroom, choosing instead, to focus on the titillating harmonies as his fingers tapped on his keyboard.

~

There were times, times like these, when Jughead truly hated Cheryl Blossom. No, despised her, and what she embodied- the rich bitch who could definitely not be trusted.

Yes, bad things had happened to her. Yes, her twin brother had been murdered. Yes, the murderer was still, in all likeliness, galavanting around Riverdale, and yes, all she could do was wait.

That still gave her no excuse to do what she was currently doing.

Phone in hand, evidence of what she was letting the rest of the biology class know -he didn’t know how Prof. Phylum could deal with her at all- that Jughead was hiding a deep, dark secret.

“We have a Serpent in our midst.” She said, turning around and shoving her phone in Jughead’s face. There it was. A picture of Jughead and his dad talking, that terrible day when he’d moved out of the driveway and into his father’s despicable house.

“And if those of you haven’t realised from this picture, it’s Jughead Jones, Riverdale’s resident writer.” With a smirk, Cheryl flipped her hair to one side and sat down.

Jughead put his head in his hands. If Betty, Veronica, and Archie weren’t there, then Jughead’s wouldn’t really have cared.

But they were, they were there, currently looking at Jughead with betrayal, hurt and disbelief on their faces.

Jughead put his head in his hands.

“Alright, class, enough.” Phylum said, only after regarding Jughead with disdain. “Back to dissection. The stomach…”

Jughead tuned out. What was once comfortable silence turned unconformable. He was ashamed, yes, and would give up nearly anything on the Earth’s surface not to be affiliated with his father, but right now, what choice did he have? His secret was out in the open, and there was nowhere for Jughead to run.

The Serpents… So what if the school found out? It was his friends that he was worried about.

He dared not to turn around and look at Archie’s expression, or Betty’s. He didn’t even bother thinking about Cheryl’s satisfied smirk.

Shit. They were going to find out that he had been homeless soon enough. They were going to raise questions about Jellybean, his mom, his entire life…. They were going to realise why’d he’d been so worked up about the Drive In shutting down.

Jughead was an outsider. Even though he pretended to be fine with it, he wasn’t.

After the pep rally, when he’d made up with Archie, he’d experienced a taste of something he’d been longing for- contentment.

Being homeless- those months were encompassed with loneliness- but hanging out with the gang at Pop’s- that was his ambrosia.

Now it was probably all gone.

When the bell rung, he didn’t bother waiting for his friends and made his way straight to the door, not making eye contact with anyone. Until Cheryl stood in front of him- hands on her hips, her ruby red lips angled upwards.

Neither said anything, but Jughead looked up and gave her the fiercest, deepest and most hatred-filled glare he could muster, gaining some satisfaction when the cheerleader shrunk back ever so slightly.

Ignoring her, he walked out the door into the hallway, paying no heed to the calls of Betty, Archie and Veronica.

It was like those cliché high school scenes- everyone turning towards him, whispers of serpents and secrets exchanged between them, hasty glares.

Honestly, he didn’t know what he was trying to achieve, running away from the blonde, redhead and brunette chasing after him. They were going to corner him eventually. When he realised this, he abruptly turned.

They almost crashed into him, taken aback. Betty looked at him. “Let’s take this somewhere else.”

She turned around, and Jughead followed.

~


“Juggie, what’s going on?” Betty asked, taking Jughead by surprise when he saw concern on her face.

“We want to hear it from you, not Cheryl.” Archie added.

All four of them sat at Pop’s, Biology having been the last period that day, and they’d conveniently forced Jughead into a corner booth, so he couldn’t boot.

Jughead sighed. What’s there to lose?

And so, he poured his heart out. He told them how his father had joined the notorious gang earlier that year, and how his mother had left a week later, unable to resolve her conflict with his dad, taking his dear Jellybean with her.

He talked about how he’d wanted nothing to do with his dad, even though he had no other choice. He spoke about the things he’d seen from his limited proximity to the gang- theft, assault, looting, pillaging, and that was just what he knew.

He told them how he’d stayed on his dad’s side at first, after being led to believe that this was the only option to get them out of the debt their parents were falling into. When Fred Andrews fired his dad, Jughead had naively believed that his dad could do only good.

His hatred began when he’d overheard the Serpents talking- and found out that his father had been feeding him pure lies.

So then, he’d moved out. He had discovered the Drive In- perfect for a temporary shelter. He’d even got a job there, which made it all the more suitable.

At some point, his father had come there and tried to reconcile- and Jughead had accepted. Now, whenever they encountered each other, Jughead tried to forget all the terrible things his father had done.

Jughead spoke about how devastated he’d been when the Drive In shut down. He’d said that it was almost his home- if only they’d known how literal he had been.

Those Twilight months were the lonely ones, he said, without even the company of his little sister to help pacify him. Now all contact he had to Jellybean was through a payphone near Twilight.

After Twilight shut down, Jughead had tried to find accommodation somewhere, but to no avail. Last week, he’d moved back into his father’s hovel, trying to spend as less time there are possible. His father tended to get drunk late in the night, and though nothing had been inflicted upon Jughead yet, he was not eager to stay.

But right now, he wasn’t spoilt for choices.

He ended his explanation with an “I’m sorry.” And waited.

Betty, sitting near him, looked at him, tears in her eyes and just hugged him.

Veronica, sitting across from him, grabbed his hand, and Archie said, “Jughead…”

Honestly, Jughead expected them to be angry.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Betty asked, hand on his shoulder.

“I don’t know. You guys were busy…”

“Bullshit.” Betty’s eyes narrowed. “Jughead, you’ve been through so much already, and you clearly needed help. We would’ve done everything we could! Right, Arch?”

Archie looked slightly guilty at failing to notice what his best friend had been going through all these months. “Definitely.” He said, and leaned forward. “Jughead, if you need a place to stay…”

Months of tension had finally been released, relief coursing through Jughead’s veins. A tear trickled down his smiling face, only encouraging Betty’s tears to fall and Archie’s eyes to water. Veronica massaged Jughead’s hand.

“Yes.” Jughead accepted. Yes, his family was still torn apart, and yes, his father still engaged in abominable activities in a very violent gang, but right now, Jughead could rest.

Nessian - Depressed!Cassian

Here is part 3/the last part of my Nessian fic. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the angst! Part 1, Part 2 

[Depressed!Cassian - 3/3]

Three days later, Nesta knocked on Cassian’s door. She had no idea what she was doing there. What she was going to say.

She waited for him to give her permission to enter. She wore a velvet dress in deepest blue. The sleeves were long and tight, the neckline modest.

“Who is it?” Cassian said from within.

“Nesta,” she replied in a voice that was smaller than she’d intended.

“Come in.”

She took a deep breath and opened the door.

Keep reading

To Build a Home (3/3)

He throws the note into the sea and she waits until she stops in a house that was once home. 

Rating: M

Part One: Here.  | Part Two: Here

Read on ff.net here

It happens like this:

Nemo does indeed find a seller of kraken blood and Killian did have enough gold hidden in various compartments on his person to purchase it. Legally. Sort of.

Keep reading

NOTHING NATURAL by Diana Hurlburt

They call him Prosper, a measure of mockery for each measure of awe.

-

You know the road to the laboratory blind, could walk it in your sleep—have, because sleepwalking is telltale of the godborn, so your mother says and touches your ankle in rare affection where it rests on the porch rail, one foot on the earth and one in the realm of spirits.

“Spirits,” she repeats, gesturing to the road below, the spindly pine woods and the yellow haze of heat and pollution that makes up your horizon. “He controls the spirits.”

There are no spirits, only neighbors: Men and women and half-made machines given to rust, the detritus of civilization. A plot of bloodless jackdaws, midway between flophouse and refugee camp. You know that part of her statement, at least, is true. The weak and weak-willed, the dying, the once-dead, the discarded and useless, the flagrant all require direction. Seek strength. Are used by those stronger.

Sicaria laughs and makes her crooked cross, murmurs her oblique prayer.

“Get out,” she tells you in sudden rage, “go to your master. Get out of my sight, you unworthy and unclean thing, you who have forsaken the ways of God, you who cleave to the machines. Your eyes see only falsehood.”

-

It is fifteen years since your mother was cast out. It is your lifetime that has been spent in wasteland, the between-place, the unplace beyond the pale. It is a pine island that shelters you, a fanatic who raises you, a scientist who uses your hands and your back and his daughter who considers your mind.

Your mind. You know you have one. All creatures do, born or made. It is the First Law of Being.

Your name. If Sicaria gave you one it has been lost. It was only after Prosper’s carelessness that anyone else tried—his accident in the lab, though he would never call it that, surely you were at fault, your clumsy hands too broad for fine work and your elbows always in the way. Acid scattered from a flask, droplets caught in sun. You did not scream; it wasn’t the worst pain you had felt. In the washroom Miranda’s hands were gentle, washing, salving. They slowed after the initial motions and your pulse followed. You examine your two faces in the mirror. If you had ever displayed beauty it was gone now, Miranda’s heightened by your face now scarred. Her luminosity beyond the human and your coarseness, a sun and its shadow.

Her hand stayed on your cheek after its necessity had lapsed. She traced the remnants of acid, specks and splotches, long fingers black and velvet like the touch of night. You believe her grasp could shift moons from their orbit.

“Calvaluna,” she said, a cantrip reshaping your vision of yourself. “I read it somewhere—where? I have never read a book. I don’t need to, Father put his knowledge into my head before he activated me. But I hear it.” She tapped her forehead, then yours. “I hear it. It means you. It suits you. Calvaluna.”

It was prettier than you, you knew that, a beautiful name. Prettier than most things. Not prettier than her.

-

When Prosper leaves the laboratory it is less a retirement for the evening and more retreat. He would never call it that but you believe him fearful, after all. The powerful always are. He swings himself like a cudgel upon exit, he shouts for Miranda to attend him and cuffs you, a passing blow, thoughtless. Brutality is his lever, rarely compassion.

You know his laboratory better than he does, you think, wiping down counters. You know his daughter, made in his own image but ultimately fathomless. There’s a phrase in Sicaria’s Bible that makes you quiver when you apply it to Miranda.

It is full dark when Miranda comes for you. Your laboratory is Prosper’s in miniature, piecemeal and theft-built, squirreled away in a shed in the woods south of the pine island on which the best of the unplace’s hovels are built.

“It was a citrus packing house,” Miranda says as she always does. Touches the frame of the door right and then left, stretches to her full height to brush its top. It’s a ritual the way your mother’s prayers are, her prostrations, her rages. “Before the Laws took effect there was an industry here. Fruit. Citrus fruit.” She looks at you, a delight on her face that would fire the darkness. “Can you imagine it, Calvaluna? Whole stands of trees with fruit on them. Wild fruit, just growing. Imagine taking fruit off a tree and eating it.”

Your imagination is not that good.

She goes to the single table in the laboratory and stands before it in a manner you’ve thought must be like that of the Israelites in the Holy of Holies. You are not supposed to know what that means. You are not supposed to have holiness in your life. She looks at you briefly, with mischief, and draws down the shroud you have used to protect the R.E.L.’s shell from rain.

“I think we’re close,” she says. Her eyes are fascinated, distracted; her hand reaches for you. “Come here, Calvaluna, tell me if this is calibrated properly.”

“You have your father’s knowledge,” you say. But you go and look at the R.E.L. with her. You’re proud of the effort, the work of your joined hands. You are not supposed to have pride, either. There is no pride in being raised beyond the pale. In being the offspring of a hanged woman, a witch they would have called her in days past, a lawbreaker too iconoclastic to be allowed in the city and too ineffectual to be executed, spared for her belly to the tune of mockery. Certainly there is no pride in your form or your face.

“I think he’s almost ready to revive,” Miranda says. Her joy is the only light in these woods. The sun exists, you know, in theory. Miranda’s face is your only evidence thus far, fifteen years alive and far from those spaces left which thrive in natural sunlight. She links her fingers in yours, her thumb rubs the calluses on your palm; she points with your hands to the R.E.L.’s blank and staring eyes, his half-human head, his chest with its missing heart and its new core of wires. “Oh, Calvaluna! I’m nervous. Are you nervous?”

Nervous is not the right word for what you are.

-

“Calvaluna,” Sicaria repeated the day you told her of Miranda’s gift. She scraped the tip of her ritual knife between her teeth, grinning. “An appropriate name for you, my aborted dream. I should have exposed you as a sacrifice to God.”

There is no god but human will. This is the Second Law of Being.

-

Your fellow-spirits are all will-bound to Prosper’s caprice. He makes the cogs of the community turn, greases the paths of food and potable water and herbs plucked at the witching hour that make life slightly less… life-like. Thus he is obeyed.

“Daughter,” Sicaria echoes. She spits at the trash heap beside the back gate. “Blasphemy. Blasphemy. Such words I hear from your lips, my burden. Who was it gave you speech, that you fling curses in my face? I think maybe you’re the worse for your time spent in that man’s house. I see you confuse craft for birth.” She broods, her fingers twitching at the strand of beads beneath her wrapper. “But there’s no more to be done. How else are we to live?”

Once, and only once, you suggested that perhaps her god might see to living arrangements, if she did not like how you were turning out under Prosper’s tutelage.

“Go.” She waves to the wood path. “I heard tell there was meat today.”

If there was meat to be had, you suspect it’s long gone now. Your fellow-spirits are avaricious. What have they but base pleasures?

“He’s in a gloom,” Miranda says, her face round and open as a poinciana pod. “He’s made me clean the laboratory twice over, and asked me to cook… something. I didn’t recognize it, Calvaluna. Lentil soup? What is a lentil, do you know?”

You know of lentils.

“You can’t make lentil soup,” you tell her. “He shouldn’t ask you to do things he knows are impossible.”

“He believes anything is possible,” she says. You love and hate to see her countenance. You remember a time when she would have spoken the same words in hope and affection. You know it is your fault, the way she is changing, her will a canker on the face of beauty. You wonder what Prosper will do when he realizes it. You ponder in the night, sometimes, this scholar whose eyes perceive all but the truth.

Perhaps you will be gone before he awakens.

“Race me,” Miranda says, but she takes your hand.

“How am I to race if you keep me beside you?”

“A race doesn’t have to have a winner,” she says, and begins to run.

She times these things impeccably. She runs so that you can almost believe the light follows her footsteps, that she leaves no mark on the earth. Dusk springs up behind you. You prefer night, its honesty; you prefer the real dark that would cover most of your world if not for artificial day. The unplace is a hive of night creatures. Your fellow-spirits are easiest perceived in dimness, their proclivities hidden and their countenances smoothed.

Miranda keeps your hand in hers and runs, runs, fearless and laughing. She runs like a dart flung toward the center of the south woods, the pine cloven by lightning looming over your laboratory. The pine grows despite the wound at its heart. It is where you found the R.E.L.—one of Prosper’s cast-offs, what he termed a failed experiment—half-dead and crumbling piecemeal to rust in dank rainfall.

She drops to the base of the pine and pulls you down and points up.

“I know of stars,” she says, her eyes searching as though Heaven might reveal itself. “The Southern Cross, the Swan. The Pleiades. Many more names my father gave me.” She touches her forehead, as she does when she speaks of Prosper’s knowledge, planted in her like seed corn. She is godborn more surely than you can ever be, gleaming divinity. She touches your forehead, your cheeks, the tip of your nose. “I think they must look like you. The stars beyond our sky.”

She traces the scars and specks and splotches. She draws new constellations and names them, her fingers a warm trail on your skin, her breath a promise.

-

Just once you asked your mother if you would ever leave the unplace. You did not then understand that no one came to the salt-strewn plots of land on the city’s outskirts by choice—no one laid eyes on the pine island and thought, I am home. It is far more difficult to leave a place you have not happened upon by choice.

“He’ll be a protector,” you say, pliers in one hand and cording in the other. “His new code will require defense. Otherwise…”

You look at Miranda and think of what might happen to her if the R.E.L.’s defensive code does not run as planned. You picture yourself and remember Sicaria’s dark jibes, her reminiscences of city life. You rub your upper arm where the contraceptive block had been implanted. It only prevents some things, can halt neither the heady mix of desire and aspiration nor flat violence.

“Defense,” Miranda says, her face solemn in its thinking pose, unaware of your thoughts. “Defense, financials, new birth records and identification…”

Her voice skips along, almost merry, a fertile stream in which to seed possibility.

-

The Third Law of Being is the inviolability of life. No one has ever explained to you whether the Law covers all life.

-

Light explodes behind your eyes when Prosper’s hand meets your skull. Or, you realize a little belatedly, it is the fault of the lab table, the edge of it kissing your temple. Air rushes from your lungs. You stare at the vault above the shed in the woods, its ceiling gaping in sections to reveal leaves, the white sky of noon.

Miranda flies at him, her face dressed in horror. You have never kissed her, you think. You would prefer not to die unkissed; you’d prefer not to die at all.

“Ungrateful wretch,” Prosper says. “Twisted ape-child, spawn of—how thought you?” He smashes his hand across the table. “How thought you to betray my kindness? To turn my own blood against me?” He lifts one of the R.E.L.’s arms, almost delicately. “Whore and daughter of whores. Thief.”

Small comfort to think his rage stems from fear, but it’s enough. Prosper would not be angry if he didn’t believe the R.E.L. was sound.

“You.” He points to Sicaria in the doorway. One of your fellow-spirits has fetched her at his command and she is in a state, white-eyed and gagging on anger. “Take your mooncalf in hand, I never want to see her again. Corruptor.”

He catches Miranda and snares her arms, wrenches her close, covers her head with his hands as though she is innocent. As though healing and reviving the R.E.L. were not her idea. As though a child can be born of only one parent. The R.E.L. is your inheritance, legacy of unnatural issue, a being greater than the sum of its creators.

“This abomination will be destroyed,” Prosper says. Sicaria prays in the doorway, her eyes not on you nor on the R.E.L. but searching, seeking. She hates the sight of machines. Had the city not cast her out for improper worship she would have repudiated them anyway.

“He is an R.E.L.,” Miranda says. You stare despite the throb in your head, the blood in your eyes. Her voice remains soft, wondering, a caress on the cyborg’s clinical name. Aerial, a creature of movement and possibility. “Robotically Enhanced Lifeform. Give him his name, Father, lend some pity, even if you thought nothing of flinging him into the trash when he failed to serve you.”

“Abomination,” he repeats. “Homunculus, deformity—daughter. Listen. Calvaluna has done wrong in her ignorance but you… you are not ignorant, Miranda.”

You marvel at the blindness of the learned man, the man cast out for his learned ways, the man who has made the wilderness blossom in decay. Lord of chaos, king of the misruled.

“God be with me in this hour,” Sicaria prays, her hands on either side of the doorframe. “God be with me in my pain, God give me strength for the task before me, God grant me…”

Me, you mouth. God be with Sicaria, and science with Prosper, and neither passionate belief nor dispassionate prowess sustain them. Miranda looks at you from beneath her father’s hands. Her smile is your signpost, her trust your life raft. Your fellow-spirits are like unto you only in substance: Crude matter, blunt usefulness. Miranda is your true equal, beloved of your soul. Her eyes remain open.

Your eyes must remain open. You must get up. There are but two steps between you and the table, one step in the scientific process, a bare nudge of your fingers at the master switch. Miranda’s being is in your hands.

On the table, the R.E.L. casts off slumber and rattles to life.

Before It’s Too Late

James pressed his back against a wall. He glanced behind the corner to see how many of the mobsters were still standing and firing. The number was five. He was running out of ammunition, and they had submachine guns.

007 has fought his way out of far worse situations, undoubtedly. But one could never know what might happen in an old hovel in Iraq that has been currently occupied by him and some very angry drug cartel associates, so he as well might say it.

“Are you free on Tuesday evening, Q?” he asked the man on the other side of the comms and fired two rounds. Both hit their target, if not exactly the bull’s-eye.

“Why would that be any of your concern, 007?” Q answered; bitter, sceptical, concerned. “Turn left. Try to get them to narrower corridors and eliminate them one by one.”

“Perhaps I’d like you to join me for dinner,” he replied as he availed himself of the cover of the thick wall again. Bullets flew through the air, and one has missed his shoulder by a hair. “If I come back from here in one piece.”

“Sorry, I can’t hear you over the fire, 007, come again?”

Of course the moment was bloody ruined. However, James fired twice more. He was out of cartridge now, counting on his hand-on-hand combat skills only. He turned left as Q instructed him to. He did not even throw away his empty pistol, that serious he has been about the proposal.

“If I survive this, will you go out on a date with me, on Tuesday?”

“Tuesday’s Valentine’s Day.”

“Yes.”

Is that another one of your bad jokes?”

James ran down the stairs. “I am all but joking, Q. I want to have dinner with you. Do you?”

Pause. The Quartermaster was silent, and James was more worried than he has been about the gunmen. And then Q just said “Yes.”

James’ heart pounded once, twice. Brand new motivation ran through his veins. He had one hell of a reason not to give up the mission now. Even when a bullet scraped his shoulder and another one nearly hit his left side.

@gusenitsaa, I wrote it on my iPad! Y’all have G to thank for me not going full Lynyrd on this, btw. So if you don’t like character death, then thank her. That said FULL ANGST AHEAD!!

“I won’t stop fighting until I find my way back to you.”

Emma keeps those words in her heart, and the shell around her neck in the next days as she sets off. She doesn’t particularly want to work with Gideon, but as long as plays along, he doesn’t seem to contemplate the shell still around her neck.

And Killian’s voice is a warm hum, his words reminding her that he’s out there fighting for them, so she’ll do the same here.

They have a lot they need to talk about. And they will, because they’ll fight and they’ll win and he’ll put that ring on her finger again. She refuses to believe otherwise.

“I hate to work with him, Emma. Blackbeard is as treacherous as they come, and I know my treachery. But he’s a smart devil, and I need that on my side if I’m to get home.” Emma sits on the bed they share. She’s supposed to be preparing to face the Black Fairy, but today she just needs his voice. He sighs. “I wish I knew if you could hear me, Love.”

“I can,” she replies, though she knows it’s useless. Still, she answers home every time she can, because it makes her feel closer. “Come home, Killian. I’m waiting for you.”

Usually, she feels better after talking to him like that, can imagine that he even if he can’t hear her words, he still just knows. Killian always knows. But this time there’s a pit in her stomach, and it sticks with her as she heads for the unknown with Gideon.

“Bloody Neverland.”

The pit is still with her, but she’s alive, and though Killian sounds ready to do murder, he’s clearly unharmed.

So is Emma, though she has a new, healthy fear of spiders and dislikes Gideon even more, for making her risk her life for what turned out to be nothing.

Killian is clearly less than pleased to be back in his old stomping grounds and Emma can hardly blame him. She thought the place had died with Pan, but clearly she’d been wrong, and now Killian is there with only a man he didn’t trust as backup.

She remembers the last time Neverland had played a role in her life, and worry for Killian makes her feel ill.

“I wish you were with me,” Killian admits. “You made this place more bearable, Swan.” A beat of silence. “I miss you more than I ever thought I would. And I damn my cowardice, that I put us in this situation. Next time, Swan, I’ll come to you.”

His certainty that there will be a next time - that he’ll return so they can mess up and make up for the rest of her life - manages to improve her spirits somewhat. But still, her stomach doesn’t quite settle. It probably won’t until he’s in her arms again.

“I’ve lost bloody Blackbeard. The bastard.”

He sounds perfectly fine, but she doesn’t hear anything again, not for hours. The only thing that keep her sane is distraction, because they’re close to what they need to defeat the Black Fairy and then she can talk to him, and surely she’ll be able to bring him home with Gideon’s help.

So she puts all her attention into her quest, and tries to ignore the way the shell hangs quiet, an ominous anchor around her neck.

And then they stand in victory, magical bauble in hand, and Emma actually feels hope as -

“Em..ma..”

Even Gideon and Gold freeze as everyone hears the rasp of Killian’s voice.  The charm dangles between her hand and Gideon’s and Emma pulls it back, her other one  grabbing at the shell.

“Killian?” She asks, her voice rife with panic.  "Killian, what is it?“

Except he doesn’t hear, of course, because of those damn tears.

She was meant to stop the Black Fairy fully, but whatever Gideon sees on her face, in her eyes, has him pulling the napkin out, looking for all the world like the terrified victim he is, rather than the terrifying magician he pretends to be.

The napkin falls in shreds and she throws the charm at his feet, because she simply doesn’t care about him anymore.

"Killian?” She croaks out, and answering silence makes her want to cry.

“Swan?” He finally says, his voice weak and small. “The gods are kind in the end. Or perhaps cruel, to send me your voice.”

“Killian, I’m really here,” Emma promises, when she realizes he thinks her voice is a hallucination.  "We’re going to get you home.“

"Sorry I couldn’t be the man you loved, Swan,” he says, and she realizes he’s delirious, the shell cutting into her palm as her world narrows down to just his voice. “I wanted to be. Ah, Emma, I wanted to be so much for you.”

“You are.” She says, tears tracking down her cheeks. “Killian, please. Stay with me.”

“Wish I could’ve… seen your face… one… last… t…”

She wants to believe he’s just unconscious. Clings to that, or at least tries to… but Emma has seen this scenario too many times, and she’s never been good with false hope.

She’s lost him before, and she thinks it should be easier this time. But it’s not. Because there’s no Zeus to bring him back this time. No darkness to blame, or villain to slay.

This time, there’s not even the knowledge of how or why he’d died. Because there’s no body, no way to find out what happened.

Just a silent shell the harsh reality that she had managed to beat her visions… but in the end the world still took its pound of flesh, and why did it have to be his?

She isn’t sure when she falls to the ground, isn’t aware of anything really. And for a while, cold shock will be her only comfort.

Days and realms away, a man sits in a hovel, holding tea and watching a woman puttering about, a dazed expression on his face.

“What did you say your name was?” She asks, and there’s something in her eyes, that makes the man think she already knows the answer, though why she should seem so… cheerful about it is beyond him.

“I’ve forgotten,” he responds, the answer he’s given for all her questions. Across the hovel, a shell sits among other baubles on a rock. The only light in a space otherwise filled with darkness.

The man could swear he’s seen it before.

The Musical Episode is 6.20

As posted by Paul Becker, the show’s long time choreographer. 

In a now deleted instagram post he posted a page from the director’s pack which included locations in the script.  They are:

  • Interior - Group Home Bedroom
  • Interior - Emma’s House
  • Exterior - Charming’s Castle Balcony FTL
  • Interior - Charming’s Bedroom
  • Exterior - Emma’s House
  • Interior - Evil Queen’s Lair
  • Interior - Evil Queen’s Lair Hall of Mirrors
  • Interior - Dwarf Mines
  • Interior - Hovel (Granny’s)
  • Interior - Pinocchio’s Shop
  • Interior - Mary Margaret’s Loft
  • Interior - Jolly Roger’s Captain’s Quarters
  • Exterior - Main Street Storybrooke
  • Exterior - Jolly Roger Docks
  • Interior - Gold’s Shop
  • Interior - Evil Queen’s Dungeon FTL
  • Interior - Zelena’s (Wizard’s) Chambers Oz
  • Interior - Regina’s Vault
  • Interior - Mayor’s Office
  • Exterior - Granny’s/Main Street
A Soft Crescendo

Many months ago I wrote something for the Hannibal Big Bang, and I promised @fragile-teacup I would write some more for it. I don’t know if she even remembers that, but I have worked on it some over the months. I decided to post chapter 2 today, and I hope she and everyone enjoys! Thanks Alex for being the nagging voice in the back of my head to keep writing this and also thank you for all the beautiful prose you write! 

(Artwork was created by @hannahthemighty for the fic during the bang.)

Notes:  Hannibal and Will hide out in Mexico. This chapter follows some snapshots of their life together as Will struggles to come to terms with their relationship and with himself. They live together in a dance of unbearable intimacy and excruciating distance. Some hurt/comfort and some smut to be found here.


Will pulled the sweaty shirt over his head and threw it on the floor. His whole body was covered in a light sheen of sweat. The small, cheap motel they were in had a broken air conditioner and the rising temperatures left the third-floor room hot and muggy. The walls were yellow and heavily spackled, the paint peeling and slightly greying. There was a watercolor painting of a woman in a red sundress walking down a deserted street with her son. Other than that the room was sparse with no decoration. Will tried to rest on the bed. Hannibal had removed the bedding provided and used his own clean, new sheets. Will flipped through the channels. They were all in Spanish, and he could only understand half of it. Grabbing the bottle of tequila, he took a couple of swigs. It took the edge off of the swollen waiting.

He walked into the bathroom and looked in the mirror at his face, skinnier than it had been in a while. He rubbed his thumbs over the bags under his eyes and sighed deeply. The shower let out a high-pitched scream when he turned it on; it was old and the water pressure low. But, the cold water was a relief, and he sighed deeply as the drops caressed his skin. He ran his fingers through his hair and tried to relax. The city was hot and busy, and he was feeling restless with nowhere to go and little to do. He didn’t know where Hannibal was exactly, but he had a vague idea. They had been here for six months and had come to an agreement. Hannibal could kill once a month as long as it was someone who had done something terrible enough to deserve it. Will had no way of knowing if he was following through, however.

The feel of a hand against his shoulder startled him, and he yelped softly, beginning to look around for something to defend himself before quickly realizing that it was Hannibal.

“You scared the hell out of me,” Will said catching his breath. “I didn’t hear you to come in.”

“You need to be more careful, Will. What if it hadn’t been me?” Hannibal half-chided.

Will reached for his towel, but Hannibal reached out and grabbed Will’s forearm. “Don’t.”

Will noted the excitement in Hannibal’s eyes. He must have achieved his goal.

Hannibal unbuttoned the loose, white shirt he was wearing and placed it neatly on a hanger in the closet.

“Hurry up,” Will called, rubbing soap over his chest while he waited.

“Shhh,” Hannibal replied, his voice was dangerous and low.

Will could tell he was in for a treat.

Hannibal removed his pants and briefs just as carefully. Will could tell he was gathering himself, focusing on steadying his breath.

Will would let him have his way, let him be rough, would join in eagerly.

“I wish you had been there, Will.” He lamented as he pushed open the curtain and let himself inside the small shower, placing both his hands on Will’s hips. The energy was tense, but slow and building, not near the crescendo it would be later.

Will stared at the mess of hair on Hannibal’s chest and the slow, deep rise and fall of his breath.

“I’m here now.” Will said, voice already breathy.

The shower wasn’t ideal for sex. But the stifling heat still made it the best option.

“I suppose that will have to do,” Hannibal said, pushing Will against the wall and grinding their hips together. Their cocks slid against each other, pressing into each other’s stomachs. Will was feeling a little heady from the tequila. All he could think of was Hannibal’s hands, on his hips, on his sides, on his shoulders, as he caressed Will’s body roughly.

Their kisses were rougher than normal, Hannibal bit him hard, and Will gasped a bit in pain, pressing his hand up to his lip, blood oozing onto his fingertips.

“I would say sorry, but you look so delightful in your own blood,” Hannibal sucked the wound, licking Will’s blood. It had a distinct flavor; Hannibal had always told Will he would recognize it easily.

“Don’t be sorry.” Will turned around, placing his hands on the chipped tile, presenting himself submissively and without shame.

Hannibal’s fingers opened him up roughly but attentively. Will’s forehead pressed against the wall, his lips parted as he moaned, droplets of water from his hair falling down his face.

“Do it now.” Will begged.

With a groan and a push, Hannibal moved his length inside of him. It ached a bit. Hannibal was impatient. So was Will. Their bodies moved in a fast, erratic rhythm. This was when it all made sense to Will. All the questions and frustrations fell away like the water running off their bodies, swirling down the drain, as their flesh and breath became one.

*****

“I want to go fishing,” Will said out loud to the room. Hannibal was lying beside him on the bed, and Will was attempting to read a book of classical poetry Hannibal had left around. He was having trouble focusing, however. “The weather here reminds me a bit of summers in New Orleans. While I prefer our last home, I was thinking I could find some things to do around here. Feel more myself again.” He was trying to figure out his own thoughts, figure out a way to break out of the monotony, but he didn’t mind hearing Hannibal’s insights either.

“We could easily find you the supplies you need, Will. I could help you find a spot. We will need a house or somewhere more permanent to settle for a time, anyway. I can’t take much more of these dirty, loud hovels,” Hannibal replied, pressing a soothing hand to Will’s forearm. The space between them seemed to be growing wider each day. Will’s confused feelings manifesting in an unwillingness to engage. They talked less than normal. Will rarely let Hannibal touch him But, in this moment, he let Hannibal ease him into an embrace.

“Things will feel more normal soon, Will.” He promised.

*****

A few months later, they settled into a place along the coast. The small, but cozy villa overlooked the ocean, beautiful in the brilliant setting sun. An explosion of yellows, oranges, and soft reds that contrasted with the almost too blue of the water. There were barely any waves; the night was gentle and warm, full of tension, heavy with lazy expectation. The hot, stillness was interrupted by a bottle thrown from the villa balcony, shattering into pieces on a rock below.

“Fuck,” Will cursed to the hot wind. He worried momentarily about sea turtles or birds getting hurt by the glass and vowed to clean up the mess as soon as he was sober enough to figure out how to walk down to the beach.

After a moment of deliberation, he decided he would be able to manage and walked tipsily towards the steps. It took a good amount of time, and a lot of clinging to the old, metal railing, but he made his way to the white sand and walked to the edge of the water.

Will slipped off his sandals and pressed his feet hard into the sand and water, focusing on the irritation of the sand against his skin and the soft rhythm of the waves. If he could have, he would have screamed to the empty, glittering, black sky. But he was never one to be able to express such extreme outbursts of emotion, even when he wanted to.

“What are you doing out here?” Hannibal’s voice, only a few paces back, startled him and he whirled around.

“Fuck, don’t sneak up on me like that. I thought you were in bed,” Will turned away from him, his energy cool and body language stiff.

“I thought I heard something outside, and I looked and you were gone. So, I followed you here,” Hannibal’s eyes searched over Will’s form and came to stand next to him, pressing a hand to his shoulder, but Will shrugged him off.

“Don’t,” Will admonished softly, but with a hard edge. He wasn’t in the mood for games, for world play, for exhausting metaphors. His head hurt, his mind hurt, his heart hurt.

“Please,” Hannibal’s voice was so soft, so pleading, so tender, it softened Will’s stance for a moment, and he turned slightly toward him.

Will began to reach for Hannibal’s hand but instead thought better of it and turned away from Hannibal again.

“It’s been so long since I’ve really touched you, held you…” Will rarely heard Hannibal speak like this. It was romantic, apologetic, and Will was surprised at how well this manipulation was working.

“Don’t. Just don’t. I can’t. Even if I wanted to, I just can’t right now. It’s too much,” Will could hear himself rambling, his words slurring. All he knew was his defenses were starting to fall with the liquor clouding his reasoning and Hannibal so close with his words so sweet.

“You don’t have to make a permanent decision right now, Will. It doesn’t have to be written in blood and stone…” Hannibal’s voice faltered momentarily. “Come to bed. We can talk about death, aesthetics, and morality tomorrow.”

Will’s resistance was crumbling down rapidly, Hannibal could always rip the walls down, walls that were fortified against all others, with a few words or glances.

“I don’t know…” But his voice and stance were softer now, and he slowly pressed the back of his head against Hannibal’s shoulder. Hannibal’s arms wrapped around his waist and rocked him gently, almost in tandem with the waves.

“Please stay,” Hannibal’s words were near pleading now. “I’ve never been terrified of anything as much as I am of losing you…all of the things that gave life meaning: poetry, art, music, philosophy will be grey and dull without you to share them with. Now that I know how much richer it is to partake with you.” Hannibal breathed against Will’s neck, nuzzling the softness of his curls and taking comfort in his scent and closeness.

Will brushed a hand quickly to his cheek to brush off a tear. “All right,” Will sighed, his hands resting atop Hannibal’s, leaning into Hannibal’s embrace. “Let’s go to bed. I’ve…I’ve missed sharing a bed with you.” Will admitted. This conversation was too intimate, too honest, it almost hurt how hyper-aware and attuned they were to each other in this moment. And the alcohol was making him far too open, far too sappy…

With Hannibal’s help returning inside was a lot easier, he kept a tight hold around Will’s waist, almost as if he was scared if he let Will go for even a moment that he would slip away.

Will slipped off his shoes and shirt and climbed into the soft, white sheets. Hannibal crawled beside him and brought Will close against his chest, stroking his face and over his arms in repetitive, calming motions.

Hannibal kissed Will’s lips gently, attempted to push the kiss further but Will pulled away. “It’s nice to feel you again, Will. To have you back in my arms.”

“For now., You have me back for now. There are conditions. There are things to be worked out.”

“I promise we will.”

“But not tonight, please.” Will pleaded. His voice was low and tired. He pressed his face into Hannibal’s chest.

“No, not tonight.” Hannibal kissed his head softly.


You can read the first chapter or leave a comment on this chapter on AO3.