how a virus changes the world

vimeo

This is a climate change/permafrost/disease story. Take a trip to one of the northernmost settlements in the world, Longyearbyen in Svalbard, Norway. They walk you through why it seems to be forbidden to be buried in this area because of the (now starting to melt) permafrost. The scientists interviewed up here discuss how during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic seven minors were buried atop the permafrost and their bodies likely have preserved the flu virus that triggered that epidemic.

  • Winter, turning on lights to Ironwood's office: Qrow! What in the world are you doing?
  • Qrow: Would you believe me if I told you I was stealing Jimmy's robust collection of security footage from the women's changing room?
  • Winter: No. And how do you know there's a camera in there?
  • Qrow: I am a disgusting, disgusting man who masturbates frequently. You caught me. Are you happy now, Winter?
  • Winter: Stop trying to change the subject. What files are on that flash drive you pulled out of the general's computer?
  • Qrow: I uploaded a virus to make his desktop change to a different butt every 2 minutes.
  • Winter: Not buying it.
  • Qrow: This Ironwood is an imposter and I'm trying to figure out where he's keeping the real one.
  • Winter: No.
  • Qrow: Ironwood is building a giant space canon to blow up what remains of the moon and I need to stop him.
  • Winter: That project got cancelled a month ago.
  • Qrow: Wait, seriously, he was-
  • Qrow: Look, this is why I'm stealing all of his files.
  • Winter: You could be put to death for this!
  • Qrow: He uses Internet Explorer! We cannot trust this man with information crucial to the survival of humanity.
  • Winter: Qrow, why are you doing this?
  • Qrow: Would you believe me if I told you this is classified?
  • Winter: Classified by what organization? Ozpin is gone, Qrow. You're not under any authority.
  • Qrow: ............
  • Qrow: Look, Ironwood's in his own little world, Winter. He's not an ally, he's just a little kid with expensive toys and a big imagination.
  • Winter, drawing her sword: So you intend to make him your enemy?
  • Qrow: This information getting out will keep him from making a move. It's safest for everyone, including himself, if he's out of the game. And I don't want to drag you into it either.
  • Winter: So you don't trust me either?
  • Qrow: .......
  • Winter: What are in the files? Answer me!
  • Qrow: So you're out of the loop on this? He hasn't told you anything?
  • Winter: It's beyond my ranking.
  • Qrow: Are... are you really going to cry?
  • Winter: Put your hands in the air, Branwen.
  • Qrow: ...It's just like you to get emotional about this. Closest thing you have to a dad and he won't even let you know what's going on. And here you are on the verge of tears. You never were much of a soldier.
  • Winter: You shut up.
  • Qrow: I meant it as a compliment.
  • Qrow: *Walks past Winter to the door*
  • Winter: *Doesn't move to follow him. Not a muscle on her body budges*
  • Qrow: The computer's already cracked. If you want to see it all, you can. I trust you with that stuff more than anyone else in this god-forsaken mausoleum.
  • Qrow: *Walks out*
  • Winter: *Lowers sword*
  • -----------------------------------------------

chaosmagetwin  asked:

I was working on a story recently (called Bittersweet) in which I have a near-future setting. In it, a plague happened that more or less wiped out a quarter of the population, and anyone who survived (Who are within that 25%) became infertile, gained electric blue eye colors, but could suddenly use magic. I made a petite pink-haired mage, but I realized something; I'd written the world for the sole purpose of making this character and disease, and not for a plot, and now I'm a little stuck.Help?

Hello!

First off, expect that things might change when you create a plot line. For example, you might realize that you can’t really explain how magic was created by a virus that came from a mutated strain on Earth, so you might decide that the virus came from space. Or you might have to redefine “magic”.

In the book The Darkest Minds, the kids who survive a certain disease get one of the following powers: mega minds, levitating objects, control of fire, control of electricity, or mind control type abilities. It doesn’t go into the science of how that is possible, but I didn’t shake my head and decide it was too ridiculous a concept either. Now, if people are waving around wands and casting spells because of an Earth-born disease with no other fantasy concepts, I might start to think that this is too much.

Also, make sure to limit the magic-users’ power, including that of the MC. In my opinion, it’s annoying when the MC is so much more powerful than everyone else.

As for some plot ideas:

• Surviving people that don’t have magical abilities are scared of those that do. Since they are superior in number, they want to contain all the magic-users.

• The magic-users create cultish groups that regular humans follow and use them to do their bidding.

• Magic-users fight for control of the country. The mage is powerful, so she wanted on various sides.

• With most of the population dead or infertile, a scientist tries to create a cure for the disease that reverses the effects so the human race can continue. The mage doesn’t want to give up her powers.

• Aliens put the disease on Earth. They want to kidnap the magic-users and take them back to their dying home planet to fix it.

• The magic-use is only the first effect of the disease. What happens next to the survivors is much worse.

{ Vitri Week - Day Three: (Im)perfection / Intoxication }

『 Virus hated his eyes. How their color changed. How the surgery managed to fix his previous altered eyesight, but brought an other flaw to his eyes. How he now couldn’t see the world in color without his glasses.

Trip hated his red roots. He hated that part of him that still managed to find its way through the bleach. That part of his past, of when violence was his only way to have peace, before Virus’ light entered his life. That part of him that make him painfully different from his partner.

They both hated and loved their scars. They were the proof of their past, of their life. They were the proof of their differences toward others. But they also were the physical witness of their shared past, of what they both went through. The proof of their link. 』


The headcanon of Virus seeing in black and white without his glasses belongs to @serpentiem.

Here you go. I won’t be able to draw anything for vitri week during the next four days as I’ll be in a con during this time, but I’ll try to catch up and do it during the next week. 

I hope you’ll enjoy this drawing ~

This year terrifies me.

The US has had its biggest mass shooting in history - and still refuses to fix its gun laws. Japan had it’s worst mass killing since World War Two. Trump could become president. The UK has left the EU. No-one can afford a house in Canada. Germany had four mass attacks in the span of one week. France was going to lift its ‘state of emergency’ - then the Bastille day attack happened. The Olympics could help spread the Zika Virus to the rest of the world. North Korea is firing practice missiles every other week. Isis is still a thing. The refugee crisis is at an all time high. Still nobody is helping Syria. Gun violence in the US continues to climb. Climate change is fucking everything up.The bathroom bill happened. Hollywood can’t figure out diversity. Everyone is fighting for equality. We’ve held funerals for Prince, Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Christina Grimmie, Gordie Howe, Garry Marshall, Anton Yelchin, and so many others. 

Honestly by the time my birthday comes in December… I’m a little afraid of what the world might look like. 

Square One [kurotsuki, bokuaka]

Title: Square One (AO3)

Fandom: Haikyuu!!

Pairing: Kuroo/Tsukishima, Bokuto/Akaashi

Status: Completed

The thing about trying to survive in a world where everyone else is dead is this: you know no matter how far and fast you run you’ll always end up right back at square one, but as long as you’ve got your friends with you there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

In which Bokuto finds a new pet, Akaashi is dangerously proficient with a gun, Tsukishima searches for a reason to keep going, and Kuroo is just trying to keep them all alive.

Tetsurou couldn’t be sure what it was that took him to the school. Maybe it was instinct, or maybe it was guidance from some divine being. Maybe it was just his brain finally blowing its fuse and using what was left of its energy to take him to his final resting place.

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One Shot - Someone to Save You

So, this was interesting to write. An anon requested a fic to the OneRepublic song ‘Someone to Save You’ and I wasn’t quite sure what to do, and then I mashed it with another request an anon had back in November. Sorry it took so long and I hope you (the two anons + everyone else of course) are not disappointed and like this 😊

Someone to Save You

It wasn’t exactly the kind of weather he had wished her for her birthday party. It wasn’t raining but there was a thunderstorm in the air, the distant sound of thunder a constant noise in the background, the air muggy and thick and hot like it was an invisible wall, and it felt like something was boiling around them, something inevitable. It had to be the kiss though,  because that’s what he was planning to do: kissing her. Once, twice, over and over again until it wouldn’t feel anymore like he had suppressed kisses for the last year and a half.

18, the magic number. He had waited and waited for her to turn 18, had spent hundreds of nights thinking about her but not going too far. His brother had always made fun of Val because he apparently had no patience whatsoever – oh Maks had no idea. Val was the master of patience. He had had so many opportunities to kiss her: during rehearsal, the times they had been alone in his apartment, during dinner, hours they had spent together, hours they could have used otherwise. But Val had waited, like the gentleman his mother had taught him to be, and now, finally, it was over. She was about to turn legal. She was about to become his girlfriend.

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Capable Hands

The random RP Generator gave me this option three times in a row. It was fate telling me that there is no way to stop it. 

Angst: Death, assisted suicide, zombie apocalypse AU

‘Lucy is infected by a zombie bite and Natsu has to put her down.’

With a mighty swing, Natsu brought the bat across the jaw of an infected, wincing at the sickening crack of bone as he made sure that this particular creature would not infect anyone and be unable to feast.

At his back, his shotgun rested useless, drained of ammo until he managed to make it back to the base. At his belt, his pistols remained empty as well.

They never calculated the mass amounts of infected that could have been locked away in the warehouse. Wherever the healthy hid during the outbreak, they stayed there after infection. And if an infected hid with them, it turned into a fox in a hen house scenario.

So, when their team unlocked the warehouse, it unleashed hell itself. At least a dozen infected had gathered at the door and they assumed that was all.

They were horribly wrong. 

There were more numbers scattered about the shelves of the warehouse, hidden and waiting for a turned back. The creatures were getting smarter with every encounter. It was only a matter of time before they figured out how to open doors and pick locks, he thought morbidly.

Twisting, his bloody bat crashed into the neck of another zombie, severing the head and clearing his area of threats. 

He could hear the echoes of gunshots, the groans of the ‘undead’, and calls for retreat. His walkie talkie burst with commands that they got enough food and it was time to go.

Turning on his heel, he sprinted down old stores of cans and boxes, reminding him of the time before the infection. History and sustenance filled the shelves, although it was to be used sparingly to prevent scarcity. It would be one thing to starve after risking it all.

 His lean body weaved between the aisles, eyes scanning every dark corner before longingly skimming the palates of food that could only be reached with forklifts.  So much food that cannot be reached without attracting attention, fate was cruel.

His gear beat against him as he moved, feet skidding towards the main doors where the team planned to meet at the first sight of danger.

In his gaze, he saw them, fighting off the black and blue toned creatures and backing away towards the transport truck. On their lips, his name was being called.

“Natsu! Where are you?!”

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A Lesson in Time

Based off this post
Relationship: Castiel/Dean Winchester
Word Count: 1,805
Warnings: Drug abuse I guess

It didn’t take Dean too long to free himself from the cuffs his future self has put him in. He climbed to his feet and rubbed his wrists idly. Honestly, what had his future self been thinking? Dean was a master of escaping. He was practically the Houdini of hunters.

He smirked at himself. Houdini of hunters. He’d have to tell Sammy that one.

Shit, Sammy. He needed to get back to his brother. 

“Zachariah,” Dean growled, glaring around the cabin. “I know you’re listening, you dick. Send me back.” 

The angel didn’t answer. 

“Zachariah!” Dean shouted. 

Nothing. No angel, no bright lights, no sonic singing, no Earth quaking. 

“Damn it,” Dean muttered, turning in frustrated circles. 

He was not staying here for three days. And he sure as hell wasn’t staying locked up in here with… himself. 

Dean stepped out of the cabin heasitantly. The coast looked clear, but he stayed close to the walls just in case. 

“Oh, Dean, I’m-” 

Dean flung around, hand going for his knife only to remember his future self had stolen all his weapons. But it turned out he didn’t need a weapon. It was just Chuck. 

“Chuck?” 

Chuck was frowning at him. “You okay?” 

“Hmm? What? Yeah, yeah, I’m okay. Fine. Fine.” 

Chuck peered at him for a few more suspicious seconds then started rambling about provisions and needing more supplies. Dean just blinked at him. What the hell was Chuck doing here? 

“Dean, are you listening?” 

“Huh, what?” 

“I said we need more toilet paper. We’ve got enough for one roll per cabin. We can probably stretch that for a week. Also Cas is running low-” 

“Cas?” Dean leaned forward anxiously. “Cas is here?” 

Chuck paused and blinked a few times. “Ugh, yeah… I don’t think Cas is going anywhere.” 

“Where is he?” 

“In his cabin.” Another pause. Dean just waited. “On the north side of camp… Dean, are you sure you’re – Hey, where are you going?” 

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They Didn’t Let Go: A FizSimmons Appreciation Post

Remember in season one when the worst thing that happened to Fitz and Simmons was that they were at the bottom of the ocean together? Oh, how far we’ve come. And how painful it has been.

But damn if it wasn’t worth it to see Fitz’s smile when he held Simmons at the bottom of that well, to see her curl up next to him and fall asleep in peace for probably the first time in months.

Out of all the pairings (platonic or otherwise) on this show, I think Fitz and Simmons might be my favorite. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: they’re great characters individually but together, they’re even better, and that’s been one of my favorite aspects of the show - watching them grow and evolve as people and seeing how their individual changes impact their relationship. And over the course of three seasons, we’ve seen a clear theme emerge, one that forms the crux of their partnership - sacrifice.

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abcnews.go.com
NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins Prepares for First Trip to Space
NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins will be the next American to travel out of this world when she launches one week from today on her first mission to space.
By ABC News

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins will be the next American to travel out of this world when she launches one week from today on her first mission to the International Space Station.

On July 6th, Rubins and her two crew mates, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia and astronaut Takuya Onishi of Japan, will blast off from Kazakhstan inside a Soyuz rocket to join the rest of their Expedition 48 colleagues at the space station.

“Funny enough, my scientific and personal goals are almost identical. I am looking forward to every second, hour and day of observing how life operates in free-fall and watching our planet below,” Rubins told ABC News in an email from Kazakhstan.

Rubins was selected in 2009 for the 20th NASA astronaut class after helping develop the first smallpox infection model for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The self-described “former virus hunter” holds a doctorate in cancer biology from Stanford University.

Once at the space station, she will be conducting research in biological and human studies, including how human bone mass andcardiovascular systems are affected in microgravity.

“I think it’s going to be amazing to see how the world of microbiology, molecular and cellular biology and human physiology is massively changed by microgravity. This is the only laboratory we have as humans to study gravity as a variable,” she told ABC News. “There’s a world of insights to be gained into human health and disease by understanding how gravity and space radiation influence biology.”

Rubins will be the first female astronaut from the U.S. to go to space in three years and the 59th woman in space. During a NASA crew preview she gave a word of advice to future scientists.

“If you find something that you’re excited about and you’re interested in, my advice to young women and young men would be do what you’re really interested in and what drives and motivates you,” she said.

Rubins was born in Farmington, Connecticut in 1978 and raised in Napa Valley, California. She and her husband Michael Magnani live in Houston, outside of the Johnson Space Center.

Love and War

Ryan Murphy and his all-star cast bring Larry Kramer’s catalyzing 1985 play The Normal Heart, which captured the early days of the AIDS epidemic to the small screen. 

Should you ever find yourself having to choose the most galvanizing play of the last 30 years, you wouldn’t be wrong to name The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s scalding 1985 drama about the HIV/AIDS epidemic then decimating the gay community in America. Written at a time of appalling official apathy, it tells the story of Kramer’s fictional alter ego, Ned Weeks, as he tries to rouse a hostile political and medical establishment to take action against AIDS while desperately urging his fellow gay men to come out of the closet and fight for their lives. At once a manifesto, an indictment, and a cri de coeur, the play has gone from being a searing call for action to a cultural landmark.

“This play is comparable to Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” says playwright Tony Kushner, the author of another groundbreaking play about AIDS, Angels in America. “It’s one of the rare works of American art that had a direct political impact. And it’s still relevant today for many, many reasons, including the silence still surrounding the world pandemic of AIDS.”

The Normal Heart is so undeniably important - 36 million people have died of HIV so far - that it seems incredible nobody ever managed to film it. One who was incredulous is Ryan Murphy, the writer-director-producer best known for creating Nip/Tuck, Glee, and American Horror Story. “I grew up loving the play, he says, "and I remember thinking, Why has this movie not been made? And so he made it.

On May 25, nearly three decades after The Normal Heart premiered at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater in a production directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, HBO will air Murphy’s screen adaptation, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, and Julia Roberts. Scripted by Kramer, the story carries us from the sun-drenched pleasures of gay parties on Fire Island in the early eighties into the pitch-black of the nascent AIDS epidemic, with its young bodies being devoured by lesions from a virus made all the more terrifying because nobody could explain it. As our heroes - and Robert’s feisty doctor - try to halt its spread, the film bristles with still-fascinating arguments about how to change the world: Is it more effective to work within the system or confront authority? And it captures the irony in the idea that just at the moment when gay men felt liberated to have sex as they chose, they were being asked to curtail it - or die.

In a choice that may well be controversial, Kramer’s play has been substantially retooled, and softened, for a present-day America, where ideas that once made Kramer seem like a revolutionary firebrand have become so mainstream that according to a recent survey, the majority of Americans now support gay marriage. If the film lacks the original’s provocative incandescence, its nuanced performances bring to life the personal dimension of a trailblazing political movement.

"It’s no longer as angry,” says Murphy of this gentler new version, which harks back to the terror and sadness of an era when gay life often looked like a death sentence. “It’s not agitprop. It’s stories about different kinds of love.”

Some of that love is on display in a private dining room at Warner Bros., where I have lunch with Murphy and the male leads from the cast. The room brims with a genuine warmth and enthusiasm, and it’s clear that the actors feel bound by having played a diverse group of gay men who work, flight, love, and grieve in the face of the greatest crisis of their lives. “I would never seriously compare acting to going to war,” says Jim Parsons in the distinctive tones made famous by his role as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, “but we do feel like we went to battle together.”

Leading the charge was Mark Ruffalo, an actor brilliant enough to have made the Incredible Hulk into an interestingly nuanced character. Himself a political activist on environmental issues, Ruffalo feels a clear affinity with Ned, a well-known writer who helps found a gay health group to deal with the AIDS epidemic, only to have his cofounders accuse him of being too aggressively outspoken in public. “Every movement has that guy,” says Ruffalo, “and they need him.” Yet as Ruffalo plays him, Ned’s fabled stridency is less striking than the sensitivity he shows as he feeds, comforts, and even bathes his dying lover, Felix Turner (Matt Bomer). “You realize that it cost gay people to love at that time,” Ruffalo says. “There were already so many things going against them - and then you add the disease.”

The story really hit home for Bomer, the startlingly handsome star of TV’s White Collar, who plays Felix, a genteel, sweet-smiled New York Times reporter whom we (and Ned) watch waste painfully away. One of the movie’s best surprises, Bomer first read the play as a gay teen in Texas - “I knew it was part of my story,” he says simply - and knocked himself out to land the part of Felix, even charting for Murphy the way AIDS would make Felix’s muscle mass decompose. “It’s the first great role I’ve had the opportunity to do,” he tells me, adding that the experience was profoundly emotional. After shooting their climactic hospital scene, he and Ruffalo hugged and sobbed for so many minutes that everyone left them to be alone on the set.

If Felix casts Bomer in a rich new light, the movie marks a happy return to character work for the charismatic Kitsch, who’s knack for exploring the wayward corners of troubled masculinity (obvious on Friday Night Lights) got lost in misbegotten blockbusters like John Carter and Battleship. Here he plays Ned’s friend Bruce Niles, a corporate type whose poise and martial goods looks should make him the perfect front man for a gay organization - except he’s professionally closeted and believes it’s safer for gay people not to come out. “I’m kind of the villain,” Kitsch says with a wry little smile. “But I found Bruce incredibly relatable. He’s scared and doesn’t know the truth about why people are dying, and he thinks he’s doing the right thing.”

So does the movie’s most practical and even-keeled character, Tommy Boatwright (Parsons), who floats above all the furious arguments about tactics, closeting, and sexual liberation that divide the other activists. Parsons, who played the same role in the 2011 Broadway revival, says that what really connects him to Tommy is less their sexual orientation than their common personality traits: “I do tend to take a somewhat analytical view of things,” he says, “so I like that Tommy’s a peacekeeper who can get along with everyone.”

Oddly enough for a film whose actors are so emotionally naked, nobody exposed himself more on The Normal Heart than the man behind the camera, Murphy. “Ryan can be so clever, so jaded, even world-weary,” says Ruffalo, “that it can keep him from being vulnerable. But with us he created the atmosphere of vulnerability we needed.”

Murphy says that tackling Kramer’s play was daunting, and not simply because it is a modern classic. “The project scared me because it meant so much to me. I came of sexual age in 1982, so that feeling of ‘I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die’ has never left me. I now realize that there was a lot of stuff I didn’t deal with as a young man. Making it was a very cathartic experience, and I hope it is for people watching it.”

For Murphy, the movie is both about the past - it allows those who lives through that time to finally see their story being told - and about today, when countries like Russia and Uganda target gayness and many governments prefer to think that the HIV/AIDS crisis is over even though, on average, 6,300 men and women a day still contract HIV. At the same time, as an openly gay man, he thinks the struggle against the virus depicted in The Normal Heart offers reason for hope.

“Larry and the other organizers were true heroes,” he says. “I have a wonderful life. I’m married, I have a kid, I have freedoms that as a child I never thought I would have. And I don’t think I would have those freedoms without those guys. So I was interested in paying them tribute.” He gives them a little nod: “Thank you for my life.”

Vogue USA May 2014

Welcome To The End (End!Verse Gabe-Open)

The world had gone to hell-literally. Gabriel was a disguised person at Camp Chiquita, as he still had full Grace, even after all this time. He was apalled at how crappy the world had gotten, how hard the Croatoan virus had hit. Personally he was glad he’d stuck with Dean and Cas (though Cas had changed drastically and even now the archangel was worried about his little brother with all the drugs and whatnot that Cas was doing). Dean had turned into a bit of a hard man, harder than a diamond to crack at the best of days. 

Gabriel stretched a little as he awoke, yawning slightly. His appearance, as of this moment was his usual self. Champagne-gold eyes, fluffy blonde hair..he looked himself in the mirror and snapped his fingers, his disguise of a brown haired, brown eyed young man not much older than 28 coming back and wearing a pair of tattered jeans and a t-shirt. Getting himself something to drink, he finished it off and shoved his shoes on. Heading outside to watch everyone. His name here was simply Joe. Not exactly imaginative, but it was all Gabe could think of at the time.

“Another day at Camp Chiquita…"He muttered.

anonymous asked:

what's the story behind your name

I met Cody in a community college class 2010 my Freshman Year. He felt had no real friends, he was severely depressed with his life, and his only family was a mother addicted to pills. He told me constantly he thought suicide was the only option out of the life he had been given. I sat next to him in class every day and eventually we had a growing friendship. I asked him to make a list for me; to take a week and REALLY HONESTLY think about the questions and his answers. We agreed he would bring it back to me at the end of the week when finals were due.
The List:

  • Write down your every reason for living; your every uncompleted dream, no matter how hard it may seem to achieve. Imagine what your life would be without the pain, what’s the first things you see yourself doing. It can be helpful to refer to this list when you’re feeling suicidal, as you can lose focus on the positive aspects of your life and concentrate only on the pain you’re experiencing. Your list can remind you of these positives you may have forgotten and remind you what you’re working towards.
  • People you can talk to when you’re feeling suicidal. Include their names and contact details, and make sure you have back ups.
  • A list of things you can do that help you feel calm, comforted, and inspired. Utilize these activities when you’re feeling stagnant.
  • A list of all the people you would HONESTLY affect if you were to die today. Try asking for an outside perspective on this one, someone who knows you well, and you feel comfortable with. Depression is a disgusting virus, and it feeds off our negativity; it becomes impossible to notice anyone cares at all. From experience, a friend will be able to recount twice as many names as you. Names of lives that you have truly impacted. Most likely, your friend will remember names and situations from the past you would never remember in your current state of mind; it always feels good to be reminded – that no matter how insignificant we feel, we have already permanently changed the world in our own unique way.

On his way to finals Cody was involved in a motorcycle accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. In his backpack was the list I asked him to write, which he had labeled “IF I DIE YOUNG”. The only thing written underneath the title was my name….

4

Swan Queen Week - Day 5 - Fascinating

After Regina had surprised herself by inviting the birthmother of her son in for cider – or something stronger, as fate would have it – it had been only the first surprise of the night. Emma Swan was… unexpected at best. Uncultured, crass, but raw in a fascinating way, like a shiny new toy of the sort that so rarely wandered through her time-bound town. It was almost… disappointing to send her out the door.

Still, Regina was less than pleased to find her lurking about the next day. If you could call being locked in a jail cell “lurking,” that is. Her later success finding Henry was both useful and irritating, because it seemed to give her a sense of being much more necessary than she was. Regina didn’t need a disturbance in her life, and Henry certainly didn’t need another mother.

Still, when she saw Emma take a meandering path around the side of her house and – with a distinctly guilty scan around the area – pluck an apple off of her tree, Regina had about ten seconds to realize that, as annoying as Ms. Swan’s presence was, she didn’t want her to die, and unlike the rest of Storybrooke’s residents, that apple could kill her.

I never should have taken up gardening, Regina thought as she watched Emma take a bite and crumple to the ground.

It was almost funny that Regina’s use for her infamous charmed apples was now only to deter deer. While the magic of the curse lingered on in the heart of each and every apple on that tree, anyone who had been in this town more than a few days became immune, as every part of their lives was scripted by the same magic that made her apples dangerous. The curse lived inside of each and every person who set foot here, and the curse wouldn’t kill its own. What little magic remained in this world was, unfortunately, a bit like a virus. Without any change in strain and type, people developed a natural immunity. It had been idiotic of her not to realize how pointless it was to try and bring the apples with her to this world as a weapon, but they had proved rather useful in killing garden pests, so she had kept the cursed tree as deer repellent and… as a memento.

Until now, when the one person still vulnerable to that particular sort of danger had the sheer idiocy to go for a snack on her lawn.

It was far too close. Trying to cure magical poison in a human hospital had been a study in more patience than Regina realized she was capable of, but the treatment sequence for an unknown toxin had kept her alive for just long enough to let the curse lay its claim on her as well. Now she was back in Regina’s home, the very place she had tried so desperately to chase her away from, sleeping off the lingering effects of Regina’s ill will.

“She’s going to be okay, right mom?” Henry asked from his place at her side. “And you’ll let her stay until she gets better, right?”

“Of course.”

It was the only answer she could give. Seeing Regina rush to get his birthmother to the hospital and stay with her throughout her treatment, Henry had begun to warm to her again, as it wasn’t exactly an “Evil Queen” sort of reaction, and she had a feeling kicking Emma Swan out on the curb as soon as she could walk wouldn’t help Regina keep his loyalty. Besides… maybe her first impression had been right. Emma Swan was something new, something strangely fascinating underneath that deplorable red leather jacket, and if it was too late to chase her from town… maybe it would serve her better to claim her as an ally.

As the eyes of the woman in the bed cracked open, Regina was ready with a glass of water and a word of warning about toxic pesticides, and as Emma Swan offered her a warm smile and her most sincere gratitude for taking care of her, well… Regina thought she might find more than a reluctant ally in this woman after all.