i look like one of the village people

In defense of Belle’s yellow dress

I’ve seen a lot of hullaballoo about Belle’s dress in the new BEAUTY AND THE BEAST movie—it’s not historically accurate, it’s too plain, etc. While I agree that from a purely aesthetic standpoint, it’s not my favorite gown, from a CHARACTER perspective, I think it’s perfect.

There’s a lot of talk about Belle being ‘odd,’ but the old animated movie doesn’t really explore that. The new movie shows more of Belle’s personality as someone who approaches things in her own way, who is creative, who genuinely does come off as a little different. Look at her other costumes in the movie. She almost certainly makes her own clothes- look at her quirky, practical village dress, with the tucked-up skirt so that she can be more active, or the whimsical flower embroidery on her brown traveling cloak.


We all saw Belle get frustrated by the giant frou-frou dresses that Madame de Garderobe tries to put on her (she literally escapes from under them). I would not be surprised if Belle cut and sewed up one of those old dresses to make one that fit her size, her style, and her desire for free movement. She’s lived in a village her whole life—she knows nothing about the high fashion of her time—but she knows what she likes and what she imagines. The dress is very light, flowy, and if you look closely, the layers of the skirt aren’t hemmed, they’re cut off. Her ear cuff and the simple lines of the dress don’t look like 18th century France, but they do look like Belle.

Maurice says about Belle’s mother, “I knew a girl who was so different, so daring, so ahead of her time that people mocked her until the day they found themselves imitating her.” Belle is ahead of her time, and she creates her own style.

Just look at her gorgeous wedding gown at the end of the movie. This is not an 18th century ballgown, and it’s VERY different from the dresses that the Prince’s guests wear at the beginning of the movie. This is a Belle creation, too. 

I actually want to delve into this ‘ahead of her time’ concept a little more. This movie is very obsessed with the concept of ‘time.’ From the giant clock tower on the palace to the clock character to the falling rose petals that measure the fleeting time until the curse is permanent, to the way the villagers all instantly snap into action the second the clock strikes, the idea of time and schedule is everywhere. The songs all talk about “tale as old as time,” ‘forever,’ etc. 

Belle resists that. She’s the first one awake before the rest of the village springs into motion, singing about how every day is like the one before. She talks the Beast out of trapping Maurice in the castle “forever,” and then later, gets out of that ‘forever’ herself. The rules about the curse even change when the Enchantress transforms the dead Beast back into a living Prince when Belle says “I love you” after the time limit has run out. When she reads books, she likes to be ‘transported’ to other places and times. Belle defies time, while the villagers and the Beast are all defined by it.

When we first meet the Prince, he is fascinated by fashion, and everyone who surrounds him is dressed in the height of style—of their time period. His castle is a monument of Baroque art and over-the-top modern style—and he appreciates none of it. There is so much detail and so much beauty surrounding him that he’s become completely blind to it. Belle changes that. She shows him the beauty in everything around him, re-introduces him to what makes his castle gorgeous all over again. In that famous ballroom scene, the ballroom is incredibly ornate, but the Beast is focusing only on her, in her simple, bright gown as a focal point. She’s given him something to focus on, symbolically and literally.

When Belle comes down the stairs in a dress that’s completely her own style, the Beast doesn’t sneer at her unfashionable dress the way he would have before the curse—he’s in awe of her beauty.

And because of all of that, I think Belle’s dress is  perfect.

French TV shows rec list:

Fais pas ci fais pas ça:

Comedy about two very different families living right next to each other: The Lepics and the Bouleys. There are nine seasons so we can see the characters evolve on a really long time period. Some serious issues are tackled with humour, like education, how to cope with the death of a loved one, or how parents react to one of their children coming out as gay, for instance. Most of the characters are really lovable and you easily get attached to them even though they can be annoying sometimes. Also, there are some really funny moments. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favourite shows ever but I had a nice time watching it (though, I haven’t watched all the seasons yet).

Trigger warning: none that I can think of (this show is suitable for children).

Level of difficulty when it comes to French: I think it should be fine (there’s nothing really technical, the show’s about everyday life, so it mainly uses colloquial/casual French).

Les Bleus premiers pas dans la police:

A four-season show about rookies in the French police. I used to really love this show when I was in middle school, and I have very fond memories of it now, even if I haven’t watched it for a long time. This show has diversity and representation: a Muslim man (who is one of the main characters) and his family, gay men (one of them is also a main character), a bisexual woman (also a main character in the first seasons), and so on. It also portrays strong female characters (including a woman in a position of power, from season 2 to the end I think). The characters are very lovable (in my opinion), and funny. By the way, this show has very funny moments as well as serious moments (including the scenes showing how the LGBT characters and the women deal with discrimination at their workplace or elsewhere). The only problem with this show is that the end is a bit unsatisfying considering it stopped because it failed to get renewed (or at least that’s what I understood at the time).   

Trigger warning: depiction of discrimination (for instance, homophobia), and of course the usual warnings when it comes to cop shows (even though it is far less graphic than most other shows of this kind, and there are less murder investigations than in most investigation shows).

Level of difficulty when it comes to French: I think this one is okay too. There might be some terms describing police stuff, but all in all it’s pretty casual.

Le Bureau des Légendes (ongoing show):

A show about the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), which is basically the French intelligence agency concerning foreign matters. It has three seasons so far and it’s one of my favourite TV show ever. It’s captivating, I got really attached to many of the characters (and most of them are not completely good or bad, there are a lot of grey characters, which is great), and it’s also really moving (especially the last season I think). One of my favourite thing about this show is its subtlety: it’s deeply moving, but in a subtle and somewhat low-key way. There are close to no typical tear-jerking scenes, with sad music and close-ups on the crying faces of devastated characters. There are really sad scenes, but they are played out with a great sobriety.

Trigger warning: psychological and physical torture (nothing too graphic though).

Level of difficulty when it comes to French: it should be mainly okay, I think. There are probably some technical terms, since it’s about an intelligence agency, but it should be understandable as a whole. Also, many scenes are in other languages (English, Farsi, Arabic, etc) and are subtitled in French, which is really good in order to practise your written French ;)

Les Revenants (ongoing show):

A show about dead people coming back to life in a village of the Pyrénées. It only has two seasons so far, but I’m really looking forward to more. The show is really mysterious, with a gloomy atmosphere that I absolutely love. The dead people (who are from different generations and died at different times) come back to their family/loved ones (when they have some), and no one understands what happened, including the dead people. After their arrival, other very strange events take place in the village. Some characters have very dubious motives and you’re often unsettled, not knowing what to think of them. However, you can’t help but to get attached to some of them anyway. This show has some very serious themes like how to cope with the death of a loved one, death in general, love, family (by blood or by choice).

Trigger warnings: death, suicide.

Level of difficulty concerning French: I think it’s pretty okay… The show aired on American TV so you can probably find a subtitled version quite easily, which is pretty cool :D

Kaamelott:

My favourite French tv show (and even my favourite show ever). This show depicts the Arthurian legend in a humorous way, and it’s one of the funniest thing I’ve ever watched. The humour is unique, the characters are really lovable, and the entire show is extremely creative: this is honestly pure genius. Plus, the atmosphere evolves from something exclusively light and funny to something that is serious and deeply moving at times. The show goes from episodes that last a few minutes to far longer episodes in the 6th (and last) book (=season). I could go on and on about this show, but nothing I could say would make it justice. Honestly, just give it a go, this is brilliant.

PS: Alexandre Astier (who plays Arhtur, wrote the scenario, the music and basically came up with this entire masterpiece) is a national hero. That’s all I had to say.

Trigger warning: it’s really funny and you’re having the time of your life, and suddenly there is a serious/sad scene and you feel like crying (but it’s worth it)… just be prepared ^^

Level of difficulty concerning French: it might be pretty hard at first, because they speak quite quickly and use weird expressions (but then, use these expressions in front of Kaamelott fans [ie a looooot of people] and see their faces lit up => it could be really rewarding I think).

Apart from these, all the creations canal + (Braquo, Engrenages, Cercle polaire…) have a good reputation/positive reviews I think, but I’ve only watched Les Revenants and Le Bureau des Légendes for now, so I only talked about those ^^

I think many people like 10 pour cent and Hero Corp too, but I haven’t watched them (yet) so I couldn’t include them in the list.

KARMA IS A BITCH
  • ( Konoha 11+ Iruka we're all gathers at Naruto and hinata's house for the baby shower.)
  • Ino: Hinata you look so beautiful!!! And so round and huggable*squeal!!!*
  • Hinata: ( blushes slightly) t-thank you Ino-chan.
  • Sakura: seriously you look like your gonna pop any moment!!. When's the due date?
  • Before she could answer Naruto cuts in.
  • Naruto: Isn't my wife the most beautiful!!! And our baby is gonna be twice as beautiful!!
  • Shikamaru: Hmmmm well as long as they don't look too much like you.
  • Naruto: Oi what's that supposed to mean???
  • Everyone starts laughing while Naruto fumes.
  • Kiba: But seriously just imagine if the baby being JUST like Naruto!!!
  • Tenten: (dramatically) Oh the horror!!!
  • Naruto: Hey Iam not that bad!!!
  • Hinata: Of course you not dear! I'll be twice as happy if the baby is like you!!!
  • Sakura: You say that now but just imagine raising a mini Naruto!! It'll be a nightmare controlling 2 of them!!
  • Lee: ( star eyed)The power of youth of the baby's father shall run in their veins!!!!!
  • Ino: They'll be playing pranks all the time!!
  • Sai: They might even develop the nagging tendency to go search for trouble like dickless does.You might want to keep a leech on the baby till their like 17
  • Iruka: ( has sudden foreboding flashbacks of Naruto's past) *gulps*. l-lets just hope the baby's like his mother.
  • Sakura: Amen to that.
  • Everyone else: Agreed.
  • Naruto: ( sulks)You guys suck. No one wants the baby to be like me.
  • Sasuke: ( Talks for the first time) I honestly wish the baby to be just like Naruto.
  • Everyone stares at him, stunned
  • Sakura: huh? You do Sasuke-kun???
  • Naruto: ( Teary eyed) S-Sasuke- teme!!! *Sobs* I-I knew you w-would be the o-only one to be b-by my side!! *Sobs loudly*
  • Shino: ( Talks for the first time to casually remind people of his existence) Is their a reason why you want the baby to be like Naruto?
  • Sasuke: Of course. It's the perfect Karma you see.
  • Everyone looks at him, confused
  • Naruto: W-What do you mean by Karma??
  • Sasuke: ( smirks) Considering the amount of crap you put Lord third, Iruka, Kakashi and all the other adults in the Village when you were young, it seems fair for you to go through the same pain Don't you think so?
  • Everyone else starts laughing at Naruto's fuming face.
  • Naruto: TEME!! AND TO THINK I WAS CONSIDERING MAKING YOU THE GOD-FATHER!! WELL YOU CAN FORGET ABOUT THAT!!!
  • (In the end Naruto still made Sasuke the God-father. He also started to send silent apologies to the Sandaime, Iruka, Kakashi etc everyday. Karma sure is a bitch)

A brief analysis of Fire Emblem lords, by how likely they are to survive their first battle:

Marth: Dude is so unprepared he doesn’t even bring pants to his first battle. His flying girlfriend would save him but unfortunately she forgot to be in a game where Rescue exists. His best asset is a 70 year old dude. Marth wins like 1/10.

Alm: Kay so literally all I know about Alm is that he’s left handed and he starts out with his buddies in some village. Doesn’t even have like a knight guy or anything to save his ass, I think. Alm 2/10 ‘cause I have no idea who he’s fighting.

Celica: I think she has to fight people on a boat or something? idk I’d look it up but I don’t wanna spoil Echoes. 5/10

Sigurd: On the one hand he’s probably one of the strongest lords. On the other he’s one of the only lords to start out fighting a big ass professional army. A professional army with a badass enemy phase theme. Also he’s sheltered af. 2/10.

Seliph: lmao “Hey let’s fight a professional army and also cross through a desert-ish area with few provisions!” 0/10

Leif: Might actually live. He’s got Finn and Eyvel, two of the biggest badasses in Jugdral, and it’s a small scale skirmish in some village. 6/10

Roy: Literally the exact same scenario as Marth except no flying girlfriend and Roy remembered to bring pants. Our Boy 2/10

Lyn: She might be alone but she also has the most pathetic first enemies. 8/10

Eliwood: This time around Marcus is in his prime. He’s Eliwood’s only real help here, but he’s definitely a bigger help than most of these people have. 5/10

Hector: These idiots attack Hector in his castle while he’s got the help of his professional assassin/spy buddy. Hector’s got the upper hand. 7/10

Eirika: Attacked by the Grado army. The same Grado army that just overthrew her kingdom. She’s done for. 0/10

Ephraim: I mean… Doesn’t he technically lose in Chapter 5x? Valter lets him get away, yeah, but still. He loses. 0/10

Ike: He’s a mercenary with his mercenary buddies. Killing bandits is literally the job description. 8/10

Micaiah: Pugo uses the power of his stand, Furple Haze. Also Micky really likes to advertise that she is part of the Dawn Brigade that is being hunted down. Even if they survive this battle they will be dead within like an hour when the Begnion army catches up. 0/10

Chrom: Freddy bear is a nice asset. He’s not enough. If one soldier per town were enough Ylisse would literally never have a single bandit attack ever. 1/10. Which leaves us with a 9/10 chance the bandits kill Robin and accidentally save the world. Garrick is the true hero of Ylisse.

Conquest!Corrin: Ambushed in the woods. Dead before Silas shows up. 1/10

Birthright!Corrin: The Nohrian army is pretty constantly shown to have the upper hand against the Hoshidans, and they are ambushed at a field hospital. 2/10

Revelation!Corrin: lmao -10/10

The Office: part 2

AN:// Hello!!! omg guys thx so much for all the support on part 1!! cute as a button, each and every one of you :)) sooooo here’s part two,, I really hope you like it and feedback is alwayz appreciated! much love <3

Part One if you haven’t read it yet

Pairing: Dylan O’Brien + Reader

Word Count: 3,748

Warnings: Swearing and mentions of sex (you’ll be fine kids)

Originally posted by francescadigiuseppe

 “You ready to go?” Ethan asked, peering over my shoulder to look at the documents I was shuffling through.

“Just one sec.” The whole scene that happened earlier still the only thing I could think about. I was so angry at Lauren. Only she could evoke this kind of response out of me, you know, considering everything that has happened between us in the past. Always wanting to start drama for entertainment purposes, and not caring who she hurts or humiliates in the process.

Just in the past few hours, I’ve been treated differently by my co-workers. The news of Ethan and I “dating” spread like wildfire and everyone knew. The people I see and talk to everyday now staring at me and whispering, as if they’re totally clueless to the fact that I can hear them.

“Poor girl, he’s only going to break her heart,” they say.

“I thought she was smarter than this.”

“Her? Of all people?”

Keep reading

sasuke comes home to his wife smiling at him the way she does before she’s about to crush someone. “hello, darling,” she greets sweetly enough.

“hello.”

sakura comes up to him and presses her hands against his chest as she stands on her toes to kiss his cheek. when she pulls back, she’s wearing the same terrifying smile. she takes his cloak off his shoulders and folds it over her arm. she’s being overly attentive but sasuke knows better than to let his guard down. he sits at the dining table as she hangs his cloak in the closet. when she returns, he takes in her red dress and her apron over it and figures she must’ve been cooking. she lets her hand brush over his as she passes by him to get back to the kitchen counter.

she works behind him and sasuke regrets his seating choice. he would move to get a proper view of her but then his nervousness would be obvious.

Keep reading

when people cite the whole kylo ordering the massacre of the jakku village thing as one of the “top ten reasons kylo ren is gonna die unredeemed” things it’s just like

YES, that was very reprehensible for him to do and it lets the audience know right off he’s a bad dude

but do you really think that scene is ever going to be referenced again. really. do you think rey is gonna pull out receipts and be like “i heard around town that you ordered stormtroopers to kill a bunch of villagers”

look, i’m sorry, it’s awful, but the slaughter of all of those people was a tiny plotpoint in the grand scheme of the story. 

welcome to star wars where genocide happens every other movie

Boruto SD -preview-

‘Gotta see, gotta know: Shino-sensei’s true eyes!’ (mmh, sounds familiar).

Here’s the usual chapter preview, courtesy of Saikyo Jump.

DISCLAIMER: Manga by: Kenji Taira. Original Work by: Masashi Kishimoto-sensei. Raws by: Saikyo Jump. Translation, Cleaning and Typesetting by: me.

NOTE:

- The face painted on the wall is called henohenomoheji (see here). In the Naruto franchise, it’s often associated to Kakashi (because it’s a face children use to draw on scarecrows, and kakashi means 'scarecrow’).

Keep reading

Rise Of The Black Keep

By theevilsandwitch (With Credit to Matt Colville):

The heroes are low level, not quite well known, but still having gone on some adventures and having reached at least level three.

They head to the local village pub, to have a few drinks, celebrate a recent adventure, or find a place to sleep for the night.

As the group walks in, whatever it is they first ask for, the pub is out of, ie. meat, drink, rooms, etc.

The barkeep is very apologetic, and offers them other things: ex. If the party wants rooms, the barkeep offers food or drink, and so on.

And as he finishes, he looks to the adventurers and says, “Please. Just don’t kill anyone.” If the players try to figure out what it means, he remains silent until the party gives up.

The party eats food, drinks drink, whatever, until what appears to be a group of suspicious looking figures walk in and demand food. The barkeep complies, and the group gets seated, all the while, staring at the party.

These are bounty hunters, sent to capture the heroes by Caleral the Vile, but the players don’t know this.

One of the bounty hunters gets up to go outside, but the rest of the bar saw these people. And they don’t like suspicious folk in these parts, especially ones who forget to pay.

A fight breaks out amongst the party and the bounty hunters, and by the end of it, a group of dead bounty hunters (and maybe one or two dead villagers) should be lying on the floor.

The bar is celebrating, or mourning, if a villager was killed, and the barkeep looks terrified.

“I told you not to… Oh god(s) oh god(s).”

As the barkeep is freaking out, a large pale human, clad in dark silken robes (think if Dracula wore silk) enters the room.

Seeming to float across the floor, as though the very act of walking is beneath him, he, approaches the barkeep.

Caleral the Vile holds out his hand to the barkeep, and puts in the barkeeps hand, three pieces of blood red gold.

“As per our agreement,” says Caleral, and just than, his goblin (or undead) minions enter the bar, and pull the bodies out and load them into a cart that appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

The players might attack Caleral the Vile, trying to stop him. Caleral simply waves them aside, perhaps scarring one of the heroes. He doesn’t kill any of them though. They are beneath him, and he wants them to know that.

And besides, now the townsfolk are afraid. He likes inspiring fear.

The party might press the barkeep about what the gold was, yada yada, but the barkeep doesn’t talk.

The party will than here rumors of a spire, deep into the woods, that is literally getting taller.

The players do some investigating, and they find out that Count Caleral of Valeria is a Warlock, who made a deal with.. (you guessed it)… Orcus!

He is now trying to use the power of the souls he absorbs to summon Orcus. 

The party goes on an adventure to stop him, and one of two things will happen.

Either:

(a) They succeed, and are hailed as heroes, yada yada….

OR

(b) They fail, and have to hold off the armies Orcus until some higher level NPCs come save the day.

Candy For Grandmother

Summary: Gaston likes Grandma Dupont, the old lady in the village. Every Christmas he brings her candy. When her granddaughter (reader) moves to the village, he might have another reason to visit the old lady.

Rated: No smut.

Note: Fluff, Gaston, Gaston x Reader

Warnings: none

Words: 2935

Author note: Requested by an anon. Based on an AU, you can find here. AU from @dailyau. Enjoy everyone! Feedback is very welcome. :-) (Btw, that is my first try with character x reader. And English isn’t my first language and I have no beta at the moment, so please excuse mistakes.)


For years your mother tried to marry you to some rich man. The family name was a big one, your father is a very successful merchant, so everyone knew, you would inherited a lot of money one day. And your mother was particular happy about the fact you were beautiful and “blessed with wide hips, ideal for childbirth”. You had three other sisters and they all were successfully married. Your two brothers were married too. But you didn’t want to marry some rich bloke, you couldn’t stand. To be honest, every man you’ve met was boring. No one had caught your interest. And no one shared your interests. And a girl, who loves riding, the hunt and couldn’t care less about flowers and dresses wasn’t the ideal housewife, according to your mother.

So, it was a relief, when your mother FINALLY gave up. But she wasn’t very happy and neither was your father.

“You should do something with your life, (Y/N)”, he told you one day and you agreed.

You were tired of the big balls and feasts of Paris, of hours and hours in the tailoring or the endless and boring tea hours with the daughters from the other families, who all couldn’t wait to marry someone rich and get children and be a happy, naïve and little lovely wife.

Yes, Paris was the most beautiful city, but it could be incredibly boring. And you preferred the nature and country side much more.

One day, your father called you into his office and showed you a letter from your grandmother. She lived somewhere in France and was in the lead of a farm – and she needed help, but most of all company. She was getting old and the farm was no longer profitable. Your father knew, you were clever and you’ve learned everything from him. Mostly, because you were the only one, besides his sons, who cared for the family business. So, the moment he asked you to move to your grandmother, you said “yes”, without a second thought.

 
You hadn’t seen your grandmother in a long time. She came once a year to Paris to visit everyone. Besides that, she only wrote letters. Grandmama Dupont was a lovely woman and you loved her very much. She wasn’t very tall and she was very old, but still very clever and agile.

You arrived at the farm on a summer day and you felt incredible happy. Finally you were far, far, far away from Paris and annoying, social obligations and you could ride and hunt and most of all do, whatever and whenever you felt like it.

You quickly settled down in the big house and the small village, which was right next to the farm, was lovely and you really liked it. In the first months, everyone eyed you suspicious, but you quickly gained their trust.

Your grandmother spend most of her days helping you, but whenever she had time, she would go riding or hunting. Sometimes you saw her with a black haired guy, who was waiting for her at the forest. But you never saw him at the farm. You never asked your grandma, because it wasn’t your business.

 
You finally met him, when it was Christmas.

You were in the kitchen and cooked the Christmas dinner, when you heard a soft knock on the front door.

“One second!”

You put the deer, your grandmother brought early that day back home, into the oven and rushed to the door. When you opened the door, you looked into the most handsome face you’ve ever seen.

With a puzzled look, the man looked at you.

“I’m…looking for Mamie Dupont?!”

“My grandmère? She is in the village.”

“Oh.”

The man starred at you for a second. That young girl in front him, was very beautiful. He blinked, realising he was staring at you.

“I’m sorry. You are here granddaughter?”

“Yes.”

“Ah. She told me about you.”

“Did she?”

You raised an eyebrow.

“Yes. She talked about you. Sometimes. When we’re hunting.”

“Oh! You’re the guy who accompanies her.”

“Yeah, I’m that guy.”

The man showed a bright smile and you wondered, how someone could have such an amazing smile. You looked closer at him. He was tall, very tall. His dark brown (or was it black?) hair was perfectly coiffed in a ponytail, his face was almost clean-shaven, just some little stubbles were visible and they suited him. His eyes were mesmerizing. His face was perfect: the concise chin, the high cheekbones, the full lips. And his suit was well-tailored. He was the definition of perfection and looked like one of these Grecian statues you’ve read bout.

Too late you realized, he was talking with you. You were too busy with looking at him.

“What did you say?”

He showed another perfect smile.

“I said, my name is Gaston.”

“Oh. I’m (Y/N). Nice to meet you, Gaston.”

“Pleasure is all mine.”

You shook his hand and smiled.

“Gaston?!”

He turned around and behind him was your grandmother.

“Hello, Mamie Dupton.”

“Of course, you would come. You’re such a sweet guy. Oh, and LeFou is waiting for you at the gate.”

“I know.”

Gaston smiled and pulled something out of his coat.

“This is for you.”

He gave your grandmother a small package and a big smile appeared on her face.

“Thank you very much. Have a lovely Christmas.”

“I’ll try. You too.”, he added and walked down the stairs.

You looked after him, while your grandmother was entering the house. Before you closed the door, Gaston was turning around, looked at you, smiled and waved. You waved back and for some reason, you were blushing.

You quickly closed the door and went back to the oven.

“So, that’s the guy, you always meet for hunting?”

“Yeah, Gaston. Sweet boy, poor boy. His family his horrible. Father drinks and is aggressive, mother is basically not existing. I met him some years ago, when I was in the woods and he tried to hunt a deer. Poor boy nearly got killed. I’ve teached him everything I know about hunting and sometimes he’s helping me with the farm. He’s actually a hero, you know.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. You remember the war we had many years ago?”

“Father told me about it.”

“Gaston defended the village. He’s our hero.”

“My, what a guy, that Gaston.”

“Yeah, he’s some kind of paragon. Everyone’s admiring him.”

You nodded and moved to the next topic.

But you couldn’t stop thinking about that Gaston.

 
As it turned out, your grandmother didn’t made an understatement. Everyone really loved Gaston. Especially three brunette girls who would follow him wherever he went.

The more time you spent in the village, the more you heard about “the Great Gaston” and “his adventures”. And you realized, he was pretty bigheaded, a narcissist. And while you didn’t met him earlier, you now met him nearly every time you visited the village. You never talked much, just “Hello” and “Goodbye”.

And while your grandmother never had mentioned him earlier, she now would talk about him now and then. Listening to her, it felt like, she was talking about a different Gaston. But maybe, your grandmother was just old.

 
For the next two years, nothing changed.

You learned more about Gaston from your grandmother and heard a lot of stories from the villagers or saw Gaston in public. Gaston wasn’t really the most likable person, but you couldn’t say you disliked him. It…was hard to put in words. There was something about him, something special and everyone could see it. But you sometimes got the feeling, there were two Gastons.

On your fourth Christmas, you saw the package again. It was the same, Gaston gave your grandmother some years ago.

“What’s that?”, you asked curious.

“Gaston’s Christmas present.”

“What’s the present?”

“Candy.. I’ll get it every year.”

“Candy?”

Your grandmother smiled widely and opened the package.

“Yes. And it’s delicious! It’s homemade.”

“You’re telling me, that the Great Gaston is making his own candy?!”

Your Grandmother rolled her eyes.

“He’s not a bad guy. Just…complicated.”

You raised an eyebrow, but said nothing.

 
The next day, Gaston knocked at your door and you were surprised to see him.

“Gaston, what you’re doing here?!”

“I’m invited?!”

“You are?”

“Yes, he is!”, you heard your grandmothers voice from the background. “He is going to celebrate Christmas with us.”

You let him in and your grandmother hugged him.

“You’re going to love (Y/N)’s dinner! Best Christmas dinner you’ve ever tried.”

You felt your cheeks blushing.

“Grandma is exaggerating, very much. Before I moved to her, I couldn’t cook a potato. She showed me how to cook.”

“Yes, and she is very good. A perfect wife.”

You gave your grandmother a dirty look.

“Did you know, she’s also a good hunter?”, your grandmother continued.

“Really?!”

Gaston seemed surprised.

“Well, like grandmother, like granddaughter.”

You laughed a bit.

“Why don’t you two talk about hunting and riding and I finish our meal. (Y/N), have I told you, that Gaston is the best hunter in the village?!”

“You’ve mentioned it.”

“It’s true. I am. No one is better than me, expect your grandmother.”

“I’m sure there are other people who are good.”

“Yeah, maybe. But I’m the best.”

You nodded slowly.

“Tell her about the one time, you killed the bear!”, you heard your grandmother from the kitchen.

Gaston grinned and looked at you.

“Want to hear a story?”

You sighed and smiled.

“Do I have choice?”

“Not really.”, Gaston answered and for a brief second you thought, he winked.

 
In the end, the evening was pretty nice. In the beginning, Gaston was full of himself and the narcissist you knew, but the more you two talked, the more he stopped being an idiot. Gaston was, for sure, a really interesting person with an interesting life. He had a lot to tell and listened to you and your stories and seemed genuinely interested. You felt a bit of sadness, when he had to go.

 
After this Christmas, something changed. Whenever you two met, you would talk with each other. Sometimes, he would escort you through the village, helping you with your purchases. He was also helping a lot more at the farm. And sometimes you would accompany your grandmother and him for a hunt or you two were just riding out and talked.

Yes, he was a narcissist and sometimes he could be an idiot, but there was also a nice, very sensitive side he showed sometimes, when the two of you were alone.

At some point, you realized, you two were friends and you liked him very, very much.

Sometimes, when he was visiting the farm, he brought flowers. And sometimes, when your grandmother returned from village, she had flowers too – from Gaston.

“I wonder, why he’s giving you flowers.”, you said at one point to your grandmother.

“Oh, they are not mine. They are for you.”

Surprised you looked at her.

“Why should he give me flowers?”

Your Grandmother just smiled.

“Oh, dear (Y/N), you’ll find out. By the way, have I told you that one time, Gaston…”

You rolled your eyes and listened to another Gaston story from grandmother.

 
At the next Christmas, Gaston was invited too. Like always, he brought candy. A long time ago, you had found out, he did this since many, many years. And your grandmother was right. The candy was delicious.

And your grandmother wouldn’t stop talking about you two.

“Isn’t it a shame, (Y/N), that such a handsome and nice guy like Gaston, isn’t married?!”

“If you say so, grand-mère.”

“And Gaston, can you believe it, that such a sweet and clever woman like (Y/N) isn’t married yet.”

“Hardly.”, Gaston answered and smiled at you.

Your cheeks blushed – a thing they did, whenever Gaston was smiling at you.

“And I think, it’s so lovely you two go hunting.”

“Well, it’s hard to find company who can keep up with me.”

You rolled your eyes.

“Yeah, we know. You’re the best hunter ever.”

Gaston grinned.

“It’s true!”

“Ha! The last times, I was better.”

“You think so.”

“I was!”

“Look at you two. Bickering like an old married couple.”

You two stopped and looked at your grandmother.

“Well, time to get the dessert.”

And before you could say anything, your grandmother rushed to the kitchen.

“Married couple…grand-mère tries to be funny.”, you muttered under your breath.

Gaston looked at you and cleared his throat.

“Yeah. She’s a lovely woman.”

“Yeah.”

There was silence.

“But why aren’t you married? I mean, every guy in the village would marry you immediately.”

“Well, I guess, I haven’t found the right man. I want to marry someone, because I love him. I want someone, who respects me and my interests. What about you?”

“Well, I have to admit, it’s highly unusual that guy like me, isn’t married…”, he started and you rolled your eyes and Gaston grinned “…but I guess, it’s the same. Haven’t found the right woman.”

“Really? Not one of the Bimbettes?!”, you joked.

“I would never marry one of them.”, he said and suddenly, he sounded very serious.

“Too dumb?”

“Maybe. But, I want a strong woman. Of course, a woman who wants kids and be my lovely wife, but also a wife, who is self-confident.”

You smiled and there was silence again. Suddenly, Gaston chuckled.

“What?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Come on. What’s so funny.”

“It’s just…your grandmother praised you so much…at one point, she even told me…”

He stopped and looked down at his plate.

“She told what?”

“Nothing, really. Forget it.”

“Come on. Whatever it is, tell me. I mean, she talked about you so much and praised you so much. I know, what you’re talking about. At some point, she even suggested, we should go out. Can you imagine?!”

You laughed. Gaston didn’t laugh.

“Would you?”

“What?”

“Go out with me?”

Taken aback you looked at him.

“Well…I mean…why not?! Spending time with you is always great. And it would make grand-mère happy.”

Gaston smiled a bit.

“Yeah, that’s true.”

“We should do it.”

“Do what?”

“Go out. Maybe grand-mère will stop, if we go out.”

Gaston went silent for some seconds and nodded.

“Okay. Let’s go out. For mamie.”

“For grand-mère.”, you answered and raised your glass.

“Here is the dessert!”

Your grandma entered the room and you looked at Gaston and you both started laughing.

 
Two nights later, you two would go…on a date. On the one side, it felt strange to go on a date with Gaston. But on the other side, you felt really nervous…and excited. And you couldn’t say way. Your grandma was very excited and when Gaston picked you up, she had the biggest smile on her face.

“Have a lovely night!”

 
The night was lovely. You two went to Gaston’s house and he cooked for you. Later, you went to the tavern, where everyone was celebrating and you danced the whole night. You couldn’t remember the last time, you had so much fun and felt so happy.

It was nearly morning, when Gaston escorted you back to your house. You talked about this and that and when you arrived at the house, you sat down at the steps and continued talking. When you started freezing, Gaston put his jacket around your shoulders. You smiled at him and continued to talk.

At some point you yawned and you two walked up the stairs.

“Thanks for the lovely night. I had a lot of fun.”

“Me too.”

You two smiled at each other.

“Maybe we should do this again. You know, for mamie.”, he suggested.

“Yeah, sounds like plan.”

You two stopped in front of the door and looked into each other eyes. You felt something in your stomach…and your heart jumped. Gaston’s eyes were really beautiful and mesmerizing. He looked up and you followed his gaze. A mistletoe. You couldn’t remember, it had been there before.

“Looks like, we’re standing under a mistletoe.”, Gaston said and looked at you again.

“Yes.”

“Isn’t there some myth?!”

“You have to share a kiss under a mistletoe or you have bad luck with love.”, you answered and looked briefly at Gaston’s lips.

For a second you wondered, what it would feel like, to kiss these full lips, who looked so soft. Gaston looked at you and put his hand on your cheek.

“Well…we don’t need more bad luck…right?!”

“No…”

You swallowed and Gaston’s face came closer.

“To be honest, I enjoyed the night very much.”

“Me too.”

“And I wanted to ask you out for a while. I was glad mamie suggested it.”

“Why didn’t you ask?”

“I wasn’t sure, what the answer would be.”

“Why on earth could the Great Gaston be shy?”

“Because I…have feelings for you.”

You felt your breathing stopping.

“And I really want to kiss you right now, but not, if you don’t want it.”

And with that, you kissed him. You felt, how Gaston was putting his arms around you and you put his hands on his chest. And kissing Gaston was the most beautiful thing, you’ve ever did.

Strange Attraction

(Ivar x Reader)

@nekodemon73 @kumpmk


You could feel all eyes on you as you walked into the throne room, trailing behind Ragnar. It didn’t bother you. Neither the stares nor coming here. You had always wanted to see more of the world, feeling trapped inside your little village. The occasional trips you took around the forest and up the mountains at night only helped a little to make you feel less like a caged bird.

“Who is she?” Sigurd asks his father and smirks as he looks at you, probably thinking you were one of the slave girls. He grabs your butt as he walks closer to you, making you glare right up at him. His smirk vanishes when you slap him across the face, the room becoming deadly quiet.

“I like her.” Ivar breaks the silence, grinning at his brother, “She probably wants a real man.”

“Touch me and you’re dead.” You interrupt him with a warning look before he can try anything and slap away his hand that had been reaching out for you.

Your village may have been tiny but it was right at the sea and the ships often brought people from far away. There had been this one man…old, rugged looking but nice and fun to talk to. He had stayed for a while and you had begged him to teach you about his travels. He had done more than that, he had taught you how to read, leaving you with his books once he left.

Your pronunciation sucked a bit, you figured, now that you heard the language actually being spoken but that couldn’t be helped since you had taught it yourself.

“While she is here for you…I’m afraid Y/N isn’t here for your entertainment.” Ragnar says, looking at his sons.

“Well why is she here then?” Ivar asks annoyed, glaring in your direction. No doubt he was angry at you for talking to him like that.

“Did I hurt your feelings or what?” You ask with a sly smile, feeling his eyes burn into yours. He was going to be fun.

“She’s here…” Ragnar clears his throat, “…to teach you English.”

“Why would we need to learn that?”

“Because it’s useful.” He opens the door and is already halfway through it when he turns around, “Lessons start tomorrow.”  


“Good morning.” You stroll into the room with a happy smile, one that Ivar does not return. He sure could hold a grudge.

“I can’t see anything good about it, lets get this over with.”

You sit down in the chair next to him with a sigh, resting your face on your arms, “Okay sweetheart.”

“Don’t call me that.” He snaps back. Obviously you had a talent of pissing him off rather quickly.

“Why?” You smirk, “You don’t like it?”

“I don’t.”

“That’s just too bad. I bet I wouldn’t have liked you touching me without permission and yet you would have done it.”

“I thought you were a slave.” He replies, rolling his eyes.

“Yeah like that makes it better.” You hiss, getting angry yourself now.

“Oh? You don’t like that answer…sweetheart?” He teases, seeing your reaction, “That is just too bad.”  

You didn’t get much done in your lesson, both of you being too busy staring daggers at each other. You wondered how you were supposed to teach Ivar anything when he managed to get you riled up in a matter of seconds, not that you couldn’t do the same to him.

Forever in our Hearts ~ Part III

Yes, it has been two days since Naruto finished and my heart is still very heavy. I feel like: What am I doing with my life now? But I’m not going to give up this blog. I wish that any single one of the characters is never forgotten and I do my best that Gaara will never be forgotten. ; W; * Tears up *

Here I continue with the third part of the wonderful story of my favorite character: Sabakuno Gaara. 
I know so many parts can be annoying. But such a great, emotional story is impossible to put into one post! That would be much too big and long, Tumblr would not create. : 3 That’s why I prefer to share it in Parts.

So, we were where Gaara had set off with his unit into the war. Alone that was epic enough, but now it goes into the legendary, fourth war of the world of the Shinobi and in this Gaara has shoewd incredibly often. It was great to see him there so often, even if some places were very sad or frightening, but I’ll come to that.

Now we come to an incredibly sad, emotional section of the entire anime: The fight against Rasa, his father and the fourth Kazekagen of Sunagakure. Weeks before it was already known that this would happen and I was so excited and could not wait to see this episode. 

But before that, Gaara was often shown in the episodes, if only briefly but hey! Gaara is love no matter how often and when you get to see him, right? :)

In front of his Alliance …

With the Tsuchikage …

In the Night before the first fight … 

The moment he saw his father in the distance. The moment before the big fight.

The next episode was super surpassing emotionality. The fight against Rasa, his father, the epic fight. The fact that Rasa wanted to evaluate him one last time and finally the truth about his mother, Karura.


The Flashback of Gaaras Death and rescue …


The Flashback of Gaaras Birth and Childhood …

I have to say it again and again: Rasa, this little Bitch. He kept Temari and Kankuro away from Gaara and did not let them play with him. He tried to kill him, several times! In his eyes, Gaara was a failure and it makes me angry when I think about it. Therefore: Small, dirty Bitch. I hate him for what he did to Gaara.

At last, however, in the fight, his conscience might be heard, and he began to tell Gaara the whole truth about his family, especially about his mother: people, really, I sat in front of my computer and cried like a fountain, like a rushing river . This still happens to me today when I look at the episode.

“Your Mother truely loved you!”

“Even after her death she is with you and wants to protect you.”

“After all this time, this is the first time I have received “medicine” from my father.”

“More than I ever could have hoped. You’ve surpassed me… I entrust the village to you now… Gaara…” 


Yes, this part has actually only related to this one episode, but I also find that it deserves so much. This episode was epic and emotional and I often look at it. This was a great milestone in Gaara’s story!


Part IV follows!

Want to read the previous parts?

Part II:
https://kazekage-gaara-forever.tumblr.com/post/158771919135/forever-in-our-hearts-part-ii

Part I
https://kazekage-gaara-forever.tumblr.com/post/158736690820/forever-in-our-hearts-part-i

Things my kid has said while playing Minecraft

(in slightly demonic voice): I am your master CHICKENS! I - AM - YOUR - MASTER!

I need to throw more ocelots at people

Kiddo: Look! I’ve created a pen where I keep all my animals!

Me: That’s nice

Kiddo: (fills pen with lava)

Me: …

I have a floor completely devoted to cats but is it enough?

I like blowing stuff up in Minecraft! It’s like being one of the mythbusters only less science

I meant to feed the cat and instead I threw an ocelot into the lava

You can never have too much lava protecting your palace of doom

You can never have to many cats inside of your doom palace

Kiddo: I’m creating a village! Full of people!

Me: (suspiciously) Are you planning to murder all of your villagers?

Kiddo: No!

Me:

Kiddo:

Kiddo: Well not right away!


_______

As a parent I feel like I should be concerned

jaaystodd  asked:

Can you do Anakin for the Hogwarts house thing?

okay so anakin is a hufflepuff, although this is gonna be less…..organized…..than some of the other ones

LET’S GET LISTY WITH IT - HUFFLEPUFF TRAITS

  • dedication
  • hard work
  • fair play
  • patience
  • kindness/tolerance
  • loyalty
  • Unafraid of toil 

so you’re looking at this and you’re like…uh…hayley…..you’re full of shit….maybe like two of these apply to him to which i say HAVE FAITH 

so he’s not your typical hufflepuff. whatevs. pettigrew wasn’t your typical gryffindor, slughorn wasn’t your typical slytherin. doesn’t mean they don’t belong there.

THE FACTS

  • anakin’s desperation to be on the council/made a master isn’t necessarily ambition or drive, in my opinion. it’s more about what he thinks is fair, and what he thinks he’s earned. anakin whines about what’s fair all the time, which is very puff-like
  • everything anakin does is out of loyalty. obsessively so. 
    • in phantom menace, he’s willing to give up his freedom to be with his mom, until she tells him to go. but that’s how loyal he is to her, how much he loves her. 
    • in attack of the clones he fuckin abandons his mission to go to his mom. 
      • i know what you’re thinking. but he abandoned his mission! that’s not very dedicated. BINCH he’s dedicated to the ones he loves
    • and of course he fuckin burns coruscant to the ground when he believes padme is gonna die. he’d do anything for her, including turning his back on an order that, in his eyes, never treated him fairly.
      • the jedi didn’t give him what he needed emotionally/socially, so he gravitated toward the people who encouraged him, i.e. palpatine and padme
    • and then later on when he realizes he has a son he fuckin…changes his world view??? i mean slowly but in the end his love for padme and through her his children is what redeems him which tbh???? hufflepuff
  • this is a dark interpretation of “unafraid of toil” but the fact that he’d do the most horrible violent things for the ones he loves…
    • for example….murdering a whole village…..murdering a bunch of kids….killing mace windu….he’s unafraid of toil, alright….

anyway while arguments could be made for gryffindor or slytherin, i feel like it’s his loyalty to the people he loves more than anything else that defines him as a character, which is why he’s a hufflepuff

send me a sw character and i’ll sort them and tell you why!

lithe-cloud  asked:

This is kinda random, but I've had this in my head for a couple days now. Something really, REALLY bugs me about the Uchiha Massacre. Was Sasuke REALLY the last remaining Uchiha? Are you telling me that there was no Uchiha that was having an affair that lead to a bastard child? In a family of Trained Military Police, there was not a single person who was able to minimize at least a LITTLE damage, hid, or who played dead? Root didn't have an Uchiha member (*stares suspiciously at Sai*)? (P1)

(p2) Also, was not a single Uchiha on the mission roster/on a mission, at the time? Or outside of the district for whatever reason? Kids sneaking out to play, teens going to visit a sweet-heart, shinobi out for some late-night training? REALLY? And the Uchiha was NOT A SMALL FAMILY. They were spared the losses of Kurama’s attack due to Danzo. People slip through cracks with those kinds of numbers. Sorry for the rant, but this has been bugging me lately.

(p3 an apologies for further comment) Also, was not a single medic able to do SOMETHING? We have blood replenishers, soldier pills, organ transplants, and so much more. Did not a single medic TRY to save the wounded they found? And someone HAD to have noticed the smell of GALONS OF BLOOD and/or have heard Sasuke SCREAMING, so medics would be called. The premise of the IN-VILLAGE massacre is believable with several individuals. Not with a major clan of 100-200+ members like I think they had.

Welcome to reason 27543782 for why that segment of the manga doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I wonder about these things. Canon tends to handwave things like logic which exasperates me, but on the other hand, this train wreck of weird writing decisions is partly why we linger on it so much as a hobby.

So let’s have fun going over a few of the points you brought up.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I love Whispered on the Wind so much. Now I want to see Dick go back home with Jason and they can finally meet Damian, the demon brat! I want to see how he'll get along with Dick (cause we all know in canon, Dick is his fave). And them adapting to a different life than when they were in the cabin.

This is probably one of my most popular verses and I absolutely love how much you guys love it. Enjoy!

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Homecoming

A few days after Bruce and Tim had left, Dick couldn’t get the palace out of his head. It didn’t feel like home anymore, and it hadn’t for a long time, but knowing he was welcomed back there whenever he pleased made him want to visit again. 

Jason noticed of course. They would be reading together and Jason would trail off, waiting for Dick to notice. 

“You’re thinking about it again, aren’t you?” Jason asked, pulling Dick out of his thoughts. 

Dick sighed and leaned his head against Jason’s shoulder. “It’s hard not to,” Dick admitted. “I’ve been welcomed back after all these years and I just…don’t know what to do.”

“You can visit for a few days,” Jason said. “You don’t have to stay, but you can see it again.”

“Would you come with me?” Dick asked him. 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Any hcs for Feral?

I have a few! 

Feral

  • He’s more mischievous than people give him credit for. Oh, he’s a good egg, don’t get me wrong, but one time the whole village woke up with a single sock missing from their collection
    • Feral is not one to draw attention to himself. Savage was the only one who figured out who it was.
  • One time he pinned his tunic to look like a dress and he was surprisingly okay with how feminine he looked. 
    • The Nightsisters might accept a Nightbrother who identifies as trans (perhaps transforming them into a Nightsister), but it’s unclear how they’d feel about a genderfluid individual. Unfortunately, their views on male vs. female are very strict.
    • Feral knows this. Any exploration with his gender is done in secret.
  • Several Nightbrothers have had feelings for him. He’s so kind and playful, and his eyes are beautiful. How can one resist?
  • Feral has a way with animals. They just…trust him. Instantly. 
  • He doesn’t know how to mend clothes. He sucks at it. That’s why his clothes are a little more tattered than Savage’s pristine tunic. 
  • Drinks a lot of milk because goddamn it why are his horns so tiny?? Grow!! Grow!!
The life and times of Hatake Kakashi, the long-suffering jōnin-sensei

Belated birthday present for @cywscross. I thought this would cheer you up and also maybe shake you out of your funk since it’s not steter ^^U. On that note tho, my original b-day fic was steter but that will probably never see the light of day XD.

Kakashi is being trolled. He doesn’t know how that can be, but he knows with utmost certainty that he’s being trolled somehow.

It started when he went to pick his hopefully (not) future team this beautiful Monday morning -Er… afternoon? He was really late after all… Oops?- and he got greeted by an eraser to the head and his three blank faced (not) cute future mini baby ninja.

“How sad,” duck-butt hair, Uchiha Sasuke, says.

“Maybe he’s hurt or something?” pinkette, Haruno Sakura, says with wide open baby deer eyes. “So sorry, sensei!”

(Kakashi is pretty sure she’s not.)

“Still sad,” Sasuke sneers.

“See why I told you no kunai?” She frowns at blondie… whom is completely out of it and actually snoring face down in his desk.

“Wha-” said blondie, Uzumaki Naruto, blurts out as he startles awake when she slaps him on the back of his head. “Oh, it… worked? How sad.”

“Naruto!” she scolds him horrified, shooting a worried look at Kakashi.

(Again, Kakashi is pretty sure she’s neither horrified nor worried.)

“Exactly,” Sasuke agrees, ignoring her.

“My first impression of you…” Kakashi finally speaks, earning their full attention. “How should I put this?” He feigns thinking about it for a second. “I hate you. I’ll meet you at the rooftop in a minute.”

“I think my heart just broke,” he hears Sasuke deadpan just as he shunshins out of there.

They take forever to get to the rooftop. So much, in fact, that Kakashi considers looking for them, but they show up before he makes up his mind.

“Ah, sorry sensei,” Sakura apologizes demurely. “We got waylaid on our way.”

“Waylaid?”

“Secret mission for the good of Konoha! That cockroach couldn’t go on living!” Naruto exclaims boisterously.

“Cockroach.”

“A really big one,” Sakura explains earnestly.

Sasuke who has remained blank faced and silent since they reached the rooftop, simply nods.

“Right,” Kakashi says, inwardly questioning how the hell did these idiots pass the initial cut. Then he remembers that nowadays they only have to pass a couple of exams and moves on. It’s not like he will have to bear much more with them anyways, because after tomorrow’s test they will be toast. “Ok, why don’t you introduce yourselves?”

“An introduction?” Sakura inquires unsure. “What should we say?”

“Your likes, dislikes, dreams and hobbies,” Kakashi explains. “Mah, something like that.”

“Ano sa, ano sa,” Naruto intervenes. “Why don’t you go first, sensei?”

“Me?” Both Naruto and Sakura nod in unison while Sasuke remains silent and seemingly uninterested. For a second Kakashi has the strong feeling that he’s being teased somehow but he can’t quite put the finger on why he does. “My name is Hatake Kakashi. I have no intentions of telling you my likes and dislikes. As for my dream… I have few hobbies.”

They share a grin. Well, Sasuke smirks, but still, color Kakashi confused.

“My name is Uzumaki Naruto,” the blonde plunges in before he can dwell on it. “I love ramen and…” He blushes and grins. Sakura giggles and Sasuke looks heavenward as if asking for patience. “I hate the three minutes that it takes the cup of ramen to be ready and cockroaches. My hobby is eating, training and experimenting.” Both Sakura and Sasuke visibly shudder at the last one. Interesting. “My dream is to become Ho-” Sakura coughs something that sounds suspiciously like council and Kakashi would swear that Sasuke murmurs paperwork. Naruto pales dramatically. “-nored and respected in this village and someone that can protect his precious people.”

“Next?” Kakashi motions smoothly as if he hasn’t noticed anything.

“I’m Haruno Sakura,” she chirps sweeter than candy. Kakashi can already feel the cavities forming. “I love relaxing with a cup of tea and some sweets, training and …” She blushes and fidgets. Naruto giggles and Sasuke looks heavenward again. “I hate idiots and cockroaches. My hobby is baking and cooking in general.” Both boys shudder dramatically, becoming pale as chalk, and she rolls her eyes. “My dream is to protect my precious people.”

“Next.”

“My name is Uchiha Sasuke. I like some things,” the peanut gallery giggles and Sasuke looks heavenward for the third time, “and dislike a lot more, especially cockroaches. My hobby is…” He rolls his eyes and the other two giggle again. “My dream is to restore my clan’s honor and to fulfill my duty to my family.”

Kakashi was supposed to get the bookworm fangirl, the prankster hokage-wannabe and the acerbic avenger and he feels cheated because he only got one half of the deal. Either the academy instructors are shit at information gathering or he’s being trolled by three kids.

“Well, you three have very different personalities. I like it!” Kakashi announces after a second of awkward silence. “Tomorrow we go on a mission.” No reaction. “But before that we will do some survival training, because out of the twenty-seven academy graduates, only nine will remain.” Still no reaction besides a nod. Kakashi gives it up as a loss and pouts inwardly because they have taken the only fun this whole situation has. “We’ll meet at 5 A.M. Come prepared and don’t have breakfast or you’ll regret it.”

So it started this morning (afternoon) and it continues now. Normally one of the beauties of being forced to evaluate hopeful genins is to scare them the day before. But not only they didn’t even react to his announcement of their genin title still being pending, but they are sleeping like rocks.

Kakashi is really confused.

Then he remembers he didn’t actually tell them where they would be meeting tomorrow and he shrugs. It will be as good a time as any other to test their tracking skills… and perseverance, of course, because he isn’t planning to get there until several hours later.

(Serves the cheeky brats right.)

They are waiting for him at the correct training ground and for a moment Kakashi thinks that maybe he did tell them where to meet? But no, he has a pretty good memory and he’s sure he didn’t. But then again, he always does this test here, with the memorial stone right at hand in case the impossible happens and he passes a team so…

He sighs. They really are taking all the fun from this, dammit, and for a moment he considers going to a different ground, but in the end he decides against it.

He observes them for a moment before showing himself, though. Sakura is talking to Sasuke, voice soft and relaxed, and he occasionally answers back, equally soft. No sight of fawning or fangirlsm on her part at all or of higher-than-thou attitude on his part. Naruto is dozing between them and neither of them seems to mind. For a moment Kakashi thinks that it may be because they want some peace that they can’t have when the hyperactive blonde is up and running, but then Naruto slides down and his head comes to rest upon Sasuke’s shoulder and neither the Uchiha or Sakura bat an eye.

All right, that’s it. Either the information gathering of the academy is shit or they have been acting up until now. Kakashi is inclined towards the former after the Mizuki incident, because those kids aren’t being subtle at all and they have to know that he’s bound to show up eventually and he’ll see them. He decides here and now to forget about the reports he has about them and to start from zero in his assessment.

“Good morning, everyone!” he chirps finally deciding to show himself and eager to get this farce over so he can get on with his life. He doesn’t care if it’s the last Uchiha or not, he won’t pass them if they don’t deserve it. The Council can go hang themselves for all he cares. “Ready to start?”

“If after three hours we aren’t ready to start we deserve to be killed,” Sasuke deadpans. Then he looks towards Naruto. “Oi, dobe, time to wake up.”

“Wait, Sasuke-kun,” Sakura interjects softly before looking at Kakashi. “Are we actually going to start, sensei? I’d hate to wake him just for the sake of it.”

Ouch, Kakashi thinks, that was even sharper than Sasuke’s indirect comeback and she said it with such an angelic face that for a moment Kakashi had doubts of it being an intentional jab at all.

(Who is he kidding? It is. It totally is.)

“We’re going to actually start indeed, Sakura-chan,” he tells her plastering a fake smile in his face.

“Ah, ok,” she smiles at him unperturbed. “Ramen.”

“WHERE,” Naruto exclaims jerking awake and then tears up when there’s no ramen in sight. “That was so cruel, Sakura-chan!”

“Effective,” Kakashi mutters.

“Always,” she nods flashing a victory sign at him and Sasuke snorts. Naruto continues wailing in the background.

“Let’s get moving, shall we?” Kakashi motions to them towards a clearing. “Here are the rules,” he starts dangling the two bells in front of them before tying them up to his waist. “You have to get these from me before this alarm sounds. If you fail, you go back to the Academy, if you get them, you pass. Simple, right?”

“Sensei, you forgot one bell. There’s only two,” Sakura points out helpfully.

(Sasuke blinks and Naruto fidgets. Kakashi is pretty sure he’s missing something.)

“Only two of you will pass, Sakura-chan,” Kakashi explains, voice milder than milk, and then waits for the sweet outburst.

It never comes and he doesn’t even know why he’s even surprised at this point. They frown, they look at each other, they tilt their heads consideringly and then go back to looking at him. Then Sakura holds up her hand.

“Yes, Sakura-chan?”

“Um, sensei,” she fidgets. “Can I ask a question?”

“Sure.”

“How do these numbers work? It doesn’t really make sense… Because you said yesterday that only nine out of the twenty-seven would pass? And that means that two people of each team should fail? And I mean, what if only one person gets the bell? And-”

“Team 7?”

“Pass.”

“Report.”

“Mah, for starters, they accidentally broke the clock because Naruto’s accuracy under duress is… well, not very good. Sakura seized the opportunity and pointed out that since the alarm wouldn’t sound, they had all the time in the world to complete the mission.”

“Smart.”

“Hmm,” Kakashi nods. “That good impression was lost afterwards, though. If it wasn’t ridiculous, I would have bet that they were competing for the honor of being tied to the pole.” Or more like Sakura and Naruto were and Sasuke had to join in because he hated losing at anything and couldn’t help himself. “Naruto won.”

“Yare, yare,” Sarutobi groans rubbing his face exasperated.

“I was going to fail them right then and there, because neither Sakura or Sasuke made a move to feed him after I forbid them to do so, but when I was about to, I noticed that Naruto had a rice grain near his mouth. I don’t know how or when, but they fed him.” Kakashi had been near the whole time and he hadn’t seen a thing. Sure, he had been reading the whole time and having his own lunch, but… “In any case, I let them try again and they finally worked together so I let Sakura get the bells. When I told them to choose…”

Sakura blinks and looks at the bells in her hands. They look at each other, they look at Kakashi. Then she comes to him, extends the hand with both bells and when he takes them, she goes back to her teammates. The three of them bow down in unison.

“Thank you for today, Hatake-san,” they chorus before turning to leave.

“I’m still hungry.”

“You’re always hungry, Naruto.”

“I’m a growing boy, Sakura-chan! Ramen?”

“We had ramen yesterday, dobe.”

“So what? Ramen is a complete meal. It has protein, carbohydrates…”

“Yakiniku-Q.”

“Teme!”

“Dobe, it’s my turn.”

“Ok, ok! Yakiniku-Q, dammit. But tomorrow-”

“It’s my turn and I want to try Shushuya.”

“Sakura-chaaan!”

“Oi, you three.”

“Yes, Hatake-san?”

“Huh,” Sarutobi manages to get out.

“Huh, indeed,” Kakashi agrees and wonders if it’s too late to become a missing nin.

For two weeks, everything is relatively normal. They meet at training ground 3, Kakashi is really late and his cheeky little genin are sassy in return. They train for a while before taking on a D-Rank mission, they file the report and then go home. Rinse and repeat.

They have very interesting dynamics, Kakashi comes to find out. Sakura plays the cute innocent little girl, Naruto the boisterous idiot and Sasuke the haughty genius, and all of them do it masterfully. In reality all of them are manipulative and devious little shits to some degree or another and really protective of each other. If something happens to one of them, the other two will subtly (and/or creatively) intervene while the offended one rolls their eyes exasperatedly but fondly at the same time.

Kami help him, but he’s starting to like them, Kakashi thinks as he eyes them over the rim of his book. Just as he does so, Naruto grins deviously at Sasuke, whom just blinks in response which an equally devious glint in his eyes. Their employer’s kid appears again to ogle at Sakura where she’s bent over to reach a particularly stubborn weed that just refuses to be plucked. Before Kakashi can do anything to make the little twerp scamper, his face falls into frown and he starts absently scratching himself. He starts softly and then it evolves into a frantic scratching before he disappears inside the house again calling for his dad. Naruto and Sasuke smirk subtly and Sakura is none the wiser. After a little bit, when she apparently notices her stalker hasn’t showed up again, she looks at the boys suspiciously (both look at her as if butter won’t melt in their mouths) and then rolls her eyes.

Yes, Kakashi’s starting to like them all right.

Much later, after finishing their mission and on their way to the Hokage Tower to submit their report, a hawk flies over them a few times in circles and then leaves towards the commercial district. Kakashi frowns and edges the kids into a faster pace. He leaves them submitting their report (they have proved their capacity to do so unsupervised) and takes the stairs towards the Hokage’s office.

Turns out elder Shimura Danzō is dead.

“Poisoned,” the head ANBU explains to the whole room. All former ANBU operatives have been recalled. There are people in this room whose face Kakashi is seeing for the first time despite having worked with them more than once. “There are no leads on that front, but there are more pressing matters to attend at this point.”

Kakashi has a feeling that he’s not going to like what comes out of the man’s mouth next.

(He doesn’t.)

It’s dark when he finally leaves the Hokage Tower. Despite having been released from service not long ago, Kakashi is sporting his mask once again because the truth is that one never stops being an ANBU (not even after retirement).

He’s been given half an hour to settle his things before undertaking a month (possibly two) long S-Rank mission with an entire platoon and as much as he’d love to have the cheeky little brats thinking he’s testing their tracking skills again (ahhhh, those were a fun couple of days) it may be pushing it a little too far in this case, so he has to inform them and at least set some kind of schedule so they don’t fall behind. It may be cruel, but the best he can do with so little forewarning is to give them a letter for Gai so that they can train at least two or three days a week with a proper sensei.

(If he comes back to see his cute little monsters clad in green spandex he will kill Gai.)

But to actually give them that letter he has to find them first. Sakura wasn’t at home and when he tried Naruto’s apartment he found it completely empty. That only leaves Sasuke and if he’s missing too, he’s going to have to leave Pakkun with both the explanation and the letter and leave.

He finally gets to the Uchiha district and to the house Sasuke is inhabiting. Last time he was here was before he tested them to become genin and it hasn’t changed much. From the rooftop of the house he wonders if he should go through the front door or just knock on the window. Before he can make up his mind, the window just below opens and Naruto’s sleepy voice comes out.

“Senseiii,” he lets out through a yawn, “stop being a creep and get inside already so I can go back to bed.”

“Mah, Naruto-kun,” Kakashi croons after letting himself fall to the windowsill, “you shouldn’t be so careless, I could have been an enemy.”

“Ehhh? But, sensei, I knew it was you,” Naruto whines rubbing his eyes.

“Mmhm,” Kakashi hums. He looks inside briefly and he spots a big futon. Sasuke is curled like a kitten around Sakura, both of them deep asleep. Well, at least that answers the question about where both Naruto and Sakura went, and if what he sees is any indication, this is a regular occurrence, so next time he’ll come here directly. “I’ll be gone on a mission for at least a month, Naruto-kun. Maybe two if things get complicated. In the meantime, you won’t be able to take missions since you don’t have a jōnin with you, but I expect you to keep training, understood?” He smiles threateningly for good measure and Naruto nods grimacing. “If you need any guidance, look in training ground 10 for Maito Gai and give him this.” He hands him the hastily scribbled letter and Naruto takes it hesitantly. If the shudder that shakes him is any indication, the blonde already knows who Gai is. Kakashi’s lips twitch in amusement. “Ja ne, then. Be good or don’t get caught.”

“Wait, sensei!” Kakashi turns again to look at his student, only to see him leave the room running.

While he was talking to Naruto, both Sakura and Sasuke have woken up and are staring blearily from the futon. She disentangles from Sasuke and crawls to grab something from her backpack. She crawls towards Kakashi and without even getting from the floor she hands him a box. After he takes it, she lets herself fall to the floor and just curls there, dozing. Sasuke rolls his eyes and gets up with a sigh. He grabs a tantō and gives it to Kakashi before bending to pick up Sakura with a grunt and carrying her back to the futon.

Kakashi studies the tantō curiously. It looks like a conductive blade, which is good to start with, but it also has seals carved on the handle. Nice. As for the box, he opens it to find what looks to be homemade soldier pills. Also nice… if they actually work. He hears Naruto come back just as he closes the lid and he looks up.

“Here,” the blonde says passing him a box that smells heavenly. Kakashi’s belly chooses that moment to remind him that he hasn’t had anything substantial since lunch and Naruto grins. “Don’t worry, Sasuke made them.” An aggravated grumble comes from the futon and Kakashi smiles amusedly. “Take care, sensei, and kick some ass.”

Kakashi really, really likes his cheeky little brats.

It’s a horrible month and seventeen days. Out of all the missions Kakashi has taken in his entire shinobi career, this ranks high on his top ten of the let’s-not-repeat-this-again list and his whole platoon agrees. It’s a shame that for the sake of appearances Danzō’s deeds will be forever kept secret, because more than one of them would like to cut his body into tiny little pieces just for the pleasure of seeing his blood run (now that he’s already dead and his screams can’t be heard).

The brats’ presents were more handy than he’ll ever be able to let them know. The soldier pills Sakura gave him tasted, by popular consensus, like something that crawled out of a rat’s arse to roll around pig’s shit before being peed on by a dog, but they were incredibly effective (the best he’s ever had and with none of the aftereffects) after you managed to stomach them down and he doesn’t have even one left. As for the tantō, that thing is magnificent. It conducts lightning inclined chakra like a dream and the seals on the handle make it so that the chakra escapes the blade slower than any other conductive weapon he’s ever had. It took a while to get used to the potency (he nearly fried Genma and Raidō… twice) but once he had it down? It was amazing and useful in a life-saving way.

He never thought he’d say this, but he missed his cheeky little brats and is looking forward to seeing them again.

Hopefully not clad in green spandex.

Kakashi shudders.

Kakashi is going to kill his brats.

Gai hasn’t heard of them, they are nowhere to be found and he has to learn from Anko of all people that apparently they took his order to train or else way too seriously because they have been doing survival training since he left in training ground 44.

“Damn, Hatake,” Anko crows admiringly. “I knew I liked you for a reason!”

“Mmmm?” Kakashi simply hums because he doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.

“You’re growing them up to be little monsters, aren’t you?” Anko continues. “I’ve never seen fresh genins survive the Forest of Death! What the hell are you feeding them?”

Say what.

“WHAT? THAT WASN’T VERY YOUTHFUL OF YOU, MY ETERNAL RIVAL!” Gai shouts horrified.

“Mah, some hardship is good for the spirit, Gai.”

“Exactly!” Anko laughs maniacally. “They were still alive a week ago, by the way.”

He’s going to kill them.

If they aren’t already dead, he’s going to kill them.

“Do you think it’s edible?” Naruto is asking just as he finds them, pointing at a spider that’s bigger than Kakashi that he assumes they have just taken down. The three of them are filthy and covered in scratches and half-healed wounds.

“Ugh, so gross, Naruto!”

“Tch, dobe.”

“What, teme! I’m hungry!”

“You’re always hungry!”

“Why are we doing this again?”

“Because we want to make Kakashi-sensei proud?”

They totally know Kakashi is here.

“Ah, my cute little genin!” he exclaims showing himself and the three of them turn, feigning surprise. “How should I put this…”

“Kakashi-sensei, you’re back!” They exclaim happily.

“… I’m going to kill you.”

“Uh-”

“Run.”

They look at each other, they look at Kakashi and they look at each other again.

They run.

Jiraiya-sama and Tsunade-sama appear and close themselves with the Hokage in his office for three hours straight. Sandaime-sama is seen smoking furiously at all hours after that meeting.

Kakashi wonders about it but knows better than to ask.

Over the next month he trains them until they drop in exhaustion and they also take two D-Rank missions a day until they catch up with what they would have done if Kakashi hadn’t been sent out on a mission. Secretly he’s pretty proud with how they take their punishment for their Forest of Dead escapade, but he doesn’t actually say it directly. Instead, he lets them take a C-Rank.

A C-Rank that turns into a A-Rank halfway through.

“Report,’ Sarutobi says frowning.

“We encountered Kiri missing nins Gōzu and Meizu on our way to the land of waves. Team 7 performed admirably but the demon brothers fled the scene before we could take them down,” Kakashi reports dutifully. “Then we encountered another Kiri missing nin, Momochi Zabuza, and we engaged in a fight. Again, Team 7 worked together to defeat him. Before we could take him down, though, what we thought to be a hunter-nin did it and took the body away. I was suffering chakra exhaustion and lost consciousness then.” Kakashi needs to restart his serious training again, dammit, because that was embarrassing. “When I woke up I realized that the false hunter-nin had hit non-vital points and that Momochi was most probably alive.”

“So you were attacked again.”

“No. Momochi refused to engage, as well as the other missing nins. He claimed that Gatō (his employer) was dead so their contract was null and void and they left.”

“Huh.”

“Huh, indeed,” Kakashi agrees. “We did get attacked by the rest of Gatō’s mercenaries, but between Naruto and my kage bunshins we drew them off.”

“And they named the bridge The Great Naruto Bridge?”

“Well,” Kakashi sighs, “apart from driving the mercenaries off, he did use the clones to help them finish the bridge faster.”

“Right.”

Kakashi is pretty sure he has missed something and he has the sudden urge to drop his brats in the Forest of Death (this time knowingly) for the next month because he remembers them waving happily at the leaving missing nins.

The chūnin exams come and Kakashi nominates his team. It seems to serve as incentive for Kurenai and Asuma to nominate their teams too but he pays it no mind.

(He’s too busy betting on his team’s favor. He’s going to make a fortune.)

“Keep your head clear and you’ll do great,” he tells them simply. “No torturing the examiners either. Remember they can fail you just because you pissed pissed them off.”

They pout.

Cheeky little brats.

Kakashi leaves chuckling and joins the peanut gallery in the observation room. Bets are still running and when Anko assures him she bet for his team of little monsters he beams at her.

The first thing Naruto does is to hug the kazekage’s son, to his siblings horror. Kakashi inwardly groans and the rest of the shinobi present look at him.

“The promotion of a good relationship with our allies is key,” he says simply and Anko explodes in laughter while Gai starts shouting about the springtime of youth.

It doesn’t get better from there.

In the first exam, instead of trying to copy or answer the questions, they use the time to take out the competition. Meanwhile, Naruto doodles happily (Kakashi spots Ibiki’s caricature), Sakura paints her nails and Sasuke sharpens his kunai. When the time for the last question comes and Ibiki starts playing his mind games, Sasuke is the one to speak out to call out the bullshit in the most sarcastic way he can find. It’s even beautiful, really. Sakura and Naruto seem surprised at first (and knowing them as he does, Kakashi is pretty sure this was another of their stupid competitions like when they fought to see who got tied to the pole) but then they fight to not break out laughing.

In the second exam, they ally themselves to Suna. It’s a little bloodier than Kakashi would have liked but it gets the job done. Sandaime-sama has faced worse political nightmares than two entire teams being annihilated in an exam so Kakashi is sure that he will be able to deal with Otogakure without any problems.

They also pass the preliminaries just fine. As they leave, Naruto convinces the Suna team to go to Ichiraku’s and try their ramen.

He debates what to do for the month before the final exam and then decides to just train them to the best of his abilities. Also, Jiraiya-sama and Tsunade-sama are still in town, so maybe he can convince them somehow to help. He manages and they do help. Kakashi is a little terrified about the results.

Needless to say, after the third exam is done, he finds himself with three newly minted chūnin.

Well, that was fast, Kakashi thinks with a twinge of sadness.

(He needn’t worry, though, because the brats won’t ever leave him alone, just like strange and unexplainable happenings won’t leave him alone either.)

Much time, redemption and a war later, with a world-wide shinobi alliance and as Rokudaime hokage after Tsunade left the post, Kakashi thinks. He reflects about all the unexplainable things that have happened since he became a jōnin-sensei and about their timing and he thinks huh.

“Done for the day, Hokage-sama?” Shikamaru questions when they cross paths.

“Yes, I’m having an early day. You should too, Shikamaru-kun.”

“Mah, I still have some things to finish.”

“Any urgent ones?”

“Not exactly, but-”

“Then you’re done for today. Hokage’s orders.” Kakashi smiles. “Go cloud watching.”

“Hah,” Shikamaru snorts. “I haven’t done that in a while…”

“Enjoy.”

“Thanks, Hokage-sama.”

Kakashi leaves and takes the roofs towards the Uchiha district. When he arrives, he doesn’t even bother with the front door and slips through the window.

He finds Naruto lying on in his back on the futon, holding a comic book over his face. Sakura is sitting on his stomach painting her nails black and Sasuke is in front of her with her feet in his lap, painting her toenails. There are various plates of snacks within reach and they occasionally reach to take a bite.

“Hi, Kakashi-sensei,” they chorus happily but not taking their attention off of what they’re doing.

“Question time,” Kakashi chirps. “Have my cheeky little brats been time travelling?”

“Took you long enough,” Naruto grins, his eyes darting minutely towards Kakashi before returning to the page.

“How sad,” Sasuke says without even looking from Sakura’s toenails.

“Naruto, Sasuke!” she reprimands them without looking from her nails either. “So sorry, sensei.”

(No, she’s not.)

Kakashi lets out a long-suffering sigh, comes near to sit on the floor and grabs a plate. Then he unceremoniously pulls down his mask because he figures that since they have never shown any interest in finding what’s underneath, they must have seen his face already.

Gasps ensue.

The Disappearance of John Watson

Chapter 6:

I remained in the same position for quite some time, staring down at the little diaries as if I had only just discovered my Watson. But I knew that it wasn’t quite true, that it was merely the emotion with which he wrote that was holding me captive. Hardly ever did one get the opportunity to meet another fellow as intimately as that. 

Of course, there were many questions that presented themselves to a curious mind such as mine, but the more pressing matter was to traverse the country and make it to Birmingham. 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Ok. So. This makes no logical sense, but. The Emperor's New Groove AU. Jokastor as Yzma and Kronk, Damen gets turned into some kind of giant animal and runs into Laurent on one of the super important espionage trips In Disguise that he's so fond of. Laurent wants Jokastor out of power because geopolitics, Damen would like to have revenge and also thumbs. A deal is struck and shenanigans happen and it's all very dramatic.

“So, uh. Who are you?” Damen asks, once the man has resheathed his sword.

The man–young, blond, heart-stoppingly pretty if you’re into that kind of thing, which Damen unfortunately is–waves a hand. To his credit, he was impressively composed when first faced with a talking bear, and now seems more inclined to be curious about Damen as a phenomenon than to display the least amount of fear.

“I am no one. A villager.”

“You are not,” Damen says. “Nobody in this village could afford a sword like that.”

The man lifts his chin. It’s an excellent chin, beneath an excellent mouth, and–this is not the time for Damen to be noticing these things.

“Very well. I am…Damianos of Akielos. I let rumours of my death be announced in order to live among the people, in disguise. The better to know my kingdom.”

“That’s funny,” Damen says.

A quelling look. “Why is it funny?”

“Well,” says Damen, “we can’t both be Damianos of Akielos.”

The man freezes. For the second time in the past five minutes, he looks Damen up and down. It takes a significant amount of neck movement to complete.

“If it came down to a popular vote,” he says, icily, “I suspect I would win. Given that Damianos of Akielos is widely held to be a human being and not, in fact, a giant animal.”

Fantastic. Now Damen has people stealing his throne and someone threatening to steal his identity.

“I was turned into a bear. By magic.” He can feel his muscles bunching in anger beneath the thick pelt. “My brother and–and one of my closest advisors. They betrayed me, and drugged me, and dumped me out here, so they could tell everyone I was dead and claim the throne for themselves. I need help getting back to Ios, so I can force them to turn me back.”

The blue eyes turn calculating. “Help. In exchange for what?”

“I’m the king,” Damen says. “Whatever you want.”

“You don’t know the way back to your own capital?” the man says. “I think I’m the more convincing Damianos after all.”

“Of course I do,” Damen growls. It is actually a growl. It feels odd, but very satisfying. “But I can’t exactly walk back into the palace looking like this. Jokaste and Kastor–” another growl, on his brother’s name “–will have me killed on sight, and that’s if someone in the city doesn’t do it for them first. I need a disguise.”

“You mean a handler,” the man says. A vaguely sadistic note of pleasure has slid into his voice. “And a collar. Perhaps with a chain.”

“Perhaps,” Damen says. He’s not sure he likes the sound of that, but he’s able to see the logic in it; performing animals don’t usually stroll around without decoration or restraint. “Does that mean you’ll help me?”

“All right. Yes. You have a deal.”

Damen puts out an enormous paw. The man lays his palm over it without hesitation; Damen’s claws lie right over the vulnerable veins of his wrist. A shiver runs up Damen’s arm.

“Can I know your real name, now?” he says.

“Oh, of course.” The man steps back and inclines his upper body in a gorgeous and courtly mannerism. “Laurent. Of Vere.”

Damen swallows. Hard. “Oh.”

“Whatever I want, I think you said?” Prince Laurent of Vere smiles like a stream sparkling over jagged rocks. “Let’s start with Delfeur.”