i wanted to do a minimalist one and i quite like how this turned out

rainbow valley

Summary: “As I’ve made very clear, Detective,” says Treville, strained, “I don’t make it a habit of getting involved in my employees’ love lives. But considering this precinct’s utterly abysmal and somewhat dangerous track record, you really cannot fault me for being concerned when you walk into work with a split lip that was not present the night prior.”

“Track record?” asks Constance weakly, and God, this really has just been the weirdest conversation.

“Athos’s wife is a wanted criminal in twenty-two states who only last week evaded arrest yet again, d’Artagnan’s spent the better part of the past year pining after you, and Aramis has gone and fallen in love with the very married wife of a European nobleman who has somehow gotten himself accidentally involved with the Spanish mob!” 

“At least Porthos is doing alright,” offers Constance lamely. 

“Yes,” says Treville, looking harried. “There is that.”

I wrote a shameless fic for @hansolosbutt‘s modern detective b99 au about the circumstances surrounding the day after constance leaves bonaciuex, which we decided were basically exactly like that one post where that personal trainer’s students all commiserated and went together without telling her to retrieve her things from her asshole ex boyfriends house. a good post, friends. a very good post. also, constance’s last name is baudin bc fleur, her niece (?) had that last name and i needed a maiden name for her. also also, trigger warnings for very brief mention of domestic violence. anyways, here’s this thing. this truly is like … my favorite au on the planet, right now,

Constance has always thought that Captain Treville’s office is somewhat spartan in decor. The desk is almost always immaculately clean, the commendations on the wall completely aligned and straight in their frames, and the clock above the doorway minimalist on charitable days. Aside from the small rainbow flag sitting among his pencils (all perfectly sharpened, all neatly arranged), fitted into his favorite fleur-de-lis-patterned mug at the edge of the desk, there really isn’t anything in the office that makes it particularly warm or welcoming or personable. Constance remembers only a few months before when the poor guy Deputy Commissioner Richelieu had sent down from human resources came to discuss Porthos and Aramis’s (convoluted, nonsensical, wildly work-inappropriate) email chain; he had entered Treville’s office looking apprehensive and left looking somewhat concerned. Constance, who had been privy to The Email Chain only once over Aramis’s shoulder, knew that it had somehow devolved from its benign origins of subject line: check out this guy’s suspicious-looking mustache to classic French literature-related memes. Quite frankly, unless one was particularly well-versed in the minds of Detectives d’Herblay and du Vallon, any poor fool tasked with reading through such an atrocity would likely as not emerge somewhat traumatized.

Joubert’s apprehension, however, had been surprisingly directed towards Treville himself; he had meekly suggested on his way out of the captain’s office, fiddling nervously with the bottom of his tie, that maybe he might consider putting a couch with earth-toned upholstery in the corner, just to make the place feel more welcoming?

Trevill had blinked at him, uncomprehending.

Aramis, who’d been trying to distract Athos from where he had his nose buried in case files by flinging paperclips at him across the room, had said, “Flower-patterned would make it even more welcoming, don’t you think Captain?”

Porthos had choked on his own laugh. Athos, engrossed in his case files, had tried to drink out of the communal bullpen pushpin mug and started spluttering in a most undignified manner.

D’Artagnan, bless him, had been the one to finally take pity on the aggrieved Joubert, leading him out of the bullpen and straight into the elevator with a comforting pat on his shoulder and a cheerful, “Come again soon!”

Constance remains standing in front of Treville’s desk, now, noticing that he never did take Joubert’s advice into consideration and get an earth-toned couch installed in the corner.

(There is, however, a small framed photo of the squad from last year’s Christmas party, the lot of them grinning like doofuses at the camera and more than one of them with their eyes half closed, perched neatly on the far right of Treville’s computer, and Constance feels a trickle of warmth expand in her chest despite everything.)

The door to the office clicks shut behind them and Treville comes to stand behind his desk in front of Constance, looking uncharacteristically apprehensive.

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Arranged (V)

1 /2 / 3 / 4

Masterlist

A/N: Hate me all you want I still cranked something out. 

Word Count: 1663

Warnings: cursing, angst, probably a lil ooc bc I put this on hiatus for SEVEN MONTHS WHAT THE FUCK

Originally posted by stuckybarnesrogers

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The Other (Bucky x Reader) Part 1

Summary: Being a mutant with abilities is difficult enough, without having all this soulmate business to deal with in addition. Y/N meets hers in the least expectant place, but isn’t necessarily as thrilled as he’d hoped. However, a drastic turn of events require them to go to desperate measures to preserve what little they have.

Chapter List

Masterlist


Part One

You were hit with a blinding headache and you let out a loud groan. He quickly followed suit, and your ears went fuzzy.

You grabbed your gun with your other hand as fast as you could, and pointed it at him again. He was holding his in his human arm now, pointing it at you.

You looked at him and your gaze connected. You could see in his eyes that he knew, and you exhaled slowly.

“It’s you, isn’t it?” he asked, his voice was raw and husky.

“You’re one of them.”


Everyone’s was different. Well, actually, not quite. But we’ll get back to that. A circle, forever tattooed on the inside of the wrist. Some were big, some were small, but most were about the size of a relatively large coin.

The inside of the circle was blank. That’s the one thing everyone had in common. But the circle itself; the actual frame, that’s where the unique part came in. Everyone’s frame was different, matching only to their Other. Actually, no. That’s not entirely true. See, all humans had a black, grey, or white frame. Mutants, however had all sorts of colours decorating the Mark. Yours was fairly simple, but you didn’t mind. You were a minimalist, anyway.

Sometimes the inside of the circle would flash different colours; indicating the mood of your Other. That’s right, you were basically all tattooed with large mood-ring-equivalents on your wrist. But the mood-ring was fine compared to the Flashes. Every so often, you would get a sudden headache, where you couldn’t see anything around you. All you could see were glimpses of your Other’s sight. All that they saw, you could see. Only for a few seconds, though. The closer you were to meeting them, the more frequent the Flashes were.

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supercat week 3: day 2

Monday, April 17 – Dreams, anything involving dreams (e.g., sharing dreams, visions, alternate worlds, Black Mercy, etc.)

-

Odysseus

It starts with an uncomfortable feeling in her chest, sometime during the night and Cat can feel it constricting her so very, very tightly, but a dose of painkillers dulls it enough for her to return to sleep. But in the morning when she returns to CatCo, it burns incessantly. Cat knows that things have been stressful lately, what with Adam, however…

“I am not having a heart-attack,” she makes herself clear to James, who she is using as a balance right now. Concern is all over his face and he helps her sit down. “I’m not having a heart-attack.”

“I believe you,” James says, worry in his voice. He crouches and if Cat weren’t feeling so out of sorts she’d reprimand him.

She tries to distract herself. “Where’s Keira?”

James looks over to where Winn stands just inside her office, exchanging a glance that has Cat narrowing her eyes before she sees double- no, somewhere else. The sky is orange and Kara is holding some small object, obviously confused, a dark-haired woman behind her with her hand on her back. Cat stares for a moment, before her office flickers back into being.

“There’s something very wrong with me,” she whispers, before realising her skin is itching. Letting go of James finally, she pulls up her sleeve, sucking in a pained gasp. Where her soulmate’s Picture once rested was bare skin, the stencil of a face with red, blocked-in eyes gone. “What the hell? No, what’s happening to her?”

James speaks to her, but it’s as if he’s underwater and the constriction around her chest aches sharply for a few seconds before Cat is in that room again with Kara. She watches her hug a tall, salt-and-pepper haired man in a dark blue suit of some kind that matches the red-haired woman’s dress.

“Kara, what is happening?” Cat interrupts their little reunion, causing Kara to spin around, eyes wide.

“Ms Grant! How- how are you here?”

“First, tell me where here is,” she looks around more, not quite deciding whether or not she appreciates the minimalist décor. “The sky is orange, so I’m going to assume this is not Earth, despite how I was in my office only a brief moment ago.”

“This is Krypton,” Kara says nervously, before the man and woman step in front of her.

“Who are you and how did you get in here?” The man questions, “This is a private set of apartments, reserved for the House of El.”

Cat ignores him, looking at Kara, who presses past him. “Father, this is my- Cat, this is Cat Grant. She’s from Earth. She’s a friend.”

“You know, Keira, both Superman and Supergirl are both insistent that Krypton exploded,” Cat says in a reserved tone, causing Kara to nod shakily.

“I don’t know what’s going on. How are you even here?”

“I don’t know, but I do know that something is going very, very wrong with me.” She looks to her still rolled-up sleeve, Kara gasping at the lack of face. “Pictures don’t just disappear, Kara…” and that’s when Cat suddenly realises something very important about Kara’s appearance.

When Kara had first come to her that Tuesday morning at ten fifteen, one of the first things she noticed after the bright purple sweater, glasses and golden blonde hair was the writing all over her body. The English alphabet was sewn over her skin, making hundreds of thousands of tiny, tiny words and sentences, quoting both classics and new novels, some that Cat had even read.

Here, Kara’s skin is clear, completely Blank.

“What happened to you?” She almost reels back, but instead takes a step forwards as Kara’s brows knit together, before her eyes trail to her hands, widening at the sight of them. She grips them, shoving up her sleeves and pulling up her floor-length skirt briefly, to the shocked noises of her father and – presumably – mother.

“Kara, do not be so undignified!” The woman orders, looking horrified on Kara’s behalf, even as the blonde rushes over to Cat, taking her hands in an oddly close gesture. Like every time they touch, Cat can feel the heat of her, an omnipresent warmth that she knows she could take advantage of if ever reason called for it – though it never did.

“What’s going on? What’s happening to us?”

“I don’t know, Kara, but this can’t- isn’t, real. If this is Krypton,” Cat holds Kara’s hands tightly, only loosening her grip when Kara makes a pained face, jerking in her hold slightly, “then it has to be fake. I don’t know how you’ve done it, but you’ve got us stuck in this fake world-”

And then everything disappears, her office coming back into focus. Her employees are at the entrance to her office, Winn keeping them back as James speaks to her urgently.

“Cat, Cat, speak to me-”

“What happened?” Cat questions even as the tightness around her chest abates suddenly, leaving a kind of hole she can’t explain. Looking to her arm in paranoia, Cat becomes boneless in her chair at the little stencil reappearing. “Thank god.”

“Cat, are you okay?” James questions, the care in his voice only barely preventing Cat from snapping at him as she gets to her feet, plans swirling in her mind.

“Back to work,” she orders her employees at the door, “I’m fine. Someone call my driver. James, you’re in charge for the rest of the day.” Picking up her phone and gathering the rest of her things into her handbag, she texts Kara. That had better been because of some alien superpower regarding soulmates rather than because something was trying to kill you. Again.

“Ms Grant, are you sure you don’t need to go to a hospital?” James questions, causing Cat to wave him off.

“I’m fine. Make sure CatCo is running smoothly while I take the day off. Winn has my passwords.” Leaving quickly, Cat looks to her phone, watching it the entire time down her elevator. Kara doesn’t reply until she’s well on her way to her penthouse.

Are you okay?

Cat replies quickly. Yes. Tell me what happened.

It was the black mercy. My uncle sent it to kill me. It puts you into a dream world and slowly sucks the life out of you. My sister said my Pictures had faded while under.

At that, Cat shivers. Pictures are sacred, Pictures- Cat doesn’t reply via text, actually calling. Kara picks up immediately.

I’m sorry.

“Don’t be,” Cat shakes her head. “That little dream sequence revealed to me exactly who you are.”

“…Ms Grant, I’m sorry I lied-”

“No, no, lie all you want, Keira, I just thought that you might have trusted me more, before this.” Cat grips her phone tightly, shutting her eyes as theories flash through her head. “But that doesn’t quite matter right now, I don’t think. What does matter is how I was drawn in, in the first place. That white mercy-”

Black mercy.

“-tried to kill you and your Pictures started fading, but so did mine and I was pulled into your dream.”

There’s a short silence before Kara replies. “We should talk about this in person.

“I agree, soulmate,” Cat says, voice not as bitter as she wants it to be and far softer. She hears Kara suck in a breath on the other end of the line as she feels her marks start to fade, seeing them disappear on her arms and legs. Her neck itches and she takes her pocket-mirror out of her handbag, opening it in time to see the ink turn red. A diamond sits in her clavicle, full of little lines and squares, surrounded by a symmetrical border of curved lines and arrows.

Oh.

“Do you have the same as me?” Cat murmurs.

I felt it appear on my back. I think it’s pretty big, but not a full portrait? More like…like lines.

“Mmm,” Cat says before hanging up and taking a picture of her chest, easily visible due to the deep V of her shirt. Sending it to Kara seems strange and vaguely perverse – she’s her assistant still, nothing has been properly organised so they can’t call her incompetent and-

Kara’s calling again. Cat picks up. “So?”

We’ve got the location on my uncle. I’m going after him, but we’ll talk later?”

Cat blinks in surprise, mouth opening in slightly shock. “What?”

I have to go. I’ll float in front of your penthouse window tonight.” And then she hangs up. Cat looks at her phone in disbelief before glaring, clenching her jaw.

“Steven! Get me home, double-time!”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Take ‘em Off

A smutty story in which Harry and y/n share everything… however, Harry wants his favorite shirt back. When he makes her take it off, things sorta escalate from there. 

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Mad Max: Not Your Fight, Not Your Victory

The following is a guest essay/review/ramble about the Mad Max series by my fiancé Ryan Stevenson, a teacher/writer/filmmaker with a lot of thoughts about the movies that he mostly keeps to himself. He free-wrote his thoughts today after our viewing of Fury Road, and I thought they turned out to be substantial enough to warrant a place on the internet somewhere, so, here they are. 

-Lauren Wilford

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.

-The Bhagavad-Gita

Fury Road plays your sympathetic nervous system like a slide guitar. Fury Road makes every fiber of your body scream GO! for exactly two hours on the dot. Fury Road is somehow both wild, indulgent excess, where everything goes obscenely beyond what is necessary, and a razor-sharp, drum-tight, whistle-clean cinematic machine without an ounce of fat on its bones.

Needless to say I loved it. A few students and friends urged me to go see it, and asked what I thought of it, and Iʼm still processing it, so Iʼm writing it all out here. I havenʼt read any reviews yet, and a lot of this is probably stuff other people have already said better than I will. I donʼt know where to start so Iʼll just list some stray observations at first. Itʼs going to ramble a bit because Iʼve got limited time (and have been reading a lot of David Foster Wallace, which is probably rubbing off on me).

Tension

As much as I love unexpected eye-of-the-storm scenes—sudden, surreal slacking of tension for a moment of sanctuary and introspection and mystical sights—I love that this movie has precisely zero of those scenes. It has moments of quiet, but these intensify rather than assuage the anguish and urgency. The image of Immortan Joeʼs horrid Car-mada shimmering through the heatwaves on the horizon, while Max and Furiosa stare each other down in a grunting, grudging standoff, provides a textbook example of how to take tense stillness and ratchet it up into nightmarish paralysis. Again, you could feel a hundred people straining against plush seats and silently screaming GO! JUST GO!

Madness

Tom Hardy is arguably the first to put the “Mad” in Max. Mel Gibson can do arguably the most effective crazy-eye of any leading man in the history of cinema. But until now, Mad Max has been an ironic nickname—no matter how crazy his eye or his hairstyle, Gibsonʼs Max seems almost frustrated to keep finding himself one of the sanest men in a world gone utterly nuts. The opening lines of Fury Road hit this nail right on the head for us, leaving the rest of the film for Max to go full-Macbeth-mad, half-blinded by the squeak and gibber of sprites showing what was, is, and shalt be.

(I wonder if Iʼm the only one wishing Hardy had been cast as the tortured king instead of Michael Fassbender. Then again, Iʼm guilty of wishing every leading role today would go to Tom Hardy.)

All that being said, thereʼs also a part of me that wishes that aging, wild-eyed, socially- disgraced Mel Gibson had been brought back to play Max again in this film—his prodigious talent and prodigious baggage would have both made this new, tortured Max even more fascinating, and his transformation even more powerful.

Motion

Ridley Scott et al. have already authored the handbook on how to adjust the shutter for expressionistic effect, not just illusory deceit, in action scenes. Undercranking/fast motion has, like shutter angle, been used for years to subtly and imperceptibly add speed and spice to combat. But as far as I can tell, itʼs always been surreptitious “movie magic” (boy do I hate that expression), an under-the-table, wink-wink, I-wonʼt-tell-if-you-wonʼt transaction with the viewer, a pact to suspend disbelief and give the filmmakers a break. Old cinema hands appreciate the sleight of hand and feel superior about it, wide-eyed rubes donʼt even know itʼs happening.

Fury Road is the first film Iʼve seen, outside of Chaplinesque comedy, where fast motion is used without apology and without disguise. Because the whole apparatus of cinematic motion is an illusion anyway, right? Time is always being manipulated in an action movie, in order to throw our metabolism into high gear for a few hours, to give us a rush. Usually this is pulled off through quick cutting (which there are some stunning examples of here). Miller has just taken this to the logical conclusion, and rather than trimming out unnecessary shots, heʼs just giving us a fraction of the frames weʼre used to seeing. Because thatʼs what we want, right? We want things to go fast? Here you go. Things go fast now. Itʼs brilliant. Itʼs metacinematic. And it works like gangbusters. Your nervous system doesnʼt care that itʼs unrealistic, even if your thinking brain notices the trick.

Modernism/Sincerity

So much nonsense is spread around film schools and critical circles about “taking people out of the moment,” “ruining the illusion,” and so on by calling attention to the camera or the cutting or the film style. Fury Road shows just how little that matters. Itʼs an art film, really, because like all modernist art it demands, at all times, that you think about it as a movie, as an illusion, as the handiwork of a team of humans behind the curtain. Your brain knows that the whole time, and it doesnʼt matter one bit to your body. Youʼre still all-in and amped-up.

The nearest recent analogy here is Joe Wrightʼs Anna Karenina, which pulls off the same trick of intellectual meta-artistic alienation and simultaneous total emotional investment.

Maybe this is going to be one of the great productive problems of 21st century art and letters, actually. How do we learn the lessons of modernism and postmodernism, and stop hiding our tools and authorship, while letting go of some of the wry irony and cynicism of the late 20th century and using art sincerely again, for emotional and moral catharsis, even while acknowledging the artifice of the medium?

Music

The score! Itʼs like George Crumb on crack, Philip Glass on methamphetamine, Terry Riley with tachycardia. The minimalist repetitions are less like an entrancing mantra and more like tweaking out, scratching a compulsive itch. Itʼs more intense than any score Iʼve heard lately, but it doesnʼt overpower, interrupt, announce itself like Hans Zimmerʼs score to, say, Interstellar (or anything really). Itʼs just barely keeping up with the frenetic image track. Anything less would be left in the dust by the rip-roaring editing and the titanic framings. It wails and dips, shrieks and shivers, moans and cackles, whispers compulsively and shouts profanely, judders around like a rusty wind-up toy or a daddy longlegs on a bad trip. Iʼm writing this while I listen to it, which is probably why my prose is all over the place.

Limits/Creativity/Ambition/Expectations/Standards

At the end of the movie, Lauren turned to me and said something to the extent of “that was amazing” (or something, but it was more eloquent than that, clearly my poor memory of this exchange has something to do with the fight-or-flight state we were both in). And I said something like, “yeah, it was certainly pretty good” (or something, but it was no more eloquent than that).

Iʼm trying to figure out why I said that. Obviously my expectations were already really high, and I think itʼs because Fury Road didnʼt completely blow my mind and shatter my sense of cinemaʼs potential. And I think there are two reasons for that.

First, I think itʼs because I had seen the previous three Mad Max movies this week and Fury Road, to me, seems like no more or less than the natural destination for that uneven, weird and wonderful journey, the culmination of Dr. Millerʼs decades of brilliant, twisted, often-abominable, frequently doomed-to-failure experimentation in film form and content.

Fury Road is not an exception or a reinvention or an improvement to the original Mad Max movies, so much as a Mad Max movie where all the parts actually work, and thereʼs enough money to pay for all the gear and manpower it needs. Where the Marlovian over-reaching hubris of George Miller, deliberately denied its demands for decades, instantly gets everything it always wanted and knew it deserved.

Students and colleagues know that I have a self-imposed limitation for myself, sort of like one of Lars von Trierʼs Rules of Chastity. I never want my resources to exceed my skills, or my technology to exceed my talent. I want to make sure I earn, with years of frustrated labor, every bit of upgraded gear I buy. I want to struggle against, and even hate, the limits of the equipment I have, so that Iʼm forced to be creative with it, use it for unwarrantied, off-label applications, and generally make the most of it, suck every ounce of life out of it, and drive it into the ground before I graduate to the next thing. Iʼve found that this makes me a poorer technician, and often poorer crew worker, because Iʼm never up to date, but a better artist because it stretches me.

After watching this series, Iʼm tempted to call this the George Miller Path to Artistic Excellence. Every one of the original Mad Max movies has the deck stacked against it, either by circumstance or money or the constraints of the medium or by knowingly- unreasonable directorial ambition. That is, if the deck wasnʼt stacked against Miller from the get-go, it seems like he restacked it until it was. Every time, I think he looked at his gear, his budget, his crew, and his own talent and expertise, and said to himself, not “what can I do with this,” but “what can I just barely NOT quite manage to do with this,” and then tried to do that. Thatʼs how I work, too.

I think the second reason I wasnʼt totally overwhelmed is because I saw Snowpiercer last year, which already elevated my expectations of what an action movie could do, artistically and imaginatively and narratively and rhythmically and neurochemically and socio-politico-morally. Fury Road pulls off the same stunt a second time, and helps establish that the first experiment wasnʼt a fluke, that the results are valid because theyʼre repeatable. The greater reach and success of Fury Road (I think? Seems like itʼs more well-known, anyway) means that no one can claim they didnʼt get the memo on the new standards for action filmmaking. It sets the bar a whole lot higher for everyone. I dearly hope this provides the competition, check, and corrective the superhero industry so badly needs. I hope it lights a fire under Marvel, in particular—makes it get off its butt and hustle to keep up.

Watching The Avengers: Age of Ultron this week was actually the perfect palate cleanser. Hereʼs the best that mainstream action-adventure movies, as we know them, can offer in 2015. Now hereʼs Fury Road.

Lauren rightly observed that Fury Road makes The Avengers look like a TV show with a generous effects budget. Except a few sort of obvious hey-all-the-protagonists-are-in-the-same-frame-right-now moments, thereʼs not a lot of powerful iconography generated within the the eighteen-hours-or-whatever running time of Age of Ultron. In Fury Road, thereʼs not a frame wasted on anything that isnʼt a perfectly-composed, never-before-seen image that takes full advantage of the complete toolkit of cinema, both historic and modern, practical and intellectual.

If thereʼs anything that separates movies from TV these days, I think thatʼs probably it. The extent of the deliberate cinematic craftsmanship of each moment thatʼs expected of a film—in addition to writing and storytelling, which a TV show can do as well or better. (And it probably means that a lot of TV shows are really more like cinema—The Knick being my favorite example—and a WHOLE lot of movies, indies especially, are really more like TV episodes. Itʼs probably a flawed definition in the first place, but those are my feelings, in this year of my life at least.)

Urgency

And not to keep bashing The Avengers, but the theme of last nightʼs conversation was how come we donʼt care what happens to Iron Man really, but are apoplectic with fear for the fate of Furiosa and four or five girls weʼve only known for fifteen minutes. I think this is because getting to know and love a character over time offers, in the end, a weaker jolt than the more purely mechanical effect of clearly establishing real danger and real stakes in the script.

It’s because the Marvel movies are basically just cartoons, and because we know that even supporting characters probably wonʼt meet with difficult or unhygienic deaths, and because we know that the main characters are going to be fine because theyʼre starring in movies we already know the names of, to be released five or ten years from now. This led Lauren and me into a digression about Game of Thrones killing its lead characters without warning, etc., which I think actually helps establish a more ethical, decentralized, community-minded view of the world for the viewer, etc.

Iʼd say the same thing about Fury Road. Max might not die, but he might, and everyone else is absolutely fair game. And above all, fates that are physically and existentially much worse than death are very plausibly advertised to, and visited upon, lots of characters in this movie and in this series. We REALLY donʼt want those things to happen, and our brains are straining pretty hard to will those things not to happen.

And thatʼs not just a thrill ride for us to enjoy, but a pretty damning moral exercise, because itʼs impossible not to step out of this movie and realize that to a greater or lesser degree, the exaggerated torments of the post-apocalyptic world are actually happening, on micro and macro scales, in our own neighborhoods. I donʼt know if we really have global supervillains like Loki or Hydra or Ultron to worry about in our immediate daily lives (some of my libertarian friends will likely disagree with me there). But in our own immediate local communities, we do have dangerous patriarchal fallacies, and sexual abuses on a wide scale, and toxic narratives about war and combat and the glories of “Valhalla” and manning up, and itʼs all surprisingly recognizable even in a fabulous, allegorical format. Itʼs all stuff that, like Max, we slowly realize weʼre standing right in the middle of. The moral spotlight is on us, weʼre not anonymous, weʼre not bystanders who are just passing through. And we actually can, and therefore must, do something about this stuff, about the behavior of the very people we know immediately around us.

The particular moral trumpet-call for each viewer is probably different, but the thing that spoke to me most directly was the character Nuxʼs storyline. As someone who works with a lot of adolescent guys, caught between notions of boyhood and manhood (and to make matters potentially more confusing, growing up in a world teetering slowly and very unevenly from patriarchy towards feminism as the prevailing ideology), Nux struck me as a very accurate portrait. A passionate, impressionable, sincere young guy who takes the more habitual, or sensible, or involuntary conservatism of his elders, and whips it up into partisan extremism, dark anger, and shows of machismo, feeling that itʼs his ticket to the adultsʼ table. To see Nux fired up, broken down, and relearning what heroism can and should look like in a freer, healthier world is inspiring stuff. Itʼs particularly reassuring for an educator to see that guys like this can—and do, and will— grow up and turn out OK.

The tremendous amount of sympathy and dignity Fury Road offers Nux, while still revealing the immaturity and insufficiency of his view of the world, sets it apart from being just a hateful feminist screed against manhood qua manhood (I think fewer of these exist than a lot of people fear, but whatever), and makes me take the movie much more seriously as a work striving for total empathy (which is what I’d say drama is ultimately for).

Passivity

On the subjects of dark anger and shows of machismo, though: I havenʼt read it yet, but I understand that thereʼs an article out there written by a Menʼs Rights Activist-type (or possibly Christian Complementarian Godly-masculinity type) who is mightily cheesed off about Fury Road. Specifically, that Mad Max himself is routinely playing second fiddle to Imperator Furiosa, and is practically a guest-star in his own movie, and spends most of his time getting put in unpleasant binds, literally and figuratively, rather than kicking a lot of ass.

Iʼm not going to dignify this with a lot of comment about why female characters deserve as much agency in films as men do, because everyone knows I think that and everyone I know thinks that and we should hold that truth to be self-evident by now.

But I do think itʼs a point worth addressing, not only from a feminist-standpoint, but from a Mad-Max-standpoint—which I think any purported fan of Mad Max, feminist or not, should be able to get behind.

Messiness

Iʼll backtrack a little to build up to this argument. This week I saw all three original Mad Max films for the first time. In spite of what you may hear about Fury Road standing alone, I do strongly recommend seeing the first three first (if youʼre over 18 and/or have a particularly strong stomach for gore and grotesquerie).

The movies are just nuts, theyʼre all over the place, theyʼre a mess, and I feel a very tender affection for them. The first one barely makes narrative sense at all and is better enjoyed as if it were a Godard film or something. The second, The Road Warrior, (aka “the one people have actually seen,” I guess) is self-evidently strong on its own merits without me needing to point them out, but is also deeply weird and unsettling and misshapen in subtle ways. (The preponderance of leather chaps and dearth of pants, for one. Lauren calls this installment Ass Max.) The third, Beyond Thunderdome, didnʼt even start out as a Mad Max story on the page, Max just got grandfathered in (which, I think, is significant).

Theyʼre all three pretty weird. Itʼs hard to know who theyʼre meant for—kids? adults? The third in particular gets infected with Spielberg-Goonies-1980s childish whimsy in its action scenes, but forgets to clean up the gore and existential body-horror that would make such a change remotely appropriate for young audiences.

In the end, theyʼre, objectively, maybe not very good, and certainly wildly inconsistent, both intra- and inter-movie. But they remind me of the many other crazy, probably not objectively-always-great, undeniably-visionary series I love, series that also have no consistency, no polish or professionalism, and too many wild aspirations for artistic greatness.

The Mad Max movies are certainly heirs of Sergio Leoneʼs Dollars Trilogy, evident in their wandering, taciturn protagonist, stunning desert cinematography, etc. (and Beyond Thunderdome cribs from Lawrence of Arabiaʼs visuals a lot, on that note). But also in the way the cast and characters get recycled, transmogrified, redeployed out of context. Bruce Spence is an aircraft pilot in the third Mad Max movie who both seems like he sort of is but then definitely isnʼt the same pilot from the second movie, like Lee Van Cleef playing the pretty menacing ultimately-good-guy Mortimer in For a Few Dollars More but then playing the fascinating but-wholly-bad Angel Eyes in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Gian Maria Volonté does the same thing with two wholly unrelated main characters in the first two Dollars movies.

And in the way that Clint Eastwoodʼs Man with No Name is actually a man with three names (Joe, Manco, Blondie), one for each film, and may or may not be the same continuous personality from movie to movie. In a way, the three movies make more sense if heʼs just a repeated concept of a character who gets into three similar but ultimately non-continuous adventures in three parallel universes or something (which are evidently populated by various Lee Van Cleefs and Gian Maria Volontés).

I like to think that Mad Max is might be a similar stock type, played three times by Mel Gibson but maybe not entirely the same character each time, getting into various scrapes in three separate instantiations of what post-apocalyptic Australia might look like. And as if to cement this interpretation for Fury Road, Miller follows Leone in recasting the primary antagonist from the first movie, Hugh Keays-Byrne, as a totally different primary antagonist in the fourth film.

The Mad Max movies also resemble the Alien series, in that each movie works hard to undermine the world built by the director of the last movie and replace it with something that the current director finds more applicable to the problems of our time. Except that Mad Max is all directed by the same guy who just keeps changing his mind and gets more money to work with each time. (Another similarity with the Alien series.) And like the Alien movies, Miller seems to struggle each time to figure out who his movie is for, what genre it belongs in (if any), what contemporary trends it should imitate (theme songs? saxophones? slapstick? kiddie stuff? Tina Turner?), whether it should be darkly funny (like Alien 4) or or somberly meditative (Alien 3) or horrific (1) or straight-up action-packed (2), and so on and so forth.

As many of my students and colleagues know, I love any movie thatʼs a big awful mess, where the seams and patches are showing, because that prompts me to think about the process of creation, about ambition, about intention and execution, about vision, about art frankly. Mad Max movies offer these meditations in spades, and on top of that are exciting and visually breathtaking and above all, a little like many other things, but ultimately like nothing else. Which is another way for an artwork to earn its place in the canon, for me—if nothing else is quite like it.

Passivity 2

But perhaps the thing I love most about Mad Max is that “a Mad Max movie” means not so much that Mad Max is the protagonist, or that heʼs even on screen very much, but that it takes place in a certain world (or rather, one instantiation of a certain type of world). And Mad Max himself is, increasingly as the series goes on, merely one citizen of that world, a world that he keeps discovering is bigger than he imagined.

And it becomes clear, slowly, that Maxʼs place in that world is both more important and less important than he might think. I think this makes a great statement about cinema— about narrative, about the whole notion of protagonists in the first place—and about what individual human action is and isnʼt worth in the real world.

In the first movie, Mad Max is barely there (much less Mad, a description he only gets a minute from the end credits) for probably the first forty minutes, a fact that most summaries of the film conveniently forget when they recount the fifteen-minute quest for revenge that provides the most memorable (because most nearly intelligible) straightforward plot in the film. In the second film, The Road Warrior, Max is a jaded self-serving survivalist who happens to wander into a conflict between townsfolk and bandits, and gradually becomes enmeshed in it, until itʼs obvious that neither circumstance nor conscience will allow him to stand idly by. Itʼs very much a samurai story or gunslinger story or Han Solo story. Importantly, though, even after he does his (significant but not irreplaceable) part in saving the townsfolk, he cannot be part of their world, and disappears into the sunset like so many of his archetypal forbearers. In the end, we even realize that it was never his story—the opening voiceover belongs to an unexpected character, and we were really telling the story of this character and his people, not Max himself, the whole time.

In the third film, heʼs hailed as a possible savior by two very different communities—one ruthlessly mercantile and industrial, one primitive and tribal—but is reluctant to take on either messianic mantle, neither of which turn out to be a good fit anyway. In the end, his actions manage to help steer both communities towards safety and stability, but sort of by accident, and the real peace comes from the actions of two complex, visionary women (Tina Turner and that tribal girl who provides the end narration) who each pull civilization up by its bootstraps and reinvent history itself.

Both The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome are classical epics, really, each concerned with the founding and fate of a nation, led by an extraordinary, visionary hero. But Max is never this hero, nor is it his nation. And he plays an even less active role in Beyond Thunderdome than in The Road Warrior, left more and more to nurse his own psychological wounds, and marvel at the ingenuity and fortitude of mankind, which continues to survive and thrive produce new heroes in spite of his action or inaction.

(Meta-cinematically, behind the scenes, Beyond Thunderdome was a story Miller wanted to tell, about the tribe of feral youngsters reinaugurating the cycle of human history, and Mad Max himself was, as much as anything, a convenient and financially-viable pretext to tell that story. He literally stumbles into the tribeʼs story and stumbles out of it again. He realizes that nothing thatʼs happening is ultimately for, or about, him, as much as it might appear to be at first. And, appropriately, the film itself was never really meant to be about him anyway.)

On-screen, over the course of three films, Max comes to realize simultaneously that no man is an island (in spite of his efforts to withdraw from civilization entirely, the moral demands of the world come find him and force him to give a damn about other people if he wants to survive) while simultaneously coming to the uncomfortable realization that he is not special or indispensable.

This is why, for me, Fury Road is the perfect culmination of Maxʼs arc (again, allowing for the fact that this particular postapocalyptic Australia-or-wherever might not be precisely the same as before, and this Max neither comes before nor after Gibsonʼs but might exist parallel to him. That is, Fury Road must come after Beyond Thunderdome in the myth cycle, but may not have any specific relationship to it on an ordered, linear timeline. Itʼs hard to precisely date, or even order, any installment. (The Dollars trilogy has the same fascinating problems.)

By Fury Road, Max is even more psychologically scarred, even more withdrawn and focused on survival at any cost, and even less the savior everyone expects. He spent much of Beyond Thunderdome trapped, bound, hanging from chains, held at gunpoint, and otherwise powerless and incapacitated, and Fury Road takes his sufferings and indignities to new levels.

Max has always been a character that things happen to, rather than a character who makes things happen. Heʼs perhaps the most consistently passive action hero I can think of. The fact that he plays second fiddle to Charlize Theronʼs Furiosa is not so much some sinister feminist coup as a natural continuation of this tendency.

As in The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome, thereʼs not much Max wants in Fury Road besides his freedom, his relative physical safety, and a vehicle fast enough to help him maintain these. But as in the earlier movies, the road to independence and safety merges unavoidably with the path towards altruism and duty, and Max finds himself traveling on both for a few miles before realizing that community is its own kind of freedom, and duty is its own reward. When the time comes, he neglects to take the exit ramp to solitary safety, and throws in his lot with the community for a little while.

This means, though, that Max is always arriving a little late to the party. His arrival definitely changes things, and when he throws his resources into the pool, it suddenly makes possible certain risky schemes the community was cooking up before his arrival. “Hereʼs a guy who could help us drive the gasoline rig and break Humungusʼ siege.” “Hereʼs a guy who could defeat Blaster in the Thunderdome and undermine the pig- plant strike.” “Hereʼs a guy who could lead us to Tomorrow-Morrow land and back to civilization.” “Hereʼs a guy who could co-pilot the war rig while I deal with the bikers so we can get the wives to the Green Place. Max might be the man for the job.” (In at least half of these situations, Max is actually not quite the right man after all.)

In any case, the communities are far from powerless before Max arrives. He doesnʼt take any time to enlighten their savagery or perform feats they were too weak or naive to accomplish. He just pitches in, usually after much cajoling and bargaining. And when the community succeeds, itʼs not about Max. Itʼs their victory, because it was their suffering, their plan, their bravery, and their struggle and sacrifice that pulled it off.

True, Max did what was asked of him (usually a little less)—initially for reward, but ultimately because he acknowledged some inner sense of fellowship, empathy, conscience, humanity.

But this admission of common humanity is not a supererogatory heroic feat deserving of accolades and parades. Itʼs whatʼs asked of everyone equally. Itʼs the debt everyone owes everyone else from the moment weʼre born. Youʼre not special for doing it. Youʼre just doing your duty.

Thatʼs what the series is about, if you ask me.

By Fury Road, Max knows this drill. He doesnʼt expect to have to go through it again (privately, he really would rather be left alone with his own demons). But heʼs game. And it would be pretty senseless, tactically, for him to barge in and pretend he knows better than the people who designed the operation in the first place. (I guess I should go ahead and say “mansplain” here.)

I guess this is all to say I donʼt know what alternative the mens-rights or complementarian types would propose which wouldnʼt be, from a military standpoint, pretty dumb.

I think these guys are upset that it seems like itʼs almost Furiosaʼs movie, even though itʼs called Mad Max. They feel like they didnʼt get what it said on the package label, and didnʼt get what they paid for. What they paid for, they think, was a movie in which a man named Max is mad, and drives a dangerous car.

The fact is, though, it seems like itʼs almost Furiosaʼs movie because it IS Furiosaʼs movie. The same way Mad Max was Jim Gooseʼs movie as much as anything, and The Road Warrior was the Kidʼs origin story, and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is a sort of positive spin on Lord of the Flies written by George Miller that just happens to borrow the name Mad Max, and had to borrow Max himself along with it.

In other words, no Mad Max movie is ultimately about Mad Max. “Mad Max” is just what we call movies about duty and community set in a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland with skinheads driving souped-up murder cars.

Allies

With all this in mind, it occurs to me that Fury Road could be the closest thing we have to a handbook for how men should relate to the feminist movement (or white people to racial equality movements, and so on). Itʼs your fight, but remember that itʼs their fight. Itʼs on you, but itʼs not for you. Their victory will be good for you, too, in the end, but you donʼt do it because itʼs good for you. Do it because itʼs good for them. And do it because itʼs just how things should be.

Along the same lines, Fury Road is the perfect antidote to the bad aftertaste left by white savior fantasies like Avatar.

And really, the whole series is great for this stuff—again, The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome do exactly the same thing. To my mind, the only shortsightedness of the feminist hoopla surrounding Fury Road is that the Mad Max series has pretty much always had a great track record with this sort of thing, and Fury Road both is and isnʼt something special to celebrate.

It maybe just took Fury Road to make us realize that allyship—which I guess Iʼd define, in this case, as consenting to the dawning moral realization that you should, and must, subject your own needs and privileges and rights to fight for something that will not chiefly benefit you, and for which moreover you deserve no special credit for helping to bring about—is what Mad Max has always been about, to greater and greater extents as the series goes on.

(As I write this, I have just gotten into a short discussion with world-class barista and notoriously hard-to-please cinephile Lucas Alvarez, who gives Fury Road a 6 out of 10, partly because he doesnʼt feel the Max of Fury Road fills the shoes left by the Mel Gibson Max of the Road Warrior. I just told him what Iʼm trying to tell you, and he sees my point. But I guess this means the decentralization of Max as protagonist strikes other viewers as strange and unduly passive, even if theyʼre not menʼs-rights or complementarian types. Lucas, a feminist, also doesnʼt see why Fury Road gets so much press for being a feminist work when thereʼs a lot more feminist work out there and Fury Road could certainly be a lot more explicitly feminist than it is. My point is mostly that if a movie thatʼs pretty much just straight action scenes for can still manage to speak to concerns about patriarchal society and give its female characters agency and independence, without breaking a sweat, then that certainly sets the bar a lot higher for movies that have the luxury of long dialogue scenes and whatnot. I think whatʼs most feminist about Fury Road is that itʼs pretty ordinary and commonsensical in its treatment of male and female characters. If that looks hyperfeminist, that says a lot about the regressiveness of the films being released alongside it, and about us as consumers, who have been blithely accepting such films for so long. It sure makes Marvelʼs whole “hey we have Black Widow weʼve got lady concerns in our movies too” gambit look pretty paltry in comparison.)

(I guess Iʼd say that Fury Road is a feminist film insofar as itʼs the sort of story that would be more or less standard mainstream entertainment if we lived in a more equal society. The fact that we think itʼs really weird and wild and original in its treatment of gender just shows how unequal our society still is.)

Combat

This is a side point about female action heros and such, another thing Fury Road handles remarkably well. Nowadays at least, it tends to read pretty well when female characters have to fight a bunch of male antagonists (in films like Kill Bill, for example). We understand it as both a narrative necessity (bad guys prevent heroine from getting what she wants or needs, threaten her physical safety, she deals with them accordingly) and as a productive thought-provoking metaphor for the state of gender relations at large (in which bad guys stand in for forces of oppression and heroine stands in for the struggles of all women to be themselves, achieve personal goals, etc.)

But what to do when male characters must fight women? Doesnʼt this get tangled up with issues of violence against women, domestic violence, and so on? Isnʼt it irresponsible to put such a thing on screen?

Itʼs a problem thatʼs often invoked, in good faith, by feminists, and in bad faith by patriarchal male thinkers. (I call it bad faith because itʼs not so much that they care about the question itself, but because they chiefly want to find as many reasons as possible why we shouldnʼt have female action heros, or female soldiers in real-world combat, or women taking martial arts lessons, or whatever, and they think this is one of them.)

The most explicit unpacking of this conundrum Iʼve seen lately was in the climax of 22 Jump Street, although they didnʼt offer many progressive solutions to it, and ended up being paralyzed by the charactersʼ regressive attitudes. And there are other films that have male heroes engaged in combat with female villains, or female characters engaged in combat with male characters for other reasons (I feel like Black Widow in the Marvel films fights some superhero at some point). But every time Iʼve seen it, the film has made some effort to call attention to the fact that the character is a girl, and that that means violence against her is in someway a transgression of proper boundaries (even if itʼs a necessary one from a plot standpoint).

In all cases, the film goes way out of its way to show that the hero is conflicted about having to punch a lady, because sheʼs fragile and it would be unchivalrous, and so on. The film also goes way out of its way to show, and tell, that the woman is a woman, in case somehow you missed that part. Sheʼll have some wisecrack about being a girl, sheʼll break a nail and get upset, sheʼll be wearing some hyperfeminine (usually highly sexualized) outfit, or sheʼll just make a lot of yelps and whimpers at key moments to make the audience worry that the evil damsel is in too much distress. Or the whole business is played for comedy, which is usually worse in the end.

Iʼm trying to think of other examples, but none come to mind: Maxʼs fistfight with Furiosa might be the ONLY time Iʼve ever seen a male protagonist fight a female combatant on screen without hearing the filmmakers tee-heeing about it from behind the camera. Without the female character in some way being framed as a victim and the male one as a transgressor. Without the female character appearing waiflike or fragile or histrionic or hormonal, or alternatively, brutish and horrifying and somehow abominable because sheʼs too much like a man or something. Without the filmmakers implying that the male characterʼs very manhood is on the line if he either wins too unchivalrously, or loses too abjectly.

But this is a lot of patriarchal crap, so Miller just ignores it and barges through it. By staging and shooting this fight straight, impartially, and above all, well, Miller manages to neither apologize for nor sidestep the issue. He reveals it to be fundamentally a non-issue. Max fights Furiosa because he wants the truck, and because she canʼt let him take it. So they beat the tar out of each other. Thereʼs no chivalry, thereʼs no quarter, thereʼs no quipping, thereʼs no hand-wringing, thereʼs no irony, thereʼs no apology, thereʼs no allegory, thereʼs no sexual tension. And it makes us wonder why any of us felt we needed any of that in the first place.

(Once again, though, the groundwork for this was laid pretty well in Beyond Thunderdome, when Max decides he needs to knock out the young female leader of the tribe of children. Thereʼs a brief twinge of uncertainty on Maxʼs face, as though heʼs just realized sheʼs a girl, and is embarrassed to even be in such a situation where heʼd have to punch a girl, but then he sort of shrugs himself out of it, as if to say, well, I was already about to knock this person out, why does it make any difference to me that sheʼs female?)

Romance

On the subject of sexual tension, this is another thing I totally love about the Mad Max movies: except for his wife in the first film, Max never has a love interest. The movies never even play up a will-they-or-wonʼt-they tension between Max and a female character.

This is not to say that we as the viewers donʼt automatically think that any time we see a reasonably attractive female character on screen, Max is likely to notice her and weʼre likely to have some flirty banter coming up. But he never does, and it never goes anywhere. And we quickly realize that there were never any cues for a romantic liaison anywhere onscreen other than “thereʼs a pretty lady,” and weʼre so conditioned to expect any and all pretty ladies to get matched up with our male protagonists that we assume this one is headed straight for Maxʼs bedroom one way or another. We make up our romantic suspense out of whole cloth, and the joke is completely on us if weʼre expecting such a thing to happen.

I donʼt think this is just my male gaze talking, since while we were watching the original trilogy, Lauren was just as strongly expecting Max to hook up with one of the female characters whenever they showed one. “Oh hey, this must be the babe,” sheʼd say, predicting the next step in the 80s-action formula.

Afterward she astutely summed up the sexual dynamics of the complete series as “Mad Max: No Time to Bang.” The most explicit visual articulation of this comes in The Road Warrior, when a soldier of the besieging scavenger army and his lady friend are caught au naturel and in flagrante when their makeshift tent gets blown away by a passing vehicle. But thatʼs pretty much the reality for everyone in the Mad Max universe, and rightly so: this is not a story where characters have a lot of leisure to check out and chat up an attractive fellow survivalist while theyʼre barreling down the blacktop and bombarded by exploding spears thrown by mohawked hooligans.

The reason Max and Furiosa arenʼt flirting isnʼt that theyʼre reminding themselves to be polite and respect professional boundaries. Itʼs because theyʼre cognizant of the buzzsaw-wielding berserkers on the roof. Max isnʼt being gentlemanly, heʼs just not stupid enough to wonder whether a woman driving a tanker truck at a hundred miles an hour might be doing so for his attention or arousal. And vice versa for Furiosa. And when you think about it, very rarely should there be time for such a thing in our own workplaces, either, even though so many men decide to take time out of their (and their female coworkersʼ) busy schedules for it. We would all do well to remember that frankly, there is just no time to bang.

Fluids

I just think it was cool how we devolved from gasoline as the rare, universally-desired McGuffin commodity of The Road Warrior, to methane and pig poop and, by extension, pig bodies as the commodities of Beyond Thunderdome, to human bodies as the commodity of Fury Road. Fluids like milk, blood, and so on, treated with the same dispassionate utilitarianism as we treat gasoline today. Dante would have gotten a huge kick out of the opening scenes where Max undergoes the ultimate contrapasso-style infernal punishment, paying for his old lust for gasoline by becoming the “gas tank” for a demonic fiend. And his redemptive decision to undergo the same indignity to save another human soul at the end. We could theologize all day about this one.

Based on the ideas of passivity and duty and sacrifice-without-reward above, a section could be written called The Universal Donor, considering Maxʼs blood type as an allegory for his character arc, but thatʼs actually the extent of my observation just now.

Kinship

From The Road Warrior on, but especially after Fury Road, I have to feel that Jodorowskyʼs sprawling microbudget ultra-violent surrealist-religio-humanist epic El Topo was an artistic touchstone for George Miller, and that makes me happy.

Particularly the heroʼs descent from active to passive, selfish to self-sacrificing, and (most sacrificially of all) from protagonist to supporting character.

As I learned from reading the A.V. Club, the other spiritual sibling of Fury Road circulating in todayʼs zeitgeist is, get this, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. And theyʼre right. Females are strong as HELL. Thereʼs even a mashup on YouTube.

Nightmares: Part Three

Part One, Part Two


The drive back to Joe’s was quiet, both in their own little worlds in the back of the Uber. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but Y/N had to admit that there was a tension in the air. Whether it was only on her side though, she couldn’t tell.

She still couldn’t wrap her head around what Joe had said at dinner.

Still not good enough.

Why wouldn’t it be good enough?

That was the question that had been reverberating through her head the entire time they ate and even through the drinks they had after. She hadn’t been able to figure out what he had meant by that and she hadn’t gained the courage to ask him.

Before she could continue her line of thought, the car slid to a stop. After thanking the driver, they made their way up to the new flat. Once she stepped past the front door, she had to admit she was impressed. It was quite the upgrade from Caspar and his old place. Though, it didn’t look lived in, regardless of the large sectional couch in the living room, and the shiny, gold dishware glittering through his glass kitchen cabinets.

“It’s very…”

“Empty?”

“Minimalist,” she turned to him, draping her jacket over the back of one of the kitchen bar stools. “Modern chic, even.”

Joe let out a soft laugh, “Now you’re just chatting shit.” He moved to the counter, taking his wallet and keys out of his pockets. “Did you want to watch a movie or something?”

Y/N tracked the movement of his hands as he arranged his valuables on the corner of the worktop. Everything in their place.

“Um, sure,” she responded.

He shot her a look, brow cocked and a small smirk gracing his lips, “We don’t have to. Did you have something else in mind?”

Y/N’s eyes snapped up to meet his gaze, “Huh?”

“You didn’t hear a word I said, did you?” His baby blues glinted with amusement.

To put it plainly, she hadn’t. Y/N was too preoccupied with observing him while she sifted through the asteroid field of thoughts that was her brain right now. Oh, wait. Was he talking to her again? Reality came back into sharp focus, only this time Joe was much closer than he had been before.

“Y/N?” His brows furrowed slightly in concern, his hand on her shoulder.

“What did you mean?” She hadn’t meant to blurt that out. She felt her neck grow warm as she flushed in embarrassment.

“Wha- About the movie?” he asked, confused.

“No,” she blinked. “At dinner.”

She watched as his cheeks began to take on a pink tint.

“What did I say at dinner?” he asked, his hand dropping to his side.

Y/N’s mouth pursed into a hard line, starting to get frustrated with him constantly evading her questions all day.

“Joseph.”

His face was red now, his eyes burning holes into her feet.

She finally asked the question she had been wanting an answer to all night.

“Why wouldn’t it be good enough, Joe?”

Slowly, he looked back at her. His blush was fading, but he was still visibly tense. His eyes slightly wide.

After what seemed like forever, he finally said, “How could it be?”

If Y/N hadn’t been looking at him, she might have missed his hushed reply. That hadn’t been what she was expecting.

“If not your best-woman, what part would you have me play in your future wedding then?” she responded, the pieces starting to slide together in her mind.

“You know what part.”

“No, Joe. I don’t,” she retorted, frustration seeping back into her belly. “I can’t read your mind! Please, speak plain- “

“I love you.”

Those three words left his lips and her whole world stopped. Almost as though the very axis had been flipped.

After what felt like an eternity, he blinked. She let out a breath she hadn’t even known she was holding.

“How long?”

“Honestly?”

She shot him a look.

“About a year.”

“You… idiot,” she breathed.

Unconsciously, he bit his lip. A nervous habit.

They simply stared at each other. The tension so palpable, the air so thick, it was as if they could almost see it strung between the two of them, quivering with the strain.

She licked her lips. His eyes dilated.

The string snapped.

The air rushed out from between them as Y/N wrapped her arms around Joe’s neck, pulling him down, their lips crashing together. His arm snaked around her middle, pulling her tight against him. His lips were so soft. So warm. His hand held the back of her head, his fingers buried deep into her hair. She ran her nails down the back of his neck, pulling a growl out of him. God, that sound. He tugged on her hair. Y/N couldn’t help but moan into his mouth.

She felt drunk. His taste. His touch. His scent. It was intoxicating. Y/N couldn’t get enough. Her fingers seemed to be all over the place, trying their damndest to feel more. She wanted more. She needed it.

Her breath hitched as Joe hoisted her up, her legs immediately wrapped around his waist. He sat her down on the kitchen worktop, his hands running from her thighs to her hips, his lips and tongue leaving trails of heat down the side of her neck and to her collarbone. Her head lolled to the side, her hands grasping at his shoulder blades, her breathing short and shallow. She gasped his name.

He groaned softly, “You do not know how many times I’ve dreamt of you saying my name like that.”

His kisses slowed then, coming back up to meet her lips. After a few pecks, he withdrew, staring into her eyes. His were so dilated they almost looked black. His hair was tousled. His lips red and puckered. His neck was peppered with red lines, evidence of where her nails had been. Perfection.

“I love you,” she whispered.

It took him a second to comprehend what she had said. But once he did, there was no denying. His whole face lit up, sporting the biggest grin she had ever seen on him. And it was infectious.

Y/N laughed. She couldn’t help it. She was just so damn happy.

Joe pulled her into a bone-crushing embrace, his own laughter rumbling from his chest through hers.

“I should have told you so much sooner,” he said, muffled into her neck.

“Yes. You should have,” she tutted.

He chuckled, pulling away enough to look at her.

“Well,” his eyes shone as he flashed her a wolfish, lopsided grin. “I’ll just have to make up for lost time.”

She felt her breath catch in her throat at the sight. She gave him a cheeky grin of her own.

“Mm. Get to it then, boy.”

He planned on it. She let out a squeal as he lifted her back up and marched them right into his bedroom, door slamming shut.


Alright, ladies and gentlemen. That was the last and final part of Nightmares. I really hope you all enjoyed it <3 I would love to hear feedback from you guys.

'Living with Percival Graves' Headcanons

☆ NOTE: you both just finished Ilvermorny and as good friends, you decided to share an apartment}

☆ just a cute and long something for our favourite sinammon roll ♡

✧°•✰•°✧✧°•✰•°✧✧°•✰•°✧

➳ the first time you argued was when you stepped into your new home - literally; there was no furniture and while Graves wanted everything to be minimalistic and black and white, you wanted plants and colours.

➳ “why spend money on some stupid plants?” // “because they make the place look alive, dumbass!”

➳ the first thing you bought on a common agreement besides the basic furniture was a set of shelves to store your books

➳ “Percy, I need help with these boxes” // “the only help you’re gonna get if you call me that again is a middle finger”

➳ having rooms face-to-face and running into the other person in the mornings

➳ learning eachother’s taste in breakfasts after less than half a month

➳ him caring about you and ending up sounding way too authoritative (“put a scarf on”, “come home before sunset”, “watch who you speak to”)

➳ you returning him the favour, but sounding much more gentle and making his heart melt a bit every time you say things like “you need to eat something before you leave” or “it’s cold outside, please dress properly”

➳ getting a job at MACUSA after him and coming home bursting with happiness to the newly-hired Auror

➳ “let me guess, you got the job?” // “YES, YES, YES!”

➳ your excitement leads to a very awkward hug from which you both never recover properly that day

➳ discovering a huge (not quite) spider near your bed and letting out a scream, which Graves hears and storms into your room… shirtless

➳ “what happened?” // “I saw a spi-oh. I-it’s f-fine, don’t w-worry.”

➳ being incapable of looking him in the eye after the shirtless accident (turns out he had just showered when you yelped) and him oh-so-clearly realising the reason why you’re incapable to do so

➳ having small arguments each and every day

➳ wanting to adopt a cat and Graves not allowing you to >> but still getting one and leaving it on his bed with a small bow on its furry head

➳ “WHAT’S THIS DOING HERE?!” // “oh! hooow did that get there?” // “TAKE IT AWAY RIGHT NOW!”

➳ finding out that Graves had a fear of cats from a childhood accident and laughing so hard about it that you were almost afraid he’d get pissed off

➳ he did, but you made him forgive you by offering him a back massage - which he accepted begrudgingly, but ended up enjoying it way too much >> which lead to more massages in the future, from him to you also

➳ teaching him how to cook, because even if his magic was strong and he was extremely good at using it, he sucked at making any kind of food

➳ being the only one able to see behind his stern mask and letting loose around one another after some time

➳ celebrating every holiday possible and even though Graves wasn’t exactly a fan, he still helped you decorate the house because he knew it would make you happy and that mattered to him

➳ getting eachother the perfect gifts and spending the Christmas evening together, reading side by side in front of the fire and feeling entirely peaceful

➳ learning after a month or so that Graves had nightmares when you heard him toss and turn and mumble things in his sleep >> your heart clenching when you saw him look so vulnerable, your stoic and brave and serious-on-a-daily-basis Percival Graves

➳ so you made him some tea and woke him up, despite settling when you moved in together that you won’t enter eachother’s room without permission

➳ him trying to put his strong mask back on after waking from his nightmare but failing and realising you won’t judge him for that

➳ he drank the tea and just as you were about to leave back to your room, him grabbing your wrist and muttering “Stay.” >> so you end up staying, but you both fell asleep and it turned out that sleeping on the opposite sides of the bed is easier to say than do

➳ waking up in Graves’ arms, being stuck as the little spoon, your fingers interlaced >> your heart skipping a beat when you realised how you’d slept and not being able to decide between waking him up and letting him sleep

➳ you eventually picked staying like that some more because it was comfortable and you liked it more than it was healthy >> shifting in his arms and burying your head in his chest, acting as if you were still asleep, and him waking up - him being as shocked as you and you expected him to wake you up instantly… which he didn’t

➳ him holding you even tighter and you failing to act as if you’re asleep, so you pretended to wake up for the first time >> looking at eachother and not saying anything except a breathy “good morning”

➳ realising at the same time that you have feelings for eachother, but choosing to hide them due to the fear of rejection from the other one

➳ going to MACUSA at the same time and your colleagues starting to get suspicious of the certainity of your “platonic relationship”

➳ him leaving early one day and you still having work to do, so you told him you’d be home as soon as you finish work, two hours later >> but your friends at MACUSA wanted to go out for dinner after work and you agreeing because you didn’t really go out with anyone

➳ having so much fun at the dinner that you don’t notice time flying and when you looked at the time, four hours had passed >> going home as soon as you thought of Graves being concerned

➳ arriving home and him rushing into the hallway, relief washing over his face as he saw you >> there is no “where have you been” or “I’m so mad at you, but glad you’re alright” at first, he just literally lunges towards you and captures you in the tightest hug you ever recieved from anybody

➳ “I was worried out of my mind, (Y/N), goddamnit!” // “Well, I’m here now, aren’t I?”

➳ and then he kisses you and you can feel that he thought you were endangered and even though you’re taken aback, you put your hands on his shoulders and pull him even closer, if that’s possible

Title: White Room // Chapter I: Fortitude

Series: Owari no Seraph

Pairing: Hiiragi Gyurei x Hyakuya Michirou

Rating: M (18+)

Summary: Hyakuya Michirou has always considered himself quite ordinary. Born as a regular Beta, he is a soldier-in-training for the JIDA with idealistic dreams, living an uneventful life with his parents until the day he is bound for the front lines. 

So in the midst of this familiar world full of regularities and commonplace simplicity, how exactly does Gyurei, a member of the renowned and dangerous Hiiragi family and an Alpha, fit in?

Gyumi!verse & A/B/O!verse AU

AO3

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Meeting the Mother

“You’ll be fine,” Sesshoumaru reassured her for the umpteenth time.

Kagome looked out of the car window and wasn’t convinced.

His father and stepmother hadn’t been a problem – Kagome had had the old dog and Izayoi completely wrapped around her finger long before she and Sesshoumaru had ever happened. She had been a frequent guest in their house since middle school when she had become friends with Inuyasha.

Likewise, Sesshoumaru’s visit to the Higurashi shrine had gone without much hassle. Her mother of course had been as kind and welcoming as always but her little brother had predictably peppered Sesshoumaru with curious questions and her grandfather had not been delighted to see a demon in the house. Still, Sesshoumaru had been almost uncharacteristically patient with Souta, and for the most part had matched jii-chan’s scowls with indifference.

So far so good – but of course, the worst had been saved for the last: Sesshoumaru’s mother.

“She is not that bad,” Sesshoumaru tried to tell her, but Kagome did not miss the way his eyes had not quite met hers.

He must have noticed that she noticed, as he had quickly added: “I mean she can be a bit selfish and over-dramatic at times but I’m sure she’ll like you.”

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The Pajama Fic: Part 17



*A belated Merry Christmas.”

“He’s just arrived, guys!” Phil shouts from the hallway.

“Alright we’re coming!” You yell back, double checking that your phone was in your bag. “Are you coming Dan?” You ask through Dan’s door as you walk down the corridor and past the entrance to his room. In response your hear some swearing and the sound of an aerosol can. You sigh. “Are you even remotely ready yet?” You ask with a smile on your face.

“Yeah, yeah, of course.” Dan says with poorly disguised panic in his voice.

“Can I come in?”

“Uhm…give me a minute.” You swing the door open anyway and find Dan desperately trying to pull on some skinny jeans.

“Who procrastinated?” You ask with a laugh.

“I procrastinated.” He replied defeatedly.

“How long have you known we were going out now?” YOu cross you arms in condescension.

“An hour.” Dan admits.

“Shall I tell Phil to hold the taxi for a bit?”

“Yes please.” Dan looks up at you with a puppy dog expression.

“What would you do without me?” You rhetorically ask, rolling your eyes and smiling. You leave Dan to his struggles and head off to find Phil. You find him sooner than you think, stood in the kitchen making coffee for a strange man.

“Um..hello?” You say, surprised.

“Oh hi Y/N.” Phil says with a smile, handing the cup of coffee to the stranger. “I knew that Dan would be late because he always is and so I invited our taxi driver in for a coffee.” You smiled at Phil, he looked so genuinely happy to be chatting to a new person.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Chuck. And I still can’t get over the fact that he says taxi!” He said with a smile, offering out his hand which you shake in greeting.

“I just can’t say ‘cab’, it sounds wrong coming from my mouth!” Phil laughs, sipping on his own coffee.

“It is awful nice of you to invite me in though.” Chuck says gratefully.

“Well that’s Phil for you.” You smile, running over to Phil and giving him a peck on the cheek.

“Oh, are you two together then?” He asks innocently.

“No, she’s with me.” You hear Dan say from behind you. You turn to see him hopping into the room, holding his wallet in his mouth and attempting to pull on a sock as he walked. As you all turned to look at him he overbalanced and proceeds to fall flat on his face.

“Yeah, I’m with that one.” You sigh, shaking your head at him whilst the boys laugh.

“Well, good luck lady!” Chuck chimes in.

20 minutes later Chuck tells you that you’re pretty much at your destination. You climb out, appreciating the glorious sunshine and the abundance of attractive people. Chuck thanks you for the coffee and then points out the building that was apparently the first shop on the list from Sony.

“Are you sure?” You ask again, incredulously. He nods his head and you gulp. The building possessed an immaculate white façade with a geometric window display close to artistic masterpiece, the main feature of which was a Haute Couture Oscar De La Renta ballgown.

“Maybe I should have worn matching socks.” Says Phil articulating how awkward we all felt.

“Don’t worry I won’t let them change your style!”  You laugh, linking your arm with his.

“Does my fringe look okay?” Dan asks, checking himself in the reflection of his phone.

“You look great, don’t worry.” You compliment him, suddenly aware of how scuffed your shoes were.

“Okay let’s go.” Says Dan, marching up to the entrance where a surly but well dressed usher stood guard, rather like an exclusive nightclub. As Dan approached he nodded at him trying to relieve some of the obvious tension that was in the air.

“Good afternoon Mr Howell. I hope you enjoy your visit.” Dan noticeably jumped as the guard addressed him.

“Ummm….” Is all Dan can say in shock.

“No need to look so scared, Sir.” The guard said, trying to remain professional but suppressing a laugh. “Sony provided a list of who was arriving today, normally customers book times to visit.” He explain with a polite nod.

“Ohhh..yeah…of course.” Dan answered, glancing back at you and Phil with a lost expression. Yourself and Phil shrug simultaneously in response.

“You are also welcome Ms. Y/L/N and Mr. Lester.”

“Uh, thank you.” Phil says, filling the awkward silence and bobbing a little on the spot. All of you shuffle awkwardly through the entrance and burst into giggles.

“Phil did you just bow to him?” You snicker.

“Shut up, no I didn’t, I just panicked okay?” He retorts, his face pink. You all enter the shop, ruby red in the face from stopping yourselves from laughing, feeling like it was inappropriate in the very futuristic and overly polished shop interior. You hear Dan humming ‘I’m so fancy’ under his breath as another host greets you.

“Good afternoon, I’m Jenny and will be your host whilst you’re with us today. We have stylists on hand in the store, feel free to ask any of them for advice or if you would like to try any of our ranges. Please browse our collection whilst I get them for you.” She gestures widely to the huge, open plan store and you shuffle past her attempting to remain serious. Once free from the observant stare of Jenny you all breath a sigh of relief and actually take a look round you.

“Oh my God!” Dan exclaims, dropping dead in his tracks causing yourself and Phil to barge into the back of him.

“Dan what is it?” You whisper, not wishing to draw any more attention to your obvious incongruousness to your settings.

“L-l-look at the label!” Dan says excitedly, pointing at a minimalist collection displayed to your right. You frown, trying to work out why Dan was practically hyperventilating. “That’s mother fucking Kanye West’s new season’s collection.” Dan is literally hopping on the spot in excitement. He turns to you and shakes your shoulders like a little kid and then looks back at the clothes. “Do you think I can touch them?” Eyes sparkling he slowly extends a finger to touch the nearest piece of clothing. Gently he strokes a finger down the lapel of charcoal grey, deconstructed jacket-thing.

“Hello, I’m Diane, can I help you with anything today?” A confident voice breaks the silence. Dan literally did a short scream at being disturbed mid clothes stroking.

“I see you’re interested in Kanye’s new season. You are welcome to try this item, I could source some other clothes based off this as well if you would like?”

“I can try it?” Asked Dan like a complete moron.

“Of course, Sir.” Her professional veneer not quite covering her concerned look as Dan started stroking a nearby shirt. She slipped the jacket of the hanger and turned it around, gesturing for Dan to put his arms into the sleeves. Dan shoots you a wide grin and then squeals as he slips it on.

“Dan if you cry because you’re wearing a fucking Kanye jacket I think imma leave.” You laugh, crossing your arms condescendingly.

“Yeah I’m agreeing with Y/N.” Says Phil, noticing how Dan’s eyes had gone kind of sparkly.

“Yeah alright, thanks!” Dan says, turning to the mirror to take a look. “I feel like he’s right here with me, embracing me with a warm hug.”

“Okay, I can’t fucking deal with you being in love with a jacket that looks like it’s from Mugatu’s Deralicte campaign.” You say, throwing your hands in the air and stalking off to look at more pretentious clothes. You hear audible gasps from both Dan and the personal stylist. You browse the wrack but see nothing that really suits you or seems to fit the event, you turn to look for Dan and Phil. Dan is still stood by the Kanye section, lovingly discussing each piece of clothing with the assistant who seems delighted that he know what he’s talking about. You turn your head and catch Phil’s eyes; he’s staring at you from across the store, head and shoulder above a clothing rail a lost look blatant in his eyes. That combined with the almost predatory assistance that was hovering a few rail behind him attempting to be invisible, you couldn’t help think he looked a little like a looked like scared prey…maybe a gazelle. You smile reassuringly at him and decide to ask Dan if he would mind moving onto another store - this one didn’t really seem to have that either of you wanted. As you glanced over at him you saw the sales assistant squeeze his arm before handing him another weird jacket with a simpering giggle. Phil saw you narrow your eyes at her and pulled a highly awkward face.

“Okay, Dan, I was thinking we should move on now. Phil and I think somewhere else would suit us better.” You say in an almost unnecessarily loud voice. Dan looks up, confused, to find you almost upon him. You grab his hand and pull him somewhat unceremoniously from the store. Phil waves an awkward farewell to the shop assistant who is pouting her lips in annoyance of your sudden departure. YOu can’t help think to yourself that you acted a bit rashly, I mean Dan wasn’t necessarily flirting back, and you weren’t the controlling type. You sigh to yourself. Well at least it got you out of the store, there genuinely wasn’t anything of interest for you in there and Dan would have been hard to drag away if you had left him time to think. Once you hit the bright light of the Los Angeles street Dan opens his mouth to ask your motivation for dragging you all out of the store so suddenly. Phil shakes his head defiantly at Dan, having seen exactly what happened: You pretend not to notice.

“Okie dokie, the next store is just round the corner.” Says Phil, almost too cheerfully, breaking the awkward atmosphere. He looked down at his phone and then pointed down the avenue.  “It should just be down there.”

The next shop you come to is somewhat less ‘deep’ and ‘arty’. In fact, Phil loves it. Moschino’s 2016 spring/summer collection is there and despite you thinking it’s horrendously garish, you have to admit it’s pretty fun.  

“Look, Dan, Y/N, they finally have a suit that matches my personality!” Delights Phil, gesturing to a pink floral, cropped trouser suit-thing with luminous green epaulets.

“You could rock that.” You say with a nod.

“Phil I want to play along but I’m actually terrified you would wear that.” Admits Dan, leaning back into one of his full body laughs. Fortunately the staff in this shop seem less austere, if just as attentive, as the previous store so the noise doesn’t bother them.

“They do actually have some Givenchy over there Dan.” You inform him, after peering over a rail and recognising one of his more lavish jackets. he lets out a more excited ‘Oooh’ and disappears. You decide to follow him, since Phil seems absorbed in all the technicolour.

Dan ends up trying a couple of things. Some more deconstructed cut suits that he was instantly drawn to - one without lapels, another that was deliberately cut long that you both had to admit made him look a bit paunchy.

“May I suggest something?” Proffers the far more approachable sales assistant from this store. Dan nods in agreement, shrugging off the jacket he had slipped on. “Well you’ve very wide shoulders, long limbs and you’re quite skinny so it’s best not to go for a style that’s meant to length you. Instead go for a style that broadens you. Like this.” Her opinion was so brutally honest that Dan couldn’t help but nod so she slipped it up over his arms and turned him round to button the front. he winks at you as she leans to do the buttons and you scowl back. Dan turned around again to look in the mirror and you couldn’t help but agree that she had taste. The jacket was incredibly sleek and jett black. Unlike Dan’s other stuff it was double breasted, and cut quite high, giving him the appearance of a thick chest and intense style. You bit your lip. It looked amazing. Dan breathed out a huff of air.

“I think I’m going to take it.” He says decisively, turning this way and that to admire it in the mirror.

“I thought you might say that.” The assistant said with a knowing smile. “I’ll go get Micheal, he does all the fittings here. He’ll measure you for any alterations in the jacket and fit you to a matching trouser. Although I think you’re a pretty good size for our display pieces. We’ll send your order to you house once it’s been fitted…” Her voice trails as she walks off with Dan, no doubt taking him to some tailoring room. He follows behind her, lovingly stroking the jacket. Finding the store focused mainly on men’s wear you wondered back in the direction of Phil, wondering if he had found any luck. You spy him still in the Moschino collection, except he wasn’t alone. A very tiny, red haired girl was chatting to him and you couldn’t help eavesdropping.

“I’m so glad you like them too, none of the other workers seem to appreciate her collection. I think it’s brilliant. why wear black all the time when there are so many colours.” She announces in a delicate voice. You couldn’t help notice she barely came up to his elbow and was incredibly cute.

“That’s what I always tell Dan. he never seems to get it though…” Phil rubs his head awkwardly.

“Oh, are you to…a thing…?” She asks tremulously.

You scoff into the back of your hand in amusement, not wanting them to know that you could over hear them.

“No, no, no, everyone always says that, we’re just good friends. He has a girlfriend, I’m just…you know…single.” Phil says, laughing awkwardly.

“Oh…coool.” She says, like a complete dork, mimicking his awkward laugh. You bite your lip to stop yourself from smiling.

“So, are you from around here?” He asks after an awkward but loaded pause.

“Yeah, I was from Massachusetts but I wanted to get into fashion so applied to some stuff here…” She says trailing off. “Are you?”

“Nope. I’m from England.”

“I should have guessed from the accent. You sound really smooth.” You have to stop yourself from giggling at the idea of Phil being smooth.

“Haha, really, no one has told me that before.” Replied Phil, going slightly pink.

“Yeah, no matter what you say it will sound really smart and sophisticated.” She says with an adoring smile.

“Oh, I’ve never thought of that. I can say anything. What about ‘tickle my wenis’ or ‘a baboon’s testicles’. Do I still sound smooth?” Says Phil like a bumbling idiot. You slap your hand to your forehead in exasperation.  God he’s useless sometimes.

“Phil, what are you doing? Don’t blow this.” You whisper rhetorically to yourself. But to your surprise she giggles with him.

“Yes, you still sound super smooth.” She certifies, blushing from giggles. You shake your head in amazement that that just worked. The two of them quieten down again and you can feel the tension rising.

“Hey, I was wondering could I, perhaps, if you don’t mind, you know., could I…” Stumbled Phil. ‘Come on, you can do it’ you think, biting your lip with the tension of listening to the outcome. “Well, could I get your numb…”

“ONWARDS FRIENDS FOR I HAVE DONE MY SHOPPING!” Bellows Dan and he strides over to Phil oblivious to the atmosphere that he just shattered into a million pieces around him.

“Daniel Howell, we are leaving right now.” You say, giving a knowing look to Phil as you suddenly appear from behind a rail of clothing, desperate to intervene in an attempt to salvage the delicate situation. For the second time today you find yourself escorting Dan very rapidly out of a shop. For the second time today Dan is completely oblivious as to why.

“Okay, what the fuck did I do thi…”

“Phil was about to ask for that girl’s number you blithering idiot!” You say, shaking him by the arm and trying to peer in the window to the shop to see if Phil had managed to save the day. “Oooooh!” Said Dan, joining you at peering through the front window. “Do you think he managed it?” He asked inquisitively.

“If you didn’t balls it up by ruining the mood.” You scoff at him.

“Oh no, what if I ruined Phil’s chance at finding love!” He coos. “Can you see him?”

“No, he doesn’t seem to be by the place we left him.” You and Dan lean a little more forward, peering into more of the shop in search of Phil and his sweet little ginger helper.

“Was she cute?” Asks Dan like a teenager at a sleepover.

“She was adorable.”

“Oh I want to see her. Maybe if I stand…”

“What are you guys doing?” A deep voice asks from behind making you both jump out of your skins.

“Oh..hi..Phillip.” You say, spinning around on the spot and composing yourself.

“DId you ask her?!?!” Dan says, less subtly.

“Piss off.” Retorts Phil. Swearing, unlike himself. You and Dan share a grim expression and assume the worse.

“Let’s head off and find you both something to wear then.” Suggests Dan, clapping his hands together over-enthusiastically and turning slightly red.

A few minutes late you find yourselves at another high end store where you sent off Dan to help Phil choose something out for himself. You stood watch as Dan showed him through a  rack of well cut suits, holding a few up to his friend with a smile. You loved to watch them together, Dan always seemed so happy and at peace when he was with Phil. Dan caught you staring a shot you a wink. You blushed.

“Excuse me, ma’am, can I help at all.” A tall flamboyant gentleman stood behind you, a long glossy green gown thrown lazily over his arm, the other one poised on his hip. “I’m going to rephrase that. please let me dress you.” With little else to do you gave him a nod and he instantly dragged you off to a changing area at the back of the store. You barely had time to shoot Dan a shrug before he had taken you away. You stood in the changing room, looking around at the empty space wondering that was going to happen next. To your surprise the man stepped inside the cubicle with you. “okay, let me see these colours.” He sort of sang at you. He held a fe swabs of fabric next to your face, then to your chest then back to your face again. “Spin.” He commanded. And you span. “Okay, perfect, I’ve got stuff for you to try.” instinctively you  reach for the dress over his arm. “No not that, that’s last year, that’s trash.” he then proceeds to literally throw the gown over his shoulder and you gasp a little as it crumples on the floor. He then proceeds to storm out of the changing room and you hear him shout “Candice bring me that Dior!” At the top of his voice. You stand awkwardly in silence. he returns with not one dress, but about 17. You literally cannot see him behind all the tulle and organza and god knows what else. “Try these ma’am. And then come and show me when you’re done.” He then proceeds to slam the door quite ferociously behind him. You decide it’s best to do as he says without complaint. The first dress you slip on is a soft pink silk thing that you feel quite exposed in. You step out the changing rooms to find, not only the flamboyant man, but Dan and Phil sat in little plush thrones that had since been positioned outside the door. “You have an audience, ma’am, have a little show biz.” he remarks at your timidness. You do a little spin.

“I think you look…” Begins Dan with a smile.

“Definitely not, oh gosh, no.” Says the man, throwing his hand up in disgust. Dan looks at him confused then looks back to you. You giggle and then walk back into the changing room. you couldn’t help think that if this was a movie, you would be currently having a montage, except the reality was a lot of awkward waiting as you fumbled about in the changing rooms attempting to try on difficult dresses. It started getting a bit repetitive when each time you went out you met the beginning of a heartfelt compliment by Dan and/or Phil only to be cut off by the eccentric man’s caterwauling.

“I might need some help here.” You mumble through the fabric of a rather impressive purple skirted dress. There is no way you can get this on alone.  You hear the door open and close gently and feel some fingers tracing up your back, grabbing the copious amounts of fabric and slipping it down around you. The touch was gentle and you turned to find it was Dan, stood intimately close to you, now working on the difficult fastenings on the back of the black bodice. He expression was a serious one, containing more intensity than you expected.

“There you go.” He whispers, almost inaudibly. You turn to find your faces incredibly close. “I wanted you to know that I think you’ve looked beautiful in everyone of those dresses.” He continued. You felt his warm breath on your neck. Your heart rate doubled. “Come on you two, no naughty stuff or I’ll bust in there and stop you.” The eccentric man’s voice breaks the moment’s intimacy. You both laugh and you step back out the changing room. This time you’re not met with a cry of defeat so yourself, Dan and Phil stare at him in anticipation of a reaction.

“It’s perfect.” he finally breathes out, incredibly relieved. “What do you think of it, ma’am?” You sigh a little.

“You had to choose the hardest one to put on, didn’t you.” You all laugh.

About an hour you all end up piling out of the taxi outside the house. You slump down on the sofa inside, exhausted from your day of shopping.

“You guys have a nice polyamorous day out together?” Asked Tyler, sipping some sort of colourful tropical drink out of curly straw. You playfully shove him a bit.

“Actually, I was the only person that wasn’t hit on all day.” You say with a huff.

“Oh babe, I’d hit on you.” He says, patting your shoulder.

“Wait who hit on me?” Asks Dan, completely clueless.

“Ohhh, sir. You share my love of Kanye. Let me measure you. Let’s sensually stroke these jackets together.” Mocked Phil, cuddling up next to Dan and imitating the shop assistants loving gaze.

“Oh.” Realised Dan. “Oh.” He looks at you. “Oooh, is that why we left early.”

“Oh my god you are a blind man.” Laughed Tyler.

“Phil that was actually an amazingly accurate impression.” Phil takes a little bow.

“Okay that’s it, I’m going to my room.” Dan stalks off in fake annoyance and you follow him back to his room. He hugs tackles you to the bed and kisses your nose.

“Did you get jealous?” He smirks.

“Oh piss off Dan.” You say lovingly.

herstrionics  asked:

narry 39 ;) :*

2.5k, canon compliant light angst warning for things you forgot to say

Niall gets the phone call while he’s stood in line waiting to get through customs in Heathrow. He’s got four solid black guitar cases, a couple of mics, and his in-ear kit with him, and the line is taking absolutely ages. Usually accepting unknown phone numbers is a big no-no, but this is his work phone, and if he doesn’t talk to someone soon, he’s going to go mental and land himself on the no-fly list for sure. 

“Hi,” he hears, a slow, drawling voice. Niall actually stops dead with his messenger bag slung suffocatingly across his chest and his glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose. “Hello?” 

“Hey,” Niall answers finally. He shakes his head. “Hello, how are you?” 

Harry laughs. It sounds different than it used to, Niall notices. At least he remembers the way it used to be. “We’re not doing an interview, mate, relax.” He deepens his voice and follows up with, “Though I suppose we could. How are you doing, Niall Horan? Where are you at, you globetrotting superstar?” 

Niall says, “Fuck off,” mainly on instinct, and is relieved when Harry just laughs again. 

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Get a Room Pt.1

Chrismd X Reader

Summary: You and Chris decide to join the sidemen and some other friends on a trip to France.

So when I wrote this it was way longer than expected it to be so I split it into two parts. There isn’t really any drama it’s just a fluffy story tbh. Also because it ended up being so long there are quite few time skips, especially in the second part. Hope you enjoy!

Y/N’s POV

“How’s it going guys? We made it out of the airport and we are in the taxi right now on the way to our villa. I’m here with Chris, Cal (Freezy), Harry and Simon!” You explained while panning around the car so that your viewers could see everyone. You, the sidemen and a few others (including your boyfriend Chris) were taking a couple weeks off in France, everyone was super excited as you went to the first villa as they were getting a proper holiday, so they didn’t have to work at all if they didn’t want to. You were staying in Paris for the first week and then Cannes the second.

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A Beautiful Canvas.

Normally I needed something to get into my zone and begin creating. It would either be a nice hot cup of tea next to me or some loud alternative music blasting throughout the room to set the ambience but instead, right now I was met by silence. I did however have a gorgeous individual sitting in front of me to entice my eyes.

Normally I was clad in a t-shirt and my cotton panties, letting that little bit of clothing allow the cool air to seep through my skin as I stared at my canvas for hours, the hair on my arms standing up on end. Instead today I was wearing my work polo, the ‘American Tours’ logo noticeable above my left breast. I couldn’t really dress down into a tee and my undergarments when there was this stranger in front of me.

But was he really a stranger? Not necessarily anymore though he never really was. I always knew who Neymar Jr. was thanks to my brother who was a football enthusiast and I had gotten to know him personally over the last few hours after having to take him around Los Angeles and show him and his friends around the historical landmarks and the interesting parts of the city all tourists seemed to want to visit.

I thought my job, this tour, would go along as all the others would. I’d show them around the city for part of the day, return them to their hotel and we’d continue our journey in the morning the next day.

The first day had nearly went like that until we reached the point where Neymar and his friends were supposed to discard of me. Instead, he invited me to join them for a night out at one of LA’s most exclusive clubs. Even as a resident of the city, I had never been inside of those coveted walls. I had no sort of reputation to get into a club like that but he did and so when he invited me, I couldn’t deny the offer.

Too bad the night hadn’t went as I envisioned it.

I mean he did dance with me a few times, he and Gil, but it was never anything too flirty. That wasn’t the problem though.

The problem was the mass of notifications I woke up to from friends who had sent me links to the TMZ article with my picture plastered on the page, a picture of me and Neymar leaving the club. Of course it looked a bit suspect. I had my hands covering my face as Neymar confidently strode beside me. I guess the cameras had decided to ignore everyone else in the group that was at the club as well. The focus was solely on Neymar and I and it was painfully embarrassing. Just thinking about it made me cringe. Day 2 and I was already probably on his bad side.

“I’m sorry,” I randomly blurted out, stopping the paint brush in my hand from moving against the canvas that had begun to take form with the various lines I had created using the fresh, detailed colors of paint.

My eyes dragged from that page and past to Neymar who sat still in the chair in front of me, strictly following my directions not to move too much until now as he leaned to his left a bit to peer past the easel and towards me. “Why are you apologizing? Did you mess up the painting?” His eyes shone concern and confusion, his jaw flexing a bit and creating a bulge in the lower part of his cheek that made him look irresistibly sexy.

I made note to capture that with my brush but for now my eyes dragged down to my lap. I couldn’t stand to look into those eyes for too long. I already had as I tried to recreate those stunning features onto the empty canvas in front of me. I started with those flat, unarched eyebrows, being sure to draw the furrow of lines between his brows and those slits that interrupted the flow of his left brow but then I was left to move down to the eyes…

They were this brown color but not any bland old shade of brown but a brown enhanced by speckles of a honey shade, overtaken by a deep green lining the outer edges of color.

Part of me wished I had ordered him to turn to the side and allow me to paint him profile-side instead of facing forward so I could avoid becoming enchanted by those deep, sparkling orbs of his. They were magical.

I shook my head finally in response to his question. “No. No,” I reassured. “I just…the blogs and such. I don’t know if you read them but…”

“I don’t. What’s on there?” His eyes seemed to grow deeper, his mouth pouting with a slight slant which enhanced their shape. It drew my attention to his mustache and then to the scruff of his beard that poked through his caramel skin in this rough but delicate way. It was as if you knew behind that manly look, if he were to shave it all away he’d look like a teenage boy all over again.

“They’re claiming I’m your new girlfriend.”

His brows furrowed with confusion. “And you’re apologizing for that because…?”

Because, well, look at me! I’m in no way fit to be on the arm of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. That would be an insult to him that I was someone who could even be linked to him.

“I’m no person you want to be connected to.” I shook my head, beginning to restart where I was on this portrait. His nose…

Noses were always the hardest thing for me to paint when I was drawing humans. I don’t know why or how such a simplistic feature was so complex but it seemed as my brush glided across the canvas, it moved effortlessly to form a replication of the bridge of his.

Neymar’s amused chuckle echoed through the hotel room, nearly quiet aside from the conversation between us. “Why? Should I be worried? Are you some sort of criminal?”

I blushed at the accusation though I knew well enough I was no form of criminal. “I’d never be hired to take tourists around if I were. I’m just…I don’t know.” I stopped my thoughts while I was ahead. I wasn’t looking to embarrass myself or pity him into giving me compliments on how I wasn’t all that bad to be linked to. I could do without. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” I giggled.

“What? Painting?”

“Yes. I don’t like people seeing my work or watching me as I do it.”

“Why?”

“Self-conscious maybe?”

I thought of my ex, an artist as well, who seemed to enjoy looking at my work only to gloat about how he could have done so much better or could have enhanced the portrait with this detail or that detail. I guess the put-downs and critiques were warranted. He was the one with his work now displayed in galleries across the United States while I was stuck working as a tour guide.

Welcome to the harsh reality of life. Being that arrogant, cocky asshole sometime paid off.

“Well I’m sure you can paint one hundred times better than me. You could draw a stick figure and I’d be amazed.” He broke out into a smile, those teeth shining behind those pink lips and I cursed myself for choosing to draw him mouth-closed.

Ah well, maybe next time.

I let silence overtake the hotel room again as I continued to move my brush against the paper, dabbing into various colors to bring life to the portrait and represent Neymar well. I moved to his hair, that ever-changing style but now he sported a mohawk with strands of his straight brown hair falling over his forehead.

I kept working along that way in silence. It was a minimalistic style portrait. I had really only captured half of his beauty because trying to detail it all would have taken hours but I was satisfied, the outline of the man on the canvas bearing quite the resemblance to the footballer sitting in front of me.

“Done,” I announced. I sat the used brush down carefully into one of the holders and stared at the work in front of me. I was nervous to see his reaction as Neymar quickly got up from his chair and walked over, turning his head when he arrived to my side so that he could see my work.

“Wow,” was all he uttered. It could have been one of those wow’s where he realized I had painted him to be some ugly creature but the gleam in his eyes and the smile that broke apart his lips said otherwise. “It’s amazing. You don’t mind if I take this, do you?”

“No. not at all. It’s yours.” I would have liked to keep it in memory of this moment but maybe I could somehow recreate it. Somehow recreate all of this…

“Mind if I take a stab at it?” He hinted with a motion to the paint brushes and I nodded my approval that he try. “I’ll rip a new sheet.”

“I don’t need the paper,” he quickly insisted and though my eyebrows netted with confusion, he simply bent down and picked up one of the brushes that set in water. Neymar next dabbed the tip lightly in the yellow paint before reaching for my arm, slowly raising it. I didn’t question it and I was thankful I didn’t because soon, the cool brush was slowly sliding against the underside of my arm.

In a weird way it felt as if he was directly touching me, the nerves in my body on edge as a slow tingle grew inside of me. He was delicately moving the brush along my skin and hell, I didn’t care if he was choosing to paint my entire arm in bright yellow paint. I would have stripped down so he could paint every inch of my skin if he so pleased to.

It was as if he could read my mind because he soon dropped the brush to its holder and trailed his fingers in a green color instead, the paint decorating his finger tips and dripping off his nails before he softly trailed them against my neck. I could feel the rise and fall of my chest like some sort of adrenaline was building up within me all because of his movements and the warmth growing within my body at his sensitive touch. I was wishing at that moment he didn’t have paint on his hands so he could touch me where my body longed to feel him, where he could satisfy my cravings all at once.

My breath caught in my throat as we made eye contact, a deep and long staring gaze. I was able to see those delightful orbs again but up close this time and closer than I ever could have imagined being. I didn’t shy away from the intensity this time and I enjoyed hearing his breath flow past his lips.

I had an urge to reach forward and crash those lips into mine and it seemed he had that same urge because within seconds, our noses collided and his lips were pressuring against mine. I gasped, opening my mouth just wide enough for him to slide his tongue inside and I wilted to his demands and met his passion with my own.

His hand rested under my chin while the other paint covered fingers slid under my shirt. I didn’t care about damaging my work polo. I just cared about him finally peeling it from my skin. He met my demands and soon separated our lips so he could pull the shirt over my head and soon followed every other piece of my clothing.

Neymar brought me up from my chair and made me stand while he got rid of his bottoms so he could meet the match of my bare skin. He took my seated position and pulled me into his lap slowly enough for me to slide down onto his member. I adjusted to his lengthy size slowly, biting down on my lip as I felt him fill my insides.

Between the heated kisses, the rise and fall of my body as I moved up and down his member, I watched as he decorated my skin with that damp green paint, dancing his fingers along my back when he wanted to cling to me and when I increased the intensity by drawing my walls tighter around his member.

He hissed with pleasure and my moans became their own soliloquy. My back arched further and further with every movement against him and I placed my hands on his broad shoulders, my eyes taking in the view of his athletic build and that deepened v-line he sported even as he sat hunched over in this seat.

He thrust up every time to meet me mid-stroke, only driving my senses wild and I could feel the sweat beads forming across my forehead. His hands moved along my front, giving my breasts a few gentle squeezes before he was too enticed to resist them. He lowered his mouth towards my nipple, making it so I couldn’t quite rise my body up as high as I was before but I continued to ride him and circle my hips in a rotation.

“Cum for me,” he whispered seductively in my ear and I whimpered with pleasure, unable to hold the satisfaction I was feeling for too much longer but I couldn’t let go just yet. I had to savor this moment. I had to take in all that I could.

My long nails danced along his skin as I enjoyed the warmth of his body, sweat building on him as between my eyes slamming shut when he filled me so beautifully, I snuck glances at the beautiful figure under me.

I was supposed to be the one showing him around, being his tour guide but he was taking me on a ride of his own. Eventually I succumbed to his wishes and I released all that had been building up within me. I let a few curses slip my lips and dug my nails deeper into his muscled back while I continued to work against him to make sure he reached his own peak and he soon followed behind.

I wanted to capture the beautiful sound of that low grunt leaving his mouth once he reached his climax so I could remember it forever. Instead I just collapsed onto his shoulder, my eyes closed until I opened them and noticed the black ink scrawled in cursive on his neck. It was a tattoo I hadn’t replicated in my drawing but was now under my crawling fingers.

“Tudo Passa? What does that mean?” I questioned in a breathy tone. I still hadn’t quite captured my breath from that physical labor.

“Nothing lasts.”

Like this moment but at least I’d have the paint on me to hold onto for a bit longer.

Stylized Fandoms - or, when It’s All The Same, but also It Isn’t.

NECESSARY STUFF: The OP above gave full permission to use their post as a launchpad for this commentary, so please don’t mistake this as either endorsement or criticism, and please do not mistake it as a group invitation to attack. I’ve written about this phenomenon in the Rowling fandom before and this gives me another excuse. Plus, as someone who tried to join a fandom via this writing strategy and failed, I think I can contribute some thought fodder on the issue of content sameness.

I’m bout to drop an essay, hobbits. This essay isn’t, however, a critique. This is a non-evaluative observation and a writing theory. And, finally, an open question to fellow fic writers.

BASE OBSERVATION: The dominant writing styles in book-based fandoms mirror and pay homage to the style of the original author.

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Flaming June

Chapter One: Prologue

Summary: Based on this glorious post by @metawohoo

After vanishing for eighteen months, Adrien’s mother has suddenly returned. She’s got a few opinions about what her husband’s been up to in her absence, too-and ideas for improvement.

AO3


On a warm, sunny day in late August, Gabriel Agreste’s private cell phone rang. He glanced quickly at the caller ID, and for a moment the world seemed to stop spinning. Gabriel Agreste was not a man with a tendency to doubt the evidence of his eyes, but right now it was difficult to believe them.

Slowly, Gabriel answered his phone and held it to his ear. He couldn’t bring himself to speak for another few seconds. The gentle breathing of the person waiting for his response at the other end was all too familiar. It had haunted Gabriel’s dreams for a long time now.

“June?”

“Hello, darling. Did you miss me?”

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Something

Originally posted by taejin

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me…

A/N: so this was based off a bunch of posts on peach of my friends’ commentary of this picture. i sort of fell in love with the idea of an art school fic but i had a terrible time deciding between all the boys so this may become a series? we’ll see, but for now i hope you guys like this one! and i’m sorry i’ve been so absent but i’ve literally been working on this day and night since i finished the drabbles. i’m gonna do a few requests after this so if you’ve been waiting, i’m sorry but they’re coming soon!! love you all <3

wc: ~7.5K

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                                          HAPPY NEW YEAR!

                         (  & happy birthday to my muse, moon yerin )

❝ May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. ❞


you have made it to the end of 2016. through another year of obstacles, challenges, difficulties. thank you. for arriving here safely. for choosing to persevere through your journey when the door to giving up was presented to you on many occasions. breathe. relax. celebrate. allow yourself to bask in this year’s successes. in your accomplishments.

i am sending you all my gratitude. your motivation to weave a story for your beautiful muses while venturing on your own, real odysseys, is already a feat like no other. you must be tired. let me thank you for writing. for breathing life into ideas. for inspiring me to improve in this art.

i am sending you all my love in light of your contributions toward creating this safe haven. because each and every one of you have welcomed me with kindness from your souls.  warmth and love from your hearts.

may the universe offer you love. benevolence. sweetness. at every turn around every road.  

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