i will never get over car boys i keep saying this but fuck like if u watch any individual episode its great bc nick and griffin are so funny and its entertaining and satisfying to see cars get destroyed in creative ways. but it gets to a point where they arent just lining up vehicles to smash into eachother but creating abstract impossible scenarios bending dimensions space time gravity and instead of fucking around it feels more like they are playing god? and it feels like the more they experiment and push things the more they are in danger?? like this playground is something bigger than them and they are dealing w something too powerful to comprehend??? its a wild feeling it wouldnt be what it is without nick and griffins chemistry and the advanced physics of the game and the fact that its improvised. all of these things make it such a unique experience i dont think there is anything else like it
For Ults Day, an ode to how much Ults Steve likes getting fucked.
It was a casual arrangement, that was the thing. This unspoken exchange between them, where Tony knew what Steve needed and gave it to him without him having to ask.
It had started after a discussion about Ultimates strategy and teamwork had dissolved into bickering, with Steve huffing out that Tony thought he was so insightful but he didn’t know have any idea how to handle his teammates.
At that, Tony had glanced up at him with a flirtatious smirk, eyes sparkling with clarity rather than the usual drunken haze. “Try me,” he’d challenged, and Steve had snapped. He’d thrown Tony full force against the wall of the office, luckily without knocking him out, and kissed him with demanding insistence.
Invisibility is generally thought of as magical, unobtainable, something out of Harry Potter or a superhero comic. But optics, the physics of light, is very much science. How can you manipulate light so that you are completely invisible?
We see an object when light hits or goes through it and comes back to our eyes. Therefore, then, there are two things we can see: reflection, the bouncing of light, and refraction, the bending of light. Because of this, we can see glass and water even though they are transparent.
Latias, then, bends the light around its body to appear invisible. When light refracts, the angle that it bends is proportional to the index of refraction (n) of the material. Snell’s Law says:
Don’t get too discouraged by the math: it just means that the larger the index of refraction is, the more light will be bent when it enters the medium. For example, air has an index of refraction close to 1, and diamond is 2.4.
This also means that if two mediums have the same index of refraction, then light won’t bend at all when it passes through it. For example, this glass rod has the same index of refraction as the oil, which makes it disappear:
That’s invisibility, but not the kind we’re looking for. If Latias’ feather had the same index of refraction as the air that it flies through, then yes, its feathers would be invisible. But you could see straight through to her skin, organs, lungs, heart, eyes, etc. We aren’t looking for a way to make light go through Latias, we want the light to go completely around her.
Until recently, this was largely thought impossible. To bend light completely around a visible object like an invisibility cloak, you would need a negative index of refraction. By definition a substance’s index of refraction is calculated with a square root, and we can’t take a square root of a negative number. There was no substance on Earth that met these requirements.
Until, in 1964, Victor Vesalago mathematically proved that a negative index was not impossible. You simply need to take a “left hand rule” approach instead of the standard “right hand rule” for electromagnetics. And much more recently, in 2000, we’ve successfully engineered materials with negative indices of refraction.
The catch is, light is made up of a spectrum of different wavelengths. The “invisibility” material that we have only cloaks the object from microwaves, not visible light. Research is still being done, as you can imagine, true invisibility would be a revolutionizing breakthrough.
Latias’ feathers have a negative index of refraction, bending visible light completely around her body and making her invisible.
Because she’s not invisible all the time, Latias must have several layers of feathers; the red and white for normal, and the invisibility ones for stealth.
Can we please talk about how if Gravity Falls wasn’t “for kids” that Dipper becoming possessed wouldn’t be solved with a solid kick to his possessed body. Oh no, it would be so, so much darker than that. Imagine every possession movie you have ever seen. Every body bending into impossible shapes. Every time someone, screaming Latin backwards, fights against their restraints in a mental hospital. You know how it goes, you’ve all seen the movies. The possessed are chained up, howl like dieing things when hit with holy water, their eyes change and they break their own bones as they curl into one form to another. Now imagine all that, but with Dipper, a 12 year old kid. Dipper, possessed by Bill would be no joke. Suddenly it would be Dipper being restrained by a dozen doctors, twisting has arms and legs so far back and around that the whole room can hear them break, eyes a glowing yellow with pupils like a cats, a smile on his face like he just won the lottery, and a glitchy, echoing laugh that will haunt everyone until the day they die that giggles about just how much fun he’s having.
One of the funniest running jokes on this website is that todd howard somehow mirrors the glitchy properties of his games physically in the real world, creating impossibly reality bending situations that range from the mundanely weird to destroying the fabric of reality themselves
“No, left over right. The other way is for the dead.”
You grumbled and redid the juban you were wearing. Hanzo had to adjust the back again so the seam lined up with the middle of your bared neck, hair twisted into an elaborate fashion. The jade beads from the kanzashi sticking out of your hair swung minutely as you reached for the next layer.
Hanzo beat you to the punch and gathered the folded nagajuban carefully into his hands and unraveled it. He draped the stark white fabric over your shoulders, adjusting the fabric until the middle was lined up just right. He held out both sleeves in a silent bid for you to put your arms through them. You do so with minimal trouble.
“What’s this one for?” You wrapped the front together (right side first, then left side over it) and hold it there.
“Protecting the kimono from your body’s oils,” he said as he wrapped a string–more of a thin sash– around your middle. You bristle a bit. You weren’t dirty–you took a proper bath, washed your hair, face, and washed your hand again for good measure. “The kimono is thick. You will sweat,” he added as he felt you tense underneath his hands. A thick cloth wrapped around your middle, hiding the string.
“So? We can just wash it right?”
The archer made a sound that sound like a mix between an exaggerated sigh and an indignant grunt. “Kimono are silk. They stain easily, and are not…simple to clean.”
He pulled the collar of your nagajuban back gently but firmly into a standing position, continued until the was enough space to expose the nature of your neck and the edge of the juban underneath. There seemed to be more he wanted to say, but either because he couldn’t find the words for his thoughts or he’s too busy trying to dress you, he just fell silent. You let it be, and just let your eyes wander as Hanzo worked.
The room was small, a dresser with ornaments and cloths of all shapes on your left. It took a long time to determine which would be suitable for you. Genji was here up until moment you had to put on the juban. Prior to that, he was arguing about color and pattern coordination with his brother. Attempts to interject were shot down with the reasoning that they knew what they were talking about.
“Mint green leaves with red and orange carnations?”
“It’s contemporary, brother! Pink with ivory–are you marrying her off?”
It was hectic, you thought with a fond smile.
The feeling of even heavier fabric upon your back snapped you out of your thoughts. You turned and spied beautiful light pink with patches of ivory and small motifs of green leaves toward the edges of the entire thing. If you looked closer, you could spy specks of gold embroidery hidden in the lively, but modest foliage. Again, Hanzo carefully aligns the middle with the center of your entire being. The man held out the sleeves, and again you slipped your arms through it, albeit with a little trouble as the nagajuban’s sleeves got caught. Hanzo seemed to have already anticipated this, already helping you get your sleeves to behave in the kimono’s even bigger sleeves. You note with a bit of curiosity that the kimono seemed too long for you–the excess was pooling around the swath of cloth you stood atop of.
Hanzo slipped around to your front, a bundle of silk in his teeth. He knelt before you and pinched the edges of the two halves of the kimono. Before you could even ask why he was doing, he pulled the fabric toward him and with ease, folds the excess fabric in on itself so that the end of the kimono no longer touched the floor, but just barely covered your ankles. He brought the folded halves one over the other, left over right, and held it there with one massive hand. Your pulse quickened as he took the ribbon of silk from his mouth and wrapped it around you, once, twice, before tying it into a tight knot around the front.
It was rare to see his look of concentration this close. Usually, you’d see if when he was about to fire an arrow or doing maintenance on his equipment. He’d exude an aura that kept everyone away just so he could complete his task. But to be so close to such intensity, it would’ve been hard to deny that you were even a little enamored by the look.
He stood and made his way behind you again, pulling the collar of the nagajuban and kimono, making minor adjustments until the white of the nagajuban was shyly peeking out of the pink, ivory, and green of your kimono from all sides of your collar.
There was another rustle of cloth before he draped part of a folded fabric, this time much thicker than the kimono, over your left shoulder from your back.
You complied almost automatically, admiring the red and gold threads that wove itself into cranes and flowers that adorned it. He wrapped this around your waist several times, before pulling
away the fabric you held. You huffed when the fabric around your waist–“Hey, what’s this called?” “Obi.”–the obi tightened several times in succession, and something was formed at your back. Before you knew it, more silken rope had made its way around you, except this was much thicker and nicer than the two underneath your layers.
Something was shoved around you and into the obi, barely showing it colors.
With these layers wound so tightly around you, it was difficult to breath, and with an experimental shift of your legs–“Stop moving,”–only granted you half a steps’ breadth.
A few more well placed tugs and knots, another binding of silken rope, and when Hanzo stood in front of you to look you up and down with a curt nod, you knew his work was done.
“This is the minimum you should be wearing,” he said as he gave you another once over. The downward curve at the edge of his lips showed that he was not fully satisfied with his work, but due to the limited resources on hand, it would have to do.
You ignored this and slowly made your way to the full length mirror with timid steps. The outfit was incredibly difficult to move in, you didn’t know how those shows that portrayed assassins in this get-up managed to do anything. The layers were nothing by themselves, but all together, wrapped so tightly and bundled with so much string, it was neigh impossible to bend or even take a breath.
Not that you could, after seeing yourself in the mirror. You weren’t even sure if the person in the reflection was even you. Gentle green leaves were woven into your ivory sleeves, small pink flowers peeked out from underneath them and scattered themselves all across the edges of your collar and bottom of your kimono. The kanzashi in your hair matched it–green beads draped from it like a waterfall, the flowers were the ones on the kimono come to life.
Most striking was the obi–a fierce red and white crane adorned the folded back, half hidden in the equally intense chrysanthemum flowers that bloomed all around. The finish was a rope of gold and white that held it all together. You couldn’t suppress the grin that threatened to split your face.
Hanzo watched you observe yourself in the mirror some more, turning this way and that to capture every single detail. He curled a hand over his mouth to hide his smile.
[A little note: I did it. I conquered my fear of doing an endless summer fanfic. There’s just so many about this pairing already and I wasn’t sure if I could ever do them justice. Originally, I was going to submit this for choicescreates but decided better of it because that quote has got me thinking and thinking. Hope it’s enjoyable!]
[Summary: Falling for someone is complicated - especially since it isn’t something taught but rather an experience learned, bringing people together. For MC it’s the sudden awareness that she’s fallen so deeply for Jake McKenzie that she’s afraid of what happens when she finally reaches the bottom].
That’s something they don’t
teach us while growing up. Instead, they teach us not to cry over spilled milk.
How important it is to be nice to strangers and to look both ways before
crossing the street. But they don’t teach us about this. One
of the scariest lessons in life. Falling. Falling so deeply that there isn’t any chance of even grabbing
the ledge in time to stop yourself from tumbling down. A fall so steep that
there is no choice but submitting, claiming it right before it consumes our
souls. No. They
don’t teach us that. And
they certainly don’t teach us how to survive the
Again, I have to thank my girl @letojokerownsme for getting me through this emotional roller coaster of a chapter, for her editing skills, support and suggestions…that always add the perfect bit of spice to this gumbo of a story.
Jared slips his arm from under her head, an attempt not
to wake her. “Go back to sleep,” he
whispers, his attempt unsuccessful. She
pulls her aching body into a sitting position, rubbing her swollen eyes.
“I need to talk to Shannon,” she whispers, trying to
ignore her aching muscles and slips out of bed, wincing in pain
immediately. “I have to fix this.”
“No!” Jared demands, forcing her to lie back down, his
brothers request for time ringing through his mind. “Baby, please just lie back down. Get some rest. Do you really want to put yourself through
that again…I mean after last night?”
“Why does every muscle in my body ache?” She mumbles to
herself. “I feel like I tried to run
three marathons in a fucking day.”
Jared smiles and kisses her nose. “The Jared marathon, baby,” he teases,
earning a smile from her.
My family has lawyers the way other families have doctors or tradespeople. Two of them see me out of the prison before an hour has elapsed, with my father outside the front door. A black limo, a grim silence when I get inside.
“I was -.”
“I do not want to hear it. A protest. Our family does not indulge in such behaviours. You gain good will through rash actions, son. You lose it through the same.”
Everything is about balance, in our family. Sometimes I wonder if we are more like the fae than the fae themselves. My father thinks me unwise, but I am wise enough to have never voiced that thought aloud. “I would not call working magic on a false lover rash,” I say softy.
My father says nothing. There are rules that govern our family, rules that only love can truly suspend. But even so.
“You indulge,” he says finally, halfway back to my condo.
“I do not always mean to.”
Mother would smile at the honesty. Father just looks at me coldly for a moment. Every prepared got it, the feel of his magic is like a furnace of cold fire against my skin. Power presses against flesh and spirit responds. My own magic flares up. I hold his at bay, but nothing more.
“Reckless,” he whispers. “Vain, foolish child!”
“Uncle Owen.” I say nothing else. Father lets go of his magic, snarls a request to his driver. I am dropped off a block from home. It is the kind of condo that would show up in fashion magazines, if my family allowed such publicity into our lives. A block away the street is littered with graffiti and predators study me from behind calm eyes.
I walk down the street, Smile. They look away. I doubt I come off as a predator, but desperation can be more dangerous by far. Not that I am that, I think. It is hard to be sure anymore. My father’s magic a bulwark of power. But Uncle Owen was the same, and he died in an accident.
A hit and run. The driver suffered in ways I try not to think about. My father almost never uses his magic; he did then, and the screams might end in a year. Two. Perhaps even ten.
There are many families with magic. Some never know of it, some can only work certain kinds. But each of us are born with only so much magic within us for our lifetime. A sliver of the impossible, to bend chance and probability to our wills. And once gone, there is nothing left. I have used more of my magic since coming into my power than my father has in six decades. I don’t want to hoard my power for a future that may never come.
I don’t even consider it power, most of the time. Anyone can learn to work small magics, to bend the world in little ways. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Not any crack, not at any time, but done, just so, and one can harm an enemy. There are little things like that, and I have made it a point to learn most of them.
The rest of the family think me foolish. Even those I have aided who would not aid themselves. But I think their magic gets weaker in some ways. Starves through lack of use. Power that is not in the world is not power. A fae told me that once, when I asked why they ever came back to this world.
I sketch symbols in the ground as I walk. Protection, confusion. Some work; others never will. I am never certain if the fault is in me or they symbols. My key fob opens the private elevator, manufactured silence taking me to the top floor. Some days I am so tired of being part of my family, but there is no other place where I belong.
The book describes a ‘Triple Bind’ that many young women and girls experience, and carry into adult life. These are basically three conditions that cannot conflict to remain valid, but inherently contradict:
Be good at all the ‘girl stuff.’ That’s not just performative femininity, looking ‘like a girl’ and having access to resources required for feminine appearance. But also performing all of the emotional labor expected from girls, roles expected from girls, and be good at them.
Be good at all the ‘guy stuff.’ If you want to survive in our current culture, women need to ‘trespass’ into activities that our culture once coded exclusively male like work and careers, sometimes in school sports, being aggressive or assertive in projects, sometimes just having access to and spending money. This includes emotional approach and labor, performing a sort of numbers-filed-off suggestion of masculinity because the feminine is inherently considered subordinate. But not one that’s ‘good enough’ to transgress against assigned gender, or has access to challenge men in their own sphere of life.
You MUST conform to the above, within a narrow set of standards of success that can’t mutually fulfill both of the prior conditions completely. Women’s role models are expected to have both traits, but not too much of both or either. You can be a star athlete, but people will criticize the same body they celebrate. You can be a successful career person but be prepared to be seen as cold, demanding, and non-maternal. Alternatively, you can be a mother but you better not be one of those no-career moms who just aren’t Feminist™. But a mother with a job is a bad mother and a bad worker because she’s not one thing or the other. You can be a tomboy but you better not transgress against the gender binary or heteronormativity too much. Girls who don’t wear blue jeans and aren’t cool with ‘the guys’ aren’t ‘cool.’ But some (gross men) want those girls because feminine girls are typified as not aggressive. But you better not have worn a skirt to the club, because you were asking for what happened next. You also better be aware of all of this, in control at all times and not have any form of disability or mental illness that effects your behavior or presentation.
Because the ‘girl stuff’ and the ‘guy stuff’ contradict (many people have described femininity as a lack of masculinity, and masculinity as a lack of femininity) it’s impossible to meet both demands at the same time in a satisfactory way. And then the third part of the bind that you must meet both, that it is not optional further traps women and girls. Basically it is a hell of inauthenticity that can leave someone feeling empty trying to meet all of these contradictory demands, inevitably doing something ‘wrong,’ and never being able to tell what is actually their real personality and what is just something that was expected of them that they can’t actually ever succeed at properly.
Because it’s impossible to fill these demands, so much media,
both by men who idealize a woman who magically achieves the contradictory demands (think: women by Joss Whedon)
and by women and girls who are tortured and are trying to invent ‘better’ versions of themselves that fulfill the contradictory demands (think: women by Stephanie Meyer)
depicts women and girls that come across as ‘too perfect’ or else strangely not subject to reality or their environment that in real life maintains we can’t ‘have it all.’
And yeah some of it is misogyny– there’s no reason to call Rey from Star Wars a Mary Sue other than that you think women shouldn’t be competent at anything.
But you can’t deny that in a lot of media women’s power fantasies are not merely about ability or image, but about control: achieving a very specific sort of ideal persona that is able to be in control of patriarchal demands upon them, perfectly respond to everything society asks of women. Be strong but not so strong you threaten men. Be maternal but not too maternal, and still do all of that work to reassure men that you’re there for them. Be one of the guys, but don’t lose your feminine appeal to them. Be sexual and model a typified-male detached view of sexual encounters, but don’t be a slut. Be beautiful, but don’t come across as if you need to maintain your beauty. Be powerful, but remain firmly within the male gaze. Be independent, but not too independent.
It really can feel like the only way anybody in real life could somehow fulfill all of this at once is to sell your soul to demons. A lot of lateral hostility among women follows that script. it’s framed as ‘jealousy’ but it’s more complex than that. It’s a warped perception that some other women ‘have’ managed to fill the triple bind a little, and a self-loathing that we can’t. She must have sold her soul somehow, is faker, is more superficial than we are, to have met some of her contradictory hell demands.
Often this kind of anger has to do with hatred or idolization of money, which is one of the ways to lessen the triple bind; be able to buy all this shit that fills the image and makes it ‘easier’ for some women. But it better not be your career. Get a rich husband. But then you’re a gold digger. And it begins again.
So in the end that picture isn’t just a joke about summoning demons to gain control over your life and avoid the eventual mediocrity all people will achieve in some aspect of their lives. Intentionally or not, It’s also about women discussing that they are in hell and the only way one could ever win is to somehow impossibly bend the demons to their will. It’s a bitter joke because in real life you can’t make the patriarchy lay off of you, just as much as you can’t actually ritually summon imps to do all your chores.
“You can hurt me all you want. But don’t you dare touch her.”
Billy called it a Kraken earlier, and as you roll out of one of its swinging tentacles’ path, you file that name away for later. It’s the only true way to describe the alien in front of you.
For once, your opponent is completely silent, leaving only the sound of clanging metal and the slap of its slimy tentacles to fill the empty air, with the occasional barked order from Jason or a shout from another Ranger. The stale quiet makes the battle eerie, and all of you are more on edge than you normally are. The monster’s pinkish-purple skin is covered with some sort of mucus, making it incredibly difficult for any of you to get a hold on it. It’s at least ten feet tall with no head, just a massive torso with two chunky legs the same color of the rest of its body. A single, beady black eye shines blankly in the middle of its abdomen, the rest of its body covered in more than a dozen writhing tentacles.
It all goes to shit when you’re about a meter from the monster. The sound of Kim shrieking makes you skid to a stop, kicking up chunks of pavement that clack down the road. You whip your head around just in time to see the tentacle she was wrestling with lift her off the ground and throw her down the street like she weighs nothing. She lands at least fifty feet from you with a loud thunk, the pavement breaking beneath her. She bounces once before rolling to a stop. Billy is next, exclaiming elementary curses as he’s lifted off the ground by one leg and tossed towards where Kim lies still. Trini and Jason manage to scramble back in time to avoid the monster’s latest strategy, and its tentacles slam into the ground with a loud smack.
Your eyes flick back and forth between your Pink and Blue friends, searching for any sign of movement. You don’t notice the two tongues whipping out towards you like vipers, and you barely have time to cry out before your arms are bound to your waist. The monster yanks you violently off the ground, its grip not sliding a bit despite the coll, rubbery texture of its skin. You close your eyes and hunker in on yourself the best you can, bracing for the impact to come. But instead of throwing you like it did your friends, the tentacles constrict around you. Your muscles scream in agony at the harsh, stinging pressure, and you wail in pain.
You crane your head down to look at the monster and meet its gaze. Its single black eye stares up at you blankly with no remorse. With no emotion at all. A third tentacle shoots up and smacks into your throat, forcing a choking gasp out of your body before it curls around your windpipe and squeezes so tightly that the edges of your vision blacken from pain and lack of oxygen. It’s like all of your body’s other senses shut off, everything focused on the torture you’re currently enduring.
You throw your head back, mouth gaping as you try to take in a breath. All you can do is make rough choking sounds into the air. Through the haze, you hear something shatter, and it takes you a moment to process the metallic sound and realize it’s your suit. Turns out your white armor is not indestructible. Tears dribble down your temples as your wide eyes stare up at the sky, thinking about how far Kim and Billy were thrown, and how their armor is the same as yours. You choke on a sob, not even able to get any air out as you do. You’re going to die.
But before you can resign yourself to your fate, a resounding clang echoes through the air, and the tentacles retreat. You drop limply to the ground, laying nearly spread eagle as you take in a shaky breath, coughing from lack of oxygen. You vaguely feel your limbs twitching and the cool tears continuing to roll down your temples and into your ears. Little cuts marr your arms from where your suit shattered under the Kraken’s grip.
Your eyes cross as a black form suddenly obstructs your vision of where the magenta blob was previously. Blinking rapidly, you manage to focus your eyes just long enough to realize it’s Zack. You try to cry out, to tell him to get out of the way, but all you can do is wheeze, the air sliding through your throat like grating sandpaper.
“ … pink asshole.” You catch the end of whatever Zack was previously saying. Everything is in slow motion, and you blink slowly as you try to regain your bearings. “You can hurt me all you want. But don’t you dare touch her,” he hisses.
Trying and failing to cry out again, you lift your head up, only to let it fall seconds later. A thump is the only thing that lets you know something is next to you, and then you see yellow. Trini. “Hang on, (y/n),” she snaps angrily, not at you, but at the situation. “You’re gonna be okay, you just gotta…”
Her voice fades out for a second as the world blurs. You blink your crossed eyes and slowly realize that you shouldn’t be feeling this woozy. Lifting your head up slowly, you look down at your arms where your suit is damaged. Trini follows your gaze and gasps at the two needles buried on the inside of each elbow. “Shit!” she barks.
“What?” you hear a (most likely male?) voice yell. A loud slap of metal on skin meets your ears, and you let your head fall to the ground. “Trini, what’s wrong?” Jason. That’s Jason.
Where are the others?
Trini refocuses on you just as you let your head drop to the side. “(y/n)! Don’t-”
Not being able to hold on any longer, you slip into nothingness.
You return to consciousness with a violent gasp, eyes flying wide open as your body lifts off of whatever you’re lying on. Two calloused hands cup your bare shoulders and gently push you back down. “Shhhh, (y/n), you’re safe! You’re safe!” Your panicked eyes zip over to the owner of the hands. Zack blinks down at you with wide eyes, his face incredibly pale. “You have to calm down, (y/n),” he soothes, softer now that he has your attention.
You relax slightly into his grip, chest heaving as you come down from your panicked high. “Zack,” you croak. Your throat burns as the worlds roll off your tongue, and you cough violently. Looking around you, you realize you’re in the ship. Cobalt blue light slithers up the curved black walls of one of the side corridors, casting a ghostly hue over your surroundings.The grate of the floor digs into your back, its sharpness only slightly muffled by about three blankets. You all knew that you needed some sort of med-bay at the base, but you couldn’t exactly bring down a mattress for you all to recover on. So you jumped into the hidden pool with a little over a dozen blankets, laid them to dry, and then piled them up into makeshift beds for when you needed them.
When you needed them.
You shoot up once more as a realization hits you like a truck. “Where are the others?” you shout, voice still rasping and cracking uncomfortably. You’re interrupted from saying more by the sharp pain that roils through your midsection, making you hiss. Normally, you would ignore it, but it makes you fall back so you’re leaning on one hand, which trembles weakly under the weight. Your other hand shakes as it clutches your abdomen, and Zack lowers you back down once again. You look up at him, panicked tears welling up in your eyes. “Kim,” you sob. “And-and Billy—”
“They’re fine.” Zack squeezes your hand reassuringly to drive his words home. “A little banged up, but they’re up and running.”
A mirthless laugh escapes you, and you let your head roll back so you’re looking up at the ceiling. You don’t trust yourself to speak again until the pain in your abdomen subsides, and when it does, all you can ask is: “Did we get him?”
The corridor echoes with silence for a couple of seconds before Zack responds. “Not yet,” he mutters. You let your eyes flick back to his, and your heart sinks when you see the tears swimming in his brown eyes. He smiles sadly down at you and cups your cheek, running his thumb so softly over your cheekbone you almost.
“I thought I lost you,” he whispers. He heaves in a deep shaky breath before continuing: “I heard your suit break, and then you just—fell. And then Trini said you were poisoned and that you weren’t breathing–”
“Zack. You squeeze his hand tightly in yours. “I’m okay,” you whisper, trying to sound as comforting as possible.
The both of you know perfectly well that you’re not okay. You can feel the heavy weight of bandages wrapped around your elbows, making it impossible for you to bend your arms. The two pinpricks and the cuts and bruises from where your suit broke throb periodically with a sharp sting. Your entire body is shaking slightly, recovering from the remnants of the poison and making you feel nauseous. And you can’t see it, but your abdomen is completely purple with angry red and sickly yellow splotches lining the outer edges. And to top it all off, your voice feels like sandpaper from nearly being choked to death.
You swallow the lump in your throat, suddenly petrified as you realize just how close you came to dying. “I’ll be okay,” you correct yourself, nodding not only for Zack’s sake but for yours too. “I promise.”
Zack nods and sniffles, letting go of your hand so he can wipe his eyes with the heels of his. “Okay.” He blinks down at you, mouth opening so he can say more, but all that comes out is blank air. You wait nervously, trying not to show how badly you want him to say something.
He leans back with a start and clears his throat, scrambling to his feet. He flashes you a grin that you easily see through as fake and takes a step back. “Stay here,” he orders, pointing playfully at where you lay on the ground. Like you could go anywhere else. “I’ll go get the others.” You nod and smile tiredly up at him. He smiles softly down at you once more before taking a few steps back and turning to jog down the hall.
Well, there you go. Now you’re gonna lay on this floor for days thinking solely about what Zack could have said. Perfect.