it was the best of times. it was the worst of times

Seriously, I can’t thank you all enough for supporting me.

I had my first blog for four years and could never hit past 450, but in less than a year you guys have supported me way more than I ever could have asked for. I appreciate all of you, and thank you so much for every nice comment, tag, and reblog!

medium.com
BORN TO BE A STAR — JOEY CLAIRE, MAID OF LIGHT – optimisticDuelist – Medium
MAID: One who makes Light, or makes through Light — for themselves. LIGHT: Power, Fortune, Enlightenment, Knowledge, Ideas, Importance…
By optimisticDuelist

Here’s a post on Joey’s Hero Title–The MAID of LIGHT!–and how understanding it strengthens our reading of Joey’s struggles with neglect and loneliness, her STRIFES, her skills and abilities, and more! We even look at some interesting foreshadowing for where her arc may be going in the next Acts!

(Credit to @thricequeen and @dahniwitchoflight for providing key details that feed into my own speculation, btw! Thanks a ton, peeps)

Classpecting has so far been a hugely underappreciated part of Hiveswap’s narrative, and I’d like to change that. This post is also a focused introduction on Classpects in general, and should ideally be perfectly easy to follow if you’re a new Hiveswap fan with no exposure to the system from Homestuck! 

I do have to warn, however, that there will be Homestuck Spoilers in this essay. So heads up about that! Now, on to some bad news. I have similar Classpect essays brainstormed for Xefros Tritoh and Jude Harley.
But alas, it may be a while before I can write those. 

As excited as I am to post this, it comes with an announcement I wish I wasn’t making. If you enjoy this essay and want to know more about future content from me, please read on.

Keep reading

2

This might possibly be my greatest gaming achievement.

For those unfamiliar, Xcom is a difficult, tactical RPG notorious for what feels like unfair missed shots and implausible cirtical hits on your units–and that’s on Normal difficulty. Commander difficulty is the game’s hard mode. And what’s more, the optional Ironman mode locks you into a single playthrough and blocks any attempt at save scumming.

I am a slut for fan of Tactical RPGs, and Xcom has always been a favorite series; The sci-fi counterpart to my other favorite Fire Emblem.

Anyways, I’ve been playing this in short bursts every time I had 15 minutes of free time, since the expansion came out. It’s been a long slow crawl, but holy shit, I did it.

At one point, I thought I had lost it all. Three really hard missions back to back, the worst luck ever and a handful of critical mistakes, in which I kept losing my best units. Such, that at my worst, I was down to only four soldiers, only two of which weren’t rookies. I debated giving up the game then and there. But when I started the playthrough, I had resolved to see the game through the end, win or lose.

Somehow, slowly, I recovered from all that, took the advantage and beat the game. It was an uphill battle the whole way.

And through it all, I had one particular unit, a Templar. She was literally the sole survivor of all three of those missions–I felt compelled to change her codename to “Immortal”. (I wish I could get a picture of her, but being that it was Ironman mode I literally can’t load the file and go back to the soldier list screen to take a picture.)

Needless to say, the whole thing was a freakin adventure. And it’s possible that if you’ve never played Xcom you may not be able to fully appreciate the nature of this post (but thank you for reading anyway).

Goddamn, I feel badass right now.

An INTJ without a cause

Do you know the feeling when you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into an interest of yours and suddenly you just… become utterly disenchanted with it all? 

This is possibly the worst feeling for me. It happens every couple of years, since I’m quite reliable in my cycle. I grow absolutely obsessed with something, learn everything I possibly can on the subject, spend a whole chunk of my free time giving my input, do my best to educate others and leave an imprint of my own.

And then one morning I don’t feel like doing any of that anymore. 

It’s as though the floor gives out from under you and you’re drifting aimlessly until you find something else that ignites your interest again. My entire life has been spent being enchanted by one thing after another - Cold War, programming, music, fandom, books, writing… you name it. I can’t imagine living an “ordinary life” where you wake up, make money and go to bed after two hours of TV. 

My life feels completely meaningless without an obsession that drives me onwards. I need something to keep me occupied at all times or I feel absolutely useless.

Originally posted by f--o--r--e--v--e--r

me basing the signs after a really tough day being me, FBR

aries: please calm down

taurus: i don’t understand how we can be so stubborn yet so intent on being right all the time like it’s self-sabotage dude like when will we learn to relax

gemini: tbh if u weren’t so misguided all the time i’d want to be a gemini

cancer: cancers are crybabies but pisces are worse but like i love cancers because i have a weird oedipal complex

leo: overfamiliarity and people who try too hard to get me to like them and then fail is something that really annoys me

virgo: if beyonce wasn’t a virgo no one would be proud to be a virgo because this shit is stressful

libra: the cowardly lion was a libra in the best and worst ways

scorpio: i hate you dad jk fucking and feeling sorry for yourself is not a substitute for impactful self-reflection and change

sagittarius: i like them the most when they’re laughing at my jokes honestly

capricorn: being proud of being boring doesn’t make you more interesting

aquarius: my grandpa is cool but he watches the catholic channel a lot and that fucked me up as a kid

pisces: being overemotional doesn’t necessarily make you emotionally intelligent, man

Thank you, Teen Wolf.

You were there for me during the best of times and during the worst of times. You made my high school years better than they were. You made me smile when I went through the worst of my years. You were there for me when no one else was. These characters made me into the person I am today.


Thank you, Teen Wolf and Goodbye.

Thoughts and theories post S307

We got a clue to how the different dimensions work. These three dudes are obviously iterations of the same Rick who all encountered the same event in varying degrees of severity. It could just be that these three dimensions are right next to each other, but the numbering convention suggests that they’re true splits from one original dimension, caused by that event. 

If that’s true, it means that every time a major event occurs, timelines splinter into different offshoot possibilities. The Ricks that stay most “normal” keep their original dimension number and the others take on an iteration of that number based on the level of divergence. This also helps account for how the population of the citadel bounced back so quickly after the massacre in S301. As time goes on more splits in dimensions means a constant influx of more Ricks and Mortys.

Not every rick invents the portal gun. The portal gun is rick’s ultimate source of power and what allows the citadel to exist. From what we learned from the half-truths in S301′s portal gun origin backstory, Ricks ostensibly go from dimension to dimension giving portal technology to other Ricks rather than each Rick inventing it on his own. Plus we saw in the last episode that the Mortytown Rick tries and fails to make portal fluid, and cop Rick calls it out “bootleg,” plus the factory Rick demands a portal gun because he must not be able to make one of his own. 

For the Ricks that didn’t invent their own, portal fluid and guns are regulated and not allowed to all Ricks freely. It begs the question of how many Ricks actually invented the portal gun on their own. In theory, it would only take just one figuring it out and then sharing it with all the others.

More evidence for Evil Morty = Rick’s original Morty. This has been a fan theory since Evil Morty first showed up but after S307 the evidence is even stronger. Evil Morty dodges questions about his original dimension and Rick, instead diverting with “we moved around a lot.” That basically leaves the door wide open for the reveal of him being Rick’s og Morty.

Plus, if the moving around part wasn’t a lie, that means he and Rick skipped universes Cronenberg-style more than once (Rick did say he’d pulled that stunt before). Think how disillusioned just one dimension move made our Morty, it’s no wonder Evil Morty turned into what he is if he went through multiple ruined dimensions. Beyond that, our Morty has been shown to be getting more jaded and downright cruel this season, enough that people were thinking he was turning into Evil Morty. If our Morty has devolved into his current state with just being around our Rick for a few years, imagine how the Morty our Rick was around since when he was a baby would have turned out.

Cop Rick is alive for a reason. He killed Cop Morty and turned himself in expecting to be shot off into space, but in the end he’s released by Ricks under evil Morty’s control. Him being alive still is not insignificant, even if just for the narrative and character implications more than plot reasons. 

Cop Rick’s first instinct is to trust. He trusted the Morty in the room with the crib. He trusted Cop Morty to do the right thing. He wants to believe in true justice and the goodness in people, and acts on that belief no matter the outcome for him. 

The real gut punch is he’s not just an outlier. He shows that Ricks do have an infallible sense of justice when it’s not smothered out by narcissism and nihilism. We’ve seen that our Rick, despite being an asshole, will choose to do the right thing- even if it’s the hard thing- at crucial moments: He puts the collar on Morty instead of himself when they’re falling to their deaths in the void, he turns himself in to the Galactic Federation in order to save his family. 

Cop Rick is still alive because he’s the hero our Rick would be if he wasn’t such a jaded asshole. He’s the proof that despite everything, Rick is at his core trying to be good. Maybe that kind of Rick is valuable to Evil Morty, or maybe it was just valuable to us to see this side of Rick so explicitly.

Evil Morty wants control. Evil Morty is living the ideal Morty existence, in control of himself and the universe around him. It’s all he’d want after a life where Rick was always in control, where he could do nothing to stop the machinations of the universe from nearly crushing him every adventure. As we saw really plainly with Copy Morty, when a Morty gets enough knowledge, experience, and freedom, they can’t stand being treated like sidekicks anymore. No wonder the Ricks put them in a school designed not to teach them to be more competent on adventures but instead to keep them helpless and subservient. 

It’s easy enough to follow the same trend in our Morty. He’s been fighting for more control all season– He chooses not to try to rescue Rick from prison. He’s fine with going against Rick’s plan in the Mad Max world. He’s the one who makes them go on the adventure with the Vindicators (and Rick loses his shit when he doesn’t get to be the only one saving the day anymore). And perhaps most telling, Morty’s ideal toxin-free self abandons Rick entirely and creates a situation where his whole job is to manipulate and control other people. 

Evil Morty is what happens when Morty’s struggle for power goes to it’s furthest degree. He wanted so bad to not be the sidekick anymore that he’d do anything, even if it meant becoming the villain. 

4

Forduary week three: Support
At least he’ll always have his brother there to support him, right?


You can see all of my Forduary entries here and all of my Stanuary entries here.

Hey everybody, this is Griffin McElroy, your dungeon master, DM, best friend, friend, very good friend, lover?, life colleague, best buddy in the whole wide world, good good buddy, main man, dad, that guy who sat behind you in gym class, confidant, Harvey Fierstein, benevolent anonymous benefactor, long lost uncle, yoga instructor, bosom buddy, dirty little secret, partner in crime, dog…whisperer, personal trainer, fungeon master, worst enemy, guardian angel, personal trainer, personal chef, local handyman, onion blaster, weatherman, part time Spanish tutor, second hand news, other thing, sleepy time boy, local sheriff, personal chef, sommelier, ice skating trainer, a real human being and a real hero, big dog - big dog on campus, clock, just your best friend, not alone guy, trusted source for all the latest Hollywood gossip, secret santa, number one fan, oatmeal eater, local hvac repair person, number one 100% gamer boy, midnight boy, finale boy, tardy boy, your very grateful and very relieved cohost of the Adventure Zone podcast. Thank you for listening.

How to Make Your Villain Domestic but Still Evil

It’s the oxymoron that attracts us. Billowing black cape, terrifying worldviews, a willingness to make the streets run red with blood – and you know what would be hilarious? Them trying and failing to make morning pancakes. You know what would really hit us in the feels? Watching them show tenderness around a special someone.

Having a villain with a domestic side is lassoing a black hole, and it’s a tantalizing thing to watch. However, anyone who’s indulged in these daydreams with their own villains has probably encountered one very specific issue: it makes them less evil. They lose their edge.

For example, look at Crowley from CW’s Supernatural. This was a guy to be feared at one point; arriving out of nowhere at unexpected times, always playing both sides of the conflict, and you could be certain he would skin anyone necessary to get what he wanted – usually without getting a single drop of blood on his impeccable suit.

Flash forward to recent seasons, and we’ve seen Crowley cry and whimper more times than Dean has died –which is saying something. At first, it was fascinating to discover this powerful character actually had a tender side; and now, when Crowley makes a threat, we’re about as afraid as when any low-level demon makes one. This is because his evil was too compromised. He let himself go.

How can we avoid this mistake with our villains? The answer isn’t making them crush puppies and hate butterflies at every turn; it’s in balancing their core scariness with their softer side – giving them complexity, giving us a bit of “aww,” and making their eventual whiplash back into ‘terrifying’ all the more wonderful.

For this, we’re going to use Epic of Lilith by Ivars Ozols as an example. This book centers on arguably the original female villain – Lilith, the first woman of the Garden of Eden, who got on the “good guys’” bad side by refusing to submit to someone who was clearly her equal. There won’t be any spoilers below, but if you give the book a read (it’s an easy page turner), the points will be driven home stronger.

Plus it’s a book with a great female villain who isn’t objectified (don’t let the cover fool you, seriously) and prose that isn’t full of sexual over- or undertones. Talk about a win, eh?

Here we go.    

Keep reading

wingardium-letmefuckyou  asked:

Hey, I love your gods&monsters series, could you write something about Apollo? ^Preferably something with a positive vibe, something romantic... But that's totally up to you, anything about Apollo makes me happy

Apollo has many sons.

He only ever has nine daughters.

~

He has his first when he’s young, too young to know better.

Daphne is beautiful and coy, and leads him on a merry chase. He catches her, and finally silences her laughing mouth with his own. They sleep together, and she leaves bite marks up his neck.

Her father, the river god Peneus, finds out about them. Apollo had not known it was secret. Peneus is a hard, selfish god, and he slits Daphne’s throat for her impurity. Better a dead daughter then one who does not listen.

Apollo finds out too late. He arrives to Daphne dead on the side of her father’s riverbank, stomach swollen in a way Apollo doesn’t remember it being the last time he saw her, which was – which was – it couldn’t have been that long, could it?

He cuts open her stomach, throat too tight to call for his sister’s help, heart too tight to bear anyone else looking at Daphne’s slack, bloody face.

The child is still warm.

The child is still alive.

He cannot bring himself to bury Daphne, to sentence her to an afterlife beneath the earth. Instead, he transforms her into a large laurel tree, so her beauty will remain eternal. He presses a hand against her trunk and says, “My hair will have you, my lyre will have you, my quiver will have you.” Apollo looks down at the baby, too small, tucking into the crook of his arm. “Our daughter will have you.”

He calls her Calliope. Their daughter weaves laurel leaves into her hair every day of her life.

~

When he is older, but not wiser, he gets drunk on the top of Olympus. It is not the first time, nor the last, but this time it is different.

This time Hestia, goddess of the hearth, of warmth, of family, places her delicate hand around the back of his neck and leads him to her rooms.

Months later, he lands his chariot, the sun finally set. His arms are shaking, and his legs are covered from burns when the sun grew tired and tried to consume him, but could not. Hestia stands before him, something held in her arms. “What’s wrong?” he asks roughly, throat dry and the skin of his lips cracking. Hestia rarely leaves Olympus.

“I am no mother,” she tells him, and he doesn’t understand until she places a warm, squirming bundle in his arms. He holds it to his chest automatically. “Her name is Terpsichore.”

She leaves before he has the chance to question her. He looks down, and the baby has his golden eyes and her dark hair. “Hello, little one.”

Calliope is fully grown now. Apollo leaves Terpsichore in her care, and promises to come when called.

“Yes, Father,” Calliope says, rolling her eyes as her little sister grabbing fistfuls of her curly hair. There’s an ink smudge across her face, and her home is bursting with books. He should really talk to Athena about letting Calliope use one of her libraries.

He kisses both their foreheads before leaving.

~

Apollo falls in love with a Spartan prince, graceful and strong and with a wide, pretty mouth. He falls in love with a mind that can match him, with a smile that leaves him breathless. Hyacinth captures his affections and attentions utterly, and for a few short years Apollo is enchanted, for a few short years Apollo feels a love deep in his chest that is only surpassed by the love he has for his sister.

Then Hyacinth is killed.

He shows up at his daughters’ door, and Calliope and Terpsichore take one look at him and usher him inside. He can’t bring himself to speak, but he’s covered in blood that isn’t his own, is pale and shaken and mourning.

They clean him and care for him and settle him to bed, although he cannot bring himself to sleep.

Less than a week later, there is a mortal woman there looking for him. Her eyes are red, but she stands tall and her lips are pressed into a straight line. A toddler who shares her dark coloring clutches her skirt. “I am the Princess of Sparta, and wife of Hyacinth.”

Apollo hadn’t known Hyacinth had a wife. He hadn’t asked. Surely he would have noticed – but then again, perhaps not. Love makes people stupid. “I am sorry for your loss.”

“As I am sorry for yours,” she says in return, which surprises him. “Sparta must have a prince. I am to be remarried.” She brings the little girl forward, and she can’t be more than a couple years old. “This is Urania, the child of myself and my husband. I have been ordered to kill her.”

Apollo flinches. He knows such things are done, but – she is Hyacinth’s daughter. “I will take her.”

She smiles. “I thought you might.” She kisses the girl on both cheeks, hands her to Apollo, then leaves as quickly as she’d came.

Urania watches them with big liquid eyes that she got from her mother. He stays with his daughters for a year after that, playing with Urania and watching Terpsichore dance and listening to Calliope’s beautiful poetry. Urania loves the stars. She stares up at them each night, and Apollo patiently explains the name of each one.

When she is fully grown, he begs a piece of ambrosia off Hestia and feeds it to her.

Urania is his daughter as surely as if his blood ran through her veins. He cannot bear to watch her age and die.

~

Marpessa chooses Ida over him, but it is too late. She already swells with his child, and he could use that to keep her. He could force her to stay at his side, she loves him, she said so, it would not be such a cruel thing.

But she is not wrong in her assessment. Apollo is immortal, and will not grow old with her, will not change with her, will not die with her. Ida will.

There’s fear on her face, and he thinks she deserves it, for proclaiming to love him and choosing another. But he is not interested in keeping her captive for a lifetime.

“Have the child, and give it to me,” he commands, “and I will leave you to your life.”

Ida is furious in his jealousy that Marpessa will bear a child for Apollo before she bears a child for him, so there is that comfort, at least.

Artemis delivers the child to ensure it goes smoothly. She’s beaming as she holds her niece. “What will you call her?”

“You choose,” he says, running the back of his finger over the babe’s soft cheek.

His sister considers the squalling child for a long moment before she says, “I think you should name her Thalia.”

“Thalia it is,” he says.

She’s mischievous, and reminds him of himself on his worst days. She grows, and pulls pranks on nymphs and deities. Her older sisters are constantly straining to keep her out of worse trouble.

He gets a frantic message from Calliope that Thalia has gone missing, and he eventually finds her at the edge of a scorched battlefield, the soldiers long gone but the bodies and stench remaining. He’s furious at her for going to a place so dangerous, but when he marches up to her he sees something that he hadn’t expected.

She’s hallway through a story about pranking a wood nymph that he knows is at least half lies and a quarter exaggeration. Curled up on the ground, clutching his stomach as he laughs so hard he can’t breathe, is Ares.

Apollo hasn’t seen the tormented god of war this carefree since he was a child.

Thalia finally notices him, and cuts herself off, paling. “Oh, uh. Hi Dad.”

Ares is downright giggling. “Hello Thalia,” Apollo crosses his arms and glares, “You shouldn’t go wandering away from your sisters.” She winces and nods, ducking her head to look up at him through her eyelashes, doing her best to look contrite and innocent.

It might have worked, if Apollo hadn’t taught her that look himself.

He sits down on the ground next to Ares, who doesn’t acknowledge his presence beyond shifting enough to use Apollo’s thigh as his pillow. “Well,” Apollo says, “keep going.”

Thalia lights up and launches back into the story, and when she finishes she continues into another which is mostly true and somehow even more ridiculous.

~

Because he’s an idiot with a death wish, Apollo ends up spending a month with Hecate in the underworld. He stumbles out one night when she falls asleep, because he feels if he doesn’t leave now there’s a possibility that he never will.

One of the most horrifying moments of his life is looking for the way out, and finding Hades instead. The god of death looks to him, walking around naked in his realm, to the direction he came from, and says, “That was you? Are you crazy?”

“It … it was a good time,” he says faintly.

“Obviously,” Hades shakes his head, and slices his hand down in the air in front of them, creating a doorway for Apollo out of his realm.

Apollo gives him a clumsy salute and steps through.

Roughly a year later, he’s playing his lyre when a little girl with black skin and grey hair and eyes appears in front of him. It’s terrifying enough that he accidentally snaps one of his strings.

“Lady Styx,” he says, voice higher pitched than normal. “Is there something I can help you with?”

The child snorts and reaches her hands into absolutely nothing and pulls out a baby. She holds it out to him. “Hecate says this is your problem now.”

Improbably, the babe already has a mouth full of too-sharp teeth. Her eyes shift between every color, unable to decide, and there is something a little too knowing about her face for one so young. Artemis says he too was born knowing too much.

A child of Apollo and Hecate can only be a mistake, something that will never fit quite well among others of her own kind.

He sighs and take the baby. “Very well.”

“I like the name Clio,” the child goddess says before leaving him.

Thalia tells him it’s too small and to give it back. Urania is fascinated, and takes over most of the child’s care, which is likely for the best since Calliope is neck deep into a new epic, and would be cross if she needed to pull her attention from it to rear a child.

As Clio ages, she stays just as unsettling and strange. Hephaestus shows up around the time she starts breaking into Athena’s libraries, even though stunts like that get people worse than killed. “I don’t know why she gave her to me,” Apollo says as they watch the teenager devouring a stolen tome on the history of the Persian Empire. “Hecate raised you, I don’t understand why she didn’t want to raise her actual daughter.”

“You’re a better parent than she is,” he says thoughtfully. Apollo gives him an unimpressed look, but he says, “I’m serious. Your girls are turning out to be quite lovely – all of them.”

“Of course they are,” he says, nose in the air, but grins when Hephaestus elbows him the side.

By the time she’s an adult, Clio is easily one of the most accomplished scholars to ever exist. She and Athena regularly get into academic debates that last weeks, and scare off anyone from daring to come closer.

She stays strange, and too smart, and Apollo loves her utterly.

~

Apollo is lying on the beach when a large wave overtakes him and drags him into the sea. He struggles for the surface, but can’t seem to shake the waves, and is dragged to the sea floor. He’s a god, so he won’t suffocate, but he’s terrified when the water drags him down to Poseidon’s palace and deposits him in front of his wife. “Apollo,” she says, “I can see what your daughters will become.”

He has no idea what she’s talking about. “Excuse me?”

Amphitrite grabs his jaw and pulls him closer. He doesn’t dare resist. She looks into his eyes, then smirks. “The god of prophecy doesn’t know that which he has wrought. How … ironic.”

“Is it?” he wonders. He really hopes she doesn’t kill him.

“Quite,” she smirks, and with a flick of her wrist she’s naked before him. “I wish for one of your daughters to be mine as well. Lay with me.”

“Uh,” he says eloquently, because Amphitrite has never given her husband any children, he hadn’t even known she could. If he sleeps with her, Poseidon might kill him, regardless of how many people the god of the sea sleeps with that aren’t his wife. But if he refuses her, she might kill him, and it’s not like having sex with Amphitrite is any sort of hardship. She’s as gorgeous as she is terrifying. “Okay.”

He’s deposited back on the shore the next day, feeling oddly used.

If Poseidon has any opinions on Apollo knocking up his wife, he doesn’t voice them.

Amphitrite doesn’t foist the baby upon him as soon as she’s born. Instead years pass, and one day a dark skinned, amber eyed sea god shows up at his door. There’s a teenager at his side, who has Apollo’s coloring and Amphitrite’s bone structure, and hair that shimmers golden-green in sunlight. “Glaucus,” Apollo greets warily, “and who might this be?”

“I call her Erato,” Glaucus says, “I’ve raised her since birth. It’s time for her to join her sisters.”

Erato is not as terrifying as her mother. Instead there’s a sweetness about her that she must have gotten from Glaucus. She’s shy at first, and spends many days looking out into the sea. But his daughters are persistent, and soon she’s laughing and joining them. There’s something dreamy about her, and she loves love, writes romantic ballads and beautiful poems, so much so that Aphrodite commends her talent.

Erato is also the most like him in the area of her love life, meaning she leaves behind a constant trail of heartbroken men and women.

Calliope complains about the constant wailing around their home, and Clio proves she has some of her mother’s talent with magic when she casts an unplotable spell around their home so former lovers stop following Erato home. Of course, she forgets to tell both Apollo and her sisters about this, and it’s very confusing for everyone until Clio remembers to tell them where the house is.

His daughters’ home is a place of constant music, poetry, and literature. He thinks he’s starting to suspect what Amphitrite was talking about.

~

Not all hunts are easy things.

Apollo feels the moment his sister is wounded, the arrow through her abdomen as painful for him as it is for her. He’s in his chariot, and he can’t leave it, if he leaves his chariot unattended the sun will consume it, and then consume the earth. “Calliope!” he snaps, and his eldest daughter appears by his side.

“Father?” she asks, huddling into him and away from the sun. “What’s going on?”

“Artemis is hurt, I have to help,” he says urgently, and places the reins into her hands. “You can do this.”

She pales, but steps forward, keeping a white knuckled grip on the chariot. “Go.”

He kisses his forehead, and goes to his sister. Her huntresses have set up an honor guard around her, defending and dying as cruel faced giants draws closer. “ARES!” he screams, and he doesn’t know what they’re fighting for, what this war is about, but it doesn’t matter. “WE NEED YOU!”

The god of war appears, and he’s clearly come from some other battle, covered in mud and other worse things. He throws himself into the battle, but it’s not until they gain more aid that the tides turn in their favor.

He first sees Erato on the field, water swirling around her as she slices through them all, the power of her mother making her golden eyes glow. Clio is at her back, the glittering magic Hecate passed on to her filling her hands.

Thalia has long curved knives flying from her fingers, and all who face her don’t figure out they’re dead until she’s already left them behind. Urania is letting loose arrows against the giants and though she’s not his by blood, not a goddess by birth, none would know it watching each of her arrows hit true and take down another enemy.

Terpsichore uses her honed abilities of dance differently here on the battlefield, twirling and ducking around enemies with her sword flashing as it slices through all who go against her. Celestial fire licks up the sword, and the daughter of Hestia and Apollo is laughing as she dances through the battlefield.

He wants to yell at them, to tell them to get off the battlefield, to get to safety. But it is thanks to them that the fight is being won, so he says nothing.

Ares looks around, grimaces, and catches Apollo’s eye before he disappears from the battle. They must be invoking his name. Apollo is only grateful he managed to stay as long as he did.

The giants are all dead by the time Apollo manages to make it to his sister’s side. She’s pale and covered in blood, her huntresses seated around her and trying to stop the bleeding. “What were you thinking?” Apollo demands, grabbing her hand and pushing her hair from her forehead. Terpsichore comes forward and lays her burning sword against the wound, sealing and cauterizing it at once. Both Apollo and Artemis scream

“They – took – a – child,” she pants, leaning in for his touch, for his comfort, and he has never been able to deny her anything. He pulls her up, biting back a scream at the pain that rips through them both, and props her up against his chest. “A – nymph’s child. Zeus’s child. They killed – it’s mother. That – that sort of injustice will – will not be – tolerated.” She lays her head back against his shoulder, tears leaking from the corner of her eyes, and Apollo almost wishes the battle were not over, because he wants to murder something.

“I’ll get it,” Erato says, and a moment later she returns with a toddler in her arms. She has the copper skin of Zeus, and pale blonde hair. “What do we do now? Zeus does not care for his children.”

“I think it’s time you became a big sister,” Thalia says, and Erato looks stricken. “Right Dad?”

He looks to his sister, who nods. “I can think of no better place for her. She cannot stay with me – a hunting party is not place for children.”

“Very well,” he sighs. “Does she have a name?”

The girl attempts to hide behind Erato’s hair, then says, “I am Euterpe.”

“Welcome, Euterpe,” he says.

It’s then that the sun finally sets, and Calliope stumbles into existence next to them. She’s covered in deep, bleeding burns, but it’s not as bad he feared it would be. She’s certainly faired better at her first time driving the chariot than he had. “What’s happening? Is everything all right?”

“We have a new sister,” Thalia says brightly, even as Clio rushes forward to tend to her burns.

Euterpe, thankfully, seems to inherit none of Zeus’s madness. She has a singing voice like a clear bell, and soon surpasses even Calliope’s talent with the lyre.

He knows, technically, that Euterpe is his half-sister. But it takes him no time at all to regard her as his daughter, to love her with same simple ferocity as he loves her sisters.

~

For a while, all is well, is quiet. His daughters are all fully grown, accomplished and beautiful.

Then Demeter corners him when he’s walking through quiet city and pins him against an alley wall. “If Amphitrite thinks she can one up me over this,” the goddess hisses, “she’s sorely mistaken.”

At least this time he knows what’s going on when Demeter starts pulling her dress off. “You can’t raise the child,” he says. He’s not adverse to laying with Demeter, although at this rate it looks like there will be less laying and more standing against a rough alley wall. But Demeter only knows how to love in a way that crushes all it touches. He won’t let her do that to his child.

“Fine,” she snaps, “Now get moving.”

He’s vaguely terrified the whole time, and it mostly reminds him of his month with Hecate. He’s left alone and naked in the alleyway an hour later.

Nine months later, a baby is delivered to his door by a nervous wood nymph. His daughter still has the squashed appearance of a freshly born baby. “She didn’t waste any time,” he comments, settling her into the crook of his arms. “Does she have a name?”

“Polyhymnia, my lord,” the wood nymph says, then bows before fleeing.

He brings her to the home where all his daughters live.

She grows, and she’s the spitting image of Demeter, of Persephone back when she answered to the name Kore. Her voice is lower than Euterpe’s, but just as pretty and when they sing together it’s the most beautiful sound he’s ever heard. She’s quiet, and thoughtful, her big brown eyes watching all around her with a measured stare.

Polyhymnia asks after her mother, something none of the others had done, and Apollo doesn’t know what to say. The truth is too callous, but he can’t bear to lie to her. Instead he begs an audience with Persephone, and says, “Your sister asks after the mother you share. I don’t know what to tell her.”

Persephone has no advice to offer, but she starts spending some of her time outside of the underworld with Polyhymnia. It is enough, and her questions stop, and Apollo tries not to feel guilty that he never really answered them.

~

Cassandra is unlike any woman he’s ever met, unlike any person he’s ever met, and the flames of love and passion burn inside him in a way they haven’t since his Hyacinth died.

She’s bull headed and irritating, and whenever he tries to complain about it Artemis rolls her eyes and his daughters laugh at him. He supposes he’s not doing a very good job hiding that he’s in love with her. Not even from her, because at one point she crossly asks if he’s ever planning to do anything with her, or if she should accept the offer from the butcher’s son.

They don’t leave her house for five days.

She is curious, hungry for knowledge, hungrier for it then she is of him. She wants to know impossible things, wants to be an impossible thing, and so Apollo laughs and takes her hand and says, “I will make you a bargain. I will give you the gift of prophecy, if you will grant me the gift of your hand.”

He’s never take a bride before. He hasn’t wanted to.

Cassandra is screaming and laughing, and she throws her arms around his neck and kisses him until she’s breathless. He takes it as a yes.

That’s when everything goes horribly, incredibly wrong.

It’s too much, all the horror she sees is too much, and Apollo tries to tell her to focus on the good, to see the happiness of the future. But she can’t, gets too caught up in too many wars, and she wastes away in front of his eyes even as her stomach swells.

He tries to take back the gift, tries to save her, but he can’t. It cannot be ungiven, and his headstrong, vivacious lover fades before his eyes. He only manages to alter it, to change it so no one believes the horrible things she cries to prevent the horror people feel when she looks at them and screams the way that they’ll die.

Artemis helps deliver their child, but halfway through her face goes pinched and worried, and Apollo knows that Cassandra won’t make it.

“I’m sorry,” he weeps, kissing her gaunt face, feeling the sharpness of her cheekbones under his lips, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know this would happen. I didn’t want this to happen.”

She looks at him with glassy eyes, barely reacts when Artemis places their child on her chest. There’s a growing pool of blood under her, but she can’t be saved, she will die, here, now.

Apollo wonders if she saw this coming.

She blinks, and meets his gaze with a sharpness and awareness he hasn’t seen for a long time. “She is your last daughter,” Cassandra says, “Melpomene is the last daughter you will have.”

He kisses her, his last chance to do so.

She’s dead before his lips leaves hers.

Apollo tries to flee, to run from the claws tearing apart his heart, but Artemis doesn’t let him. She yanks him back and pushes Melpomene into his arms. “You can’t leave,” she says harshly, “She needs you. Your daughter needs you. You’re not allowed to run.”

He crumples, leaning his head onto his sister’s shoulder as he sobs, and her calloused hand grasps the back of his neck. Melpomene is stuck between them, soft and warm and alive.

Time passes.

Melpomene is Thalia’s other half, her best friend, and they do everything together. Her dark hair is a mass of unruly curls just like her mother, her laughter is just like her mother’s.

She, like her sisters, is his pride and his joy.

~

Apollo has nine daughters

Calliope, who reigns over written epics.

Terpsichore, who reigns over dance.

Urania, who reigns over astronomy.

Thalia, who reigns over comedy.

Clio, who reigns over history.

Erato, who reigns over love poetry.

Euterpe, who reigns over song.

Polyhymnia, who reigns over hymns.

Melpomene, who reigns over tragedy.

They are known as the Muses.


gods and monster series, part xxi

read more of the gods and monsters series here

Steve/Bucky whoops drunk texted the BFF you’re into him trope

Bucky: Sometimes I look at you and want you so badly I forget

Bucky: I forget that we’ve been friends for over a decade

Bucky: I forget why it’s a bad idea

Bucky: All I think about is touching you and how you’d taste and that we’re probably perfect for each other

Bucky: I forget to forget

x.x.x.

Bucky woke up to the sun shining in through a crack in his closed curtains and hitting his eyes dead on.  He groaned, throwing his arm over his eyes, and rolled over so his face was smooshed into his pillow.  His mouth was dry and tasted like fermented things, and his head hurt from drinking too much the night before.

He tried to focus on when he’d finally left the bar and wandered home, but all he could remember was the string of texts he’d sent Steve and he ended up pushing himself up into a sitting position so fast he experienced a dizzy moment of vertigo.

He might puke and not from the hangover.

His phone was plugged into the charger right where he always left it, looking innocuous and not like it had betrayed the secret he’d managed to keep for the last five years.  Tentatively he reached out and picked it up, pressing the button to turn on the lockscreen.

Steve: WHAT

Well, Bucky thought, maybe it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.  Maybe he hadn’t sent everything he thought he sent.  Steve was likely to all-caps WHAT to Bucky for half of his drunk texts, mostly because Bucky got philosophical and started quoting obscure Aristotelian theories to him.  Bucky liked to joke he was smarter while drunk while Steve rolled his eyes and told him that maybe if he stopped underrepresenting his own intelligence all the time it wouldn’t seem that way.

Well, Bucky thought a little hysterically as he stared at the chain of texts he’d sent Steve the night before, where was all that intelligence now?

Fuck.  He was so stupid.

He closed his eyes for a moment and tried not to think about his whole world caving in.  Yeah.

It was somehow worse that Steve had sent WHAT more than half an hour before and then hadn’t followed it up with anything.  Somehow, Bucky had almost expected to wake up to a confession in return, or at least something more definitive.  

Fuck. He scrubbed his hand over his face. This was the worst.  Now he had to decide whether to make the brave move again and he wasn’t drunk this time to make it seem like a good idea.

He was just considering the merits of haha yeah you’re hot :p but idk what I drank last night to encourage this VS. I meant every word when someone unlocked the door to his apartment.

Bucky was holding his phone and staring at his bedroom door with a wide-eyed sort of panic when Steve burst into it.

“WHAT?” he said in person, staring at Bucky and sweating a little like he’d run up all four flights of stairs to Bucky’s apartment after speed-walking over.

Bucky stared at him and then wordlessly held up his phone.

Steve stared back.

“Did you drunk confess to me?” Steve asked, sounding a bit strangled.

“I’m not going to sober confess it to you,” Bucky pointed out, wry and vaguely annoyed that Steve came over for this conversation so he had to actually look at him.  Steve was way too polite and gentlemanly and well raised. He needed to get with the generation who texted this type of shit like Bucky had, apparently.  

“Why not?”

“Why?  That’s not the type of thing you tell your best friend.  Oh hey Steve so sometimes I don’t think of you platonically, so now you’re going to feel weird around me when we cuddle on the couch during movies and shift away from potential boners.”

“Try this: Oh hey Bucky, maybe I wouldn’t shift away from them if I knew they existed!”

“WHAT?”

“EXACTLY,” Steve yelled back, looking way too smug and vindicated for this moment. What an asshole.

“I… what?” Bucky repeated.  He stared at Steve silently for a few moments. The moment was ladened.  “Are we going to make out now?”

“It smells like beer sweats and regret in here,” Steve pointed out, wrinkling his nose.  “I’m going to go home and get ready for work and you’re going back to sleep.  Then you’re going to shower and come over for a movie tonight.”

“Yeah?”

“Bring your potential boners,” Steve said as a parting shot as he walked out of the bedroom.

Yeah, like Bucky was going to sleep after that.

8

I really couldn’t help wondering how things went down for Alphys when the amalgams first happened…


Here is Part 2!

And here is Part 3!

back in school i used to be the worst person. everyone knew my best friend was “the smart one”. i was funny, sort of good for a laugh, but probably skipping class. i often failed math. i never did my homework. i was convinced i could never catch up. i didn’t go to class because i didn’t do the homework and i didn’t get the new homework so i didn’t do it. i felt constantly run down. like i was wasting my time. like some part of me wanted to be smarter than this, but couldn’t be. when they started bullying, the first thing they said was “stupid.” what else could i be.

i had no idea how to ask for help, or even when i needed it. i was so good at the things i excelled at that i had no idea how to try to understand something. if i ever felt like i hit a wall, i stopped what i was doing. i did “well enough” in my passions and just got used to saying “i’m not good.” i’m not good at math. i’m not good at essays. i’m not good at close reading. i’m not good at school. i’m not good at anything.

i graduated high school with something close to a 2.3, SAT scores high enough to save me.

teaching myself how to learn took me a lot of re-tries. i ended up having to drop out of school because of expenses and work for a while. after that came community college for two years and then transfer to a major university. by this time i was “the overachiever”, “the one who ruined the curve”. finally i was “the smart one”.

it felt sort of hollow. i had worked so hard to get here. sitting in graduation and seeing the little star next to my name that meant top ten percent of my class felt like i was looking at someone else’s life. i wasn’t actually this girl. i was still the “dumb one.” this 3.98 was a fluke in the system. i was pulling the wool over their eyes. i was still average. whenever someone made a comment about how “of course you did the extra work” it felt hollow. like i’m playacting. no, you see? i’m still a 2.3. i have so many excuses. i’m taking easy classes. i just like to be busy. no, no, i’m not smart, you’re not listening.

being stupid stayed with me. 

Why can’t I draw this fucker ugly and gross just as he should be?
whatever.
I’m in so bad condition… my Villainous addiction is growing… I may even assume that BH (andFluglol) became some sort of my muse… seriously…helpme it’s 4:20AM HERE WHY AM I NOT ASLEEP?!///

You're the best thing that has happened to me.

And you could possibly be the worst too.

What would I do without you?

We spend so much time together, talking and making memories.

You’ve been with me through everything and the thought you of you not being there anymore is heartbreaking, so don’t leave.

cute couple things — p.p.

summary : extended dating peter would include… ft. a bunch of random thoughts i had about peter being a cute soft boyfriend !!!

  • reads your favorite books and memorizes lines from them that he can sneak into conversations to make you smile :)
  • it’s v hard for him to not look at you when he’s with you he just always wants to be looking at your face
    • “it’s, like, really hard to stop staring at you”
    • “huh?”
    • “you’re so pretty i can’t stop looking wow”
  • lights up !!!! when you walk into a room even if he’s just seen you two minutes ago and you were only in the bathroom for like a second
  • kisses you all of your face whenever he can just infinite amounts of kisses pressed across your cheeks and your nose and your eyelids 
  • he doesn’t really do nicknames like he’s not a darling sort of person
  • if he’s gonna call you anything it’ll probably be babe/baby/pretty girl or something of that sort
  •  (i started the pretty girl trend on the low don’t @ me)
  • sometimes you call him bro and he gets so offended 
    • “listen,,, peter,,, bro,,,,”
    • y/NNNN i’m not bro!!!!!!”
    • “k bro”
    • “you’re the worst” 
  • his face resembles that of a disgruntled pouty kitten whenever you call him bro
  • in school he taps his cheek lightly while facing away from you until you give him a kiss there and does that periodically throughout the day until MJ throws a pencil at him
    • “peter enough she’s kissed you like fifty times in the past twenty minutes haven’t you had enough”
    • “it’s never enough”
  • hands down gives the best hugs ever!!!! sweetest, softest, warmest hugs that you never wanna leave and they leave you a blushy mess for hours
  • nerd who tells you that you’re prettier than any star in the sky
  • will fight for your honor even if it means getting punched in the nose by one of flash’s bigger friends because flash won’t take on peter himself
    • “fuck peter why would you even call flash a giant dick??? like i know he is one but why would you ever you know his friend is like some sort of mutant tree”
    • “he said your butt was nice i can’t just let that sort of comment slide babe it’s unacceptable”
  • always knows he can rant to you about science bc you actually listen!!! and you care!! and you ask questions and you make him SO HAPPy!!
  • asks for permission to do everything
    • “hey would it be cool if i held your hand right now”
    • “yes of course”
    • “oh awesome!”
  • you send him selfies and his replies vary but they’re usually along the lines of
    • “oh my gosh you’re so cute i’m coming over”
    • “i love you you angel let me kiss you tomorrow”
    • “wow i have a real liFE ethereal as the love of my life i love the world”
  • sends a goodnight/goodmorning text every day with each heart emoji he can find 
  • his entire recently used section is just different colored hearts and rainbows and sparkles because he uses emojis obnoxiously
  • he’s convinced that the worst thing in the world is having to leave you after a long day of hanging out on a saturday or something
  • will 10/10 complain for hours to may about going home because he’s not with you anymore and he’s clingy
  • you’re his best friend and he’s not afraid to scream about it
    • “my best friend is dating me!!!!!!! i’m so lucky i love them so much” 
    • “peter we know”
    • “well now you know just a little extra all right?”
  • wishes you were able to fall asleep in his arms more often but you’re still young and he’s like oh well we have forever to do that
  • you insult each other all the time basically but??? you both love it banter is everything
      • “penis parKER flash is clever tbh”
      • “you’re such a little shit i’m actually going to fight you”
      • “seriously i dare you put your fists up now”
  • if you post a selfie and he doesn’t like it right away you’ll text him seven times in a row hinting that he should go like and comment 
  • texts at four am about random conspiracy theories or weird facts that only you two would find interesting 
  • shoulders = pillows on the train/bus most of the time
  • he is such a slut for having his hair played with ngl
  • it makes him so happy n calm he could lie like that, with your fingers just raking through his hair, for hours on end
  • he’s never felt more at home than when you’re sitting with him at his kitchen table eating mushy mac and cheese that he tried to make himself because may wasn’t home to help him out as you playfully make fun of him for ruining pasta
  • listens to ed sheeran songs with you because he’s an ed lover honestly and every song makes him think of you
  • hand massages when you’re cramping up after long tests or in class essays that leave you super stressed n anxious (fuck u ruby thx for the idea that murdered me n my soft spirit)
  • knows how to settle you nerves better than anyone else and vice versa
  • puts his hands on your cheeks before he kisses you 
  • you always joke about spidey in class and no one gets what you’re saying but he does and freaks out
    • “that’s a sticky situation”
    • “y/n” 
    • “don’t worry i found that on the web
    • y/n
    • “do you think spiders are men
    • “oh my gOD”
  • he doesn’t care at all if you take one of his sweaters or all of his sweaters he just gives zero fucks you could take them all and he’d love you for it 
    • “here take this one too”
    • “peter i have too many and it’s almost april”
    • “but you’d look so cute in this one” then he pouts and you’re a goner
  • peter writes you tiny notes in class that are his weird thoughts and ramblings and feelings but you save them all and put them in a memory box
    • there was one and it said here’s a concept : you have a bright future ahead of you, and i’m there. i like that concept.
      • you did, too
  • watches every cheesy romantic movie on netflix with you not just because you want to, but because he does too and he can’t help it that’s just how it is 
  • matching ugly christmas sweaters at christmastime because peter parker is an annoying headass and refuseS to go anywhere without one during the holiday season and if he’s wearing one he’s making you match
  • super spidey strength allows him to give you piggy back rides all throughout manhattan when you guys head to the city 
  • makes you kiss him in the rain even though there’s water up your nose and your hair is matted to your forehead 
  • one text makes your heart go !!!!!!!!! because that’s your boy!!!!! and you love him so much because he’s a lovely beautiful person that deserves the world !!!!!
  • making out is rarely super fast n intense like it’s still intense but you go slowly and you can make out for hours without a c are in the world
  • makes sure his hair looks nice before he goes out on a date with you
  • tells you that he loves you and that he’s happy you’re a part of his life as often as he can manage 
  • just wants to love you unconditionally forever
  • texts you at 11:11 every night and says something cheesy as fuck like “you’re my wish tonight babe” or “11:11 is always for you” and sometimes he’ll @ you on snap and you’re like wow we’re That couple 
  • but honestly???? you don’t care that much he’s so cute
  • knows your order at every restaurant/fast food chain/coffee shop imaginable and if he happens to pass by a mcdonalds or dunkin donuts while he’s swinging around queens he tries to pick something up for you 
  • you love his eyes you could probably get lost in them they’re gorgeous
    • “peter your eyes are so lovely i hate you”
    • “aw i love you more babe you say the sweetest things to me”
  • you think his smile is the prettiest thing ever
  • and when his face scrunches up when he’s super happY???? amazing you kiss him immediately everywhere and he gets so flustered and he giggles and tries to squirm away but not really
  • cause he loves it
  • and he loveS YOU
  • i love my boyfriend goodnight to all

Keep reading

summersaltturn  asked:

"Have anyone told you you have the most intimidating nostrils I've ever seen?"

“Yeah, I won an award, junior year,” Derek answers, frowning at his new IKEA (bought and built, all in a soft Henley sweater; Stiles knows, he supervised) book-shelf, like he hasn’t just finished a seven hundred page tome on Egyptian artefacts. A seven hundred page tome on Egyptian artefacts alone.

Derek Hale: epic nerd and assembler of easy-to-build IKEA products. Of course, Stiles thinks, cursing his stupid Professor and DIY kinks. Why not? The worst part is, he doesn’t even think those kinks are sexual. It’s just….a thing. That he has. A Derek thing. The Butterflies That Live In His Stomach were trying so desperately to move on with their lives, too. They’d shopped around. Hired a real-estate agent. They were ready, goddammit!  

Derek settles on a book - Stiles is pretty sure it also has the word ‘artefacts’ in the title - and sighs, all feigned nostalgia, and glances over his shoulder. “It was a golden nose, too. Across the bottom it said,” he pauses, grinning, “Stiles Stilinski needs to get a life.”

Stiles opens his mouth, clutches his chest, because rude much? Is it his fault Derek’s nostrils belong in some kind of anatomy museum? Is it his fault his Saturday nights are spent playing video games in his underwear, when his week days are spent chasing down monsters and researching things like how Scott and Erica managed to contract chicken pox when stabbing them does, like, nothing? (Except get Erica excited because she’s a beautiful, terrifying weirdo.) The moment he tries to tell Derek this, however, a copy of - is that Pride and Prejudice? - is thrown at his head. 

Stiles doesn’t know if he’s more offended when Derek rolls his eyes when it misses him, or the concerned look that crosses his face when the book sails past him and lands in an empty pizza box, like Derek is worried if it’s okay or not. 

And to think, Stiles was going to screw up his courage and finally invite Derek to see a movie this weekend. In an actual theatre. Where people go to be normal. Well, the laugh is on Derek because Stiles is going to buy the big popcorn and he’s going to enjoy it all on his own. 

Yeah, that’ll show him. 

~

“Has anyone ever told you your eyebrows could star in a disturbing kid’s movie about caterpillars?” 

Stiles is drunk. No, he’s wasted. Hammered. Loaded. Completely and utterly shit faced. Which is probably why instead of ending up on his ass on the floor, Derek just pinches the bridge of his nose, tips his head against the back of the couch and says, “what.” Not even a hint of inflection.

This dude, Stiles thinks, and then laughs because, ohmygod, Derek is this dude now. Not that dude or whoa, what are you doing crawling through my window, dude? but this dude. And that’s kind of beautifully heart warming, in its own way. 

Really, Stiles should write into Hallmark. It could be a trilogy. A Gay Trilogy ™. Bisexuals on ice. Except, without the ice because Stiles doesn’t know how to skate. Can Derek skate? Stiles totally bets Derek can skate.   

Speaking of Derek, he’s got this little crinkle on his forehead now, right between his eyebrows, and man, they really are very nice eyebrows. Animated but nice. A little dramatic but nice. Murderous but nice.

“What,” Derek says again, looking more confused than annoyed by the second. Stiles really wants to kiss him.

Instead, he stares. Stares and stares and stares.

Shit.

Slapping a hand over his mouth, he begins laughing uncontrollably and before he knows it, he’s clutching his sides and has his face pressed against Derek’s chest, because the hilarity is killing him. 

Because this is them now. Drinking peach-snaps at Derek’s loft, on a couch filled with throw pillows. Throw pillows. One is even soft and pink and frilly and another has a picture of the pack on it. Granted, no one is looking at the camera but Derek, Boyd and Kira and Derek is not so much looking at the camera as yelling at Stiles (holding the camera) for eating his secret stash of cookies, but it’s nice. It’s a nice picture. There is a plain black pillow too, of course. Somewhere. Stiles might be sitting on it, actually. He figures one can only expect so much when it comes to sour-wolves but Erica glued little cat ears on it last week and Derek said nothing. Fuck, he’d even smiled.

It says a lot about what a secret softie Derek is when it comes to vulnerable, drunk-ass people, because he doesn’t push Stiles away; just lets him laugh and laugh until he passes out, drooling on his chest. 

When Stiles wakes up, Derek’s sweater is pretty soaked through but he hasn’t moved an inch. He does, however, tell Stiles he snores like a deranged goose and that he owes him a pastry later.

He doesn’t even ask for a specific kind, Stiles chastises in his head, falling back to sleep. He’s in love with a pastry idiot. 

~

“Do you know when you smile, you brighten up the whole damn room?”

The question clearly catches Derek off guard because he falls head first…into a duck pond. 

Stiles’ first reaction is to jump in after him - he hates to admit it, but he gets a little nervous around water when Derek is with him; there have been several incidents where he’s unconsciously grabbed Derek’s hand in order to drag him away from pools and, one time, a very large puddle - but when Derek emerges, wearing his someone is about to die face, Stiles can’t be held accountable for the way he falls to the ground because, yup, that’s a tiny, outraged duckling perched on top of Derek’s head.   

“Oh my god,” he yells, rolling onto his back and kicking his legs in the air. He feels like a kid, grabbing his stomach, water practically pouring from his eyes. This was, quite possibly, the best day of his life.

Normally, Derek would be yelling threats - several, in fact, some in Spanish because he’s a show off - but he just stands there….in the middle of a fucking pond. The duckling is still sitting on his head, like he or she plans to set up home there and it’s so adorable Stiles thinks he actually coos out loud.

Still, Derek still doesn’t say anything. Not even when Stiles coos again, very, very deliberately. (And Scott said his middle name could never be Danger, pffft.) Stiles can’t actually guess what Derek is going to do but he doesn’t care. He looks a strange cross between wanting to murder someone - namely, Stiles - and a little kid who was told they couldn’t get a puppy only to get one on Christmas day anyway. 

Mostly, he just looks lost. And wet. Very, very wet. Somewhere out there, someone is playing It’s Raining Men and Stiles wants nothing more than to share this glorious moment with them. He’s just in the process of taking out his phone to at least snap a photo to send to the pack when - 

“Did you mean it?” Derek asks, and man, those water droplets just keep on running, don’t they. 

Stiles grins. “Did I mean for you to fall into a pond and adopt a new feathered friend? No but I think we can all agree-” 

Stiles.” 

Derek growls and it would be effective - at least in getting Stiles to help him out of the pond - if it wasn’t for the fact his ears were turning a little pink. A lot pink, actually and - 

Oh.

Sitting up, Stiles drags his butt over to the edge of the pond.

“Yeah,” he says. “I meant it. I mean, smiles can’t literally light up rooms, I know that, but when you smile it’s like…” He sighs and flaps his arms, suddenly nervous, hitting Derek in the process. The duckling practically glares at him and Stiles briefly wonders if he has competition here. 

Right. Better make this good then. He clears his throat. 

“It’s like, everything just makes sense for a little bit, you know? I look at you and it’s not that smiling is rare for you, at least not anymore, but it’s still pretty thrilling to see it and when you do I’m like, that’s some quality shit right there but then I get confused because it’s like, do I wanna punch it? Kiss it? Pet it? Who knows. Usually it depends on what you’re wearing.” 

Derek blinks and Stiles groans because, yeah, he just said that out loud. In real time. To Mr McGrumpy himself. Who is currently not reacting.

Great.

“Uh, I mean,” he attempts to correct himself but it’s too late. Derek is already slowly pulling him in and pressing his lips to his in what is the single most innocent, chaste kiss of Stiles’ life - because, you know, duckling and head movements - but somehow, it still manages to be perfect. 

“Nice,” Stiles whispers, after, waggling his eyebrows.

Derek snorts and kisses him again.

~

“Turn it off,” Derek whines, nuzzling further into Stiles’ neck. “This is why I leave my phone in the kitchen. Like we discussed.

Stiles tries to swat him, ends up kissing his temple. Sue him, he’s tired. “Says the person who can afford to leave their phone in the kitchen. We don’t all have supernatural hearing, asshole.”

Derek whines again. “You also have the worst taste in ringtones.”

Stiles gasps, suddenly sitting up. Well, he tries to. When your boyfriend is made of muscle and is half lying on top of you, it makes moving a lot more difficult. Not that Stiles is really complaining. Much. “I’ll have you know Bushes of Love is a Star Wars parody classic.”    

Derek rolls his eyes, Stiles can feel it, says, “just answer it, sweetums.” 

“Ugh,” Stiles grimaces, “I already told you I’m sorry for the pet-name thing. It was an accident!”

“Calling me your ‘slutty buddy’ in front of your dad was meant as a pet name?”

“It sounded better in my head!”  

Derek groans and wraps an “exasperated” arm around Stiles’ waist. Oh. So. Exasperated. Stiles grins. “Answer. Your. Phone.” 

Stiles finds his phone on the fifth try.

He has fifteen missed calls, all from Erica. Texts too. Every single one is a link to some article online, followed by a string of heart and eggplant emojis.   

Young Love and the Ugly Duckling’,” Stiles reads, clicking on the link. “Uhhh, Derek?” He prods him. 

What.” 

There’s a picture of us in the online Beacon Gazette,” looking into each other’s eyes, like a pair of love sick fools, Stiles wants to add because, wow, is he really that obvious when he looks at Derek? To be fair though, Derek isn’t much better and he is the one with an angry bird on his head.

He prods Derek again and again until he finally gives in, makes him look at the phone. 

“Huh,” he says, blinking at it. “Fred looks pretty pissed that I’m kissing you.” His face breaks out in a smug grin and Stiles rolls his eyes. Hard. 

“You are aware Fred is a duckling, right?” 

“Yes.” Derek grins harder, showing all his teeth, although his cheeks do colour slightly when he catches Stiles’ eye. 

Stiles sighs, totally not fond. “They couldn’t have come up with a better title, though?” he asks, brandishing his phone. “The Ugly Ducking, really?” 

Yeah,” Derek says, frowning. “I mean, I wouldn’t go as far as to call you ugly.” He laughs and Stiles smacks him across the chest with a loud, “hey!”

They both turn back to look at the picture. 

“We look so stupid,” Stiles whispers, shaking his head and biting his thumb. We fit, he thinks. We look like we fit. 

Leaning in, Derek smiles at him. “We do,” he agrees, burying his face back into the warmth of Stiles’ neck, muttering something about home and content and stupid Star Wars parodies.

Stiles snaps a selfie, captions it goals, and sends it to Erica.