Non-consensual physical intimacy, especially in situations where it’s portrayed as being done for the benefit of the victim or situations where the victim forgives the forced intimacy because they decide they like it after it’s already been forced on them. Examples:
Forcing a partner to accept physical comfort when they don’t want it.
Kissing a partner in the middle of an argument.
Framing consent as unnecessary simply because one person is attracted to the other.
Stalking the other person, even for their own safety.
Forcing the other person into some form of physical intimacy because they “liked it last time.”
Implying that it’s normal for a certain physically intimate act to hurt and/or their partner should grin and bear it.
Skipping over their partner’s preferred forms of intimacy in favor of what they want to do with/to their partner.
When in doubt: Consent should be explicitly given!!
Non-consensual communication. Examples:
Physically stopping a partner from leaving in order to continue talking with them.
Bringing up a topic the other person has made clear they don’t wish to discuss yet.
Forcing the other person into conversations with people they previously showed they did not wish to talk with.
Manipulating the conversation so that the other person shares a secret, especially one that doesn’t affect their partner.
Emotional manipulation. Examples:
Telling the other person to do something (i.e. ‘go away’) as a test, where the person is at fault if they follow through and do as their partner asked.
Blaming the other person for things beyond their control, especially “I wouldn’t be like this if not for you/your interests/your goals.”
Claiming they’ll die (or kill themselves) if the other person leaves.
Not wanting the other person to have friends of the same gender as their partner (i.e. a man not wanting his girlfriend to have any male friends).
“If you really loved me you would do x, y, and z.”
Demanding to be the most important part of their partner’s life, above and beyond their partner’s other responsibilities.
Cheating on their partner as a form of punishment.
Acting as though physical intimacy (or any other sort of intimacy) isn’t important, but then blaming the other person for not supplying it.
Acting distant or cruel until the other person does what they want, or because the other person didn’t do what they wanted.
Demeaning actions and words, especially in instances where they blame the actions and words on internalized sexism, racism, etc as a shield, in instances outside of high-stress arguments, and whenever the character isn’t sincerely sorry for what they did or makes no point to change. Examples:
Stating the other person’s interests or hobbies are inferior or a waste of time.
Telling them they were look better if they did x, y and z.
Demanding they stop doing something or start doing something else based on their gender, race, etc.
Placing the other person in a subordinate role without their partner’s explicit consent.
Not sharing certain pieces of information because they believe they know what’s best for their partner and don’t need the other person’s consent to act upon it.
Bonus: Glorification of a partner simply for not demeaning the other person, (i.e. for acting like an average, decent human being,) especially when the partner in question boasts how amazing they are for loving their “curvy”/non-white/bisexual/not-like-other-girls/etc partner.
everyone knows coran has a bunch of photographs with him to remember alfor by and they all think it’s pictures of them smiling and travelling but really it’s just alfor posing with the altean mice like
Critical Role is a series on Twitch produced by Geek & Sundry where (famous) voice actors Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Taliesin Jaffe, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Ashley Johnson, Sam Riegel and Matthew Mercer play Dungeons & Dragons. Sometimes there are guests players and they are all always AMAZING.
They are all very close friends (some are spouses and married) and had this D&D campaign even before it started being broadcasted. Matthew is the Dungeon Master. Everyone is always in-character during the games, thanks to their talent, the voices and acting and RP is TOP NOTCH and you cry and laugh a lot.
The episodes can be up to 4 hours long sometimes, and there is 110 episodes so far (roughly the same length as a TV show with 7 seasons). It’s very intimidating, but you can also just listen to it and not watch them.. although (and i’m not even biased when I say that) watching Laura Bailey react to everything is like, one of the best thing about CR. Also the physical acting is sometimes important! The show is being uploaded in podcast form tho!
It’s broadcasted every Thursdays on Twitch, and then the episodes are added to Youtube on Mondays.
Who’s in the Party aka Vox Machina (some things will be left unsaid to avoid spoilers):
Vex’ahlia (Vex) played by Laura Bailey *harp music*
Half-Elf Ranger. Went from Neutral Good to Chaotic Neutral, and currently is Chaotic Good. Vax’s twin sister. She has a bear named Trinket whom she loves more than anything in the whole world (tie with Vax, probably). She winks a lot and flirts with everybody. SHE LOVES MONEY. A good person but sometimes does questionable things like lying and stealing. Self-worth issues. Lowkey bisexual, only kinda confirmed off-screen.
Vax’ildan (Vax) played by Liam O’Brien
Half-Elf Rogue. Chaotic Good. resident emo boy, but also a Soft Boy. Vex’s twin brother. Very emotional. A bit obsessed with Death. Depressed. Loves to prank Grog, and would die (literally) for his twin sister. Bros with Grog and Scanlan. Loves to braid hair. An actual bird. Canon bisexual.
Grog Strongjaw played by Travis Willingham
Goliath Barbarian. Chaotic Good or Chaotic Neutral? VERY TALL. Has an intelligence of 6. Pike’s best friend. Thinks water is poison (but not anymore, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT). The cutest murder machine. Fighting is like yoga for him. LOVES women and brothels. Also ale.
Pike Trickfoot played by Ashley Johnson
Gnome Cleric. Chaotic Good. The Mom friend. Grog’s best friend. Loves the goddess of Light and Healing, Sarenrae, whom she is a cleric of. She will swing her holy mace in your face if you threaten her friends. An actual angel?? Played by an actual angel? Plays only when she isn’t busy on the set of Blindspot.
Keyleth played by Marisha Ray
Half-Elf druid. Neutral Good. Percy’s best friend. Basically The Avatar. Most powerful member of the party. Vox Machina’s moral compass, she is 90% of their impulse control. Very wise but very socially awkward. (Spoilers) She jumped off a cliff, turned into a goldfish and died that one time. She’s okay tho. She loves the twins. She loves all of her friends tbh. Gets arrested a lot??. Scared about her future. Lowkey bisexual, kinda confirmed off-screen.
Lord Percival Fredrickstein Von Musel Klossowski de Rolo III (Percy) played by Taliesin Jaffe
Human Gunslinger (Fighter). Neutral Good. Keyleth’s best friend. A little bit haunted. Obsessed with contracts and demons tbh. THE SMARTEST BOY. Build a lot of impressive stuff. Sometimes he makes jewelry for the party out of sea shells or dragon scales. Talks fancy. Loves explosions. Has PTSD.
Scanlan Shorthalt played by Sam Riegel
Gnome Bard. Neutral Good or Chaotic good? Unsure. Probably Chaotic Good. Bros with Vax and Grog. Really fancies Pike. A player. Has a lot of issues but hides behind humor. The funniest and most talented. Is often naked. Very loyal. A complex character. He doesn’t like Trinket. Canonically not Straight. Probably Pan??
Taryon Darrington (Tary) played by Sam Riegel (for a while)
Human Alchemist. Alignment?? He’s a good boy. A REAL DIVA. Rich. Super smart. Has an automaton named Doty who writes down his adventures. Vex’s best friend. Bros with Percy. His arc was brief but he started as a pompous brat and ended being a soft and loyal member. Scared easily. Loves being an adventurer. Canonically very gay.
Beloved NPCs, played by Matthew Mercer (but only some of them because Matt plays over 100+ NPCs)
SHAUN GILMORE. Human. The prettiest and (canonically) gayest shopkeeper in all the lands. Actually an incredibly powerful sorcerer. Had a crush on Vax and vice versa.
Allura Vysoren. Human. Very graceful and smart. Amazing arcanist (wizard). Vox Machina’s number one emergency contact tbh. She loves Kima, in a gay way. Canonically bisexual.
Lady Kima of Vord. Halfling Paladin. She serves the deity Bahamut, The Platinum Dragon. Small but will kick everyone’s ass. Sassy. Will kill you if you prank her. Butch Icon. Loves Allura very much. Canonically very gay.
/!\ SPOILERY NPCs /!\ :
J’mon Sa Ord. Nonbinary. SO ELEGANT. Barefoot at all times. Kind of tired of Vox Machina’s shit, but is still fond of them nonetheless. Spoilers x1000: Actually a (good) Dragon. The coolest sovereign. I’m in love.
Cassandra De Rolo. Human. Percy’s sister. Is running a kingdom while her brother is out and about shooting at bad dragons. NEEDS A FUCKING NAP. LET HER SLEEP, MATT.
Characters came and went (Tiberius Stormwind played by Orion Acaba for example) and some guests come back more often than the others, but this is getting way too long so let’s stop here.
Honestly, CR is the best thing I’ve ever watched. I never laugh as much as I do in front of a TV as I do in front of CR. Same for surprise and tears and stress and everything a show can make you feel. It’s truly something else.
Where Naruto and Sasuke are connected to Tumblr almost all the time, and then one of them bumps into the other’s blog because some of his selective blogs are common between them.
Naruto thinks that avenger2307 is a total emo and Sasuke just knows that ramenslover10 is as silly as his name. Neither of them realizes exactly how things start, but suddenly they are both rebloging their posts and invading their blogs just to criticize them.
Naruto continues to say that avenger2307 is depressed and negative and an idiot about everything and a total emo and shouldn’t infect others about his emo-ish attitude and Sasuke just keeps replying that at least he is not obsessed with some damn stupid noodles and posting silly videos all over the day and photos of cats in costumes and making others lose their valuable time of day and Naruto is just like “Hey! First of all, it’s RAMEN, and it’s delicious, idiot, and second, the videos are not silly, they are FUN, third, what kind of person doesn’t like cats with costumes, you bastard? And fourth, if it bothers you so much, why do you visit my blog and read it and SEE the silly videos, huh?” And Sasuke only answers with an "Hn, dobe”, and Naruto has no idea why he’s so mad, but he only knows he is.
They continue to do that for a long time (a long, long time) until it becomes routine. One of them will write something and the other will comment an insult or criticism. Both begin to follow each other for the sole purpose of arguing.
It is silly, and probably stupid, because they fight all the time and publicly, but somehow it has become ordinary and both become the primary focus of the other. Sasuke will find himself waiting for the dumbs videos to see daily or the stupid, goofy cat picture that maybe, just maybe will not seem so silly this time. Naruto will find himself checking his cell phone during classes waiting for a depressive or negative post about a class or a person or life in general just to see how he can turn it into something positive just for the sheer pleasure of bothering his emo life. Because it feels good, somehow.
And then, a few weeks later, avenger2307 stops publishing things one day and Naruto is so focused on him in that time that he cannot help but notice and it hurts. And the absence is prolonged and prolonged. Two days, three days, a week, and Naruto doesn’t want to admit he’s worried, because he’s a stubborn idiot, but he is. Naruto doesn’t want to admit that he actually misses that, misses his emo mood and their interactions and their arguments and his posts, but he does. He misses him and his depressingly blog and he can’t help but notice the stupid gap that opens empty in his stomach and swallows every time he log in again and avenger2307 is still absent.
But then he returns, avenger2307 RETURNS, posting one of the most jerk-typing and depressing posts about his city’s internet service and the fact that he had no network for TWO weeks and Naruto can’t help but laughs because he thinks he’s a pessimistic idiot, but it’s fine,it’s fine, because avenger2307 HAVE RETURNED, and it’s still him, still as grumpy and whining, and he’s there again.
And Naruto knows it’s stupid and ridiculous how good it feels to see him again there, on his screen, because he is supposed to dislike him, he is supposed to be annoyed that he actually returned. He knows he’s being dumb and it’s embarrassing, but he doesn’t care. So he press the option to “like” the post and, without even thinking about it, goes to the private message tray and clicks on the user bubble of avenger2307 and writes “Wow, about time, busy being emo in real life? it must be hard, no one knows how to do it like you”, and then he sends it. And first he believes that he is witty and congratulates himself because he has finally sent a message in private, but then avenger2307 doesn’t answer. And it passed two minutes, three minutes, four… and Naruto’s stomach hurts because he has just sent a private message, a message in which he practically points out how desperate he was to talk to him and also flatters his emo attitude and Oh by Ramen’s God, what did you just do? That’s…
“Hn. Worried, dobe? I already know that I’m good on what I do, you don’t need to say it. But no, my internet fell. Did you like my post and didn’t even read it, dumbass? Wow, I didn’t know how much you admired me.”
And Naruto smiles because avanger2307 in fact answered his message, (as arrogant and idiotic as ever, because he was a bastard), but he answered and now they can really talk to each other. And Naruto finally can crush avenger’s ego in private without others bothering them.
The days pass and they keep talking and Naruto actually learns things, he learns that avenger2307 is more fun than it looks, even if he makes jokes that Naruto doesn’t understand always, or even if they are too dark that they shouldn’t be fun. Naruto actually learns that he is a total nerd and that he likes math and school. He learns that he is a boy and that he has a name, (Sasuke. Sasu-ke, no Sas-uke, Sasuke.) (Naruto likes to say it quietly in class because he likes how it sounds.) (It’s not like he’s admitting it anyway, and less the fact that he doesn’t care if his friends see him strangely when he does it.) which he likes to make fun of because “what kind of stupid name is that?” (and even if he only does it to annoy him because he actually likes it, and thinks it’s cool), and Sasuke only responds with a “look who says it, fishcake”, and Naruto should get angry or pissed off, he should, because it bothers him when others do it, but then somehow Naruto only answers with a “whatever you say Sasuke-bastard” and everything keeps the same.
Naruto learns that they both like martial arts and that Sasuke is actually good at it because he has gone to important events and has first places and WOW, Sasuke is indeed as cool as his name.
Sasuke also likes tomatoes and rice and the color blue. Sasuke is sarcastic and arrogant, but he’s also kind and worries about things in the world that Naruto had not even stopped to think about. It’s soft on the edges and Naruto really begins to like him. Because Sasuke insults and criticizes him and makes jokes about him, but Sasuke also cares (even if he has never admitted it aloud, Naruto knows he does) because, even if it is subtly, Sasuke always asks when he feels that something is wrong. (And for some reason, Sasuke always knows when something is wrong. Naruto even starts to think that Sasuke is a kind of a nerd and arrogant bastard voodoo.)
Sasuke also stops calling him “dobe” so many times and begins to say “usuratonkachi” instead, and Naruto has no idea what it means, but he thinks that if it is an insult, at least it’s a cool one, so he doesn’t complain. He likes it because Sasuke puts it in sentences that sound more like a nickname than an insult, and Naruto likes to think Sasuke has a nickname for him.
Their posts are also different in some way. Sasuke smiles sometimes at Naruto’s ridiculous childish obsession with everything rather than bothering about it and Naruto thinks that somehow Sasuke’s negative comments are no longer as cruel and tragic and are more like perspectives of the world; Naruto thinks it’s somehow interesting, even if he publishes nerd data as well. And it’s a little stupid, but Naruto has found himself smiling while reading a comment from avenger2307 with a “… yes, that also applies to dobes like you, fideossucker/fishcake” at the end of the note or in the tags at the end of the post. He doesn’t know why he cares so much, but he does.
Sasuke also has a good voice. (He knows it after hearing him speak for the first time, because somehow they end up exchanging phone numbers at some point in their conversations.) (Neither of them is very sure who offered it or asked for it first, but the point is they have it and now they can actually SPEAK and listen to the each other’s voice and oh holy ramen, Naruto would be lying if he didn’t say he was excited to hear him because he wondered about it so many times before, wondered what his voice would be like, and his curiosity was very big at that point that he literally felt tingling in the tip of his fingers when he answered the phone that time.) A voice that makes tickles in the tip of Naruto’s stomach. Naruto believes that if he sang he would do it well. His voice is grave and masculine and low and thick in the right kind of way. It is soft and intense at the same time and Naruto likes it, he likes to hear him speak about anything, and likes to hear him say “usuratonkachi”, because it sounds softer in his voice, because it sounds much softer than it should sound with his tone of voice. He likes the way he pronounces things and the way he drops the words from his mouth as if he’s sure of them. He likes the arrogant tone that wash over his voice when he is flooding himself or being an egocentric bastard and Naruto can practically hear the smirk across the line.
They start talking more often. They talk about everything and nothing and Naruto learns more things. Now he knows which book is Sasuke’s favorite and why. He knows he likes the bow and arrow. He knows that he has three friends and that they are all “complete idiots, but I like them.” One is Suigetsu and he’s on the school’s swimming team and as far as Sasuke mentions (which is not much, Sasuke doesn’t really like to talk about himself) Naruto bets that he’s as asshole as Sasuke is himself, but Sasuke says his jokes are fun most of the time. The other is Juugo, who is obsessed with animals and the environment and is incredibly patient with them all. There is also Karin (Karin, who is a girl, Karin, that for some strange reason causes Naruto to feel something vicious in his stomach whenever Sasuke mentions her) (and no, those feelings are not jealousy at all), who has glasses and is a hothead, with the hair of an intense red. Karin, who is irritable and upset about the fact that Suigetsu is an immature idiot most of the time. Karin who is strong and kind and has an intense and strong personality. Karin, who is intelligent and perceptive and “just as stubborn as you moron”. Karin, who had a crush on Sasuke for a while time ago but now likes to joke about the fact that Naruto and him look like boyfriends because they talk ALL the time and A LOT, (and no, Naruto definitely didn’t blush when Sasuke said it).
And then Naruto finds himself thinking about Sasuke. Thinking about his possible appearance. Wondering and thinking in how would his hair look like, about if his face combines with his voice, in what would be the color of his eyes, (seriously, if he doesn’t pass algebra it will be all Sasuke’s fault), because Sasuke has not mentioned anything about his physique besides that he has a weird tattoo on the shoulder (stupid, stupid Suigetsu’s dare).
And then one day they’re talking and Sasuke says, “Are you blond?”
And Naruto almost choked on his own saliva because what the hell, how does he know that. He is surprised and for a moment really thinks oh by ramen’s sake, Sasuke KNOWS him in person. And he’s so focused on his nerves and panic that he doesn’t realize that he has not answered yet until Sasuke says, “Well, because you know, blondes are supposed to be fools, so I assumed you were very blond.”
And then Naruto just… stops. He knows he is supposed to be offended, but at the moment he can only laugh, because Sasuke tried to make a joke (a biased one, but still,a joke. Naruto imagines Sasuke is clumsy for jokes and for anything to do with having actually normal fun) so he only answers with a “bastard. You’re rude. But yes, I’m the hottest blonde you ever gonna meet in your life.”
“Debatable. But hn, your ancestors must be proud of you then, unless you dye it.”
“Hey! I’m really hot, y’know? And of course not, you idiot, I don’t dye my hair, I’m a natural blonde.”
“Hn.” Sasuke likes to make that sound a bit too much.
“Do you dye your hair, moron?”
“No, why would I do that?”
“Well, how do I know you’re not an emo who likes to paint his hair and wear piercings and black clothes and hair over his face…? I bet you let grow your hair long and…, OH AND THE NAILS, paint the nails is something emo, right? I bet you paint your nails…”
“… Yes, I’m sure that…”
“Naruto, you’re babbling.”
“Oh, heh, sorry.”
“I don’t have piercings.”
“But you didn’t say you didn’t paint your nails, so…”
“Oh, shut up, dobe.”
Sasuke thinks that Naruto’s laughter is the most beautiful thing he’s ever heard before.
Naruto also learns that Sasuke’s parents were killed in a fire. He finds out he has a brother. An older brother who is in jail for some reason he doesn’t know. An older brother Sasuke can’t mention without his voice quivering a little. He always seems so upset and disturb talking about his family.
So Naruto tells him his story. He tells him about his scars on his cheeks and how he has been an orphan since he was born. He says that he knows his parents only in photos. He tells him that his mother had the most beautiful red long hair, (that was intense and flaming and bright like fire), and that his father was blond and had blue pure eyes like the sky (and like himself). He tells him that he dreams of them almost every night. He tells him about his grandfather Jiraiya and tells him about how perverted he is and how obsessed he is with Tsunade (his neighbor, who likes gambling and alcohol and is scary when she is upset, but she is also kind and intelligent and gave Naruto a really cool necklace on his birthday). He tells him about the stories that Jiraiya has told him about his parents. He tells him that they were both in the police force and they were excellent and they were killed by a man who is still free out there in the streets. He tells him that he’s proud of him, even if he didn’t know them. He tells him about all the rage that grows and bubbles in his chest, about all that hate that he doesn’t like but it’s still there and doesn’t go away for once. He doesn’t know why he does it, why he says it. He only knows that he wants to make him feel better, that he wants Sasuke to know that he is not alone, that Naruto knows his pain. He wants him to know that it’s okay to talk about his problems. He wants him to know that Naruto is going to listen to him. He wants him to know he cares. He cares so much that it hurts.
And Sasuke does not say anything, but Naruto can feel it through the phone, he can hear his fragile breathing and can almost feel the beating of his heart pounding in his chest. He may feel, in some way, what Sasuke is feeling and he knows that Sasuke feels what he is feeling himself too.
Because Naruto begins to think that Sasuke knows him. He knows him better than anyone else and he understands him, Sasuke understands him as no one else has done it before.
And Naruto has never wanted to meet a person so much before.
It’s the middle of December and it’s cold. The sky is pale and beautiful and there’s snow everywhere you turn to see. The trees have no longer leaves and they look old and without so much life like in Spring with all the color spinning in them, but Naruto likes winter too. Or at least, liked winter too until tragic happened.
Sakura is in his bed texting Ino and Naruto looks at her like he’s dying. She looks at him with the corner of her beauty green eyes and makes a face.
“Naruto, stop already, you moron. You’re doing The Face again.”
Naruto rolls over the floor (which it’s also cold as fuck, but he doesn’t care enough, he’s dying) and groans, ”But Sakura…”
She puts her phone in her stomach and looks at him upside down at the side of Naruto’s bed. Naruto keeps saying her name and she just sees him like she’s waiting for him to continue.
Naruto does with “he’s visiting me, Sakura, he’s visiting me…”
Sakura raises an eyebrow. “Hm? I already know that, you told me yesterday and you keep saying it every two minutes. But what’s the matter?”
Naruto sits right up and gestures at her with exaggerated swings of arms. “What’s the matter? He’s visiting me, that’s the matter!”
She sighs and sits too. She moves to the edge of the bed and pick up her legs just so her chin would be in one of her knees. She looks down at him and titles her head, the pink soft hair falling over on the middle of her face. Naruto always liked Sakura’s hair. It was really pretty when she had it long, but when she cut it out it was even more cool because it was short spiky-type and wild and messy and it was a nice thing. She also has these cute short bangs that don’t cover her forehead (Ino doesn’t allow it) but looks pretty great. “I don’t get it. You look like you are about to die, like something just crash in your favorite thing and broke it. Shit, you almost look like there’s no more ramen in the cupboard, that’s worrying. But you always talked about this guy so much, about how cool he was, and as far as I remember, you also always said how much you wanted to meet him in person and finally can see his face and can hear his voice not just through a phone call. So, then he says to you that he’s coming to the city for the weekend and he wants to see you and instead of being all happy you get all messy about it? Why?”
Naruto blinks. “It doesn’t make sense when you explain it like it.”
Sakura rolls her eyes and kicks Naruto with her leg on his shoulder. He pouts at her while touching his arm. “That hurt.”
She ignores him. “It doesn’t make sense the way you look at it Naruto, you’re just being dramatic.”
“I’m not! I want to meet him! It’s just that I don’t want to ruin the things with him! He’s… He’s the best guy I know and I think he really understands me and I really like him and…”
Sakura blinks. “You like him? Like… really like him?”
Naruto stops. He looks at his side because he just can’t meet Sakura’s eyes. She always said that she can read him like a book through his because Naruto’s were so transparent. He doesn’t want her looking at him with pity or something like it. And what was he even supposed to answer? He himself doesn’t know well his feelings. He cares about Sasuke. He cares so much about him that he even spent five hours without getting sleep just thinking if he was fine. Just because he said he had a bad day. He really sounded upset, and Naruto couldn’t stop worrying. He also thinks about him a lot. It is not really his fault, everything in school or on his home remembered him about Sasuke. And he likes him, he really do, he is cool and smart and kind and cares a lot about people, about his friends. He’s an ass too, and arrogant sometimes and likes arguing, but it’s not that bad. Naruto loves that about him too. But does he like him that way? Does he want to actually date Sasuke?
Just the thought of it makes him giddy. Just the idea of it makes his heart races and a warm feeling sink in his throat and all down his stomach. Just thinking about it makes him fuzzy and all tingle in his inner self.
Sakura moves and Naruto sees her all the way getting down the bed and kneeling beside him. She looks at him with kind and tender eyes and reaches to brush his blond hair.
“Aw, Naruto. You blushed.” She mutters, and he’s way too embarrassed, but he knows Sakura is not making fun of him; she talks way too soft for being not real compassionate about him.
Naruto closes his eyes and Sakura mutters something more under her breath that he doesn’t get, but then she’s right there, and her sweet smell is burning his lungs. Sakura’s arms are warm and soft and she’s being understanding and tender and for a moment Naruto remembers why he did like her in the past. He likes her as a sister now, and he thinks about liking Sasuke as his brother… he thinks about being held by Sasuke, being in Sasuke’s arms and telling him all that has been building in his stomach since they start to talk to each other…
No, he definitely didn’t like Sasuke as Sakura. It was different. More intense, more raw and crude, but… somehow sweeter. And no, he definitely didn’t like him as a brother.
“It’s going to be fine, Naruto. Don’t worry about it.”
Naruto and Sasuke agree to meet in a place. It is a park from the outskirts of Konoha.
It’s the middle of December, just a few days later Sakura talked to Naruto. It’s cold outside and Naruto is nervous as hell that he can’t even feel his legs, but at the same time, he’s excited.
He’s standing awkwardly out of his house, on the sidewalk, while Sakura is checking on her car (well, Ino’s car, but it’s technically the same thing). Sakura lends him it (because his own old pickup van has chosen to decompose just then) and she indeed offers to take him, because Naruto is so edgy that his hands shake and she assures him that he won’t be able to drive in that mood.
“Everything will be okay, Naruto, just stop with the drama. I’m not bothering you two either. I’m leaving you there until Sasuke arrives, so you don’t have to worry.” Sakura tells him leaning against the car. Her hair is waving around because of the cold wind and her arms are firm crossed in her chest and she looks at him like she always does in situations where he’s like this: like she’s trying to calm him down, but at the same time, she’s so exasperated that she can’t hid it.
“Everything is going to be fine, Naruto.” She repeats, and then she points with her thumb behind her, “so get in the car already and let’s go to meet your prince.”
Naruto blinks wildly. “He’s not…!”
“I’m kidding, you moron.” She giggles. “Just get in the car.”
The ride is not so long, but Naruto thinks it is. His hands keep sweating and he has to wipe them in his pants several times. He keeps looking through the window outside, watching at the people and the places, but all it’s too blurry to caught, and he’s feeling fuzzy. He keeps seeing things but he doesn’t recognize them, like it’s the first time he sees it, like this is not his own city. He keeps listening to the music on the radio Sakura just put to calm him down, but it’s not helping, it’s not working.
The air is dense inside the car and his head is spinning and he can’t focus because he’s going to meet Sasuke, he’s going to meet Sasuke in person and oh Holy Ramen, this is happening and…
“Seriously Naruto, he’s going to give you a panic attack, calm down a bit.” Sakura teases. Naruto looks at her and she smiles at him. One of her hands is fixed on the steering wheel but the other moves and pats his shoulder carefully. “Everything will be fine.”
And Naruto wants to think that, he really wants, but the way his heart hits against his chest is erratic and discordant and it hurts, and he can’t concentrate in anything else besides Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke, and the way his disturbed heartbeat remembers him of his name.
Yes, the ride seems definitely too long.
When they get to the park, they are practically alone, mostly because of the cold weather, but Naruto doesn’t notice. There are people walking on the sidewalk and Naruto gets out of the car with his legs feeling like water. Gelid air hits his face and his cheeks numb.
“Do you want me to get out of the car with you?”
Naruto thinks for a second it is a good idea, because he can’t calm down, but he doesn’t want to bother Sakura more, so he tries to smile convinced at her (though he’s dying slowly inside) and says, “No, I’m fine.”
Sakura smiles back at him from the car and gives him a thumb up. Her eyes are sweet when she says, “’kay, good luck! I’m leaving you here, call me if you need me!” She’s about to go when she seems to remember something. “Oh! And Naruto?”
“It’s going to be alright. Believe me. And if it something that makes you feel better, I’m sure he feels the same way as you.”
Naruto blinks. “… Sa— kura?”
She smiles. “Bye! I’m greeting Ino for you!”
Naruto waves at her and sees all the way while she gets away. The car is a red point in the street when Naruto finally starts to walk to the meeting point.
It is supposed to be there, just right at the swings area. But there is no one there, just two kids, and Naruto does know Sasuke it’s just a year older than him, so he’s none of them.
Naruto looks at his cell phone for the hour. It’s 2:27 pm. Three minutes left for the agreed time.
Ok, he’s in time. Sasuke is in time too. So there’s nothing to worry about.
He stands there and waits, playing with his hands (mostly because they can’t stop sweating, dammit) and trying to breathe normally enough.
Three minutes pass. He watches at the people going from here to there, and the kids playing around. Everything seems too normal to be such an important day.
Ten more minutes go by.
Five more and Naruto is ready to get his phone from his pocket and call Sakura to pick him up in the car and flee because he is so nervous, he’s so on the edge that he feels like he is going to explode and all Sasuke is going to find is a deformed liquid spot on the ground along with all the snow. And that would definitely be more embarrassing than…
“Hn. So you’re really blond.”
… Holy fuck.
Sasuke is there, Sasuke is there.
God, Naruto’s heart is pounding so hard on his chest that he thinks it’s going to come out between his ribs.
Naruto turns around on his heels, his breath stirring white smoke in front of his face. He turns and Sasuke is… there. He’s right there and… wow.
His hair is jet-black, dark as the sky on a starless night. It is short and sharp from behind and has a cut that should be funny but in him has a great fit. He has bangs, they are long and frame his face by the sides till the level of his lips. Naruto has the impression that one of them would cover one of his eyes if there was no wind that shakes it weakly against his forehead. His hair is messy and looks soft and beautiful. His skin is pale and contrasts with the intense color of his hair. His eyes are just as dark as his hair, so deep and looking at him as if he were the only thing in the world that was worth focusing on. His lips are thin and composed in a half mocking smile. His posture is casual and composed, as if it isn’t the first time they have meet; as if none of this is something that makes Naruto turn from head to toe, upside down; as if it isn’t the thing having Naruto on edge with nerves, and the feelings burning on the surface of his skin.
His face is sharp, all thin angles and high cheekbones, contrasting and extreme colors, ranging from the purest to the darkest, and God, everything in him is so impressive.
“Are you going to stand there staring at me all day?” Sasuke raises an eyebrow. His lips tug a little higher and his voice tinges with a mocking tone. God, his voice…
Naruto feels his cheeks burn. He smiles awkwardly and runs a hand through his hair. Sasuke’s eyes follow the movement of his fingers between the golden strands until they fall behind.
Naruto scratches his neck and laughs nervously.
“It’s just…” He starts, but then stops because, “I’m not staring! I’m definitely not staring!” He bursts out, his frown in a line. Deep inside he knows he’s lying, but he can’t let Sasuke know that. Sasuke smiles a little, condescending, but his eyebrow stays high, like saying “sure, whatever you say” and “but I don’t believe you at all, moron”.
Naruto looks at his side because if he keeps seeing him, he will start staring and his cheeks are already burning, so no, he doesn’t want to combust. “Um, you’re just a little different from how I imagined you were, it’s all.”
Sasuke’s eyes drop to meet his eyes (God, his eyes), and Naruto has to contain himself to avoid panting loudly, because Holy Ramen…
His eyebrow rises even higher. There’s a subtle shit-eating grin growing on his lips and Naruto thinks he’s going to die. “Did you imagine what I look like? Hn, and I thought you weren’t so obsessed with me.”
Naruto opens his eyes, wide, and blinks. “You… you cocky bastard! I’m not obsessed with you! I didn’t mean… I mean, yes, I asked myself several times how you would look like but… I mean, it’s not like I’m thinking about your appearance all the time or…”
Sasuke makes a little noise in the back of his throat. His eyes are glued to Naruto and he looks funny, as if Naruto’s suffering and clumsiness amused him.
Naruto closes his lips in a tight line and looks away. The blush on his cheeks has begun to spread, because he can feel the heat tingling in his neck and the tip of his ears. The fact that he can feel Sasuke’s intense stare stuck on him doesn’t help.
And suddenly everything is silent and Naruto feels silly and stupid and…
“Usuratonkachi.” Sasuke’s voice is soft, so soft, and the way he says it is as if he’s saying “idiot” with his eyes blank and a wry smile on his face.
Naruto opens his eyes, because he has to see his face, he has to, and when he turns his head again, Sasuke is looking right at him, his hands in his pockets and his hair falling gently on his face. God, Naruto needs to concentrate, every time he looks at him it’s like he gets lost in his head and mind.
“You’re not very different from how I thought. You’re really blond, you look like you don’t know what a comb is, and your face looks stupid…”
Naruto chokes. There is something inside him that rages, although it is not anger, it is almost… expectation. But there is something else. Something else than the adrenaline that runs through his blood when they fight.
“And you have a lousy sense of fashion, orange is a horrible color. I have no idea why it is your favorite color…”
“As if blue was better, idiot! Orange is the coolest, brightest and most cheerful color of all!”
Sasuke rolls his eyes at his childish outburst and continues, “And you have tanned skin, I imagined that. Your eyes are clearer than I thought, though…”
“Well, yours are darker than I expected. Not that I’m complaining, I’m just impress.”
Sasuke continues like if there hadn’t been interruptions. “I never thought you’d have blond eyelashes, it’s… well, not bad… I’ve never met anyone before you that had the eyelashes of that color… and it’s quite…”
Naruto is about to insult him with something (although he is not quite sure what to say, because everything in him is impossible to insult; everything in him is so wonderful, dammit), but then he is silent, because Sasuke tilts his head to one side, his hair falling like a silken curtain of dark strands, and stretches a hand toward Naruto’s face and oh my goodness, Sasuke’s hand is right in front of him and…
Sasuke’s hand is incredibly warm against his cold skin. His fingers pass over the lines carefully, with fragile, feathery touches, and his skin is so soft…
And Sasuke doesn’t say anything, but his eyes are completely focused on his cheeks and in them there’s something completely indecipherable for Naruto. They look sad and angry and hurt and careful, all at once.
And then Sasuke takes a step forward (which means he’s closer, when he was already close enough) and Naruto can distinguish the way his long eyelashes rub against the white skin of his cheeks. And suddenly it’s like his senses are overloaded because he can feel everything. He is hyper aware of Sasuke’s fingertips, which make his skin tingle wherever they touch him, which despite the cold weather seem to carry the fire along with them, because they awaken overwhelming heat beneath his skin. He can feel the dense, charged air around him and between them, as if there were sparkling electricity flying and catapulting into volutes and dissenting spirals. He can distinguish the soft Sasuke’s smell (apples and grass). He can even hear his breath and suddenly everything revolves around him.
His heart is hammering madly in his chest and his ears are buzzing and there is something beating in his throat, something that is alive and fluttering. The sky behind them is silver and purple, and the clouds are fluffy speckles of white and gray, and Sasuke looks like a star standing there, so bright and so remarkable and outstanding…
Then Sasuke’s eyes meet his own and he’s staring at him and it’s like everything around him is alive. It is like everything inside him is moving and shouting to get out. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down and thinking you’re going to fall. It’s like the sound of a storm. Everything is wild and alive and Naruto does not know what he is doing, his body moves on autopilot…
His hand reaches out and Naruto can see his own fingers tremble as he carefully removes one of Sasuke’s bangs from his face.
Sasuke’s eyes open wide, and then he opens his mouth and he’s saying something, he’s talking, but Naruto doesn’t listen, because there are waves that beat against his ears and everything sounds like the sea.
And then he pushes forward and their lips collide and… and just wow.
Sasuke’s breath stalls in his throat audibly and Naruto can hear it. His lips are warm and soft (so, so, so soft) and Naruto can’t help but think how much he wants this. How much he wanted this, how long he had been waiting for this without even knowing it.
Sasuke makes a shocked little noise in the back of his throat as Naruto pushes forward but he doesn’t back down, and Naruto can feel the way his eyelashes sweep into his own skin when his eyes close (they tickle him). He can feel him relax in an instant when Naruto’s fingers move back and pull the strands of hair behind his ear. He can hear him sigh shakily as the tips of his fingers intermingle with his hair on the back of his head. And then Sasuke’s hand is on his shirt and his fingers squeeze tightly against the cloth and he is pulling Naruto towards him.
Everything is fuzzy and hot and damp and soft and so good. Naruto has one hand firmly behind Sasuke’s head to keep him from pulling away and the other reaches to take Sasuke’s free hand. His fingers intertwine and embolden like gears as his mouths move one against another languidly, as his lips glide lazily and unhurriedly.
And then Sasuke’s hand moves, the tips of his fingers leaving electricity sticking to Naruto’s skin as they touch him, and suddenly it is in his hair, behind his head. He pull his head back, enough to make their lips separate a few millimeters. Sasuke’s breathing is altered and quick and shaky and he seems to be desperate for air. Naruto can feel his unsteady breathing pounding against his bulging cheeks and is proud of it. He doesn’t care if his own is the same or worse because Sasuke is this way, he’s like this for him.
The kiss was so good, everything was so good, and Naruto is about to ask why they stopped, but then Sasuke is pulling Naruto back forward and his lips are crashing again and he doesn’t have time to ask. This time Sasuke opens his lips and seems more desperate than before. His hands pull Naruto’s hair and his lips stick to Naruto’s as if they were his source of life.
And they continue like this. They kiss and kiss and kiss. They pause to breathe and their lips meet again after a few seconds as if they were attracted like magnets and metal.
They kiss and kiss and kiss and Sasuke’s hands are on his hair and his face and his shoulders and his neck and on the top of his shirt, touching everything as if he wanted to remember every inch. And he looks so altered, so out of place, and Naruto thinks he’s about to faint, because he put Sasuke like this, the stoic Sasuke so out of control, of composure, and that drives him crazy.
He feels drunk. Dizzy. Everything is spinning around him and there is nothing more than Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke.
There is nothing more than Sasuke and his hands and his lips and his skin and his hair. Everything is him and he is soft and cold and hot and he loves it.
They kiss and kiss and kiss until Naruto’s lips are swollen. They kiss until the sky behind them is dark and both are numb from the cold. They kiss until Sasuke’s hairstyle is ruined and until his lips hurt (in the best way).
And when they separated, Naruto has the forehead against Sasuke’s.
Sasuke is looking at him with misty eyes, as if he had just woken from a dream, and he looks so beautiful and precious and Naruto wants to kiss him again. Their breaths mingle and their hearts beat in unison against their chests.
Sasuke’s cheeks are flushed and, although it could because of the cold, Naruto knows it’s for something else and that makes him smile.
There is something warm and tender and soft and alive that continues to flutter in his chest and throat and it hurts, it hurts so much but in a good kind of way, and it makes him feel good and giddy. Reminds him why he is alive.
Sasuke makes him feel that way.
Alive. Wild. In peace.
Sasuke’s eyes have a million emotions reflected in them when the mist curtain is extinguished (not at all, but enough) and Naruto wonders if his eyes are as transparent and stormy and crazy as his. By the way Sasuke is looking at him he thinks they are.
And then Sasuke smiles. It is weak and fragile and soft and small, but it is a smile, and it is there, and Naruto smiles wider.
Sasuke is beautiful. Inside an out.
And he can’t stop looking at him.
And maybe his gaze is too intense because Sasuke’s cheeks color grows as he closes his eyes and murmurs, “Usuratonkachi. Stop looking at me like that. I have a reputation to keep.”
And Naruto laughs. He laughs and Sasuke smiles even wider, because Naruto’s laugh could give world peace and could cure cancer. Because Naruto’s laugh is beautiful and Naruto makes him happy.
Because both of them are happy there.
Because they both know what love is without having even seen the other in person before.
Because both fell in love with words so intensely that the feeling couldn’t be extinguished.
Because everything is beautiful and lovely and perfect.
A/N: So… how was it? this is my first attempt for a sns fanfic, so don’t be so rude, okay? I’m sorry if it’s awful, it was just an idea I have and I write it for fun. Also, English is not my first language, so I’m so sorry for any grammatical mistake in here, i did my best.
We’ve talked a lot about the repeated deaths, but that’s not all that can happen in this kind of situation. What kind of injuries do you think the IPRE dealt with until the year was up and they were reset?
Magnus loses an arm. It’s an early cycle and he shouldn’t have had to make that kind of sacrifice, but he did it to help someone else and no one is really surprised. No one knows what to do - should they offer to help him with things? Would that be insulting? When Magnus comes far too close to losing his other arm in the same year, he learns to ask for help when he needs it.
Merle is too close to an explosion and loses his hearing. Lucretia offers him one of her notebooks, and it’s both a wonderful idea and a mistake because he uses it both to communicate and to leave notes all over the ship. They’re very dad-like notes, commanding various crew members to pick up this mess or go do some chore. When they try to argue Merle just shakes his head and motions helplessly at his ears, even though they are writing him a note in return. It’s not long afterwards that they reach a world that has sign language and everyone learns the basics.
Lup has been burned, badly, but it takes a while before she lets anyone help her manage the pain because she doesn’t want to feel better when she can’t do that for Taako because he died in a fucking fire. It’s Barry who finally catches her with her guard down late one night, and he and Merle find a combination of cooling spells and herbs that make the pain (the physical pain) more bearable.
Davenport is blinded, and for a while he won’t accept any help. He’s the captain, he’ll figure it out on his own. He tries to pilot the ship with muscle memory and crashes it somewhere remote, and he just screams in frustration at losing the one thing he’s the best at, even if it’s only for a year. He’s quiet for a while, not interacting and going through the motions as well as he can, until Magnus wanders into the cockpit and asks what the big, red button is for. Davenport explains, more of the crew wander in, and he ends telling all of them about the ins and outs of their vessel. It’s a good day, and after that (both that year and after) he spends less time in the cockpit and more time with his family.
Lucretia can’t walk anymore, not easily and then not at all, so Magnus offers to give her piggyback rides everywhere she wants to go whenever she wants. Lup and Barry make her a chair (permanently levitating so that stairs aren’t an issue), but she finds she likes the company while exploring the new towns. She takes up Magnus’s offer more often than anyone expects her to.
A landslide that takes Lup catches Taako, too; he takes a serious blow to the head. When he wakes up he doesn’t speak, and doesn’t really look at anyone. But he listens to them, he can hear them, and eventually Lucretia picks up some journals and sits with him. At first she reads, but eventually she just shares interesting things that happened that day and gossip; even though his expression doesn’t change she can tell he’s enjoying the conversation from the way his ears flick around with as much movement as always. When the year is done they still gossip, but it’s never one-sided. (Except when it is, years and years later. Taako has a bad day and Lucretia offers to read to him, and he lets her. It’s a little sign that things are… better. Improving.)
One year there are days Barry hurts too much to walk on his own, and Lucretia’s chair makes a second appearance. Lup isn’t there, or Magnus or Merle, so the ship is quiet more often than not… until Taako and Barry go barreling down the hallway together clinging to the chair and targeting Davenport of Lucretia. It shouldn’t be funny but it is - one light and fun moment during a particularly bad cycle.