jumping-figure

6

Figure Skating Jumps With Yuuri and Viktor

This blog started out as a Yuri!!! on Ice trash blog, but somewhere along the way, my love for figure skating was rekindled. My blog now doubles as a figure skating… trash blog, lol! Yeah, I have no life.

Anyway! Jumps - wonderful to watch, confusing af to recognize. If this is your usual sentiment, then you have come to the right place! Let Yuuri and Viktor show you the different jumps done by figure skaters, as well as tips on how to recognize them.

Jumps are actually fairly easy to recognize once you know what to look for. The first thing to look for is how skaters propel themselves off the ice. Was there a toe pick assist - meaning did the other foot’s toe pick help the skater push off the ice? Or was the skater propelled solely by their knees? The former is called a toe jump, because the toe pick was used to lift off the ice. The latter is called an edge jump, because the skater jumped off directly from an edge of their skating blade. This is most recognizable through a deeper bend in the knees, because without a toe pick assist, the strength of the jump comes solely from the knees.

HOLD UP… EDGES???

Right, so we also need to understand edges first. If you search for close ups of skating blades viewed from the back, you will find that there is something like a hollow on the bottom of the blade so that there are two edges. If you were to stand with your feet just slightly apart, the inside edges would be the edges in line with your inner thighs (and calves, whatever). Conversely, the outside edges would be the edges that are facing the outside world.

Now, the great thing is all jumps are landed at the back outside edge. Which foot depends on the skater. Yuuri and Viktor both seem to favor landing on their right foot. Most skaters have a preferred landing foot, but to help you visualize, a skater who prefers landing on his right foot, for example, would always land tilted slightly to the right, because he is landing on his right outside edge.

So if it is not the landing that differentiates the jumps, what does? Yep, you got it - the entry.

Now that we have the basics down, time for the fun part: the different kinds of jumps!

EDGE JUMPS

Loop: Entered at the back outside edge of the same foot. You land exactly where you started, hence the “loop”. Example of a loop is the first gif, which is a loop done by Yuuri. The knee bend is not very clear, but see how his right foot is tilted to the right and slightly back? Clear back outside edge, landed also on his right foot.

Salchow: Yuuri’s bane of a jump is entered at the back inside edge of the opposite foot. The fun thing about the Salchow is that apart from the usual clues (knee bend and tilt of the foot), the nature of the landing is such that the entry leg sweeps into a wide arch once the skater lands on the opposite leg. Example is the second gif, done by Yuuri. See how Yuuri bends his knees? That is an obvious edge jump. See how his left foot tilts slightly inwards (inside edge take-off) before jumping off? Another interesting thing about this gif is Yuuri’s entry on the Salchow – it looked like he jumped from both feet. Two-footed Salchows are right or wrong depending on who you ask, but the idea is that the skater should still be taking off from the correct foot and the correct edge when entering the Salchow.

Axel: Yuuri’s favorite is also a common favorite among fans because it is easily recognizable AND it is the jump type with the highest points. The Axel is the only jump entered facing forward. Because of this entry, however, to land on the back outside edge (where all jumps land), you have to make an extra half rotation. That means a triple Axel is actually an Axel with three-and-a-half rotations, and this is also why it is given the most points. Also because of this, a quad Axel is the only remaining possible quad jump that has not yet been landed. (Can you imagine having to do four-and-a-half rotations?) Example, of course, is our boy Yuuri nailing that triple Axel in the third gif.

TOE JUMPS

Toe Loop: Arguably the easiest jump, it is basically a loop with a toe pick assist. With the extra assist, it is usually the first quad landed by most male skaters, and in the show, this is the only quad Phichit can land. The fourth gif is a triple toe loop done by Viktor. See the way his left toe pick helps him off the ice? See how cleanly he takes off (slight outside tilt of his right foot) and lands on the same foot (same outside tilt)?

Flip: Viktor’s signature quad, the flip jump is entered by the back inside edge of the opposite foot. Enter on the inside edge of one foot, land at the outside edge of the other foot - hence, you flip. You can also think of it as a Salchow with a toe pick assist. The fifth gif is a triple flip done by Viktor. I chose his triple flip because the animation is clearer here. See how his right leg swings for that toe pick assist? His left entry foot is tilted slightly inwards to jump from his inside edge, and he then lands on his usual right landing foot (tilted slightly outwards to the back outside edge). (Bonus: The quad flip in particular is interesting to watch out for because for some reason, the skaters do a full turn before the jump, which is not as obviously done when skaters do a triple flip instead. It makes the quad version look dramatic, at least especially in the show when Yuuri and Viktor do it with that solemn look on their faces and all, but it’s also fun to watch when real-life figure skaters like Shoma Uno - who was the first to land the quad flip - also does that full turn before jumping. Somebody explain this to me, though. What physics is at work there? Idk.)

Lutz: Chris’ signature jump and my personal favorite is the Lutz, which is entered on the back outside edge of the opposite foot. The interesting thing about the Lutz is that because it is entered from the outside edge of the opposite foot, it is counter-rotated - that means the skater goes one direction then spins the opposite direction. It is a high difficulty jump and so gets the second highest base score after the Axel. The last gif shown here is a Lutz done together by Yuuri and Viktor, and I slowed the gif down a bit to better show the characteristics of the jump. Viktor actually gives the more consistently clear example of Lutzes in the show, but see how Yuuri enters the jump on the first few frames? That is typical Lutz entry, where the skater’s entry foot crosses over to the opposite side to give it that tilt it needs so they jump from the back outside edge. See how Viktor’s left foot is slightly tilted so you see underneath his skate? He is tilted slightly to the left, but he then jumps counter-clockwise, even if with that tilt, his natural spin would have been clockwise. He then lands on his right foot on the outside edge.

And there you have it! The six types of figure skating jumps. I hope that was helpful to those who are interested in learning to recognize these awesome jumps. The more figure skating fans, the merrier, I say!

(Any questions on these jumps? Leave me a message and talk skating to me. I would love to answer your questions! ♡)

Jumps, Explained

So, going by the tags on my recent jump gifsets, the difference between jumps is apparently still a source of great bewilderment for some people. Now I could link you to some excellent posts on the topic, but since I am, as usual, an extra lil piece of dirt with too much work to do and a lifetime’s worth of procrastination, I’ve decided to put together my own layman’s guide to identifying figure skating jumps (stressed on the layman part).

First, here be a flowchart, since everybody loves flowcharts, right?

If the flowchart works as intended and you can now tell the jumps apart, great! If you need a bit more explanation and illustration, read on.

Keep reading

Would you believe this was inspired by the beginning of Shrek? Yes. Because it’s the same.


“Next!”

Stiles dragged his feet a bit as Hilda tugged him forward in line. He was chained up and surrounded by guards, probably about to be sold into slavery, but he still wasn’t going to make this easy for the old broad.

He’d been buying her produce for years, and this was how she repaid him? Selling him to the king for some supernatural creature bounty? No. He was going to make this as difficult as possible.

She glared her beady little eyes at him, dug her sharp nails into his arm a bit more, and shoved him forward another lurching step. The fae at the front of the line was deemed worth twenty pounds, ten shillings and hauled off by knights in armor.

“Next!”

A hellhound was dragged forward in an iron collar.

“I will give you money if you just let me go,” Stiles whispered, he wasn’t above bargaining, but Hilda ignored him. He didn’t have much, but it was probably more than she’d get from these chumps. “Six shillings, right now.”

Hilda rolled her eyes and tugged him forward by the chain looped around his wrists. The hellhound was appraised and hauled off into the back of a closed wagon. It was no doubt magically reinforced; Stiles could still hear it snarling violently, but it wasn’t breaking through the old rickety wooden sides.

“Next!”

“Ten shillings,” Stiles continued, “right as soon as I can get to the bank. Twenty, even! Three pounds!”

Hilda gave him a withering look. “You don’t have that kind of money. Now shut up.” She yanked on his chain and both wrists burned as the iron manacles scraped against the already raw skin. The iron was bad enough without all of the jerking around.

Another supernatural creature was carried off to the wagon—this time a nymph—and then it was Stiles’ turn.

Keep reading

6

Part I (Jump Identification)  ||  Part II (Jump Combinations)  ||  Part III (Spin Identification)

Figure skating jumps are identified by the way the skater takes off the ice. Here are simple ways to tell them apart, using layman-friendly terms. 

There are 6 different types of jumps (in order of base value): Toe loop (T), Salchow (S), Loop (Lo), Flip (F), Lutz (Lz), Axel (A). 

Since Yuzuru rotates anti-clockwise in the air, these examples are for anti-clockwise jumps. For clock-wise jumpers, the left and right would reversed.

EDIT: The toe, lutz and flip can look confusingly similar. Just remember, for the toe, the skater rotates away from the foot on the ice and for the flip and lutz, the skater rotates towards the foot on the ice. 

2

In my Russian culture class today, we got to discuss one of my favorite paintings, Ivan the Terrible and His Son, by Ilya Repin (1885), and I wanted to share it, not only because it is a beautiful and compelling painting, but also because of the history behind it. 

Ivan IV of Russia, commonly known as Ivan the Terrible, is pictured here with his dead eldest son and heir, Ivan Ivanovich. 

It was a very hot day and Ivan Ivanovich’s wife was heavily pregnant and walking around in what Ivan deemed was less than proper attire for the wife of a tsarovich. When he forcefully told her as much, his son intervened on her behalf, defending his wife from his irate father. Infuriated at his defiance, Ivan struck him in the head with his staff, killing him. His eldest son and the heir to the Russian throne was now dead. After Ivan IV’s death a few years later, Russia fell into a long period of civil strife known as the Time of Troubles. 

I don’t want to focus on the politics, though.

This painting is one of Repin’s most famous, and understandably so. We see Ivan’s son, cradled to his father’s chest, dripping in vibrant red blood, with still a trace of shock in his eyes. 

Ivan’s (IV) face is what captivates me though. His eyes are enormous, much like you would find in Russian icon paintings. Ivan, although tsars claimed to be appointed by God, looks anything but holy in this image; in fact, he looks a little demonic. His face is filled with horror, revulsion, and disbelief. Did this really just happen? Is his son truly dead? How many times has he held his son like this before, when he was smaller? It’s all the more interesting to think of a young Ivan (IV), whose father died when he was barely a toddler, leaving him to become a child ruler whose early life was dominated by powerful regents. He grew up without a father; now, in a cruel twist, he has lived to see his own son die, and at his own hands.

Everywhere, the painting is saturated in red, one of the most beloved colors in Russian art. His son is bathed in white, dressed in pale colors, while he is shrouded in black, leaning into the shadows. The two figures jump out at the viewer from the center of the painting, forcing you to study the two of them. It’s painful to look at. But Repin’s masterful use of oil paint and light and dark make it very beautiful, too. 

Cat Got Your Tongue Pt. 1 (M)

Word Count: 5,463

Pairing: Taehyung x Reader

Genre: catboy!tae, comedy, fluff, eventual smut

Summary: When your boyfriend cheats on you you’re left heartbroken and lost all hope in relationships. Santa says you’ll find love soon, but what do you do when you’re beloved cat turns into a beautiful grown man?

Keep reading

I know there are a quite a few posts on tumblr already about studying mathematics but I figured I’d jumped in with some less conventional things that have worked..

1- believe you can. This may be an overused phrase but it’s that way for a reason. So many people have this negative way of thinking that math is hard and when they walk into a classroom they’ve already concluded that it is going to be difficult for them and that they’re going to fail. I’ve personally done this and I have to remind myself that I can do it and not to be resolved to failure. It helps, drastically. 

2- If you have trouble remembering formulas I have a system that I use, it’s pretty simple, all you need is a notebook( I prefer a very mini one to make carrying it easy). On the first few pages I have some of the basics such as Types of Numbers, order of operation, perfect squares and such and then i use a double page spread where the left side has what I’m finding and the right side has the formula. Sometimes there isn’t a specific formula so I list the steps or an example.

3- Another method to help with remembering formulas is to always write it. Whenever you’re doing a new topic and your teacher gives you an exercise to do write the formula before each question, even if that means you have the formula written ten times on one page.


4-
PRACTICE!PRACTICE!PRACTICE! This is the best way to improve in maths. Do one sum ten times, do test papers, do exercises from your textbook even if you teacher doesn’t assign them.

5-And on the topic of practicing, practice topics even after you’ve moved on in class. It’s the worst thing to be studying for an exam that covers various topics and you realize you only remember the more recent work and forgot the work you did at the beginning of the term. This is my biggest problem and I’m desperately trying to combat it and the best way may be setting side about an hour a week and doing sums, it doesn’t even have to be a lot, just 3 or 4 sums from each topic.

6- Don’t move on from a topic if you don’t understand it. This is the worst thing you can do. It’s likely your teacher will ask the class if everyone understand and you should raise your hands, don’t be afraid or embarrass, one: because it’s their job and two: because chances are some of your classmates don’t understand or know what it feels like not to understand. It’s also  important to remember that different people have different way of explaining things so try seeking out other teachers and asking for help or other students or even trying the web,

7- Statements. These are so damn important. Ever reviewing over your notes and you can’t understand how you got from one point to the other? That’s what statements are for. Honestly as someone who relies on statements to figure out how to work out a math sum when I don’t understand or miss class it’s very helpful. Also I’m not sure about elsewhere but here the correct answer is typically only 1-2 marks and statements and workings carry the rest.

8- LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR CALCULATOR!

For exams:

1-keep a sheet of paper that has all major topics and their respective sub topics and I use it to keep track of whether you’ve reviewed the topic for test another thing you can do is rate your understanding of the topic: 1 star/circle/heart= poor understanding to 5 stars/circles/hearts=excellent understanding. Be truthful with yourself.

2-Go over and DO OVER questions you did through the term and if your teacher does a review session at the end of the term then definitely go over those, it’s likely these questions will be on your test paper but with different values.

3-Sometimes questions can be worded in a way that is tricky, read it carefully and underline the important parts and what they’re asking you to find.

4- One of the ways I check to see if my answer is correct is working back the sum so for example 2 x 5= 10 then 10/5=2.  

5- don’t freak out or psych yourself up, you’ll do great and if you don’t then learn from your mistakes!

I hope this little post helped someone. Remember that math will only be as frightening and hard as you imagine it to be, 

anonymous asked:

How about, in the dorms, they play the worlds biggest game of the floor is lava. Like, not even Tokoyami or Bakugou can resist the game simply because of childhood memories. They place cushions on the stairs so people can go to different floors. Just the kids playing the floor is lava

IT’S NOT JUST A GAME, OKAY. IT’S A FUCKING BLOOD BATH

there are no friends. you have no allies. everyone is out to get you, everyone is out to win, and they will sabotage everyone else in order to secure victory. 

quirks are allowed. because of this, Uraraka and Tokoyami are some of the hardest to knock out of the competition. Uraraka can just make herself float, or make objects hover and jump between them. she’ll cancel out her powers and cause whatever poor soul who happened to be the floating armchair to fall onto the floor. Tokoyami, of course, has his Shadow.

Bakugou, Kaminari or Todoroki take Tokoyami out first. their quirks are the worst match up for Tokoyami, and just like in the sports festival, it all ends rather quickly. 

Kaminari is often taken out fast. partially because he doesn’t wanna hurt anyone with his quirk. partially because he’s just. naturally clumsy.

there are debates about whether Todoroki’s ice counts as lava or as an object. Todoroki insists that it should count as an object because it’s ice, but Mineta and Kaminari think it’s cheating and should be counted as him touching the floor.

Kirishima is REALLY DIFFICULT to knock out because he can make himself hard and block all attacks. he’s usually one of the last few in the game.

Sero can use his tape to bounce from object to object. the only way to knock him out is if you body slam him, or cut his tape mid-swing. he’ll also use his tape to grab onto unsuspecting people to make them stumble and fall to their dramatic deaths. he’s great at knocking people out.

Aoyama is easy to knock to the floor. it’s hard to use his laser indoors and he’s not as agile as the others. he’s usually the first to go.

Mineta is goddamn hard to pick off. his balls stick to ANYTHING and sometimes he’ll just stick to walls and stay out of the chaos. he’ll also throw his balls at people in order to knock them off their balance–they end up in really odd positions, stuck upside down to the side of the counter, or sideways on the back of the couch. either way, they can’t get off and they’re forced to forfeit. 

Momo is somewhere in the middle. she’s great at making objects to defend or help herself, but sometimes it takes too long to make them and she’s knocked out before she can dodge.

Shouji is VERY HARD to knock off balance. but he finds it easy to take people out (in non-harmful ways; even if it’s a competition, he’s not gonna accidentally hurt his classmates). HOWEVER, sometimes his size makes it hard for him to jump onto the smaller objects and he’ll fall over thanks to his own weight.

Tsuyu is queen. she’s super quick and agile and able to stick to anything, and her tongue makes it easy for her to sabotage the others. she is ruthless. (tho she apologizes after every ‘attack’)

Mina has AMAZING reflexes and is hard to hit. she’s usually taken out by her own misjudgement of where she’s landing, or someone accidentally knocking into her. 

Satou and Kouda, like Shouji, are also very big. both have a hard time finding balance when landing on smaller surfaces. Satou’s quirk doesn’t really help him here, and he IS getting better with his balance. Kouda makes up for his lack of balance by sending bugs after people who’re trying to get him out of the game.

Ojirou is goddamn hard to knock off balance with that tail of his. plus, he’s a martial artist, so he’s got a LOT of balance training. he’s usually one of the last few left. 

Jirou is able to use her sound attacks to vibrate tables and the floor in order to throw off the other student’s balance. she is, however, rather easy to knock out b/c it takes concentration to use her attacks, and she leaves herself open.

Iida uses his engines to fly from table to chair to pillow, but sometimes the momentum will make him trip. he finds the game great practice for his control, tho he does get frustrated since he lost a few times at first

Tooru. Tooru is fucking HARD to beat because she plays in her hero outfit (or less) and no one can see where she lands. the only thing they have to by by are her little reaction sounds (from jumping and landing) when figuring out where she is 

and last but not least, Izuku and Bakugou. these two. these two are the GODDAMN HARDEST OF ALL THE STUDENTS TO BEAT. 

THEY’VE BOTH GOT AMAZING REFLEXES, THEY BOTH CAN MANEUVER IN THE AIR, AND PARKOUR IS GODDAMN THEIR MIDDLE NAME. not to mention they’re both SO FUCKING FAST that no one can ever knock them out. fuckers can dodge like no-one’s business, and it frustrates the entire class.

the game almost always ends with these two trying to beat each other. Bakugou gets especially pissed because Izuku learned most of those moves from him, so it’s like he’s fighting a goddamn copy of himself. 

they usually end in a tie. they’ll slam into each other and the’ll both get knocked to the ground. they also have the exact same amount of wins and loses. 

that doesn’t stop the other students from trying to win, tho. they wanna beat Deku and Kacchan because they’re so amazing, and with each game, it gets harder and harder to knock everyone out. 

Bakugou and Izuku actually love this, because it means more training and fighting each other at their best (well, as much as they can in a game like this)

Aizawa and All Might usually watch from the corners to make sure no one gets seriously hurt. they’re so proud of their kids, tho, because this training is so good for them. it’s harmless and great for honing reflexes and attacks.

also, they just love to see their kids improve. what proud dads

Watch Me Babygirl [pt.4]

[pt.1] [pt.2] [previous part] [next part] [pt.6] [pt.7] [pt.8] [pt.9] [pt.10] [pt.11]  [pt.12] [pt.13] [pt.14]

Summary: Jungkook is your brother’s annoying best friend. You can’t stand him but he just can’t resist teasing you. How far will he actually go?

Warnings: slight language


Jungkook was one of the only things on your mind for days. He’d kissed you… and then run off. At the end of the game he’d simply smirked at you, sending a wink your way before slinging an arm around Jimin and laughing as Jimin gloated about their victory.

You sighed, pushing your books into your locker. It was Friday and all you wanted to do was call Taehyung and have him bring snacks over to your house for a movie night.

You pushed your locker closed and jumped back at the figure that had been standing behind the door, blocked from your view.

“What the hell! Jungkook you can’t do shit like that,” you said, placing a hand over your heart as you looked at him.

Keep reading

i would just like to gently remind anyone following the situation in manchester to be careful which news outlets you use, because a lot of them inflate figures, jump to conclusions and try to frighten people. some are outright xenophobic, racist and islamophobic, or report news in a way that encourages this way of thinking. the bbc website tends to give pretty reliable figures and reports information relatively impartially (please be critical of websites such as the daily mail)

the uk is in such a fragile state right now and we really don’t need people using this horrible attack as a justification for their racism and islamophobia. 

that’s all. 

❤️

Full Esquire Interview - CHRIS EVANS IS READY TO FIGHT

“HIS SUCCESS AS CAPTAIN AMERICA HAS MADE CHRIS EVANS ONE OF HOLLYWOOD’S SURE THINGS, WHICH MEANS HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS WITH HIS FREE TIME. SO WHY JUMP OUT OF AIRPLANES AND GET INTO IT WITH DAVID DUKE?

BY MAXIMILLIAN POTTERMAR 15, 2017


The Canadian commandos are the first to jump. Our plane reaches an altitude of about eight thousand feet; the back door opens. Although it’s a warm winter day below in rural southern California, up here, not so much. In whooshes freezing air and the cold reality that this is actually happening. Out drop the eight commandos, all in black-and-red camouflage, one after the other. For them it’s a training exercise, and Jesus, these crazy bastards are stoked. The last Canuck to exit into the nothingness is a freakishly tall stud with a crew cut and a handlebar mustache; just before he leaps, he flashes a smile our way. Yeah, yeah, we get it: You’re a badass.

Moments later, the plane’s at ten thousand feet, and the next to go are a Middle Eastern couple in their late thirties. These two can’t wait. They are ecstatic. Skydiving is clearly a thing for them. Why? I can’t help thinking. Is it like foreplay? Do they rush off to the car after landing and get it on in the parking lot? They give us the thumbs-up and they’re gone.

Just like that, we’re at 12,500 feet and it’s our turn. Me and Chris Evans, recognized throughout the universe as the star of the Marvel-comic-book-inspired Captain America and Avengers movies. The five films in the series, which began in 2011 with Captain America: The First Avenger, have grossed more than $4 billion.

The two of us, plus four crew members, are the only ones left in the back of the plane. Over the loud drone of the twin propellers, one of the crew members shouts, "Okay, who’s going first?”

Evans and I are seated on benches opposite each other. Neither of us answers. I look at him; he looks at me. I feel like I’ve swallowed a live rat. Evans is over there, all Captain America cool, smiling away.

While we were waiting to board the plane, Evans told me that as he lay in bed the night before, “I started exploring the sensation of ‘What if the chute doesn’t open?’. . .”

Oh, did you now?

“. . .Those last minutes where you know.” As in you know you’re going to fatally splat. “You’re not gonna pass out; you’re gonna be wide awake. So what? Do I close my eyes? Hopefully, it would be quick. Lights out. I fucking hope it would be quick. And then I was like, if you’re gonna do it, let’s just pretend there is no way this is going to go wrong. Just really embrace it and jump out of that plane with gusto.” Evans also shared that he’d looked up the rate of skydiving fatalities. “It’s, like, 0.006 fatalities per one thousand jumps. So I figure our odds are pretty good.”

Again the crew member shouts, “Who’s going first?”

Again I look at Evans; again he looks at me. The rat is running circles in my belly.

I look at Evans; he looks at me.

Another crew member asks, “So whose idea was this, anyway?”


That’s an excellent question.

I ask Evans the same thing when we first meet, the evening before our jump, at his house. He lives atop the Hollywood Hills, in a modern-contemporary ranch in the center of a Japanese-style garden. The place has the vibe of an L.A. meditation retreat—there’s even a little Buddha statue on the front step.

The dude who opens the front door is in jeans, a T-shirt, and Nikes; he has on a black ball cap with the NASA logo, and his beard is substantial enough that for a second it’s hard to be sure this is the same guy who plays the baby-faced superhero. Our handshake in the doorway is interrupted when his dog rockets toward my crotch. Evans is sorry about that.

We do the small-talk thing. Evans is from a suburb of Boston, one of four kids raised by Dad, a dentist, and Mom, who ran a community theater. The point is, he’s a Patriots fan, and with Super Bowl LI, between the Pats and the Falcons, just a few days away at the time, it’s about the only thing on his mind. You bet your Sam Adams–guzzling ass he’s going to the game in Houston. “Oh my God,” he says, doing a little dance. “I can’t believe it’s this weekend.”

Like any self-respecting Pats fan, Evans is super-wicked pissed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Evans won’t be rolling to SB LI with a posse of Beantown-to-Hollywood A-listers like Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck. For the record, he’s never met Damon, and his only interaction with Wahlberg was a couple years ago at a Patriots event. Evans has, however, humiliated himself in front of Affleck.

Around 2006, Evans met with Affleck to talk about Gone Baby Gone, which Affleck was directing. Evans was walking down a hallway, looking for the room where they were supposed to meet. Walking by an open office, he heard Affleck, in that thick Boston accent of his, shout, “There he is!” (Evans does a perfect Affleck impersonation.)

By then, Evans had hit the big time for his turn as the Human Torch, Johnny Storm, in 2005’s Fantastic Four, but he still got starstruck. As he tells it, “First thing I say to him: 'Am I going to be okay where I parked?’ He was like, 'Where did you park?’ I said, 'At a meter.’ And he was like, 'Did you put money in the meter?’ And I said, 'Yep.’ And he says, 'Well, I think you’ll be okay.’ I was like, this is off to a great fucking start.” Stating the obvious here: Evans did not get the part.

No, Evans will be heading to the Super Bowl with his brother and three of his closest buddies. Like any self-respecting Pats fan, Evans is super-wicked pissed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for imposing that suspension on Tom Brady for Deflategate. Grabbing two beers from a fridge that’s otherwise basically empty, Evans says, “I just want to see Goodell hand the trophy to Brady. Goodell. Piece of shit.”

In Evans’s living room, there’s not a single hint of his Captain Americaness. Earth tones, tables that appear to be made of reclaimed wood. Open. Uncluttered. Glass doors open onto a backyard with a stunning view of the Hills. Evans stretches out on one of two couches. I take the other and ask, “Just whose idea was it to jump?” Since we both know whose idea it wasn’t, we both know that what I’m really asking is Why? Why, dude, do you want to jump (with me) from a goddamn airplane? “Yeah,” he says, popping open his beer, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Settling in on the couch, he groans. Evans explains that he’s hurting all over because he just started his workout routine the day before to get in shape for the next two Captain America films. The movies will be shot back to back beginning in April. After that, no more red- white-and-blue costume for the thirty-five-year-old. He will have fulfilled his contract.

“Yeah,” he says, popping open his beer, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Back in 2010, Marvel presented Evans with a nine-picture deal. He insisted he’d sign on for no more than six. Some family members thought he was nuts to dial back such a secure and lucrative gig. Evans saw it differently.

It takes five months to shoot a Marvel movie, and when you tack on the promotional obligations for each one, well, shit, man. Evans knew that for as long as he was bound to Captain America, he would have little time to take on other projects. He wanted to direct, he wanted to play other characters—roles that were more human—like the lead in Gifted, which will hit theaters this month. The script had brought him to tears. Evans managed to squeeze the movie in between Captain America and Avengers films.

FOX Searchlight

In Gifted, Evans stars as Frank Adler. You don’t get much more human than Adler, a grease-under-his-nails boat-engine mechanic living the bachelor life in Florida. After a series of tragic circumstances, Adler becomes a surrogate father to his niece, Mary, a first-grader with the IQ of Einstein. He recognizes that Mary is a little genius, and he does his best to prevent anyone else from noticing. Given the aforementioned circumstances, Adler has witnessed what can happen when a kid with a brilliant mind is pushed too hard too quickly. Then along comes Mary’s teacher. She discovers the child’s gift, and a Kramer vs. Kramer–esque drama ensues.

During a moment in the film when things aren’t going Adler’s way, he sarcastically refers to himself as a “fucking hero.” Evans says the line didn’t lead him to make comparisons between superhero Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) and Everyman hero Frank Adler. But now that you mention it . . . 

“With Steve Rogers,” Evans says, “even though you’re on a giant movie with a huge budget and strange costumes, you’re still on a hunt for the truth of the character.” That said, “with Adler, it’s nice to play someone relatable. I think Julianne Moore said, 'The audience doesn’t come to see you; they come to see themselves.’ Adler is someone you can hold up as a mirror for someone in the audience. They’ll be able to far more easily identify with Frank Adler than Steve Rogers.”

Dodger. That’s the name of Evans’s dog, the one who headbutted my nuts and has since done a marvelous job of making amends by nuzzling against me on the couch. Evans got him while he was filming Gifted; one of the last scenes was shot in an animal shelter in Georgia. Evans had wanted a dog ever since his last pooch died in 2012. Then he found himself walking the aisles of this pound, and there was this mixed-breed boxer, wagging his tail and looking like he belonged with Evans.

Dodger is not exactly a name you’d think a die-hard Boston sports fan would pick. His boys from back home have given him a ton of shit over it. But he has not abandoned his Red Sox for the L.A. team. As a kid, he loved the Disney animated movie Oliver & Company, and his favorite character was Dodger. Anticipating the grief he was going to get from his pals, Evans considered other names. “You could name your dog Doorknob,” he says, “and in a month he’s fucking Doorknob.” Evans’s mom convinced him to go with his gut.

Right around when Evans was wrapping Gifted and heading back to L.A. with Dodger, the 2016 presidential campaign was still in that phase when no one, including the actor—a Hillary Clinton supporter—thought Trump had a shot. He still can’t believe Trump won.

“I feel rage,” he says. “I feel fury. It’s unbelievable. People were just so desperate to hear someone say that someone is to blame. They were just so happy to hear that someone was angry. Hear someone say that Washington sucks. They just want something new without actually understanding. I mean, guys like Steve Bannon—Steve Bannon!—this man has no place in politics.”

Evans has made, and continues to make, his political views known on Twitter. He tweeted that Trump ought to “stop energizing lies,” and he recently ended up in a heated Twitter debate with former KKK leader David Duke over Trump’s pick of Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Duke baselessly accused Evans of being anti-Semitic; Evans encouraged Duke to try love: “It’s stronger than hate. It unites us. I promise it’s in you under the anger and fear.” Making political statements and engaging in such public exchanges is a rather risky thing for the star of Captain America to do. Yes, advisors have said as much to him. “Look, I’m in a business where you’ve got to sell tickets,” he says. “But, my God, I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror if I felt strongly about something and didn’t speak up. I think it’s about how you speak up. We’re allowed to disagree. If I state my case and people don’t want to go see my movies as a result, I’m okay with that.”

Trump. Bannon. Politics. Now Evans is animated. He gets off the couch, walks out onto his porch, and lights a cigarette. “Some people say, 'Don’t you see what’s happening? It’s time to yell,' ” Evans says. “Yeah, I see it, and it’s time for calm. Because not everyone who voted for Trump is going to be some horrible bigot. There are a lot of people in that middle; those are the people you can’t lose your credibility with. If you’re trying to change minds, by spewing too much rhetoric you can easily become white noise.”


Evans has a pretty remarkable “How I got to Hollywood” story.

During his junior year of high school, he knew he wanted to act. He was doing it a lot. In school. At his mom’s theater. He loved it. “When you’re doing a play at thirteen years old and have opening night? None of my friends had opening nights. 'I can’t have a sleepover, guys; I have an opening night tonight.' ”

That same year, he did a two-man play. For all of the twenty-plus plays Evans had done up to that point, preparation meant going home, memorizing lines, and doing a few run-throughs with the cast. However, for this play, Fallen Star, he and his costar would rehearse by running dialogue with each other. Hour upon hour, night after night.

Fallen Star is about two friends, one of whom has just died. As the play opens, one of the characters comes home after the funeral to find his dead friend’s ghost. Evans was the ghost. Waiting backstage on opening night, he knew he didn’t have every line memorized, but he had the essence and emotion of the play down. Onstage, he remembers, “I was saying the lines not because they were memorized but because the play was in me. I was believing what I was saying.”

He was hooked. He wanted to do more of this kind of acting—real acting. He wanted to do films, in which the camera was right on him and he could just be the character, rather than theater, in which an actor must perform to the back of the room.

A family friend who was a television actor advised Evans that if he wanted to go to Hollywood, he needed an agent. Toward the end of his junior year, he had a ballsy request for his parents: If he found an internship with a casting agent in New York City, would they allow him to live there and cover the rent? They agreed. Evans landed a gig with Bonnie Finnegan, who was then working on the television show Spin City.

“I just fucked off. I lost my virginity that year. 1999 was one of the best years of my life.” Until it wasn’t.

Evans chose to intern with a casting agent because he figured he had more of a chance to interact with other agents trying to get auditions for their clients.

The kid was sixteen years old.

Finnegan put Evans on the phone; his responsibilities included setting up appointments for auditions. By the end of the summer, he picked the three agents he had the best rapport with and asked each of them to give him a five-minute audition. All three said yes. After seeing his audition, all three were interested.

Evans went with the one Finnegan recommended, Bret Adams, who told Evans to return to New York for auditions in January, television pilot season. Back home, Evans doubled up on a few classes the first semester of his senior year, graduated early, and went back to New York in January. He got the same shithole apartment in Brooklyn and the same internship with Finnegan. He landed a part on the pilot Opposite Sex. Even better, the show got picked up and would start shooting in L.A. that fall.

“I know I’m going to L.A. in August,” Evans says, recalling that period. “So I go home and that spring I would wake up around noon, saunter into high school just to see my buddies, and we’d go get high in the parking lot. I just fucked off. I lost my virginity that year. 1999 was one of the best years of my life.” Until it wasn’t.

He wasn’t in L.A. for even a month when he got a call from home. His parents were divorcing. Evans never saw it coming.

Family and love and the struggles therein are part of what attracted Evans to Gifted.

“In my own life, I have a deep connection with my family and the value of those bonds,” he says. “I’ve always loved stories about people who put their families before themselves. It’s such a noble endeavor. You can’t choose your family, as opposed to friends. Especially in L.A. You really get to see how friendships are put to the test; it stirs everyone’s egos. But if something goes south with a friend, you have the option to say we’re not friends anymore. Your family—that’s your family. Trying to make that system work and trying to make it not just functional but actually enjoyable is a really challenging endeavor, and that’s certainly how it is with my family.”


the plane, a decision is made.

“I want to see you jump first,” Evans shouts my way.

Of course he does.

Like any respectable and legal skydiving center, Skydive Perris, which is providing us with this “experience,” doesn’t just strap a chute on your back. First, you go to a room for a period of instruction. Then you go to another room, where you sign away your rights.

You may be wondering how the star of a billion-dollar franchise with two pictures to shoot gets clearance to jump from an airplane—never mind the low rate of fatalities, as Evans has presented it. So am I.

“Well, they give you all these crazy insurance policies, but even if I die, what are they going to do? Sue my family? They’d probably cast some new guy at a cheaper price and save some money.”

Thinking the answer is almost certainly going to be no, I ask Evans if he’s ever gone skydiving before. Turns out he has, with an ex-girlfriend. Turns out that ex-girlfriend is now married to Justin Timberlake. Evans and Jessica Biel dated off and on from 2001 to 2006. They took the leap together when Biel hatched the idea for one Valentine’s Day. According to media accounts, Evans was recently dating his Gifted costar Jenny Slate, who plays the teacher. “Yeah,” he says, “but I’m steering clear of those questions.” You can almost feel his heart pinch.

“There’s a certain shared life experience that is tough for someone else who’s not in this industry to kind of wrap their head around.”

We end up broadly discussing the unique challenges an international star like Evans faces when it comes to dating, specifically the trust factor. Evans supposes that’s why so many actors date other actors: “There’s a certain shared life experience that is tough for someone else who’s not in this industry to kind of wrap their head around,” he says. “Letting someone go to work with someone for three months and they won’t see them. It really, it certainly puts the relationship to the test.”

In Gifted, there’s a moment when Slate’s character asks Adler what his greatest fear is. Frank Adler’s greatest fear is that he’ll ruin his niece’s life. Evans’s greatest fear is having regrets.

“Like always kind of wanting to be there as opposed to here. I think I’m worried all of a sudden I’ll get old and have regrets, realize that I’ve not cultivated enough of an appreciation for the now and surrendering to the present moment.”

Evans’s musings have something to do with the fact that he has been reading The Surrender Experiment. “It’s about the basic notion that we are only in a good mood when things are going our way,” he says. “The truth is, life is going to unfold as it’s going to unfold regardless of your input. If you are an active participant in that awareness, life kind of washes over you, good or bad. You kind of become Teflon a little bit to the struggles that we self-inflict.”

He continues: “Our conscious minds are very spread out. We worry about the past. We worry about the future. We label. And all of that stuff just makes us very separate. What I’m trying to do is just quiet it down. Put that brain down from time to time and hope those periods of quiet and stillness get longer. When you do that, what rises from the mist is a kind of surrendering. You’re more connected as opposed to being separate. A lot of the questions about destiny or fate or purpose or any of that stuff—it’s not like you get answers. You just realize you didn’t need the questions.”

This here—this stuff about surrendering, letting life unfold, taking the leap—this is why he wanted to go skydiving. It’s why that sixteen-year-old took the leap and did the summer in New York; it’s why he took the leap and turned down the nine-picture deal; it’s why he got Dodger. Surrender. Take the leap.

And so I go first.

Oh, one important detail: Novice jumpers like Evans and me, we don’t jump solo. Thank God. Each of us is doing a tandem jump. Each of us is strapped with our back to a professional jumper’s front. I’m strapped to a forty-four-year-old dude named Paul. Considering what’s about to happen, I figure I should know a little something about Paul. He tells me he used to own a bar in Chicago. Evans is strapped to a young woman named Sam, who looks to be twenty-something. She’s got a purplish-pink streak in her black hair and says things like “badass.” In fact, Sam introduced herself  by saying, “I’m Sam, but you can call me Badass.”

At the plane’s open door, my mind goes to my wife and two teenage sons, to those I love, and to the texts I just sent in case my chute fails. Then Paul and I—well, really mostly Paul—rock gently back and forth to build momentum to push away from the plane, to push away from all that seems sane.

Three.

Two.

One.

Holy fuck.

HOLY FUCK. This is what I scream as we free-fall from 12,500 feet, at more than a hundred miles an hour, toward the earth. Which I cannot take my eyes off of. I think about nothing. Not living. Not dying. Nothing. I simply feel . . . I have let go.

Suddenly, it all stops. I’m jerked up. Paul has pulled the chute, and it does indeed open. This is fantastic, because it means we have a much better chance of not dying. But it’s also kind of a bummer. I had let go. Of everything. I had chosen to play those odds Evans had talked about. I had embraced jumping and letting life unfold.

Now I had been jerked back. I would land. Back on the earth I had been so high above and from which I had been so far removed. Back in all of it.

Once I’m on the ground, safe and in one piece, a staffer runs over and asks how I feel. I say, “I feel like Captain America.”

The staffer runs over and asks Evans the same question. He says he feels great. Then he’s asked another question: What was your favorite part?

“Jumping out,” he says. “Jumping out is always a real thrill.”


This article appears in the April '17 issue of Esquire.

Kissing Chats is therapeutic

This is what resulted from a chat I had with @frostedpuffs and well, I’m very proud of it lol. It is kind of short tho.


Marinette was a wrecked ball of stress. It was so bad that people probably could smell stress on her while she passed by, if the dark circles under her eyes weren’t a dead giveaway. She had three tests, two presentations, the deadlines for four essays and a lot of commissions for her online clothes shop. And the cherry on top of her funeral cake was, of course, being Ladybug and saving Paris at any moment when an akuma appeared.

(Which happened a lot lately. Hawkmoth can choke.)

Although, Marinette probably won’t have a funeral cake, because, frankly, she didn’t even have time to die. But the real question here was if Marinette was using that time she had in the evening to do anything related to the before mentioned responsibilities?

Well… no.

Look, her plants had priority okay? Marinette can’t pull through stress crisis without her plants. So that’s how that fine evening found Marinette Dupain-Cheng on her balcony, making sure her hortensias were hydrated enough. She was humming a random tune, as she kept arranging her plants, trying to not think about the load of work she had. With a sigh, she glanced up at the skyline, hoping she to get a glint of inspiration for one that one-night dress that was lying between her commissions. As she looked in the distance, she noticed a dark figure jumping around the rooftops. Seems like Chat Noir was out and about. Marinette wondered if she should get some sweets from down in the bakery. That was how they got close after all. She was minding her own business, working on her sketched, when out of nowhere a cat fell on her because he was trying to steal her cookies. He received some swats over the head, but also some cookies, because Marinette has limits when it comes to how much she could resist begging kitty eyes. And well, what was said about feeding strays was very much true and Marinette was still amused that the biggest stray in Paris came to her out of all people.

“Good evening to you, ma princesse.” Marinette looked surprised as Chat landed on her balcony, making a courtly bow.

“Hey, Chat.” she greeted. “Did you come sniffing after some macarons or what?”

“As tempting as that sounds, I actually dropped by because I wanted to check on you. You seemed stressed.”

Marinette rose an eyebrow. “I seemed stressed from three blocks away?”

Chat rubbed the back of his head in a strangely familiar manner. “Call it a cat’s instinct.”

Marinette rolled her eyes fondly as Chat continued. “Anyway, I noticed you are stressed and luckily I know a wonderful type of therapy for this.”

Marinette glanced at him curiously. “You have my attention.”

Clearing his throat, he continued. “You see, this type of therapy is accessible to anyone, it is free, very good, wonderfully calming, utterly relaxing and prescribed by any doctor who cares about the well-being of their patients. In fact, there had been a scientific research, conducted by the Oxford University that came to the conclusion that this therapy was effective in 99,9% of the cases.”

“And what exactly is this therapy?”

“Kissing cats.”

Marinette sprayed Chat with her watering bottle, making him yowl and jump back a little. “Very funny, Chat.”

His ears dropped. “But I’m entirely serious!”

Marinette rolled her eyes. “Of course you are.”

“Come on, princess! It will work wonders for you, you’ll see.”

Marinette sighed, before glancing at him. His ears were dropped and he was giving her those typical kitty eyes and Marinette wanted to hit herself over the head with something for being tempted by the offer. Honestly, if he wanted a kiss he could have just said so. Albeit, it would have been a kiss on the cheek, but still. Glancing aside, she considered her options. Well, she already kissed him once to get him out of mind control. No feelings there. Absolutely not. There couldn’t be anything happening from a peck on the lips for ‘lowering her stress levels’. Putting her spraying bottle aside, she turned to Chat.

“One kiss.” he declared, making him smile brightly.

“One dose of anti-stress coming your way, princess.”

Marinette opened her arms allowing Chat to bring her in a loose embrace. Tilting her head, Marinette closed her eyes as Chat bent his head and captured her lips.

Marinette found herself really enjoying kissing Chat. Maybe it was because there was no akuma involved this time. Maybe it was because his lips tasted like peaches. Or maybe it was just because Chat was a good kisser. Marinette let herself relax against him as they keept kissing. And then a gentle rumble filled Chat’s chest, making her smile against his lips. He was purring. And oddly enough it made her relax even more, her body going almost limp against Chat. It felt just simply wonderful. And when Chat finally pulled away, his purring stopping as well, Marinette let out an annoyed huff.

The little shit was smiling victoriously. “So princess, was I right or what?”

Marinette couldn’t even roll her eyes, because yes, he was right. She just nodded. “Not bad at all either.”

To her surprise and satisfaction, Chat blushed a little. “Well, er… I… only the best for the princess.”

As he gesticulated, Marinette caught a glimpse of green. Grabbing his hand, she brought it closer for inspection. She gasped. These weren’t always here, were they? She would have noticed. She poked them.

”You have beans!” she giggled then poked them again.

”A new design detail to my suit.” he explained, clearly amused by her actions. Taking advantage of the fact that her hands were on his, he grabbed the left one and pressed a kiss against her knuckles. “I’m glad I could help you, princess, but now I have to bid you adieu.”

”Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Marinette said, once she was pull editare out of the cute green beanies trance. “You aren’t going anywhere.”

And with that, Marinette pulled him by the tail, in her room.

Marinette created a very strong opinion about how therapy with cats should become a thing. She spent a couple of hours in Chat’s arms, his purring echoing soundly in the room as she worked. Honestly, she didn’t remember the last time when she had been so calm and relaxed. This was the only reason why she was cuddling Chat. Because it was calming and it was lowering her stress levels. There was no other reason. Honestly.

And with Chat’s purring and cuddles, she managed to finish two essays, four sketches for her commissions and the layout of her presentations. And with a peek on the lips for him, she went to bed (at a reasonable hour, for once), playing with his beans until she fell asleep.

Chats were truly therapeutic.

4

Thank you to everyone who helped me with the figure skating guide!  A special shout out to @mollyalicehoy @lostadult and @kanekuinke who pointed out my errors in the last post!

Resources:

http://soyouwanttowatchfs.tumblr.com/post/59054741150/intro-jumps-in-singles-skating

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hBldHS4X_A

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_skating_jumps

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/02/gif-guide-figure-skaters-jumps-olympics/357723/

Any comments or corrections welcome!  Feel free to reblog, but please do not post elsewhere without credit!


This will eventually be part of my Yuri on Hiatus fan book!

Little Fireheart. (Rowaelin Oneshot)

Creak.

Rowan’s eyes shot open.

He glanced at his wife, her breathing steady and quiet, her body outlined by the light of the moon. Rowan had been away with Aedion for the last week, overseeing Terrasen’s new recruits, and he had spent hours making it up to Aelin earlier that evening. Considering how often she moaned his name, and the marks on his back from her nails, he figured he was forgiven.

With a smile, he pulled up the thin, white blanket to her bare shoulders, and kissed her forehead gently. “I love you, Fireheart.”

As he stood, he swore he heard her mumble Buzzard, but when he looked back, eyebrows raised, she was still sound asleep. He pulled on his pants with a chuckle and grabbed a blanket from the chair by the fireplace on his way out the door.

The creaking of the stairs had stopped, and the pitter-patter of small feet were now heavy on the main floor. Wrapping the blanket around his broad shoulders, Rowan silently took the stairs two at a time.

He found her by the window, watching the city-goers walk by their private residence under the streetlights. She had her chin perched on her knees and her arms wrapped around her legs as she sat on the window sill, her golden hair a mess and her pajamas rumpled. She was clinging to her white-fur blanket, the one she was given by Gavriel the day she was born.

He leaned against the door frame, watching her, admiringly. He thought back to the first time he held her in his arms, bundled in that same blanket, when terror and love and utter joy flooded him. He remembered looking into the eyes of his firstborn, his daughter, and knowing he was in trouble. She had put him through hell since the day she’d been born, and she was only four. There was a lot more hell to go.

And he loved every minute of it.

“Didn’t your mother tell you to stay in bed?”

The small figure jumped at her father’s voice, her cheeks turning pink as she turned to face him. “Maybe….”

The silver-haired fae crossed his arms as he tried not to smile, and failed. “Ana.”

When her lip began to wobble, he ran to her side and pulled her into his arms. Once her small arms had wrapped around his neck, and her head was lying on his shoulder, he sighed.

“Are you mad, daddy?” she asked.

Rowan sat down on the cushioned couch that sat in front of the fireplace and wrapped his blanket around his daughter. “No, why would I be mad?”

“Mommy gets mad when I get out of bed,” she said, matter-of-factly.

He laughed. “Mommy doesn’t get mad. She just wants you to get a good night’s rest, that’s all. So you can grow big and strong.”

“Does mommy get mad at you when you get out of bed?”

He pulled back and looked into those curious, pine-green eyes. It was the only trait she’d gotten from him. “Yes. So, don’t tell her I was out of my bed, and I won’t tell her you were out of yours. Deal?”

She held up her pinkie in answer, and Rowan wrapped his around hers.

“Deal,” she giggled, and fell into his chest.

“Why can’t you sleep?” he asked her, after a minute. “It is late.”

“I thought you were on my side,” her high-pitched voice was highly offended.

He held up his hands in defense.

The little girl sighed. “Uncle Aedion told me a scary story. Aunt Lysy got mad at him, but he thought it was funny.”

Aedion and Lysandra had taken Aliana to the square earlier that afternoon for lunch, and to find a dress for Friday’s gathering. Apparently, Aedion liked to add his own fun to the agenda.

“Scary story?” he brushed her hair back behind her ear. “About what?”

“About snow leopards.”

“Snow leopards?”

“Yeah, about how they eat little girls with-with blonde hair.”

Rowan made a mental note to kick Aedion’s ass tomorrow when they met for their early morning workout. “Uncle Aedion was just joking, Ana.”

She frowned. “Well, he’s not very funny.”

The corner of Rowan’s lips tugged upward as the little girl in his lap yawned.

“Go to sleep, Ana,” he kissed the top of her head. “I love you.”

“Will you stay?” she asked, pine-green eyes growing wide.

“Of course,” he promised, pulling her tighter against his chest.

Another yawn escaped. “Love you, too, daddy.”

They sat there, just the two of them, in silence as he patted her back, giving her the comfort that only he could.

“Daddy?”

“Hmm?” he asked, realizing he was dozing off.

“Can I be a bird like you?”

It took him a moment to realize she was talking about shape-shifting, and the thought made him laugh, breathily. “You can be anything you want to be, my Little Fireheart.”

But, when he didn’t get a reply, and he looked down at the four-year-old cradled in his arms, her eyes were closed, and her breathing was steady.

A small flame rose, and grew, from within the fireplace.

Rowan glanced toward the door frame and gave its occupant a soft grin. He whispered, “I thought I wore you out.”

She rolled her eyes, but there was humor there, and love. “I came to see why I was the only one in bed.”

He held out his free arm, and before he could take another breath, she was there, lying her head against his shoulder and taking her daughter’s feet into her lap.

“She’s getting so big,” she sighed. “I don’t understand why she thinks I’d be mad to find her downstairs. Remind me to kick Aedion’s ass, by the way.”

Rowan chuckled. “I’d be scared of you, too, Majesty.” Aelin stuck her tongue out at her husband. With a smirk, he continued, “How long were you standing there?”

“Long enough to come to the conclusion that you two must keep a lot of secrets from me,” she narrowed her eyes as if to say liars.

He shrugged. “A pinkie swear cannot be broken.”

She nudged him in the ribs, then continued to rub his chest with her finger in lazy circles to the sound of his quiet laughter.

“She’s perfect,” Aelin whispered, as Rowan’s eyes closed. “I still think that, every day, just how perfect she is. She reminds me of you.”

“She’s just like her mother,” Rowan whispered, back. “Yes, she is perfect. And beautiful. And kind. And smart.”

As he opened his eyes, he caught the tear that had fallen down his wife’s cheek.

“There was a time when I didn’t think I would ever have this life,” she whispered. “There was a time when I dreamt of this life, with you. Sometimes, it feels like a dream after all that we’ve endured.”

“I often have to remind myself that it’s not,” he kissed her head as the flames in the fireplace grew. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“To whatever end.”

“Always,” she smiled. “To whatever end.”

Aelin fell asleep a minute later, and Rowan sat there, holding them both tightly, lovingly, admiringly, until the flames turned to embers, the logs turned to ashes, and sleep consumed him.