knuckle grips

6

ACTUAL LONG-SUFFERING SINGLE DAD CHRISTOPHER PIKE

Midnight Mystery: A Denny's Story

12:00 pm. It was a cold and windy night, which was quite unusual for Los Angeles, California. But then again, this wasn’t an average night. You could just feel it on your skin. Something wasn’t right, and you were going to get to the bottom of it.

You looked down at your hand, knuckles white from nervously gripping onto the crumpled paper note. You decided to read it again, just to be sure you were at the right place. “Denny’s. Devonshire Street. Midnight. Be there. Come alone.”

You sighed heavily, and looked up at the building in front of you, looming in the darkness. Yep, this was it. The inside was dark from what you can tell by looking through the windows. You slowly approached the steps leading up to the large, glass doors. As you walked up each step, you reconsidered this whole thing. What if it was some sort of trap? What if this was where you were going to die? But, the ominous interior of the so-called “restaurant” was beckoning you inside. It’s as if this was your destiny. Cold, unavoidable, and mysterious.

You finally made it to the top of the stairs, and you peered through the glass double-doors. The inside still looked as dark and empty as before. Your shaking hand made it to the door handles, and to your surprise, the door swung open quite easily. They were expecting you. You stepped inside, but still not a sound besides the shuffling of your feet. 

A light comes on. Just a single spotlight over one of the empty booths. As your eyes adjust to the sudden shock of light through the inky blackness, you notice a menu on the illuminated table. It was propped up against a napkin holder, opened to the first page. As you approach it with caution, you notice a golden key set on the table in front of the menu. You lean in to read the page, but realize that there weren’t any food items listed, except for one: pancakes. In every space where there should be a breakfast item, it was replaced with the word “pancakes”. Your stomach begins to rumble. You are hungry… hungry for answers.

Grabbing the menu and the mysterious key, you keep walking through the room, occasionally bumping into tables and chairs in the dark. You make a left turn somewhere and another light comes on. It’s a bit dimmer this time, so it’s not as bad on your eyes. It’s the light at the doorway of the kitchen. As you make your way towards it, you hear a sound behind you. Some sort of creaking noise, like you were being followed…

You whip your head around, but there was nothing there. Just the same empty tables and chairs. You must be imagining things now. Yeah… just imagining things. When you walk into the kitchen, all the lights come on simultaneously. At least, inside of the kitchen that is. There’s nothing abnormal about it. It’s just a regular old kitchen. Something about it seems oddly familiar though. You’d like to think it’s just a bit of déjà vu, but you’re sure you remember this location from before.

You start looking around for some sort of secret entrance or hidden door, but find nothing. You must have missed something… there’s got to be a clue. You look through pots and pans, bags of flour, loose floor tiles. Anything to reveal what to do next! Just then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a poster on the wall. That’s it! It’s what the menu was trying to say. The poster had a badly photoshopped stack of pancakes on it, so there has to be something important near it. You run towards it, and rip the poster from the wall to discover a metal safe built into the wall. It was pretty plain except for a keyhole, which obviously fit the key from before. You shove the shiny, golden key into it’s designated spot and turn it. Instead of the safe opening though, the entire wall split into a doorframe! The key must have activated the entrance, and it’s finally time to see what you’ve been waiting for.

When the door swung open, it revealed another dark room. You take a deep breath, and step inside. The second your foot passes the doorframe, a set of extremely bright lights come on, and your eyes are momentarily blinded once again. When they adjust, something beautiful is revealed. Something magical. Something one can only dream about.

Wait a minute. This can’t be real… this isn’t real at all! This is just a dream! It’s just a dream!

You woke up covered in sweat, tears running down your eyes and your pillow soaked. You were gasping for air, your breaths coming in short and fast. You glanced out the window from your bed, and noticed that it was morning. It was just a dream after all, but it was exactly what you needed. You’ve been waiting for some kind of vision, a sign, a dream. And now, you’ve got it. Before you lost the image in your mind, you raced to your desk and opened up your laptop, desperately waiting for it to start up. You plopped down into your rolling chair, and typed in your password. It was ‘pancakes’, of course. You pulled up one of those electronic sticky notes that hang around on your desktop, and began typing in the description of that magical image you saw in your dream. Yes… this is it! The inspiration you’ve been hoping for!

“A stack of pancakes, but the butter on top is larger and zoomed in, and it’s photoshopped to look like an ice cream scoop with a cherry on top and sprinkles. It’s a pancake sundae!”

You cease your furious typing, take a deep breath, and stretch out your arms. This is the kind of genius your Denny’s blog needed.

anonymous asked:

How do you write a fight scene without becoming repetitive? I feel like it just sounds like "she did this then this then this." Thanks so much!

I watch her as she fights. Her left leg flies through the air – a roundhouse – rolling into a spin. She misses, but I guess she’s supposed to. Her foot lands and launches her into a jump. Up she goes again, just as fast. The other leg pumps, high knee gaining altitude. The jumping leg tucks. Her body rolls midair, momentum carrying her sideways. She kicks. A tornado kick, they call it. The top of her foot slams into Rodrigo’s head, burying in his temple. Didn’t move back far enough, I guess.

His head, it snaps sideways like a ball knocked off a tee. Skull off the spine. His eyes roll back, and he slumps. Whole body limp. Legs just give out beneath him. He clatters to the sidewalk; wrist rolling off the curb.

She lands, making the full turn and spins back around. Her eyes are on his body. One foot on his chest. I don’t know if he’s alive. I don’t know if she cares. Nah, she’s looking over her shoulder. Looking at me.

The truth twists my gut. I should’ve started running a long time ago.

The first key to writing a good fight scene is to tell a story. The second key is having a grasp of combat rules and technique. The third is to describe what happens when someone gets hit. The fourth is to remember physics. Then, roll it all together. And remember: be entertaining.

If you find yourself in the “and then” trap, it’s because you don’t have a firm grasp of what exactly it is your writing. “He punched” then “She blocked” then “a kick” only gets you so far.

You’ve got to get a sense for shape and feeling, and a sense of motion. Take a page from the comic artist’s playbook and make a static image feel like it’s moving. Try to remember that violence is active. Unless your character is working with a very specific sort of soft style, they’re attacks are going to come with force. So, you’ve got to make your sentences feel like your hitting something or someone.

“Ahhh!” Mary yelled, and slammed her fist into the pine’s trunk. A sickening crack followed, then a whimper not long after.

Angie winced. “Feel better?”

Shaking out her hand, Mary bit her lip. Blood dripped from her knuckles, uninjured fingers gripping her wrist. She sniffed, loudly. “I…” she paused, “…no.”

“You break your hand?”

“I think so. Yeah.”

“Good,” Angie said. “Think twice next time before challenging a tree.”

Let your characters own their mistakes. If they hit something stupid in anger, like a wall or a tree then let them have consequences. Injury is part of combat. In the same way, “I should be running now” is. When the small consequences of physical activity invade the page, they bring reality with them.

People don’t just slug back and forth unless they don’t know how to fight, or their only exposure to combat is mostly movies or bloodsport like boxing. Either way, when one character hits another there are consequences. It doesn’t matter if they blocked it or even deflected it, some part of the force is going to be transitioned into them and some rebounds back at the person who attacked.

Your character is going to get hurt, and it’ll be painful. Whether that’s just a couple of bruises, a broken bone, or their life depends on how the fight goes.

However, this is fantasy. It is all happening inside our heads. Our characters are never in danger unless we say they are. They’ll never be hurt unless we allow it. A thousand ghost punches can be thrown and mean absolutely, utterly nothing at all to the state of the character. This is why it is all important to internalize the risks involved.

The writer is in charge of bringing a dose of reality into their fictional world. It is much easier to sell an idea which on some level mimics human behavior and human reactions. The ghost feels physical because we’ve seen it happen on television or relate to it happening to us when we get injured.

You’ve got five senses, use them. You know what it feels like to get injured. To be bruised. To fall down. To be out of breath. Use that.

Here’s something to take with you: when we fight, every technique brings us closer together. Unless it specifically knocks someone back. You need specific distances to be able to use certain techniques. There’s the kicking zone, the punching zone, and the grappling zone. It’s the order of operation, the inevitable fight progression. Eventually, two combatants will transition through all three zones and end up on the ground.

So, keep the zones in mind. If you go, “she punched, and then threw a roundhouse kick” that’s wrong unless you explain more. Why? Because if the character is close enough to throw a punch, then they’re too close to throw most kicks. The roundhouse will just slap a knee or a thigh against the other character’s ribs, and probably get caught. If you go, “she punched, rammed an uppercut into his stomach, and seized him by the back of the head”, then that’s right. You feel the fighters getting progressively closer together, which is how its supposed to work.

Use action verbs, and change them up. Rolled, rotated, spun, punched, kicked, slammed, rammed, jammed, whipped, cracked, etc.

You’ve got to sell it. You need to remember a human’s bodily limits, and place artificial ones. You need to keep track of injuries, every injury comes with a cost. Make sure they aren’t just trading blows forever.

I’ve seen advice that says fights all by themselves aren’t interesting. I challenge that assertion. If you’re good at writing action, then the sequence itself is compelling. You know when you are because it feels real. Your reader will tune out if it isn’t connecting, and the fight scene is a make or break for selling your fantasy. It is difficult to write or create engaging, well choreographed violence that a reader can easily follow and imagine happening.

-Michi

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Allura: For this mission, we’ll need someone to infiltrate the central hub by hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, our faces are now common knowledge. I myself need to stay in the Castle to continue negotiations, so we sadly cannot shapeshift our way out of this problem.

Hunk: Ugh. I hate it when Plan S doesn’t work.

Allura: We must find a way into this hub. Does anybody have any idea how?

Coran: Princess… I think I may be able to do it.

Allura: Coran, are you sure? Your face is also exceedingly well-known… what kind of disguise would you even use?

Coran: The simplest one there is, of course! You want me to hide in plain sight, correct? Then there’s only one way to do this.

(scene change)

Lance: (cautiously weighs the razor in his hand) Coran… are you sure?

Coran, clutching onto his seat with a white-knuckled grip, tears in his eyes: Yes. Just, make it quick, please. For all our sakes.

Lance: (flips on electric razor’s switch) Godspeed, my friend.

Coran: (closes his eyes as the razor leers over his face)

nsfw otayuri headcanons

Yura is LOUD. He can’t help it. Beka is just so good to him. He becomes a crying, screaming mess and Beka adores it. 

Surprisingly, neither of them have much control, even around Victor and Yuuri. When Beka and Yura stay with them, Beka tries to deny his baby boy. He really does. He knows he’s so very loud, but he can’t keep his hands to himself. 

Yura cries more often than not when Beka is fucking him. He just feels so safe and overwhelmingly in love. Beka loves nothing more than looking down at his baby boy with the softest smile and whispering that he loves him while Yuri cries. 

Both of them live for phone sex. Yuri gets so out of breath, simply writhing at his Beka’s words and Beka doesn’t mind that Yuri is usually only able to form incoherent babbling. Beka can cum just to the sounds of his baby. 

Yuri is the one to initiate sexting, but Beka is much better at it. Yura sends more pictures while Beka is better with words.

Yura seems so dominant around others, but with Beka he just fucking m e l t s. He gets all flustered and he blushes so adorably pink. He won’t ever listen to anyone else, but with Beka he just submits. Lets himself be told what to do. Lets himself be taken care of. 

PRAISEKINK!YURI!! Yura is so weak for praise. The simplest of words make his knees buckle. Not even just in bed. Once, just before a performance, Beka called him his pretty boy and Yura had to skate the entire piece with shaky knees.

But in bed, Yuri legitimately collapses. Sinks into the sheets, unable to hold still while Beka sprinkles kisses all over his pale skin. “You look so pretty, Yura.” “I’m impossibly in love with you.” “You look like artwork, baby boy.” Yura can’t keep his hips pressed against anything but his Beka’s cock.

When Yuri wants it hard, he knows how to get it. Drag Beka down and breathily whisper “daddy.”

Neither of them are particularly kinky. Beka calls is softcore kinky. Hair pulling, but never enough to hurt. Love bites that turn into wonderful purple galaxies, but never break skin. Beka loves Yura too much to hurt him and Yura wants to be w o r s h i p p e d. 

Yuri loves lingerie. Adores it. He loves the feel of the soft pink lace against his skin and he loves the way Beka looks at him when he wears it. 

Yuri’s a slut for rimming. His knuckles go white from gripping at the sheets or grasping at Beka’s hair. There’s nothing he loves more than being eaten out, strong tongue working it’s way past his hole and sending him over the edge, screaming. 

It’s messy, but Yura fucking loves it when Beka cums inside of him. He loves feeling so owned. And the shower after always leads to round two. 

Late, Yet So Sweet. (A Smutty Harry Styles Blurb)

- a quick 30 minute blurb where Harry eats Y/N out at 1 am, hope you enjoy it. xx

The Sun set behind the horizon a few hours ago, but the sky is still baby blue, and the last rays of light are creeping through the blinds, brightening up the dark living room.

Heavy breaths and pants, quiet whimpers and deep moans linger in the open space, as well as the faint sound of the television, which still has on the stupid reality-tv shows, that got left in the left behind a while ago, when Harry nuzzled his face in the crook of your neck, started kissing the supple skin, and put his hand down your sweatpants, pressing your clit with his thumb, whimpering:

“Let m’ taste yeh, please. Miss yeh on my tongue.”

With your back slouched against the corner of the sofa, you take a hold of the back of Harry’s head, which is settled right between your thighs, his body rested on his knees on the hardwood floor.

You moan softly, when Harry wraps his lips around your swollen clit, and suckles the sensitive nubbin, sending shivers of pleasure down your spine. Your toes curl up against the sofa cushions, and your legs tremble slightly when Harry flicks his tongue quickly over your clit, making him smile up to you. Even with his cheeks hollowed, his deep dimples still manage to make an appearance.

Harry can feel his cock twitching in his black Calvin Klein boxers, when you tug at his curls, pushing his mouth closer to your dripping wet core. A low groan escapes his lips, vibrating against you.

Harry’s hands travel up your front, his cold rings dragging against your hot skin, to your breasts and cup them under the thin fabric of your t-shirt, that is crinkled over at the hem, showing off a bit of your skin and your belly button.

The filthy sounds of Harry slurping on you and humming, loving the sweet taste of you, makes you shudder and your eyes flutter shut, and your lips fall into an o-shape.

“So fuckin’ sweet, angel.” his words get muffled by your wet cunt, and make your hips shift, grinding yourself gently against his mouth. 

His other hand starts slowly sliding down on your skin, and settles on your lower tummy, that place he finds perfect to have midday naps on. You place your own hand over his, holding tightly to his tattooed wrist.

“Oh, shit.” you curse under your breath, when you feel the burning sensation in your tummy add up, making you complete mess. You’re panting with shaky legs, your knuckles turning white from gripping too hard, whether to the pillows and blankets, or Harry’s short curls.

You cry out, when Harry pulls himself away from you. With eyes half-lidded and your chest rising up and down in a rapid speed, you look down at him, watching in awe as his eyes sparkle when he locks them with yours, his raspberry lips glistening from your juices, as well as his slightly scruffy chin and jaw. 

“What, why-why did you stop?” you pant out, your hand gripping onto the pillow next to you, but Harry just chuckles at your question. 

“Why wouldn’t I?” he answers, now a smirk curved on his lips.

“Let m’ feel yeh cum aroun’ my cock, how does that sound, love?”

I Don't Wanna Live Forever [Connor Murphy x Reader]

Title: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: no
Summary: Your family takes an annual trip to the mountains with the Murphy family every year to unwind over the winter break–that being said, Connor Murphy isn’t the sweet kid he used to be, and you’d rather be anywhere else than sharing a room with him for two weeks. However, between your parents, a line of accidents, and a mapless trip in the woods seem determined to bring you together–if you can make it out alive.
Warnings: Connor’s potty mouth | Mentions of drugs, abuse, alcohol, panic attacks, sex trafficking, sex, blood, hospitals | First person reader | face paced/vignette style | not proof read | tenses may change
A/N: Here’s that long ass thing I’ve been working on for weeks and just finished a few minutes ago, ayy. Based entirely off the “Connor hated skiing” line. This is long af with no read more option, sorry :/ Here we go! (THANKS FOR 500+ FOLLOWERS ♡♡♡)


Connor Murphy was a lot of things.

He was stubborn–I’d never seen him admit he was wrong, but I’d definitely seen him throw scrabble pieces across the wooden floor of the cabin, leaving Zoe to scramble red-faced to collect them as he stomped up the oak steps to his room, echoing around the house.

He was annoying–I’d told him once I wasn’t crazy about Iron Maiden, which resulted in the album being on blast for the entirety of the time he drove Zoe and I around the mall in the family’s silver minivan.

He was stoic. He was impatient. He was angry.

I’d begged my parents not to go cabins for winter break. I’d begged them to pick a different mountain range if we were so dead set on skiing. But Mr. Murphy and my mother were business associates, and the last thing she wanted to do was make them feel like we were no longer on good terms–especially because of Connor.

“Larry’s been having an awfully hard time with Connor, sweetheart, you have to understand,” my mother crooned in our rental car, fixing her lip liner as she drove, my father keeping a white knuckled grip on the Jesus handle above his head. “He’s not doing very well in school and he’s been throwing tantrums at home. Poor Cynthia is at her wits end. They’re lucky to have that sweet Zoe, she’s so talented and smart. Poor Connor is jealous and acting out, just try not to rally him up, alright, dear?”

I didn’t dignify her with a response, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t like what I had to say anyway, but also because I knew she wouldn’t care to listen, either. I sighed loudly, watching the snow flurry softly outside the window. It wasn’t fair–here I was in the middle of something so remarkably beautiful, and I’d be shoved in a minivan with the Murphy kids and stuck in the valley town’s 1970s mall with crappy t-shirts and a vape store that Connor would spend all day in.

The cabin was huge, up with a view of the town below, nearly three stories made of solid, stripped oak, in the middle of a winding road with a four percent grade. Half the cabin was supported on beams which plummeted down the mountain face. I’d be lucky to stand on the deck without vomiting, let alone being able to venture into the hot tub.

The Murphy’s minivan was already in the drive, trunk shut, meaning they’d unpacked and I’d be left with whatever miniscule space they’d left for me in the loft area.

“Remember to be nice, sweetheart,” my mother crooned again, fluffing her hair in the mirror and giving me an enthusiastic smile in the rearview. “It’s important! They’re practically family.”

Geez, I was lucky to not have Connor Murphy for a cousin.

Slinging my backpack over my arm and exiting the rental car, I took the liberty to stretch, despite the cold air that stung my cheeks and the snow that fluttered down into my hair. This may very well be the last moment of solitude I had for the entirety of the week, and I was going to revel in it.

A movement caught my eye, suddenly, and I lowered myself off my tiptoes to glance up at the second story window–a curtain fluttered shut. It was most likely Zoe or Connor checking out the commotion that was my father and mother bickering over who carried what into the house, and shutting it once they’d realized I caught them. Feeling vaguely uneasy, I turned just as Larry Murphy, bundled in a parka, burst out of the house to take two suitcases from my father.

It was going to be a long two weeks.

——

Cynthia Murphy made me stand by the kitchen counter as she was stocking the cabinet with neon colored cardboard boxes containing various sugary, pink cereals with marshmallows and prizes inside. The Murphy kids were both picky eaters, I remembered quickly, Connor more so than Zoe.

Mrs. Murphy kept playing with my hair, crowing about how much longer it looked (despite the fact I’d cut it since the last time I’d seen her) and how pretty and grown up I’d become, asking me the usually annoying adult questions (“Any thoughts on schools yet? Oh, Connor can’t decide either! Do you know what you’re going to major in? That’s alright, you’ll figure it out soon!”) It would’ve been annoying, I decided, if and only if she didn’t look so sad all the time, the purple bruising under her eyes visible still underneath the layers of makeup. My mother could say whatever she liked about Cynthia Murphy where her wifely duties were concerned–Mrs. Murphy tried to be a good mother (re: tried, period), and that was more than enough to pass her in my book.

In the background, my parents were settling into the second master bedroom, Larry Murphy yelling at the bottom of the stairs to announce our arrival. I could do without the annual reunion, awkward questions about school. The Murphy kids were tolerable–Zoe definitely more so–but it didn’t mean they had to force us together so artificially.

Zoe skimpered down the stairs first, her soft moccasin boots barely making any sound on the stairs–I was surprised to find her long legs bare, her thighs peeking out beneath a pretty pink chiffon dress, covered by what I hoped to be a faux fur parka. Her pretty auburn hair was curled, pulled back with a polka dot headband I could recognize from her childhood. She was wearing eyeliner, and cotton candy flavored lip gloss I remembered sharing when we were thirteen.

It was such a stark contrast from how I remembered her before. The last I’d seen her she’d been gawky and fifteen with a mouth full of metal and a bra full of kleenex. She was practically grown now, and beautiful–it made me feel slightly subpar in my own blue jeans and blue sweater. Regardless, she smiled brightly and skipped over to me, opening her arms to wrap them around my neck.

“It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek that shocked me, as well as some others–Larry Murphy’s horrified expression was priceless, and I was convinced Connor put her up to it–but I just laughed and hugged her tightly before letting her go.

“You look so pretty,” I told her with a wry grin, and she just tossed the expression back, nodding with a, “So do you!”

“It’s so good to see you girls are still so close,” my mother tittered, beginning to uncork a glass of wine–we didn’t drink much at my house, but the Murphy’s, I knew, did, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to let that go to waste. “Where’s that sweet boy of yours?”

Larry Murphy at the bottom of the stairs, banging on the oak walls, yelling out, “Connor!” was enough to make both the Murphy women flinch visibly. Zoe still had her arm around my waist as we stared up at the ceiling above us, waiting for the squeak of sneakers on the polished wood.

“Don’t yell.”

Zoe jumped away from me as if she’d been burned, pressing herself against the countertop as if to make herself invisible. Mrs. Murphy, her hand clutched to her chest after the initial nose, fought hard to smile believably. I, myself, had jumped at the unexpected sound–Connor Murphy’s curt tenor clear across the room, no where near the stairs, instead standing the doorway were we had just come from. I couldn't  quite make out his frame from here–there was a line of bodies blocking my view, my parents, Mrs. Murphy, and Zoe all formed a human barrier that constructed the divide between Connor and I. Fine by me.

“There you are!” Mrs. Murphy chirped, clearly still nervous, visibly by her shaking voice and hands, fluffing her hair to give her something to do. “You didn’t miss much, Connor, they’ve just arrived.”

My mother said something unintelligent in way of greeting, to which Conner didn’t reply, just shut the door carefully behind him to keep out the cold air. I couldn’t see his face from here, but I could make out that he was much too still for a teenage boy, much too quiet.

“–You remember her, don’t you, Connor?”

My throat closed up as the Red Sea parted, everyone’s heads turning to look between the two of us.

He didn’t move from the doormat–boots  caked in snow, as if he’d gone for a walk, and the bottoms of his skinny jeans were muddy and slick looking. Still, he didn’t shiver, which was slightly unnerving. He was skinnier than I remembered, like he hadn’t been eating, and his face was all angles. He slouched, his pink mouth which was mottled red from the cold was set in a heavy frown. His eyes, which were scanning somewhere around my waist and hadn’t come anywhere near making eye contact since he’d seen me, had blown pupils. Drugs. He was doing drugs in the middle of the afternoon.

He hadn’t cut his hair since I’d seen him last, brown curls poking out of the bottom of a black sock toboggan with a soft pompom on top. It could’ve been funny, I supposed, his rough puberty finishing to leave him left over with this, something akin to a drugged out vogue model who listened to way too much 2008 Fall Out Boy, if he didn’t seem so…unnervingly somber for someone who clearly wasn’t sober. Geez, this kid was a school shooter in the making.

I glanced back up to find him finally staring at my face, shooting an uncomfortable alertness down my spine. His eyebrows were crooked in vague amusement that didn’t seem to reach his mouth, and I felt my face heat up under his scrutiny. If he was trying to intimidate me, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared of boys like him.

“Yeah, I remember her,” he grinned mirthlessly, stuffing his hands into the gut pocket of his hoodie, giving me a nod that, while meant to appease our parents, also felt like a vague threat. I didn’t smile back.

“Great! Wanna show her the room?”

Connor grinned crookedly. “Follow me, kid.”

——

The upstairs layout was just like I remembered  it–Two rooms, one main one in the first entrance with a king bed tucked in the corner, a TV and a few gaming systems with some furniture in the front, a bathroom with two doors which lead through to the other room, which held the fold out couch and television I was accustomed to using.

The Murphy kids already had their belongs strewn about the room–Zoe’s stuff animals and princess blankets eclipsing most of the bed and an ancient Nintendo DS on the table with SpongeBob stickers on the cover that I’m sure belonged to Connor–and it left me very little room to maneuver through.

Connor was silent as he lead me up, as if I didn’t know the way, but surprised me by stopping in front of the king bed, holding out his arms to signal me.

“Your room, my lady.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “This–this is your bed.”

“Not this year. Dad’s decided it’s a little too Flowers In the Attic for Zoe and I to share a bed this year–I’m on the pull out and you girls get to have your fun.” He shot me a bitter smile to let me know he wasn’t thrilled about having the pull-out–he shouldn’t be, the thing was total garbage–but surely he’d enjoy the privacy of it?

“I don’t care to take the pull-out,” I told him, keeping my bag on my shoulder despite the fact it was beginning to be painfully heavy. “If you wanna–”

“Don’t have a choice,” he said, already turning toward the bathroom to walk to his half of the loft. “The bed’s yours.”

——

So, Connor Murphy had turned out to be a total dick. It should’ve unsurprising information, I knew, but part of me still remembered him as a charismatic kid I was, at one point, friends with. Back when the three of us all slept in the king bed, before any of us ever had a zit, when we’d fall asleep in the floor watching early 1990s Pokémon episodes, because Larry Murphy didn’t like them watching it.

Even the Connor I remembered at fourteen, gangly and silent and shy with close-cropped hair felt better than this. I was past uncomfortable, sitting stiffly between he and Zoe on one of the couches in the living room. There was a faux fur blanket hanging behind us, shedding hairs onto Connor’s black jacket, which would’ve been funny if he wasn’t picking at his nails with a slightly rusted pocket knife–I notice he’d painted them, which I oddly admired. I’d kissed a boy earlier this year who painted his nails, and his palms were always soft when he’d reach up to cup my cheeks. It softened Connor in my head, just slightly.

He was careful, I saw, to stay on his side of the couch, leaning into the apex of the arm and the back of the couch rather  than flush with me, his thin legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle to avoid me. I appreciated it, but it didn’t stop me from leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, sitting on the edge of the cushion. I could still feel warmth radiating from him–it was late, and I was tired with a full stomach. If I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right into him, and he’d never let me live that down.

Zoe practically was asleep, leaning forward as well with her head on my shoulder. Cynthia had let her have nearly two glasses of wine at dinner–not enough to get her drunk, but it didn’t change the fact Zoe was still lithe and young, and easily tipsy.

We’d all gone into town for a very awkward dinner–I was just thankful to be placed between my father and Zoe, in a position on the opposite end of the table from Connor, who was stuck in between Larry and Cynthia, looking as if he were in a permanent time out.

Now we were gathered around the coffee table in the cabin, the seven of us hunched over a tiny photo album that I couldn’t really make out from here. There were fuzzy polaroids of us as children, looking nothing like we did now. Connor and I at six, soaked from romping in a sprinkler. Zoe and Connor sharing a chocolate icecream cone, their faces covered in the brown spatter.

“You were all so small,” Mrs. Murphy crowed with a choked voice, covering half her face with her hand in a faux attempt to eclipse the emotion. “Oh, I miss it. You kids used to spend so much time together! Now we only get together for break, and Zoe is so busy there’s hardly enough time for her to spend quality time with her sweet brother.”

Zoe snorted loudly, earning a glare from Mr. Murphy I was positive I wasn’t supposed to see. I snuck a glance at Connor, whose face betrayed no emotion, just staring blankly ahead in the direction of the album. From his position, I was positive he couldn’t see more than the chipped leather cover of the book. Even if he leaned forward, he wouldn’t have been able to see much.

My mother and Mrs. Murphy went out in loud voices in a seamless attempt to pretend the seemingly secret interaction had taken place, so, while the focus was shifted, I turned my attention to Connor.

He didn’t cock an eyebrow this time when he caught me staring, instead just furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me, as if he expected me to speak.

“Can you see?” I asked, nodding my head in the direction of the book.

“I’m fine,” he said immediately–vaguely irritating, I’d admit, but nonetheless understandable. I was sure Cynthia Murphy had spent most of her life making sure Connor was comfortable at all times. Still, this was my olive branch, in an attempt to make this trip a little more tolerable, and Zoe seemed less than likely to console her brother at this point.

“We can change seats, I’m not really looking,” I promised, sitting forward more in my seat to show that I was ready to make the change.

“I’m fi–”

Connor was cut off by a squeal from his mother, who had tossed the book into our laps. It had taken a great deal of squinting, letting my heartbeat slow before I realized she’d been showing us something and not trying to kill some giant bug between us.

The polaroid was grainy, an ivory hue that whitewashed the photo and the years of existence made the picture hard to decipher at first, especially when we were so tired. The time stamp was from the late nineties, glowing yellow in the corner of the frame. I recognized the gilded tub from upstairs that dominated half the bathroom, big enough for three adults easily.

Connor threw to book onto my lap first, like it had scalded him. I should’ve done the same, but it took me a moment. To see, to adjust, to read and understand what was so socially condemning about the photo.

It was Connor, I realized first, small and tanned with bony ribs and chunky fingers and the apples of his cheeks straining against his baby skin. His hair was cropped so short, it looked almost silly. Beside him was me, my hair wild and tangled, curled as if my mother had teased it for dinner. My wide eyes were blazing, much too big for my face, and I was grinning with wet lips at the camera.

We were in the tub, surrounded by big pink bubbles.

We were very, very naked.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal–not really, unless you counted the fact that if this had been printed, our parents would be arrested for child porn. I was mostly covered, sitting beside Connor, my shoulders hunched forward. But Connor was standing, meaning the camera got a very decent view of–

“What the fuck, Mom!” He screaming, standing and ripping the book off my lap. Cynthia’s tittering died immediately, the hands covering her laughed instead covered her horrified face.

This was how it started, I realized.

“It’s not fucking funny,” he growled, tossing the book across the room, banging against the wooden wall with a heavy whomp.  

“That’s enough, Connor,” Larry Murphy growled low in his throat. Cynthia’s head was downcast, her eyes wide and wet. I recognized the emotion immediately–she shut down with conflict the same way Connor did.

“You don’t get to laugh at me for shits and giggles this whole trip,” Connor said, already lunging up the stairs, his hands shaking. “If I wanted to feel shitty, I’d have a conversation with you.”

So much for having a quiet trip.
——
Zoe wasn’t quiet in her gossip about Connor–his door was fashioned shut, I saw, and I doubt he’d come out for the rest of the night. I was positive he could hear his sister’s loud comments from our room.

“Sorry, he’s such an ass,” Zoe groaned, stretching on the bed, her little lilac nightgown shifting across her thighs. “I think his high is wearing off or something–don’t let it bug you. You don’t have to be nice to him, by the way. I’m not gonna let him hurt you.”

I shrugged, noncommittal. “We were friends once. I’m not gonna be mean, he’s never done anything to me.”

Zoe snorted. “You didn’t just see that? He’s a monster, and it gets worse.”

“He just has a temper. Everyone gets like that sometimes.”

I wasn’t sure why I was defending Connor–half because I didn’t want Zoe to tell Connor I disliked him, then he’d actively terrorize me–half because I had no idea why Connor Murphy was so pissed off. It was just a picture. Yeah, embarrassing, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about eighteen year old Connor Murphy seeing my nipples, and I’ll admit he definitely had the worst end of the stick.

“He loses his shit like that all the time,” Zoe said. “It’s not just a temper.”

“He’s your brother, Zoe,” I reminded gently, brushing out my hair in the bathroom mirror. “Can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

“He’s no brother of mine,” she whispered, rolling over on the bed and clicking off the light.

——

The next few days passed as the usually did–the adults going places without us, albeit romantic and boring, and leaving the three of us to wander about the town below the mountain crests. It was Zoe’s turn to pick the day’s activity, and she’d chosen the mall.

The place was all dark oak, and hadn’t been remodeled since the late seventies at the earliest. Zoe was chipper, balancing a bag of organic soap and bath bombs on her lap that she’d bought at a local shop, pouring over the cheese fries between us on a plastic red tray.

Connor had also been well-behaved since his outburst several days ago, albeit quiet. He’d separated from us the second we’d arrived, holed out in some record store. Zoe was thrilled to be rid of him, and very vocal about it. I was bored out of my mind.

“Don’t look now,” Zoe said brightly, despite her face suddenly shifting into a mask of disinterest. She bit down on her lip, covered in a pink glitter lipgloss she’d applied much too liberally, and pulled on her pretty auburn braid. “There’s some boys two tables behind us checking you out.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh,” Zoe said, leaning into take a sip of her milkshake, biting down on the straw–the look on her face told me she’d got their attention.

“How old are they?” I hissed. The last thing we needed were some creeps following us around the mall–this was how sex trafficking started. Surely Zoe knew that this was a huge red flag.

It was clear from her overzealous wave she didn’t.

I felt a hand on the back of my chair before I saw them–to Zoe’s credit, they were pretty. Both in thick denim blue jeans, both in letterman jackets over white tee-shirts. One was tall, skinny, with pretty dark skin and hair cropped close to his head. The other was a little thicker, pale and short, in badly need from a shave. They were smiling brightly at the two of us in a way that was less awestruck and more closely resembled a triumphant conquest.

“Hello, ladies,” the shorter man greeted, grinning like a shark between Zoe and I. His hair was dark, curling around his temples–handsome, maybe my age, maybe ten years older. It was impossible to tell. There were lines around his eyes that either indicated he smiled too much or was simply older. “What are two cute girls like you doing inside on a day like this–the ski lift is just a walk down the road.”

“We’re here shopping with our brother,” I said immediately, giving a grin. The taller boy quirked his eyebrows at me–his eyes, I noticed, were dark with tawny flecks hidden in them.

“That’s cool,” he said to me, switching places so that the other boy could be closer to Zoe. They both pulled chairs up to our table, facing us. My stomach pinched uncomfortably. “Where’s he at?”

“Nike,” I lied, seeing the sign from the distance and knowing very well that Hot Topic, while probably true, didn’t exactly invoke fear.

“Ah,” he said with a grin, his eyes glancing down at my bare arm with a grin. With two slim fingers, he reached forward to pluck at my woven bracelet Zoe had made me a few nights ago, my name in block letter strung across the twine. His hands were uncomfortably hot, and I drew my arm back into my lap. “Aren’t you cold?” He nodded to my bare arms. I’d left my flannel with Connor, who was sitting on a bench at the time–I hoped he remembered to grab it. I was just wearing a striped cotton tee right now, and my arm had broken out in a case of goosebumps, though I wasn’t sure it was from the cold.

“I’m fine,” I said, careful not to meet his gaze. He was pretty, and if I wasn’t careful, I might end up going somewhere with this guy.

“You know,” he began, and I could hear his grin turn predatory. “You’re very pretty.”

A jolt shot down my spine–I wasn’t pretty, not really, which terrified me. I could hear what the other boy was whispering to Zoe, but I could tell that all the stars were gone from her eyes. She looked pale, panicked. These weren’t the kind of boys we needed to hanging around with.

“I know,” I said quickly. “We really need to call our brother–”

“I think he can wait long enough for me to get your number, right?”

Across the table Zoe laughed, too loudly, pushing back and standing from her chair. She was grinning at the dark haired boy, beckoning her to follow with a jerk of her chin.

“Zoe–”

“We’re gonna run to get some coffee, okay? Connor should be back soon, don’t wait up.”

She didn’t meet my heavy glare for long, and didn’t turn around when I yelled her name. I watched in silent horror as the boy put his hand flush with her lower back.

I was alone.

The panic crept onto the back of my neck long before his thin fingers did. He smelled like cinnamon, strongly, like he’d done one too many sprays with his cologne that morning. When I turned to face him, his tawny eyes were asking.

“Is this the part where you say you’ve got a boyfriend?” He grinned, his teeth blindingly bright in his tan face. He was so close I could see the threads on the collar of his letterman jacket–it looked soft.

There was a possibility, I realized, that they weren’t dangerous. That I was just being paranoid–Zoe wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t go off with a strange boy unless she was sure it was safe. Still, they were definitely in college.

And boy, were they pretty.

“I do have a boyfriend, actually,” I said, lifting my chin to meet his gaze so he wouldn’t think I was lying. There was a small voice in the back of my head, screaming, raised on her tip toes that I should just take this plunge–let him hold my hand or kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, because this was a shitty trip and I deserved to be as reckless as the Murphy kids were allowed. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t.

Besides, you know, the obvious.

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have a boyfriend?” He asked, biting back a smirk. I felt the voice in the back of my head get sucker punched by my ego. So, he didn’t think I was pretty after all. Which meant he was dangerous.

Which meant Zoe was in trouble.

“Yes,” I growled, standing, yelping a bit when his hand snaked up to grab at my wrist, nearly breaking my bracelet and keeping me bent over the table.

“Let go,” I hissed–the food court was nearly deserted, and the family in the corner was carefully avoiding my eyes. I wasn’t sure I had the voice to scream.

“I don’t believe you have a boyfriend.”

“Let go, or I’ll scream,” I warned, yanking on my arm. He let go immediately, holding his hand high above his head, which I knew was meant as a gesture of calm, but instead looked an awful lot like he intended to strike me.

“Where’s your boyfriend, then?” He taunted loudly, thrilled to see no one in the court coming to my aid. I felt sick, the panic rising in my chest. Where was Zoe? She was in trouble. I was in trouble. I was going to have to scream–

“He’s right here.”

My arm flailed, immediately cocking back in an attempt to elbow in the stomach whoever had wrapped their arm around my neck, their other spidery hand snaking just slightly under the hem of my t-shirt to splay across my hip, finger tips barely brushing my skin above my jeans. The arms were strong, vice like, pressing me against a hard body, and suddenly I felt limp, panic leaving me as I realized whose familiar smell I was enveloped in.

Hair grazed across my cheekbone, and I could make out the dark locks if I looked out the corner of my eye, and I nearly yelped when I felt lips press chastely against my temple.

I couldn’t make out much of the boy anymore, my eyes level with Connor’s adams apple from where he was pressing me against him.

“Babe,” Connor said cooly, calmly, making my knees knock against his. “Who’s this?”

“H-he’s leaving,” I managed to stutter out, barely a whisper, my voice hoarse. I sounded terrified. No wonder this ass in the letterman jacket hadn’t be intimated by me, I sounded about as frightening as a kitten. Connor pressed his fingers against the nape of my neck, tilting my head against his jugular so that I couldn’t see anything but the pale column of his throat and his dark hair. It was getting difficult to breathe–I felt sick. He moved his hand to wrap around my waist, yanking me tightly to him.

“You heard her,” Connor said, again stoic–half of me wished I could see his face, but the other half knew it would be terrifying. Connor’s temper was legendary and destructive–to see him so angry wouldn’t make the fist in my gut unclench. “Go. Take your friend with you.”

There was a beat of silence. Then two. I couldn’t hear much but my own shaky breathing, warm and wet against Connor’s neck, his hair making the space much too hot. I wasn’t aware I had knotted my fingers into his shirt until he started walking, dragging my stumbling form forward with him. He was going fast, too fast for me to keep up, and my chest could only rise so far before deflating painfully.

“You gotta breathe,” he grunted, one of his arms still around me. His face felt hot against me.

“Z-zoe!” I choked out, realizing I had no idea where she was. She could still be with that boy, be in danger–

“Oh, Christ,” he exclaimed bitterly, letting go and beginning to trudge forward. I was terrified briefly, suddenly overwhelmed with the fact I didn’t know where I was. There was a Game Stop, and a Victoria’s secret, the neon lighting combined with the screaming toddlers and the kissing teens and Connor was leaving

An arm swept up from behind me, leading me just as quickly, mumbling something I couldn’t make out into my ear.

“Zoe!” I grinned, immediately feeling safer, feeling my fear melt away just smidgen in my gut.

“I’m so so sorry I left,” she sobbed. “I went looking for a cop, but I found Connor first and I told him you were in trouble–”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, surprised that my voice was no longer wet. “Thanks, Zoe.”

I was calm, or, at least calmer by the time we reached the van. Connor was waiting by the passenger side door, which was opened, leaning against a scratch in the silver paint. He wasn’t looking at us, instead appearing to observe the silver snowflakes as they fell.

My reflection in the side mirror revealed my face was red and blotchy, not just from the cold wind. I felt gross–guilty for the fact I hadn’t been able to defend myself and Zoe, guilty for the fact Connor Murphy was the one who had to come to my rescue, and guilty for the fact I’d cried all over him. His zipped up hoodie seemed to have escaped the mess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel awful. 

He stepped out of the way when I made it close, gesturing for me to get in the passenger side door while glaring at the ground. I was only vaguely surprised, and followed along immediately. Zoe and I almost always rode together in the back. I let Connor shut the door, ignoring the disgusted look Zoe gave as she got into the back.

Connor hoisted himself into the driver’s seat, surprising me with a costume change, reappearing in only a forest green tee. He held out his hoodie to me, balled up in one of his fists without looking at me, before just tossing it into my lap.

“I–”

“I left your flannel in the back. Put that on or you’ll freeze.”

He licked his lips, staring coldly out the front window, before starting the car. I swallowed. Yeah, he definitely hated me.

“Okay.”

——

“You’re sure you’re alright, honey?” My mother asked for the third time. Her hair was tied up, her pink bathrobe covering little of her cleavage and bare legs. She was cradling a wine bottle in her hands, looking at me in faux concern.

I gave her a soft smile. “I’m fine,” I lied. I’d calmed considerately. Connor and Zoe had both agreed I needed to shower to wash off the panicked look on my face–I’d asked them to keep the days happenings a secret. They’d reluctantly agreed.

She gave me a clipped smile. “Maybe you should go to bed early, yeah? That’s what I plan to do.”

I nodded, scratching at my bare leg. I’d taken advantage of Zoe’s absense and changed into boxer shorts and an oversized tee with a kitten on the front–she and Cynthia had headed into town for the night, spending the night at a spa and would be gone for a few days, and my father had taken his annual ‘me time’ and booked a hotel downtown to do his own thing. I think Mr. Murphy went with him, but regardless, he was out of the house. It was just me and my mother.

And Connor. I tried not to think about it. I planned on offering him the big bed tonight, in way of thanking him for today, but we hadn’t spoken much since the incident and I felt…odd. Unsure how to thank him. Unsure why he helped.

I supposed the Murphy men were just gentlemen, even under all that teen angst.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I’m probably gonna sit out on the balcony and then head to bed.”

She grinned. “Don’t stay out too late, it’s almost down to single digits, dear.”

I just nodded, sliding off the countertop, and slinking upstairs. I was surprised to see Connor sitting on the bed. I grinned.

He looked different, to say the least. He was still without his jacket, wearing only his tee and jeans, and little pair of socks with stars on them, which did seem a little out of character, but I assumed Cynthia bought them. His head perked when he saw me, simply craning his neck, keeping his shoulders bowed forward over his body.

He looked small, I realized. He didn’t look like a boy who punched holes in walls or scared off very big very scary men in shopping mall food courts. He looked like a vogue model with a little too much innocence.

He gave me a grin with no teeth, and it didn’t quite meet his eyes, but I gave him a sheepish smile back.

“Hey,” I greeted, tugging on my top to cover my shorts a little better–Connor Murphy didn’t have any interest in seeing my thighs. Despite all the panic, I’d been playing over and over in my head the comment the boy in the mall had made, incredulous that I had a boyfriend. It was silly to let it sting me, considering he probably wanted to stuff me in a van, but it crippled me nonetheless.

“Hey,” he greeted back, not rising from the bed.  I waited for him to speak again, and when he said nothing, I continued.

“I, uh, meant to say, since Zoe’s gone, you can have the big bed like good old times.”

He frowned. “I don’t need the bed.”

“I don’t either,” I promised, leaning against the banister. “Plus,” I sighed, scratching at the back of my head. “I’m not entirely sure how to thank you for today. I’d probably be selling for a low ball price on the dark web right now, if it wasn’t for you. So, thanks.”

Connor was still frowning. “You’ve had a really rough day. You should take the bed.”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to get frustrated. “I’m really okay, I promise. I can’t give you anything else, take the bed.”

His dark eyebrows knit together quickly, licking his lips again nervously. “I don’t–”

“Plus,” I cut him off again with a curt laugh. “I owe you for your Oscar performance. That was crazy, you know. I can’t believe you fooled him into thinking a guy like you would be with a girl like me.”

His head snapped up. “A guy like me?” He reiterated coldly. I felt my face grow hot.

“You know,” I said quietly.

“Know what?”

“That you’re cool,” I muttered. “And nice looking. And I’m not.”

I was thankful for the warm lighting in the room, concealing my red face. It was already dark out, the blinds drawn tightly. Connor’s fists clenched in the white lace comforter on the bed. I didn’t want him to feel bad for me, and I sort of regretted saying it. Connor had already seen me blubbering today and he didn’t need my shitty teen angst to deal with.

He bit down on his lower lip, staring coldly at the ground before murmuring, “I need a shower. Take the bed.”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go for a walk.”

He just nodded, rising from the bed. “Don’t get too far. It’s cold out.”

Connor shut the bathroom door behind him, and I was left feeling like a total idiot. I could hear the shower running before I left, snagging Connor’s grey jacket from my bed post and sliding it on. I went down the stairs, sliding out the first door to the outside, stepping out onto the first floor balcony. I made a mental note to the shut the blinds later, before walking around to the front of the cabin.

I should’ve been thrilled to be alive, I realized, snorting at how melodramatic that sounded. Still, as I burrowed deeper into Connor’s jacket, watching my thighs turn red from the cold, I realized that I was shrouded in a veil of melancholy I wouldn’t be able to shake off.

I missed Connor. I missed being his friend. I missed him coming over for play dates when we were kids, gauzy fairy wings strapped to our backs, jumping on a trampoline when Zoe was still to young to participate. I missed writing him letters, like a pen pal, despite the fact he only lived on the opposite side of town. Going to different schools hadn’t deterred us, for a while, at least. We had sleepovers every birthday, and Zoe told the best scary stories. I remembered hiding under Connor’s bed with him, a hand clasped over my mouth so Zoe wouldn’t hear our breathing.

I remembered kissing him when we were in kindergarten, ridiculously late at night, a quick smack on the lips during a game of pretend. I’d kissed Zoe, too, when we were probably much too old for it, but thinking of Connor tugged on my chest.

It stopped as we turned twelve, I realized. I never saw him–he was still playing little league, and I stopped coming to his games to pick dandelions with Zoe. He was beginning to get teased. My parents insisted the slumber parties should stop, we were too old. Every time Connor and I were together at birthdays or Christmas parties, adults would joke about when we’d fall in love, how soon would it be before we got married. We avoided each other like the plague, unless we knew we could be alone. And we were never alone.

Connor hid inside himself. Zoe made fun of him at parties, loudly. I kept quiet.

He stopped calling during the summer months. He never rode his bike by my house. The only time I saw Connor Murphy was the annual ski trip.

I missed him. He’d been a childhood friend, and I’d let him go without a second thought to save myself some shred of dignity, like it wouldn’t be ripped away from me regardless.

Connor Murphy was nothing to be ashamed of.

And now it was too late to be his friend.

It had started to snow again, so I wiped my face and rose, walking the opposite way I had come, skirting the stairs–they led to the upstairs, but only to Connor’s room, and I didn’t plan to barge in uninvited, especially if he was still in the shower, two rooms blocked me from getting to the king bed, so I’d have to walk all the way around the house.

The lights were out, I saw, but again no one had bothered to close the blinds. The television might have been on, a dim blue glow resounding onto the leather couch–

I froze.

As it turned out, my mother hadn’t gone to bed. The television was on, showing some late show with some old white man making cracks about some politician I didn’t care for, casting the blue haze onto the coffee table, revealing the wine bottle my mother had been cradling. Two empty glasses sat on the table–my mother’s bathrobe crinkled on the floor.

I was disgusted in a comedic way, just for a moment, to see my mother in her nightgown kissing my father, who my brain had filled in under the assumption he’d arrived back.

I’d begun backing up to the stairs, Connor Murphy’s naked body be damned, when I realized my father’s car had never pulled up, and I’d been on the front porch the whole time.

A better look in the window revealed a man a little older, a little more gray and a little more handsome than my father.

I was sprinting by the time Larry Murphy had begun to peel his shirt off his back.

I didn’t knock by the time I’d made it to Connor’s room, just threw open the door, struggling to get my breathing under control. I stumbled to the pull out couch, dragging the sheets up around my freezing legs. I was in shock, I knew, and I needed to calm down before Connor came in–the bathroom door was shut, but I couldn’t hear the shower anymore, despite the steady trickle of steam coming through the cracks. I was trapped in this room until Connor came out.

My mother was cheating on my father Larry Murphy. Larry Murphy was cheating on his wife with my mother. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it, I had to have made it up, this had to be a dream–

“What are you doing in here?”

It was an exclamation, alarmed, grasping a towel tight with thin white knuckles.

Connor. Connor in a towel. Connor wet with slick hair and chest hair and navel and hip bones. Connor Murphy, son of Larry Murphy, who had his tongue down my mom’s throat–

“Hey, breathe, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

By the time my eyes snapped back into focus, Connor was struggling to pull on grey basketball shorts without dropping his towel, and I dropped my gaze back to my shaking hands, almost startlingly red from the temperature change and what was most likely shock. I was hyperventilating, struggling to smother the sobs. I knew this deep in the house, they probably wouldn’t hear me–they were most definitely preoccupied anyway. 

The bed dipped, and Connor’s bare side brushed my thigh. I didn’t mean to jerk back, but I did, clinging to the arm of the couch and staring horrified–Connor looked almost hurt, but mostly panicked. I tried to calm down, for his sake.

“S-sorry!” I sobbed. “Sorry! I-I-I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I didn’t–I–”

“Hey, stop, breathe. You gotta breathe. Go slow, okay? Stop tryna talk,” he commanded, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t gonna hurt me, readjusting so that he sat up on his knees, leaning  over me to take my hands, rubbing them between his own despite the claminess.

I avoided his eyes, focusing instead on the dip of his collar bone, surprised to see thin lines of chest hair, wet and plastered to his chest. He was skinny, and I could see his ribs despite the tiny stomach roll from where he folded in the middle. His thumbs rubbed soothing circles across the backs of my hands, and for a moment, I didn’t think. I could’ve forgotten everything and fallen asleep right here with him.

He pulled my hands against his chest, cradling mine in his own, pulling me forward, asking with his slate eyes if it was alright.

I pretended we were friends.

“You wanna talk about that?” He asked very softly, looking down at where our hands were clasped against him–he was warm, his skin pink and hot from the shower. He’d combed his hair back out of his face, and it was almost cute like that. “If it’s about today, I promise you’re safe, alright? I wasn’t gonna let that guy hurt you.”

My heart sunk in my chest, nearly restarting my panic attack. I shook my head.

Connor deserved to know.

I was scared, briefly, that it would set him off. He might yell at me, throw things, kick me out of the room. He might hit me.

I didn’t care. He had a right to know.

I swallowed thickly, shaking my head. “N-no.”

“Did something happen on your walk? Are you okay?”

I shook my head.

“What? Trouble back home–your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

“My mom–” I started, voice breaking, feeling fresh tears of shock on my cheeks.

His eyebrows furrowed, tightening his grip on my hands. “Is she okay? She–”

I saw it in slow motion–his jaw unclenched, eyebrows relaxing from their set, pouted mouth turning down. It was calm. It was knowing.

“You saw them,” he said very softly, letting my hands fall back into his lap. I was too shocked to move them away from his thighs.

“You knew,” I spat–an accusation. I hadn’t meant to make it one.

Connor scrubbed at his eyes roughly, flopping onto his back against the bed. Frustrated.

“I was tired of my dad reading my fucking emails, so I hacked into his–I only saw a few. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

I paled, feeling nauseous. “So it’s happened before?” I choked.

He swallowed. “That was two summers ago.”

“Fuck,” I hissed uncharacteristically, surprised to find Connor stretching out an arm to me. I took his hand with a firm grip. “How long before then.”

He shrugged. “Maybe our whole lives. Maybe before. I’m not sure, angel.”

I nodded, secretly pleased that he was so calm. It kept me level, grounded, watching where our hands were linked.

“What do we do?” I choked. “I have to tell my dad. He deserves to know.”

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “Everything would change. He’d tell my mom.”

I bit down on my lip, folding down onto my back to lay down beside Connor. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Connor sighed, scratching at my hand tenderly with his black painted nails. “I’m not sure that my mom and Zoe could handle the news–it’s not like they’d turn to me. They’d be alone. Zoe might even take my dad’s side.”

I groaned, stealing my hands to scrub at my eyes. My wet hair was beginning to dry in a tangled mess.

“This is too much,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side to face Connor, staring at his bare, freckled shoulder. “I don’t know what to do. If I can do anything.”

I jumped a foot out of my skin when he placed a hand at the corner of my jaw, brushing the tangled hair back out of my face. “You don’t have to think about it right now. You’ve had a really long fucking day. You should sleep.”

I didn’t want to sleep–I didn’t want Connor to leave. I didn’t know how to say that.

I couldn’t believe that everyone had tried to desperately to convince me Connor Murphy was a bad boy–fuck them, Connor Murphy was good. He was better than everyone in this cabin combined.

He cared about me.

I caught his wrist, which froze in my grasp, but I just took his bony hand and cradled it between my hands the same way he’d done mine, tracing the lines across his palm. He sucked  in a sharp breath.

“Okay,” I said, and he smiled, moving away. I let go of his hand.

“I just have to turn off the light. Get comfy.”

His retreating footsteps filled my stomach with dread, but nevertheless I unzipped his jacket and draped it on top of the blanket so that it would at least keep my feet warm. Pulling the pillow tight behind my head, I was pleased to find it sort of smelled like Connor’s shampoo as the light clicked off. It left me feeling a little more safe. Ironic, I realized. I was in the middle of a wilderness, I’d almost been abducted, my mother was downstairs ruining our family, and all I could find myself to be worried about was if Connor would be okay.

The bed dipped behind me, shocking me into stillness, surprising me even more when someone lifted the sheet and slid in behind me, a bony hand resting on my hip.

“This okay?” He asked, and I dared to open my eyes to meet his. They were unsure, nervous. He was scared I’d reject him. I nodded, scooting closer.

“It really will be okay, you know,” he assured. “Whatever you choose, I’m gonna be with you.”

“You’re amazing,” I said without thinking, but being entirely sincere. Even in the dark, I saw his eyes go wide and his cheeks tinge a deep magenta in his pale face.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I assured with a laugh, reaching across the divide to poke at his side, slightly surprised to still find him shirtless. He’d withdrawn his hand almost immediately, keeping respectfully to his side of the bed. “I’d be dead without you. And you’ve supported me this whole way.”

His jaw clenched and unclenched, freeing one of his arms to pick at the wrinkled sheets between us. “I just, fuck, I knew you’d hear some shit, but I was hoping you’d be able to come out here and we could start over again, like before? Zoe started her smear campaign almost immediately. I just, fuck, nevermind.”

I watched him withdraw, turning over with his back to me, the pale plains of his back bared to me.

“Con,” I said very softly. “I don’t care what they say–fuck them,” I laughed, watching Connor’s shoulders shake. “I think you’re good, Connor, and I miss being your friend.”

I watched with bated breath as his back rose and fell with his steady breath in the cold room, his skin radiating heat. I shifted closer, crossing the divide between us. He didn’t respond.

I didn’t sleep.

——

I was alerted late in the day by a noise–it was daylight, I noted, the clock on the bedside table reading it was almost noon. I was groggy, still in the state between sleep and consciousness. The room was shrouded in a bright grey hue from the winter wonderland outside–it had snowed a significant amount, apparently, and the white fluff stuck hopelessly to the window.

At the foot of the bed, Connor was on his knees, pulling a navy sweater over his head. It was tight, with a stretched collar and holes at the hem, but he looked good in it. His hair was frizzed at the temples, and his eyes were wide when we saw me.

“You’re awake.”

I just nodded, a little embarrassed. Part of me hoped Connor would just let last night drop, and we could continue our indifference toward each other, but most of me felt as if we had an unfinished conversation to attend to.

“Is anyone back yet?” I asked, surprised as Connor came to sit in front of me, legs crossed kindergarten style. He shook his head.

“No, actually. No one came back from their trip, and the lovebirds have miraculously vanished for a ski day. It’s just me and you.”

“Oh.”

Connor seemed unsure for a moment, brushing his hands off on his pants. “I’m sorry, um, about last night? I should’ve asked first if it was okay to sleep next to you, I just–I know you said you missed being friends, so I thought–”

“It was nice,” I cut him off with a smile that was nearly all false bravado. “Warm. I really do miss hanging out with you.”

He pursed his lips in way of a smile. “Me too. Miss having friends, period, but you’re kinda great, so–I’ll shut up.”

Stretching, I groaned with the sensation and smiled widely at him. “We can be friends again, don’t you think?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When my vision cleared, he was sitting by my feet, eyes downcast.

“It’s kinda lame, isn’t it?” He asked, sending ice down my spine.

“What, I’m not cool enough for you?” I teased half heartedly, despite feeling slightly sick. If Connor left now, I’d be marooned on this island I’d made for myself, and it wasn’t ideal knowing I no longer had any allies.

“No! That’s not what I–no, fuck, I just meant. Don’t you like Zoe better?”

I shook my head. “I like Zoe–but I liked you first.”

“Yeah, I liked the Teletubbies first, doesn’t mean I prefer them to Death Cab for Cutie.”

I snorted. “Okay, I like you best. You’re both really similar, you know, but you’re kinder.”

He shot me a glare, which I supposed I’d earned. “Liar.”

“Can’t lie,” I protested. “And I like you better. Get used to it.”

He swallowed, shifting on the bed and looking at me again as if grappling to say something. His eyebrows were pinched in the middle, making him look slightly worried, small. I watched the way his mouth bowed as he opened and closed it, my eyes tracing over his soft lips.

He was pretty, I realized, in a way I wouldn’t have considered before.

“What about when you leave?” He asked softly, scratching his arm absently.

I frowned. “What about it?”

“We won’t see each other again.”

I smiled. “Connor, you just live on the other side of town. I do own a car.”

He frowned. “You’d come to see me?”

“If you wanted me to,” I answered honestly. “Or we could go do stuff. It doesn’t make me any difference–whatever you want, I’m game for.”

His eyebrows took a sharp hike into his hairline. “Whatever I want, huh?”

My stomach clenched nervously–decidedly a good kind of nervous. I didn’t realize it till he placed his hand on my ankle, grinning up at me with crooked teeth and pretty eyes, that I might’ve begun to develop a small crush on him.

Which wasn’t okay.

——

“This is such bullshit.”

I cackled as Connor continued to strap on his snow boots, repeatedly tripping and losing his balance in the snow.

“C'mon, it’s fun!” I protested, pulling my sock toboggan down tighter over my ears, trudging another few slow steps through the slush. Connor was frustrated, I could tell, seeing his pink nose and ears, his breaths coming out in angry puffs of smoke.

“No,” he grunted, dragging himself up the trail a few more steps. “Video games are fun. Cartoons are fun. Cheap Internet porn is fun. Dragging my frozen ass up a mountain covered in snow for ten miles is not my idea of fun, dude.”

“It’s not ten miles,” I protested, taking a seat on a mostly clean looking rock, patting the seat beside me in condolence to Connor, giving him a much needed break. He’d agreed to go outside with me at least once to take a hike, since the Murphy kids never ever wanted to do anything that didn’t involve fried food or touristy tie dye t-shirts. We’d been going for a few hours now, and the last bench had easily been miles ago. I wanted to see where the trail ended.

Part of me was scared he’d only agreed because he thought I would break. I’d surprised myself with how calm I’d been after, well, what a nightmare this trip had been. I supposed I’d be worse once my dad got back–but he wasn’t yet, so I was content to have my last moments with Connor.

“We’ve been out here for hours, man, don’t you think we should head back before it gets dark?” He whined, leaning forward on his elbows and rubbed his hands together–he had on mittens, which was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Say what you want about Connor Murphy, his aesthetic was absolutely demolished once you put him in a fire engine red puffer coat.

I sighed, glancing wistfully up the trail. I’d like to finish, but Connor was right–it was getting dark, too dangerous out for us to be out here alone. He’d humored me enough for today.

Time to go back and face reality.

I just nodded, stuffing my hands in my pockets and rising from the rock, giving a decent stretch before moving forward back down the path, Connor scurrying along beside me.

“Thanks for coming,” I said again, nudging him with my shoulder. He stumbled gracefully, grinning with a subdued force that warmed me a little, before checking me back with his shoulder.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he warned, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “But it wasn’t totally awful.”

I snorted. “I won’t let anyone know Connor Murphy can feel fun.”

Biting back a smile, he nudged me again. “God, please don’t. Then they might bring me back here and I’ll have to spend another two weeks with you.”

“I’m sure I’m just killing you inside,” I teased. “How dare your parents give you unfiltered access to a teenage girl.”

“Who never wears pants around the house,” he added sagely.

“And sleeps in your bed!” I choked with laughter, the bird walking along the snow path in front of us clearing the way. “God, I can’t believe I did that. I’m sorry, I was probably awful. Did I snore?”

His mouth twisted, as if trying to look indifferent but instead just failed at smothering a smile, both corners of his lips turning in a different direction.

“Not awful,” he offered, earning an embarrassed groan from me. “No! It’s cute, like a kid, I promise. You kicked the shit out of me, though.”

“You’re kidding me,” I groaned. “I’m so so sorry! I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Might be some bruises,” he grinned, to my further mortification. “Hey, nah, I’m kidding. Any damage will heal. It’s kinda funny.”

I cocked an eyebrow from where I was hiding my face behind my gloves. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, don’t sweat it,” he said, reaching out to take my wrist, pulling one of my hands away from my face. He didn’t realize it, just held it, swinging stiffly between us as we walked. He held his breath for a moment before continuing, “I would’ve let you know if I didn’t like it.”

“Kinky,” I said upon reflex, earning a lazy kick to my ankle.

“You’re hilarious. I just meant you’re warm, maybe the bruises are worth it.”

I felt my face get hot, words forming in my belly, escaping before I could choke them back. “Yeah? Maybe I’ll kiss them better tonight, if Zoe isn’t back.”

He let go of my wrist like I’d burned him.

“Sor–”

“Don’t,” he said quietly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, beginning to walk quickly ahead of me.

“What?” I screeched, frustrated.

“Don’t fake flirt with me. It’s not funny,” he spat, continuing walking too fast on his ridiculously long legs.

“Who said it was fake?” I grumbled. “I’m not making fun of you, Connor.”

There was a beat of silence, pulling at my heart with sharp claws, the dull ache starting in my chest and spreading. I’d messed up everything.

“It’s getting dark,” he growled. “And we don’t have a flashlight. Try and keep up.”

——

The panic set in at twilight.

We were running.

He was holding my hand again, dragging me roughly down the mountain, hoping desperately to see some kind of light pollution as the sun set, but there was nothing.

“We should see lights by now,” I told him. “We can see the lights from our cabin, we should see the lights now.”

“We went down the wrong side of the mountain,” he gasped, already out of breathe. I knew his lungs weren’t the best, and we’d been running for awhile now.

“There has to be something at the bottom,” I whispered hopelessly.

“There is,” he growled. “It’s called a gorge, then you climb the other mountain, and there’s the next state. Fuck, how did we get so turned around?”

“Doesn’t matter, Con,” I said hopelessly. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

His dark eyes widened. “You aren’t sincerely suggesting we try to find shelter. In the middle of a national park.”

“I’ve got a flare gun and a flint,” I told him. “But we have to get back up out of the trees.”

“You want us to climb the mountain again?” He hissed, holding both my hands now. “Are you positive you don’t have signal?”

I nodded. “I’m really sorry, Connor.”

“Don’t be sorry. Start walking.”

——

It was an accident.

It was dark.

I had an analog watch, letting me know it was nearly nine pm. We’d found shelter just as it had started to snow–the  ground here was wet, quickly freezing into ice, and we kept slipping up on the trail. I’d set off the flare an hour ago, and, so far, nothing. The snow had begun to pick up, and we’d found a alcove between two adjacent rocks–not big, about the size of a walk in closet, but enough space for us, our bags, and a pile of wood that refused to light. It kept the snow and wind off of us, and the alcove was high enough I felt safe, with a small mouth that made me feel as if at any instant we could be trapped.

It was an accident.

“The fire won’t light,” I said again, hopelessly, watching my now bloody fingers go numb from trying desperately to get the flint to do its job. I couldn’t feel them without my gloves on.

Connor, huddled in a corner, viciously rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm. I knew the  temperature would only drop from here. If someone hadn’t seen the flare….

“There’s no dry wood. I checked.”

“Nothing?”

“No, okay? Nothing. That’s it.”

I knew he was right–and searching now would only prove to be counter productive and dangerous. I moved our bags and the pile of firewood to the entrance, sealing us in.

“It’s gonna be pitch black soon,” I warned, watching Connor tap angrily at his phone. “You should probably save your battery. I don’t have a flashlight.”

He snorted. “You’ll bring sleeping bags and a flint, but not a flashlight?”

“It’s the emergency bag! I didn’t pack it, Connor. Make fun of it all you want, but it’s keeping us alive!”

There was a beat of silence, before he clicked his phone off, leaving us in darkness. “M sorry.”

I dragged out the single sleeping bag, stretching it out to him. “Don’t be sorry.” I felt guilty–it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with. “Wanna granola bar?”

“Save it,” he said in a clipped tone, unsure what to make of it since we were veiled in darkness. “We might need it later.” Then, softer: “What’s the plan?”

I heard him stand, and walk across the slick ice of the alcove, coming to stand beside me, his hand at my elbow.

“Well,” I said very slowly, feeling my throat get thick. “Survive the night, stay awake, and once dawn hits we head back to the other side of the mountain, if no one comes.”

“If no one comes,” he echoed, voice oddly hollow. I choked.

“It, erm, is very possible they think we just wandered off, you know? We’re teenagers,” I reminded gently. I left out the part the police would be less than willing to look–Connor had a history of running away after a bad binge.

“Fuck,” he growled.

It was an accident. It was quick, in the dark, we couldn’t see.

He reached our for me, his open palm colliding with the back of my head, yanking me tightly again his chest, my nose buried in his nylon puffer coat. I felt his other hand, too forcefully, at the small of my back, and I nearly screamed, terrified this was an episode I couldn’t control–

“We’re gonna make it outta here,” he breathed against my ear, his breath warm and humid against my freezing ears. It set off a light bulb in my brain. “We’re gonna go back home and–fucking shit, I’m gonna be a goddamn good friend to you and we’re gonna–fuck,” he hissed, his clipped voice breaking off. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’m not going anywhere.”

I let myself break open, collapsing against him, openly sobbing with regret. He stiffened, but just tightened his arms around me despite our bulky clothes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“It is not,” he hissed, shaking me a little. “We had no way of knowing this would happen. The trail looked safe.”

I just nodded, knowing that arguing would tire me out. I felt the lethargy begin to creep in my bones–Connor was warm, and it was late, and we were tired. Falling asleep meant dying.

“Get out the sleeping bag,” he said, extracting himself from me, and I heard his hands scrape along the hard rock looking for the entrance. “And I’ll look for some more blankets in the bag, see if we can’t insulate–fuck!

“What is it?” I screeched, turning, grabbing his hand to only find that my own was suddenly wet, almost sticky, and Connor pulled away with a howl. I smelled the metallic sting before I realized.

“Something cut my hand!”

“Stay away from the wall,” I warned. “Take your undershirt off, I’ll rip it up.” I felt around desperately for Connor’s phone, immediately illuminating our little cave with a blinding blue light.

The amount of blood smeared across the wall was nauseating. There was a sharp spot Connor must’ve grabbed too quickly.

He was crying, trying desperately to unzip his coat with one hand, the other dripping onto the floor.

“Fuck, I hope something doesn’t smell that,” I whispered, laying down the light and running to help him get undressed, careful of the open cut across his palm.

“I knew I was gonna get naked tonight,” he said with an unsure laugh, “I just didn’t realize it would be like this.”

My face flushed. “What, you thought I’d suck you off because we’re about to die?”

He shivered, accentuated by me ripping his white shirt down the front, exposing his blue, goosebumped skin.

“Fuck,” he hissed, and I was unsure if it was from the cold, the pain, or my foul language.

“Hope this is clean,” I muttered, wrapping a strip of his white shirt across his palm in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. It was a good way to get an infection, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I didn’t–I wouldn’t ask you to–”

“I’m not sucking you off!”

“Fuck, I just meant–hypothermia, skin to skin, I saw it in a movie–”

The phone light clicked off. I sighed, tying off the cotton bandage.

“You wanna get naked in the sleeping bag,” I finished.

“I don’t want to!” He howled. “And not naked–just, enough to stay alive, shit. It’s gonna be negative ten out here soon, I just wanna stay alive.”

“We should hurry,” I said, surprising myself by reaching out to urge him to rub at his bare chest, earning a gasp from him. “You’re gonna freeze soon. Get your pants off.”

I handed him the sleeping bag, my breath catching as I heard his belt clink to the floor, trying very hard not to think about the implications of this. How far did he expect me to undress? And, if we did get in here, it would be ridiculously tight, we might fall asleep–

“Hurry up, this bag is an icicle with one person.”

Straightening out my bra and panties (even if we were going to die, Connor Murphy did not get to cop a feel) I felt my way to the sleeping bag.

My hand on his chest, he guided my legs one at time–one by his side, one between his knees–and gently folded me down against him, uncomfortably tight as his shaking fingers zipped the sleeping bag up.

He was breathing hard against my temple, and I immediately began to sweat–between the nylon bag and the fact I felt all of Connor Murphy pressed against my chest and stomach–it was nerve wracking.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he reminded in a hoarse voice, shaking a little. I couldn’t quite figure out where his hands were.

“Don’t get a boner,” I begged, earning a beat of silence before:

“I, uh, am–I’m really trying not to,” he groaned, and I could feel how hot his face was against my temple.

“If it helps,” I said, slightly disgusted. “You can imagine our parents kissing. That really kills my fire.”

“Ew,” he said. “Please don’t.”

I grinned. “What? You don’t want me to be your hot step sister?”

Stop it,” he begged, making me laugh, pressing my face against the soft cushion of his hair, nosing at the column of his throat. He groaned a little, and I felt his fingers twitch beside my hips.

“I can’t believe their secret is going to die with us,” I sighed. “No one is ever going to know.”

“I can’t believe you’re lying on top of me in your spiderman panties, but that’s also happening, so you’d better believe it,” he sighed, hands twitching again.

“You can touch me, you know,” I breathed, a little embarrassed against his ear. “We’re gonna die anyway, might as well die comfy.”

“We won’t die,” he promised, his hands clasping over the small of my back regardless.  “Hey,” he crooned, in a soft voice I hadn’t heard before. Encouraging. “Remember sharing a sleeping bag when we were kids?”

I laughed half heartedly, remembering fully. “The thing was always full of pixie stick wrappers.”

“It was an addiction, and I have quit,” he said sagely, earning another laugh from me. I almost joked about the pot, but part of me knew it wasn’t a funny joke. It didn’t have anything to do with him. He sighed, one finger trailing up my spine. “God, I was so in love with you.”

I froze against him, my body a live wire. His hand pulled back.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said tha–”

“Were you really?” I asked. I felt him smile, before leaning in to kiss my cheek, slowly, his dry lips lingering.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t know,” he groaned. “Zoe had me convinced you were just humoring me because you knew I’d do anything for you.”

I pulled up, as far as I could (which wasn’t much) squinting to make out his face in the dark. “That wasn’t true. You were my best friend.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. God, that time when you kissed me….I’m so sorry we stopped talking. I don’t think I’m ever gonna forgive myself for that.”

“Connor,” I said very softly, reaching up to tangle my hands lightly in his hair. “If we’re gonna die…can I just….”

He surged up before I could, the nylon around us snapping taunt, squeaking in protest. Up on his elbows, his bony hands found their purchase on my bare hips, and I felt the wetness through one of the bandages–his hand was still bleeding, the idiot.

His lips were dry, and he kissed much too roughly for someone who wasn’t holding my head in place, our teeth clinking together in a way that I knew was an accident, sending my skull ringing. His eyes were squeezed shut in the darkness.

I can’t believe it took us to the brink of death for him to admit this.

God, he’s an idiot.

I reached up, pulling at his hair, holding his head to mine, his tongue licking roughly up into my mouth before breaking away–

“Boner,” he warned in a squeak, earning a loud laugh from me, collapsing against his chest.

“Not even in death, Murphy, am I sucking you off on a first or last date,” I giggled against his neck, giving him a chaste kiss there, listening to him groan. His hips canted a little, scaring me, before taking a deep breath to calm himself.

“First date, huh?” I felt him grin, followed by a yawn.

“Stay awake, Connor,” I urged, smacking him hard. “Or I’m gonna twist your nipple.”

“Kinky,” he sighed lethargically. Shit, he was gonna sleep.

“Connor–”

“Promise me this,” he sighed, nuzzling lightly against the side of my face. “If we survive the night by some miracle, and we don’t freeze to death or get eaten by bears or bleed out–you wanna kiss me again? With more clothes on? As my girlfriend?”

I leaned into his touch, tilting my head up to give him access to suck a hickey into my neck, groaning.

“Murphy, if we live, I will suck you off.”

That was the last thing I remembered.

——-

Three days later, it’s still cold. I’m not wearing much–a blue gown with shitty pink flowers, it’s made of some kind of plasticy cotton material. There’s blood under my fingernails and bruises on my neck that are almost embarrassing when I remembered how I got them. My clothes were gone.

Connor was gone.

My mother and father were leaning over my bed, the Murphy's  (minus Cynthia) are behind them. No Connor.

They explained it slowly, eyes wide. They found Connor and I nearly frozen, unconscious. Connor lost a lot of blood, they said, and he wasn’t do so well but he’d woken up several days before me.

He wouldn’t eat until they let him see me.

I’d nearly ripped out my IV to get to him.

He was wearing the same shitty hospital gown, his hair pulled back. He’s got hickies I don’t remember giving him across his collarbone that are ridiculously visible. There were purple bruises under his eyes, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“They said you were still too sick to get out of bed,” he grinned, opening his arm, and I immediately stumbled over to the thin mattress, pressing myself tightly against him. His hand is thickly wrapped in cotton, a few tubes full of a yellow brown liquid in them. He was combing my hair–which I’m sure was a rats nest–out with his free hand.

“They said the same about you.”

“We’re really lucky, you know,” I said softly, tapping at his chest. “I almost lost you.”

“Almost lost you,” he choked out, pulling away to scan my face, before grinning. “Which would’ve sucked, because you’re my only friend right now.”

“Friend?” I said, trying hard not to sound disappointed. I supposed I shouldn’t have been–what we’d done in the heat of a moment hadn’t meant anything then. It had been a lie for my humor.

It wasn’t fair.

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “You, um–do you wanna be my girlfriend?”

I frowned. “I mean, only if you want me to.”

He grinned, the smile splitting across his face. “It’ll suck–your parents will hate me.”

“Right now, I kind of hate my parents, so.”

“I do a lot of pot.”

“We can do something else instead,” I grinned, nudging him, having the nerve to blush.

He licked his lips, looking down at where he’d intertwined our hands. “You–you can’t fix me, you know? I’m still gonna be, you know.”

I nodded, bring his hand up to kiss across the bloody knuckles of his good hand. “I know. I promised I’d be your girlfriend, though. A promise is a promise.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you say that–because you did promise something else.”

I shook my head, rising from the bed. “The kiss is for when we have clothes on, remember.”

“I wasn’t talking about that kiss.”

Connor Murphy!

Little moments of whump

Grand whump is wonderful, of course, but what takes my breath are those subtle moments that show the whumped character is really not ok:

- taking a moment to close his eyes because he’s light headed/exhausted/has such a bad headache

- pressing the heel of his hand against his temple, because his head hurts or he can feel his temperature rising

- spacing out a bit during a conversation - especially when he’s the one speaking, so that he kind of trails off and has to shake himself and apologise and get back on track

- pressing a cold bottle of beer/coke against his forehead and just taking a moment to savour the relief

- especially a normally diligent/stoic character - falling asleep on the job or somewhere he shouldn’t, even if it’s just for a moment, and he’s startled awake by someone/something and there’s just that moment of being lost in his eyes as he tries to figure out where he is and what’s happened

- his hands are shaking and he accidentally meets someone’s eyes who’s seen it happen so he shoves his hands into his pockets or armpits and stalks off

- a little stagger as he walks, or kind of drunkenly reeling off-course a tiny bit before he self-corrects

- that helpless expression just before he collapses

- moving wrong in a way that aggravates the pain, and the sudden seizing of his body

- breathing through the pain

- leaning against objects so he can stay upright, especially if he’s doing it as nonchalantly as possible

- a pause as he first notices that something isn’t right

- that white knuckled grip

- a hitch in his voice as he talks

- half-lidded eyes that are becoming unfocussed

- the way his head lolls

- where he can’t even spare the energy/strength to turn his head and he kind of just accepts things/carries on looking straight ahead

- trying to carry on speaking a command or direction or explanation even though he can only voice a few words at a time, either because of pain, or weakness, or confusion/disorientation

- someone passes him something but his hands are clumsy and he fumbles with it rather than just taking it normally

- reaching under a jacket and coming out with a blood-stained hand (always this <3)

- apologising for being about to pass out just before he does (afhflksdkkjfgg)

Nerves - Smut

Originally posted by redstringbughead

Author: @dumbass-stilinski
Rating: NSFW 18+
Pairing: Stiles Stilinski/Reader
Words: 2,414
AN: Hey look! I’m not dead! Thanks for being patient with me these past few weeks, I was in a weird place and it’s just been hard for me to get into the mood to write, but it seems as if I’m back in the groove. Yay! This was written for @sarcasticallystilinski and @rememberstilinski‘s lacrosse week, so make sure you watch their blogs for some more of our favorite team, the Beacon Hills Cyclones! Also special thanks to those of you who have been encouraging me like @celestial-writing, @ninja-stiles and @thelittlestkitsune. And thanks to @writing-obrien for helping me when I got stuck, I love you all!!



“I’m so nervous.” Stiles said quietly from beside you, his knuckles white from his grip on the steering wheel.

It was his first lacrosse game, the first one where he’d actually be playing on the field, and he was extra fidgety. You reached out to rub his shoulder soothingly as he drove the familiar route to the school. “You’re gonna do great, babe. You and Scott have been practicing so much, you’re not a bad player.”

He sighed. “I’m gonna get out there and choke, I know it.” He pulled into a parking spot, turning off the ignition and sitting back, his hand over his eyes. “Maybe I’ll just fake sick.”

“No way.” You unbuckled your seatbelt and slid closer to him, your hand moving to grab his wrist and uncover his eyes. “The team needs you. You can do this, I know you can.”

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Burnt Knuckles

Requested:
*Smut*
Draco Malfoy x Reader
Word Count: 805


Draco wants to write her letters, but settles for bite marks instead. Digs the whorls of his fingers against her hips until his fingertips are like ink blots scattered across the page.

He wants to write her a sonnet, to proclaim his undying love, but they’re backs up on the Quidditch Pitch and she’s between his legs so all he can do is press his lips to her pulse and hope that she understands.

Because this - she tells him, time and time again, him and her and his hand between her legs, its nothing. A fling. A remnant of summer burning orange in the fall that will crunch like leaves beneath his boot.

She’s dating Potter and she’s wrong for him and what would his parents say?

There’s never a good enough answer. Only the stilling of his hips and the hitching of his breath as she reaches down to run her fingers along the scar ridged across his stomach. The scar that Potter had left, Potter had caused. The scar that his girlfriend takes to tracing with her tongue.

Somehow Draco always fails to mention that he sees her as more than a fuck.

And she’s right, he knows; his parents would be furious and Potter would pull fists, they don’t work and wouldn’t work and he doesn’t understand why there’s an aching in his chest whenever either one of them confirms that fact.

But he’s memorized the way that early light slants through the blinds to paint against her skin; wants to keep the image of their clothes mingled across his floor like a photograph in his mind; never forgets the way that her bones fit neatly against his and fuck if he isn’t digging his own grave.

He watches her across the Great Hall, sometimes. Catches her eyes and feels a thunderstorm kick up in his chest until Potter sits beside her and delivers a lion worthy snarl.

And he smirks when its later and her legs are tangled in his sheets and he’s coaxing a roar from her open mouth, with her claws dug across his back, with a dangerous sort of contentment swelling in his stomach because “this can’t happen,” she says, and yet it always does. Because the no’s meld into yes’s and Draco wants her, he does, despite her blood and despite her house and despite the flaws dug between them.

He wants her for more than just sex.

Wants to lace his fingers through hers without a mattress there to mold their knuckles, wants to kiss her cheek when she’s wide awake and laughing, wants to write her love letters in bleeding, dripping pen. He wants her and he wants her and he doesn’t anticipate them falling apart.

___

The last time never feels like the last time until it is.

Until the clang of his belt buckle is resounding in the hollow of his ear drums as she curls her fingers around the edge of the door and glances back at him with light breaking around her shoulders.

“This is the last time, Draco, ” she says. “I’m serious, this time.”

And he knows, somehow, that its true.

Understands in the marrow of his bones that this had to end, but he’d never thought and never considered and now he’s sitting on a moth bitten couch with something like heartbreak in his mouth.

Because he wants her, and she doesn’t want him back.

___

The end never feels like the end, and sometimes its not the end.

Because Draco is a white knuckled grip around his suitcase, is a sharp profile against the countryside rushing by and he’s locking eyes with her in the corridor of the train.

And he’s seen her undressed, has mapped his hands across the landscape of her body and allowed his mouth to follow. He’s seen her flayed open with live wires wrapped around the notches of his spine but there’s never been a moment more electric than this -

Her tucking her hair behind her ear and his loosening his grip.

A sigh that comes before a confession as she says, “I shouldn’t have picked him” and he can’t help but agree.

“I shouldn’t have picked him and I’m sorry that I did and -”

His suitcase thuds against the floor. He’s wrapping his arms around her shoulders in a way that he’s never done before. Because her ribs are cracking open and he’s looking her in the face in this - him and her and their clothes on while their chests are touching - this is right and this is perfect and this is what he’s wanted since that first time that he met her, six years ago with a hand outstretched on this very train.

“I know,” he murmurs, wants to be saying “I love you” instead.

Burying The Child - Feyre Fanfic

A Feyre character exploration fanfiction. Set post ACOMAF in the spring court, with Lucien for company. Warnings for discussion of mental health and grieving.

Burying The Child - Gen/K

History was once again repeating itself, but this time I was different; I would not make the same mistakes as I had before. I doubted I could even if I wanted to. Fate and its sick sense of humour had warped me too much for that.

“I remember when Tamlin first bought you those paints,” Lucien mused. “You sat in here all day for weeks, like a child with a new toy. It was very endearing, really.”

He sat across from me, lounging upon a daybed below a window in the gallery. His body lay splashed with sunlight, turning his hair a gorgeous shade of amber and his bronze skin, exposed by the open-necked shirt he wore, shone like clear liquid honey. One could mistake him for a god were it not for the signs of strain that recent events had carved into him, from his hollow cheeks to his nervous, restless fingers; The latter of which was really quite irksome.

“Stop fidgeting,” I quipped, frowning and biting down on the tip of my tongue. “I’ll never be able to get you right if you keep moving. Honestly, and you compare me to a child.”

“I do have a few years on you, fair lady.”

“That only makes it worse.”

Lucien managed to still himself for a rather pathetic minute before his forefinger resumed their tapping upon his thigh, but I made no comment. The back and forth bitching we’d developed when I’d first arrived at the Spring Court had now evolved beyond the antipathy and mourning we’d shared. He no longer held the death of Andras against me, and I in turn agreed not to speak of what had passed here whilst I was at the Night Court. This silent agreement meant we were both more comfortable in sharing quiet moments together, knowing neither would verbally assault the other. In a case of mutually assured destruction, we both knew the wounds such talk would inflict could scar us both.

“I can’t believe it’s only been a year since we first met,” Lucien said, his gaze fixed out the window at the surrounding gardens. “Only a year since we were all prisoners. Or, a year since we were able to admit to it aloud.”

He was breaching dangerous territory, but I’d long stopped being scared by it. It had only been two months since my return to Spring, and yet it was already apparent to me that no one save Tamlin and Ianthe thought the deal with Hybern was wise. Since the High Lord and his Priestess were out on a ride that day, I saw no harm in letting Lucien say whatever it was that was bothering him.

“Missing Amarantha, are we?”

“Oh, dreadfully,” Lucien said, playing along with a theatrical swoon. He laughed when I scolded him for shifting his position. Though I had come to see Lucien as an ally, I could never come to like his laugh. It always spoke of so much pain. “What can I say? She kept Tamlin occupied. He does so love to have an enemy.”

Finished sketching, I took up mixing up the colours I needed on the paint palette. “He’s a fool for choosing Rhysand as his new target,” I said quietly, struggling to get the right skin tone. There would be time to learn proper painting technique, if only I could survive the war. The past year had been spent fashioning me into a weapon, no time for games. Who I was had been carved into steel and fire and power, so that I was more a what than a whom to the world now. Beyond what I had briefly shared with Rhys, I had not known softness in a long time.

“If what you say about the Night Court is true, I don’t doubt it.” Lucien looked over at me, his metal eye as unnerving as ever. Still I had not dared to ask just what it allowed him to see, but I felt as if it could somehow discern the contents of my soul.

He chewed the inside of his cheek whilst I distracted myself with mixing paint, before he finally spoke, “You’ve changed so much, Feyre.” He smiled, but it did not reach his eyes. “I must admit, I’m impressed by who you have become. Even if Rhysand did not exist, I’d hate to make a foe of you. So forgive me when I say I am also in mourning.”

Cocking my head, I finally had the courage to look back at him. Did he speak of Elain now? “Mourning whom?” I asked. The smile he gave me hurt as much as the two months apart from Rhysand had. It spoke of pity, pity I could not bear.

“I am in mourning for a close friend. A friend I made under Amarantha’s rule. A human girl, who came here with childish anger, who could be made happy and placid by nothing more than paint. A girl who screamed and cried and didn’t know any better than to wander out at night on Calanmai, and who could fall in love even with a Beast.” He did not drop my gaze. “I grieve for you too, for losing her. I’m sorry you can’t be her any more.”

He’d spoken so softly, so quietly, that we both flinched when I snapped my paintbrush in half. Claws edged out of my knuckles, my grip too tight. I was still learning the depths of my new strength, though I didn’t care as anger flashed upon my tongue. “Don’t be,” I hissed, snatching a fresh brush and ramming it in the prepared paint to coat it. “She was a stupid, foolish little victim who knew no better.”

“That, fair Feyre,” Lucien said, back to looking out at the gardens, “is exactly why I mourn for you.”

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Worry

When Harry is so much of an overprotective Dad, he doesn’t even know who he is anymore.

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Pulse Part 7

Part 6

Genre: ANGST
Words: 2,226
Pairings: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Warnings: Depressing and suicidal thoughts, stalking, violence, injuries, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Summary: Soulmate AU in which one’s heartbeat becomes perfectly in sync with their soulmate’s once they meet.

Originally posted by psychopierce

Taking a cab back to your apartment had given you enough time to think. You weren’t going to take the cab to the police station, not wanting to put any driver’s life in danger. You’d take Nat’s car, and if something were to happen, well, at least you’d be dead and wouldn’t have to deal with Natasha’s rage.

You felt overly paranoid as you entered the building to grab the car keys. It was a constant feeling nowadays, to feel somebody else’s eyes on you, to feel vulnerable and naked from the outside as every one of your moves was analyzed. The feeling sparked a sense of panic inside of you, almost like a shot of adrenaline that forced your feet to move faster and your thoughts to become more erratic. Your pace quickened dramatically until you were in the front seat of Natasha’s red Nissan Altima.

You immediately locked the doors and took a deep breath. Your fingers shook as you gripped the steering wheel and closed your eyes, leaning your head back slightly to compose yourself. You had absolutely no idea what you were doing, but you knew you couldn’t sit around and do nothing any longer. You refused to play victim. You refused to hide behind others’ strength. There was only one thing you could control in your life and that was this moment.

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DannyMay Day One: Hope/Hatred

I have fallen back into my OBSESSIVE LOVE for Danny Phantom and since DannyMay is a thing I’m hella excited to participate! I’m using @narwhalsarefalling prompts for the daily DannyMay. Here’s hoping I can make it through all 31 days *sweats nervously* I also want to include a little story for each picture…p.s. it’s transparent!

…After much confusion on the battlefield, Jack and Maddie are left speechless. The Ghost Boy, that they have tried to capture and destroy for years now, was hanging limply by the collar of his jumpsuit at the hands of none other than the Wisconsin Ghost. 

Beaten to an ectoplasmic pulp and breathing raggedly -ghosts don’t need to breath what is he trying to pull-Phantom throws a pathetic right hook. The Wisconsin Ghost simply laughs at his pitiful attempt, missing him entirely and as Phantom’s arm falls to his side, a bright ring of light appears at his waist. This only makes the Wisconsin Ghost’s laughter even louder, an evil sound dripping with malice that can make anyone’s hair stand on end.

Startled by the sudden flash, the Fenton parents brandish their weapons, ready to fire. However, as the bright ring-rings!?- splits up and down the Ghost Boy’s body, their white-knuckled grip loosens with every passing second. 

Black and white jumpsuit is replaced by blue jeans and a white t-shirt. Jack’s mind was racing, too many thoughts and emotions running rampant at the same time. Maddie was frozen in place, time came to a screeching halt around her. Twin gasps of horror escaped into the air. There, still within the grasp of the Ghost, was black haired and blue eyed Danny Fenton, the Ghost holding him up like a coveted trophy, laughing maniacally. The Wisconsin Ghost, with a sickening grin asks

“What will you do now?”

The Fenton parents stare at their son, who is still struggling pitifully to get free.

impossible

this isn’t happening

it can’t be

not my baby boy

Then, with great effort on his part, Danny turns to his parents. Face dirty, cuts and bruises decorating his body, with tears threatening to fall he opens his mouth.

“I’m sorry”

Those two little words shattered the tension like brittle glass. Everything they have ever seen and heard about the Ghost Boy takes on a new meaning. Every question mark answered, every doubt banished, every action explained. 

The Fentons leap into action. Jack fires at the ghost, effectively making him drop their boy, as Maddie slides under and catches Danny. Looking up at her, his eyes ask what his mouth can’t, Maddie gives him a teary smile and tells him to stay put. Giving him a quick kiss she lets loose a battle cry and jumps back into the fray. 

Plasmius proves to be too much of a handful for just the Fenton parents. For every blow they land he retaliates 10 fold. Though significantly weaker due to Phanto-Danny, Danny’s efforts, The Wisconsin Ghost is moments away from breaking free of the Fenton Containment Net™. Jack and Maddie can only look on in mute horror as their most powerful ghost containment method is obliterated in a single blast of ecto energy.

The Wisconsin Ghost makes his advance, all the while gloating about Jack’s incompetence

“Did you really think a poorly made ecto tissue would be enough to hold me!? my power is beyond your comprehension! You can’t even hope to defeat the BOX GHOST you are that incompetent! Your inventions cause your family more harm that good! LOOK WHAT YOU DID TO YOUR OWN SON! YOU DON’T DESERVE TO HAVE A WOMAN AS PERFECT AS HER! Maddie, I will give you one final chance, join me and I will let Daniel live.”

“Go to hell!”

“SO BE IT! IF I CANT HAVE YOU, THEN NOBODY CAN! You and that buffoon will die here and now!”

“OVER MY HALF DEAD BODY!”

Turning their heads to the source of the noise, there stands none other than Danny Phantom, looking about ready to tear the Wisconsin Ghost a new one. Taking a deep breath, he lets loose a Ghostly Wail, the most powerful he has ever produced to date. the Ghost’s vain attempt at resisting only ends in his body slammed into the side of Dalv Corp. Since the walls are made of Extra Strength Ghost Proof Titanium™, the Wisconsin Ghost is going nowhere. 

The onslaught continues as the Fenton parents look on in awe, hands over their ears. Their son, Danny Fenton is the infamous Ghost Boy Danny Phantom, hero of Amity Park. They have so many things to say and so many to apologize for. So much guilt and shame, so much regret.

Finally the Wail dies down, black rings sliding past the ghost’s body, The Fenton parent’s blood runs cold as left behind is Vlad Masters. They can’t even begin to process that revelation when their Son has just fallen to his knees in exhaustion. They sprint towards him.

Danny looks up just as he is enveloped in the tightest hug he has ever received. His mother spouting apologies between sobs telling him how much she loves him, his father telling him how amazed and proud he is while holding back tears. Danny can’t help but get misty-eyed as he smiles, new hope blossoming within his heart. Grateful that he no longer has to bear the burden alone, elated that now he has his parents on his side, ecstatic that now they will understand everything.

“We love you for YOU Danny”

“Whether you’re ghost, boy, or something in between”

there’s this girl

Title: there’s this girl
Fandom: miraculous ladybug
Rating: K+
Characters: Ladybug (Marinette), Queen Bee (Chloe)
Summary: Queen Bee has a secret. It’s not what Ladybug thinks.

“So there’s this girl.”

Ladybug cocked her head and stared at her friend with wide eyes, mouth falling open to say something, but the look on Queen Bee’s face stopped her in her tracks. Bottom lip caught between her teeth, gaze heavy on her hands clasped tightly in her lips, she looked hesitant and unsure, lacking the confidence and charisma that usually oozed from every pore. Ladybug didn’t know how to respond. It wasn’t every day that Queen Bee chose to open up to her or any of the other heroes of Paris; she held her secrets and identity tighter than any of them did.

“For my father,” she’d say when asked why and rarely said more. Ladybug wasn’t arguing—she did the same thing—but it was different to have someone so similar working beside her. While she enjoyed Volpina’s presence, and Chat Noir was her partner, Queen Bee was something entirely new and unexpected, but not unwanted. Ladybug had spent so long explaining why secret identities were important, and while everyone had accepted that long ago, Queen Bee was the only person who seemed to understood why.

“So there’s this girl,” Queen Bee had said, completely out-of-the-blue and sending Ladybug’s thoughts into a whirlwind, unprompted on an early Saturday after an akuma battle under the silver sunrise of the Paris morning. “And I don’t know what to do.”

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All My Hope; Connor Murphy x Reader

Word Count: 11,349 (whoa boy)

A/N: I’m going to warn you that this is some really TERRIBLE WRITING. In the words of Jared Kleinman: “This isn’t realistic at all, it doesn’t even sound like Connor.” I’ve been working on it for days and I’m glad to be done with it. It’s like a huge breath of relief. I tried to proof-read this to the best of my ability but there might be mistakes! Sorry! Also, I take no credit for the two poems in this story, I did not write either of them. 

Summary: Instead of running into Evan in the computer lab, Connor runs into you. He finds your letter on the printer and panics when you aren’t in school the next day. 

Warnings: MENTIONS OF DEATH/SUICIDE ATTEMPT (PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU CHOOSE TO READ) Swearing, Really poor writing

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My Prince

Ivar x deaf!Reader

There is simply not enough Ivar fluff out there to satisfy my thirst

Originally posted by smiletotheshadow


You played with the daisies you had picked up, starting to braid them together carefully as you laid in your lover’s lap. Ivar sighed, shaking his head while smiling and playing with your soft hair. He couldn’t help but stare at you - you looked so beautiful when you were relaxed. “Y/N” he muttered softly, but quickly caught himself as he realized you weren’t looking at him. He often forgot of your condition. You were born deaf, but you soon learned to read lips. From a young age you were excluded from most child games, as you couldn’t orientate yourself as well as the others, and the other kids did not have the patience to talk slowly enough for you to understand. That’s how you found yourself often sitting beside Ivar, the crippled boy who stared longingly at his running brothers. Your friendship seemed to have no choice but blossom, and turn into something more beautiful. You relied on each other, understood and loved each other in a way no one could. He was your ears, always on the lookout and keeping you safe.

You smiled at the memory, clenching the daisies you were holding closer to your chest. You couldn’t help but remember your first kiss. An alarm rang through Kattegat, while you were alone in your house, preparing a meal for your mother. You didn’t hear anything, and naturally you were not aware that your village was under attack. You had jumped when you felt a hand suddenly grab your ankle, shaking it violently enough for you to drop the egg you were holding. Panicked, you turned around quickly, ready to defend yourself when you saw Ivar. His face was red and his eyes were wild – large and filled with panic. 

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Now That He Knows

It’s the way your toe runs the length of his foot as you’re cuddled together on the couch. And as he shivers under your touch, the feeling of you nuzzling in closer, really burrowing underneath his arm whilst pressing soft kisses to his side, he senses it. 


But when he looks down at you, trying to catch the gleam in your eye or the soft smirk on your lips, he’s greeted with only a shy, demure look on your sweet face that he’s come to know so well in the few short months you’ve been together. 


He didn’t pick up on your hints before, but now that he knows… 


It’s when he catches you staring at him, mouth agape and movement ceased when you’re completely distracted by whatever mundane task he’s set to (it happens most often when he’s cutting vegetables because the way his arm muscles flex and bulge makes you dizzy). 


It’s after he catches you staring at him and how you look away quickly, cheeks reddening as you bite your lip and try not to allow the lust you feel for him settle so obviously over your features. 


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~just little dyspraxia things~
  • i did not tell my hand to throw that thing. i told it to gently pick up the thing. but i guess it decided throwing was better.
  • boyfriend has gotten very used to sudden crashes and screams followed by cheerful yell of “i’m okay!”
  • or not.  bones broken so far: collarbone, wrist, finger, rib, toe.
  • elbows & knees bend backwards. good party trick.
  • every dance or aerobics lesson sounds like “this step is very simple. all you have to do is put your left on right foot in hand out up down through!”
  • THINGS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE THAT TEXTURE. NOT. ALLOWED.
  • fidget fidget fidget fidget fidget
  • hey, hand? can you hold something, but just hold it a little bit, instead of in a white-knuckle death grip?  no? oh.
  • what is a facial expression
  • <3<3<3 tagless underwear <3<3<3
  • why do people want to make eye contact anyway, you already know what eyes look like. if you do not: they are round things. white mostly, colorful ring, black in the middle. there.  that should cover you, now let’s have this conversation while looking comfortably over each other’s shoulders.
  • “let’s go to a crowded place with lots of overlapping conversations and people bumping into each other!” or we could not. how about not.
  • this food is Not Allowed.
  • weird stutter that isn’t technically a stutter, it’s more just a total failure to make the word happen
  • SOMETHING. IS. TOUCHING. ME.  RED ALERT ALL HANDS TO BATTLE STATIONS THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
  • handwriting like a can of worms crawling through a pile of sticks
Klance Recs #1

Homesick at Space Camp by K0bot (PG, 54k, WIP)
Summary: Lance’s insistence on maintaining his rivalry with Keith is hurting his performance, and Shiro’s had enough. Keith and Lance are forced to talk it out, and Lance becomes certain of one thing:

He’s gonna be the best friend Keith’s ever had in his LIFE.

Naturally, he’s in for much more than he bargained for. [Fake Marriage, WIP]

time out of mind by aknightley (PG, 27k)
Summary: Keith and Lance wake up married. In the future.

He lays there a moment, processing the faint throbbing in his head, a strange bitter taste like lemons in his mouth. When he opens his eyes, the room spins wildly into a kaleidoscope of colors, so he closes them again, breathing in and out until he feels less like he might throw up. He suddenly registers a warm weight over his waist, and lifts his head to see a brown arm thrown over him. It looks startlingly familiar, but different, bigger than he remembers, more toned.

Keith turns all the way around and comes face to face with Lance sleepily blinking his own eyes open.
[Time Travel, Fake Marriage]

Heatwaves on Autopilot by WhatTheBodyGraspsNot (NC-17, 56k)
Summary: Keith and Lance unknowingly inhale an alien aphrodisiac during a simple resource retrieval mission. But unlike the common aphrodisiac, this particular one reactivates under certain unknown conditions, later leaving them craving in situations that don’t necessarily present them with many options. Keith tries to work through it, concerned with the sudden lack of control of his body, until he realizes the same thing is happening to Lance. So…great. How are they supposed to deal with this, keep it a secret, AND tend to the thousands of other responsibilities that come with defending the universe? (Together, of course.) [Heat Cycles/Sex Pollen]

Today, anew by MemeKonVLD (MemeKonYA) (R, 5.9k)
Summary: “Lance.

Lance’s eyebrows furrow in concern for a second before his whole face goes gentle and open.

“Hey buddy, everything okay?”

Keith nods. Then shakes his head, then opens his mouth to let out a noisy sob before he’s hugging the air out of Lance, grip vise tight.

Lance hugs him back. That’s one of the great things about him— he doesn’t— he doesn’t need explanations for things like this. He doesn’t make Keith jump through hoops, the way other people might— he’s just— he just knows what Keith needs in times like this. No façades, no posturing.

(Or: the one where Keith is trapped in a time loop. A time loop from hell.) [Time Loop, Temporary Character Death]

A Commutual Contract 
by SKayLanphear (R, 24k, WIP)
Summary:
 After a terrifying experience during which Lance, seemingly, dies, Keith is haunted by horrible nightmares of holding his comrade in his arms while he took his final breath. To the point where he can’t sleep unless he knows for absolute certain that Lance is alive.

And while the attention is surprising, Lance doesn’t really have a problem with Keith checking up on him. Or the fact that Keith only seems totally comforted when he can cuddle Lance close and hear his heart beat. After all, there’s nothing wrong with two bros cuddling. It doesn’t MEAN anything. Or, at least, that’s what Lance keeps telling himself. [Bed Sharing, WIP]

How To Train Your Galra by magisterpavus (NC-17, 68k, Series)
Summary: 
“Shiro, I fucked up,” Keith blurted, wringing his hands.

Shiro paused mid-punch, shooting him a quizzical look. “What? What happened?”

“I think,” Keith whispered, “I think I accidentally roofied Lance. With my dick.” [Galra!Keith, A/B/O Dynamics]

Fake It Til You Make It by nikkiRA (R, 26k)
Summary: “No, it’s not that –” Keith tries to backtrack. “We just – we –” he isn’t sure what he’s going to say, he just knows he has to say something before he and Lance are forced to have sex with some weird alien species, while also keeping the weird alien king happy enough to create an alliance with them.

But not for the first time and not for the last, Lance pulls through.

Of course, this time pulling through almost gives Keith a heart attack, because Lance slips his fingers through Keith’s so that they’re holding hands.

“What Keith here means to say,” Lance says, and although his voice is steady, he is gripping Keith’s fingers so tightly it’s painful. “Is that we can’t mate with your people, although we, um, appreciate the offer, because, well. We already are. M-mated, I mean. With, you know. Each other.” [Fake Marriage]

Nightmares by Trashness (PG, 14k)
Summary: Lance’s nightmares are getting out of control. It’s effecting his and the team’s performance, but he’s at a loss for how to fix this.

Apparently sleeping next to a warm body helps. [Bed Sharing, Mutual Pining]

Accidental Bonding by Newbiemans2015 (NR, 2.9k)
Summary: Whilst trapped on an alien planet Keith and Lance accidentally get married, and now how to deal with the consequences. [Accidental Marriage]

All things infinite by MemeKonVLD (MemeKonYA) (R, 7k)
Summary: “I didn’t know Lance was…”

“Bi?” Hunk supplied.

“Ready to jump anyone sentient and willing?” Pidge offered.

“Yeah, let’s go with bi,” Hunk says.

(Or: the one where Lance is a Bisexual Intergalactic Flirt, and Keith discovers he has feelings about this.) [Pining!Keith]

like honey by manamune (NC-17, 4.3k)
Summary: Keith wants to lose control.

Lance has always liked helping people. [BDSM]

Fireside by molsat (NC-17, 4.9k)
Summary: It’s not the compliments that make Lance’s palms sweaty, his heart thunder wildly against his ribcage, and his face swell with impossible heat: it’s the way Keith has to be such a giant dick about it. [Praise Kink]

Making the Most of the Night by saezutte (NC-17, 15k)
Summary:  Having sex with Keith in order to secure an alliance with an alien species wasn’t how Lance expected to lose his virginity, but it wasn’t the worst way for it to go.

(Until afterwards, of course, when it all goes wrong and Keith won’t speak to him. Not that Lance has any idea why. Or why it bothers him so much.)

hot singles in your area by rire (NC-17, 15k, WIP)
Summary: “So she gave you a fake number?”
“Yeah.”
“And it turned out to be the number of a sex line?”
“Yep.”
“And then you decided jerking off was the best solution for your heartbreak?”
“I guess you could put it that way.”
“… And now you’re in love with a phone sex operator.” [College AU, WIP]

Rivals-With-Benefits by lissa_molloy (NC-17, 26k, WIP)
Summary: Lance and Keith have been sneaking around for a while now, not yet to the point where they can get over their rivalry but well beyond acknowledging how attracted they are to one another. A collection of vaguely-related oneshots in a fuckbuddies AU for Klance. I’ll add tags as I go. [Friends/Rivals with Benefits]

Blueprints by UnderTheSilentStars (R, 39k, WIP)
Summary: “While soulmarks themselves were common, it was rare for someone to have anything other than the name of their other half…and Lance had a red paw print." [Soulmate AU]

so why don’t we fall by aknightley (NC-17, 4k)
Summary: Five times Lance used a pet name for Keith, and one time Keith used one for Lance.

Keith has no basis for having a relationship with someone, so he’s trying to follow Lance’s lead. 

Down the Rabbit Hole by TheQueen (PG, 41k, WIP)
Summary: It starts when he wakes up. Breathing hard and scrambling against the soft bedding and heavy comforter until he falls flat against the wood floor hard enough to take his breath away.

Time travel might not be the worst thing Lance has ever dealt with. But it sure does feel like it. [Time Travel, Canon Divergence, WIP]

30 Rules to Marriage by delictor (R, 38k, WIP)
Summary: Lance was only trying to argue with Keith, not marry him. And even if the marriage only really counted on the one planet, he couldn’t help but let it take over his every thought slowly. Especially with him constantly thinking of the 30 rules of marriage his parents had taught him as a kid and trying to apply them to him and Keith. His logic? The 30 rules could apply to even just a friendship…

Or: Lance and Keith accidentally get married and it’s not actually as bad as they thought it would be. [Accidental Marriage, WIP]

Diplomatic Difficulties by TemenCMoth (PG, 10k, WIP)
Summary: Allura sat with her head in her hands. Coran balked. Hunk was frozen, new goo concoction slowly leveling out on the floor. Shiro looked stricken, hand in a white-knuckle grip on the back of a chair. The only sound in the room was the little clack-clack of Pidge’s keyboard.

The room was filled with tension thick enough to be cut with a bayard, a silence so loud none of them noticed Rover hovering behind Keith.

They sure noticed when he started playing the Wedding March. [Accidental Marriage]

heat of your skin by sodappend (NC-17, 2k)
Summary: Keith is in heat and Lance is the last person he wants to see. So of course it’s Lance that walks through his door. [A/B/O Dynamics]

Skin by MemeKonVLD (MemeKonYA) (R, 3.2k)
Summary: He’s aware of Lance talking to him, but he’s still too asleep to try to decipher whatever it is he’s blabbering about. He only starts paying attention when one of Lance’s hands goes to the drawstring of his pajama pants.

“Whoa, what are you doing?” He asks, slapping Lance’s hand away, cheeks warm.

“You,” Lance starts, pointing at him (and Keith notices that for all he’s made fun of him for the last forever for them, he’s wearing his fingerless gloves), “are not screwing up my skin care routine, man.”

(AKA: the one where Keith and Lance switch bodies.) [Body Swap]

I’ll be your… whatever it’s called by MoonStar1220 (NC-17, 3.7k)
Summary: After a particularly rough and frightening fight with enemy Galra Lance decides he’s had enough of Keith’s behavior and vows to fix it. [Galra!Keith, A/B/O Dynamics]

Alpha-nd a way to you by opalfire (NC-17, 3k)
Summary: Lance honestly had no clue what was going on anymore.

He had scented Keith, as though he were his mate. Lance flushed. The other alpha must think he was insane by now.

“I-I’m sorry - fuck - I mean,” Lance stuttered.

Keith just stared at him, the flush on his face getting redder.

“I know we’re both alphas, shit I’m so-“Lance started.

“We’re both what now?” Keith’s eyes widened before narrowing as he stared at Lance. “Oh my god, you don’t know.”

otherwise known as Lance gets possessive and scents Keith without knowing he’s an omega till he hits heat [Omegaverse, A/B/O Dynamics]

Alive With the Glory of Love by lemoninagin (NC-17, 4.8k)
Summary: “Hurry,” Lance urges with a gasp, clutching harder at the stands with both hands poised on them for support now, palms slick with sweat, “They’re going to find us like this if we don’t hurry, oh my God.”

A deep chuckle tickles over his ear, almost rivaling the pounding of blood in them.

Let them.” [Public Sex]