limestone wall

Happy AkuRoku Day! ♥ I actually wrote a completed one-shot for you guys this time! All fluff and afterlife feelings, so I hope you enjoy!

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Simple
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They didn’t go out and watch the latest superhero movie. They didn’t make a reservation at that one restaurant they both like, which didn’t always have the best entrees but always had a decent bread basket and that sea salt cheesecake they could never say no to. They didn’t do anything the couples magazines told them to do–flowers, jewelry, scented candles, a new dress and suit, some ludicrously expensive gold-leaf and champagne infused candy from that one store that opened downtown.

They were both thankful for that.

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hidden pictures

Originally posted by chimcheroo

a sketchbook is an artist’s lifeline.

genre: fluff

warnings: none

word count: 1366

a/n: well i finally finished something! enjoy artstudent!joon.

Please God, if you’re up there, let it still be there, you thought as you frantically speed-walked down the sidewalk. Only on five cups of coffee, zero sleep, and half a bagel would you have forgotten your sketchbook behind in your studio class. Finals were fast approaching and just when you had stepped across the threshold of your apartment, desperate for packet ramen and a nap, did you have that peculiar sinking feeling in your stomach– you were forgetting something.

After rifling through your bag to discover with chagrin that yes, you had left your sketchbook in that solitary corner room in the art building, you resignedly trekked back across campus. You tried not to think about everything else you could be doing with the wasted time as you tried not to look so frantic walking. You couldn’t imagine why someone would take it, but you absolutely could not lose that book. It was pretty much your livelihood; It had all your final project plans and some sketches that you were fiercely proud of, but would honestly never see the light of day.

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Creepy Prompts
  • At night, my cat likes to snuggle with me, but these claw marks are much too big to be theirs. Maybe I just haven’t measured their paws recently. I never seem to be able to find them when the lights are on. [Not knowing their pet is demonic au]
  • I personally believe my boss is a good person. They donate to charities all the time. I should rephrase, my boss is trying desperately to be fired by donating company money to charity. It never works though, they just get locked in their office more often. [Captive working au]
  • I love driving at night, it’s very calming being alone with a view of only twenty feet ahead. Sometimes, I feel like my headlights are only parting the sea of darkness, especially because of all of this dark sludge on the back and sides of my car. Tonight, I ran out of gas. [Literal sea of darkness au]
  • My mom makes cookies for me every Christmas. Sometimes she hides teeth inside and we play a guessing game of what was in it. If I win, she sends me the rest of the skeleton. [Just plain creepy au]
  • I can’t remember the last time I bought garlic. I keep finding it on my windowsills. [Vampire hunter trying to protect someone au]
  • My friends love to come over my house and sit down for a while. They don’t really listen when I talk to them though. It may not be as homey as my last house, but the limestone walls really make it feel like home. [Dead in a mausoleum au]
Mon Amortentia

pairing: Taegi || a lil bit of Jikook/Namjin + platonic maknae/sunshine line

genre: wizard!AU / fluff :3

word count: 4477 (rip this was supposed to be a drabble ;-;)

a/n: for the birthday girl who loves a surprise…. ♡
@pjiminnie Happy birthday Mari!! I’ve always been a sappy lil kid towards you but now that it’s actually your birthday I’m at a loss for words ;;; thank you for your never-ending support and encouragement, for your wisdom beyond your years and your kindness towards everyone. thank you for blessing us with amazing stories and beautiful words and thank you so much for making my experience on tumblr an enjoyable one <3 happy birthday Mari and I’m sorry if this is terrible :”) because it’s your birthday I decided to try writing something out of the ordinary and this is the longest fantasy AU I’ve ever written so!! I hope it’s still somewhat readable <3 thank you again for everything, big sis! ily ♡♡♡

warnings #1: this is heavily based off Harry Potter but it is not an HP AU!! I’m not trying to write taegi in an HP world; some of the things in this fic are just found in HP that’s all! if you’re a die-hard HP fan please enter with caution, because not everything in this is 100% accurate (I made some things up myself lmao) so yeah!!! I felt that this was serious enough to be a warning aha :’)))

warnings #2: tiny mentions of smut, quite a lot of swearing

Originally posted by jeonsshi

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Western Wall - Israel

The Western Wall is an ancient limestone wall found in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located on the Western side of Temple Mount, one of the most important religious sites in the world. Most of the wall, including a large portion below street level, was constructed around the year 19 BCE, during the rule of Herod the Great. Other layers to the wall have been added from the 7th century onward.

The largest portion of the wall faces onto the main plaza of the Jewish quarter. A smaller section, known as the Little Western Wall also runs into the Muslim quarter. An important place of pilgrimage for Jews, the Western Wall is the most visited location in Israel.

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Din Lligwy, Anglesey, Wales

Din Lligwy is a later Prehistoric type walled settlement set on the summit of a limestone plateau close to its precipitous northern edge. The internal buildings were cleared from 1905 onwards when significant quanties of Roman material were recovered, mostly of the late third-fourth century AD. From excavation, it seems that the round structures were probably houses and the rectangular ones were barns or workshops.

For a pre-Roman site, a great deal remains including the enclosing wall and the foundations of many buildings, many of them with substantial and well made foundations constructed from the local limestone. The outer protective wall is almost intact although much reduced in height.

Din Lligwy is situated on a low hill with good views over Anglesey and a reliable source of fresh water nearby. The hill is now overgrown with sycamore and ash but it is probable that when it was occupied, the village would have had uninterrupted views all around.

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Crimean Tatars and Crimea (second post)

1-2. Old buildings in Bakhchisaray, the former capital of the Crimean Khanate.

3. Fragments of old Crimean Tatar gravestones brought from a destroyed cemetery and piled by the wall of a mosque.

4. The Khan Mosque built by famous Ottoman architect Hoca Sinan in the middle 16th century in Kezlev is the only remaining masterpiece of high Ottoman architecture in Crimea. (Kezlev/Yevpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine)

5. Whirling dervishes of the Mevlevi and other orders had their shrines and clusters (tekiyes) in almost every town of the Crimean Khanate. (Kezlev, Crimea)

6. The Gate Tower (built in 1641) of the Bağçesaray Khan Palace with adjacent guards’ quarters. (Bağçesaray, Crimea)

7. The medieval mosque in Eski Saray was built in the 14th century of three kinds of stone: yellow sandstone for the walls, white limestone for ledges and lightweight grey tuff for the dome. Long ago, the dome has collapsed leaving the building roofed with the blue sky. (Eski Saray, Crimea)

8. The name of Qurban Qaya (‘The Rock of Sacrifice’), a prominent rock towering over the Belbek valley, suggests that the Crimean Tatar inhabitants of the neighboring villages used to gather there for their Qurban Bayram (Festival of Sacrifice, Eid al-Adha) feasts. (Süyür Taş area, Crimea)

9. Mausoleum of Dilâra Bikeç, a mysterious women who lived at the court of the Crimean Khans and died in 1764, holds a prominent place in local legends. (Bakhchisaray, Crimea)

10. Building of ZincirliMedrese, a Muslim school, founded in 1500 by khan Mengli Giray. The institution had thence been functioning for more than 400 years. (Salaçıq quarter of Bakhchisaray, Crimea)

by Oleksa Haiworonski

It’s a Geological Life: Spain Edition

Day 5: Espot to Estany de San Maurici

Here was the hike:

It was supposed to be a “short” hike… up hill. It was cloudy and cool. A perfect day for a hike. Selfie time!

Until the this happened…

It started out as rain and then morphed into a monster… I was soaked to the bone. I had a rain jacket on but the heat I was building up, created a steam room. 

But we did some geology during the rain…

Here is the brave Paul, doing a presentation on avalanches.

Can you see the color difference in the trees? This “lighter” area marks the spot where a large snow avalanche occurred. The light-colored vegetation, primarily birch and hazel trees, has grown since the avalanche occurred.

Les Encantats

This a okay view of Les Encantats (the Enchanted Men) and the tight folds of Devonian limestone that form this emblematic mountain. The folded rocks are intruded on the south side (right side) by granodiorites of the
Maladeta Batholith, which is Permian in age.

Estany de Sant Maurici

The Sant Maurici lake is a glacial lake whose lake basin was formed by over-excavation in the area of confluence of several valley glaciers: the Ratera glacier to the north, Subenuix and Monestero to the south and
Potarró to the west. The glacial lake is used to run the Hydroelectric Power Plant in Espot. 

SUPRISE! THE SUN CAME OUT AND I’M SOAKED!

Sant Maurici Chapel

The Sant Maurici Chapel was built by a limestone wall of steeply, NW-dipping Devonian limestone. These Devonian limestones belong to the Llavorsí syncline, which is cut by granitic rocks of the Maladeta Batholith. 

Escrita Valley

Post rain selfie (now the only thing wet are my socks)

Oh, I so needed a beer after this hike.

Oh, look! 

Click for Day 4.

Click for the morning of Day 5

Watch on the-earth-story.com

Sound echoing off the wall, Irish Limestone Quarry

Medusa’s Maze

OQ Week, Day 3: Lost Together. Missing Year. When Regina and Robin reluctantly team up, the usual snark ensues, but unexpected moments of vulnerability may just shift the dynamics. Trigger warning: mentions of torture. Unedited, mistakes are all mine.


“I don’t suppose you can just magic it away, can you?”

“I’d rather not be buried alive. It was designed to cave in, more magic would only cause another rock slide.”

“Wait—you knew this would happen?” Robin veers in sudden epiphany, clutching his barely salvaged bow while clouds of dust continue to swirl and settle where the entrance used to be, pestering his throat and eyes with incessant scratching and stinging.

“Of course I knew,” Regina scoffs, turning her corset-enlaced, jewel-encrusted back on him, “I could sense the magic from a mile away.”

“And we just walked right into the trap anyway?”

“You were welcome to stay away, thief. I believe I was very clear about that.”

“As you always are, Your Majesty.”

“And yet you never listen.”

“Oh, I’m all ears now,” he assures, following between walls of weathered stone and columns coated in peeling red, like so many open wounds and droplets of blood. “Your plan?”

“Collect the head and find another way out.”

“How very thorough.”

“Don’t thieves ever improvise?”

“Don’t queens ever not act rashly?”

She doesn’t deem that worthy of a reply, other than an offhand: “Make yourself useful and hand me the satchel.”

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Cataracts

Wandering around John’s room, wrapped in a dark dressing gown, he adds deductions and guesses, scents and mental pictures to his file. 
His little world of knowledge all about John. 
When he will decide to go shopping for new dress pants based on the way his socks are curled in the hamper. 
How many whiskeys he drank at the pub with Stamford by the state of his sweater. 
Images too, of the way he must have leaned against the closet door when he peeled them off. 
The tilt of the alarm clock where it sat on the bedside table, and the creases in the pillow were a film reel of the night, and the way he rolled on his side to sip from his glass of water.
The way he buried his head under the pillow at the first glimpse of morning light under his tired lids.
He breathes in deeply, his eyes closed, and he catalogues odors. Rhododendron. The park. Currant scones. The bakery. 
The tube, the Chanel worn by the secretary at the clinic, and Stamford’s favorite scotch.
Suddenly, John is in the doorway. 
At first, John is in the doorway to a room that only exists in his mind, where he is bottling essences, labeling them in unbroken calligraphy and placing them carefully on shelves that stretch to the vaulted ceiling.
Then he remembers that his eyes are still closed, but he knows that John is really there. 
He can smell him now, and hear him breathing, but most of all he can feel him just like he can feel the sun when it shines on him.
Think of something. Wait until John speaks.
Think of something. Something within character. “To be fair,” levels John’s teasing voice in his mind, “that’s a rather wide field.”
“Alright?”
He opens his eyes and slowly turns to face John, his internal monologue stuttering unhelpfully as he focuses on John’s face. 
The slight dimple and eye crease of a sardonic smile that John is trying to suppress. 
Does he know?
“Fine,” he replies at last. 
John lifting one brow slightly seems to unleash reason again and each thought clamors for attention. 
He tries to behave as if his mind is placid, as if he just wandered in here unthinkingly while he organized his thoughts on some complicated and obscure matter of consequence only to himself.
“What time is it?”
Damn! That sounds guilty, suspicious, as if he knows that John was still meant to be on shift. 
“It’s only two but they didn’t need me after lunch, so I got some shopping and came home.”
“Ah.”
“So,” John prompts after a moment.
“Yes?”
Both brows raised this time. He isn’t quite suppressing the smile any longer.
“What are you doing in my bedroom?”

~~~

“Cataracts.”
“Sorry?”
A person can study a problem and not see any answer: the answer must be there.
“The clouding of the ocular lens.”
Rhododendron. Currant scones.
“Yes, I know what cataracts are, I meant-”
“It’s a common problem.”
Unbroken script: John ~ After walking through a February drizzle. John ~ Aftershave and toast with notes of honey and wintergreen.
“Rather, yes, but-”
“Although easily treated with modern medicine, cataracts blinded many people for life before any treatment was developed.”
John just looks at him for a moment.
The sound of the pipes running hot water to the shower. The silences afterward that meant he was toweling off, shaving.
“Yes, I suppose that’s true.”
“When the procedure was first invented surgeons went to rural areas and gave sight to people who had never seen.”
“That must have been amazing.”
When the newspaper stopped rustling it meant he was listening to Sherlock’s violin. When he stopped breathing for long moments, he was staring.
“The doctors also recorded their patient’s reactions, and the way their brains adapted to the visual world. They had never seen the faces of their loved ones, or their own faces.”
John walks to the bed and sits. Sherlock begins to feel a bit trapped where he stands by the window. 
Just keep talking, he thinks to himself as he inches towards the door. 
Rhododendron. Currants.
“Well,” prompts John, “that’s quite romantic, isn’t it?”
Chanel, scotch whiskey. Keep talking.
“Some of them reacted badly, in fact. They were ashamed of their looks, and that they had been ignorant of the way they had appeared to others for so long. The world had seemed manageable before, but suddenly everything was spread out before them and it was too big, too much.”
Dress pants, whiskey. The way they moved around the breakfast table, so like dancing.
He expects John to speak again, but instead John waits and watches.
“One person even threatened to blind themselves permanently, in a fit of desperation.”
The park, the bakery, the tube. A three-dimensional world is just too big, too much. The stars, the currants. They rocket away into the distance.
“I was just filing away some notes about emotional reactions under stress.”
“In my bedroom.”
“Apparently.”
Aftershave. Honey.
“I see. Do you always wander into my bedroom to think while I’m away?”
Sherlock sighs arrogantly as he turns away with a flourish of his dressing gown, hoping that John had missed the panic in his eyes.
“I don’t know. How often are you away?”

~~~

The sound of the pipes running hot water to the bath. The geranium-scented foam that John borrowed from his shelf, notes of evergreen. Aftershave, honey.
He creeps down the hallway, footsteps hidden under the loud white rush of water. He leans his forearms against the door gently, rests his forehead there, listens. So close.
Breathing deeply, bottling essences.
The way John smells before the bath is the sound of the ocean in a seashell, whispering secrets through a closed door.
The water twists off with a cascade of little droplets, each hitting the water at a different pitch, smaller and smaller.
John sighs, drops his robe on the little bench. Sherlock can hear him. He forgets to breathe.
He knows John is tired, that his back aches from standing at work, that he thinks that Sherlock is still in the kitchen. 
One foot in the bath, John inhales suddenly. The water is hot. Slowly, he eases in, moaning a little when at last each of his vertebrae is submerged, extending, relaxing. He leans his head back against the edge of the tub. He exhales.
Quietly, Sherlock exhales with him. His mind drifts down past the surface of the water, past the tiled floor. 
Subterranean rivers, where the acid present in an average raindrop has eaten away at the limestone cave walls over time until the living water and the stone are equally aerated. 
A froth of water, a froth of stone.
The door opens, and John catches him in surprise.
“Sherlock?”
“Yes?”
He can’t seem to stop blinking, as if traveling back to the surface too fast has shifted the pressure. He has the bends, he thinks, from diving too deeply and waking up only to fall into John’s arms.
“Why were you leaning on the door?”

~~~

“Forks?”
“What?”
Damn. He hadn’t meant to phrase that as a question. John smells of geranium-scented bubbles.
“Forks,” he declares with a bit more conviction.
He has only a dim notion of where he’s going with this thought, but he clings to an idea’s wispy edges with every neuron he can spare. John’s hair is very wet around his ears and his neck.
He may have lost consciousness entirely for that endless moment when John was actually holding him. Notes of wintergreen, notes of evergreen, and in that endless moment everything was green. Bottle green.
He had been so soothed by the hypnotic sounds of the water, and of John’s slow breathing through the thin walls, that to ascend so suddenly into this reality of actually touching John is an electric charge to every synapse. 
He feels every cell in his body dilate, trying to feel more, to feel everything. John smells of geraniums. Soft, like sea glass is softened by the lapping water, by the pull of the moon.
John is still damp, and very warm, and Sherlock had pressed heavily against him before he regained his balance. 
“Italian.”
John blinks.
“Are you asking me to go to dinner?”
“When an Italian was married off to a French monarch she brought her servants and her chefs. They brought fine dining to France, in fact, although the French can still be credited with what they did with it.”
John looks closely into Sherlock’s eyes. Perhaps he was finally beginning to doubt Sherlock’s sanity, such as it was. 
An average raindrop. A subterranean river. The ocean in a seashell. Sherlock has doubts as well.
“The Italian chefs did away with the putrid and medieval spices and sauces they encountered. They also brought forks with them from Italy.”
“Forks?”
“Yes. The French and English were still stabbing chunks of meat with pocket knives, and thought themselves perfectly civilized.”
“You’re certainly a wealth of trivia when you pop up in my lap like this.”
Keep talking. Keep breathing. The sound of the surf, the pull of the moon.
“The French, quite ironically, believed forks to be effeminate in the extreme.”
John considers this for a moment.
“Well now you’ve got me hungry. Are you sure you’re alright, though? It’s just normally you… use the sofa. For thinking. Not the bathroom door.”
“Ah yes, the sofa, sorry. I’ll go to the sofa.”
“So, Italian, then, for dinner?”
“Fine,” Sherlock nods. Then he turns and flees.
 

~~~

The grains of cornmeal swell in the liquid, absorbing the protein and fat suspended in the broth, oils from the woodsy herbs. The constant motion of the whisk, agitating and separating. The butter melting-
“Sherlock.”
Sherlock’s gaze flicks up from the spot on John’s jawline where he had been staring. John’s eyes are questioning, concerned.
“What are you thinking about when you zone out like that?”
The state of his sweater, the curl of his socks. The creases in John’s lips are slightly red from the wine. Rhododendron. Right now his breath smells of red fruits and red sauce, red pepper flakes. His mouth would taste of red.
“What do you mean, I’m… I’m often quiet. I’ve even eaten a bit.”
John smiles at that.
His smile is sunshine. The clouding of the ocular lens, the smell of spice. The dry sunshine of a dusty archway, an olive grove. Salt. He would taste of salt.
“Yes, that’s good. I really think you should eat an entire plate of food for once, though. Maybe drink some more wine. Whatever it takes to get you to relax, really, because you haven’t been your normal kind of quiet, and you know it.”
Subterranean rivers, aerated rock. What might it take to relax? Mornings by the sea. Midnights in the garden. He would taste of wine.
“Do I?”
“You do. Something is bothering you, and I think you should let it go.”
Sherlock scowls a bit at that but tries to hide it quickly, leaning over his polenta and pork ragu and slowly chewing.
Hotel rooms with expensive sheets of creamy cotton. Meals of fruit on sun-warmed rocks. An entire world brought to life by love. He knows. He has known all along that this is love.
Sherlock slowly lifts his glass of wine so that he can stare at John over the glassware’s burnished rim.
“Maybe I don’t want to let it go,” he growls. 
John looks at him in surprise.
“Fine,” he replies, setting down his napkin on his empty plate. 
So many shades of blue. Marble in the shade, juniper in the sun. John’s eyes in the shade. John’s eyes in the sun.
“You don’t have to tell me what it is that you’re obsessing over. I just think you should try to relax. I’m a doctor, remember, stress is harmful-”
“Yes, John, I’m aware. I am potentially damaging my hippocampus, which any veteran with traumatic stress experience would obviously understand. I can’t imagine that obliging your medical advice of drinking wine will alleviate the source of my stress, but, if it makes you feel better…”
With that he drains his wine, and pours the rest of the Cabernet in the bottle into his glass. John would taste of red. John would taste of wine. This very wine.
John sighs, then watches him for a long moment.
“It’s anxiety.”
Sherlock sets down his glass, already half-empty again. If John tells him to drink he will drink. He will eat. He will follow, he will stay. He knows it. He will even try to listen.
“I’m sorry?”
“You don’t like repetition. Your mind is clouded by anxiety. I can see the tension in your neck. You pace in my bedroom. You fall asleep leaning on the bathroom door while I’m in the tub-”
John stops then, as if suddenly hearing it all laid out in his own voice makes it sound… different.
“I just mean… It couldn’t hurt to relax. A little wine. To relax. That’s all.”
Unbroken script: John ~ Tasting of red fruits and hot pepper. John ~ Dropping his robe onto the bench. John ~ Suspecting the truth.
Sherlock can feel his cheeks glowing in the yellow light of the restaurant.
“It’s the histamines in the grape skins.”
“What?”
“They make my cheeks… inflamed.”
John smiles.
“A bit, now that you mention it. If you don’t want-
"No. It’s… A good idea.”
Geraniums. Sea glass. The moon.
“Perhaps we can pick up another bottle on the way home.”

~~~

The lights are a bit more vivid, now.
Violet, the neon glow. Pooling indigo: the night.
John comes out of the shop with a few bottles in a paper bag. Perfect. His face is always so perfect. Aftershave. Honey.
“Better?”
He had told John he needed a bit of air. Really, he just wanted to let John choose the wine. 
He would choose the labels he thought Sherlock would like. The colors, the shapes, the weight of the paper. 
A wealth of information. Lilac: John’s hair in the neon glow. 
So many shades of blue.
“Much.”
The paths home are easy, thawed from the sudden warmth of the spring weather. John glowing in the pooling indigo of the night. 
“What are you thinking about?”
Rhododendron, geraniums. Currants, scotch.
It’s John’s smile that makes him laugh: it looks nearly smitten. John ~ Adolescent in the streetlights. 
The butter melts. His joy surfaces, it is lighter than everything around it, it bubbles up. Scented bubbles. Subterranean rivers.
John seems a bit bemused by his laughter. Happy.
“I suppose I was thinking that March rather snuck up on me. It feels balmy after just one afternoon of sunshine.”
Sunshine: melting butter, juniper, dusty sun-warmed rocks. Geraniums ~ The way John smells after his bath.
“The weather? I expected something more than that after all your quiet.”
Light, happy. John is teasing him.
“Well I suppose eating an entire plate of food and drinking wine as my doctor advised has slowed my faculties.”
Midnight in the garden: small white lights in the trees, millions of suns drowning in the pool of the sky. 
John would taste of wine. 
John would taste of red.
“Sherlock?”
“Yes, John?”
There is a flicker of doubt on John’s face. So many shades of blue.
“What were you really thinking about?”
Sherlock smiles. Breathing deeply, bottling essences.
“I thought your medical advice was to eat and drink wine and subsequently be merry. In what capacity are you so interested to know?”
“Well, I stand by that advice but I’m still just wondering as… as your friend.”
Pooling lilac. So many shades of blue. 
“We’re home.”

~~~

The night is a forest: Home is a beacon.
Small white lights in the trees. Love is a winking light in the wild darkness. Holding you close, allowing room for boldness. 
Room for courage.
He is smiling to himself on the way up the stairs, because John is, also. John thinks that he can’t see, but he hasn’t taken into account… that he can read the muscles in his back, the weight of his steps. 
Sherlock can feel John’s happiness like he can feel the warmth of the sun. Millions of suns.
John suspects the truth, but he is smiling. Melting butter. John would taste of salt.
“I’ve had a brilliant idea.”
The paths home are easy.
“Really?”
John ~ Smiling in a perfect circle of light. John ~ A sky full of stars.
“Don’t sound so surprised, I’m not just here to help you conduct light.”
“Did I say that?”
John ~ The sun.
“Yes, but listen. Since you’ve been responding so far to my course of treatment, I’m going to continue following the most banal stress-relief regimen possible.”
“John-”
“No, truly. You’ve eaten an actual meal and had a bit of wine and you look much better already. By the time I’m done with you, you’ll be soft as putty and you’ll sleep for twelve hours.”
John flushes a bit as his last words echo in the vast space between them. Sherlock stares, his lips parted slightly, and tries to relearn how to breathe. 
“So, I’ll open this wine and we’ll carry on. With my plan.”
Violet. Lilac. Rhododendron.
“Certainly. Only a fool argues with his doctor.”
“That’s right,” John calls over his shoulder as he rummages for the wine key, “and you’re a card-carrying genius, which makes my word law.”
Sherlock takes off his Belstaff and hangs it on a hook. He unbuttons the jacket of his bespoke suit, shrugs it off and folds it over a chair. 
Keep breathing. Keep talking. His skin is hot: He can feel every button on his silver-gray shirt. 
He can see every pore in the surface of this dream-world. John ~ A spark of sunshine, living flame in the indigo forest of the night. 
“Yes,” he agrees. 
His voice is a whisper in the garden. 
Rivers of sunlight beneath the ground. “And we both know how fastidiously I observe the law.”
Olive groves, the moon. 
The wines are all red, from several different grapes. The pattern is in the labels. 
Fleur de Lis ~ The symbolic lotus of the living room paper. 
Royalty. Tartan ~ The blanket over John’s chair. John’s throne. 
Warp, weft, twill. 
Heliotrope notes ~ Sherlock’s favorite shirt. 
“Well, tonight you can observe me.”
Geraniums. Sea glass. The moon.
“Clever as your mind might be, your body and your brain react to stress just like anyone’s, and that’s just how we’ll treat your stress. Like anyone else’s.”
Sherlock sits in the chair John pulls out for him. He lifts the glass of wine John pours him. 
Tempranillo, creamy label with a bronze script. John’s favorite jumper. John’s skin ~ sun-warmed rocks. John’s eyes ~ the night sky.
“More wine, and also music, and I’m going to rub the kinks out of your shoulders.”
Breathe. Raindrops, cataracts. Wintergreen. Breathe.
“No, don’t go all tense again, or your doctor will have to roll a joint and draw you a bubble bath.”
Sherlock draws a breath, imagines the air (notes of evergreen, notes of honey) spreading to the end of every nerve. 
A breeze blowing through the room with the vaulted ceilings. 
Unbroken calligraphy.
“Yes, doctor.”

~~~

“Hope.”
Sun-warmed rocks. So few atoms whirling in the emptiness. Creating warmth in the emptiness, sparking like fire in the garden of midnight. The forest of night.
“Sorry?”
“When all of the suffering rushed out of the jar, only hope was left.”
An entire world transformed by love.
They are both on the sofa, shoes discarded. Honey. Pepper. Wine.
“Jar?”
Their feet keep touching, and neither try to stop it. Notes of evergreen: the oils of woodsy herbs. Melting butter.
“Yes. Pandora’s jar.”
John began to giggle, having valiantly succeeded in keeping them both thoroughly soaked in wine. Heavy paper. Heliotrope. Shades of red bleeding into blue.
Boldness. Courage.
“Are you still on about Pandora? It’s just the radio. Isn’t it a box?”
“No, pithos means jar, it’s a common mistranslation.”
The clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens. Allowing light to pass through, allowing you to see tiny changes. The answer must be there.
“Do you like the music?”
Raindrops. Rivers of sunlight.
“Yes. Rhythm and blues.”
John’s eyes, up close. So many blues.
Marble in the shade. Juniper in the sun.
“Soul music. It’s the best thing to ever come from America.”
The paths home are easy. Warp, weft, twill.
“There is something soothing about it. Like… Happiness and sadness mixed up together." 
"I think they call that nostalgia.”
John ~ A conductor of light.
“Or hope.”
“Right… Speaking of music, I almost forgot the last bit of my plan.”
“Your medical treatment for stress.”
“Correct.”
John stands up and takes Sherlock by the hand, leads him to his chair and stands behind him. He will follow, he will stay. He knows it.
John sings softly along with the music.
“I see my light come shining… From the West down to the East.”
“John. Do you think that inanimate objects have souls?”
If you throw your soul to the mountain, it will fold it. He read that somewhere. The mountain will keep it. A froth of stone.
“Sherlock. You are not an inanimate object.”
“Very clever.”
“Just let me rub your shoulders, you’ve worked yourself into knots lately.”
Rhododendron. Geranium. Red.
“And you want to know why.”
John pauses.
“What do you think about when you drift off? Today, when I was in the tub and you… Nodded off, leaning on the door. Were you really thinking about…”
“Yes?”
“Well… Forks? Really?”
Sherlock frowns a bit, but John can’t see him. 
Can he tell by the muscles in his back? The pattern of his breath. Changing pitch, like droplets, like the twisting of a tap. 
Smaller and smaller.
“John.”
“Yes?” Almost too quickly.
“What do you think about?”
“When?”
“When… you soak in the bath. What do you think about? When you listen to me play my violin. What do you think about, John?”

~~~

Genus: Pyrus.
The first notes strike a staccato beat.
Home is a beacon. Leaves may be oval, broad or lanceolate.
The music (John’s soul) adds bits of dialogue, lyrics projected on the walls of his mind. 
You want to take me to a doctor… To talk to me about my mind…
“Alright. I’ll tell you, or try. But… I asked you first. So first, you tell me. Tell me if you told me the truth about what you were thinking about. Or try.”
“Pear tree.”
John pauses in his slow kneading of Sherlock’s shoulders, the top of his spine. 
Trouble in me is not related to things I say or do…
“What?”
Field surgeon’s fingers. Softened by the pull of the moon. Family: Rosaceae. 
“Pear tree.”
“Have I gotten you so drunk that you’re singing Christmas carols?”
I’m really not that complicated…
White, five-petaled flowers. Early Slavic tribes believed pear trees to be the home of kind little gods. 
Night is a forest, white lights in the trees. 
Your good doctor friend, he oughta talk to you…
“I don’t know. Exactly how drunk are you trying to get me?”
John says nothing, but Sherlock can feel him smile. 
Blossoms opening to the sun. The rarest ones may be stained with the barest hint of yellow. Pink.
“‘Oh to be a pear tree! To be any tree in bloom.’ It’s from a book, John. Spring transforms the pear tree, and the pear tree waits.”
Family: Apidae.
Pliny said that pears were best simmered with honey.
I got to take a tone of lies… Just to get an ounce of truth from you…
“It waits for the bees. The vanilla orchid, too. It relies on a single native pollinator. If a local bee never arrives, the vanilla planifolia can bloom in vain but never create a new life, never transform.”
Genus: Melipona.
“John… I will tell you, but sometimes even I don’t see. You ask me what I’m thinking of and I admit sometimes I may make something up but… it’s never as clever as I think.”
The wood of the pear tree does not warp. Tartan ~ Warp, weft, twill.
“Not a disguise. A self portrait.”
“Cataracts, cooks. Learning to see, learning to taste. Cataloguing scents.”
John ~ With notes of whiskey. John ~ In the rain.
“No, I mean… I have rooms for things, in there. Things I want to keep. The more important the- category, the bigger the room gets.”
Vaulted ceilings. Every dust mote clear to him in the sunlight.
“Sometimes, I even find myself looking out the windows.”
Rhododendron. Violets. Bees.
“You see, when you find me elsewhere, I’m not, exactly. Elsewhere. I am here, I’m just… too present, I’m trying to observe everything.”
The wood of the pear tree does not splinter. Vanilla. Honey ~ Aftershave.
“I’m trying to…”
Breathe. Vanilla.
“Explain. Now you.”
Honey.
“Tell me the truth.”
Aftershave.
“Or try.”

~~~

Candytuft. Larkspur.
The music is softer, soothing.
’…thank you for the sunshine bouquet…’
Sherlock knew the names of all the flowers in his grandmother’s garden.
The answer must be there.
’…thank you for the love you brought my way…’
“Sometimes,” John begins, his fingers just resting on Sherlock’s shoulders now, “I think about a garden.”
Blazing Star, Sweet William. A self-portrait. 
John’s thumbs rub small circles, just below his neck. Bee Balm. 
Red-Hot Poker.
“A garden where the music plays.”
Violets, bees. Family: Apidae.
All the quaint, half-domesticated wildflowers outside the window. 
“When you’re playing something sweet-sounding, on your violin.”
John is soaked with wine. This very wine. Baby’s Breath, China Aster. Catchfly.
His smile is sunshine: the smell of spice.
Rejoicing with the bees, butterflies, hummingbirds. Maiden Pinks. 
Showy Evening Primrose.
Pollinators. Transformation.
Lemon Mint, Lavender Hyssop. 
He had never deleted their names. Had never even wanted to. 
They had been so like friends.
Spurred Snapdragon, Yarrow.
Tall Verbena. Elder Flower.
“An old-fashioned country garden, crossed with little stone pathways.”
The paths home are easy.
Lights in the trees. 
John has gotten expansive, with the wine. With the undivided attention of those eyes, so like the sea.
The sea whispers a secret. 
’…you’re my spark of nature’s fire…’
John ~ The Sun.
“Sometimes, if you’re playing something sad, I imagine that it’s raining in the garden." 
’…you’re my sweet complete desire…’
John ~ In The Rain. Hair wet around his ears and neck. 
The clouding of the lens. 
The sky is a vaulted ceiling. 
Borage. Bergamot.
"With sunlight breaking in through the clouds." 
Lemon Queen Sunflower.
’…yesterday my life was filled with rain…' 
Nasturtium, Lupine.
"I suppose… Sometimes my mind wanders from the garden.”
When he stopped breathing for long moments, he was staring.
Shooting Star, Pentstemon. Foxglove.
“Sometimes I’m just watching you.”
Phlox. Standing Cypress.
“In the bath… I start feeling a bit dreamy there, too. A bit melancholy, even.”
Nostalgia: Hope. Joy and grief, all mixed up together.
’…you smiled at me and really eased the pain…“
"I mean, usually I’m happy but sometimes still a bit… Lonely, I suppose.”
Baby-Blue-Eyes. Johnny-Jump-Up. Carpet-of-Snow. Winter Thyme.
“Probably because all of my romantic relationships have failed.”
He tries to make it sound like a joke. 
He fails. 
Coral Bells. Bluebells.
Sherlock doesn’t want John’s fingers to stop moving in little circles on his shoulders.
John ~ In the perfect circle of the streetlight.
John ~ The Sun.
But he needs to say something. 
Do not just stand beside the sea. 
Forget-Me-Not.
Love-in-a-Mist. Cosmos.
“John… Were you joking about that joint?”
Mornings by the sea. 
Midnights in the garden.
The sea is a secret. Leap.

~~~

Photosynthesis.
Sweet William, Catchfly, Elder.
The energy in the sunlight: Cosmos.
“Well, I was…” John begins, “…and I wasn’t.”
Reactions in the green pigments.
Evergreen: bottle green. John ~ In the garden where he thinks of me. Whiskey, wine. 
In that endless moment, everything was green. John ~ Smelling of the rain.
The flowers open to the sun.
“John?”
John is staring. Standing Cypress.
Spurred Snapdragon, Yarrow.
Blue eyes… A bit more vivid now.
“Joking, that is. It’s a funny story, actually, Mrs. Hudson-”
Sherlock stands quickly. John blinks.
Courage.
John’s eyes travel quickly down and back up a gleaming line of buttons, mother-of-pearl.
They glow in the shade thrown by the lamplight, the streetlight.
John’s light. 
John licks his lips, his gaze moving all over Sherlock’s face.
“Come upstairs, I’ll just- show you.”
John is blushing. His perfect face is glowing with the wine. 
The music ends. They stand in silence.
Small breaths. Smaller and smaller.
“Alright,” Sherlock answers. 
Maiden Pinks. Love-in-a-Mist.
Vanilla. Coral Bells.
This very wine.
“But first-”
The music changes: a new song begins.
A tentative little swing. Breathe.
Boldness. Courage. 
“Dance with me?”
Do not just stand beside the sea.
Tall Verbena. Lemon Mint. Green.
“Dance?”
Sherlock feels blood rush to his face, his ears. His throat. 
Five-petaled flowers. Family: Rosaceae.
He can feel John’s eyes everywhere on his face.
“Dancing… relaxes me,” Sherlock answers, looking away. “Isn’t that what you wanted?”
’…if you need me… call me…’
John licks his lips. “Yes.”
’…don’t wait too long…’
John comes closer and takes Sherlock by the hand. Electricity. Shooting Star.
’…deep down in my heart…’
John rests his other hand on Sherlock’s waist. Blazing Star. They begin to sway.
’…I can imagine in my mind…’
Turning in a slow circle. John seems unable to look away. 
“You never asked me to dance before.”
It is a whisper, a tremble. He tries to make it sound like a joke: he fails.
The way they move around the breakfast table, the silences: Dancing.
’…don’t wait too long…’
“No,” Sherlock agrees. “I never did.”
Sherlock rests his head on John’s shoulder. Aftershave. 
Whiskey. John slides his hand around to Sherlock’s back. 
He exhales. Sherlock exhales with him.
’…I’ll hurry home…’
The surface of this dream-world glows, a deep green ocean reflecting a sky of velvety stars.
’…where I belong…’
He slips below the surface.

~~~

“Vega.”
Upstairs on the fire escape, underneath the cold fire of the stars. 
“Vega. Constellation: Lyra.”
John laughs. “I thought you didn’t care.”
The music drifts in through the window.
’…I don’t need no doctor to get my prescription filled…’
“I do care.”
John had taken him by the hand, when the music had stopped. 
He had kissed him once on the cheek. 
“The fifth brightest star in the night sky.”
John had lead him upstairs.
“When I was a child I believed in animism." 
Through the window, to the little fire escape. Throw your soul to the mountain.
The mountain will fold it.
Hudder’s herbal soothers: "Helps with nightmares,” she had said.
Reactions in the green pigments: photosynthesis. John ~ The Sun.
Wintergreen, evergreen. 
Lemon mint. Verbena. 
“That I could hurt… or comfort- things.”
’…all I need is tenderness…’
Favorite rocks. Stars. Flowers. 
Sweet William.
Trees: the homes of kind little gods.
“Is that what you were on about before? Objects?”
Lights in the trees: lights in the sky.
John is slurring now, just a little. He brought the last bottle of wine, and as they share it back and forth they move closer together. 
John’s words are wet around the edges. Softened by the pull of the moon. A million suns drowning in the pool of the sky. Pooling indigo: the night.
“Vega is used to calibrate the brightness of all the other stars." 
Blazing Star. The stars are more vivid: they are closing in. 
Sherlock can see all the tiny changes. Softened by the wine. Heliotrope label, matte paper. Merlot. 
Their thighs are touching, and neither tries to stop it. Plums, cinnamon, pepper. Vanilla. 
Throw your soul: the moon will keep it.
Objects, like friends, can feel slighted.
A breeze blows through the garden with the vaulted ceilings. 
Unbroken calligraphy.
"Truth or dare.”
Even objects can feel love. 
“This is childish.”
Flowers: Stars.
When all the suffering rushed out, only hope was left. Honey, pepper, wine.
“People only play these games if they have questions. I dare you to ask your question.”
’…all I need is my baby…’
“Coward.”
John ~ Suspecting the truth. Boldness. Leap into the sea.
“Yes, doctor.”
So like friends: a garden. 
Red-Hot Poker. Carpet-of-Snow.
“I dare you to deduce my dare, and then do it.” Aftershave, honey.
“Do whatever you deduce is my dare.”
Whiskey, wine.
“Then I’ll tell you if you were right.”
Breathe. 
Raindrops, cataracts. The moon. 
Too big, too much: The stars close in. 
He stumbles through the window. 
John follows him inside.
“Why?” Sherlock asks John. 
Breathe. So few atoms. Creating warmth in the forest of the night. 
John comes closer. 
’…baby won’t you please come on home…’
Vega: from the Arabic root.
Sherlock’s back is to the wall. 
The silences when John is staring.
Vega: Falling. Shooting Star.
He will follow, he will stay. 
He has known all along. Love-in-a-Mist.
The pear tree waits.
“Why, John?”

6

The world’s oldest decorated cave

Lit by the beam from a head-torch, lines of animals loom out of the shadows across the limestone walls of the cave – lions and bears, mammoths, bison and horses, all woven together across the fissures of the rock. And immortalised in the clay, prints of human hands and feet provide a spiritual link to those ancient artists.

An immense natural cathedral untouched for millennia, the Chauvet Pont-d’Arc cave has retained a remarkable freshness. Time stands still here along the Estre Combe at Vallon- Pont-d’Arc in Ardèche, just a short way from the immense natural stone bridge of the Pont d’Arc. On the 18 December 1994, three local cave explorers – Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire – discovered paintings, engravings, and prints that had been forgotten for 36,000 years [http://lacavernedupontdarc.org/]