askcarmina  asked:

"DON'T TOUCH THE COOKIES THEY'RE NOT READY YET!" He didn't care about them getting out of shape. He was only concerned archer didn't burn himself on the chocolate chips.

A slight gasp as he dropped the one he had picked up. He felt the heat right before Michael had warned him. He pouted and put his fingers to his mouth, soothing the light burn. “They smell so good though.”

Magic in the Mirror

All for the marvelous @svu-stories! Enjoy!!!

Let it never be said that you were anything less than a loving wife.

Following a failed party to raise funds for a musicalized version of Lonesome Dove, you cleaned up with your crew and endured the withering remarks of a botoxed socialite who claimed that the food was the problem and ordered the sludge to the dumpster out back. That was not happening. Derek planned to take the unwanted leftovers to the nearest shelter. It would feel as if a cattle drive had come to Manhattan, and you were glad that the food would find an audience even if the show was a lost cause.

But you had to snag one helping of braised ribs and apple cake for the road.

Tempted to take the spoils home, you regrouped, too close to Hogan Place to not serve Rafael a surprise. Dinner and you sporting a short denim skirt over red cowgirl boots? Whatever he was up to would wait, and as you rode up the elevator you fantasized him peeling the boots off, consuming your legs with his lips as he mounted you on his desk.

Well… at least after he ate. Rafael colored it a compliment when your skills in the kitchen caused one appetite to overwhelm the other. But in the end he would reward you with an ocean of kisses for your troubles.

Where was Carmen? If Rafael pulled late hours, hers were even longer. Not that there wasn’t a feminine voice emanating from his office, and you lightly knocked on the cracked door when his dulcet tone beckoned you to enter.

“What are you doing here?” Rafael asked.

“That how you greet your wife, Barba? When she obviously comes bearing gifts?”

Smiling at Amanda, you set the platter on his desk and gave her a quick hug before narrowing your eyes at the man twisting in his leather chair.

“Apologies,” he sighed. “Now what do we have… ow!”

You swatted his hand as he started to lift the Styrofoam and shared a smirk with the blonde detective.

“And here I thought the outfit would get the bigger reaction,” you said.

“Those are some fine threads,” Amanda commented. “Must have been quite a party.”

“Hardly,” you said. “If I’d known you were here I’d have fixed you a plate.”

“My date and I already had dinner.”

Glancing over your shoulder, you expected to see Carisi in the room. Instead, there was a little pink bundle propped up against the pillows on the couch.

“Oh I see,” you said as you stared at the rosy cheeks resting under a lavender knit cap. Little Jesse looked like she was waiting for her turn at a meeting, and you smiled at the idea of her morphing into a defense attorney who might give Rafael more than a run for his money.

“Hello, little girl,” you whispered as you slipped to your knees and held out your hand. Five tiny fingers coiled around one of yours, but her face stayed blank as she met your eyes.

Maybe she really was a lawyer in disguise.

“She was having a play date with Carmen when I told the counselor to send her home,” Amanda continued. “Someone should get the night off.”

“Right?” you agreed. “He’s like a taskmaster sometimes.”

“I honestly don’t know how Carmen puts up with it.”

“Try being his wife,” you said.

“I’ll pass.”

“Excuse me,” Rafael demanded as you and Amanda looked to see him standing. “I am right here. And we need to review these motions.”

“Time and tide and all that,” Amanda said. She started to take Jesse into her arms when you bolted up.

“I could take her,” you said. “Bet you get done a lot quicker. What do you say?”

Out of the corner of your eye, you saw Rafael’s brow furrow as his lip started to curl over his teeth.

“Good idea!” Amanda cut in as she passed Jesse into your embrace and handed over her diaper bag. “My girl deserves a break.”

Jesse felt like a feather in your hold, and you inhaled the scent of powder as you held her and hoped she wouldn’t break.

Yes she does!” you cooed. “What do you say, little lady? Want to go for a walk?”

The baby babbled a response that hardly smacked of yes but was far from a definitive no. It was enough, and you were almost out the door when Rafael cleared his throat.

“We won’t be much longer,” he said. “So don’t go far.”

“Well I was planning on a late night run to this hot dog joint in Jersey,” you said. “But I guess the end of the hallway will have to do.”

“I think I know the place,” Amanda said. “If this takes much longer we’ll call it quits and split some onion rings.”

Rafael groaned as you left them to their work. Jesse seemed so serious as you made funny faces and tickled the bottom of her chin. At least she wasn’t wailing for her mother to save her from the strange woman looking like she’d stepped away from a square dance too soon. Finding a quiet spot in an empty conference room, you balanced her little body on the table and told her how pretty she was over and over again. You might as well have been talking to Jingles, the cat that Rafael presented to you on Christmas morning with a collar of bells adorning her neck. The tabby purred a lot and liked to snuggle at your feet, but as much as you wished it, the feline was never going to echo your words or form a smile. Was that the best of all possible worlds all around? Jesse didn’t even seem sold when you offered a peppermint from your pocket. No smile.

Just spit up.

“Least I can do is clean you up.”

Heading to the bathroom, you dabbed her pink onesie with a paper towel and stood in front of the mirror. Your reflection looked back, tired and sad. Was this what Rafael was afraid of when you took off? Your futile hope for a Jesse of your very own felled by the fact that you weren’t very good when it came to this line of work? Better to stay in kitchens and slave over stoves. In the end a fine meal was the the only thing you could ever hope to create. You were ready to make like a whiny child and ask them if they were almost done when Jesse touched her tiny fingers to the glass.

“Yes…” you slowly started. “That’s you. Very pretty.”

Jesse found your eyes in the mirror and you held your breath as she pushed forward and parted her lips. The slobbering kiss that she planted on the glass made you giggle. And Jesse finally laughed before repeating the move over and over again.

“What are you doing?” you said, your chuckles harmonizing with hers as she looked to you for approval in the wake of each sloppy peck. “Do you love yourself?” She clapped her hands, and you took that for a yes when she pulled you over the sink with surprising strength.

“Me, too?” you nervously asked. Her little head bobbed back and forth in a nod, and you followed suit, the mirror fogging up as you made a party of it. Now this was something that would cause producers to pause and reach into their purses. You laughed together so loudly that it bounced off the walls of white tiles and when your eyes blurred with joyous tears, you turned her around and hoped that she would keep smiling.

“Thank you,” you murmured as her grin showed no signs of going away, and you were ready for round two when the door opened.

And Amanda appeared.

“You girls are having way too much fun,” she said. “Imagine what you would have gotten up to if you’d actually gone to Jersey.”

Jesse reached for her mommy, and you took one last look, wishing that the moment could last but knowing that it wasn’t yours. It never would be…

“Glad I could help,” you said as you ran your hand over Jesse’s cap. “Work done?”

“Yes. And you’ll be happy to know that your husband nearly cleaned his plate. Maybe you want to come over and make dinner for me and Jesse sometime?”

You thought Carisi had that covered, but you nodded quickly and felt your heart swell as Jesse waved goodbye. Raising your hand to blow a kiss, you heard her small sounds growing fainter until you were alone in a world of white with nothing but your thoughts.

Clutching the sink, you started to sob. You might have stayed like that and curled up on the smooth floor until sleep found you when the door opened again.

Mi amor?”

Rafael rushed to your side and held your arms as you leaned into his chest.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered as he kissed your hair. “Jesse looked happy when she left.”

“Did you think she wouldn’t?” you challenged. “Is that why you didn’t want me to—?”

“Of course not,” he insisted. “But I know what you want most. And I can’t stand seeing you sad.”

You searched the small space between you until your fingers locked. He clutched your palm lightly and bathed your neck with warmer kisses. His reflection was real, and you were ready to turn and bury your head in his neck when you held your ground and waited until he literally mirrored your stance.

“I don’t want to be sad,” you said. “And if we could have a baby… Rafael, I could be good at it.”

He rested his chin on your shoulder and wound his arms around your waist.

“You’re good at everything,” he said.

“Amanda mentioned that your liked your dinner.”

“Goes without saying. But that’s not what I’m talking about.”

His green gaze became your looking glass. The frown lining your lips twisted into a smile as he pulled you closer.

“Then we’ll find a way,” he promised. “I’ve always told you that. Do you trust me?”


His tongue tinged with cinnamon twirled around yours, and you were ready to take a chance and get the moment back. Doctors believed in science. Lucia believed in miracles. But Jesse’s smile was stronger. How could you pass that chance up? There had to be a way.

And you only wanted Rafael at your side for the journey.

“Let’s get you home,” you said as you smoothed your hands down his vest and straightened his tie. “It’s been a long day.”

“Too long without you.”

He collected his briefcase and you held his hand in the elevator as he leaned in to nibble your ear.

“And mi amor?”


“I adore the skirt. The boots. They’re giving me all kinds of ideas.”

“Wait until you see what I have underneath,” you said as he hailed a cab and you fell into the back seat like a couple of hungry teenagers on the verge of their first time.

Nothing wrong with giving Mother Nature another fair shake on the road to happily ever after.

There were other lonely singers in a world turned deaf and blind
Who were crucified for what they tried to show
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time
‘Cause the truth remains that no one wants to know

Well, the old man was a stranger, but I’d heard his song before
Back when failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door
When no-one stood behind me but my shadow on the floor
And lonesome was more than a state of mind

You see, the devil haunts a hungry man
If you don’t wanna join him, you got to beat him
I ain’t sayin’ I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing
Then I stole his song

—  Johnny Cash, “To Beat the Devil”
Last Week at 2dcloud

At The Comics Journal, RJ Casey wrote a glowing review of the beautiful book, Perfect Hair by Tommi Parrish. It’s a part of our new Fall Kickstarter.  

Lonesomeness, dread, selfhood — these are some of the main themes touched upon in the 72 pages of Perfect Hair. These topics are never easy to talk about or even comprehend, but Parrish fully realizes them and with surefooted confidence, doesn’t shy away from anything, delving deeper and deeper into distressing psyches. Pefect Hair, like many 2dcloud books, made me feel supremely uncomfortable, and that I’m grateful for.

Sab Meynert, whose gorgeous book Sprawling Heart is a part of our new Fall Kickstarter, and Tommi Parrish were on the popular podcast We Should be Friends. Coincidentally, Carta Monir whose contemplative comics Secure Connect is a part of our new Fall Kickstarter is the host of the show! 


Speaking of Kickstarter, our new Fall Collection is 23% funded in just TWO DAYS! Wow! This is the fastest ever in our Kickstarter history. Thank you so much backers who appreciate good art. You will not be disappointed. 

Please help us with spreading the love of good art. ❤️

Lonesome abandonment
My skies, I have adored you
Yet the clouds carry on, slithering
Away like vast gray waves
Frothy currents, dragging me
Up to the shoreline
My earth, I have worshiped you
Meditating in ancient gardens
Insects humming in the quiet
Vacuum of silence, I became
Somehow connected, to the
Leaves and roots, swimming
In rich black soil,
I now awaken, to a December
Of revolving thoughts, memories
Like forests, never discerning
The trees, crying listlessly,
Feeling the morning frost,
Glittering across landscapes,
Sheltering autumn flowers,
From winter’s torturing chill


Wolf Silveri

Looking for my father

I have no memories of my own life before the age of 8.

That year my father committed suicide, taking somehow all my memories with him.

There is not much left of his life, except a portrait made by my Grandfather who was a sculptor.

A portrait that has captured his lonesomeness.

This in mind, I created some memories of my own.

Wolf, thank you for the submission. Team Staged thinks this is a very powerful series and wishes you the best!


Here’s this month sugary Dark Souls II short comic starring Lonesome Gavlan and Vengarl, with art by @makanidotdot​ and @baruyon! Last month’s Dark Souls III comic will continue on the 22nd, and you can read it and other stories on the official L&B website! Also, if you like what you see, it’s hugely appreciated for folks to take a peek at the Patreon and support the artists!