me and arthur are on the same page

So, uh, after all the mentions of HH Holmes in the last episode, I was reminded of this thing I wrote a long time ago. It was part of a bigger piece that I doubt I’ll ever finish enough to publish, but here’s a little something.

The first time Martin showed Ben Tumblr, they’re sharing a late on set dinner of takeout and contraband red wine that Ben had personally chosen and smuggled in.

“Did you know that the same year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet one of America’s first serial killers changed his name from Herman Webster Mudgett to H.H. Holmes?” Martin asked, settling back into the sofa cushions. He studied Ben’s profile as Ben scrolled through page after page of the proffered erotic art and romantic fiction on Martin’s laptop.

“I did not know that.”

“I’m just saying, fans have always been a little intense.”

“And that’s supposed to comfort me?”

“These are just drawings and stories. This isn’t a big deal. It’s love.”

“No, this is porn. Porn is not love.”

“It’s an expression of love, and it’s a better pastime than murder.”

“I suppose.”

“Besides, they’re really good, aren’t they?”

Ben turned at that, facing Martin. “Oh, my god.”

“What?”

“You’re flattered.”

“No, I’m not.”

“You are. I can tell,” followed by a pointed finger and a smug grin.

Martin shrugged. “Not only are they talented, but they’re pretty generous. They think you’re some sort of sex god.”

“That’s not generous; that’s perceptive.”

“Har har.”

Ben turned back to the screen and took up a carton for another bite of lo mein. “Herman Webster Mudgett. What a silly name.”

It was a punchline he was being set up for, but Martin didn’t mind obliging. “You’re one to talk.”

So Are They All, All Honourable Men

Summary: Considering Arthur’s future wife will be chosen less for compatibility than for her political value, Merlin may be the only marriage he’ll have that won’t end in bloodshed or a great deal of fortifying wine.

The Bridge

Summary: Merlin returns to work in the royal household just before Christmas, after a period of unpaid leave. At first, he just about manages to hold things together. But then he’s dragged into a game of Bridge, sitting opposite the king himself, and Arthur starts to unpick his defenses.

The Difference of You

Summary: It’s not that Arthur Pendragon can’t get girls to fall for him; it’s just that he can’t seem to keep them around. Relationships and Arthur aren’t on the same page at all, really, but one day there’s Merlin on a bus and then it’s different.

We Can Burn Brighter

Summary: When Arthur agrees to meet Gwen’s new boyfriend Lance and his group of friends he never expected it to include Merlin. It’s been nine years since they broke up, but the memories are still raw. Pretending that they don’t know each other seems like the best idea, until it’s not.

You Looking At Me Looking At You

Summary: After Merlin once again fails to show up for work, Arthur goes to Gaius and fires his servant, this time he swears for good. Later that day, however, he makes a startling discovery. Merlin has been enchanted into a reflection in his mirror, and only when Arthur is around can he be seen or heard. With no idea how it happened or how to get him out, Arthur must attempt to ferret out the sorcerer. But between Morgana, Agravaine, and his most recent noble guests, there are too many traitors to choose from. As time goes on, however, Arthur starts to wonder if the biggest traitor is the one looking back at him.

I’m a shipper at heart so this page confused me so much. I love Esca/lin but Arthur/lin was definitely the first Merlin ship I liked before an Escanor proper introduction. But at the same time Arthur/lin was more of a Mentor/Student relationship one…hmmm

(Though ‘Pride’s dignity begins to waver.’… I don’t think I will like where this is going…)

The Inception "Are You the One?" AU
  • : I watch “Are You the One?” I’m not proud of this, but, at the same time, I admit I enjoy it, because you don’t have to think very hard about it, but it *is* an interesting premise.
  • : If you don’t know the show, they throw together twenty contestants, ten girls, ten boys (it’s geared toward straight cisgender relationships). There are ten “perfect matches” among these twenty contestants, according to some “experts” MTV has pulled together. The contestants have ten weeks (or ten “match-ups,” I’m unclear how long they go between match-ups) to find their perfect match in the house. If they all find their matches in time, they win a million dollars (and theoretically have met the love of their lives). If they fail, they all lose. Every episode, a few couples win challenges and go on dates to get to know each other better. The house votes one of those couples into the “truth booth” to see if they’re a perfect match. The only other information they get about the matches is at every match-up, where they take turns choosing who they think their perfect match is, and the show tells them the total they got correct, but not which couples. So they know they have two perfect matches in the arrangement they’ve given the show, but they don’t know which the matches are.
  • : It’s a fascinating show to watch, #1 - because I desperately want a version of it with people in their mid-30s instead of early-20s to see how different it would be; #2 - they all “fall in love” with each other INSTANTLY and then can never fall out of love because how can you turn feelings off so quickly (never mind that they turned *on* so quickly); and #3 - they are constantly fighting about whether they should follow their heads or their hearts, because theoretically you should be able to win this game just through, like, logic-puzzling it out.
  • : So, anyhow, I was watching the show, and it occurred to me that I really want an Arthur/Eames AU of this show. I mentioned it on Twitter and @involuntaryorange and fandomkatie joined in and I think this fic would go something like this:
  • Me: Arthur would be the player on “Are You the One” trying to get everyone to stay focused on winning through strategy. Meanwhile, he would be annoyed at how attracted he is to the smug, smirky, smarmy Brit with the ugly clothes who is obviously not his match.
  • IO: I have never heard of this show.
  • Me: OMG it is such a terrible trashy show. It’s a reality show on MTV. I watch because I like thoughtless TV. 20 people are stuck together. “Experts” have found their perfect matches for them. Now they have to weed through the group. They are TERRIBLE at it, omg. TERRIBLE. And it’s so frustrating because IT SHOULD JUST BE A LOGIC PUZZLE. JUST THINK. Like, they’re given periodic information and if you kept track, you should win REGARDLESS OF TOUCHY-FEELY EMOTIONS.
  • IO: TBH this show sounds AMAZING. Does the audience know whose match is whose?
  • Me: No. But I know people who do the charts and stuff and keep track LOGICALLY to try to figure it out. You can play along.
  • FK: I am suddenly All About This. (I’d never heard of this before but 10/10 YES for Arthur using spreadsheets.)
  • Me: It’s, like, the perfect reality show for them. It is explicitly spreadsheets vs. flirting.
  • IO: And outwardly Eames would look like he wasn’t paying attention, but he’s actually better at strategy than Arthur.
  • Me: EXACTLY. At the very last match-up, Eames pulls out his own chart and is like, “Here’s your million bucks.” And Arthur is just like, “...Fuck, how long have you had this figured out?” And then Arthur is like, “...Wait, you have us down as a match.” Eames: “Yeah, that’s where your spreadsheet kept going wrong, darling.”
  • FK: Eames: “I am everyone’s perfect match, darling. Put me down for a check mark in every column.” Arthur: >:(
  • Me: HAHAHAHAHA. And then he would try to work his way through everyone in the house just to make Arthur jealous.
  • Me: Arthur would be like, “My match isn’t the weird squinty one?” Eames: “You’re an idiot. His match is the hot French chick.” “...*That’s his match*????”
  • FK: You would get to write twitter fic again because you know they’d be viewer’s otp. Well. First Eames would be the fandom bike but, you know, toward the middle, it would be really really obvs. Early on Arthur would be like, “How are you keeping track if you don’t have charts?” and Eames would be like: “I’m using a more...frictive approach.” *leers leers leers*
  • Me: And Eames would keep giving Arthur earnest speeches about “following his heart” and Arthur would roll his eyes. And then when he sees Eames’s spreadsheet he’d be like, “You hypocritical son of a bitch.”
  • Me: The audience would *love* it, because Arthur would be *so frustrated* by his spreadsheets failing him. And everyone at home would be like, “ARTHUR, YOUR MATCH IS EAMES, DO YOU SEE HOW HE LOOKS AT YOU??????” “ARTHUR, EAMES IS THE ONLY PERSON YOU EVER SMILE AT IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE, ARTHUUUUUUUUURRRRRRR.” And he, poor thing, would just be so oblivious and unhappy and blush throughout the reunion show.
  • FK: They wouldn’t be on kissing terms by the reunion show?????
  • Me: No, they would be, but Arthur would be embarrassed it took him so long. The host would tease him.
  • Me: The only problem with this fic is that couples get to go to “truth booths” periodically to see if they match. I’d have to come up with some reason Arthur and Eames would never go to one, to keep up the suspense. Wait. You get go to go to a truth booth if you pick each other for a date. Maybe Eames never picks Arthur. And Eames tells all his dates, “Arthur’s my match, but I want him to realize *on his own.*”
  • FK: I need to watch this to have a proper chat about it. How early would Eames know? How do you figure it out?
  • Me: Theoretically you’re supposed to figure it out through your “connection” but these people all fail. Which is why Arthur would be like, “Forget about ‘connections,’ let’s just strategize it out.”
  • IO: He and Eames get into long-winded arguments about whether intellectual or sexual compatibility is more important. Arthur manages to completely overlook the fact that these arguments prove their intellectual compatibility.
  • Me: Because Eames keep suggesting they give the sexual compatibility thing a try and it keeps throwing Arthur’s focus.
  • FK: Fascinating. I feel like during the science v. romance conversation Arthur would keep accidentally saying hilarious sad things. Eames is going to laugh about it later, but only after he, y’know, becomes the outlier. These horrifically sad things about his abysmal dating history that Eames has to pretend he doesn’t hear. “A relationship doesn’t need spontaneity, Eames. My last boyfriend and I planned out coitus and kept track of stats for a year to ensure fairness and maximum enjoyment and that was satisfactory all around.” Every time Arthur talks about previous partners he sounds like an accountant at the end of the fiscal year. “No staggering losses, 10/10 will invest again.”
  • IO: Like, “I mean, I dated a guy who would only have sex with the lights out, but we had really good conversations and sometimes if the sex lasted long enough my eyes adapted to the dark and I could kind of see his face.”
  • Me: OH MY GOD. And I feel like Eames would be like, “So why did you break up with all these great boyfriends?” And Arthur’s got this whole, “I think I’m afraid of commitment, I self-sabotage my relationships, I don’t want to be happy,” etc. Like: Arthur, you don’t marry these losers because they don’t make you happy. But Arthur has to see it first. And Eames is thinking, No, your self-preservation finally kicked in and you started thinking clearly.
  • FK: OR. Even sadder: “I don’t. typically. break up with people.” Because like. He thinks things were okay, y’know.
  • IO: Or, worse, he’s like, “Oh, they all broke up with me. They said I was too demanding. And see, that’s why intellectual compatibility is so important!”
  • FK: YES. SAME PAGE. He’s never had a thing with a lot of passion, so he keeps accepting companionship, grateful.
  • IO: And also, Eames has never had a good relationship either, because most people are just into him for his looks.
  • FK: His Big Ex is basically a bastard Arthur: brilliant, cool, collected. Eames was super attracted to the way he has a lot of really interesting ops but he never lets Eames gets a word in, treats him like dumb armcandy.
  • IO: His constant joking is a defense mechanism that he’s developed. OH MY GOD THIS FIC HAS BECOME SO SAD.
  • FK: THE HORROR FELT WHEN HE REALIZES HOW FOCUSED A IS ON INTELLECTUAL COMPATIBILITY. Like damn, self. Not again.
  • IO: Oh, I was thinking he’d be happy! Because obviously Arthur isn’t going to use him for his looks.
  • FK: That, but if he worries A doesn’t think he’s smart because of how he presents he’d definitely have heartsink. Because he’s like, “I shouldn’t have to dampen my personality and whip out my degree to be taken seriously.” But of course, eventually: TRUE LOVE.
  • IO: I guess the happiness could come after the horror. When he realizes Arthur likes arguing with him.
  • FK: No, I think you’re right. I went overboard with sad. Eames’s fondness comes early and hard. Arthur’s a dear.

when i find you, i’ll find me; merlin/arthur.

01. When You Find Me - Joshua Radin // 02. Once Upon a Dream - Lana Del Ray // 03. Home - Mumford and Sons // 04. Hello, I’m in Delaware - City and Colour // 05. Turning Page - Sleeping at Last // 06. Take Me Home - Aqualung // 07. A Thousand Years - Arden Cho // 08. Lift Your Eyes - Hey Marseilles // 09. I Met Up With a King - First Aid Kit // 10. Laughter Lines - Bastille // 11. Under The Same Sun - Ben Howard // 12. Love Don’t Die - The Fray

{listen}

  • Art Teacher: The next sketchbook I would like to show you is really fun. This student obviously has an amazing imagination.
  • Me: OOOoooo! Awesome! I can't wait!
  • Art Teacher: *pulls out my sketchbook*
  • Me: oh god
  • Me: OH GOD NO
  • Me: OH GOD PLEASE NO
  • Me: ALL MY F*CKING MSA ART IS IN THAT THING, HOLY SH*T ON A STICK DON'T SHOW IT
  • Art Teacher: *opens to page one and slides it under overhead*
  • Sketchbook: LOOKS AT ALL THIS MSA SH*T, LOOK AT LEWIS MAKING PANCAKES, LOOK AT ARTHUR DANCING, LOOK AT THEM ALL SLEEPING IN THE SAME BED, LOOK AT MYSTERY BITING OFF ARTHUR'S ARM, LOOK AT ALL THE MSA SH*T
  • Me: *dies*
July 4th, 2014 - Fireworks

ARTIST: stephyhime

AUTHOR: cecemonet-alias

July 4th, 2014 - Fireworks

Author Note: Intense fluff, Canon AU. Arthur finally decides to spend fourth of July with Alfred and does not regret it.

The silence that hung in the house was only broken by the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, and the ticking of the old, golden grandfather clock. The room was large, with white walls held up by the occasional wooden column, and a ceiling ten feet high. There were a few paintings that hung along the plain walls, dating back to the early Northern Renaissance. The floors were carpeted with soft, white material that had adapted shades of light gray and a slight beige-ish tint from years of use. A glass coffee table with a gray metal frame sat upon an old rug all the way from India. There was a leather couch, colored in rich brown and shaped like an “L” in the very middle of the room, facing a very out-of-place looking flat-screen TV.

The TV sat atop a small row of cabinets with glass doors, colored the same shade of brown as the couch. The cabinets contained three rows of movies, two rows of video games, a box with a bunch of chords and game controllers, a Wii console, and an under-used Xbox 360 with a Kinect attached. The old grandfather clock sat along the far wall near the only window, directly across from the only other seat in the room. It was a chocolate-colored chair, like the couch, and was angled towards the window.

Sitting in the chair next to the window, the only occupant of the house was curled into himself, his body all tense. He was completely stiff. Arthur Kirkland, the owner of the house, was sucked into a book.

He aimed the gun at Maggie’s heart and fired. A stain, like a dark red rose, bloomed through the silk of her dress. And in that instant, she focused, aimed, and squeezed the trigger three times. As she’d been trained to do, she shot the boy once through the forehead, then twice through the heart.

He staggered from the impact of the shots. Life left his eyes. Then he fell to the floor.

Maggie’s once-white dress was now stained red—with her blood, and with his, which had sprayed her. There was so much blood. Who knew humans contained so much blood?

Arthur’s eyes darted over the pages. His hands were gripping the book so hard he was afraid he was going to rip it in half. This was what he loved about reading: even if he was safe at home, he could feel the excitement captured in the ink on the page. He knew what it was like to be at gunpoint—hell, having been through hundreds of years’ worth of wars, he’d even been shot a few times—and even just reading about it sent adrenaline pumping through his veins. Questions flew through his mind like a flock of crows:

Was Maggie going to be okay?

Doo wee oooooo!

What would happen next? How would she get out of this one?

Oooooo-oo-oooo~ Dooo dooo doooo ooooooo!

…Was that the Doctor Who theme song?

It took Arthur a second or two to realize that his cell phone was ringing. He marked his page and reluctantly set his book down to go answer it.

“Hello?”

“Britain! Dude, it’s me!”

When is it not you? “What is it, America?”

“Well, as you know, there’s a super-special really awesome holiday coming up at my place, and—”

Arthur sighed and pinched his nose. “America, you ask me the same question at this time every year, and every year I give the same answer. What makes you think I’m going to change my answer this time around?”

There was an uncomfortable pause between them, then he heard Alfred sigh on the other line. “To be honest, Arthur, I almost didn’t call you this year.”

Arthur’s stomach clenched. Alfred never used a serious voice. Ever. The fact that he was using it now made him sound sincere, and… it almost made him sound heartbroken.

“…why—”

Because I knew you were going to say no.“

Arthur’s breaths shortened. He didn’t like feelings—he always tried to hide them. So when he started worrying that Alfred had gotten upset over this, the first thing he wanted to do was try to keep his hopes up. It was almost his birthday, after all. It was the one day Arthur had been avoiding for two-hundred and thirty-eight years. It was high time he faced it like a man.

”…Well, you’re wrong.“

”…wait, what?“

"You’re wrong. I was going to say yes.”

“…is this a joke?”

“No, I’m serious! I’ll come to your birthday party.”

Arthur could practically picture the young blonde lighting up as he heard this. “Wow, seriously?! That’s awesome, man! Thanks, Britain! Dude, I’ll even pay for your plane ticket! This rocks!”

He could’ve babbled for ages, and Arthur really wouldn’t have cared. It had been a long time since he’d heard the American sound so happy, and it made him smile. Arthur finally got Alfred to hang up, and only then did he start to worry that he might’ve just got himself in way over his head.

Arthur was surprised to find that he was flying into California instead of Washington, D.C. The flight was long and exhausting, and he finished his book before it was even halfway over. Disinterest in the movie selections the plane had made him decide to take a nap until they landed. He couldn’t get off fast enough.

Alfred was waiting for him at the baggage claim, a bright smile on his face (which, Arthur noted, looked much tanner than the last time he’d seen him). His hair, usually the color of wheat, had been bleached lighter from being exposed to too much sun. The overly tanned fool was wearing some sort of sports jersey (Arthur never paid as much attention to sports beyond Football (“soccer”) and rugby), a pair of cargo shorts, and sandals.

“Britain!” He waved at Arthur.

“Shut up, fool!” Arthur hissed, “I told you to call me Arthur when we’re around normal people.”

“Artie, then!”

“I hate you.”

Alfred let out a bout of loud, annoying laughter. “Good to see you too! Which bag is yours?”

Much to Alfred’s protest, Arthur insisted on getting his own suitcase. In response to Alfred’s comment about the size, Arthur huffed at him.

“What? It’s not like I’m staying more than a week." 

Alfred shook it off and lead the way out of the terminal with a certain bounce in his step. "Dude, I know you’re gonna love Cali, man! I’m having this wicked awesome beach party for tonight… you brought a swimsuit, right?”

“The only one I own.”

“Ugh, not that old thing from the nineteenth century!”

“Wha— It’s not that old!”

“Might as well be. Dude, I’m not letting you go to my party in that thing.” Arthur scoffed as Alfred tossed his bags into the bed of the American’s massive pickup truck.

“Then what the hell am I supposed to wear?!”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got something that’ll fit ya.”

“How?!” Before he could get an answer, Alfred’s door slammed.

Alfred nearly died laughing. Then, he nearly died from being strangled by a Brit in a bright green bikini.

“THIS IS NOT FUNNY, ALFRED.”

“Dude—” he could still barely breathe, even if Arthur had already let go of his throat, “It was a joke! I didn’t think you’d actually put it on!”

“I was naked in your bathroom with nothing else to wear.”

“You could’ve waited; I would’ve brought you the right one eventually.”

“How else would I have come out here to strangle you?” Alfred was too busy laughing to answer him. He held up a wad of green fabric, and Arthur snatched it from him, growling, “Wanker.” Before marching back to the bathroom.

Arthur quirked an eyebrow as he looked the trunks over. What was that embroidered on the left leg? Upon closer inspection, his eyes widened. It was exquisite work, but that wasn’t what surprised him. It was his crest, and beneath it was the name Kirkland in flawless cursive. Quickly, Arthur rid himself of the stupid bikini and tried them on. He made a startled noise when they fit perfectly. No gaps, no awkwardly tight or awkwardly loose places… Then, it dawned on him.

“I’ve got something that’ll fit ya.”

Alfred wasn’t kidding. Somehow, he’d gotten Arthur’s exact measurements for this bathing suit, and had it embroidered with his crest. Needless to say, Arthur was impressed. He stood in awe, staring at himself in the mirror for a long time. He jolted out of his stupor only because of a knock at the door.

“Britain! Come on, dude! Party’s gonna start without ya!”

“…I’m coming…”

This party was unlike any Arthur had ever been to. And he’d been to some pretty wild parties. (He made the mistake of happening to be in Paris during the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille one year—never again.) As much as he loved to ridicule America for throwing the loudest, most obnoxious parties, he’d never been to one himself. It was barely eight o’clock, and most of these partygoers were already drunk. He’d been drunk many, many times before, but never this early.

Besides, this time, he was going to abstain from having too much to drink. He would rather take in the party sober and relaxed than drunk and stupid. The party was held on a beach, near the pier at Santa Monica, which seemed appropriate. A lot of people were fooling around in the water, while on the sand a DJ had set up a massive sound system complete with lightshow. Arthur just hoped that no one at the party had problems with seizures. He barely recognized most of the songs played, but maybe he didn’t need to. He wasn’t apt at modern dancing anyway.

“Artie!” Alfred seemed to come from nowhere, two red solo cups foaming over with beer in his grasp, “Dude, I got you a drink!” Not wanting to spoil Alfred’s mood by telling him he didn’t want another drink, Arthur took it.

“Thanks…!” He shouted over the music, “Who are all these people?”

“Dunno!” As if it wasn’t a big deal, Alfred grinned, “I kinda just invite a couple people and tell them to invite all their friends. Then they invite their friends, and their friends invite more people, and everyone just kinda shows up!”

Arthur had to let out a laugh. “So it’s a Gatsby party!”

“You know, it kind of is! ‘Cept I don’t have a Daisy to throw it for.” That grin ever present, Alfred locked eyes with Arthur and for an instant, Arthur could swear he saw something other than hyperactive excitement twinkle in his eyes, but it was gone before he could figure out what it was.

“I mean,” the American continued, “I don’t usually invite countries to my birthday parties, cos no one really wants to come, and the people that would want to come, and the people that would want to come are either creepy or my brother.”

Brother? It took a second to click. “…oh! Is Can—is Matthew here?”

“Should be, somewhere,” Alfred shrugged, drinking his beer down and tossing the cup before continuing, “Hey, you wanna come see my favorite part of the beach?” this time, Arthur didn’t bother to try to answer, because he knew Alfred was going to show him anyway.

Once the crowd thinned out, Arthur realized they were headed for the pier. Instead of leading him up onto the boardwalk, Alfred led him under the suspended platform. Arthur grimaced as they passed the barnacle-encrusted support beams that reeked of salt and brine. This is Alfred’s favorite part? Just when Arthur thought he was going to stop, Alfred kept going under the pier.

“Where are we going?” Arthur asked. Alfred paused for a moment, falling back to walk side-by-side with him.

“Just down the beach.” Alfred’s voice had fallen from an annoying, grating pitch to one more mellow, and calmer. Arthur wasn’t shocked, but he made a mental note of how much he liked it better when Alfred wasn’t trying too hard to be heard.

“What for?” Arthur’s voice was soft.

For a second, Arthur was convinced Alfred wasn’t going to tell him. The American just smiled warmly for a second, looking down at the sand while he walked.

“I, uh… found out recently that we could get a better view of the fireworks from this side of the boardwalk.”

Arthur nodded. He’d forgotten the American tradition of shooting off fireworks on their Independence Day. Judging by what he’d heard, the show was supposed to be better and better as the years went on. He would never admit that he was actually excited to see it in person.

“Right here! Come on, let’s sit down. It’s about to start!” Alfred sat down in the sand, gesturing for Arthur to sit next to him. Carefully, so not to get sand in his new shorts (or spill his beer), Arthur sat next to him.

“A bit early, isn’t it?” Arthur looked at the sun, that had yet to completely vanish below the horizon.

“Nah, dude. It starts right after the sun goes down.”

“Well, the sun hasn’t set, now has it?”

“Yeah, but…” Alfred was suddenly interested in his feet. Arthur couldn’t tell if it was the sunset reflecting off the water, or if Alfred’s face had gone bright red. “I guess I just think the sunset is kinda pretty, you know?”

“You could’ve seen the sunset from the party, yeah?”

“Yeah, but… I dunno, I just wanted to make tonight special cos you’re here…”

Arthur’s eyebrows furrowed. “But it’s your birthday, not mine. Why bother to do nice things for me?”

“I’ve had 238 birthdays, Artie. And every year, I get hundreds of people that come for the party, not for me. I don’t want to get gifts from people—though I usually love the gifts I get—cos for my birthdays, I really only wanted one thing, and I got it.”

“And what’s that?”

“I wanted to spend my birthday having the best night ever with you. So no matter what I get for my birthday, you already gave me all I wanted.”

Arthur’s heart rose to his throat. His eyes widened, and he blinked furiously down at the sand. He tried to form words, but he was too confused. His stomach was twisting in knots.

“Alfred… How am I supposed to react to this? I don’t know what to say…”

“Then don’t bother,” Alfred gave him a wry little smile, and Arthur could swear his heart was going to leap out of his throat, “It’s totally fine, I just wanted to say thanks…”

“…god, I could bloody kiss you.”

“Thought you’d never ask.”

Their lips touched, and Arthur’s brain melted. His limbs were numb. All he could really remember how to do was breathe. Was it love? It seemed too simple to be love. Or was it? Love was just wanting to spend time with each other, and they both definitely wanted that. It was the little things: sharing an umbrella, staying up all night talking, watching horror movies together, taking a long drive at 2 AM, falling asleep in each others’ arms and waking up with his head on his chest. Little things like that.

Love was right there: the two of them sitting on the beach, watching the sunset, and forgetting the past. Now, there was just the two of them, and Arthur didn’t have a single care in the world. They broke apart at the sound of an explosion—the fireworks had started. Arthur gaped as the rockets screeched into the sky, then burst in reds, whites, and blues. This was the happiest he’d ever been on a Fourth of July, and he never wanted it to end. Alfred, his glasses twinkling with a reflection of the sparks and his eyes twinkling with something Arthur couldn’t explain, voiced his thoughts exactly:

“Best birthday ever.”

anonymous asked:

How do I title? I'm completely lost.

Yes. I think titles are an underrated and under-discussed headache for writers.  You are not alone in your title-related frustrations, anon.

So how do you come up with a title?

The truth is, it’s completely up to you.  I’ve sat in many creative writing workshops and I don’t actually remember anyone ever questioning the title a writer gives his/her piece.  Titles, in my experience anyway, are completely free rein.

But there is such a thing as a “good title” and some titles are better than others.  So, to answer your question, anon, allow me to delve into my idea of a good title.

Firstly, I believe that titles have two distinct functions: to embody and attract. Your work’s title must represent your entire piece and, at the same time, be compelling enough to attract curiosity.  Your title will (potentially) be displayed alongside other titles on bookshelves or in tables of content. You’d want your title to hold it’s own alongside others.  

How you choose to go about doing this is entirely up to you.  Personally, I like to review a piece after I’ve written it (yes, titles are the last thing on a page for me) and ask myself “what concrete object/image in this story embodies this story?”. For example, Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat” is about a man and, obviously, an overcoat (but still, so much more than that).  Arthur Conan Doyle titles his Sherlock Holmes stories in pretty much the same way (“the Hound of the Baskervilles”, “A Scandal in Bohemia”, “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”).

But there are tons of brilliant titles that do not follow this mold.  Ford Madox Ford’s title “Some Do Not…” refers to a specific concept initially mentioned in passing in the novel that reveals its significance to the narrative (in a very subtle way) only in the end.  The sixth chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” entitled “Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire” is brilliant in its literal and figurative significance to the chapter.

In the end, how you wish to name your piece is entirely up to you.  No one can really tell you how to do it.  The best way is to just do it and see where you end up.

Hope that helps!

-A