metal shear

rebelcaptain; flatliners au iv

Some discussion of death, in this one, and near death experiences. Dunno if that’s triggering for anyone, but there’s a content warning, at least. Also: content warning for mentions of alcohol. 

I’M PROCRASTINATING OKAY I’M SORRY. 


She can’t tell if she looks different.

Jyn yanks the paper towels from the dispenser, and wipes her hands off. She’d done her makeup carefully, this morning. She thinks she might be paler than usual. Her lip is split from where she’d bitten it, during the initial shock from the defibrillator. Other than that, there’s no evidence, other than the ten miles she’d run this morning, that she’d died. One minute, forty-two seconds. One hundred two. She tosses the towels in the trash. I was dead for one hundred two seconds.

There had been a beach. Wide and dark. Choppy water, like off the coast of Aberystwyth. The tide had tugged at her ankles. Up and out through the roof of the hospital, spiraling across oceans to a beach she’d never seen, rocky and sloping down to grey water. One hundred two seconds. Where did I go? She meets her reflection in the mirror, inspects herself for evidence. There’s no reason for anyone to be able to tell.

One hundred two.

She ducks out of the restroom.

They’re all in the conference room, already. Bodhi’s saved her a seat beside him, the way he usually does. He’s fidgeting. He’d stayed at hers, last night, but he’d been out the front door before she’d finished showering after her run, back to his own flat to get fresh clothes and wash his face and panic out of her line of sight. Han and Leia are very studiously not looking at each other, on opposite sides of the room. Cassian’s in the corner, staring out the window, and Cassian’s the one to draw her eye. His hair is down. She can’t remember ever seeing him with his hair down, before. She’d thought, at orientation, nearly two and a half years ago now, that it was unprofessional for a male medical student to have such long hair; he kept it pulled out of his eyes, but she always wondered about contamination in testing, about it getting in his face during examinations or surgeries. Now she can’t picture him without the stupid little knot at the back of his head. It’s hiding his face, stringy around his cheekbones. He’s not showered, she thinks, and sinks into her seat, slowly. And he’s not looking at her.

Jyn, come on. She’d heard that much, at least. A murmur. Come on, Jyn. Come on. Then, softly, his eyes creasing at the corners: You’re okay.

She can’t remember him ever looking at her like that before.

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Creepypasta #1031: Something Fishes For People In Champagne Lake

Length: Medium

The following letter was delivered to my PO box 6 days ago with several ten-cent stamps more than 50 years old. It was typed by electric typewriter and folded neatly in thirds. There is business card in the center of the letter for a used Pontiac lot in Ox Bow Washington; there is a blue ball-point arrow pointing to a body of water in a mini map on the back. The letter has been transcribed verbatim:

June 17th, 1995

FROM: Gilbert Sena, Sr. (Nom De Plume)

TO: Howard Moxley

RE: Advertisement in June’s issue of Persistent Press, page 444: “Sell or trade me your secrets. All deals negotiable, practical and absolutely discrete”

Dear Mr. Moxley,

The world as we know it will be ending in God’s great second flood soon, so there is no reason in holding secrets anymore, no matter how large. I can’t tell you my real name or the real name of this lake, only the code name we used- Champagne, formally Opium Lake. I think the people in charge are on the lookout for the particular coordinates, so I marked the location on the card. It’s not on street maps anymore, but a smart lad like you can figure it out without a problem.

I guard a lake where something fishes for people. No one has ever seen the fisher. Some think it lives somewhere in the vents that open at the bottom of the lake. Sometimes I believe the water itself is alive. No one from my family ever needed to see the fisher, as evidence surrounded the lake in the form of things humans truly desire.

My great grandpop Chester was the first to make contact with the Indians near Champagne Lake. The first nations feared the lake and stayed at least a half a day’s journey from it, and would only say this one thing of it: “do not trust anything that comes in or goes out of it. Nothing survives in the water.”

While it was true the water of the lake was unnaturally free of even a slick of algae, my family saw the money in setting up a mill to fell the 1000 year old giant cedars and float them down to the city for a fat payout. Greed is strong, strong enough to make a man ignore the strangest things, including myself.

My family offered good miller pay with no questions asked, attracting hordes of criminals and those wanting to stay unknown. My family would never had made as much money as they did without the underground flow… not a single week passed where not less than a dozen men would lose their lives to visions of their loves struggling to swim in the center of the lake, calling their names, using their REAL voices. The lake reads your memories like an open book. The lake made some men see boats filled with whiskey and narcotics, guns and gold. It will make you see anything in order for you to swim in. Once you do, you are never seen again.

The mill was forced to shut down by the feds in 1930 after 95 men went in mass night dive; the only survivor said there was a “glowing doorway of light at the bottom of the lake”. Life has grown back around the lake, whom the lake also effects; I saw a mother elk paddle into the water to save a fawn, probably one that was lost to her long ago. Any and all fallen trees, dead animals, debris ash and fingernails alike vanishes, into what we think are volcanic vents below the lake.

My grandpop showed me the origin of the lake, a calcified bolder with a crack large enough to slide your hand resting up near the lake. The flow was able to keep the gigantic mile-long lake level by itself.

The water from the rock is pale and tastes like licking the side of a bolder mixed with pennies. Life seemed peaceful to me because I never saw an strange thing for the first 2 years, not until was 11 and saw the boat at the far end of the lake.

I ran as close as I could to it and saw the new aluminum boat filled with “Happy Birthday!” wrapping paper half-covering a mountain of game cartridges and consoles. My mother grabbed my arm to shake loose the idea of EVER stepping foot into the lake. 

“It WANTS you to swim inside” she warned that time, “Preferably to the bottom. You would throw you life away for toys?”

I always keep a six foot clearance from the shore, but the lake is cruel and creative as it is relentless. The lake has all manners ways to lure me in over the years: a golden husky puppy yelping and gargling for help, frightened with panic and confusion of why I wouldn’t help it when it was swimming towards me with all its strength. My dream bike rolling down a hill and right into the shallow part of the lake- if I hurry, I could grab it- or Becka Hoffman, girl of my dreams, bare chested and hip deep in the in the lake at moonlight, beckoning with her arms, grinning, cooing “it’s fine to swim in the lake if you don’t chase anything”. All lies.

It was an enchanting, wondrous hell, but it was better than any school or a job. I spent all the time I had in what was left of Champagne Lake. I ran a family gas station at the end of the turnaround and to warn tourists to turn around for 32 years. Most don’t look into the lake. Some do. There isn’t much an old man like me can do to stop a young buck who sees his love drowning in the lake, even if he looks into it for a second or two. 

The authorities already knew about the lake and could overlook a few missing people reports a year, but when 40 people from a music festival came a mile away came to swim and cool off, 39 of them swam to the bottom of the lake after “a gateway of loving white light opened in the bottom of the lake”, per one survivor who couldn’t swim. The only trace of the 39 is a cell phone and a pair of sunglasses on a branch.

Every American law enforcement and intelligence agency came to Champagne Lake over the course of three years and scanned the lake to find it not only devoid of bodies, but of all life in general- one agent even said that the bottom of the lake looked like a compulsively clean aquarium. Three separate agencies demanded that the lake be drained after their scans showed nothing. I was filling in for an ill elder then, and made the decision to go ahead, not that I had a choice. I wanted to see the fisher, if it indeed was at the bottom of the 300’ lake, but not before I told them at our first and ONLY meeting that it was all a lost cause- no matter HOW much water you take out of the lake, the spring will fill it right back up. 

They laughed at me said they already planned it all out by having two overflows down the mountain and a way to slow the flow. I warned them of my story my grandpop told me of the worst rains in a century that flooded the river and the community of Champagne Lake, and that the water, even as little as a three feet deep, is enough for people to disappear chasing their desires just as much as if it were Champagne lake itself. The managers walked out on me as I warned them it’s not a lake at all, it’s living, it’s a feeding creature. They started work the next day.

They cut a trench in the mountain down to an old riverbed while they bolted a plate over the stream of water from the rock. It worked for a day, when the water in the lake was low enough to vibrate and for us to hear a deep HMMMMMMHHHNNN hum that came from the deep in the cracks at the bottom the lake wide enough to swallow cars whole.

We then heard a creaking shear of metal and the explosion of a geyser from the bolted the plate to the rock. The skyscraper of water from the rock was now taller than the trees.

The pressure was too high to cap- no good if we did, all ten million gallons rushed down the mountain and knocked out most of Ox Bow and then stopped as suddenly as it began. Those that didn’t drown were chasing loved ones and pets in the disaster that followed. There are at least 3 Champagne lakes now.

The only thing that remains above water in town is the campground, and myself. The contractors are trying every crazy trick to plug the weeping crater, including injecting expanding foam into it and sealing it with a stone cap. Foam stronger than the stone itself they gloated. It’s working, for now, but I know the water is building pressure. I can hear it breaking the earth apart me under me. Good. Let it burst and cover the entire state in this cursed lake. Maybe it can even reach the ocean from here, then we ALL will be returning to the sea. At least people will see what they really want before they vanish forever. I hope I’ll never live to see it.

Glad to know another set of eyes on this. That’s all I want. 

~ Gil”

I found the town of Ox Bow on zoning maps. When I arrived, I found security fences up but nothing active, not even a line on the fence. In the distance, I heard a stony groan from deep within the mountains. It sounds like the entire area is going to erupt at any second.

I found a place to enter in the south east and followed an old road to a very large body of water resting between the tree-covered mountains, what was once Ox Bow. The mirror surface was broken only by the top of a church steeple, I was sure of that until I saw the canoe aimlessly drifting near the center of the lake. What I desired most was on it.

Credits to: IamHowardMoxley

I'm Not an Angel

A rope has been tied around my waist. I hang from the ceiling. Spotlights have been pointed at me. I see two ladders in front of me, but I can’t reach them. I see silhouettes, both men, standing on each ladder’s top rung. I assume it’s so they can look in my eyes, but I can’t see their faces. The spotlights impair my vision. I can sense other people behind me. I tell them that I’m afraid. They do not respond.

Out of the corner of my eye I see white. Large fake wings have been mounted on my back. The feathers flutter in the small breeze created from the rope’s slight sway. I feel the heaviness of the wings, my left shoulder is on fire. Tears fall from my eyes and hit the floor below. I know the fall won’t kill me, but it will hurt.

I ask them why I’m here. Why would they do this? They say nothing.

The sound of metal leaving metal. I picture large shears, my heart begins to race. I know what’s coming, and I can do nothing to stop it.

“You deserve better.”, they say.

I hear the blades cut, but not the whole way through. They’ve only damamged the rope. I beg them not to do this. They chant: “You deserve better”. I can’t breathe, my chest feels so tight, and these wings are so heavy. The rope breaks, I fall

awake.

anonymous asked:

Idk if you've wrote something like this before, but could I request at fic/ficlet/oneshot (whichever you want to do) of Doc being alive and witnessing Lightnings wreak? No death plz and thx! Love your stuff!!

Thanks a bunch! <3 One no-death-fic, comin’ right up!

I swear, you guys are gonna find every permutation of scenarios where someone’s watching someone else wreck. If I said I didn’t love it though, I’d be lying. 

So here’s to today, September 26th. This one’s for you, Doc.


“Kid, listen, I know what you’re feelin’. It ain’t worth - ”

“No. No!”

Doc looked on in worry, unsure if Lightning was speaking directly to him or not. Lightning had never before so belligerently cut him off in the middle of being coached through a race. Even as his season took a turn for the worse, he’d never taken his frustration out on his crew chief.

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8

An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at some of the machines at W Mckee Manufacturing Ltd. in Red Deer, Alberta. My friend’s family owns the business and I visited them recently. Lots of fun, lots of BIG equipment! Incidentally, the last two photos are of a rolling machine that was stationed in Hawaii during WWII, used by the US Navy in the repairing of damaged ships.

captainlibrarynerdstuff  asked:

Number 9, for Tsuna. Several of the others are already too accurate...I'd love to see Reborn or the Vongola's reaction when they come to train him and find these animals wandering around the town, and everyone else is so used to it it doesn't even register and they are like....?????????

HAHAHAHA

Reborn blinks as he looks from the address he was given to the high walls and intimidating gate bearing the appropriate number.

It’s been more than a bit of a hassle to find where Tsunayoshi and his mother ended up, after the divorce. Sawada Nana, now Hayashi Nana had not wanted her husband to be able to find her, after he signed the papers, but some careful research in Namimori, and judicious questioning of the neighbors eventually netted Reborn a phone number and an address.

Examining the gates again makes Reborn relieved he finally decided to call ahead on this particular journey. The walls of this property are high, and there’s something subtly off about them that makes him certain that climbing them would be a mistake, possibly a final mistake.

Pressing the buzzer for the intercom set into the gate, Reborn wonders what exactly is on the property that requires such formidable security.

Yes? Who is it?” a woman’s voice inquires, staticky through the intercom.

“My name is Reborn,” he replies, more sure of his decision to be honest about his name now than he was when he first offered it. “I called earlier about potentially tutoring your son?”

It was certainly an interesting coincidence, to find the help-wanted ad for a live-in tutor at the same address he already needed to reach. Reborn is intrigued though, about the wording the ad used. Needing someone who is ‘mentally flexible’ and ‘adjusts well to unusual circumstances’ is unusual for a teaching position.

Oh, welcome, Reborn-san!” the woman on the intercom–likely Hayashi Nana–says. “Please, come in! Just wait by the gates until Tsukkun comes to get you. The path can be hard for strangers to follow.”

While Reborn is blinking, trying to understand why a path might be hard for strangers to follow, there’s a sound like shearing metal, and the gates creak open.

Stepping through, Reborn eyes the path at his feet. For a moment, it seems like a straight, well maintained dirt road, leading to a large, traditional house. And then, in the next second, it blurs before his eyes until it’s a narrow, overgrown path, leading into a shadowed forest. Leon makes a startled noise, and darts into Reborn’s collar, shivering faintly against his skin.

Well, he thinks. That explains that.

He waits, patiently, for what feels like nearly half an hour. Eventually, there comes the sound of hoofbeats, and out of the shadowy forest–which has shivered and changed several times while Reborn has been watching–a pale light emerges, swiftly resolving into a snow-white horse, with something wrong with its back, and a rider crouched low over its shoulders.

Reborn quickly realizes that there isn’t something wrong with the horse, there’s something wrong with his vision, because he cannot be seeing a winged horse making its way towards him.

Except that’s exactly what it is, and when the pegasus comes to a halt barely ten feet away from him, it takes genuine force of will to keep his mouth from dropping open.

“You must be Reborn-san,” the boy on the pegasus’ back says cheerfully, as though he’s not mounted on a myth made flesh. “Welcome to the Hayashi Preserve. I hope you adjust faster than the last tutor. I hear he’s not responding particularly well to therapy.”

Reborn blinks for a moment, and then smiles. “I will do my best, Hayashi-san.”

Tsunayoshi laughs. “You’re already doing better than some,” he says, before nudging the pegasus forward and offering Reborn a hand. “Come on, Hayabusa can handle two easy as one, and the woods are being annoying today.”

Taking his student’s hand, Reborn allows himself to be pulled astride the pegasus, tucking his legs under the folded white wings and wrapping an arm around Tsunayoshi’s waist at the boy’s direction.

“All right, let’s head back. Mom’s got the whole explanation laid out, and the sooner we get that out of the way, the sooner you can decide if you’re going to stick around or run screaming.”

Reborn smiles into Tsunayoshi’s back as the boy urges the pegasus forward. Training Dino was rewarding, primarily because of the screaming. He has a feeling that this round of tutoring will be enjoyable for entirely different reasons.

3

Smoothbore Tank Gun Overview


With only two exceptions, the Indian Arjun and the British Challenger II, every single modern Main Battle Tank uses a smoothbore gun as its primary weapon. To some, this may seem to defy conventional wisdom. If rifled barrels were a huge advance in the field of weapons technology, why have many countries decided to switch back to the seemingly ancient smoothbore weapon? The answer revolves around the challenge of penetrating increasingly tough armour and the rounds used to do so. The primary rounds used by modern tank crews for engaging enemy armour are the Armour Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) round, the High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) round and the High Explosive Squash Head round, all of which benefit from a smoothbore gun.



APFSDS Round


The APFSDS round began development in 1940 in France, the work was continued in England during WWII and has continued to advance ever since. During WWII, the standard tank shell looked a lot like a regular bullet.

These shells worked well enough but as armour thickened, the tank guns needed to fire at higher muzzle velocities to increase penetration. The problem was that at about 850 m/s steel rounds had a tendency to shatter harmlessly rather than carry through the armour. The solution was to switch from steel to tungsten carbide, an extremely hard and dense material. The problem with the tungsten carbide rounds was that they were too heavy to be effectively accelerated, nullifying their penetrative capabilities. The solution to this problem was to encase a smaller tungsten carbide round inside of a larger shell of a lighter material like aluminum. Upon impact, the lighter metal would shear away while the tungsten perpetrator would continue through the armour. This design allowed for shells to be projected at much higher velocities and as a result, penetrate much thicker armour. These shells were deployed during WWII, with some success, however, they were still not optimized as the outer shell caused unnecessary parasitic drag and the penetrator itself had to be relativity small and therefore relatively low in mass. The solution to the problem of parasitic drag was to create a shell or “sabot” that could fall away and allow the projectile to travel un-impinged through the air, while the problem of mass was solved by extending the projectile into a dart shape allowing for both a high mass and a low cross sectional area, decreasing drag and increasing penetration.

All this problem solving resulted in the creation of the APFSDS round as we know it today, however a problem still remained. The APFSDS round cannot be fired with a spin, like the kind imparted by rifling, because a rod tends to tumble when spun. Think about how a wide, squat top will remain stable when spun while a pencil will not. The solution was to either add slipping bands to the sabot that prevented the projectile itself from being spun by the rifling, or to get rid of the rifling altogether, which is what many countries have chosen to do. 

HEAT round

The HEAT round is an armour penetrating round that uses chemical energy to penetrate armour. HEAT rounds use shaped charges to create a jet of high velocity liquid metal which melts through most armour like butter. HEAT rounds were developed just before WWII and were used in the Panzerschreck and the Bazooka. 

Above is a general diagram of how a shaped charge works. The explosive melts the liner and as the liner moves forward it forms into a thin projectile. this projectile is hot enough to melt through metal armour. The liner must be a ductile metal, and copper is most commonly used. The HEAT round detonates at a stand off distance from the armour, typically determined by a standoff spike at the tip of the round, as shown below. 

Upon detonation, the liquefied liner will form into its most penetrative shape and impact the armour. If the round detonates too late, the stream will not have time to properly form. Too early, and the stream will dissipate or cool. HEAT rounds cannot be fired from a rifled gun in most cases. If the round is spinning when it detonates, the stream will be subject to extreme centrifugal force and dissipate rapidly. It’s hard to picture, but think of a merry-go-round. If it’s spinning really fast, all the kids fly off. Thusly, the fluid metal cannot form into a stream. HEAT round can be fired from rifled guns provided their is a slip ring that prevents the round from spinning. Another way in which HEAT rounds can be fired from a rifled gun is if the metal in the liner is crystallized in a specific spiraled fashion so that when it melts suddenly, the spin is negated. This basically seems like magic to me but whatever.

HESH Round

The High Explosive Squash Head round works by, at a certain standoff range, detonating and projecting a glob of explosive at the flat armour surface. The glob impact, spreads and is detonated, all within a fraction of a second. At this point, the armour is not penetrated, rather, the explosion creates a shock wave that travels through the armour and creates spallation on the opposite side of the armour. Spallation is when a shock wave travels through a material and knocks parts of the material off of the other side, as pictured below.

This knocked-off material is called spall and can be extremely hot and can travel at high velocities. Just like HEAT rounds, HESH rounds suffer unacceptably from the centrifugal force imparted on them by spin. This is actually untrue, HESH rounds benefit from rifling as the same centrifugal force which dissipates the HEAT rounds liquid stream, flattens out the HESH rounds explosive glob, providing a larger surface area and more penetrative shock wave. 

Other Advantages of Smoothbore Guns

Beyond the ability to easily use these types of rounds, smoothbore guns are less susceptible to thermal variation which greatly increases accuracy. Smoothbore guns wear far more slowly than rifled barrels and are far cheaper to produce. Smoothbore guns do not sap velocity from a round as they impart little to no friction on the round as it travels through the barrel. In general, smoothbore barrels are far superior in terms of logistics and, because of modern ammo types, penetrating power and killing power.

PSA

I love getting questions from ya’ll so if anything is unclear or if I left something out, don’t hesitate to let me know. Also, suggestions for future topics.  

anonymous asked:

Do you have any gift ideas or suggestions of what to get someone who sews?

Hell yeah. Probably going to be a really long unoriginal answer but here we go.

Big Gifts:

I think a sewing machine or serger is a really fantastic present if you are willing to spend around a hundred dollars. I can’t vouch for any sergers but i’ve owned the Singer Heavy Duty 4411 before and it’s a great machine, especially for the price. An embroidery machine would also be a great gift for someone who already has a sewing machine but wants to do more detail work.

Amazon reviews are the best way to pick a machine, I think.

A dress form can be a good option too, but there are a lot of different types so unless you know what they want it might not be the best choice. This website sells everything from professional forms to $120 adjustable ones. The dress form I use was about that price and is from here

It’s not very exciting but things like measuring tapes, clear rulers, thread (make sure it’s for sewing, not rayon embroidery thread), needles, pins, hooks, seam rippers etc. are all things someone who sews will have, but those are also the things you lose. Having backups can be really handy and something any person who sews would appreciate.

Nice scissors! A good set of metal sewing shears can be bought for about $20 from amazon. I have a pair of 8” ones from Gingher which I adore. They are a really handy thing for someone who sews to have, and aren’t something they would necessarily buy themselves.

Pinking Shears tend to be more expensive, but a solid metal pair of those would be well appreciated too.

They make super cute thread clippers with decorative handles which would make a nice gift, and are usually under $10.

Speaking of decorative scissors, since sewing has been around for so long there are a lot of vintage items in that area. Especially when it comes to scissors. There are tons or gorgeous ones on etsy that range from ten bucks, like these, to ones that are almost two hundred dollars, like these.  

There are actually a ton of vintage sewing items in general. You can buy machine accessory boxes from the 1950s, prints of advertisements, or even actual sewing machines from the same period. Etsy’s sewing/antique tag is a lot of fun to browse.

Now if you want to get trim and fabric, here is some stuff to keep in mind.

-If the person has never sewed before try to stay away from very sheer or stretch fabrics, they tend to be the most difficult to work with.

-If you’ve seen them sew before/their past projects try to recall the colors the gravitate towards. (I would use up red fabric way faster than bright yellow, no matter how nice the material is.)

-Get them a usable amount (more than one yard). The more you get, the more options they have for using that fabric. With only one yard you are limited to making a bodice or corset. Two yards is enough to make a skirt, a long sleeved top, or pants. Three yards is plenty for a cute dress or very full skirt.

It’s not very sexy, but a bolt of muslin, yards of fusible interfacing, and polyester lining (in a light color) are all really practical handy things to have around. Those are the things I hate buying because you don’t see them in finished costumes so it feels like a waste. But I would love to get them as a gift because I can guarantee they will get used.

And of course there is the option of a gift card to Joanns (or Michaels for a cosplayer/crafter) or some other fabric store. Some people think this is a lazy gift but most people that sew really love shopping for fabric. And giving them the opportunity to do it for free is great. You’re letting them do something they love, to buy something they love, that’s pretty special.

I was totally right this is super long but I hope it helps! 

Major volcanic eruptions can be accompanied by pyroclastic flows, a mixture of rock and hot gases capable of burying entire cities, as happened in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E. For even larger eruptions, such as the one at Peach Spring Caldera some 18.8 million years ago, the pyroclastic flow can be powerful enough to move half-meter-sized blocks of rock more than 150 km from the epicenter. Through observations of these deposits, experiments like the one above, and modeling, researchers were able to deduce that the Peach Spring pyroclastic flow must have been quite dense and flowed at speeds between 5 - 20 m/s for 2.5 - 10 hours! Dense, relatively slow-moving pyroclastic flows can pick up large rocks (simulated in the experiment with large metal beads) both through shear and because their speed generates low pressure that lifts the rocks so that they get swept along by the current. (Image credit: O. Roche et al., source)

Sasuke cuts Sakura's hair

thanks to Miko for helping me try and get off my loser ass and start doing stuff again <3

(also how do I do bold and italic on tumblr mobile)

-

Sasuke fumbled with the metal shears, the hard steel reflecting a pink glow from Sakura’s hair.

“Are you sure you don’t want Yamanaka or Hyuuga doing this for you?” Sasuke mumbled. His fingers lost their steady hold around the grip of the scissors, and he feared that he would unintentionally graze her neck with the blade.

“It’s fine, Sasuke-kun,” Sakura laughed. “Don’t get so worked up about it. It’s just my hair. It’ll grow back, even if you do a shitty job.”

His dark eyes scanned the crown of her head, working down, down, down until he focused on the feathery ends trapped between the metal clasps. With one swift flick of his hand, her locks would drift with uninhibited leisure down onto their wooden graveyard.

“I just don’t want you to regret this,” he murmured. “You cared so much about your hair.”

“Cared, keyword. I told you before, Sasuke-kun, I’m not twelve anymore. I just want it manageable enough so it doesn’t bother me.” She tucked the stray strands dangling over her forehead behind her ear. “Please, just go ahead and cut.”

With his sharp glance, Sasuke knew that she wasn’t as confident as she had portrayed herself. Her shoulders shook just the slightest, and her knuckles whitened significantly in its prayer fold. Sakura had never entrusted anyone to cut her hair but herself–not even her best friends–and yet she was allowing him to do whatever he’d like to one of her most precious assets.

“I can’t,” Sasuke said. “I’m not going to do something you’re uncomfortable with.” He placed the scissors into her palm and wrapped her fingers around the sharp point.

Sakura stared at the shears in her hand, an empty hollowness in her eyes. “You don’t like my hair short, do you?” she asked.

“That doesn’t have to do anything with this.”

“But you always liked long hair, didn’t you?” Sakura pressed. “You can be honest.”

He remembered the silky blanket of pink hair that swung down to her elbows–it had reminded him so much of his mother’s own black hair, with the cool blue sheen he inherited. She and Ino had nurtured their manes as if they were children, rather than focusing on their ninja duties (Sasuke scoffed, recalling how he had scolded Sakura for not practicing her jutsus). It wasn’t to say that he didn’t like her long hair. Sasuke thought it was…cute on her. But her short hair just made her more–dare he say it back then–beautiful. And she still was beautiful, no matter whether the pink stopped at her ears or mid-back.

“I only like long hair when it’s on you,” he stated. “And even then, if we’re being honest, I prefer your short hair. It looks…good on you. It fits.”

“Ah,” she said. Sasuke could tell that she was amused by his confession, and saw how she bit the edge of her lip to hide her smile. “Well, thank you.”

They stared at each other in a haunting silence that thickened the tension between them. Sakura’s fingers brushed over the scissors briefly before she helped fit the tool back in Sasuke’s hand.

“I was only scared because I thought you were going to stab me in the head. You know, with your one arm and all. Look, I’m just saying that I trust you enough to cut my hair, okay?”

Sasuke shook his head and scoffed. “You’re absolutely ridiculous.” Since his free hand was occupied, he raised the remainder of his left arm and brushed his sleeve against her forehead–a light tickle of cotton. “Turn around.”

An inch. That was all. It shouldn’t be hard.

Sasuke carefully positioned a thin group of hairs between the blades. He settled his left arm on her shoulder for support and assurance. In return, she brought her own hand to rest over his sleeve and held it as if she were holding his hand.

“Go ahead,” she smiled.

He began to cut.

In Lieu of Alexandra

Based on this meme; #4

For actually-i-prefer-magneto

Asgard, 984 AD

They were playing in the gardens near the training yard when Thor caught the eye of the girl with the gold-spun hair. He froze mid-step, grinning, and given the suddenness Loki barreled into him, sending them both to the ground in a heap of scrawny limbs and dirt.

“Thor…” he whined, detangling himself and brushing at the new grass stains on his knees with a scowl. “I just got these!”

But Thor was already on his feet and through the bushes, calling to her excitedly and pulling a training sword nearly as large as himself from the rack nearby, his game of tag with Loki forgotten.

Loki hated Sif with a passion. He hated her for her pretty Asgardian hair, for stealing his brother’s attention as soon as she walked within a hundred yards of him, and most of all for having such a deep connection with Thor when Loki got nothing. Not in nineteen damn years.

Still, maybe soon. They were still young, and it wasn’t like there weren’t plenty of soulmates with a few decades between them.

Alfheim, 1085 AD

Apparently gossip had spread between the realms, because the nobility of Alfheim kept glancing at him when they thought he couldn’t see. For a birthday celebration the thing was more about his guests than himself anyway—a political opportunity, in the end—and not exactly what he’d had in mind when he’d imagined his centennial as a younger child.

Sure, he was still young, and barely edging out of nornsforsaken puberty, but it was common knowledge that those who didn’t feel their soulmate by the time they reached their first hundred almost never had one. It was remarkably rare. And rarely a good omen about the sort of soul the unlucky party had.

The court of Asgard had been treating him differently in the past few years, first with pity and then wariness. In a way, Loki was almost jealous of the children he’d known whose soulmates had died young. At least they'd had one.

Instead of brood on the matter, though, he offered his hand to one of the fair elven women and acted like she didn’t hesitate before taking it. The songs of Alfheim were quick and light like the wind, and as long as he pushed down the bitter edge he felt like he was skimming along air currents while he and the lightfooted maid spun through the dancing crowd.

Asgard, 1303 AD

The libraries had become his home more than his own room these days, because they were peaceful and secluded. If he wandered the endless labyrinth long enough he could find places even the bookkeepers had forgotten about where he could read to his heart’s content and not be bothered by rude comments of others.

Sure, he hadn’t exactly helped rumors that he was too chaotic to ever have a soulmate, or that if he did he’d probably killed them just to spite Asgard, but it wasn’t like years of trying had been able to stop them. If that was what the realm wanted to believe, then he’d play along.

Honestly, he was kind of glad in a way that he didn’t have one. It seemed like far too much work to have to deal with another person so constantly, and Odin was controlling enough as things were. The last thing he needed was one more fucking leash on his collar.

Asgard, 1791 AD

Thor had taken Sif out on some hunt or another, and Loki found himself for what must have been the thousandth time on the roof of the palace, staring up at the stars brooding.

His brother had been bothering less and less to invite him along, and it stung. Yes, Sif was the oaf’s soulmate, but it wasn’t like they were lovers for Odin’s sake! Far from, actually. They’d tried courting a total of once, and quite after less than a week because it was just too awkward  and they were happier as comrades in arms. If they’d been sneaking off to have a good fuck in the woods then maybe Loki could forgive them, but they were just hunting and it made jealousy burn dangerously in his gut.

The metal of the shears was warm in his hand, and he smiled.

Sif would regret stealing his brother away from him.

Asgard, 1932 AD

The white sand muffled his steed’s hoofbeats as they practically flew together down the beach, Loki’s hands outstretched to catch the winds of Yggdrasil between his fingertips. To his left the familiar golden spirals of his home reached skyward as though to pluck the sun itself from the heavens, and to his right the Sea of Space stretched as far as the eye could see, lit with stars and the souls of their ancestors.

A jolt of cold fear shot through his spine to curl heavily in his gut, and he grasped wildly at the stallion’s mane just in time to keep him tumbling to the ground from its back. Instinctually he looked behind and around himself to search for danger, reached out with his magic to sense the threat, but there was nothing. The horse had slowed to a canter when he’d lurched forward, but otherwise seemed unconcerned.

Still, the sensation stayed, and his muscles tensed in anticipation.

Nothing happened. The ground stayed firm, the sky stayed clear, and no weapon chose him or his mount as its mark.

Slowly the worry eased and was replaced with something warmer, almost… content. Simplistically so. It was familiar, but like he’d felt it so long ago that it was lost to abstract memory.

Loki called his mount to halt and slipped from its back with the ease of one who’d been raised as much on horseback as he had on foot. Heedless of the fact that he’d regret it later when sand was in every damn pocket and seam of his clothing and he was trying in vain to dump it all from his boots, he lowered himself to the ground and pulled his knees to his chest while waves of something other swept over him.

There was no reason to be swinging between emotions so wildly. Nothing had changed—it was just as quiet and peaceful as before—but he couldn’t stop the waves of fearconfusionhappinesslove washing over and through him like tides following something other than the moon. For a few minutes, Loki pondered the chances of having gone mad. It didn’t seem entirely unlikely, he supposed.

And then he realized; they weren’t his emotions.

Part of him wanted to cry with joy, and another burn something in rage. He had finally learned to get over his discrepancy! Had turned his solitude into a weapon, something to use for his own ends! His identity had been shaped in the knowledge that he was other, and after almost a millennium he’d ben content with his lot.

When the sun started to sink beneath the silhouette of the palace Loki pulled himself from his thoughts and climbed once more onto the stallion’s back, resolved to keep this development a secret. No one ever need know, nor would he look for his mate. There were more important things right now than people whom he had never met and likely never would, given his luck, and he’d grown rather fond of the wariness with which the realms handled him.

Frigga was the only one he spoke to on the subject, and only for advice on how to conceal his newfound weakness.

If the knowledge that he wasn’t broken after all warmed his stone heart a bit, he never said a word.

o10: Haircut

notes: no sarada yet, sorry :(
also slightly ooc sasuke, maybe?

.o10.
Haircut

.

Sasuke offers to trim Sakura’s hair.

.

Sakura has the thick metal shears out. They look like gardening tools, rather than haircutting supplies, and Sasuke knows that given Sakura’s poor sense of control, her hair might not be the only thing she cuts.

“Relax, Sasuke-kun,” Sakura says. She ties back her hair, down to her waist, in a firm ponytail. He doesn’t remember how it grew so fast, and it still catches him off-guard to see his wife without her beautiful bob.

(Not that he doesn’t like her ponytail—he finds it is especially practical in their confidential activities).

“I’m just going to cut it ear-length. I’ve done it for years. Why are you panicking about it now?”

He does remember her using her kunai to touch up her locks, or even children’s scissors to even out the length. But it’s been a while, as demonstrated by its height, and those shears are very intimidating.

“Ear-length?” he asks. Sasuke fears that his prediction will come true. Perhaps after her accidental amputation, she could go on to become a famous painter of sunflowers in their backyard.

“Yeah. Like it was before.” Sakura adjusts her mirror and smiles when she sees her husband behind her. She reaches for the shears and tilts her head. Her hand positions itself horizontally above her shoulders. Her fingers are about to close together, as the edge of the shears are merely centimeters away from her earlobe…

“Wait,” Sasuke interrupts. “Let me do it.”

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Les Deux: A Castle Fic [3/?]

Read the other chapters to this story here or on FF.net. Cover art by my fab URL twin alwayswiththecoffee.

The loft feels like a tomb.

He’d thought making a plea to the public would help, that some good samaritan would have seen or heard something and jump at the opportunity to help them. Even if they were reluctant in offering assistance Rick had been hopeful that the enticement of the handsome reward he’d offered on national television would be its own brand of persuasion.

Persuasion was an optimistic outlook. A day after their interview, they’ve been overrun with calls. Black Pawn, Paula’s office, even the precinct have been hit with tipsters looking to either speak to Castle or cash in on their portion of the proffered jackpot with shady tips and dead ends.

Sitting on the stairs, Rick can see his daughter roll her eyes at one such caller, disconnecting the phone with a sharp exhale of air. Her three college friends that she’s recruited to help (to the tune of $20 an hour) all pause in their own calls, eyes sliding over Alexis in turn until she gives them a wan smile.

Crumpling up the piece of paper, she moves on to the next number, dialing with a slight trepidation of what she may hear on the other line.

He loves this kid. She’s the best that could have been given to him and he’s so grateful for her. But now warm, loving thoughts of Alexis accompanied by a pang of loss for his other child. Yet another reminder of his failings.

“You had left a message stating that you had information on the disappearance of Rich—- no, he can’t come to the phone right now. Neither of them are available to talk to you,” one of his daughter’s friends is sighing, voice rattled with frustration that makes Rick’s teeth grind together. That’s enough of that, he decides, pushing himself to his feet. The boy - Jacob, he thinks - looks surprised when he tugs the phone from his grasp, and he can feel the heat of Alexis’ gaze on him.

“This is Richard Castle,” he speaks into the phone, forcing the even, genial tone into his voice, “To whom am I speaking?”

The tittering giggle is enough to tell him he won’t get any answers from this call, and he disconnects without preamble, dropping the phone back onto the table with a heavy sigh. With that one gesture the room stops, multiple conversations dying out as four pairs of eyes swivel in his direction.

“Why don’t we —” Rick breaks off, almost abandons the thought altogether. He truthfully just wants to hide, to crawl into bed with Kate and pretend this never happened, but refusing to face the problem won’t give them answers. Pushing against his instincts, he rubs at his temples, “The three of you go out, get some dinner, take a break. This can all wait,” he finally gets the words out, offering each of them a smile that he knows rings false.

But they don’t argue, gathering up bags and cell phones with stilted chatter about potential dinner venues. He stops Alexis for a long hug, a murmured thank you before pressing enough money into her hand to pay for a few other friends should she choose to invite them along.

“We’ll find something, dad,” she murmurs on her way out the door.

And he hopes she’s right, but every day that passes Rick can feel how the hopelessness continues to spread. Pretty soon he won’t be able to find the silver lining. It’ll just be darkness.

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