muffled drum

.mornings like any other

first encounter drabble series: 01

genre: fluff

pairings: jungkook x reader


The sun shines down relentlessly, beating the concrete covered expanse of the city with a frightening ferocity. It’s still early in the day, only a few minutes shy nine. You stand at the bus stop, awaiting the arrival of your transport. There’s nothing remarkable which stands out, this Wednesday morning remaining as ordinary as any other. You and your fellow commuters seek shade under the overarching bus stand, a flock of sweaty bodies and tired sighs huddled together in the small space. You tune out as the world continues to hum the melodies of routine and familiarity-  the rustling of newspapers, the broken and muffled sounds of bass drums leaking out of headphones, the screeching of tires as vehicles trapped in the rush hour come to a halt infuriatingly often. And yet, despite the bustling nature of the city, you find yourself wrapped up in your own peaceful little bubble, your mind riddled with no thoughts in particular. Afterall, it was just a morning like any other.

He takes a tentative sip from the cup of piping hot liquid he holds in his hand. Its bitterness sends a jolt of displeasure through his senses and he wrinkles his nose in disgust. A string of profanities form on his tongue, threatening to pour out of his lips, but he bites them back in defeat. There’s nothing remarkable which stands out about this Wednesday morning. In his bleary eyes the city appears grim and lifeless, as if every surface had been doused in palettes of smoke and ash. To him, even the golden beams of the glorious sun lose their splendour as they fall upon the charcoal asphalt of the roads. Huddled up in a crowd, he stands under the bus stand waiting for his bus to arrive. He tries to ignore the little boy nestled in his mother’s arms who finds game in kicking his back or the portly middle aged man with a balding head who’s far too interested in picking his nose. Instead, he zones out on his surroundings and his mind swirls with abstract thoughts and yet his focus lies on nothing in particular. Afterall, it’s just a morning like any other.

You’re violently ripped out of your peaceful reverie when the woman standing to your left, showered in an unpleasant excess of cheap perfume and dressed in clothes visibly too tight for comfort, yells a greeting into the receiver of her phone. You try shrinking back into your own silent world, however sadly, you’re forced to listen to her pointlessly dramatic conversation and the condescending tone of her voice which sounds much like nails screeching down a chalkboard. It hits your final nerve when she bursts into a fit of laughter loud enough to be tagged as a health hazard and your body unconsciously jerks away from hers.

You’re met with a slight ‘oof’ as you bump into a sort of soft wall to your right. Your mind flashes a warning sign when something warm pours onto your forearm, however, before you can begin to register any of it to your coherence, your clumsy feet lose all footing on the ground. Your arms flail around as you desperately try grappling onto anything, anyone, in an attempt break your fall. With the grace similar to that of an intoxicated crab, you successfully latch onto the shirt of the person closest to you and yet, events only seem to unfold for the worse.

Air is knocked out of his lungs as a delicate frame collides onto his from the side, and his eyebrows shoot up in surprise as the cup of coffee is tossed out of his grip. The muddy brown pours onto his pristine shirt but before he can mourn the demise of his favourite white outfit or reprimand the bloody culprit a desperate hand slams onto his chest- hard, finding purchase on the very fabric of his ruined shirt. He stumbles precariously and having been caught off guard he collapses onto the ground with an ominous thud.

He groans in discomfort, his butt throbbing uncomfortably as it seems to have taken the entire impact of the fall. It takes him a moment to realize that he holds something soft and heavy in his arms. It doesn’t take him long to identify the person as the one and only despicable culprit themself. Annoyance bubbles in his blood, as he shoves aside the person lying atop him to pull himself into a sitting position. Raking his hand through his hair he refuses to look up knowing all too well of the countless stares which had fixated onto the two sprawled across the scorching ground. 

You can feel your knees graze the asphalt below but the worst of the fall never comes. Your eyes are screwed tight and by the time you regain your senses you find your face buried in the crook of someone’s neck and your body engulfed in a tight hold. You listen to the thumping of your own escalated heartbeat, finding yourself at a loss of both words and actions as you lie on the ground entangled in an embrace. A few moments pass before you’re roughly pushed to the side by your saviour.

When he finally does look over his shoulder at the culprit ready to snap, he loses his train of thought as his narrowed gaze meets those of a shell shocked girl staring at him with wide eyes brimming with apology and embarrassment.

When he turns to look at you, a scowl’s etched onto his incredibly handsome features and you  stammer out an apology as you feel blood rush to your face as both mortification and guilt overcome you. You dare yourself to meet his eyes, surprised when your teary ones meet his own softened gaze.

Anger dissipates from his system the same way a trail of smoke vanishes in air. A funny sense of warmth swirls in his chest while his stomach clenches in a manner pleasant and unpleasant at the same time. His eyes drink up her features, and he etches every little detail onto his mind- her eyes, her, nose, her lips, the glorious mess of her unruly hair. Colour once again seeps into his vision, as she shines with the very same intensity the sun itself had failed to shine with in his world. The monochrome of his world bursts with blossoms of vivid colour, the same way spring brings with itself the buzz of life following a cold, dark winter.

His voice sounds strangled as he tells you not to worry but the smirk on his face causes an airy laugh to escape your own lips.

He pulls himself back onto his feet, turning around to extend you a hand which you gladly take. Neither of your smiles falter- his is a bit teasing while yours is a little shy and neither of you say it out loud, but it’s no surprise how both of your minds silently muse if miracles always happened on mornings just like any other.

-fin

Some images of Nyarlathotep

I love how Lovecraft’s monsters are so protean, enabling so many great artists to take some wonderful creative liberties with their interpretations of one the the great author’s most fascinating inventions.

“Will Murray, in “Behind the Mask of Nyarlathotep,” points out that not only is this Lovecraft’s first fictitious god, but it is te first t appear in more tan one Lovecraft story.”

-Leslie S. Klinger, The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft


“And though this revolting graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods–the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep.”

-H. P. Lovecraft, “Nyarlathotep”

Setting Out Across the Adriora Sea

On my mattress boat I carried

a black and blue bruised body.

As I rowed,

    an infection in my fingers ballooned      and bloomed

              swelled with pus

I floated all the way to floral flows and stimmering

steam stutters, stepping

on moss and popcorn flowers going flicker flare

in violet chioggia fields. The beets and

beats and bleats surrounding me were

striped and intermittent.

 

Muffled hearts going drum drum narum thumb  grew

like mangos on waxy- leaved trees.

I picked a heart and smelled

to see if it was ripe. Onto the mud

the tissue curled as I peeled it. The red rinds

quivered with the trees in tandem.

With a string I tied the pulpy organ around my neck.

 

@http://fundamental-group-of-words.tumblr.com/

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

—  “Funeral Blues,” W H Auden
Dating ashton would include

-adventures at midnight

-polaroids of you guys on the fridge

-muffled drumming coming from the basement 

-rough make out sessions fUCK

-thigh grabs

-cafe dates

-him cooking you breakfast if you make dinner

-”princess”

-day drinking

-back massages

-shower sex 

-really big hugs in public

-going out for breakfast after a night out and looking atrotious

-”you look cute, put your hood down”

-listening to him talk about his favorite songs on the couch

-listening to all music on vinyl

-buying his album everytime you see it

-”stOP BUYING THEM ALL!”

-”but im just being a supportive girlfriend!”

-finger drumming all over your body

-wanting to try painting each other and getting into a paint war instead

-”this song is about you by the way”

-”Ash, this is hotline bling”

-pestering you until you respond

-”BABE guess what? I’m in love with you”

Masterlist

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. 

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. 

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

—  Funeral Blues, W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

—  W.H. Auden, “Funeral Blues”

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos, and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is dead’.
Put crepe bows on the white necks of public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

— 

Funeral Blues - W. H. Auden

(This is the poem I’ve just memorised - so beautiful and morose)

Mob Boss Steve Part 2

Well… this one’s almost a thousand words? If we’re rounding up?

Read Part 1 here

There’s a man sitting behind the desk reading a magazine, but his eyes flick up to Steve as soon he walks through the door. He’s a large man, not tall but bulky under his suit, and he glares at Steve with, in Steve’s opinion, unnecessary force. He looks out of place, sitting behind a cluttered desk and supposedly reading an article about Kim Kardashian’s new perfume launch. There’s a door off to the side, supposedly leading to the garage, and Steve can hear wailing guitars and angry drums muffled on the other side.

Some part of Steve’s brain is always assessing, always taking in windows and doors and calculating the probability that anyone in the room might be hiding a weapon. He does this all automatically, without effort, and on the outside he’s just a normal man standing awkwardly in the middle of a mechanic’s reception area.

When it’s clear no welcome from the receptionist is incoming, Steve says, somewhat obviously, “I need a mechanic.”

“Sure,” the man says as he looks Steve up and down. The gaze is assessing. “What brought you to this mechanic?”

“Recommendation from a friend.” When that garners no response, he adds “a guy called Bucky?”

Slowly, the receptionist nods. “Right. Metal arm guy.” Steve bristles but the man is already standing and walking to the garage door. When he opens it the music hits Steve like a physical blow and he winces, but the receptionist continues on, unperturbed. “Hey Tony! You got a customer!”

That’s when Steve sees him. There’s a man working on some kind of vintage car on the other side of the garage in a grimy wife-beater. His muscular arms are buried in amongst the engine, his hair is going in every direction and the way he’s bending forward is doing amazing things for his ass. Christ, Steve’s seen calendars with this kind of thing. The mechanic – Tony – is bobbing his head along to a rhythm in the song that Steve can’t hear for the life of him.

Steve’s glad he’s facing the other direction. It gives him a moment to collect himself.

The receptionist yells Tony’s name again, then tries a third time, cupping his hands around his mouth and bellowing over the music. Tony whips around – and Steve sighs internally because yep, he’s got a gorgeous face too – and his eyes widen when he realises he’s no longer alone.

“Customer!” The receptionist yells, jerking a thumb at Steve. The guy’s clearly never heard about customer service.

Tony looks at Steve properly, and Steve can feel a steady blush coming on at the way Tony’s eyebrow raises and his eyes trail down Steve’s body. Tony smirks, probably at Steve’s bright red neck and ears, and turns back to the receptionist, yelling something in return. The receptionist shakes his head, calls “what?” and only gets a confused look in answer.

Finally, throwing his arms in the air dramatically, the receptionist yells “Jarvis!” and the cacophony immediately comes to a stop. Steve blinks, his ears ringing. “Customer!” the man yells one more time, before turning on his heel and walking back to the office, shaking his head and grumbling as he goes.

Suddenly all of Tony’s attention is focused solely on Steve. Steve, who has faced down desperate men shoving guns in his face, who has been caught in multiple explosions, who has negotiated with Aldrich Killian, who has been interrogated by Phil Coulson without breaking a sweat.

Steve, who suddenly feels kinda sick and can’t quite remember why he’s there.

But Tony’s clearly waiting for him to say something, so he blurts out the first thing that comes into his head.

“Your receptionist is a bit intense.”

Thankfully, Tony just laughs and cocks a hip against the car. Steve has to physically force himself not to stare. “Yeah, sorry. Happy takes everything a bit… seriously.”

“Ironic,” Steve comments and feels something flutter in his stomach when it makes Tony laugh again.

“That’s what I keep telling him! He’s not nearly as amused by it as me.” Tony rubs his hands together and looks at Steve expectantly. “So?”

Steve looks blankly back. “So..?”

“I assume you’ve got some kind of vehicle for me to look at,” Tony says, clearly still amused.

“Oh. Oh! Right. Yeah. My bike. She’s… not working.” Thank God Bucky’s not here. He’d never let Steve live this down.

“Good thing you brought it to a mechanic then. It’s outside?”

Steve nods, rubbing the back of his neck and praying for a hole to open up in the ground and swallow him whole.

Part 3

Quickening, part 3

(This series is set during Amelia’s 5th month of pregnancy – and possibly a bit beyond. Each story can stand alone, but you can also read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. The joy of writing about Callie and Owen’s friendship in this one just about killed me. It took 6 years for me to see the absolute beauty that is Owen Hunt. Now that I see it, I can’t unsee it. And it haunts me. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.)

Neurons that correlate with pain and pleasure coexist in the orbitofrontal cortex of the brain. Pleasure and pain share the same pathways. Ordinary stimuli, like food or sex, can trigger the release of morphine-like neurotransmitters which can bring pleasure and reduce pain. When you remove the stimulus, the opioid release stops. Then the pain sets in.

When Owen banged his knee in the supply closet, he hardly noticed pain in the moment. He and Amelia lay there on the floor afterward. She touched his chest lightly as she kissed him. He loved her kisses after, when everything is soft and the world is quiet because a drumming pulse muffles other sounds. He loved her kisses always. He couldn’t tell anymore where he ended and she began. He was just content to be part of her, giving her everything she wished for.

Over the last couple of weeks, Amelia had made many - wishes. Pregnancy was her latest superpower. And, frankly, Owen’s body was exhausted. His knee twinged as he stood up to search for their clothes. He winced in pain.

“Hey. Are you all right?” she worried, rising to stand beside him.

He answered with a half-truth, “My knee is a little sore.” - Actually, his knee was a lot sore. - “It’s pretty cramped in here. I think I just need to stretch it out. I’ll be fine.”

He held her waist with one hand, drawing circles on the side of her belly with his thumb. His other hand caressed the back of her neck.

“Thank you for… lunch,” she whispered, “I don’t think I could have waited until later.”

“Lunch was… delicious,” he agreed, kissing her once more before pulling away. His hand in her hair was the last part of him in her. He didn’t want to leave, but duty called for both of them. Regrettably, he let go and handed Amelia her clothes.

***

The afternoon grew long, and Owen’s knee began to throb. He approached Callie by the Ortho nurses’ station and kept his voice low.

“Hey, Torres,” he began casually, “Do you have a moment to take a look at my knee? It’s bothering me a bit.”

“Sure,” she looked wary, “Why are we whispering?”

Owen cleared his throat and intentionally spoke louder, “No particular reason. Only if you have the time. It’s no problem either way.”

Callie watched him grimace slightly as he said it. He was clearly in pain, and trying to act indifferently about it.

“Let’s take a look,” she motioned for him to step into an empty exam room, and she closed the door behind them.

Owen sat on the exam bed and rolled up his pant leg. Callie didn’t even need to look closely to see that his knee was bruised and swollen.

“Ouch! What happened?”

“Just some minor trauma. No big deal… hopefully,” he said evasively.

“I need to see your other knee to better judge the amount of swelling.”

When Owen rolled up the other pant leg, Callie could see that his other knee was bruised as well, though not swollen.

“Lie down, and let’s see how bad this is,” she directed him.

Callie lightly manipulated his sore knee. She stopped when he flinched.

“Okay, Hunt, sit up. I need to know the nature of the injury in order to make a proper diagnosis. So you might as well come out with it.”

Having little choice in the matter, Owen finally confessed, “I banged my knee while having sex with Amelia in the supply closet.”

Callie tried unsuccessfully to restrain her smile, “Ah. So you banged your knee while you were banging Amelia?”

He blushed at her dry humor. “Kind of… Yeah.”

“So what about the bruise on your other knee?”

“Uh, to be honest…” he dropped his voice again, “We’ve been having a lot of sex recently… in a lot of places… hard places.”

Callie didn’t even try to suppress her laughter this time, “So Amelia’s fucking the life out of you?”

“Basically. Yes. My knee feels like that anyway.”

“So why don’t you guys just take a week off and rest?

Owen hesitated before answering. “It’s just that I want to give her everything… right now. Anything she wants.”

“Right now?” Callie was intrigued.

Owen took a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked down at the floor and then back up at Callie. She didn’t know about Amelia’s pregnancy. Nobody knew.

“Owen, what’s going on?” she asked with care. Her laughter and sarcasm were gone. She sat down next to him and turned to face him.

“You have to promise to not say a word, Callie.”

“You can always confide in me. You know that. Not to mention the fact that I just examined your injured knee so now we have that whole doctor-patient privilege thing going on,” she reassured him.

He looked at her – waiting.

“I promise,” she added.

“Amelia is… pregnant.” It was the first time Owen had spoken the words, and he thrilled to hear them.

Callie’s eyes opened big and her face brightened, “Owen, this is huge.”

“It is. Yes.” Joy washed over him.

Callie’s eyes filled with tears. She reached out and squeezed his arm. “You’ve waited so long for this.”

Owen placed his hand atop hers. He didn’t trust his voice to speak at that particular moment, so he simply nodded.

“How long have you known?” she wondered.

Owen cleared the emotion from his throat, “A while actually - about 4 months.”

“4 months! How did I not know about this?”

“We haven’t told anyone yet. Amelia has been having prenatal appointments with an OB over at Northwest Hospital. She wants to wait until after the 20-week ultrasound before sharing the news. Just to be sure… in case… you know.”

Callie did know. She’d lost a baby too, through Arizona’s miscarriage. She still winced at the memory and what it had done to them, “I understand.”

“I think Amelia hardly believed about the pregnancy until she felt the baby move, but she’s coming around now. Last week I actually found her singing to the baby and making cookies… Though please don’t tell her I told you that last part! I’d never hear the end of it.”

It warmed Callie’s heart to picture feisty Amelia Shepherd singing and baking. “Doctor-patient privilege,” she reminded him, “Your secret’s safe with me. How are you doing with all this?”

“I’m overwhelmed, Callie… I’m thrilled, and I worry. I hope the baby will be all right. I worry about Amelia – especially when I think about her first pregnancy. I love her so much. I want this so much for us. I’ve been trying not to show too much worry or excitement. I don’t want to make it any harder for her if… if something’s wrong.”

“Owen, you really should talk to her. She needs to hear your concerns. She needs to hear your excitement. Wondering how a person might be feeling can be harder than actually just knowing. So talk to her. It will help you both… And it will help your knees,” she added a smile.

“Thanks, Callie.” It felt good to unload some of the burden he’d been feeling.

“By the way, I’m pretty sure you have a bruised meniscus, but we can get an MRI just to be certain. Be sure to take it easy. …And have sex only in bed for a while. No hard surfaces. Doctor’s orders,” she winked.

“I think I can manage that.”

“By the way, Owen. I’m so happy you’re going to be a dad.”

“I am too,” he exhaled. He hadn’t even realized he’d been holding his breath. “That’s the first time anyone has said it like that.”

“Like what?”

“Out loud.”

***

Amelia arrived home that night to find Owen lying on the couch with his leg propped up on a pillow and an ice pack on his knee.

“Hey…” she said softly. Her brow furrowed as she moved toward him. Concern always seemed to make her eyes appear even more blue.

“Apparently I hit my knee harder than I thought. I guess you can call it an overuse injury from repetitive trauma,” Owen joked to ease the tension.

Amelia kneeled on the floor beside him. She lifted the ice pack carefully to assess his injury. She stifled a gasp when she saw the swelling. “Owen…”

“It’s just a bruised meniscus. Callie diagnosed it.”

Amelia reapplied the ice pack and touched his leg tenderly above and below his knee. She delicately massaged the muscles in his calf and thigh. The pleasure of her hands helped ease the pain.

She cursed herself for luring him into that closet to begin with. “I’m sorry…” she apologized.

“Hey…” He stilled her hand on his thigh and took it gently in his. “I’m not sorry.”

His thumb played over her knuckles. Owen closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. His breath came out shaky as he released it. He felt the weight of unspoken conversation between them.

Amelia could feel it too. They remained silent for a time, holding hands.

She spoke first, “Owen, you can talk to me. I just want you to know, you can talk to me.”

He smiled as he remembered saying those same words to her once. She had talked to him then. And he would talk to her now.

“Amelia, I told Callie about the baby.”

“Okay,” she said simply, not wanting to press him. She just wanted him to know she was listening.

“Confidentially, of course. She promised to keep our secret until we’re ready to tell everyone else, and I trust her.”

“I trust her too,” Amelia agreed.

Her hand moved unconsciously to the slight rounding of her stomach. She had felt the baby flutter more regularly this week, and she was feeling her now.

“Besides,” she added, I can’t keep our butterfly a secret much longer. She’s making her presence known more every day. And the 20-week ultrasound will happen soon.”

“About that, Amelia…” Owen took another deep breath. “You know I’m here for you. I’m all in, forever, no matter what.”

“I know.”

“I want you to know how I’m feeling.”

“Tell me.”

He held her hand tight. “Our baby is the biggest miracle of my life, Amelia. I’m excited as anything, and I’m scared as hell.”

“I know.” Amelia moved closer. She ran her fingers through his hair. Their joined hands moved together to rest on his chest.

“Your stoicism hasn’t fooled me, Owen. I know you. I know you like I’ve never known anyone. I feel what you’re feeling. You feel so deeply. It’s just easier when you talk to me. I’m glad you told me.”

She kissed him as delicately as she had touched his calf and his thigh, afraid of breaking him further.

“I am too,” he said as he wrapped his arms around her. He pulled her on top of him, and delicate was forgotten.

She curled up in the warmth of him, still aware of his knee. “So what did Dr. Torres recommend for your recovery?”

“She advised me to have sex in bed for a while. No floors or tables or showers or closets. Just in bed.”

Amelia laughed, “So ‘sex in bed’ was the official prescription?”

“Doctor’s orders.”

“It would be like therapy. Really.”

“Definitely.”

“So, when shall we get started on this therapy of yours.”

“How about… later,” he said, closing his eyes.

“Later would be perfect.”

She listened to his heartbeat as he fell asleep.