my throat closes in

Humans Are Weird: Fun with Food Allergies

My humble submission to the Humans Are Weird conversation. I know we’ve talked about food allergies, but as someone with a LONG list of them, I have a feeling explaining the different ways multiple foods can fuck you up would be fun….


X’kora was learning fast. It was their first mission with humans aboard the ship, but they had felt adequately prepared. Until the peanut incident with Human Monica, that is. The human had been understanding, and had offered to prepare her own food, but X’kora insisted that they didn’t want Human Monica excluded, and that they would be happy to accommodate her needs.

“You turned purple. That is not a standard human skin tone. It must never happen again. Please provide me with your list of death foods.”

Of course, they hadn’t been prepared for the list of twenty-two foods Human Monica was not allowed to eat.

“I tried to color code them for you,” Human Monica explained. “Red are the ones that make my throat close up - like peanuts. The ones in yellow give me hives - a skin rash. And green just give me a headache or stomach ache.”

“All of these foods cause you various forms of distress?” X’kora asked in shock.

“Unfortunately.”

“I must avoid peanuts, bananas, and soy at all costs?”

“Please do. My grandma didn’t believe in food allergies, and baked some peanut butter banana cookies with soy milk - to prove to my parents that they were over protective. Didn’t see much of grandma after the death cookie incident.”

X’kora taped the list to the cabinet. “I will endeavor to meet your needs.”

“Don’t stress - I’m used to it.”

“You. Turned. Purple.”

Last night someone gave Billie Joe Armstrong a big Bi flag to wear onstage.

It looked like the exact same flag I have hanging in my room. He wrapped it around his shoulders, sang a line or two, and then handed it back into the crowd.
Now, at first, I thought it was just a rainbow pride flag. I had seen a few pictures online of Billie wearing those at concerts and I was like “Fuck yeah!!!”
But then he turned just a little and I saw, no, that’s not a rainbow flag…that’s the pink, purple, blue of the Bi flag. The colors of the flag hanging in my room.
And my throat closed up. And my eyes welled up. And y'all, I swear I screamed the loudest scream ever in that moment.
That was me. That was my flag, on stage, in front of thousands of people. With people just like me screaming with just as much joy to see a Bi man on stage wearing a Bi flag.

I didn’t expect to be so emotional but I was. It wasnt a long moment in time. Barely a line or two. But I’ll always remember that moment where Billie wore a Bi flag in the middle of a concert and thousands of people cheered.

“3 Weeks”

requested // yes

requests are open // request here

AN // This is pure filth and I’m sorry

TW // Smut, profanity

“Sexual-Frustration. Noun. (countable and uncountable, plural sexual frustrations) A state of agitation felt by an individual whose sexual satisfaction is considerably less than desired”

3 weeks. It had been 3 weeks since he last touched her. It’s not intentional, he’s just been so busy he’s barely noticed and to be fair neither had she but her body had.

For the first week she was fine, content with his fleeting lips on her forehead as he rushed out the door are the tired kisses he gave when he got home late. She was okay with only feeling his hands on the small of her back as he reached over her for his razor as she brushed her teeth. She was fine. The second week was manageable, yes his fleeting lips left her flustered and his tired kisses left her wanting more and sure when his hand brushed over the small of her back it left goosebumps in it’s wake but she could ignore it. She was fine. So why tonight, on the 3 week mark, is she so temperamental? Why has she been short with him all day and why couldn’t she focus on anything at work?

She’d been home from work for about an hour when he walked through the bedroom door. He’s mad at her, she yelled at him this morning for reasons he was unaware of. She’d dodged his phone calls all day and ignored his attempts at finding out what was wrong. Yet he still notices her staring at him when he walks into the room, can see her sat on the bed with her now closed book and her bottom lip between her teeth as her eyes follow him around the room, he can feel her watching him and that’s when it clicks. 

He turns and walks to her like a predator who’s found his victim, his hands pulled her clothes off slowly and then parted her thighs as she watched him with wide eyes. He’s not touching her, not how she needs him to, not where she needs him to. He’s leaning over her with that goddamn smirk on his face as his fingers lightly trace her inner thigh.

“Saw yeh staring. This what’s got you so frustrated? Pretty girl missed my hands on her huh?” 

She can’t respond, she doesn’t need to. He knows her answer, can feel her answer.

“Missed y’too, missed how your body reacts to me like the earth does to lightning. Missed how you arch into me, as needful of me as I am of you. Missed this.

She still doesn’t answer, it’s as though his touch leaves her speechless. Her body is too busy welcoming the feeling of his hands on her skin to reply, too busy forming goosebumps to form words.

“S’my pretty girl not gonna talk to me? She not even gonna moan for me?”

He’s asking for it now, almost teasingly, he can see what he’s doing to her yet he still wants to hear it. He wants to hear her.

“Harry I…”

“What baby? Can’t please you if I don’t know what you want”

And she’s trying, trying to tell him what she needs, trying to ask for more but she just can’t. She’s overwhelmed, he hasn’t touched her for weeks and it’s too much yet not enough all at once.

“H please

“Please what poppet?”

He’s making her beg for it. It’s like he’s punishing her, for being moody with him, for not just asking him to touch her, for making him work it out for himself.

“Please touch me, need you to touch me”

“But I am touching you gorgeous”

She almost sobs, she’s so desperate and he’s toying with her. A moan escaped her as his hands moved to her pubic bone. It was all too slow. The moan was more dissatisfaction than the opposite but still it evokes a teasing glint in his eye.

“Am I close sweetheart? M’I close to where you want me?”

All she can do is nod, he’s so close but he’s not there.

“What about here? is this better?”

His hand is flat against her mound and his thumb is rubbing softly just above the top of her clit. Her eyes are wide and watery as she silently pleads with him to give her what she’s so desperate for.

“Oh no, that’s not what you want is it sweets? No, you want me here”

His thumb finally touches her nerves and it has her gasping like it the first time she’s breathed since she saw him walk into the bedroom. He’s barely done anything but yet she’s arching her back and gripping his arm and he’s enthralled with it, with her, he’s only rubbing her in slow circles and she’s writhing.

“More…”

“What was that my love?”

He’s not teasing her anymore, not trying to make her beg, he was just so wrapped up in watching her squirm that he couldn’t comprehend what she was asking for.

“Please H, need more”

“My sweet girl wants more huh? Wants me to make her cum?”

She’s breathless, the rasp in his voice driving her insane. All she can do is say “please” like that and his name are all that’s in her vocabulary right now. Her please makes him smile, she’s completely as his mercy and he loves it. He slips his fore and middle finger into her while his thumb presses steady circles into her clit and she’s whimpering and to him it sounds like heaven. He knows her body like he knows his own name, he knows what makes her tick, so when his fingers touch the most sensitive spots inside of her and she lets out a cry he just smiles, her body is his and he knows how to use it. She can feel her stomach tightening and her heart beat in her throat.

“So close”

“Yeah? Is my pretty girl going to cum for me? Gonna let me watch you break?”

Her eyes are squeezed shut as she nods, he can see tears threatening to spill and he’s proud. His fingers stop moving and instead they press on her softest spot, the spot that makes her scream. The pressure there coupled with his thumb on her clit is too much, she’s hypersensitive and he’s using it against her. Both of her hands grip his wrist as she lets out a sob, his head snaps up in worry just to be stunned with the image of his girl completely wrecked because of him and he swears it’s the most beautiful sight he’s ever seen. His free hand moves to cup one side of her face as his thumb brushes away her stray tears, something so innocent compared to what his other thumb is doing to her.

“That’s it sweetheart, cum for me, that’s my good girl”

His lips are on her cheek as she cums, her hands leave his wrist to grip his shirt tightly in her fist. Her body is stiff and her eyes are shut, tears are still streaming down her face but she’s silent. He’s watching her completely fall apart and he can’t believe he’s gone 3 weeks without seeing this, why was he depriving himself of such a beautiful sight? She’s shuddering as she comes down, her eyes still closed but the death grip she had on his shirt slowly being released as he lays her back against the bed.

“Are you okay my love?”

A shaky breath leaves her as she nods and opens her eyes to look him

“I’ve missed you”

It’s a quiet confession that he would’ve missed had he not been solely focused on her. It makes his heart ache. How he could ever leave this perfect girl, his perfect girl, without his touch for so long is beyond him and he’s making a promise to himself to never leave her without him for that long again, never going to deprive himself of her again. 

His || Jungkook || 0.8

Member: Jungkook x Reader

Type: Angst, Fluff, Smut.

Teaser | 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 0.5 | 0.6 | 0.7 | 0.8

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I Don't Wanna Live Forever [Connor Murphy x Reader]

Title: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: no
Summary: Your family takes an annual trip to the mountains with the Murphy family every year to unwind over the winter break–that being said, Connor Murphy isn’t the sweet kid he used to be, and you’d rather be anywhere else than sharing a room with him for two weeks. However, between your parents, a line of accidents, and a mapless trip in the woods seem determined to bring you together–if you can make it out alive.
Warnings: Connor’s potty mouth | Mentions of drugs, abuse, alcohol, panic attacks, sex trafficking, sex, blood, hospitals | First person reader | face paced/vignette style | not proof read | tenses may change
A/N: Here’s that long ass thing I’ve been working on for weeks and just finished a few minutes ago, ayy. Based entirely off the “Connor hated skiing” line. This is long af with no read more option, sorry :/ Here we go! (THANKS FOR 500+ FOLLOWERS ♡♡♡)


Connor Murphy was a lot of things.

He was stubborn–I’d never seen him admit he was wrong, but I’d definitely seen him throw scrabble pieces across the wooden floor of the cabin, leaving Zoe to scramble red-faced to collect them as he stomped up the oak steps to his room, echoing around the house.

He was annoying–I’d told him once I wasn’t crazy about Iron Maiden, which resulted in the album being on blast for the entirety of the time he drove Zoe and I around the mall in the family’s silver minivan.

He was stoic. He was impatient. He was angry.

I’d begged my parents not to go cabins for winter break. I’d begged them to pick a different mountain range if we were so dead set on skiing. But Mr. Murphy and my mother were business associates, and the last thing she wanted to do was make them feel like we were no longer on good terms–especially because of Connor.

“Larry’s been having an awfully hard time with Connor, sweetheart, you have to understand,” my mother crooned in our rental car, fixing her lip liner as she drove, my father keeping a white knuckled grip on the Jesus handle above his head. “He’s not doing very well in school and he’s been throwing tantrums at home. Poor Cynthia is at her wits end. They’re lucky to have that sweet Zoe, she’s so talented and smart. Poor Connor is jealous and acting out, just try not to rally him up, alright, dear?”

I didn’t dignify her with a response, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t like what I had to say anyway, but also because I knew she wouldn’t care to listen, either. I sighed loudly, watching the snow flurry softly outside the window. It wasn’t fair–here I was in the middle of something so remarkably beautiful, and I’d be shoved in a minivan with the Murphy kids and stuck in the valley town’s 1970s mall with crappy t-shirts and a vape store that Connor would spend all day in.

The cabin was huge, up with a view of the town below, nearly three stories made of solid, stripped oak, in the middle of a winding road with a four percent grade. Half the cabin was supported on beams which plummeted down the mountain face. I’d be lucky to stand on the deck without vomiting, let alone being able to venture into the hot tub.

The Murphy’s minivan was already in the drive, trunk shut, meaning they’d unpacked and I’d be left with whatever miniscule space they’d left for me in the loft area.

“Remember to be nice, sweetheart,” my mother crooned again, fluffing her hair in the mirror and giving me an enthusiastic smile in the rearview. “It’s important! They’re practically family.”

Geez, I was lucky to not have Connor Murphy for a cousin.

Slinging my backpack over my arm and exiting the rental car, I took the liberty to stretch, despite the cold air that stung my cheeks and the snow that fluttered down into my hair. This may very well be the last moment of solitude I had for the entirety of the week, and I was going to revel in it.

A movement caught my eye, suddenly, and I lowered myself off my tiptoes to glance up at the second story window–a curtain fluttered shut. It was most likely Zoe or Connor checking out the commotion that was my father and mother bickering over who carried what into the house, and shutting it once they’d realized I caught them. Feeling vaguely uneasy, I turned just as Larry Murphy, bundled in a parka, burst out of the house to take two suitcases from my father.

It was going to be a long two weeks.

——

Cynthia Murphy made me stand by the kitchen counter as she was stocking the cabinet with neon colored cardboard boxes containing various sugary, pink cereals with marshmallows and prizes inside. The Murphy kids were both picky eaters, I remembered quickly, Connor more so than Zoe.

Mrs. Murphy kept playing with my hair, crowing about how much longer it looked (despite the fact I’d cut it since the last time I’d seen her) and how pretty and grown up I’d become, asking me the usually annoying adult questions (“Any thoughts on schools yet? Oh, Connor can’t decide either! Do you know what you’re going to major in? That’s alright, you’ll figure it out soon!”) It would’ve been annoying, I decided, if and only if she didn’t look so sad all the time, the purple bruising under her eyes visible still underneath the layers of makeup. My mother could say whatever she liked about Cynthia Murphy where her wifely duties were concerned–Mrs. Murphy tried to be a good mother (re: tried, period), and that was more than enough to pass her in my book.

In the background, my parents were settling into the second master bedroom, Larry Murphy yelling at the bottom of the stairs to announce our arrival. I could do without the annual reunion, awkward questions about school. The Murphy kids were tolerable–Zoe definitely more so–but it didn’t mean they had to force us together so artificially.

Zoe skimpered down the stairs first, her soft moccasin boots barely making any sound on the stairs–I was surprised to find her long legs bare, her thighs peeking out beneath a pretty pink chiffon dress, covered by what I hoped to be a faux fur parka. Her pretty auburn hair was curled, pulled back with a polka dot headband I could recognize from her childhood. She was wearing eyeliner, and cotton candy flavored lip gloss I remembered sharing when we were thirteen.

It was such a stark contrast from how I remembered her before. The last I’d seen her she’d been gawky and fifteen with a mouth full of metal and a bra full of kleenex. She was practically grown now, and beautiful–it made me feel slightly subpar in my own blue jeans and blue sweater. Regardless, she smiled brightly and skipped over to me, opening her arms to wrap them around my neck.

“It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek that shocked me, as well as some others–Larry Murphy’s horrified expression was priceless, and I was convinced Connor put her up to it–but I just laughed and hugged her tightly before letting her go.

“You look so pretty,” I told her with a wry grin, and she just tossed the expression back, nodding with a, “So do you!”

“It’s so good to see you girls are still so close,” my mother tittered, beginning to uncork a glass of wine–we didn’t drink much at my house, but the Murphy’s, I knew, did, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to let that go to waste. “Where’s that sweet boy of yours?”

Larry Murphy at the bottom of the stairs, banging on the oak walls, yelling out, “Connor!” was enough to make both the Murphy women flinch visibly. Zoe still had her arm around my waist as we stared up at the ceiling above us, waiting for the squeak of sneakers on the polished wood.

“Don’t yell.”

Zoe jumped away from me as if she’d been burned, pressing herself against the countertop as if to make herself invisible. Mrs. Murphy, her hand clutched to her chest after the initial nose, fought hard to smile believably. I, myself, had jumped at the unexpected sound–Connor Murphy’s curt tenor clear across the room, no where near the stairs, instead standing the doorway were we had just come from. I couldn't  quite make out his frame from here–there was a line of bodies blocking my view, my parents, Mrs. Murphy, and Zoe all formed a human barrier that constructed the divide between Connor and I. Fine by me.

“There you are!” Mrs. Murphy chirped, clearly still nervous, visibly by her shaking voice and hands, fluffing her hair to give her something to do. “You didn’t miss much, Connor, they’ve just arrived.”

My mother said something unintelligent in way of greeting, to which Conner didn’t reply, just shut the door carefully behind him to keep out the cold air. I couldn’t see his face from here, but I could make out that he was much too still for a teenage boy, much too quiet.

“–You remember her, don’t you, Connor?”

My throat closed up as the Red Sea parted, everyone’s heads turning to look between the two of us.

He didn’t move from the doormat–boots  caked in snow, as if he’d gone for a walk, and the bottoms of his skinny jeans were muddy and slick looking. Still, he didn’t shiver, which was slightly unnerving. He was skinnier than I remembered, like he hadn’t been eating, and his face was all angles. He slouched, his pink mouth which was mottled red from the cold was set in a heavy frown. His eyes, which were scanning somewhere around my waist and hadn’t come anywhere near making eye contact since he’d seen me, had blown pupils. Drugs. He was doing drugs in the middle of the afternoon.

He hadn’t cut his hair since I’d seen him last, brown curls poking out of the bottom of a black sock toboggan with a soft pompom on top. It could’ve been funny, I supposed, his rough puberty finishing to leave him left over with this, something akin to a drugged out vogue model who listened to way too much 2008 Fall Out Boy, if he didn’t seem so…unnervingly somber for someone who clearly wasn’t sober. Geez, this kid was a school shooter in the making.

I glanced back up to find him finally staring at my face, shooting an uncomfortable alertness down my spine. His eyebrows were crooked in vague amusement that didn’t seem to reach his mouth, and I felt my face heat up under his scrutiny. If he was trying to intimidate me, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared of boys like him.

“Yeah, I remember her,” he grinned mirthlessly, stuffing his hands into the gut pocket of his hoodie, giving me a nod that, while meant to appease our parents, also felt like a vague threat. I didn’t smile back.

“Great! Wanna show her the room?”

Connor grinned crookedly. “Follow me, kid.”

——

The upstairs layout was just like I remembered  it–Two rooms, one main one in the first entrance with a king bed tucked in the corner, a TV and a few gaming systems with some furniture in the front, a bathroom with two doors which lead through to the other room, which held the fold out couch and television I was accustomed to using.

The Murphy kids already had their belongs strewn about the room–Zoe’s stuff animals and princess blankets eclipsing most of the bed and an ancient Nintendo DS on the table with SpongeBob stickers on the cover that I’m sure belonged to Connor–and it left me very little room to maneuver through.

Connor was silent as he lead me up, as if I didn’t know the way, but surprised me by stopping in front of the king bed, holding out his arms to signal me.

“Your room, my lady.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “This–this is your bed.”

“Not this year. Dad’s decided it’s a little too Flowers In the Attic for Zoe and I to share a bed this year–I’m on the pull out and you girls get to have your fun.” He shot me a bitter smile to let me know he wasn’t thrilled about having the pull-out–he shouldn’t be, the thing was total garbage–but surely he’d enjoy the privacy of it?

“I don’t care to take the pull-out,” I told him, keeping my bag on my shoulder despite the fact it was beginning to be painfully heavy. “If you wanna–”

“Don’t have a choice,” he said, already turning toward the bathroom to walk to his half of the loft. “The bed’s yours.”

——

So, Connor Murphy had turned out to be a total dick. It should’ve unsurprising information, I knew, but part of me still remembered him as a charismatic kid I was, at one point, friends with. Back when the three of us all slept in the king bed, before any of us ever had a zit, when we’d fall asleep in the floor watching early 1990s Pokémon episodes, because Larry Murphy didn’t like them watching it.

Even the Connor I remembered at fourteen, gangly and silent and shy with close-cropped hair felt better than this. I was past uncomfortable, sitting stiffly between he and Zoe on one of the couches in the living room. There was a faux fur blanket hanging behind us, shedding hairs onto Connor’s black jacket, which would’ve been funny if he wasn’t picking at his nails with a slightly rusted pocket knife–I notice he’d painted them, which I oddly admired. I’d kissed a boy earlier this year who painted his nails, and his palms were always soft when he’d reach up to cup my cheeks. It softened Connor in my head, just slightly.

He was careful, I saw, to stay on his side of the couch, leaning into the apex of the arm and the back of the couch rather  than flush with me, his thin legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle to avoid me. I appreciated it, but it didn’t stop me from leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, sitting on the edge of the cushion. I could still feel warmth radiating from him–it was late, and I was tired with a full stomach. If I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right into him, and he’d never let me live that down.

Zoe practically was asleep, leaning forward as well with her head on my shoulder. Cynthia had let her have nearly two glasses of wine at dinner–not enough to get her drunk, but it didn’t change the fact Zoe was still lithe and young, and easily tipsy.

We’d all gone into town for a very awkward dinner–I was just thankful to be placed between my father and Zoe, in a position on the opposite end of the table from Connor, who was stuck in between Larry and Cynthia, looking as if he were in a permanent time out.

Now we were gathered around the coffee table in the cabin, the seven of us hunched over a tiny photo album that I couldn’t really make out from here. There were fuzzy polaroids of us as children, looking nothing like we did now. Connor and I at six, soaked from romping in a sprinkler. Zoe and Connor sharing a chocolate icecream cone, their faces covered in the brown spatter.

“You were all so small,” Mrs. Murphy crowed with a choked voice, covering half her face with her hand in a faux attempt to eclipse the emotion. “Oh, I miss it. You kids used to spend so much time together! Now we only get together for break, and Zoe is so busy there’s hardly enough time for her to spend quality time with her sweet brother.”

Zoe snorted loudly, earning a glare from Mr. Murphy I was positive I wasn’t supposed to see. I snuck a glance at Connor, whose face betrayed no emotion, just staring blankly ahead in the direction of the album. From his position, I was positive he couldn’t see more than the chipped leather cover of the book. Even if he leaned forward, he wouldn’t have been able to see much.

My mother and Mrs. Murphy went out in loud voices in a seamless attempt to pretend the seemingly secret interaction had taken place, so, while the focus was shifted, I turned my attention to Connor.

He didn’t cock an eyebrow this time when he caught me staring, instead just furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me, as if he expected me to speak.

“Can you see?” I asked, nodding my head in the direction of the book.

“I’m fine,” he said immediately–vaguely irritating, I’d admit, but nonetheless understandable. I was sure Cynthia Murphy had spent most of her life making sure Connor was comfortable at all times. Still, this was my olive branch, in an attempt to make this trip a little more tolerable, and Zoe seemed less than likely to console her brother at this point.

“We can change seats, I’m not really looking,” I promised, sitting forward more in my seat to show that I was ready to make the change.

“I’m fi–”

Connor was cut off by a squeal from his mother, who had tossed the book into our laps. It had taken a great deal of squinting, letting my heartbeat slow before I realized she’d been showing us something and not trying to kill some giant bug between us.

The polaroid was grainy, an ivory hue that whitewashed the photo and the years of existence made the picture hard to decipher at first, especially when we were so tired. The time stamp was from the late nineties, glowing yellow in the corner of the frame. I recognized the gilded tub from upstairs that dominated half the bathroom, big enough for three adults easily.

Connor threw to book onto my lap first, like it had scalded him. I should’ve done the same, but it took me a moment. To see, to adjust, to read and understand what was so socially condemning about the photo.

It was Connor, I realized first, small and tanned with bony ribs and chunky fingers and the apples of his cheeks straining against his baby skin. His hair was cropped so short, it looked almost silly. Beside him was me, my hair wild and tangled, curled as if my mother had teased it for dinner. My wide eyes were blazing, much too big for my face, and I was grinning with wet lips at the camera.

We were in the tub, surrounded by big pink bubbles.

We were very, very naked.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal–not really, unless you counted the fact that if this had been printed, our parents would be arrested for child porn. I was mostly covered, sitting beside Connor, my shoulders hunched forward. But Connor was standing, meaning the camera got a very decent view of–

“What the fuck, Mom!” He screaming, standing and ripping the book off my lap. Cynthia’s tittering died immediately, the hands covering her laughed instead covered her horrified face.

This was how it started, I realized.

“It’s not fucking funny,” he growled, tossing the book across the room, banging against the wooden wall with a heavy whomp.  

“That’s enough, Connor,” Larry Murphy growled low in his throat. Cynthia’s head was downcast, her eyes wide and wet. I recognized the emotion immediately–she shut down with conflict the same way Connor did.

“You don’t get to laugh at me for shits and giggles this whole trip,” Connor said, already lunging up the stairs, his hands shaking. “If I wanted to feel shitty, I’d have a conversation with you.”

So much for having a quiet trip.
——
Zoe wasn’t quiet in her gossip about Connor–his door was fashioned shut, I saw, and I doubt he’d come out for the rest of the night. I was positive he could hear his sister’s loud comments from our room.

“Sorry, he’s such an ass,” Zoe groaned, stretching on the bed, her little lilac nightgown shifting across her thighs. “I think his high is wearing off or something–don’t let it bug you. You don’t have to be nice to him, by the way. I’m not gonna let him hurt you.”

I shrugged, noncommittal. “We were friends once. I’m not gonna be mean, he’s never done anything to me.”

Zoe snorted. “You didn’t just see that? He’s a monster, and it gets worse.”

“He just has a temper. Everyone gets like that sometimes.”

I wasn’t sure why I was defending Connor–half because I didn’t want Zoe to tell Connor I disliked him, then he’d actively terrorize me–half because I had no idea why Connor Murphy was so pissed off. It was just a picture. Yeah, embarrassing, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about eighteen year old Connor Murphy seeing my nipples, and I’ll admit he definitely had the worst end of the stick.

“He loses his shit like that all the time,” Zoe said. “It’s not just a temper.”

“He’s your brother, Zoe,” I reminded gently, brushing out my hair in the bathroom mirror. “Can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

“He’s no brother of mine,” she whispered, rolling over on the bed and clicking off the light.

——

The next few days passed as the usually did–the adults going places without us, albeit romantic and boring, and leaving the three of us to wander about the town below the mountain crests. It was Zoe’s turn to pick the day’s activity, and she’d chosen the mall.

The place was all dark oak, and hadn’t been remodeled since the late seventies at the earliest. Zoe was chipper, balancing a bag of organic soap and bath bombs on her lap that she’d bought at a local shop, pouring over the cheese fries between us on a plastic red tray.

Connor had also been well-behaved since his outburst several days ago, albeit quiet. He’d separated from us the second we’d arrived, holed out in some record store. Zoe was thrilled to be rid of him, and very vocal about it. I was bored out of my mind.

“Don’t look now,” Zoe said brightly, despite her face suddenly shifting into a mask of disinterest. She bit down on her lip, covered in a pink glitter lipgloss she’d applied much too liberally, and pulled on her pretty auburn braid. “There’s some boys two tables behind us checking you out.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh,” Zoe said, leaning into take a sip of her milkshake, biting down on the straw–the look on her face told me she’d got their attention.

“How old are they?” I hissed. The last thing we needed were some creeps following us around the mall–this was how sex trafficking started. Surely Zoe knew that this was a huge red flag.

It was clear from her overzealous wave she didn’t.

I felt a hand on the back of my chair before I saw them–to Zoe’s credit, they were pretty. Both in thick denim blue jeans, both in letterman jackets over white tee-shirts. One was tall, skinny, with pretty dark skin and hair cropped close to his head. The other was a little thicker, pale and short, in badly need from a shave. They were smiling brightly at the two of us in a way that was less awestruck and more closely resembled a triumphant conquest.

“Hello, ladies,” the shorter man greeted, grinning like a shark between Zoe and I. His hair was dark, curling around his temples–handsome, maybe my age, maybe ten years older. It was impossible to tell. There were lines around his eyes that either indicated he smiled too much or was simply older. “What are two cute girls like you doing inside on a day like this–the ski lift is just a walk down the road.”

“We’re here shopping with our brother,” I said immediately, giving a grin. The taller boy quirked his eyebrows at me–his eyes, I noticed, were dark with tawny flecks hidden in them.

“That’s cool,” he said to me, switching places so that the other boy could be closer to Zoe. They both pulled chairs up to our table, facing us. My stomach pinched uncomfortably. “Where’s he at?”

“Nike,” I lied, seeing the sign from the distance and knowing very well that Hot Topic, while probably true, didn’t exactly invoke fear.

“Ah,” he said with a grin, his eyes glancing down at my bare arm with a grin. With two slim fingers, he reached forward to pluck at my woven bracelet Zoe had made me a few nights ago, my name in block letter strung across the twine. His hands were uncomfortably hot, and I drew my arm back into my lap. “Aren’t you cold?” He nodded to my bare arms. I’d left my flannel with Connor, who was sitting on a bench at the time–I hoped he remembered to grab it. I was just wearing a striped cotton tee right now, and my arm had broken out in a case of goosebumps, though I wasn’t sure it was from the cold.

“I’m fine,” I said, careful not to meet his gaze. He was pretty, and if I wasn’t careful, I might end up going somewhere with this guy.

“You know,” he began, and I could hear his grin turn predatory. “You’re very pretty.”

A jolt shot down my spine–I wasn’t pretty, not really, which terrified me. I could hear what the other boy was whispering to Zoe, but I could tell that all the stars were gone from her eyes. She looked pale, panicked. These weren’t the kind of boys we needed to hanging around with.

“I know,” I said quickly. “We really need to call our brother–”

“I think he can wait long enough for me to get your number, right?”

Across the table Zoe laughed, too loudly, pushing back and standing from her chair. She was grinning at the dark haired boy, beckoning her to follow with a jerk of her chin.

“Zoe–”

“We’re gonna run to get some coffee, okay? Connor should be back soon, don’t wait up.”

She didn’t meet my heavy glare for long, and didn’t turn around when I yelled her name. I watched in silent horror as the boy put his hand flush with her lower back.

I was alone.

The panic crept onto the back of my neck long before his thin fingers did. He smelled like cinnamon, strongly, like he’d done one too many sprays with his cologne that morning. When I turned to face him, his tawny eyes were asking.

“Is this the part where you say you’ve got a boyfriend?” He grinned, his teeth blindingly bright in his tan face. He was so close I could see the threads on the collar of his letterman jacket–it looked soft.

There was a possibility, I realized, that they weren’t dangerous. That I was just being paranoid–Zoe wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t go off with a strange boy unless she was sure it was safe. Still, they were definitely in college.

And boy, were they pretty.

“I do have a boyfriend, actually,” I said, lifting my chin to meet his gaze so he wouldn’t think I was lying. There was a small voice in the back of my head, screaming, raised on her tip toes that I should just take this plunge–let him hold my hand or kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, because this was a shitty trip and I deserved to be as reckless as the Murphy kids were allowed. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t.

Besides, you know, the obvious.

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have a boyfriend?” He asked, biting back a smirk. I felt the voice in the back of my head get sucker punched by my ego. So, he didn’t think I was pretty after all. Which meant he was dangerous.

Which meant Zoe was in trouble.

“Yes,” I growled, standing, yelping a bit when his hand snaked up to grab at my wrist, nearly breaking my bracelet and keeping me bent over the table.

“Let go,” I hissed–the food court was nearly deserted, and the family in the corner was carefully avoiding my eyes. I wasn’t sure I had the voice to scream.

“I don’t believe you have a boyfriend.”

“Let go, or I’ll scream,” I warned, yanking on my arm. He let go immediately, holding his hand high above his head, which I knew was meant as a gesture of calm, but instead looked an awful lot like he intended to strike me.

“Where’s your boyfriend, then?” He taunted loudly, thrilled to see no one in the court coming to my aid. I felt sick, the panic rising in my chest. Where was Zoe? She was in trouble. I was in trouble. I was going to have to scream–

“He’s right here.”

My arm flailed, immediately cocking back in an attempt to elbow in the stomach whoever had wrapped their arm around my neck, their other spidery hand snaking just slightly under the hem of my t-shirt to splay across my hip, finger tips barely brushing my skin above my jeans. The arms were strong, vice like, pressing me against a hard body, and suddenly I felt limp, panic leaving me as I realized whose familiar smell I was enveloped in.

Hair grazed across my cheekbone, and I could make out the dark locks if I looked out the corner of my eye, and I nearly yelped when I felt lips press chastely against my temple.

I couldn’t make out much of the boy anymore, my eyes level with Connor’s adams apple from where he was pressing me against him.

“Babe,” Connor said cooly, calmly, making my knees knock against his. “Who’s this?”

“H-he’s leaving,” I managed to stutter out, barely a whisper, my voice hoarse. I sounded terrified. No wonder this ass in the letterman jacket hadn’t be intimated by me, I sounded about as frightening as a kitten. Connor pressed his fingers against the nape of my neck, tilting my head against his jugular so that I couldn’t see anything but the pale column of his throat and his dark hair. It was getting difficult to breathe–I felt sick. He moved his hand to wrap around my waist, yanking me tightly to him.

“You heard her,” Connor said, again stoic–half of me wished I could see his face, but the other half knew it would be terrifying. Connor’s temper was legendary and destructive–to see him so angry wouldn’t make the fist in my gut unclench. “Go. Take your friend with you.”

There was a beat of silence. Then two. I couldn’t hear much but my own shaky breathing, warm and wet against Connor’s neck, his hair making the space much too hot. I wasn’t aware I had knotted my fingers into his shirt until he started walking, dragging my stumbling form forward with him. He was going fast, too fast for me to keep up, and my chest could only rise so far before deflating painfully.

“You gotta breathe,” he grunted, one of his arms still around me. His face felt hot against me.

“Z-zoe!” I choked out, realizing I had no idea where she was. She could still be with that boy, be in danger–

“Oh, Christ,” he exclaimed bitterly, letting go and beginning to trudge forward. I was terrified briefly, suddenly overwhelmed with the fact I didn’t know where I was. There was a Game Stop, and a Victoria’s secret, the neon lighting combined with the screaming toddlers and the kissing teens and Connor was leaving

An arm swept up from behind me, leading me just as quickly, mumbling something I couldn’t make out into my ear.

“Zoe!” I grinned, immediately feeling safer, feeling my fear melt away just smidgen in my gut.

“I’m so so sorry I left,” she sobbed. “I went looking for a cop, but I found Connor first and I told him you were in trouble–”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, surprised that my voice was no longer wet. “Thanks, Zoe.”

I was calm, or, at least calmer by the time we reached the van. Connor was waiting by the passenger side door, which was opened, leaning against a scratch in the silver paint. He wasn’t looking at us, instead appearing to observe the silver snowflakes as they fell.

My reflection in the side mirror revealed my face was red and blotchy, not just from the cold wind. I felt gross–guilty for the fact I hadn’t been able to defend myself and Zoe, guilty for the fact Connor Murphy was the one who had to come to my rescue, and guilty for the fact I’d cried all over him. His zipped up hoodie seemed to have escaped the mess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel awful. 

He stepped out of the way when I made it close, gesturing for me to get in the passenger side door while glaring at the ground. I was only vaguely surprised, and followed along immediately. Zoe and I almost always rode together in the back. I let Connor shut the door, ignoring the disgusted look Zoe gave as she got into the back.

Connor hoisted himself into the driver’s seat, surprising me with a costume change, reappearing in only a forest green tee. He held out his hoodie to me, balled up in one of his fists without looking at me, before just tossing it into my lap.

“I–”

“I left your flannel in the back. Put that on or you’ll freeze.”

He licked his lips, staring coldly out the front window, before starting the car. I swallowed. Yeah, he definitely hated me.

“Okay.”

——

“You’re sure you’re alright, honey?” My mother asked for the third time. Her hair was tied up, her pink bathrobe covering little of her cleavage and bare legs. She was cradling a wine bottle in her hands, looking at me in faux concern.

I gave her a soft smile. “I’m fine,” I lied. I’d calmed considerately. Connor and Zoe had both agreed I needed to shower to wash off the panicked look on my face–I’d asked them to keep the days happenings a secret. They’d reluctantly agreed.

She gave me a clipped smile. “Maybe you should go to bed early, yeah? That’s what I plan to do.”

I nodded, scratching at my bare leg. I’d taken advantage of Zoe’s absense and changed into boxer shorts and an oversized tee with a kitten on the front–she and Cynthia had headed into town for the night, spending the night at a spa and would be gone for a few days, and my father had taken his annual ‘me time’ and booked a hotel downtown to do his own thing. I think Mr. Murphy went with him, but regardless, he was out of the house. It was just me and my mother.

And Connor. I tried not to think about it. I planned on offering him the big bed tonight, in way of thanking him for today, but we hadn’t spoken much since the incident and I felt…odd. Unsure how to thank him. Unsure why he helped.

I supposed the Murphy men were just gentlemen, even under all that teen angst.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I’m probably gonna sit out on the balcony and then head to bed.”

She grinned. “Don’t stay out too late, it’s almost down to single digits, dear.”

I just nodded, sliding off the countertop, and slinking upstairs. I was surprised to see Connor sitting on the bed. I grinned.

He looked different, to say the least. He was still without his jacket, wearing only his tee and jeans, and little pair of socks with stars on them, which did seem a little out of character, but I assumed Cynthia bought them. His head perked when he saw me, simply craning his neck, keeping his shoulders bowed forward over his body.

He looked small, I realized. He didn’t look like a boy who punched holes in walls or scared off very big very scary men in shopping mall food courts. He looked like a vogue model with a little too much innocence.

He gave me a grin with no teeth, and it didn’t quite meet his eyes, but I gave him a sheepish smile back.

“Hey,” I greeted, tugging on my top to cover my shorts a little better–Connor Murphy didn’t have any interest in seeing my thighs. Despite all the panic, I’d been playing over and over in my head the comment the boy in the mall had made, incredulous that I had a boyfriend. It was silly to let it sting me, considering he probably wanted to stuff me in a van, but it crippled me nonetheless.

“Hey,” he greeted back, not rising from the bed.  I waited for him to speak again, and when he said nothing, I continued.

“I, uh, meant to say, since Zoe’s gone, you can have the big bed like good old times.”

He frowned. “I don’t need the bed.”

“I don’t either,” I promised, leaning against the banister. “Plus,” I sighed, scratching at the back of my head. “I’m not entirely sure how to thank you for today. I’d probably be selling for a low ball price on the dark web right now, if it wasn’t for you. So, thanks.”

Connor was still frowning. “You’ve had a really rough day. You should take the bed.”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to get frustrated. “I’m really okay, I promise. I can’t give you anything else, take the bed.”

His dark eyebrows knit together quickly, licking his lips again nervously. “I don’t–”

“Plus,” I cut him off again with a curt laugh. “I owe you for your Oscar performance. That was crazy, you know. I can’t believe you fooled him into thinking a guy like you would be with a girl like me.”

His head snapped up. “A guy like me?” He reiterated coldly. I felt my face grow hot.

“You know,” I said quietly.

“Know what?”

“That you’re cool,” I muttered. “And nice looking. And I’m not.”

I was thankful for the warm lighting in the room, concealing my red face. It was already dark out, the blinds drawn tightly. Connor’s fists clenched in the white lace comforter on the bed. I didn’t want him to feel bad for me, and I sort of regretted saying it. Connor had already seen me blubbering today and he didn’t need my shitty teen angst to deal with.

He bit down on his lower lip, staring coldly at the ground before murmuring, “I need a shower. Take the bed.”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go for a walk.”

He just nodded, rising from the bed. “Don’t get too far. It’s cold out.”

Connor shut the bathroom door behind him, and I was left feeling like a total idiot. I could hear the shower running before I left, snagging Connor’s grey jacket from my bed post and sliding it on. I went down the stairs, sliding out the first door to the outside, stepping out onto the first floor balcony. I made a mental note to the shut the blinds later, before walking around to the front of the cabin.

I should’ve been thrilled to be alive, I realized, snorting at how melodramatic that sounded. Still, as I burrowed deeper into Connor’s jacket, watching my thighs turn red from the cold, I realized that I was shrouded in a veil of melancholy I wouldn’t be able to shake off.

I missed Connor. I missed being his friend. I missed him coming over for play dates when we were kids, gauzy fairy wings strapped to our backs, jumping on a trampoline when Zoe was still to young to participate. I missed writing him letters, like a pen pal, despite the fact he only lived on the opposite side of town. Going to different schools hadn’t deterred us, for a while, at least. We had sleepovers every birthday, and Zoe told the best scary stories. I remembered hiding under Connor’s bed with him, a hand clasped over my mouth so Zoe wouldn’t hear our breathing.

I remembered kissing him when we were in kindergarten, ridiculously late at night, a quick smack on the lips during a game of pretend. I’d kissed Zoe, too, when we were probably much too old for it, but thinking of Connor tugged on my chest.

It stopped as we turned twelve, I realized. I never saw him–he was still playing little league, and I stopped coming to his games to pick dandelions with Zoe. He was beginning to get teased. My parents insisted the slumber parties should stop, we were too old. Every time Connor and I were together at birthdays or Christmas parties, adults would joke about when we’d fall in love, how soon would it be before we got married. We avoided each other like the plague, unless we knew we could be alone. And we were never alone.

Connor hid inside himself. Zoe made fun of him at parties, loudly. I kept quiet.

He stopped calling during the summer months. He never rode his bike by my house. The only time I saw Connor Murphy was the annual ski trip.

I missed him. He’d been a childhood friend, and I’d let him go without a second thought to save myself some shred of dignity, like it wouldn’t be ripped away from me regardless.

Connor Murphy was nothing to be ashamed of.

And now it was too late to be his friend.

It had started to snow again, so I wiped my face and rose, walking the opposite way I had come, skirting the stairs–they led to the upstairs, but only to Connor’s room, and I didn’t plan to barge in uninvited, especially if he was still in the shower, two rooms blocked me from getting to the king bed, so I’d have to walk all the way around the house.

The lights were out, I saw, but again no one had bothered to close the blinds. The television might have been on, a dim blue glow resounding onto the leather couch–

I froze.

As it turned out, my mother hadn’t gone to bed. The television was on, showing some late show with some old white man making cracks about some politician I didn’t care for, casting the blue haze onto the coffee table, revealing the wine bottle my mother had been cradling. Two empty glasses sat on the table–my mother’s bathrobe crinkled on the floor.

I was disgusted in a comedic way, just for a moment, to see my mother in her nightgown kissing my father, who my brain had filled in under the assumption he’d arrived back.

I’d begun backing up to the stairs, Connor Murphy’s naked body be damned, when I realized my father’s car had never pulled up, and I’d been on the front porch the whole time.

A better look in the window revealed a man a little older, a little more gray and a little more handsome than my father.

I was sprinting by the time Larry Murphy had begun to peel his shirt off his back.

I didn’t knock by the time I’d made it to Connor’s room, just threw open the door, struggling to get my breathing under control. I stumbled to the pull out couch, dragging the sheets up around my freezing legs. I was in shock, I knew, and I needed to calm down before Connor came in–the bathroom door was shut, but I couldn’t hear the shower anymore, despite the steady trickle of steam coming through the cracks. I was trapped in this room until Connor came out.

My mother was cheating on my father Larry Murphy. Larry Murphy was cheating on his wife with my mother. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it, I had to have made it up, this had to be a dream–

“What are you doing in here?”

It was an exclamation, alarmed, grasping a towel tight with thin white knuckles.

Connor. Connor in a towel. Connor wet with slick hair and chest hair and navel and hip bones. Connor Murphy, son of Larry Murphy, who had his tongue down my mom’s throat–

“Hey, breathe, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

By the time my eyes snapped back into focus, Connor was struggling to pull on grey basketball shorts without dropping his towel, and I dropped my gaze back to my shaking hands, almost startlingly red from the temperature change and what was most likely shock. I was hyperventilating, struggling to smother the sobs. I knew this deep in the house, they probably wouldn’t hear me–they were most definitely preoccupied anyway. 

The bed dipped, and Connor’s bare side brushed my thigh. I didn’t mean to jerk back, but I did, clinging to the arm of the couch and staring horrified–Connor looked almost hurt, but mostly panicked. I tried to calm down, for his sake.

“S-sorry!” I sobbed. “Sorry! I-I-I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I didn’t–I–”

“Hey, stop, breathe. You gotta breathe. Go slow, okay? Stop tryna talk,” he commanded, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t gonna hurt me, readjusting so that he sat up on his knees, leaning  over me to take my hands, rubbing them between his own despite the claminess.

I avoided his eyes, focusing instead on the dip of his collar bone, surprised to see thin lines of chest hair, wet and plastered to his chest. He was skinny, and I could see his ribs despite the tiny stomach roll from where he folded in the middle. His thumbs rubbed soothing circles across the backs of my hands, and for a moment, I didn’t think. I could’ve forgotten everything and fallen asleep right here with him.

He pulled my hands against his chest, cradling mine in his own, pulling me forward, asking with his slate eyes if it was alright.

I pretended we were friends.

“You wanna talk about that?” He asked very softly, looking down at where our hands were clasped against him–he was warm, his skin pink and hot from the shower. He’d combed his hair back out of his face, and it was almost cute like that. “If it’s about today, I promise you’re safe, alright? I wasn’t gonna let that guy hurt you.”

My heart sunk in my chest, nearly restarting my panic attack. I shook my head.

Connor deserved to know.

I was scared, briefly, that it would set him off. He might yell at me, throw things, kick me out of the room. He might hit me.

I didn’t care. He had a right to know.

I swallowed thickly, shaking my head. “N-no.”

“Did something happen on your walk? Are you okay?”

I shook my head.

“What? Trouble back home–your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

“My mom–” I started, voice breaking, feeling fresh tears of shock on my cheeks.

His eyebrows furrowed, tightening his grip on my hands. “Is she okay? She–”

I saw it in slow motion–his jaw unclenched, eyebrows relaxing from their set, pouted mouth turning down. It was calm. It was knowing.

“You saw them,” he said very softly, letting my hands fall back into his lap. I was too shocked to move them away from his thighs.

“You knew,” I spat–an accusation. I hadn’t meant to make it one.

Connor scrubbed at his eyes roughly, flopping onto his back against the bed. Frustrated.

“I was tired of my dad reading my fucking emails, so I hacked into his–I only saw a few. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

I paled, feeling nauseous. “So it’s happened before?” I choked.

He swallowed. “That was two summers ago.”

“Fuck,” I hissed uncharacteristically, surprised to find Connor stretching out an arm to me. I took his hand with a firm grip. “How long before then.”

He shrugged. “Maybe our whole lives. Maybe before. I’m not sure, angel.”

I nodded, secretly pleased that he was so calm. It kept me level, grounded, watching where our hands were linked.

“What do we do?” I choked. “I have to tell my dad. He deserves to know.”

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “Everything would change. He’d tell my mom.”

I bit down on my lip, folding down onto my back to lay down beside Connor. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Connor sighed, scratching at my hand tenderly with his black painted nails. “I’m not sure that my mom and Zoe could handle the news–it’s not like they’d turn to me. They’d be alone. Zoe might even take my dad’s side.”

I groaned, stealing my hands to scrub at my eyes. My wet hair was beginning to dry in a tangled mess.

“This is too much,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side to face Connor, staring at his bare, freckled shoulder. “I don’t know what to do. If I can do anything.”

I jumped a foot out of my skin when he placed a hand at the corner of my jaw, brushing the tangled hair back out of my face. “You don’t have to think about it right now. You’ve had a really long fucking day. You should sleep.”

I didn’t want to sleep–I didn’t want Connor to leave. I didn’t know how to say that.

I couldn’t believe that everyone had tried to desperately to convince me Connor Murphy was a bad boy–fuck them, Connor Murphy was good. He was better than everyone in this cabin combined.

He cared about me.

I caught his wrist, which froze in my grasp, but I just took his bony hand and cradled it between my hands the same way he’d done mine, tracing the lines across his palm. He sucked  in a sharp breath.

“Okay,” I said, and he smiled, moving away. I let go of his hand.

“I just have to turn off the light. Get comfy.”

His retreating footsteps filled my stomach with dread, but nevertheless I unzipped his jacket and draped it on top of the blanket so that it would at least keep my feet warm. Pulling the pillow tight behind my head, I was pleased to find it sort of smelled like Connor’s shampoo as the light clicked off. It left me feeling a little more safe. Ironic, I realized. I was in the middle of a wilderness, I’d almost been abducted, my mother was downstairs ruining our family, and all I could find myself to be worried about was if Connor would be okay.

The bed dipped behind me, shocking me into stillness, surprising me even more when someone lifted the sheet and slid in behind me, a bony hand resting on my hip.

“This okay?” He asked, and I dared to open my eyes to meet his. They were unsure, nervous. He was scared I’d reject him. I nodded, scooting closer.

“It really will be okay, you know,” he assured. “Whatever you choose, I’m gonna be with you.”

“You’re amazing,” I said without thinking, but being entirely sincere. Even in the dark, I saw his eyes go wide and his cheeks tinge a deep magenta in his pale face.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I assured with a laugh, reaching across the divide to poke at his side, slightly surprised to still find him shirtless. He’d withdrawn his hand almost immediately, keeping respectfully to his side of the bed. “I’d be dead without you. And you’ve supported me this whole way.”

His jaw clenched and unclenched, freeing one of his arms to pick at the wrinkled sheets between us. “I just, fuck, I knew you’d hear some shit, but I was hoping you’d be able to come out here and we could start over again, like before? Zoe started her smear campaign almost immediately. I just, fuck, nevermind.”

I watched him withdraw, turning over with his back to me, the pale plains of his back bared to me.

“Con,” I said very softly. “I don’t care what they say–fuck them,” I laughed, watching Connor’s shoulders shake. “I think you’re good, Connor, and I miss being your friend.”

I watched with bated breath as his back rose and fell with his steady breath in the cold room, his skin radiating heat. I shifted closer, crossing the divide between us. He didn’t respond.

I didn’t sleep.

——

I was alerted late in the day by a noise–it was daylight, I noted, the clock on the bedside table reading it was almost noon. I was groggy, still in the state between sleep and consciousness. The room was shrouded in a bright grey hue from the winter wonderland outside–it had snowed a significant amount, apparently, and the white fluff stuck hopelessly to the window.

At the foot of the bed, Connor was on his knees, pulling a navy sweater over his head. It was tight, with a stretched collar and holes at the hem, but he looked good in it. His hair was frizzed at the temples, and his eyes were wide when we saw me.

“You’re awake.”

I just nodded, a little embarrassed. Part of me hoped Connor would just let last night drop, and we could continue our indifference toward each other, but most of me felt as if we had an unfinished conversation to attend to.

“Is anyone back yet?” I asked, surprised as Connor came to sit in front of me, legs crossed kindergarten style. He shook his head.

“No, actually. No one came back from their trip, and the lovebirds have miraculously vanished for a ski day. It’s just me and you.”

“Oh.”

Connor seemed unsure for a moment, brushing his hands off on his pants. “I’m sorry, um, about last night? I should’ve asked first if it was okay to sleep next to you, I just–I know you said you missed being friends, so I thought–”

“It was nice,” I cut him off with a smile that was nearly all false bravado. “Warm. I really do miss hanging out with you.”

He pursed his lips in way of a smile. “Me too. Miss having friends, period, but you’re kinda great, so–I’ll shut up.”

Stretching, I groaned with the sensation and smiled widely at him. “We can be friends again, don’t you think?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When my vision cleared, he was sitting by my feet, eyes downcast.

“It’s kinda lame, isn’t it?” He asked, sending ice down my spine.

“What, I’m not cool enough for you?” I teased half heartedly, despite feeling slightly sick. If Connor left now, I’d be marooned on this island I’d made for myself, and it wasn’t ideal knowing I no longer had any allies.

“No! That’s not what I–no, fuck, I just meant. Don’t you like Zoe better?”

I shook my head. “I like Zoe–but I liked you first.”

“Yeah, I liked the Teletubbies first, doesn’t mean I prefer them to Death Cab for Cutie.”

I snorted. “Okay, I like you best. You’re both really similar, you know, but you’re kinder.”

He shot me a glare, which I supposed I’d earned. “Liar.”

“Can’t lie,” I protested. “And I like you better. Get used to it.”

He swallowed, shifting on the bed and looking at me again as if grappling to say something. His eyebrows were pinched in the middle, making him look slightly worried, small. I watched the way his mouth bowed as he opened and closed it, my eyes tracing over his soft lips.

He was pretty, I realized, in a way I wouldn’t have considered before.

“What about when you leave?” He asked softly, scratching his arm absently.

I frowned. “What about it?”

“We won’t see each other again.”

I smiled. “Connor, you just live on the other side of town. I do own a car.”

He frowned. “You’d come to see me?”

“If you wanted me to,” I answered honestly. “Or we could go do stuff. It doesn’t make me any difference–whatever you want, I’m game for.”

His eyebrows took a sharp hike into his hairline. “Whatever I want, huh?”

My stomach clenched nervously–decidedly a good kind of nervous. I didn’t realize it till he placed his hand on my ankle, grinning up at me with crooked teeth and pretty eyes, that I might’ve begun to develop a small crush on him.

Which wasn’t okay.

——

“This is such bullshit.”

I cackled as Connor continued to strap on his snow boots, repeatedly tripping and losing his balance in the snow.

“C'mon, it’s fun!” I protested, pulling my sock toboggan down tighter over my ears, trudging another few slow steps through the slush. Connor was frustrated, I could tell, seeing his pink nose and ears, his breaths coming out in angry puffs of smoke.

“No,” he grunted, dragging himself up the trail a few more steps. “Video games are fun. Cartoons are fun. Cheap Internet porn is fun. Dragging my frozen ass up a mountain covered in snow for ten miles is not my idea of fun, dude.”

“It’s not ten miles,” I protested, taking a seat on a mostly clean looking rock, patting the seat beside me in condolence to Connor, giving him a much needed break. He’d agreed to go outside with me at least once to take a hike, since the Murphy kids never ever wanted to do anything that didn’t involve fried food or touristy tie dye t-shirts. We’d been going for a few hours now, and the last bench had easily been miles ago. I wanted to see where the trail ended.

Part of me was scared he’d only agreed because he thought I would break. I’d surprised myself with how calm I’d been after, well, what a nightmare this trip had been. I supposed I’d be worse once my dad got back–but he wasn’t yet, so I was content to have my last moments with Connor.

“We’ve been out here for hours, man, don’t you think we should head back before it gets dark?” He whined, leaning forward on his elbows and rubbed his hands together–he had on mittens, which was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Say what you want about Connor Murphy, his aesthetic was absolutely demolished once you put him in a fire engine red puffer coat.

I sighed, glancing wistfully up the trail. I’d like to finish, but Connor was right–it was getting dark, too dangerous out for us to be out here alone. He’d humored me enough for today.

Time to go back and face reality.

I just nodded, stuffing my hands in my pockets and rising from the rock, giving a decent stretch before moving forward back down the path, Connor scurrying along beside me.

“Thanks for coming,” I said again, nudging him with my shoulder. He stumbled gracefully, grinning with a subdued force that warmed me a little, before checking me back with his shoulder.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he warned, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “But it wasn’t totally awful.”

I snorted. “I won’t let anyone know Connor Murphy can feel fun.”

Biting back a smile, he nudged me again. “God, please don’t. Then they might bring me back here and I’ll have to spend another two weeks with you.”

“I’m sure I’m just killing you inside,” I teased. “How dare your parents give you unfiltered access to a teenage girl.”

“Who never wears pants around the house,” he added sagely.

“And sleeps in your bed!” I choked with laughter, the bird walking along the snow path in front of us clearing the way. “God, I can’t believe I did that. I’m sorry, I was probably awful. Did I snore?”

His mouth twisted, as if trying to look indifferent but instead just failed at smothering a smile, both corners of his lips turning in a different direction.

“Not awful,” he offered, earning an embarrassed groan from me. “No! It’s cute, like a kid, I promise. You kicked the shit out of me, though.”

“You’re kidding me,” I groaned. “I’m so so sorry! I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Might be some bruises,” he grinned, to my further mortification. “Hey, nah, I’m kidding. Any damage will heal. It’s kinda funny.”

I cocked an eyebrow from where I was hiding my face behind my gloves. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, don’t sweat it,” he said, reaching out to take my wrist, pulling one of my hands away from my face. He didn’t realize it, just held it, swinging stiffly between us as we walked. He held his breath for a moment before continuing, “I would’ve let you know if I didn’t like it.”

“Kinky,” I said upon reflex, earning a lazy kick to my ankle.

“You’re hilarious. I just meant you’re warm, maybe the bruises are worth it.”

I felt my face get hot, words forming in my belly, escaping before I could choke them back. “Yeah? Maybe I’ll kiss them better tonight, if Zoe isn’t back.”

He let go of my wrist like I’d burned him.

“Sor–”

“Don’t,” he said quietly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, beginning to walk quickly ahead of me.

“What?” I screeched, frustrated.

“Don’t fake flirt with me. It’s not funny,” he spat, continuing walking too fast on his ridiculously long legs.

“Who said it was fake?” I grumbled. “I’m not making fun of you, Connor.”

There was a beat of silence, pulling at my heart with sharp claws, the dull ache starting in my chest and spreading. I’d messed up everything.

“It’s getting dark,” he growled. “And we don’t have a flashlight. Try and keep up.”

——

The panic set in at twilight.

We were running.

He was holding my hand again, dragging me roughly down the mountain, hoping desperately to see some kind of light pollution as the sun set, but there was nothing.

“We should see lights by now,” I told him. “We can see the lights from our cabin, we should see the lights now.”

“We went down the wrong side of the mountain,” he gasped, already out of breathe. I knew his lungs weren’t the best, and we’d been running for awhile now.

“There has to be something at the bottom,” I whispered hopelessly.

“There is,” he growled. “It’s called a gorge, then you climb the other mountain, and there’s the next state. Fuck, how did we get so turned around?”

“Doesn’t matter, Con,” I said hopelessly. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

His dark eyes widened. “You aren’t sincerely suggesting we try to find shelter. In the middle of a national park.”

“I’ve got a flare gun and a flint,” I told him. “But we have to get back up out of the trees.”

“You want us to climb the mountain again?” He hissed, holding both my hands now. “Are you positive you don’t have signal?”

I nodded. “I’m really sorry, Connor.”

“Don’t be sorry. Start walking.”

——

It was an accident.

It was dark.

I had an analog watch, letting me know it was nearly nine pm. We’d found shelter just as it had started to snow–the  ground here was wet, quickly freezing into ice, and we kept slipping up on the trail. I’d set off the flare an hour ago, and, so far, nothing. The snow had begun to pick up, and we’d found a alcove between two adjacent rocks–not big, about the size of a walk in closet, but enough space for us, our bags, and a pile of wood that refused to light. It kept the snow and wind off of us, and the alcove was high enough I felt safe, with a small mouth that made me feel as if at any instant we could be trapped.

It was an accident.

“The fire won’t light,” I said again, hopelessly, watching my now bloody fingers go numb from trying desperately to get the flint to do its job. I couldn’t feel them without my gloves on.

Connor, huddled in a corner, viciously rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm. I knew the  temperature would only drop from here. If someone hadn’t seen the flare….

“There’s no dry wood. I checked.”

“Nothing?”

“No, okay? Nothing. That’s it.”

I knew he was right–and searching now would only prove to be counter productive and dangerous. I moved our bags and the pile of firewood to the entrance, sealing us in.

“It’s gonna be pitch black soon,” I warned, watching Connor tap angrily at his phone. “You should probably save your battery. I don’t have a flashlight.”

He snorted. “You’ll bring sleeping bags and a flint, but not a flashlight?”

“It’s the emergency bag! I didn’t pack it, Connor. Make fun of it all you want, but it’s keeping us alive!”

There was a beat of silence, before he clicked his phone off, leaving us in darkness. “M sorry.”

I dragged out the single sleeping bag, stretching it out to him. “Don’t be sorry.” I felt guilty–it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with. “Wanna granola bar?”

“Save it,” he said in a clipped tone, unsure what to make of it since we were veiled in darkness. “We might need it later.” Then, softer: “What’s the plan?”

I heard him stand, and walk across the slick ice of the alcove, coming to stand beside me, his hand at my elbow.

“Well,” I said very slowly, feeling my throat get thick. “Survive the night, stay awake, and once dawn hits we head back to the other side of the mountain, if no one comes.”

“If no one comes,” he echoed, voice oddly hollow. I choked.

“It, erm, is very possible they think we just wandered off, you know? We’re teenagers,” I reminded gently. I left out the part the police would be less than willing to look–Connor had a history of running away after a bad binge.

“Fuck,” he growled.

It was an accident. It was quick, in the dark, we couldn’t see.

He reached our for me, his open palm colliding with the back of my head, yanking me tightly again his chest, my nose buried in his nylon puffer coat. I felt his other hand, too forcefully, at the small of my back, and I nearly screamed, terrified this was an episode I couldn’t control–

“We’re gonna make it outta here,” he breathed against my ear, his breath warm and humid against my freezing ears. It set off a light bulb in my brain. “We’re gonna go back home and–fucking shit, I’m gonna be a goddamn good friend to you and we’re gonna–fuck,” he hissed, his clipped voice breaking off. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’m not going anywhere.”

I let myself break open, collapsing against him, openly sobbing with regret. He stiffened, but just tightened his arms around me despite our bulky clothes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“It is not,” he hissed, shaking me a little. “We had no way of knowing this would happen. The trail looked safe.”

I just nodded, knowing that arguing would tire me out. I felt the lethargy begin to creep in my bones–Connor was warm, and it was late, and we were tired. Falling asleep meant dying.

“Get out the sleeping bag,” he said, extracting himself from me, and I heard his hands scrape along the hard rock looking for the entrance. “And I’ll look for some more blankets in the bag, see if we can’t insulate–fuck!

“What is it?” I screeched, turning, grabbing his hand to only find that my own was suddenly wet, almost sticky, and Connor pulled away with a howl. I smelled the metallic sting before I realized.

“Something cut my hand!”

“Stay away from the wall,” I warned. “Take your undershirt off, I’ll rip it up.” I felt around desperately for Connor’s phone, immediately illuminating our little cave with a blinding blue light.

The amount of blood smeared across the wall was nauseating. There was a sharp spot Connor must’ve grabbed too quickly.

He was crying, trying desperately to unzip his coat with one hand, the other dripping onto the floor.

“Fuck, I hope something doesn’t smell that,” I whispered, laying down the light and running to help him get undressed, careful of the open cut across his palm.

“I knew I was gonna get naked tonight,” he said with an unsure laugh, “I just didn’t realize it would be like this.”

My face flushed. “What, you thought I’d suck you off because we’re about to die?”

He shivered, accentuated by me ripping his white shirt down the front, exposing his blue, goosebumped skin.

“Fuck,” he hissed, and I was unsure if it was from the cold, the pain, or my foul language.

“Hope this is clean,” I muttered, wrapping a strip of his white shirt across his palm in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. It was a good way to get an infection, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I didn’t–I wouldn’t ask you to–”

“I’m not sucking you off!”

“Fuck, I just meant–hypothermia, skin to skin, I saw it in a movie–”

The phone light clicked off. I sighed, tying off the cotton bandage.

“You wanna get naked in the sleeping bag,” I finished.

“I don’t want to!” He howled. “And not naked–just, enough to stay alive, shit. It’s gonna be negative ten out here soon, I just wanna stay alive.”

“We should hurry,” I said, surprising myself by reaching out to urge him to rub at his bare chest, earning a gasp from him. “You’re gonna freeze soon. Get your pants off.”

I handed him the sleeping bag, my breath catching as I heard his belt clink to the floor, trying very hard not to think about the implications of this. How far did he expect me to undress? And, if we did get in here, it would be ridiculously tight, we might fall asleep–

“Hurry up, this bag is an icicle with one person.”

Straightening out my bra and panties (even if we were going to die, Connor Murphy did not get to cop a feel) I felt my way to the sleeping bag.

My hand on his chest, he guided my legs one at time–one by his side, one between his knees–and gently folded me down against him, uncomfortably tight as his shaking fingers zipped the sleeping bag up.

He was breathing hard against my temple, and I immediately began to sweat–between the nylon bag and the fact I felt all of Connor Murphy pressed against my chest and stomach–it was nerve wracking.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he reminded in a hoarse voice, shaking a little. I couldn’t quite figure out where his hands were.

“Don’t get a boner,” I begged, earning a beat of silence before:

“I, uh, am–I’m really trying not to,” he groaned, and I could feel how hot his face was against my temple.

“If it helps,” I said, slightly disgusted. “You can imagine our parents kissing. That really kills my fire.”

“Ew,” he said. “Please don’t.”

I grinned. “What? You don’t want me to be your hot step sister?”

Stop it,” he begged, making me laugh, pressing my face against the soft cushion of his hair, nosing at the column of his throat. He groaned a little, and I felt his fingers twitch beside my hips.

“I can’t believe their secret is going to die with us,” I sighed. “No one is ever going to know.”

“I can’t believe you’re lying on top of me in your spiderman panties, but that’s also happening, so you’d better believe it,” he sighed, hands twitching again.

“You can touch me, you know,” I breathed, a little embarrassed against his ear. “We’re gonna die anyway, might as well die comfy.”

“We won’t die,” he promised, his hands clasping over the small of my back regardless.  “Hey,” he crooned, in a soft voice I hadn’t heard before. Encouraging. “Remember sharing a sleeping bag when we were kids?”

I laughed half heartedly, remembering fully. “The thing was always full of pixie stick wrappers.”

“It was an addiction, and I have quit,” he said sagely, earning another laugh from me. I almost joked about the pot, but part of me knew it wasn’t a funny joke. It didn’t have anything to do with him. He sighed, one finger trailing up my spine. “God, I was so in love with you.”

I froze against him, my body a live wire. His hand pulled back.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said tha–”

“Were you really?” I asked. I felt him smile, before leaning in to kiss my cheek, slowly, his dry lips lingering.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t know,” he groaned. “Zoe had me convinced you were just humoring me because you knew I’d do anything for you.”

I pulled up, as far as I could (which wasn’t much) squinting to make out his face in the dark. “That wasn’t true. You were my best friend.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. God, that time when you kissed me….I’m so sorry we stopped talking. I don’t think I’m ever gonna forgive myself for that.”

“Connor,” I said very softly, reaching up to tangle my hands lightly in his hair. “If we’re gonna die…can I just….”

He surged up before I could, the nylon around us snapping taunt, squeaking in protest. Up on his elbows, his bony hands found their purchase on my bare hips, and I felt the wetness through one of the bandages–his hand was still bleeding, the idiot.

His lips were dry, and he kissed much too roughly for someone who wasn’t holding my head in place, our teeth clinking together in a way that I knew was an accident, sending my skull ringing. His eyes were squeezed shut in the darkness.

I can’t believe it took us to the brink of death for him to admit this.

God, he’s an idiot.

I reached up, pulling at his hair, holding his head to mine, his tongue licking roughly up into my mouth before breaking away–

“Boner,” he warned in a squeak, earning a loud laugh from me, collapsing against his chest.

“Not even in death, Murphy, am I sucking you off on a first or last date,” I giggled against his neck, giving him a chaste kiss there, listening to him groan. His hips canted a little, scaring me, before taking a deep breath to calm himself.

“First date, huh?” I felt him grin, followed by a yawn.

“Stay awake, Connor,” I urged, smacking him hard. “Or I’m gonna twist your nipple.”

“Kinky,” he sighed lethargically. Shit, he was gonna sleep.

“Connor–”

“Promise me this,” he sighed, nuzzling lightly against the side of my face. “If we survive the night by some miracle, and we don’t freeze to death or get eaten by bears or bleed out–you wanna kiss me again? With more clothes on? As my girlfriend?”

I leaned into his touch, tilting my head up to give him access to suck a hickey into my neck, groaning.

“Murphy, if we live, I will suck you off.”

That was the last thing I remembered.

——-

Three days later, it’s still cold. I’m not wearing much–a blue gown with shitty pink flowers, it’s made of some kind of plasticy cotton material. There’s blood under my fingernails and bruises on my neck that are almost embarrassing when I remembered how I got them. My clothes were gone.

Connor was gone.

My mother and father were leaning over my bed, the Murphy's  (minus Cynthia) are behind them. No Connor.

They explained it slowly, eyes wide. They found Connor and I nearly frozen, unconscious. Connor lost a lot of blood, they said, and he wasn’t do so well but he’d woken up several days before me.

He wouldn’t eat until they let him see me.

I’d nearly ripped out my IV to get to him.

He was wearing the same shitty hospital gown, his hair pulled back. He’s got hickies I don’t remember giving him across his collarbone that are ridiculously visible. There were purple bruises under his eyes, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“They said you were still too sick to get out of bed,” he grinned, opening his arm, and I immediately stumbled over to the thin mattress, pressing myself tightly against him. His hand is thickly wrapped in cotton, a few tubes full of a yellow brown liquid in them. He was combing my hair–which I’m sure was a rats nest–out with his free hand.

“They said the same about you.”

“We’re really lucky, you know,” I said softly, tapping at his chest. “I almost lost you.”

“Almost lost you,” he choked out, pulling away to scan my face, before grinning. “Which would’ve sucked, because you’re my only friend right now.”

“Friend?” I said, trying hard not to sound disappointed. I supposed I shouldn’t have been–what we’d done in the heat of a moment hadn’t meant anything then. It had been a lie for my humor.

It wasn’t fair.

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “You, um–do you wanna be my girlfriend?”

I frowned. “I mean, only if you want me to.”

He grinned, the smile splitting across his face. “It’ll suck–your parents will hate me.”

“Right now, I kind of hate my parents, so.”

“I do a lot of pot.”

“We can do something else instead,” I grinned, nudging him, having the nerve to blush.

He licked his lips, looking down at where he’d intertwined our hands. “You–you can’t fix me, you know? I’m still gonna be, you know.”

I nodded, bring his hand up to kiss across the bloody knuckles of his good hand. “I know. I promised I’d be your girlfriend, though. A promise is a promise.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you say that–because you did promise something else.”

I shook my head, rising from the bed. “The kiss is for when we have clothes on, remember.”

“I wasn’t talking about that kiss.”

Connor Murphy!

Significant Weather Advisory 

by reddit user OtistheWriter

I hate thunderstorms in the Midwest, mainly because they bring with them a threat of real danger. In southern Nebraska we’ve been known to have tornados somewhat regularly, ugly black funnels that drop from the sky and ruin your life. 

That is, if you lived in my neighbors house in 1997, when I was a teenager. I’m referring to a family of three just several homes down. Family friends and caretakers of our corgi while we were on vacation, they helped our street feel like home. Then the storm came and everything changed.

Keep reading

A Hundred Lesser Faces: (Nine)
  • The first section of this story stems from the premise: what if Voyager!Claire had gone first to Lallybroch instead of directly to the print shop in Edinburgh?
  • The second section will explore the aftermath of Claire and Jamie’s reunion, following their journey as they work to build a new life together.
  • Section Two {A Hundred More}: [ (Eight) ]

(Nine) 

A kiss in my hair and a murmured, “Good morning, Sassenach,” brought me out of my stupor.  

“Is it?” I croaked. I made a bleary-eyed reconnaissance, but could ascertain only that I was a) on a horse, b) in front of Jamie on the saddle, my head lolling on his shoulder, and c) blissfully warm against his chest.

…d) quite unbelievably happy. 

“Is it good?” He tightened his arm around my waist, and I could hear the smile in his voice as he leaned his head against mine. “Aye, never better.”

No,” I laughed sleepily, snuggling back into him and squeezing his arm, as it was the only bit of him I could reach. “Is it morning?

“Nay, quite a few hours to dawn, still; but we’ve arrived in good time.”

The cloak—tucked around us both like his plaid might once have been—slipped a little, and the chill rushed through my clothes as I peered out into the darkness. Inverness. The streets were quite dark and it was hard to discern much of anything other than that we were making our way down a reasonably wide street or avenue. To be frank, though, I couldn’t have given a fig for sightseeing at the moment, in any case. All that mattered was that we were in a reasonably modern town with an inn, meaning a hot meal and a warm bed were mere minutes away. 

Jamie kicked up the horse and turned down a sidestreet, his hand instinctively coming up to keep me from getting whiplash as we made the turn at speed. I don’t know why such a practical movement should touch me so, but there came a sudden lump to my throat, and I clutched him back as tight as I could, closing my eyes to savor him. Jamie. 

God, it still hardly felt real. It was like…

…like trying to sleep after you’ve spent the day on seaboard, or swimming in the ocean. Even if it’s hours and hours later, lying on the mattress that night, you still feel the rise and fall of the water in your body, the memory of it, something within you triggered into perpetual motion, no matter how much you might have hated the waves nor how many miles your bed may be from the sea. There, then, on the horse, in my body and behind closed eyes, I still felt the physical sense of running up that terrible, screaming hill. I still was being eviscerated with every heartbeat in the knowledge that I had to let him go forever, again; that I would never see him again; that it was the end

But it was all over. He wasn’t happily married; I wasn’t making him choose between me and his own children. His life was ready and waiting for me. Thank you, I whispered silently to whomever might be listening. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times more, *thank you.* 

Jamie had slept in my arms, there on the hill. Not for very long, certainly no more than an hour, all told. But oh, how I was glad of it, of the chance to just hold him in peace, to hear the steady rise and fall of his breathing, counting every rise and every fall against my chest, knowing he was safe and mine (How many times had I held his daughter in just that way, in just that peace?) …and beyond that, to immediately cement the intimacy between us.

It was that, I think, that kept either of us from suggesting a move down the hill into the relative warmth of the cottage. At face value, it was an excellent and obvious plan. While the snow had tapered off to a mere scattering of flakes here and there, it was bloody well freezing, and the wind was not gentle.  And yet such a notion had felt to me an enormous risk, one I wasn’t willing to take. 

We were afraid not to be touching, I think; fearful of any gap, however momentary, that might form between us if physically separated. Something would snap out of place, a voice within me had screamed in warning; hesitations or fears or the awkwardnesses resulting from TWO DECADES of separation. If we weren’t touching, those things might so easily slip into the still-gaping cracks—gorges—that existed between his life and mine.

For my part, even if he had suggested moving down to the cottage— I felt an icy chill come over me at the very thought. There were just too many ghosts in that place, both of twenty years ago and of mere hours. It’s where I had said two devastating goodbyes to the love of my life, and even under these ecstatic circumstances of our reunion, I didn’t think I could bear being under that roof again. It would have reminded me too viciously of the loss and regret and wasted time that lay beneath the surface of our joy, and those were raw and throbbing enough as it was. 

No, that cottage could not be a house of joy for me, again.

And so, when he’d awoken, temporarily refreshed from his hellish ride, we’d taken care to always stay linked—even if only hand in hand—as he located satchel and horse (he’d whistled, and the beast had bloody appeared! A veritable John Wayne!), and got us on our way toward Inverness. A few hours’ ride, we’d decided, was well worth having a good meal and a warm bed awaiting us at the end, and the method of travel allowed us to stay holding each other the whole way.

A warm bed.

A warm….husband

Before my mind could fully articulate the anxieties underpinning those two words in relation to this evening, there came a Gaelic command rumbling richly against my back and we slowed to a halt.  

The dingy public house was torchlit and reasonably inviting-looking, I was surprised to find. A stable-boy came promptly up and Jamie exchanged a few words in Gaelic while hopping down from the saddle, swiveling his satchel to the back, and reaching up to help me dismount. 

I swung my leg over and made to slip down into his outstretched arms, but then froze dead like scented prey. “What? For God’s sake, WHAT??” I wanted to crawl out of my skin. He was looking—staring—up at my face as though in horror.  “Jamie,” I croaked in dread, “just bloody say—”

“—most beautiful woman…I’ve ever seen.”

The breath left me in a whoosh. I smiled down at him, but—nervously. “That’s very sweet, Jamie.” 

He was being kind, and I didn’t doubt he was happy to see me, but I was staunchly middle-aged, and no two ways around it. My face—however much I took care of it—had been weathered by time and parenting and more than a decade of a punishingly-demanding job, and in that moment,  I wanted to bloody crawl into the ground to hide from him and never ever come out

“Truly kind, love,” I repeated tightly, trying to move things along, “but you really don’t have to say—”

“I do,” he said at once, his eyes never once leaving mine as he lifted me slowly down. “I must, for it’s the truth.” 

“To you,” I started to say.

“To any man that’s the eyes wi’ which he was born. Claire, mo chridhe, ye are….you…You’re the same.” 

And even the scattered snowflakes seemed to slow as we looked at each other, there in the flickering torchlight. 

We’d both been so frantic on the hill. I personally had spent tremendous energy in trying specifically NOT to look at his face, and by the time we’d finally fallen into each others’ arms, it had been full-dark. That time held close under my cloak had kept us in darkness, too, meaning that this was the first time we’d gotten the chance to truly study each other at length. And God…even filthy and matted and half-dead with fatigue, he was unspeakably beautiful; he was Jamie. 

So slowly, he lifted both hands and cupped my face between them, drinking me in still deeper, shaking his head wordlessly. 

“Dear holy God…” he whispered after a few endless heartbeats. “So ye are a witch, then?” 

He said it with the exact same expression on his face as back on the hill when he’d first gotten sight of my face. Is that what had made him stagger back?  My smile back to him was genuine, playful, almost. “If you like.” 

But there was no jest in his own eye. “Claire….Jesus…” And he could say no more.

I was fairly well speechless, too, and could only pulled him down to me, taking his lips softly and slowly. 


But then, the distance did wedge between us, and fast. 

It happened quite naturally, likely without a thought, on his part. He simply let go my hand as he passed through the tavern door to go speak with the proprietor, and I felt a cold emptiness fall between me and him, like a sudden eclipse. In that darkness, the doubts assaulted me in great, unrelenting barrages, one after another, after another. 

You need to guard your heart more carefully, Beauchamp. The other shoe will drop any moment. 

You and Jamie are just riding the high of being together. This isn’t real life—this is only the honeymoon. This might fall apart in weeks. 

Even if everything with Laoghaire goes right, WE might go wrong. 

What if we can’t stand each other after a time just like happened with them? 

Beauchamp, that’s poppycock, and you know it. You wouldn’t have come back for him—left BREE for him—if you weren’t certain. 

That was so. That was comfort, at least; and everything we’d experienced thusfar since crashing together on that hill had felt right, had felt true. 

But GOD, the anxieties had the upper hand, now, and I felt as though I were the only person for miles, alone in some wasteland in my heart. Fear. So much fear. 

I had thudded down onto one of the long benches, apparently, for I blinked and was looking at my hands before me on a table. Claw-like, they seemed. The hands of an old woman. 

He’d spoken true when he had looked into my face and proclaimed beauty, for I’d seen it in his eyes and heard it in his voice, but it wasn’t him I was worried about, so much, but me. Us. It was truly occurring to me for the first time that it had been a long, long time since I had been actually intimate—fully intimate—with a man, and that perhaps it had been too long. I could feel the truth of that fear in my very bones: that perhaps I wasn’t capable of such an intimacy any longer. Yes, I acknowledged, feeling a vice tightening around my chest, something in me would certainly have been lost. 

There had been sex in my years with Frank, yes, plenty of it, but not passion;  need and urgency, of course, but never anything coming even remotely close to that sense of one-ness that Jamie and I had shared so naturally, so instinctively from the beginning. Frank…Frank was….

I felt my body seize up, a great weight pressing down upon my face to smother me. So many years ….So many long years in which the very concept of being touched by a man (….my only experience with being touched in that way by another human being…) was inextricably linked with having hurt him, being resented by him, resenting HIM right back. Sex meant sensing the other women on his skin and not being able to say a damned word (because of the other man—THE man— that still lingered in mine!). It meant wanting—needing—so badly to touch and be touched, and yet being unable to get true relief, nor seek it elsewhere or ANYWHERE, and being left only with this writhing, seething, screaming —


Jesus. 


Yes. 

Time was not the only thing that had been lost. 


Those aging hands were shaking and my entire body jumped in panic when a steaming platter appeared on the table. “The cook was awake, thank God,” Jamie said enthusiastically, taking the seat across from me and tucking into the bread and cheese and honey with gusto. 

There was a savory broth as well, making it an excellent meal in any century, but I couldn’t seem to taste or smell anything. That didn’t keep me from fixing my eyes carefully on the food, though. It was something to occupy my hands and my attention.  

Warm bed. 

Warm husband. 

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, I screamed weakly into nothing. What if I couldn’t do this anymore? What if I could do…that anymore? The way it ought to be done? The way I wanted to be with him? The way—GOD, the way I’d craved for twenty fucking—? 

“Are ye quite well, mo nighean donn?” 

I started and the piece of bread I’d been pinching and balling up rolled away off the edge of the table. “Yes, I—Sorry, just—” I smiled, though it could hardly have been convincing. “Lost in thought.” 

“Aye,” he said, graciously not pressing me. “Is it enough food? Shall I get more?” 

I shook my head and demurred, feeling as though I would vomit or faint from the dark storm roiling within my heart. 

He went back to his food, inhaling it at lightning speed. 

Just take my hand, I begged him silently, but couldn’t get my lips, my lungs to comply, nor my own fingers to move. Just grab onto me, Jamie, and then everything can be alright. Everything *might*….God, Jamie, please… 

But I could see that he was already preparing to leave the table, sopping up the last of his broth with bread. “You go on up to the room, mo nighean donn. Top of the stairs on the left. I need to go directly to talk to the keeper (while he’s still awake) about buying a shirt off him, and perhaps a mirror to shave, and then I’ll be up to join ye presently.”

The room.

The expectations—his AND mine—

No, it was mine. My own expectations were the ones making the room spin, along with the knowledge that I almost certainly couldn’t meet—

“You don’t need to shave for my sake, Jamie,” I said hastily, not meeting his eye, trying (failing) to sound casual. “I’m sure you’re bone-tired.”

He caught the implication immediately and only nodded. “I am, and I thank ye, but I’ll be shaving all the same. I want to—to be presentable for my wife,” he said formally, not meeting my eye either. He started to say something else, but then stood quite suddenly and brushed crumbs off his hands as he walked around the table, making for the kitchens. “I willna be long, I swear it.” 

I jumped to my feet, violently enough that my head spun. “Jamie, wait, I—” but I stopped, my mouth working vainly before I shut it again. He was looking down at me expectantly, with a hint, I thought, of a keen anxiety in his own eye. 

My mouth was slack. I didn’t bloody know how to say it. Well, no, I did

You don’t HAVE to have sex with me tonight, Jamie, if you don’t want to. 

I DO want to have sex with you—want it a great fucking deal, in fact— 

….but I’m also TERRIFIED of it—Almost more terrified than I’ve EVER been at the prospect of going to a man’s bed…And it will be next to impossible to explain why and it will likely make you angry or sad or both and so I shall avoid it like the plague…

….and even though I just said you don’t HAVE to have sex with me, on some ridiculous, vain level, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do if somehow you DON’T want me, or if you can’t find me sexually attractive or—

Before I could voice any of this, he stepped directly in front of me, took my face in his hands and kissed me. I’m here, the kiss said. 

And then he dropped a hand to my hip and pulled me tight—gently, but nonetheless firmly—against him, so I could feel— 

…Oh…

He nodded and gave the tiniest smile.

I blinked, taken aback. “How do you bloody do that? STILL??”

“I’m none so verra decrepit, Sassenach.” The corner of his mouth twitched in that way that still drove me wild. “And as for how, if ye dinna ken the process by now, I’m none so verra—”

“Not that,” I groaned, laughing but completely serious. “How can you still know exactly what I’m thinking?”

He quieted and took a pace back, studying me, though thank God he didn’t let go my waist. “Ye think just because we were apart these twenty years, I stopped thinking of ye?” 

That startled me. “Well, no, Jamie, of course not, but—” 

“Not just about ye,” he clarified. “Thinking of ye as though we were speaking to one another, throughout the day, throughout the years…..What ye’d say in a conversation that was wearying to me….What your face would have done in seeing some sight or other at my side…..When—whether—ye’d laugh or only roll your bonny eyes when I made a joke….” He cupped my cheek. “… And picturing always how your truth would ever be in plain sight on that face for me to find. Ye’ve kept me company, these twenty years, Sassenach, whether ye willed it or no’. Naught but a lonely man’s pitiful longings, true, but ye stayed wi’ me.” He swallowed, his voice going still more hoarse as he finished, “And I’ve been given a gift this day to learn that my pale imitation was a true image, Claire….for you’re exactly as I recall. I ken ye like I ken the sound of my own voice.” The last was a whisper. “STILL.

I dipped my head so he couldn’t see that I was trying not to cry. 

He brought my chin back up and kissed me softly, kissed my closed, tear-straining eyes and my brow and my temple, before whispering in my ear and pulling me once more against him. “And aye, Sassenach…I want ye.”

And that meant a great deal, I reflected, watching his long hair swishing behind him as he disappeared down the corridor to the scullery. It was one great weight off my mind, the weight of vanity and fretfulness over the body. While I chided myself for its foolishness, it had NOT been a meaningless burden in honest reality. Hadn’t getting Joe Abernathy’s sworn statement regarding my sexual attractiveness been (absurdly, I grant you) one of my pre-requisites for deciding to find Jamie at all? 

Yes, Jamie wanted me, and Lord knew I wanted him back. 

But could we truly be one again, in that way that had changed everything all those years ago? We might, in some abstract sense, yes, for whatever it was between us it was still there; but in looking at the bald facts and making a clinical assessment, was I still able to supply my half of us, and all that it entailed? Was I still ‘me’ enough to love him, truly love him, body and soul?  

I honestly don’t know. 

That honest admission had the seams of my heart—so new, so fragile—aching. Anxiety and dread and shame in myself dogged me in every lonely step up to our empty chamber.  

Just touch me, Jamie. And forgive me if I fall apart. 


5

my album’s here!!!!!!!!!!!

heartthrob (pt. 1)

Originally posted by bangtannoonas

genre: fluff, angst, fuckboy!hoseok au, college au. 

note: this is the longest thing i’ve ever written pls have mercy on me.

part 2 | drabbles

“Heads up!” I hear an all too familiar voice call. I looked towards the origin of the voice and was hardly surprised to see Jung Hoseok, backwards snapback and all, with a football in his hand ready to throw it bluntly at the male I was currently speaking to. I narrowed my eyes at him, disapproving his typical overbearing behaviour. Hoseok simply winked at me, letting the ball fly from his hand directly at the male in front of me.

My hands immediately push the male away from danger, ready to receive the throw from the impossible man that I called my best friend. I recalled the endless hours I had practiced with Hoseok when his “bros” had dates to go on while he remained loyal to his bachelor, unholy ways. A smile formed on my lips as the ball landed in the cradle formed by my hands. I looked forward to see Hoseok smirking, but not at me, at the man currently on the ground because of the force of my unexpected shove.

“Taehyung, are you okay?” I asked, immediately helping the young man to his feet. The timid dark-haired boy brushed off the dirt and looked at me ready to reply but froze as his eyes locked on something behind me.

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Meet Me In The Hallway; H.S.

She’d always meet me in the hallway. Whether it was four AM, three in the afternoon or so early she had almost had to leave for work, she was waiting for me to come home. For a kiss placed upon her lips, her arms snaking around my waist one of the things I always looked forward to. Gradually, she didn’t wait for me anymore. I don’t know what caused her to be so heartbroken that she’d just laid on the sofa, eyes trained on the television as I passed her.

I know where it started. Rumours. I’m not one to go around and lie that I didn’t do anything wrong, because I’m not perfect – but whatever magazines were slandering about, I knew that wasn’t true. I’d never do anything that would do Y/n any wrong. But I think, and somehow, I hope I’m wrong, that it had gotten through her head. Everything she heard – from so many people – pictures that were ripped out of their context – I just couldn’t blame her. We never spoke a word about it. Per her request.

I hope she still loves me. I hope, that when it gets better, when I get better, she’ll give me another chance and it’ll work out. When I got home today, her last drop seemed to have fallen.

“Y/N, I’m home…” My voice hasn’t been chirpy since she stopped waiting for me – I know I can’t just expect her to do so, but it seemed she enjoyed it as well. I hear a mumble coming from somewhere out of my field of sight, so I take a few steps into my home.

“Harry.” Y/n appears in front of me, apparently completely dressed, her jacket slung over her shoulder. I stare at her, at every aspect of her, and I feel my throat already constricting. “Where are you going love?” Her lip starts quivering and without a second thought I leap towards her and cup her face in my cold hands.

“H., I – I need some time off. I think.” She averts her gaze and I swallow to keep any fluids at bay. Within a split second, I wanted to scream out and vomit all over my floor. She can’t leave me. Not now. “Y/n, sweetheart, where would you go? Please, don’t leave me.”

She just shakes her head. I don’t want her to disappear through that door and not know where she is. I don’t think my heart could handle that. It was more than logical in my mind that the next words flowed past my lips. “Stay. I’ll leave.”

“Harry, no. This is your home; I was just a guest.” She pushes me away from her and starts shrugging her jacket on; but I won’t have it. “The moment you stepped foot insides this house it was also yours. Everything that I own is yours.” My words were heavy and I hope she grasped the nuances behind it. For now, I might as well leave.

“I’ll come collect my things when you’re at work tomorrow.” I mumble, my voice so strained I think she knows exactly how I feel. I take another step towards her, pressing my lips against hers, for maybe, my last time. I didn’t look back, because she would see how much this was paining me.

I had roamed the streets for the rest of the day. I didn’t want Y/n doing this, but right now I didn’t know where to go either. Of course, I could just give Lou or Niall a call and I’m sure they’d help me out almost immediately, but, we were going our own way and I don’t think they liked their former bandmate crashing on their sofa for an unspecified amount of time.

I walk and walk, think and try to force myself to think harder, for it to get better, for me to get better, for some way to work this out. I knew my girl and I know the most important thing she needed now was time. But I wasn’t going down without a fight.

My chest still feels vice-grip-tight, my throat closed off. I’m in some sort of daze where I somewhat realize I’m walking the streets of London, but I have absolutely no idea where I am. At some point, I’m sure I passed Piccadilly Circus, but it seemed so empty. I had never seen it empty.

This is hard, both for her and I alike. I wouldn’t want to think about reading so much slander about my girlfriend and pretending everything is alright. I would’ve cracked months ago. The hours pass and the sun trades his place with the moon.

When I stop in front of his door, I don’t know how much time has passes. I just hope he’s still up. I need a friend, horribly. I hear his heavy footsteps stomp towards his front door and shrug my coat closer to my shivering frame as I hear the familiar click.

“H.? What are you doing here? It’s almost six in the morning, man.” Niall opens the door, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he stares behind me to see if I brought anyone with me – Y/N.

“Y/n and I – uh – we are on a break.” I cast my gaze down, biting my lips while stuffing my hands in my coat pockets. I hear Niall sigh and the door creak. “Come in, H. You want some tea?”

I talk to Niall about it. Every single little thing that has eventually built up to my relationship crumbling at my feet. I feel helpless and I never thought I’d experience something like this again. “I don’t know what to do now, Niall. If I lose her, I’ll practically lose everything. But the horrific part of it all is that I get her and I wouldn’t blame her if she decided to let it be.”

Niall just sits there and lets me ramble. We talk until ten in the morning when he offers his guest room to me. I assure him it’s just for a few days – at most.

Those few days pass and when I’m not doing promo for the new album or recording, I try to stay out of Niall’s way as much as possible. I don’t know what I need to do, but I need to come up with something, fast. I’ve been so occupied in my mind that it’s physically paining me.

I walk the streets, and by now I find that I almost have them all completely memorised. I’ve met some new people, found some new bars. But all I could think about is how much Y/n would like this overjoyed fan, or how much she’s like the paintings on the wall on this art-themed café.

I’ve stopped at my front door many times, about to knock, but deciding not to. This day wasn’t any different, although I’ve been standing here for almost an hour now. I lack the courage of knocking, or just entering, and talking to her. I’m afraid – terrified even – she’ll say the things I don’t want to hear.

Just when I had decided to come back another day, hopefully with more courage, or maybe a box of Y/n’s favourite chocolates, I feel my phone vibrating in my coat pocket. A text message from her flashes brightly onto my phone screen.

Meet me in the hallway.

Keep Your Eyes On Me

Pairing: Mitch Rapp x Reader

Author: @ninja-stiles

Words: 3059

Author’s Note: @stilinski-jpeg and @minhosmeanhoe are hosting Mitch week! I love me some Mitch so, I wrote this little doozey. I’m not sure how I feel about it but I hope you guys enjoy it. Thanks to my amazing friend @mf-despair-queen for proofreading this for me!


Originally posted by dylan-robrien



I got off the bus, walking towards the café that I have worked at for many years. After clocking in and getting a quick drink from the back room, I walked out into the dining area, putting on my apron as rush hour seemed to hit quickly. Through the mist of people that are sat at the tables inside and outside on the patio, one of them certainly caught my attention. He looked to be around my age, mid 20s, dark brown hair that looks absolutely soft, and a bit of scruff hugging his chin and upper lip. From what I can see here, he’s got gorgeous honey brown eyes and his pink lips seemed to be one of the features I like about him. I wiped my sweaty hands on my apron, bringing two menus over to him and an older man that was with him. I placed the menus onto the table, both of the men glancing towards me as I give them a warm smile.

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Tutor Me? ReggiexReader! Part 2

So here is part two of my mini Reggie fic! Depending on feedback to this part, I may be writing a third and maybe even fourth part to this. So PLEASE leave feedback in my ask or in the notes. 

Summary: (Y/N) tutoring Reggie in Chemistry, at the Mantle residence. Includes flirting, a couple of smutty references and innuendos lols etc. I won’t lie, I had to use a revision website because I don’t remember anything about chemistry lols. Plus, I’m British so I have zero understanding of American schooling. 

GIF not mine!

PART ONE HERE.

PART THREE HERE. 

Originally posted by cuckclayton

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A Hundred Lesser Faces: (Six)

Notes from Mod Bonnie

  • This story stems from the premise: what if Voyager!Claire had gone first to Lallybroch instead of directly to the print shop in Edinburgh?

Craigh Na Dun

I brought a heart into the room

     but from the room I carried none with me.

No, I chided silently, staring around the pitiful shack, blank. I had left with a heart: I’d left with Bree, the love of my second life, and that little heart had kept me tethered to life until I’d found myself again.

….but the heart with which I’d entered? That was no more.  

They were still here, watching me from the damp, dark corners of the cottage: the fragments. I could feel them. Aching. 

Yes, this is where you left us. You made it out, but we remained. Here we shall remain, now that…

Now. 

My body was a no-man’s land. On the one side, grief: staggering in detail…unending…ripping me to shreds with every breath; on the other, utter nothingness: numbed oblivion…the absence of anything human. One force would rise up to charge, emboldened, and then be summarily routed, annihilated. The process would reverse and repeat over and over, leaving nothing but a throbbing, bleeding stalemate between. Mutually-Assured Destruction. 

I closed my eyes and swayed, my arms limp at my sides, a finger searching for the mark at the base of my thumb.

‘I want to take away your touch with me.’ 

A past me had said that, here within these walls.

 ‘…to have something of you that will stay with me always.’

‘Always.’ 

Only, nothing was ‘always.’ Not even that. 

True, I could see it, still, the faintest of white lines forming the letter J; but any palpable scar had vanished into the smooth landscape of the skin. 

Strange: I had never once allowed myself to acknowledge that fact. Doing so now—It plunged me into a cold, chill darkness, where only my terror was heard. Over the years, as I felt it fade, and fade, and fade, I had let myself cling to the fantasy of ‘always’; had permitted myself to never actually touch the spot, nor look at it—only to tell myself it was there, to cling to the safety and comfort of this one, tiny delusion. Yet, the cruel reality was that Jamie’s last touch was now no more than a photograph: a single moment in time, captured in the record, visible, but with no dimension. An image. A hint at a memory. 

Jesus H, Christ, but it’s the *memory* that matters, Beauchamp, so stop being foolish. You’re a physician, damn you: you should know better than anyone that scars are *supposed* to heal. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the memory. 

Yes, the body, so perfectly adapted to regenerate and prolong us, will do everything in its power to erase the imperfections life inflicts upon it. The platelets will descend; the threads of fibrin will lash and bind; the white blood cells will attack infection at the breach, keeping the small hurt from becoming fatal. It is how we—physically, fundamentallygo on. 

The body cannot comprehend that its healing power, that very erasure, is a wound in and of itself; that our hurts and imperfections might be nothing less than our deepest desire; that even pain—

‘…I don’t care if it hurts; nothing could hurt more than leaving you.’

“Wrong again, Beauchamp,” I whispered, my voice catching. This could hurt more. Leaving him again, half our lives gone; facing the remaining half alone….and that, after rising from loneliness up to a great peak of hope—only to—

But you know he’s alive, this time, Beauchamp. You know he’s happy! You know he’s going to live to be an old man, perhaps to see his grandchildren. For Pete’s sake, you maudlin creature, surely you can agree that that fact makes this day far better than the eve of Culloden. 

Yes. Better.

….but I didn’t expect to endure anything of the like again. 

But now you *shall* endure it, Beauchamp. Now, you move on. 

‘Move on?’ How?…. I can’t even move from this spot.

I blinked hard up at the ceiling, fists and teeth clenched, tears falling. “Damn you, Jamie, how did you bloody do this?”

He’d been so brave—so fucking brave in those final hours under this roof. He’d known that he must send me away, must do so because it was the best chance for me, for our child. He’d touched me; roused me; smiled for me; reassured me; joked and laughed, even, as best he could. He had been strong and HIMSELF, to the end. 

And here I was — twenty-odd years later, leaving by the very same route for his sake, for his chance for a good and happy existence, just as genuinely assured in my conviction as he—falling apart.

How had he remained in one piece? How the bloody hell had he managed to say goodbye without even shedding a tear, damn him

‘I would sleep once more this way—holding you, holding the babe.’

Because he had known for a fact that he would die the next morning. He wouldn’t have to live with that emptiness, with a broken heart, or so he had supposed; and so he’d kept his tears at bay because he knew I would. I had to go on, and so he’d rallied for my sake, presented himself to me as a man calm and at peace, so as not to make my task—my grief, the reality that I would have to be the one to walk away forever—any more excruciating than it already was.

So brave. Strong.  

I would do the same for you, Jamie, if it fell to me. I hope I could be strong for you. 

But if there were any grace that had been granted to me, in this final, broken chapter of our story, it was that I was spared having to look my love in the eye as I gave him up to a better life;

that I, at least, could let my tears fall freely. 


A sudden draft stirred my flimsy skirt, bringing me sharply to awareness. I shivered against the frigid air, mindful through my disorientation of how sharply my knees ached. The light outside had shifted since I entered the cottage. The sun had long since disappeared behind the horizon, leaving only the dim grey-pink of November twilight. 

Time, Beauchamp. Walk out the door. Only a quick walk up the hill, and it’s over. No sense in prolonging it any further. 

It was time; and I found myself moving with purpose, though not toward the door.

There, at the back wall, in that opening where the boards had long since fallen away, I stood, silent and still. Snowflakes—scattered, sporadic— brushed my cheeks, but I paid them no heed.

The very last place I’d seen him; felt his touch; felt him within me.

The damp, rotten wood felt so soft and smooth under my bare palm. Warm. Living. 

‘Name him Brian…for my father.’ 

“Come find me, will you?” I whispered to the wind, forcing a smile. “When we’re both gone into what comes after, c—” 

My throat closed. 

I pictured seeing the outline of a tall, etherial figure, in that after-place…and seeing his arm circle around the waist of a small woman; the both of them stretching their arms out toward two little girls, running to them. 

Would he even see me? 

And yet…

‘I will find you….

I promise.’ 

“I shall hold you to it, Jamie Fraser.” I rubbed my thumb once over the plank.  “Til then, my love.


It was a much more strenuous climb than I remembered. The icy, twilight air stung my lungs as I gulped it down, the burning in my muscles only heightening the sensations of grief, of panic, of regret, and loss. I wanted to let myself fall, there on the slope, and weep, just sleep until I vanished into nothing. 

But the thought of Bree’s face kept me going up that hill, step after aching step.

You’ll see her, soon. 

Only a hundred yards more.

You’d prepared yourself to never see her again, and now you’ll have years and years

Fifty to go.

Just think of the surprise on her face.

Twenty-five.

Think of how relieved she’ll—

“C L A I R E !”


My heart stopped.

I swear, it actually

STOPPED.


Wrong Loves Her Company (NSFW 18+)

A/N: Sorry this took so long, but I’m still a little sick and this weekend was crazy so it took me long than normal to finish this. This just a drabble, so it’s a little shorter than normal. Also, this part is based off the assumption that you’ve read part 6  so if you haven’t, I would read it so certain things make more sense. The finale (part 7) will be coming out on Sunday. I’m not ready, but it’s going to be long and angsty. I hope this holds you over until then. Also this is from Dylan’s POV, if I didn’t already mention that. Love you always, babes.

Thanks to: @writing-obrien

Warning: Oral

Word Count: 2612

Part 1-6 [Here]:

Originally posted by stiles-and-lydia-tho

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Stay With Me

Drabble Prompt: “You look like the girl I fell in love with.“

Pairing: Jensen x Reader

Requested by: @tas898


This is fucking terrible.

You’re glaring at the rack of clothes in your dressing room, contemplating your life choices. Shooting daggers at the short, black dress in front of you, it’s totally mocking your ass right now. 

This is typical. You’ve always hated dresses…dressing up in general actually. You can usually sass your way out of most things but now you’re fucking stuck.

“You almost ready, baby? You don’t want to start late.” Your boyfriend shouts from the other room. Gorgeous bastard. He got you into this mess.

You don’t care about being late. If anything it just delays the god damn inevitable which you welcome at this point. 

“You’re not dressed yet?!” Jensen’s eyes widen as he takes in your messy appearance.

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