nathaniel's place

Claws-trophobia

So I had this request to have chat, nathaniel and marinette all trapped in an enclosed space, for a long time and finally had a brilliant idea for it (with the help of @squirrellygirlart ) Hope you all enjoy it :) Thanks for the request anon!!

Also @squirrellygirlart did some artwork to go with the piece!!! Check it out HERE!!!!! - it’s pretty amazing!!!


Marinette’s class was helping out at Chloe’s hotel for the day. It was something their class had done once a year every year for as long as Marinette could remember. It was supposed to teach them something about responsibility and the job market and of course Marinette always ended up with the worst jobs on account of Chloe’s hatred for her and today was no different. Marinette was stuck with Gofer duty while Adrien was put at the front desk along with Chloe. Marinette was more than just a little disappointed by it. It happened every year of course but Marinette was beginning to feel that her crush on Adrien was more than a little hopeless. Needless to say Marinette was feeling more than a little discouraged that day. Of course the rage filled akuma that was tearing through the hotel didn’t do much to help improve Marinette’s mood. Marinette ran down the hallway akuma following close behind fiery hair  sticking on end as she screamed in fury. A small fiery blast landed near Marinette’s foot. She yelped as she pushed herself to run faster.

“Marinette!” Marinette was quickly grabbed around the waist and yanked into another hallway as a fiery blast dissolved where she had previously been standing. Marinette looked up to see glowing green eyes staring back at her. She rested her hands on his shoulders their chests brushing against one another as they both tried to catch their breath.

“Chat Noir,” Marinette greeted breathlessly. Chat smirked at her.

“Afternoon Princess, are you alright?” Chat asked, eyes giving her a once over. Marinette nodded.

“I think so,” Marinette assured.

“Good, come on, we need to get you to safety,” Chat Noir released her waist instead taking her hand in his and pulling her along behind him. Marinette let him lead her deciding to transform once he left her to take care of the akuma. Chat rounded a corner only for them to find themselves face to face with the fiery beast. Marinette and Chat Noir skidded to a stop. Chat and Marinette both squeaked as the akuma smiled wickedly down at them fire brewing in her open hand.

“Make a run for it?” Marinette asked cautiously. Chat Noir’s head made a jerky nod. The akuma reeled her arm back fiery blast aimed their way.

“Time to go!” Chat shouted turning on his heel and tore down the hall, Marinette still in hand. Chat led them towards an open elevator at the end of the hall. The doors slowly began to close. Chat released Marinette’s hand diving inside the doorway and keeping the doors open for Marinette. Marinette skidded to a stop just before the elevators glancing back as she heard a door open. Nathaniel stepped into the hallway looking down at his sketch book oblivious to the raging akuma headed straight towards them.

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anonymous asked:

Neil 53: Darling, stop :)

I don’t think this is really what you wanted but I had a hard time thinking of a scenario where neil was saying this or someone saying it to him (i.e andrew) so here we go i’m sorry in advance. (also it got longer than I meant it to oops) 

Neil never remembers how he gets there. One minute he’s lying on his back, listening to the quiet breaths of Andrew next to him, completely aware of the hazel eyes watching over him, and the calming vibrations of the cats purring at the end of the bed. The next, it’s like someone had blackened his eyes with ink and he is drowning in darkness. The pitch black swirling and contorting itself into every single one of Neil’s worst fears, replacing everything that was once a reminder of who he was and what he had. Neil Josten becomes nothing but a foggy what if replaced with a cold stone Nathaniel. 

 He can hear his own ragged breath, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe. When he finally wills himself to opens his eyes, it’s like falling headfirst onto concrete, for a splintering second he understands why Andrew is afraid of heights. Nathaniel knows Baltimore is lifetimes away, he knows that he is not in his fathers basement, he knows his hands and feet are not tied together and he knows the pain he feels is nothing but sensory memories manifesting in his dream state. He is so painfully aware that none of it is real that the panic rising in his chest turns to humiliation. But he can smell the mildew of the old floorboards, and he has the all too familiar taste of blood in his mouth, and that split second is all his mind needs to fool him completely. Now he can feel someone’s hot breath steaming down his neck that wasn’t there before and he can’t stop the scream clawing it’s way up his throat. He can taste the blood it leaves behind but he cannot hear the sound it makes. 

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anonymous asked:

The boys reaction if Candy was calling them in the middle of the night, sobbing, asking for a place to stay for a while because her parents kicked her out?

WTF just happened?! I need context! Oh wait…that’s my job…Hehe…

First off, it would have to be something pretty drastic for Candy’s parents to kick her out. Like insanely devious. How about instead, she gets into a fight with them, and they all get so upset and she doesn’t want to stay at home for the night. So she calls up her boyfriend in the middle of the night to ask if it is okay that she comes over to stay with them for the night.

Nathaniel

He would look at his phone screen, only half awake before answering. As soon as he heard Candy crying on the other end, he was wide awake and would ask her what was wrong. She would merely ask if she could come spend the night, to which he said he would come get her. There was no way she was walking to his apartment alone in the dark. He called a late night taxi and picked her, bringing her home for the night.

Castiel

Castiel wouldn’t even look at his phone. It was so late. Who could be calling him at this hour. He almost didn’t answer. Once he found his phone he heard Candy crying on the other end, pleading to come spend the night. He told her he would come to her so she wouldn’t be by herself so late at night trying to get his place. He would throw on some clothes and bring Demon along.

Lysander

Lysander would pick up his phone after a few rings, and was shocked to hear Candy crying on the other end. He didn’t need her to explain what was wrong, only to know what she needed. She asked to come spend the night, saying she couldn’t stay in her house tonight. He agreed without hesitation and offered to meet up with her to take her to his home.

Kentin

Upon squinting at his phone to see who was trying to contact him, he sat up immediately and answered when he saw Candy’s name across the sceen. He would try to ask her what was wrong and if everything was alright, only to have her crying on the other end asking to spend the night. He couldn’t turn her down. Of course she could come over.

Armin

He was actually still up that night into the late hours, playing online when his phone went off. He paused the game when he saw Candy’s name pop up, and picked up, asking what was wrong. He knew it wasn’t really good if she was calling at this time of night. She was crying and asking if she could spend the night. He told her to get over to his place as safely and quickly as possible.

If Sweet Amoris was a Boarding School

Candy: Nathaniel, if you’re so tired all the time why don’t you just quit all those jobs? Why did you apply for them in the first place?

Nathaniel: Well, I’m saving up money to buy my mom a Christmas present. I’m getting her a webcam, so we can video chat.

Candy: Aw that’s so sweet! I’m sure she’ll love it.

Rosalya: And I’m sure if she wanted to see you, she wouldn’t have sent you to boarding school.

Castiel: *in the background* oooooooooo BURN *runs to high five rosalya*

Amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a system, and systems to one another and to a whole, that, by stepping aside for a moment, a man exposes himself to a fearful risk of losing his place forever.
—  nathaniel hawthorne, from ‘wakefield.’

anonymous asked:

How would the MCL boys react if they learned Candy had a abusive boyfriend in the past, and he came back and started harassing her? Sorry for the serious request, I just feel harassed right now.

Originally posted by little-warrior1

I’m so sorry to hear that you are feeling harassed. People deserve to feel safe. Even you. I wish I could do something for you in a physical sense, but…all I can do is write something on behalf of your request.

To start, I believe all the boys would make sure Candy told her parents about the situation and relay that she felt unsafe. Anyone going through such an experience should obtain all the help and support they can from family, the authorities, and friends. No one should feel ashamed or alone in this. Keeping quiet about it doesn’t make it go away.

Nathaniel

He would be understanding of her feelings in this situation since he experienced similar uneasiness and fear for his safety when he lived with his father. He would take her into her arms and hold her tight, promising he would protect her. And he would be angry at the guy that was harassing her. If Nathaniel did encounter her ex, I’m sure he’d give him a warning, but it could end up in a fight, which Nathaniel would easily overpower him. He may also suggest a restraining order against the guy. She was also always welcome to stay with Nathaniel at his place should she ever feel unsafe at home alone.

Castiel

Furious that some loser wouldn’t leave Candy alone, and called her ex a coward for acting like this. He would basically act as her body guard and go with her everywhere if it made her feel safe. He would walk her home from school every day and meet her in front of her house to walk her to class. He would keep his arm around her when she felt nervous or anxious. If he did encounter her ex for any reason, Castiel wouldn’t hesitate to give the guy a piece of his mind…or fist. He would even bring Demon for walks sometimes, and his door was always open for her.

Lysander

He would be very concerned and protective of Candy. This was a very serious matter. He would assure Candy he would always be available if she needed him, no matter the time of day or night. He would also bring Leigh and Rosa into the mix and they would welcome Candy to their home for safety, Leigh’s shop as always too, and if the need ever became extreme, there was his family’s farm. And they were also on call for her in case of emergencies. He would also make sure she would go to the police to file a report.

Kentin

Scared for Candy’s safety and livid with the idea that someone was making her so uncomfortable. How dare this guy come near her. He would describe to Candy what he would do if he came face to face with the creep, and would easily make sure he never messed with Candy again. His military training would come in handy if he needed to protect her. And he would with every fiber of his being. He would make sure she talked to the police and her parents, and even tell his own parents. She needed reinforcements. He would call her at night after she got home and stay on the line with her until her parents returned from work.

Armin

If ever there was a time for him to become aggressive, it was this. NO ONE puts Candy in a corner….but seriously, the nerve of the guy who would slink around and make Candy feel so anxious…so insecure about her own safety and well being. Armin was livid. He would wrap his arms around her and was always hesitant to let her go. He would have Candy text him once she got home to let him know she was okay, and he would call at night before she went to bed and talk to her until she felt comfortable falling asleep. He would also have her pick a safe word, so if she was in trouble, she only had to text it or say it around him.

archiveofourown.org
Given It All - glittermerm - All For the Game - Nora Sakavic [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapters: 13/?
Fandom: All For the Game - Nora Sakavic
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Neil Josten/Andrew Minyard, Kevin Day/Neil Josten, Andrew Minyard/, Andrew Minyard/Kevin Day/Neil Josten
Characters: Neil Josten, Andrew Minyard, Kevin Day, Jean Moreau, Riko Moriyama
Additional Tags: Raven!Neil
Summary:

Raised to be a Raven, Nathaniel knows his place as #3 in Riko’s perfect court. But when #2 Kevin leaves, Riko doesn’t forgive him, and neither does Nathaniel.

3

The Grimshawe House, Salem, Massachusetts

(This…lovely…home is right next to the Burying Point cemetery I posted previously. The creepiest of creep factors. It’s rumored to be the house that Nathaniel Hawthorne used as the setting for his short story “Dr.Grimshawe’s Secret” - Hawthorne married a daughter of the Peabody family who owned the house. )

anonymous asked:

Remember that soulmate au you did? (Beautiful btw) but what if Neil ' s mom had burned it off or something? If you're still doing hc, can you do one with that? Thank you, and sorry for bothering you!

omg thank you so much for this, it’s not a bother at all!  Sorry it took me so long to fill this out

Anyways,, I’ve wanted to write something from Neil’s POV in this AU for sooo long and I’m happy I finally get to do it!  without further adieu….

(Okay sidenote this got really long oops, but anyways enjoy!)

  • Nathaniel was 11 when his mother and him ran in the middle of the night
  • He was 11 when the first of his father’s men came looking for them
    • Nathaniel had run while his mother fought them off
    • she had come back bleeding and bruised but safe
    • it was the first time she looked at him and told him to do whatever it takes to stay alive

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hillcaption  asked:

Nathaniel

N- Favourite place to shop at? = I don’t really go shopping but when i do i go to a comic store.
A- Already answerd sorry
T- Age I get mistaken for? = 19-20 (I’m 18)
H- Do I Smoke/Drink? = I drink the occasional cider and Smirnoff ice
I- Already answerd sorry :/
E- Also already answered
L- One of my insecurities? = I did already answer this but i have so many, another one is irritating my friends by complaining about my own personal problems

Enchanted

Author’s Note: Here’s part three! Thank you so much to everyone who’s loving this series, it makes me so happy!

Summary: based on the Disney movie, “Enchanted”. As you read on, you’ll see that I’ve added in more people from the Avengers. It has some slight changes, and it’ll also be taken place in modern day time. 

Part One  Part Two

Originally posted by imagine-my-universe

Shortly after, you walked beside Bucky the whole time as you were making your ways to the coffee shop that he worked at.

“Bucky, Bucky that’s your name right? It’s so strange.” You told him as you were tapping your fingers against your chin while looking around.

“Well, it’s more of a nickname.” He mumbled.

“Well I at least must know your real name.” You smiled.

He raised his eyebrow at you and chuckled, “James.”

James….what a lovely name. 

“I adore it.” You said as you held your hands together and gazed at him. He looked down at you and laughed. 

“So, tell me more about your Natasha.”

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kalipia  asked:

Hi! I am completely in love with your stories ! I guess I should have read your entire tumblr ! Anyway , I was crazy when I read the POVs of Castiel and Lys about the kiss. I think you already know what I'll ask. You could make Armin and Nath ? ( if it is not too much to ask , of course ) PLEASE ! <3 [I am Brazilian , so if you dont understand something, sorry !]

Hello dear! I already did Armin’s, which you can find here. So I went ahead and did Nathaniels’! Your English is pretty good, so no worries! I hope you enjoy!

Dialogue from Episode- Episode 28 Spoilers


He didn’t mean to snap so harshly at Melody, but in his defense, she was interrupting a farther intimate moment between him and Candy. He had enough of the interruptions. Enough distractions. Enough of everyone that kept getting him and Candy whenever he tried to make a move or tell her how he felt.

He’d been trying for a while now, but it wasn’t exactly easy to tell her. He was surprised that she even wanted to keep talking to him after he snapped at her back whenever she told on his father- which in the end, did end up being the right choice because now he was happier than ever in his own apartment.

He thought he was extremely lucky that she wanted to be friends after that. A good, close friend at that. A friend he knew he could trust with anything. A friend that… wasn’t much of a friend at all with the growing feelings that he had been having…. Especially after she invited him to diner.

His heart sped up just thinking about it, a pink tint spreading across his face. She actually invited him on a date. A double date that- which was a tad strange with Rosayla and Leigh, two people that he didn’t know that well, but considering Candy was so close to them, he tried to stay polite and friendly whenever he talked to them.

If he knew anything it was that if he wanted to really date Candy then he had to get Rosayla to approve of him. It was no secret that she was easily the most intimidating person at the school- nearly everyone, even Castiel, had learned to not get on her bad side.

Nathaniel placed the book in her hands, his eyes meeting hers in an intense gaze. Their hands gazed against each other’s, ending shivers down his spine. Candy was pressed against the bookcase, leaving her with no escape as they stood close to each other. Just inches apart….. He thought he was going to die from the sheer excitement that was bubbling in his chest, extinguishing the nerves.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, besides here,” Nathaniel whispered softly, his face getting closer, “….With you.”

He felt like his whole was on fire as his lips pressed against hers. He almost gasped at the electricity jolts that it sent through his lips, but as he felt her relax under his touch, he felt himself melt as well. He was never a fan of sweets, but he could already feel himself getting addicted to her sweet taste. It was like strawberries and her lips were just so soft.

He inhaled sharply as they parted briefly for air, but quickly close the gap once again with more passion, more force, more everything. Even daring to part his lips and dip his tongue into her mouth, tasting her even farther as he pressed himself against her.

It as the farthest he had ever gone with a girl. At school, in the library, no less. The rebelliousness, the thrill that they could caught any second only made it that much more exciting.

anonymous asked:

How about a drabble where the boys get the courage to ask Candy out?

Kentin

“Hey, Candy!” Kentin called, running down the main hallway. Turning around, Candy smiled when she saw the boyish grin on the brunette’s handsome face. “Hey, Kentin,” she replied, hugging him quickly, “What’s up?” Kentin blushed from the friendly embrace, the pink tinge remaining long after she’d let go, “I was wondering if I could walk you home?” Smiling wider, Candy nodded enthusiastically before continuing out of the school. “I’m so happy it’s the weekend,” she said as they walked through the small park. Taking a deep breath, Kentin looked down at her expectantly. “D‐Do you have any plans this weekend?” He asked bashfully. Noticing his stutter, Candy glanced up at him curiously, “Um, no, I don’t.” The muscular boy ran a hand through his messy hair, “Well, would you like to go to the movies with me? Like, on a date?”


Armin

Alexy smiled as he sat in the back of the car he shared with Armin. At that moment the darker haired twin was driving, whilst simultaneously arguing with Candy. “I’m telling you, Alan Scott was the first Green Lantern for Earth!” Candy yelled, although there was nothing angry about her tone. “I don’t even know who that is!” Armin shouted back, “But I know Hal Jordan was the first for Earth!” Candy groaned at this and brought out her phone, “Let’s make a bet and if I’m right then you have to take me out to dinner. Deal?” A smirk flittered across Armin’s lips, although he kept his eyes on the road, “Deal.” Smiling to herself, Candy typed their question into Google and immediately received her answer. “I was right!” She declared triumphantly, showing Armin her phone, “How do you feel being proven wrong about comics by a girl!” Laughing, Armin watched the girl turn around to boast to Alexy about her victory, “I’ve never been happier to lose a bet.”


Castiel

“Come on, Little Girl,” Castiel smirked, taking Candy’s bag from her shoulder as soon as she had shut her locker door. “What are you talking about?” She asked perplexed, trying to reach for her bag, “Castiel, give that back.” Castiel snickered, slinging the bag over one shoulder and placing his free hand on the middle of her back. “No, I’m being gentlemanly.” Candy raised her eyebrows at this, but stopped protesting. Instead she let herself be lead out of the main school building. “Oh really? And why’s that?” She asked coyly. Castiel huffed playfuly, “Because we’re going on a date.” Candy laughed loudly at this, “About bloody time!”


Lysander

Candy smiled warmly at Lysander as he strode towards her, his willowy legs making the movements look effortless and elegant. “Good morning, Candy,” he said once he’d reached her. “Morning, I’m surprised you’re on time,” she teased friendlily. “I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if I was late,” Lysander chuckled, offering his arm to her. “Or if you’d forgotten altogether,” Candy giggled, looping her arm with his as they began walking across the street towards the café. “There was no way I could forget about this,” he said softly as they entered the small establishment. “I don’t know, it’s just breakfast,” Candy said sincerely, although still playfully, “And you did forget about the exams.” Lysander glanced down at her with an affectionate expression. “You forgot about the exams too,” he reminded her, “And I was actually hoping we could make this into a more formal event. Perhaps a first date?”


Nathaniel

“Oh my God, look at the time,” Candy giggled, pointing at the clock on the far wall of the Student Council Room. Nathaniel almost jumped in surprise at the sudden sound of her voice: he’d been daydreaming about her again. They had been working in silence for a good few hours, slowly making their way through the many forms that needed to be recorded and filed away. Forcing himself to seem nonchalant, the blonde quickly read the time. “Wow,” he murmured, seeing that it was past 7pm, “We better be going.” Nodding, Candy neatly stacked the pages in front of her and then stood, picking up her jacket and bag. “I bet my parents are getting worried,” she said, bringing out her phone, “I should tell them I’m on my way home.” To her surprise, Nathaniel stepped forward and placed his hand over her phone. “Or,” he began, his cheeks going red, “You could tell your parents that we’re going to dinner, my treat of course and I’ll walk you home afterwards.”

2

Baby pictures 1 and 2. There seems to be quite a bit of disagreement on whether they are of Pietro or Nathaniel. I still say Nathaniel. Other than the one picture that Pietro said he had in AOU all other family photos were probably destroyed. I don’t see Wanda having two photos of Pietro handy. Also, the child has blonde hair. Pietro’s natural hair color was brown and would not have been that shade when he was little. Of course, if you have your own headcanon you should definitely run with it. I’m just saying that I think it’s Nathaniel.

First Contact

They were arguing again. Elissa could hear it, though she’d long since learned to tune them out. The incessant murmuring of her brother and her intended husband dulled down into a subtle –though exceptionally annoying– hum. Until they forced her to acknowledge it.

Shut up.” It was instruction clearly given, her eyes never leaving the path she walked up toward the outskirts of the upper city. The skyline taking shape now into row after row of gray-stoned masonry, so similar, yet so far removed from the Highever castle where she’d spent most of her life.

Their muttering silenced, but was quickly replaced by the sound of boot heels grinding into gravel as one of them increased the pace of their steps to catch up with her –her brother, from the sound of it. Nathaniel knew better than to keep pressing when she had long since passed the point of having nothing further to say.

“This is folly, Elissa. The cities are overrun. Starkhaven was overrun.”

Green eyes narrowed and she peered at him from the corner through the tangled curls of her hair. “This is not Starkhaven.”

“You’re absolutely right. This is Kirkwall. The largest city in the Marches. What we saw in Starkhaven… this will be a thousand times worse. We should not be going here, Elissa. We should no–” The large, auburn-headed man’s words cut off when his sister stopped walking and spun to face him. He shifted anxiously on his feet for a moment, but he did not back down.

“We have to pass through the city to get to the docks, Fergus.” Those eyes flicked further back for a moment, fixing to Nathaniel where he’d stopped, arms folded and looking exceptionally annoyed to have to watch his companions fight it out, again.

“No, Elissa. No we don’t. We can circumvent the city. We can run the edge.” He shook his head and set his jaw, cerulean eyes locking onto emerald and refusing to give.

Elissa took in and released a long, supremely-annoyed breath, and then replied: “Circumventing the city would take at least a week. A week during which we would be forced either to enter the city regardless in search of shelter or to camp completely unprotected in the scrub-land at the edge of the plate. A week’s worth of time that we do not have, lest you have forgotten.”

She glared at her brother, pointedly, with the last of this. Then back at Nathaniel. Turning to walk once more when they both remained silent, their eyes dropping down to the road rather than stand up to the look she was giving them. “We need supplies to make the voyage. These estates will have them. We’ll stick to the edges, take what we need, get back before sundown. Tomorrow we scout the city and move forward toward the docks. End of discussion.”

“I don’t know when you think you got put in ch–”

His words stopped with her footsteps, Fergus hissing something at the other man in warning, though it was far too late for that. When she turned back around the tension in her shoulders was evident in the militaristic rigidity of her posture.

“I got put in charge when the world ended and my combat-trained brother cried in the corner with his family while you lamented Ferelden’s loss in the bottom of whatever bottle you could find. You gave up. Both of you did. You. Gave. Up.” The last of this she hissed in each of their faces, body shaking in barely contained rage. “If either one of you has found your balls again, feel free to take over, but until you do I am in charge and I say we are scavenging these homes and then blazing a path across the city to the docks. Suck it up, shut your mouths, and get moving. We are wasting daylight wading through this trivial shite again.”

~//—//~

An hour of silence later Elissa found an access point she favored, stopping in back of the decaying monument to extravagance to wait for the others to catch up to where she’d led. “There.”

“All the bottom windows are busted out.” Fergus shook his head. “Nothing left in that one now but walkers.”

Elissa sighed and rolled her eyes. “That one’s got roof access to the one next door. The one that's obviously been boarded and trapped to keep walkers and breathers out. That’s where we’re headed. I can promise you we’ll find supplies in there.”

“And whomever it was that trapped the place.” Nathaniel rasped, moving in to stand at Elissa’s other side. “Those are pigeon spikes, and over there, that’s rigging for a blade trap. Whoever is staying here has gone out of their way to protect it from looters. It’s the living who are dangerous now, not the dead.”

“Whoever is in there also took the time to put up witty little signs on the windows warning people they were trapped, or did you fail to notice that in your preliminary scan of the building?” A single dark eyebrow arched up in challenge, the arms that had been folded moving to plant hands on her hips. “That little detail tells me that of the lot of us, I am by far the most dangerous, so we are going in there to see what they have that we need and leaving with it.”

“So, what, your plan is to threaten whoever it is that’s living in there until they hand things over? Or worse?” Fergus paced away from her, and then back again, shaking his head. “I’m not killing a person who’s done nothing wrong, Elissa. I’m not that kind of man. I won’t let what’s happened to the world make a monster of me.”

“Then you will die! You both will! Your ridiculous senses of honor are meaningless now!” She hissed back, leaning forward to meet his eyes. “And you, brother, are being unnecessarily dramatic. I never said I planned to kill anyone. I can be incredibly convincing.”

Her expression shifted over into an enticing smile, eyes softening, the swell of her bottom lip parting slightly away from the top. There was a momentary, visible, reaction in the warrior’s facial expression before he erased it, buried behind his usual mask of neutrality. The only sign that it had been there at all was a muscle twitching dangerously in his jaw when she walked away.

Nathaniel watched the exchange, eyes narrowing for a moment though he remained silent, his own strides lengthened to pass by the still-standing warrior and catch up to his frustrating almost-fiance. “Go in through the lower windows, then? Clear the place?”

“Go up the outside tree to the third story window landing. From there the stone is rough enough that a free climb to the roof won’t be difficult.” She replied, tugging fingerless gloves free from her pockets and slipping them onto her hands. Effortlessly she made her way into the bottom branches, eyes combing over the rest of the tree for the easiest pathway up to the ledge she had indicated.

The ranger shook his head, releasing a slow, irritable breath as he glared up toward where she’d already climbed. “You’re always going on about wasting daylight, wasting time, wasting resources. Well this is wasting energy.”

“No, this is being smart.” She clipped back, barely taking the time to look down at him from the lowest branches before she turned her head and continued upward. “Like you said, place is likely filled with walkers by now, and dealing with those things in tight, dark spaces is a lot more difficult than I care to manage. That is a waste of energy, and a risk I don’t care to take.”

“Climbing up trees and building facades like squirrels is risky.” Nathaniel countered, though he pushed the toe of his boot into the bark of the tree and pulled himself up behind her.

“Just don’t fall.” She barked back, still not turning to look at him or even seeming to care whether or not her brother had chosen to follow them. “Broken leg and you’re walker bait.”

~//—//~

Twenty minutes later they stood on the roof of the adjacent manor, piecing together a makeshift bridge from two dressers they’d smashed apart in the upper rooms to span across the gap and the first row of pigeon spikes. After a few kicks and pulls to test it, they shifted it into place, watching as the metal spikes bent harmlessly beneath the thick, polished wood.

“Go.” Elissa said, glancing back at her brother and sighing in irritation when he didn’t move. “You are the heaviest among us, if it holds you, it holds us all.”

“And if I fall?”

“Nathaniel will shoot you in your head before you get eaten.” She responded, her expression as blank as her tone of voice.

Fergus stepped forward, one boot on the bridge as he leaned down into his sister’s face, so close their noses brushed together. “You are a cold, heartless, bitch.”

She closed the remaining between them, lips nearly brushing his as she spat back through a clenched jaw. “And you are a coward. Now, go! Go before I push you off myself.”

Her head turned to watch his progress, the wood creaking and bowing as he hit the midway point. She slapped a palm down against the center of Nathaniel’s chest when his toe nudged over the edge of the wood and onto the bridge, withdrawing it only once Fergus stepped off the other end onto the bare roof opposite the pigeon spikes. “Now you may go.”

Nathaniel stared at her for a moment, head tilting as his mercurial eyes locked onto the glittering emeralds looking up at him. His lips parted in preparation for the words that had formed in his mind, but nothing would come. leaving him with only her orders to follow and a bridge to be crossed.

When he too had stepped off the other side, Elissa stepped on, almost casually striding across the gap. She was barking out orders to get through the boards and the glass on the window before her feet had even touched the tar atop the manor roof, and though it was clear Fergus and Nathaniel were thinking any number of unpleasant things about her, they as they were told, making quick work of the first layer of defenses standing between them and their quarry.

“Can you disarm it?” Elissa asked, watching as Nathaniel sat down and leaned back, his fingers working along the edge of the window as he searched for the trigger of one of the traps he’d pointed out from the ground below

“Given time and the ability to focus.” He rasped, momentarily glancing up at her.

Her expression shifted slightly into an emotionless smirk. “You have two minutes.”

“Look. I can disarm it.” Fergus bellowed, hand reaching for the hilt of his broadsword where it was anchored between his shoulder blades. “I’ll just–”

Elissa’s eyes moved from the ranger, to the warrior, freezing him in place even before she said: “Sticking your blade in there will damage it, and do you know what good a damaged broadsword is? None. Leave it where it is. Nathaniel will disarm it.”

“Your faith in my abilities would be far more complimentary had you not just given me a two-minute deadline.”

“Don’t look at it as a deadline.” She replied with a smile that mimicked something friendly. “Look at it as a quickly expiring timer at the end of which I’ll disarm the trap with your head.”

Nathaniel chuckled humorlessly, pushing a broken piece of pigeon spike against the trigger and yanking it back just before the blade slid by, rendering the mechanism harmless. “My lady.” He said, inclining his head slightly in her direction.

He glanced up at her brother after she passed, a part of him no longer certain the threats she leveled were being delivered in jest, but Fergus’s expression was a blank slate. The Couslands hid their hands well before they played them. They always had.

~//—//~

Stepping into the bedroom through which they’d entered revealed the interior of the home to be in far worse condition than the exterior had indicated. Nathaniel allowed his eyes to pass over the faded, mildewed wallpaper in the dusty room with disgust. “Who lived here?”

“No one who has anything we need.” Fergus snorted, shaking his head as he tugged open the drawers and tossed open the boxes stored inside the closet.

Elissa didn’t look at all discouraged as she moved through the room toward the doorway. “Someone whose luck ran out before the fall.”

She exited the room and progressed cautiously down the hallway in search of the master bedroom where, she assumed, whomever had taken up roost here would be living. Even in a rundown home, the master suite would be the  best cared for as the owners would have lived there and put what money and time they had left into maintaining it. Her lips curled up the moment she found it, the interior of the space proving her right even before she’d stepped inside to explore it. The condition of both the furniture and the room were far superior to anything else they’d seen, and there were pathways through the dust leading to the closet, the door of which was shut.

“Ellie?”

“In here!” Elissa called back to her brother, watching as he appeared from a nearby room with Nathaniel, the pair of them heading in her direction.

She made her way over to the closet door, unsurprised to find it locked. Fergus and Nathaniel started to search through the rest of the room until she stopped them. “Don’t bother. Anything worth having in this room is in this closet.” She insisted, pulling her lock picks out of her hair.

“You know that door is rigged, right?” Nate griped, stepping forward.

“That’s what I have you for.” She clipped, glancing up at him when the lock released. “Your turn.”

The ranger rolled his eyes, but leaned over, opening the door just enough to catch sight of a wire leading from the interior nob to the trigger of a shotgun that had been placed against the rear wall of the closet. “Good thing you didn’t pull that knob, you’d have ruined your pretty face.”

“And what a shame that would be.” She deadpanned, lips curling up in a mirthless smile. “Disarm it.”

“Yes m'lady.” He grumbled, eyes following her for a moment as she stood and paced away before he pulled them back to the task she’d instructed him to complete. A few moments of painstakingly careful progress later, he had the trigger pull in hand, and stood against the back wall watching as Elissa began to rummage through what they’d found.

Elissa took anything edible immediately, sectioning it off to the side of the bags and boxes where she’d found it while she continued to search for more. “Pack.” She said, holding a hand up, fingers curling in command. When Nathaniel didn’t pass it down to her, she looked up, eyes narrowing at the look on his face. “What?”

“People are living here, Elissa.”

Were living here. They aren’t here now and it’s possible that–”

“Lots of things are possible, but I don’t think we should–”

“We are taking this food. Understood?” Elissa stood with several cans in hand, shoving them roughly into the ranger’s, the tone of her voice making it clear the topic was not up for discussion. “We are taking it, and anything else useful we find, and then we are heading back out of town for the night.”

Nathaniel said nothing as she loaded the pack, his eyes moving over to find Fergus’s. The larger man shrugged and offered him no support, instead heading out of the closet entirely.

“I’m going to head downstairs. See if I can’t find anything else we can use.” The warrior muttered, disappearing into the hallway.

“You do that.” Elissa clipped in response, her eyes never leaving Nathaniel’s. “Something else you want to say?”

He paused for a moment, the gears in his mind clearly turning in thought. “You’ve changed, Ellie. And not in a good way.”

She said nothing in response to his statement, the expression on her face remaining rigid and blank as she shoved the last of the food into the satchel on his back and stepped out of the closet. “Come along, then. There are a lot of rooms left to search, and left to his own devices Fergus is certain to trip one of the booby traps the Porn King set up.”

“Porn Ki–” Nate followed her eyes down to a stash of skin rags and he snorted. “Maybe I should take some.”

“Feel free.” Her tone was emotionless as she moved out the door and into the hall, the ranger trailing behind her.

“Or you could just show me yours.”

“Unlikely.” She rolled her eyes and headed into a room at the end of the hall, listening to his humorless laughter trailing behind him as he made his way down the stairs to find her brother.

~//—//~

Lowtown. Hightown. As much of Darktown as he could see, then back again on a circuit. It was the same this morning as it had been every day before. Every day for three months.

At first he went looking for signs of life. People who might have needed his help. Survivors who wanted to band together to increase their odds against those who had not. But in the initial days following the outbreak, people were still wary of apostates. There were some who held them (somehow) responsible for what had happened, refusing to believe that the world had been ended by pure biology. No one else had ended it at all.

Now he went because it had become habit. He’d watched as the survivors dwindled, their number added to the growing rank of the undead. He’d watched the undead begin to migrate out of the cities when their food sources dwindled, though at this stage it was only small groups of them. The majority of the horde stayed stable, meandering sluggishly through the crumbling streets of the city as their bodies fell victim rigor and decay.

He kept an eye on the few alliances he’d made within the surviving population, and watched as those numbers decreased until only two remained. Two who refused to leave the city in spite of his warnings, leaving him with no choice but to continue his observation in the hope that he could prevent the same fate from befalling them.

It was for this reason he noticed the newcomers making their way into town, though he hadn’t managed to find them at their origin, they just suddenly were where they hadn’t been before, drawing his avian eyes to take notice. They moved with purpose, and were heavily armed. He perched on a nearby telephone pole and watched, hoping they would avoid the one home that mattered, but unsurprised when they headed straight for it.

>He’d told the idiot those signs were a bad idea.

After pausing momentarily to consider his options, he took off, circling back down to the edge of the Lowtown plate and the abandoned apartment complex where he’d taken up residence with two others of his kind. Clawed feet shifted effortlessly over into bare feet as he dropped down atop the roof, the motion of flight seamlessly carried over into walking as he moved through the doors and into the top stairwell, tugging on the clothing stowed there as he called out to his companions. 

“We need to make a trip out.” He called, yanking his shirt into place. “Some people are breaking into Gamlen’s place, and he’s out. Not sure what their intentions are, but things are likely to get ugly if we don’t intervene."