Warnings: violence, some sensuality, some language
A/N: This is a sequel to A Tangled Web to Weave so read that before you read this one.
There were no stars in the sky that fateful night. Amongst the sounds of couples laughing, drunks hollering, and whores cooing at potential customers was the sound of a pistol being beaten against a skinny black man’s head. It was a dark alley in London so no one would really pay it any mind—-especially when they noticed the two large black men in long wool gray coats standing at the entrance whilst Y/N and Octavian Y/L/N handled business.
The man cried out again as Y/N cracked a bone in his shoulder with her silver pistol. He covered his head with his blood-streaked hands and curled further into himself on the cold ground, but Y/N wasn’t going to let him get away that easily. She knelt down and grabbed him by the back of his shirt collar, glaring at the quivering man in front of her.
“Tell the Harpers this is what happens when you do business on the West End and don’t let them even think about the East End,” she hissed.
“P-p-please, let me go,” he sputtered in blood.
Y/N scoffed and dropped him back on the ground, pivoted, and walked over to Octavian, who was smoking a cigarette and looked dapper in his black tuxedo with his black trench coat draped over his shoulders. His brown eyes shimmered with mischief.
“Theo and Ron will haul him back over to the Harpers,” Octavian said, handing Y/N his handkerchief.
Y/N happily took it and wiped the blood off her pistol. “You would think the Harpers would know better to stay in the south. North, East, and West London are ours.”
“Can’t blame them for being ambitious. You did quite a number on him, Y/N.”
“Thanks, I learn from the best.” Y/N slipped her pistol back into her beaded silver clutch.
Though Octavian usually flexed his muscle when the twins had to handle business personally, sometimes Y/N would lash out on those who did them wrong herself. Usually, it was because she had some pent up aggression that wouldn’t be expressed the same way through dance. The Michael and Alfie situation had definitely fueled her with enough aggression to last for a while. A few months had passed since they both admitted their feelings for her and nothing had been quite the same since. Alfie was strictly business during their meetings and Michael gave her the cold shoulder. Y/N knew she was to blame, but she also knew that she cared for them both for different reasons and Octavian chastised her for not making up her mind. Rather than take her anger out on him, she took it out on junkies who hadn’t paid them or competition that was trying to move in on their territory. While it didn’t solve any real problems, it did satisfy Y/N’s bloodlust for a while.
Fifteen minutes later, Y/N and Octavian were strolling into their London town home. Olivia was waiting for the twins at the door, but she looked a lot more anxious than usual.
“Good evening, Olivia,” Y/N slipped off her brown mink coat and handed it to her, “we had a spectacular night at the club.”
“And the after show wasn’t that bad either,” Octavian said with a smirk.
“Well, you might want to put your coat back on, Miss Y/L/N, because Mr. Solomons just rang and said that you must go to the bakery immediately; it’s an emergency.” Olivia glanced at Octavian. “Both of you.”
“If it was really important, Alfie could’ve come to the club and told us himself,” Octavian said.
“This is Alfie we’re talking about—-he hates clubs and jazz and Sabini’s got men in the Onyx all the time.” Y/N prayed that she wasn’t shaking too much as Olivia put her coat on over her shoulders. “Thank you, Olivia. Please prepare some chamomile tea for our return.”
“Yes, Miss,” Olivia said.
“I won’t need the tea.”
“I’ll drink yours then.”
Y/N did her best not to show her apprehension during the drive to Alfie’s bakery. She had seen him a couple of days ago, but he hadn’t said much and barely looked at her. So why did she care if her burnt orange frock with the satin tie around the waist looked pristine or if her bob was still smooth? He never noticed the difference anyway, but she still wanted to look good for him. But she also liked looking good for Michael too.
Finally, they reached Alfie’s bakery and Octavian helped Y/N out of the car. They walked slowly side by side into the bakery, being greeted by the few men Alfie had working to near morning hours. They found themselves escorted into his office and the strong, cockney Jew was sitting at his desk, smoking a cigar. Two glass tumblers filled with rum were set on the desk in front of the two seats in front of his desk.
“Octavian, Y/N, I see you got my message,” Alfie said.
“Yes, what is the emergency?” Octavian asked.
Alfie stood. “We’ll get to that in a moment. No one took your coats? Bloody ‘ell, can’t fin’ good men anywhere anymore.” He walked around and took both of their coats off though the twins did protest. Then, he hung them up and had the twins sit.
Y/N narrowed her eyes at Alfie. He was more skittish than usual and something grave had occurred. “Alfie—”
“You want a smoke?” “Sure.”
Alfie handed her one of his and lit it. Y/N took a long drag before blowing a puff of smoke towards the ceiling. It helped her relax a little more but didn’t curb her suspicions of her Jewish business partner.
“And have some rum, please,” Alfie said as he sat back down.
Octavian sipped his first and nodded. “It’s good, but we all know you didn’t call us here on an emergency just for a smoke and a drink.”
“I figured it’d help soften the blow.” Alfie folded his hands on his desk. “There’s no easy to say it, but, earlier today, Tommy gave his family up to the police.”
Alfie’s words echoed in her ears but Y/N wasn’t quite making the connection. Tommy Shelby, the same man who managed to screw over the IRA and get out from under the Russians for his family had handed them over to the police? The same police that were in his pocket? That made no sense. But if Tommy got them put in prison, that meant that Michael was in prison.
Y/N gritted her teeth at the thought and took a large hit off of her cigarette. For the first time in a long time, she wished it was stronger because she could feel the panic begin to rise inside of her. It started from her hips and was working its way up. If it got to her heart, she might snap.
“Why would he do that? Tommy’s family is everything to him,” Octavian said.
“He got into some trouble with a priest and there was an issue with his son—-”
“When did you find out about this?” Y/N interrupted.
“Excuse me?” Alfie asked.
“You heard me.”
“I found out about a minute before I called your house, thought you two should know ‘bout our partner.”
“If nine tenths of the Shelbys are in prison, the Blinders are screwed, which means we’re all screwed,” Octavian said in a level tone.
“No, the Shelbys may be the core of the Blinders but the Blinders are made up of several men loyal to their family. However, they could be paranoid since they could be next,” Y/N said.
“As long as I still ‘ave my business, I can loan a few men to help you,” Alfie said.
“Thank you, Alfie, for telling us.” Octavian stood. “We should be on our way.”
“I’ll leave when I finish my rum,” Y/N said, her eyes trained on Alfie.
The older man looked concerned and it was appropriate.
“It would be rude for me not to. Besides, I have some things I want to discuss with Mr. Solomons. He’ll get me a car home or you can wait here, your call.”
Octavian hesitated. “Very well then, I’ll be waiting outside.”
When Octavian left, the panic within Y/N was right at her ribs and the cigarette was shaking in her hand.
“Y/N, ‘m sorry about Michael. ‘m sure e’ll be out in no time, you know Tommy.”
“That’s the problem, I don’t know Tommy.” Y/N grabbed the rum and downed it in a gulp. “Pour some more.”
Alfie sighed before filling her tumbler again and Y/N held it in one hand and her cigarette in the other.
“Did Tommy get his son back just for selling out the rest of his family? Oh, but he probably has a clever idea to get them all back, doesn’t he?” Y/N spat. “It might not work this time though and if it doesn’t then…then the whole family could be taken advantage of in prison. You know how criminals are treated by the guards, imagine having the bloody Shelbys in your block. What’ll they do to poor Ada, Polly, Finn, John, Arthur…”
“Michael.” His name came out in a dead pan fashion from Alfie and his eyes seemed to darken at the name. “That’s the one you really care about anyways, innit?”
Y/N took another drag. “I care about all the Shelbys.”
“But not in the same way as you care about Michael. I’ve seen the way you two look at each other—-looks right disgusting some times. He looks at you like he hasn’t seen the sun in days and you’re it and you look at him and…and you would look happy.”
Y/N sighed. “Trust me, Alfie, he hasn’t been looking at me like that lately and neither have you.”
Alfie banged his fist on the desk. “You’re so frustrating! Of course I ain’t lookin at you the way that boy does because I ain’t no boy! I’m a man and I take what I want! Even if I’m angry.”
His nostrils were flaring and his face was beginning to redden. Y/N had definitely touched a spot with him and she thought she liked the reaction. As she downed the rest of the rum, she could feel it shoving the panic back to the pit of her stomach. She took one last drag of her cigarette before putting it out in Alfie’s ash tray.
“Really, because you haven’t taken what you want in months, barely even spoke to me,” Y/N said.
Alfie groaned. “Because I was mad at ya! But unfortunately for the both of us, you stay stuck in my mind, like the pain my arse you are.”
“But you still thought you should tell me about Tommy and…and Michael.”
“Because I knew you’d be pissed if I didn’t and because I care about yeh.” Alfie relaxed back into his seat and it seemed like he got most of what he wanted off of his broad chest.
“Oh please, you’re probably grateful that your only competition is rotting in a jail cell right now!”
Alfie slowly stood in his feet. “Be careful how you speak to me.”
“Or what? You’ll hit me, beat me like one of your men who fell out of line?” Y/N taunted.
The rum and nicotine had put her in a provocative mood and being provocative was better than panicking. Alfie slowly walked around the desk, like a lion stalking its prey. He grabbed Y/N by the shoulders and yanked her out of her seat. She tried hitting him and scratching him, but it was though she was trying to harm a boulder since he didn’t react at all. Alfie kept staring into her dark eyes as he carefully backed her into the wall. Y/N went to hit him again but Alfie grabbed her wrists and pinned them to each side of her head.
“I told you to watch your mouth,” Alfie whispered in that rough Cockney accent.
“Why don’t you watch it for me?”
Alfie closed the little distance between the two of them, pressing his mouth against hers. As Y/N kissed back, she felt the familiar burn of his beard around her mouth and smirked into it. When she tried to lean into him more, Alfie pushed her back against the wall before kissing her more aggressively. She kissed back with just enough passion and soon, Alfie released one of her hands to lock the door without breaking their intense embrace. Y/N took advantage and trailed that hand across his shoulder and Alfie growled as he grabbed her right leg and wrapped it around his hip, pushing them closer together. The heat seemed to have gotten the best of them and soon, Y/N’s hands were clawing at Alfie’s hair while Alfie was holding himself back from ripping off her dress. When he began kissing down her neck, Y/N huffed and smiled at the feeling of his facial hair tickling her neck. With her eyes closed she was able to focus on the feeling and the feeling brought her to a different memory.
It had happened a couple of weeks after Y/N met Michael. It was late and she had come to Birmingham to check on the Blinders spreading hers and Octavian’s product around the area. She ended up running into Michael at the Garrison and they played several hands of poker with Arthur, John, and Isaiah over bourbons. After several drinks and hands, the Brummies realized just how good at cards Y/N was.
“Bloody ‘ell, she took all my money!” Arthur announced angrily.
“’s not my fault that the cards favored me,” Y/N grinned. “I’d like to collect my three hundred pounds now.”
All three of the men muttered curses at her as they gave her their money, but Michael couldn’t help but laugh.
“How did you get so good at poker?” Michael asked.
“Years and years of practice, Shelby.”
“Makes no difference ‘round here, really, but Gray works better with your name.”
Y/N caught the cheeky looks that Isaiah, Arthur, and John shot Michael as they left, but she pretended not to as she shuffled some cards and sipped some more bourbon.
“I can’t believe you and your brother are related, you’re like two different people,” Michael said.
“We only share half of the same genes and it would be so boring being like Octavian. Micromanaging the books, micromanaging the men, and micromanaging me must get old.” Y/N smirked. “But I do envy how much he gets to use his fists.”
“If he’s the smarts and the muscle, what’s your role, if you don’t mind me asking,” Michael said.
Y/N smirked. “Exactly that: I’m charming and people—-especially men—-underestimate me, so they wouldn’t be surprised if I drugged them or they wouldn’t question me if I lured them into getting jumped.”
Michael raised his eyebrows. “Impressive.”
“And what’s your role in Shelby Brothers Limited?”
“I’m a manager.”
“So you don’t get your hands dirty.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Y/N chuckled as she took another swig. “You’re full of surprises, Michael Gray, and I like that.”
After countless drinks, Michael had Y/N pressed against the wall of a secret passageway in the back of the Garrison. They had started out making out passionately before Michael began trailing his mouth down the side of her neck. Y/N had to bite her plump bottom lip to keep herself from moaning. It wasn’t until Michael’s hands began scrunching up the sides of her dress, that she found herself sobering up.
“Michael, stop,” Y/N said. “I’m not that kind of girl.”
Slowly Michael let go of her dress and looked into her eyes. Though they were slightly bloodshot, they seemed serious when he said, “Fine, I’ll wait for you then.”
Y/N blinked and realized that the scratching on her neck was because of Alfie and that she was in Alfie’s office still. She shouldn’t be doing this, not now. She slowly grabbed his hands and pushed him away. He frowned at her.
“What’s the problem?” Alfie asked.
“I can’t do this. I’m only doing this to try to forget about Michael and I can’t. I’m so sorry, Alfie,” Y/N said.
Alfie stepped away from her and it was obvious that he was mad and hurt. “So, you were just going to screw me until he came back?”
“No, I…I can’t do that; I couldn’t do that.” Y/N ran a hand through her hair. “You deserve so much better than this.”
Alfie shook his head. “Save the speech and leave ‘fore your brother thinks we did something we haven’t.”
Y/N moved slowly as she grabbed her hat from the floor and slipped on her coat. She really cared about Alfie, but not in the way he wanted her to. He would find someone else someday, but it wasn’t Y/N. She would’ve told him that if she didn’t think it might break him in some way. So, she quietly slipped out of his office, fixed her hat on her head, fixed her lipstick in the reflection of a picture hanging on the wall, and strolled outside.
“Must’ve been some important discussion,” Octavian said when Nathan, their driver, closed the car door behind Y/N.
“It was extremely eye opening. I’m going to Birmingham tomorrow, Octavian, and you can either join me or stay here.”
Octavian wound up tagging along with Y/N to Birmingham, the prison to be more specific. It was weird for both of them since they knew that it could’ve easily been them holed up in the large, gray building with barely bread and water for food and drink. Plus, the guards would love to break in their new batons on the twins who ran a lucrative drug ring. However, he did make his presence useful by helping Y/N persuade a guard that the Shelbys once had in their pocket to sneak Y/N into the prison. After a promise of an eight ball of coke, Lieutenant Pendleton happily led Y/N into Michael’s cell block.
Most of the prisoners moaned or catcalled when she passed, but Y/N blocked it all out. All she knew was that she was going to see Michael again and it was the only thing that mattered. Surprisingly, she didn’t feel nervous or anxious about talking to Michael, but she felt calm instead. She didn’t feel like shouting it from the rooftops unlike some girls, but telling Michael to his face was close enough.
Finally, they reached Michael’s cell and the guard blocked Y/N’s view as he unlocked it. “You’ve got five minutes.”
“Thank you, Lietutenant.”
“Just make it quick. They’ll rotate in six so I’ve got to get you out of here in a minute.”
Y/N nodded and walked into the large, but sad cell. It was four dark gray walls of nothing. There was nothing to lie on and no sort of bathroom. Off to the far left, Michael was laying down on the cold floor, wearing a white t-shirt and black suit pants. He was still toned but slimmer than the last time Y/N saw him. Part of her wanted to beat the men that had done this to him and the other part just wanted to hold him.
“Michael?” she called.
He didn’t move nor respond.
“Michael, we haven’t got a lot of time,” she said as she walked closer to him before kneeling down behind him. “Michael.”
Y/N slowly reached her hand out to touch him but before she could, Michael slowly sat up and looked at her. He looked upset, pale, and bruised. He narrowed his eyes at her.
“What are you doing here?” Michael asked.
“I heard what Tommy did and I had to see you. Are you all right?”
“Did you talk to Tommy?”
“Briefly. It is much more complicated than you think, but, Octavian and I are helping him get you and the rest of your family out.” Y/N ran her hand through his hair but he flinched. “Someone hurt you.”
“Happens when you’re a Blinder and you get thrown in prison. How are you here anyway?” Michael’s eyes widened and he stood, bringing Y/N up with him. “You’re mad to be here. A guard could see us any second–”
“I bought us some time, Michael. My brother and I have a little pull with the coppers here.” Y/N hesitated at she looked up into his light eyes. “When I was told about you being in prison, I panicked because I thought I would never see you again. You’re the finest drinking buddy a girl could ask for and you have this beautiful way of being polished and put together but also tough and scrappy. You’re corrupted but pure at the same time. You’re so sweet to me and you shouldn’t be. I’m so not worth your time and you never pushed me to do anything more than I wanted.”
“Is that all you have to say?” Michael asked.
“No, I am so sorry for what I put you through with Alfie. I never thought that two men would be interested in me and gangsters nonetheless. For a while, I thought that I was dividing my attention equally between the two of you, but then I realized that it’s wrong not to give someone you love all your attention and that I was giving one of you more attention than the other because I cared about them differently,” Y/N said. “I love you, Michael Gray, and I cannot lose you.”
Michael slowly cupped Y/N’s face and stared intently at her. “Do you know how much you drive me mad? Even when I was furious with you, I still thought about you constantly. I wanted to talk to you, but I wouldn’t let myself out of pride.” He kissed her sweetly. “You will never slip through my fingers again.”
“Never,” Y/N whispered before kissing him back.
For once in her life, Y/N was truly happy. In the back of her mind, she knew they only had a few minutes left before Y/N had to leave, but she cherished it. Michael, Polly, Arthur, Finn, John, and Ada would be out of prison if it was the last thing she did.
(CPASS) Counting Petals and Stabbing Skin | Chapter One
Summary: Pastel Dan and his punk boyfriend, Phil, have
been in a long distance relationship for the past nine months. All that changes
when Phil’s parents move across town and Phil ends up in the same school as
Dan. How will Dan and Phil cope with finally being able to see each other
everyday and be a “proper” couple? Genre/Tags: PastelxPunk (Pastel!Dan and Punk!Phil), High
School AU, the things involved in high school and life drama, fluff, and some
angst. Beta: @legendarygalaxydragon (I’m also the beta of one of
her chaptered fics, “Here’s to the Zeros”. I definitely recommend reading that
fic and her other fics!) Words: 2.6K
Max Lamb and Gemma Holt’s live-work space in a former shoe factory in North East London. A view looking into the main living area from the kitchen. The door to the workshop is on the right. Photo by Leslie Williamson
This is a secret wlw chain message. Don't make this anon public but share with wlw you trust. Gillian took a young woman to Costa Rica it must be serious because she went there with Piper and her boys. They are right now at this lavish country side resort between London and Brighton it's crazy expensive like 50£ a night. Gillian is paying this woman's rent in North East London. The woman is a voice actress working extra shift at a children's theme park=poor af. She cute, really cute!
Max Lamb and Gemma Holt’s live-work space in a former shoe factory in North East London. Max’s Poly Cabinet sits next to Poul Kjaerholm’s wicker PK22 in the bedroom. The blanket on the bed is woven by Travis Meinolf. Photo by Leslie Williamson
Pale bricks are arranged in a herringbone pattern on the outer walls of this home in north-east London that architect Zoe Chan designed and built for herself. The Atelier ChanChan principal wanted the house to relate to the Victorian terraces that characterise London’s housing stock but to also have its own character, so she chose a steel frame infilled with a non-load-bearing herringbone brickwork, instead of the typical English and Flemish brick bonds. Photo: Mike Tsang.
Max Lamb and Gemma Holt’s live-work space in a former shoe factory in North East London. An extra chair from a past commission for 18 Scrap Poly Chairs and a 5 meter dining table. “I made 19 chairs, just in case one went wrong, all totally different. None of them did so this is chair No. 19.” Photo by Leslie Williamson
Even for this world, it had been a rather odd affair. All that hoopla simply to board a train? Was there really any real need for such a thing? Wil just shook his head, returning to his book on these N.E.W.T levels. To him, this British system seemed so overly complicated and in desperate need of modernisation- apparently this Hogwarts didn’t even have electricity! (Ah, the benefits of being a half-blood and knowing both worlds…)
Shaking his head at all of it, he continued to try and prepare himself for what would come next. The silence of being alone in this compartment helped. A lot really. His parents had uprooted from the north east of France for London and insisted on a (unwanted on his part) transfer from the rather lovely Beauxbatons. Truth be told even though he did speak English incredibly well, he didn’t particularly like the British. And he liked Hogwarts less.
Of course, this was all because of his visit in 1995 when his family were considering a move. This was, of course, the year that a Mr. Cedric Diggory was killed in the Tri-Wizard tornament. That of course had lead to the Second Wizarding War…
But it was 2000 now. Two years ago since all that nastiness had passed. The move was to help in the rebuilding. His parents were doing some good in the world he supposed.
And so he continued reading about what to expect for this year at this new school.
London Transport . 1967 Tube Stock . 3102 . Northumberland Park . Sunday 13th-March-1980 . by AndrewHA’s Via Flickr: The only place where you can photograph trains on the Victoria Line of the London Underground system , in the Open-Air is where they come to the surface just prior to their Depot at Northumberland Park , North East London .
A 1967 Tube Stock train led by Car number 3102 , heads out of the Depot to take up service . It will join the Victoria Line just east of Seven Sisters Station .
Northumberland Park .
Sunday 13th-March-1980 .