Summary: (Roadtrip!Au) In which you and the one person you hate get stuck together while venturing across the country in search of change.
Pairing: Bucky x Reader
Warnings: swearing, angst!
A/N: 1. Every chapter has a different P.O.V., switching from the reader to Bucky and back 2. i’ve got 8 parts planned out, but I’m still not sure 3. @jurassicbarnes is the love of my life and this would not have even started it if weren’t for her. Thank you for letting me throw my ideas at you, M. I adore you with all my heart. 4. @aya-fay is genuinely one of the nicest people I know. Thank you so much for helping me with this. I am eternally grateful.
“I can’t take this anymore,” you murmured, eyes glazed over with tears. Your head was throbbing and your fingers shook slightly as you tried to apply pressure to the area, begging for the pain to subside.
“What? What do you mean?” He sounded surprised. “I thought you liked it?”
“It’s just- I- I need a break.” You took a deep, wavering breath, trying to calm yourself down before whispering, “I don’t think I’ll be back.”
“Hey, let’s- let’s just talk about this, okay? Why don’t you come back here, take a breather, and we’ll see what we can do. Just don’t make any harsh decisions.” You bit your lip at his words, mulling it over, the ill-lit room behind you seeming to grow darker.
“Fine, but give me three weeks.” You bit your lip when you heard him about to persist. Please don’t start now. I can’t do this right now.
“Please.” You looked at the papers strewn over your desk, dimly illuminated with the table lamp you had purchased when you first arrived there, one of the only furniture adorning your apartment. “Only three weeks.”
You heard him sigh, probably evaluating his choices. You forced your eyes away from the pile of files, knowing that if you allowed yourself to gaze at them for longer, you’d probably return back to tearing yourself apart over it.
“Fine. Three weeks.”
The snacks you purchased were slightly moving around in their covers, not loud enough to overpower the radio playing moderately loud.
Your grip tightened on the steering as you tried to empty your mind of all the thoughts that were beginning to surface again.
What would happen now? What are you going to do? Would you go back if he convinced you to?
“Stop it. This is your time,” you scolded yourself, pushing a stray piece of your hair away from your face, blowing out a breath you didn’t know you were holding.
The sky had changed drastically since you started. The bright, effulgent colours of the evening had washed away by the darkness that now consumed the sky and you couldn’t help but think of how it related to you.
Your first destination was nearly a few hours away, and it was already night time, yet you drove on, because you couldn’t turn around. Not now, not when-
“Shit!” you nearly yelled, body acting with pure instinct as your foot lifted off the accelerator while the other pressed on the brakes harshly, hands yanking the steering wheel away from the body, dark as the night, only seen by your headlights as it seemed to jump right in front of your path.
Also called: The Marcel Smut (maybe part 1/? let me know) Prompt: Harry, pitifully called Marcel as a sour joke, is a nice, young, straight-A student, with a bully and what he thinks is an unattainable crush on his bully’s ex, whom he thinks too much about, in the worst possible moments.
(FROM THE IDEA THAT THESE GIFS LOOK LIKE A DISHEVELED MARCEL HAVING A WANK.)
In which Harry Marcel Styles is having a hard day. Quite literally.
For Harry, getting up was the easy part of the day. He’d open his green eyes and analyse his blurry surroundings. It wasn’t after he slid on his glasses that he could tell apart the blobs of color. His small cactus on the edge of his desk, the guitar resting on the corner, the stack of papers next to his bed, and his meds on the bedside table as well. Flipping over on the bed he’d groan and stretch, and then proceed to scratch any itch. The typical, don’t act like you don’t do it too. The first thought that came to his mind was the one that determined pretty much the rest of his day.
Was it raining outside? Meant he’d have to carry his shitty umbrella, the one he still owns because he’s had no time to replace with all the club meetings and exams from the previous semester. Maybe this year he can get a new one.
Or maybe it was sunny. He would mentally prepare himself for the heat he’d feel due to the mandatory vest he had to wear for his part-time job.
Underneath all the texts, all the sacred psalms and canticles, these watery varieties of sounds and silences, terrifying, mysterious, whirling and sometimes gestating and gentle must somehow be felt in the pulse, ebb, and flow of the music that sings in me. My new song must float like a feather on the breath of God.
Hi Cassie. This is about Lady Midnight, not Lord of Shadows, so I may be a little late but anyway. People who hate Kieran are constantly bringing up the fact that he tried to convince Mark that he being with his family again wasn’t real in that note he sent him and I really can’t understand why he did it? What was the true purpose of that note? Can you please tell me? I love Kieran, and I don’t like when people are unfair with him. Thank you.
That’s interesting – I have to admit it never really occurred to me people would be confused by what that note meant/was about. The below contains spoilers but not major ones, so skip if you are avoiding even mild spoilers.
First I should say it’s fine to dislike a character. There is no character I have written or read about that someone hasn’t disliked for some reason. If that character is in a love triangle, multiply that by 100,000,0000000. (That may not be a real number but you get the point.) I’ve been thinking a lot about liking and disliking characters and the act of reading with empathy, which I will get to more at the end of this essay. Right now I’m just going to talk about what that note meant, and the way in which Kieran is a complicated sort of character generally.
We read for lots of reasons. To see our own experience reflected (a “mirror” reading experience) and also to see experiences that are not ours. (A “window” experience.) One of the interesting things about seeing the judgements of Kieran is the expectation that he is meant to act like a mundane human being (one who has dutifully read not just many relationship-help tomes but also all the Shadowhunter books – thanks, Kieran! – and is well acquainted with the Blackthorns despite never having met them). At very least, he is expected to act like a Shadowhunter, and not at all like a Faerie – despite the fact that a Faerie is what he is, and as a Faerie, he is not like us. He does not have typical human cultural beliefs about love (in good and bad ways), or commitment — he doesn’t mind at all whether Mark has sex with other people — or what promises mean, or what is personal space (a ridiculous idea to a Faerie.)
Mostly what I’ve seen complaint-wise about Kieran is that he is manipulative, which is true only to the extent that he has grown up in Faerie, where everyone is manipulative. Because they cannot lie, they have created a complex society of misdirection and manipulation and Kieran, growing up as Prince, would have been raised in the heart of that. He would know no other way to behave, and indeed has only been learning, slowly, different human patterns of behavior. He is actually really terrible at being manipulative — not a patch on Julian, for instance — and mostly he is neither good at it nor does it that often. But we can certainly look at what he has done.
So, on to the note and the vague six words it contains. (I don’t really understand what “he tried to convince Mark that he being with his family again wasn’t real” means, because Mark was obviously with his family and not, say, on a balloon tour of Cappadocia. I don’t think even the Seelie Queen would have tried to convince him otherwise, because that is not manipulation, that is waving your arms around yelling “Mark! They’re dosing you with PCP! That’s not really Ty! It’s a huge bunny!“ which is not going to work and nobody would reasonably think it would.) So I’m just going to gather that some sinister goal is being implied here and talk about why Kieran did send the note.
Remember that none of this is real. Why did Kieran say that? Because he was worried about Mark and thought it was the truth. Not for another reason. I gather there is an assumption that the phrase "remember that none of this is real” is somehow about Mark’s family, but it wasn’t. If Kieran had wanted to say “don’t trust your family” or whatever, he would have said that. The note was about the entire world of the Nephilim. Nor was it anything Kieran didn’t entirely think was true.
Nor was he entirely wrong.
Kieran was cast out of the King’s court because he was well-liked and the King saw him as a threat. He spent his years in the Wild Hunt with Mark watching as Mark’s heart broke every single night when he counted out his family’s names on the stars. He felt Mark’s agony when Mark saw Simon, and thought Simon had come to bring him back to the Nephilim, only to find out the Shadowhunters had abandoned him like garbage. Experiencing the agony of someone you love is worse than experiencing your own. After living through the horror of Mark’s despair and crushing loss, is it particularly surprising that Kieran might be wary of Mark getting attached to his family again only to be ripped away from them again – which is in fact what pretty much everyone in Lady Midnight thought was going to happen? Like, nobody thought this majorly fuckerated offer from the Fair Folk was likely to have a good outcome? Julian was terrified what it meant for the kids and thought it might be better if Mark had never come back? Kieran is unlikely to have a more positive view of the kindliness and honestly of the Clave (or the Courts of Fae) than Julian does.
Here is what Kieran knows to be fact:
Shadowhunters hate Faeries.
Mark was abandoned by his people. The Nephilim, certainly, his family, perhaps. Kieran knows they never tried to get in touch with Mark, and he is unaware of the Blackthorns’ complicated circumstances, that they were forbidden to look for Mark, and that they needed to protect Helen. There is no way he would know about those things, unless he had read the books. (Read the books, Kieran!).
He knows the Shadowhunters have enacted the Cold Peace, a series of racist laws punishing Faeries. He knows Mark will be in danger from this.
He has no reason not to think that when Mark is returned to the world of the Nephilim, using his family as bait, they won’t chop his damn head off.
That is what Kieran is urging Mark not to think is real. Nephilim promises. The idea that he will be safe outside Faerie in the Shadowhunter world. And Kieran is not exactly wrong either. We are all glad that Mark is back with his family….and if the Cohort gets into power they might chop his damn head off. Maybe he would have been better off back in the Wild Hunt.
Kieran can’t lie – and he can’t lie in writing either. He said what he said in his note because he was frightened for Mark, and he wanted him to stay safe. In no way did he mean “Your family doesn’t love you,” because if he thought that, he would actually have said it at some point, ever, rather than being incredibly vague in a note that, since he has never said anything remotely like “Your family doesn’t love you” to Mark, Mark would find incomprehensible. Mark understands the note perfectly, because the idea that Nephilim as a group are not trustworthy is not new to him nor is it a huge surprise Kieran would feel that way. (There’s also a lot of numinous stuff to get into about what real and unreal means to faeries, in a magical sense, but there’s no room here, alas.) Kieran has lots of opportunities to say bad things to Mark about his family if he wanted to, but IIRC he never does.
Misguided is not the same as manipulative. To be manipulative means that you’re playing on someone else’s hopes or fears to achieve selfish ends without regard for their well-being. But the idea that Kieran is a cold-hearted bastard who didn’t mean a word of the note (despite not being actually able to lie) and is a consummate actor doesn’t really jibe with anything we actually know or observe about Kieran. Far from having Julian’s ability to play others like guitar strings, mostly Kieran blurts out what he means when he means it and never even tries to pretend otherwise. He can be petulant as hell and annoying, showing up to see Mark when he’s not supposed to and sulking about whether Mark likes someone else. He can be manipulative in the way he sometimes kisses Mark when Mark is trying to be logical because he’s insecure and he trusts Mark’s desire for him even when he can’t convince himself Mark really loves him (but this doesn’t really work, which is what I mean by Kieran not being great at manipulation). He very foolishly interferes with Mark’s dream in Lord of Shadows because he wants to talk and he thinks giving Mark a dream in which they’re having a friendly conversation means he’ll find out what Mark’s hiding. (Which is another example of him not really understanding human issues. All he wants out of the dream is a talk — “Because you are not truthful with me. Your heart is closed and shrouded. I cannot see it,” Kieran said. “I thought, in dreams, perhaps …” — and the dream starts out with them sitting and talking while one bandages the other, and Kieran manages to get in the idea that he knows Mark is lying to him. Things take a sexy turn, but not because of Kieran. He can’t control Mark’s dreams in every detail: if he could, there would be literally zero point in a dream in which he’s hoping Mark will volunteer to tell him the truth. Mark has to have free will in the dream or there’s no point in what Kieran straight-up says the dream is for, and again, Kieran cannot baldfacedly lie. And Kieran is right — Mark is lying to him, in fact the whole family is gaslighting him, which is why it pains Mark when Kieran recalls the phrase “remember that none of this is real.” Because none of it, in this case, IS REAL. Kieran is being lied to by EVERYONE. However, Mark is still right that Kieran shouldn’t be poking at his dreams — and he shouldn’t. Kieran, as a faerie, doesn’t really get that: dreams aren’t private to him, and besides, Mark has allowed Kieran into his dreams before, so Kieran assumes it’ll be okay now, because Mark said it was all right previously. But this is where Kieran needs to learn not to make assumptions, and to value Mark’s privacy even if he doesn’t really get it. Does he? He seems to: he listens to what Mark says, and he never touches his dreams again. In fact, they actually have a pretty useful, healthy conversation about it, though we have to wait until QoAD to see how any breakthroughs they make in LoS play out.)
So yes, Kieran can make spectacularly bad decisions, with the worst of them being when he thought getting Mark hauled back to the Wild Hunt for an infraction was a good idea and wouldn’t result in any collateral damage. And Kieran deserves to be blamed and to feel guilty for that, nor do I mean to excuse him – and I have no interest in doing that; that wrong that he did is a building block of his flawed character. As I saw someone say on twitter the other day, which probably means you’ve all seen it many times, characters are not all either angelic cinnamon rolls or problematic monsters. Like people, because they are intended to reflect people, they exist on a continuum of behavior: some fail and learn, some fail and never learn, some have good intentions and some bad, some grow and change, some are changed by grief or shock or maturity, some cannot grow and are tragic figures. Committing a manipulative act doesn’t damn you forever unless you keep committing manipulative acts forever. If people (and characters) were rendered garbage by past mistakes, there would be no need for therapy or books, since both are about how people learn to change.
As Kieran says: “Everyone is more than one thing. We are more than the single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.” That was in Lady Midnight, and it’s possible he was thinking about the fact that he never tells Mark in that book that the reason he wanted Mark brought back to the Wild Hunt so badly – the reason he turned Mark in, hoping he’d be dragged away from the world of Nephilim – was not so that he could date Mark, but because he had been told Mark was going to be murdered. That Mark’s head was going to be chopped off NOW. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it makes it a lot less manipulative in two ways: he actually wasn’t acting for a selfish end, but to protect Mark from death, and he never tells Mark that in LM, letting Mark blame him. He lets Mark break up with him and walk away from him with only quiet resignation as a reply. He does nothing to try to make him stay and attempts no manipulation at all, nor is he manipulative when he shows up to help save Tavvy – he offers help, gives it, and expects nothing in return. Only when Kieran is in shock over having been lied to, and his sudden recollection of his own mistakes, does he tell Mark that he was in fear for Mark’s life – which makes a big difference to Mark, who is able to recognize what that means about why Kieran did what he did.
[Kieran said] “Iarlath had hinted you would not be safe in the Shadowhunters’ world. That they were planning to lure you back, only to execute you on some trumped-up charge. I was a fool to believe him. I know it now.”
“Oh,” said Mark. The knowledge unfolded in him, realization edged with relief. “You thought you were saving my life.”
Kieran nodded. “It makes no difference, though. What I did was wrong.”
(Emphasis mine.) Kieran is flawed, he screws up. He is also capable of acts of great nobility – his willingness to testify to protect the Blackthorns at the end of LOS being one of them. Kieran spends LOS being lied to and manipulated by everyone around him while his memory is gone. He is trapped in the Institute, a place so full of anti-Faerie magic that it makes him so sick he can barely eat. He suspects Mark is jerking him around in some way, he turns out to be right, and he’s still willing to testify in the Blackthorns’ defense. He is also able to see when he is/was wrong, and acknowledge it. None of this makes him a perfect person, but it certainly complicates him away from the oversimplified reading that he’s a manipulative horrorshow and that’s the end of the story — especially when a huge chunk of the story has yet to be told.
My suspicion, since there are plenty of other flawed characters in these books stumbling along messing up, is that Kieran’s true crime is being part of a love triangle. Having been through this before I remember well the long essays about how Will was a horrible person and the Wessa relationship was toxic and Jem was a horrible person and that relationship was toxic because dying people should know not to bother other people with their feelings (seriously). That is how people talk about love triangles these days; it seems to be a contest about which relationship is perceived as healthiest, which people are the best and most deserving people of the prize (Tessa, or in this case, Mark). There are a couple problems with that: one that is an unhealthy relationship can become healthy. (It obviously depends on the relationship, some absolutely cannot and should not be fixed, but there would be little need for marriage counselors if relationships could not be made healthier.) The second is that if you want to hate a character, you can convince yourself they are evil even if they spend a whole book saving bunnies, nuns, and salmon who can’t find the salmon cannon, so the arguments do get a bit circular after a while. Certainly I have come across plenty of essays about how Cristina is terrible and should go away because Kieran doesn’t like her (he does like her) and Mark doesn’t want her (not true) and she isn’t so great (I think she is so great and so do they.)
So I will say three things:
1) Kieran is not what is keeping Mark and Cristina apart, any more than Cristina is what is keeping Mark and Kieran apart. Kieran and Mark have a relationship that needs to be worked on to be healthy, and Cristina and Mark have to get to know each other better outside the magic of the binding spell. These things would be true regardless.
2) I know that this essay will garner plenty of people announcing that this means I ship Mark and Kieran or am in love with Kieran, and I know this because this happens whenever I post anything about them, or a piece of fanart of them, even if I post a piece of fanart of Cristina and Mark shortly after. I can only say what I have said for ten years, which is that I don’t ship my own characters or “love” them in the way a fan loves a character — all the characters are pieces of myself in some way or other so that’d feel very odd. I know there may be other authors who feel differently, but I can’t “ship” a couple when I’m primarily interested in their relationships in terms of theme, craft and writing the best story I can — I need the distance of being a reader, not a writer, to “ship” something. (I would also note that male authors rarely ever have people talk about how they’re in love with their characters or they write about them because it’s a “fetish” or “they get off on it”: only women get that narrative, but that’s another post.)
3) I remember reading online that writers should write with “savage empathy.” I’ve always thought that was great advice, as it reminds us to always stay in sympathy with characters and write from a place of their humanity, in all the vastness of humanity’s capability for complexity: for the same person to be capable of immense selfishness and immense nobility, or deep gentleness and great cruelty. It reminds us that we strive to reflect what is human rather than what is either entirely perfect or entirely evil. I feel like it’s also been good advice for me as a reader. It reminds me to look at things from the characters’ point of view, to not expect them to know what I know,* to remember the circumstances of their lives and the ways in which they may behave differently than I would because of the way they were raised/what their culture prioritizes. It has helped me be less judgmental of characters and while I don’t think it’s made me unaware of the problematic, I think it’s made me a happier reader. Even when I don’t forgive, I can understand, and that reminder of the eternal complexity of the human soul, and its capability for change and redemption, has enriched my reading life. It’s wonderful to realize that you can enjoy reading even more than you did before, and I can only hope for the same for all my readers.
*This is why it is pointless to be angry at the Superhero’s girlfriend when he is off saving the city, and you know he is off saving the city but she doesn’t, so she’s just angry he didn’t make it to little Marcia’s bat mitzvah.
Surprisingly, it has been very easy to avoid Eric. Eric
hasn’t been around at all. ‘Okay, calm down Maeve. It’s been like a day, you
sound like a needy girlfriend.’
We had today off from initiation, so I’ve been
wandering around all day. Visited Puppy already, spent most of my time there
today. Decided to put something on my legs this time. These beautiful trees,
starting at my ankles and running up my legs. The highest tree reaching my mid-thigh.
Bored, I wandered by the clubs of Dauntless to see if I
could swipe a drink without anyone noticing. Initiates aren’t allowed alcohol,
didn’t stop most of them. I spotted a few of them grinding on each other and
taking shot after shot.
Target sited, this drunk fool is barely conscious. I
could easily steal his drink. Smirking to myself, I maneuver my way around the
sweaty crowd of people, closing in on my prey.
The drunk was too preoccupied with his shoes to notice
my hand reaching for his mug. I was too preoccupied with my mission that I didn’t
notice the man next to me grabbing my wrist harshly.
Petrified, I had been caught, but not by just anyone.
Eric, of course, it couldn’t be anyone else? If you were to get caught breaking
a rule, Eric is the last one you’d want to be caught by.
Eric yanked me closer to him. Putting my free hand out
to stop myself from colliding with his chest. Being this close to him, I can
smell the alcohol in his breath.
“I need to speak with you Pinky.” Eric slurred out,
almost stumbling over.
“What about?” It can’t be, he can’t know about it.
Then again, it is Eric, wouldn’t be surprised if he knew; he’s probably got
connections. ‘Don’t be ridiculous; if he knew then I’d be dead.’
“Drinking is forbidden for initiates” Eric drags me
out of the club, he’s pulling hard; this is going to bruise. Jerk!
“Eric, let go of me.” I pull back from him. Ignoring
my words, he tightens his grip and continues dragging me through the halls. “Eric!
Stop!” I dig my heels in the ground. Turning, Eric grabs my shoulder and shoves
me against the nearest wall.
“You played me d*mnit. You really did.”
“What are you on about?”
“Cut the act Maeve. I saw you with Four the other day.
You’re sleeping with him, aren’t you?”
“What the h*ll Eric! How dare you? How. Dare. You! It is none of your business
who I hang out with, we aren’t dating.”
“You’re right, we aren’t dating. Which means you’re
free to wh*re around with whoever you wa—” he didn’t get to finish that
sentence, because my forehead met his nose.
Spinning on my heels, I calmly speed walk away and go
Waking from a deep slumber, I couldn’t tell if last
night was a dream. After walking into the sim testing room and seeing Eric with
a nice puffy nose confirmed that last night wasn’t a dream.
Avoiding eye-contact, I sat myself down on the testing
“Let’s do this sh*t.”
“H*ll yeah” Four responds.
I’m standing in the dormitories, alone and covered in…mud?
Shower? I guess? I’m the only one in here so might as well.
Walking into the bathroom, I strip down and turn the
shower on. Lathering myself in soap, and scrubbing the mud away. Soaping up my
hair, I close my eyes and enjoy the sensational head massage that I give
myself; I deserve this!
My momentary bliss comes to an end when a hand makes
its way around my mouth, and the other across my bare chest.
Twisting and writhing around, trying to get away, the
hand on my mouth goes to my throat and squeezes down on my windpipe.
As the air begins to escape my lunges, my attacker
breaths in my ear.
“Feisty, aren’t we prinscesa?” his disgusting voice
echoes inside my head.
He begins dragging me out of the shower. Not giving
up, I bend my legs and bring them up to my chest. Thrusting them down with all
my strength, sending the attacker toppling over me with a loud groan.
Making a run for it, I almost escape the dormitories
until I’m tackled to the ground.
He flipped me over and straddled my legs, using one
hand to grab my wrists, and starts undoing his belt with his free hand.
No, no, no! This can’t be happening, fight back Maeve!
I can’t though, I can feel my weakness.
I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…
Where am I? What the h*ll is going on? I don’t know
where I am. My vision is blurry and the room is spinning.
A loud ringing is blaring through my ears; it’s me, my
voice, I’m screaming.
Two figures loom over me, shaking me. I recognize one
of them, he was in one of my nightmares.
Pulling my arm from his grasp, shrieking at the man. I
writhe around trying to free myself.
They repeat my name over and over. When the tall one
turns slightly to grab a tranq needle, I use this opportunity the kick the ‘nightmare;
in his hip, wrench one of my arms free and start punching my way out.
Somehow able to slip around them with my tiny frame, I
run out the door as fast as my feet can carry me. The next room was full of
scared people like me.
The ‘nightmare’ was yelling my name and coming after
me. I must be faster than him, can’t let him get to me. Bad things will happen
if he gets me.
Running through the halls, I try to lose him. Making
it across The Chasm, I look behind me to see if I lost him. My body collides
with another body.
Hitting the person with such force causes me to
stumble backwards. The person who I ran into reached a hand out to stabilize me,
but water that dripped from the condensation on the ceiling caused me to slip.
I’m falling, my head connects with a hard metal
object, but then…I keep falling…
Eric came to get us and lead us to a train which immediately
started moving. Turning my head, I saw Four pulling Tris into the train car;
she almost missed it and probably would have been kicked out of Dauntless if
Christina and Will greeted her wondering what she was doing.
“I just figured that I had to make it.”
“Who let you out?” Eric butted in.
“I did” Tris responded blankly.
“You did?” he was pissed, Eric turned his head to me,
shrugging my shoulders, ‘girls got guts, let her stay’. An awkward silence fell
upon everyone nearby before Eric let out a ‘okay’, walking away.
After a couple of more awkward minutes, Four speaks up,
dropping some duffel bags onto the floor.
“The game’s simple. It’s like Capture the Flag.”
Eric opened one of the bags, pulling out a weird shaped gun,
“Weapon of choice.”
“You call that a gun?” Molly scoffed. Loading the weapon up,
Eric pulled the trigger, hitting her leg. Molly groaned in pain, falling
backwards and onto the ground.
“Nero-stim dart.” Eric pulled it out of her leg. “Simulates
the pain of a real gunshot wound. Only lasts a couple of minutes. Two teams Four
and I are captains.”
“You pick first.” Four offered.
“I’ll take the Stiff.”
“Oh, picking the weak ones so you got someone to blame when
“Something like that.”
Eric picked Peter next, and Four shocked both Eric and I
when he picked me. They finished picking members and we jumped off the train in
“Where did Eric’s team go?” Christina asked.
“They must have gone to the end.” Will responded.
Pulling out our bright orange flag, Four told us to turn out
lights off. We started discussing strategies. I don’t really care what we do, I
just want to be up high! Being from Amity, I was practically born in the trees.
Four and Tris located Eric’s teams flag from the top of the
Farris Wheel. Discussing our positions, we made a break for it. Instantly, I clamber
up a tree, leaping from branch to branch, eyeing my team mates from the ground.
Noticing a group of Eric’s teams trying to locate our flag, I
begin to stalk from above, taking them out one-by-one.
Climbing my way back to see how my team was doing, I see
they were pretty even, firing back and forth. Getting in a good position, I located
the group that were going in on the side to retrieve the flag. I was their sky
assist, hitting targets that were a long distance away.
A rustling on the ground appeared close by. Looking closely,
I could recognize that it was Eric. As quietly as I could, I followed him,
climbing lower to the ground.
I was so close to being able to shoot him when the branch
snapped, sending me tumbling down. I forgot I gained some weight with these new
muscles of mine.
I dodged out of the way of his stim dart, hiding in a bush,
crawling around so he didn’t see where I was.
“Come out, come out, whoever you are!” he sang.
Jumping up from my current hiding spot, I shout “Hey”,
getting Eric’s attention. Hitting him in the chest with a stim-dart, he groans
in pain, ripping the dart from his chest. Grabbing the nearest tree, I hoisted
myself up only to be pulled down and shoved against the tree.
“You’re going to pay for that Maeve.” He growled through
“You pinky promise?” smirking playfully.
“Doing that thing with your face when you’re all giddy. It’s
making me nauseous.”
“My face makes you nauseous?” I fake gasp, sounding slightly
“Yes, when you smirk like that? It makes my stomach feel
I had to laugh a little, I didn’t know what else to do.
We heard cheering and whooping in the distance. Eric lets me
go, knowing a team won. Running back to where everyone was, I see Nat holding
Eric’s teams flag on top of the tower.
“Yes, Nat! Way to go gurl!” I yell, running to her. Making
my way up to her, I started singing loudly.
“We Are The Champions, My Friend!”
“And we’ll keep on fighting, Til the end!” Nat joins in on
my rendition of Queen.
“We are the Champions. We Are The Champions!” we yelled at
the top of the tower; our other teammates joining in now.
“No time for losers!” Making an ‘L’ shape on my forehead,
directing it to Eric specifically. I might be crazy, but I swear I think I saw
Eric smiling again.
“Cause we are the Champions…OF THE WORLD!!” we yell hooting
and hollering, all the way back to the compound.
Politely declining an invite to a party I make my way back
to the dormitories; climbing trees is tiring. I just wanna sleep!
About to head into the dormitories, Eric’s voice stopped me.
“That was quite something back there.” He laughed.
“Which part? My amazing sniper skills? Me shooting you? Or
my lovely rendition of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’?” I giggle putting an ‘L’
on my forehead; mouthing the words.
A smile on his face, and laughing in amusement, he grabbed
both of my hands.
“I kind of just liked you in general.”
“What?” I asked, when his lips met mine. It was a soft kiss.
Kissing back, I enjoyed the h*ck out of it.
Pulling away, he rested his forehead against mine.
“Goodnight Pinky” he whispered, planting a kiss on my
forehead and sauntering away.
I went to bed that night
confused as h*ll but smiling like a madman.
As soon as the dialogue between two people touches on something fundamental, essential, numinous, and a certain rapport is felt, it gives rise to a phenomenon which Lévy-Bruhl fittingly called participation mystique. It is an unconscious identity in which two individual psychic spheres interpenetrate to such a degree that it is impossible to say what belongs to whom.
GREAT NEWS EVERYONE! As you may have seen me announce on Twitter, I’ve finished all the card illustrations for the Numinous Tarot! TIME TO PARTY!
Actually, it’s time for me to take a little break. Three and a half years is a long time to work on a project! I’m going to take a week off and then get right to work on the guidebook that goes along with the deck. I’ll still be posting the remaining cards (Nines, Tens) over the next few weeks though so don’t go away!
I am still aiming to have the Kickstarter for the deck in July. Cross your fingers all goes well and that happens! I’ll be making a mailing list soon you can sign up for to get notified when the Kickstarter goes live.
Thank you all so much for your support! I can’t wait to get this deck in your hands!
nicolejaylen said:Hi Cassie! I was wondering about the Parabatai curse. Julian and Emma have clearly been in love with each other for years, regardless of those feelings being acknowledged out loud. So why is the curse such a concern now? What is the timeline for the Parabatai destruction? As always, thank you for creating such an amazing world!
The curse is a concern now because they’ve discovered it, and its power is growing. There isn’t a set timeline for destruction, at least not that anyone knows. Had they not discovered it, they wouldn’t be concerned, but they would still be in danger.
We don’t know exactly how long the curse has been affecting Emma and Julian. It was only during Lady Midnight that we started seeing symptoms of the curse, because we didn’t see them before the events of the book. We know nothing huge/noticeable really happened before LM, which suggests that if the curse was affecting them before, it was doing it so slowly and gradually as to go unnoticed.
The fact that Emma and Julian have acknowledged their feelings and spent a bunch of time thinking and talking about those feelings does seem to be intensifying the symptoms of the curse — and we get a sense of the fact that this matters when they actually use that power to do magic, because it’s activated by them thinking about each other/their feelings. By that logic, it seems likely that a parabatai pair who were in love but were not consciously aware of their feelings for each other would see a slower progression of the curse.
If what you want to know is why would that be, well — how do people fall in love? When do they realize they’re in love? Are they in love before they know it, and it it a different kind of feeling? If you don’t know the other person loves you, is it reciprocal love or not? Does knowing you’re loved back matter to whether love is “requited” as Jem described? Were Jules and Emma already “in requited love” before they admitted it to themselves, or is the moment they became aware of their feelings the moment that happened? At this point we’ve entered a “when a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” area of philosophy. :) Love is numinous, and these are questions about human life that books can’t answer: they can only raise them and play around with them in the hopes of making readers think about them in a new way.