pre and post war

Things Fallout 4 Did Right

So, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been ragging on the game a little bit too much as of late, so I thought i’d make a little list of things that I thoroughly enjoyed from FO4.

  • The aesthetic of the game- As everybody knows, the Fallouts are notorious for favoring a single color palette. I think FO4 did a nice job of making the colors more realistic without favoring a specific point of color. Also, the whole aesthetic of: stuck in the 50′s but they’re very technologically advanced. While it’s been present in all the games, I think FO4 did a nice job making it more cohesive, and prominent in both pre-war and post-war society
  • The new looting interface- Love it. Can’t stand going back to games now where I have to open every single thing to see what’s inside. A quick look and grab and I’m on my way. 
  • Enemy classes- Something unique to this game, I think it adds a level of understanding to gameplay. If you’re up against a Glowing Mirelurk, it’ll take a little bit longer to defeat than a Softshell. I really like this implementation, and hope they keep it in future games
  • A key specifically for throwables- Pretty much says it all.
  • New VATS- People have complained about the new VATS, but I much prefer it. I think it makes more sense for it to slow down time rather than stop it. I also like that you can run VATS for as long as you want, meaning that the enemy can come into a better view while you’re still not actively fighting.
  • Companions and Companion Quests- They did a great job with companions. Instead of doing a single quest, and suddenly this person is your best friend, they gave depth to characters, and allowed the player to be invested in them. While not all the companions are as fleshed out as others (Nick vs. Curie, for example), I still think they did a great job in allowing players to have an investment in who they choose

I think Bethesda did a great job in creating a new interface for the Fallouts in FO4. While the story may not have been the best, or most interesting, they did do a few right things with the game. 

hogwartsandbutterbeer  asked:

Harry and Pansy for the ship thing please! ❤❤

[ canon post-war au; pansy-centric; this really got away from me, tbh ]

  • so
  • maybe pansy never gets her redemption arc. maybe there’s no ministry trial—she’d been at school, she hadn’t had a mark—and maybe there’s no character-building montage of prophet articles, scathing and savage, pointed fingers and humiliating whispers and tear-filled excursions to diagon alley. maybe no one really cares that much about pansy parkinson. maybe no one ever really had.
  • and maybe she’s an orphan now—or as good as, since her dad’s not exactly taking visitors from his cell in azkaban—and worse than that; better than that; maybe she’s anathema. bad luck. maybe all the slytherins are, and there aren’t any bittersweet friday luncheons where they reunite and reminisce and reflect. they’re survivalists, is the thing, and their lives have been dangling by a thread for an uncomfortably long while. there’s always someone watching. afternoon tea at the malfoys’ might seem innocent—but it might not, too. none of them can afford another inquest. another investigation. family only matters if your last name is weasley.
  • regardless.
  • there’s no second chance for pansy parkinson.
  • she has a paltry inheritance from her mother, a boarded-up manor in the wilds of the welsh countryside, and a wand. she auctions off her jewelry, the heirloom ruby brooch and the elizabethan emerald tiara, stares at the layers of dust—of rot—covering the portrait gallery, masking the centuries of wealth, grandeur, history; and she slams the front door with a finality that lifts something heavy off the textbook-perfect line of her shoulders. she hadn’t grown up there. no, that had happened elsewhere, inside the slavering jaws of a battlefield she’d tried too hard to prevent—tried too hard to escape. she wouldn’t be back.
  • but the problem, of course, is that she doesn’t know where to go.
  • she dismisses a quiet life in the country—so much silence—and then considers paris—no, her french is shit—madrid—too hot, too bright—new york—did americans even drink tea?—and ultimately winds up in a third-floor walk-up in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood on the west side of london.
  • it’s depressing, at first.
  • she doesn’t have to live like a muggle, thank god, but she constantly finds herself wondering about the muggles; wondering if they’re squibs, or if they’re wizards, or if they’d once upon a time heard the name voldemort and hadn’t even understood what it meant.
  • she realizes she’s going to drive herself crazy.
  • she gets a job.
  • she has a good eye for fashion, it turns out—a good eye for fabric, and color, and how things might fall and drape and fit around different body types. she’s magic, it turns out. can turn anyone into a chameleon; into whoever they want to be, whoever they need to be, and the irony would be extraordinary if it weren’t so tangibly, ferociously sad.
  • it takes her a few years, but she works her way up at harrods, goes from selling designer jeans to dressing window mannequins to styling couture by appointment only. aristocrats like her accent, her manners, the understated elegance of her pink lipstick and her antique pearl earrings—she’s one of them, even if they’ll never know, and she likes that small hint of secrecy permeating the monotony of her new life. likes how it lets her memories—her regrets—fade gracefully.
  • and then she comes into work on an otherwise normal autumn day, seven years after the end of the war, and she sees a ghost.
  • she sees harry potter.
  • six feet tall and bigger than he’d been before, broader, skin still a creamy sort of brown and eyes still a sparkling sort of green and hair still an uncombed, slightly too-long sort of mess. she’s barely a footnote in the “early life” chapters of his biography. she doubts he’ll even recognize her.
  • “i, um, i need a suit—” he greets her, glancing up from where he’s fiddling with the cuff of his jacket. he does a double-take. freezes. skims his gaze over the shimmering ivory buttons on her blouse, and the neat grey pinstripes on her skirt, and the asymmetrical cut of her hair, dyed a sleek violet-red and brushed pin-straight down to her shoulder blades. “—for a wedding,” he finishes, slowly.
  • she hums. hides her sudden influx of nerves behind a brittle smirk and a perfunctory sniff. “yours?”
  • “no,” he says, a little too sharply.
  • she lifts a brow. files that reaction away for safekeeping. “no need to get testy,” she tells him, smoothing her fingers down the length of her measuring tape. “i’m a personal shopping consultant. it’s my job to get personal.”
  • his cheeks flush red. “haven’t heard much about you since…school,” he remarks with a wince, and she almost snorts.
  • “can’t imagine you’ve been asking much about me since…school,” she replies, motioning for him to hold out his arms. “not that there’s anything to ask about.”
  • he’s quiet for a minute, maybe two, while she scribbles his basic measurements on the back of a tailor’s slip. “malfoy’s marrying hermione,” potter eventually blurts out. “that’s whose wedding it’s for.”
  • at that, pansy does snort. “of course he is.”
  • “you’re not—you don’t find that surprising?”
  • “should i?”
  • potter sputters. “yes.”
  • “it was always going to be either you or her,” pansy says, shrugging. “maybe weasley. draco was obsessed with you. all of you.”
  • potter looks aghast. “i’m not—i don’t—”
  • “and i really don’t care,” she interrupts, as gently as she can.
  • she isn’t lying; she hadn’t realized how thoroughly she’d forgotten her old place in her old world, how little she now thought about the people she used to claim to love. it’s unnerving, actually. she isn’t just a stranger to potter.
  • “what do you…you never go back? to—” he cuts himself off, words coming to a halt on an awkward stumble.
  • “to magic?” she finishes for him, less bothered by the question than she’d thought she might be. “no, not often. i have a flat not too far away from here. my friends are muggles. i’ve got a yorkshire terrier and a closet full of very expensive shoes. i’m fine, potter. magic hasn’t defined me for ages.”
  • he stares at her, undershirt rumpled and glasses askew and socks uneven, the plaid of his boxers so frumpy and threadbare, so calmly, curiously comforting, like everything around him could change, could collapse, and he’d still be wearing them. she thinks he must like it that way. she thinks he must be shopping at a muggle department store for a reason.
  • “what’s its name?” he asks, sounding baffled. his confusion is gratifying. “your, um, terrier.”
  • she pauses. “salazar,” she admits, tartly, and he cracks a smile, posture relaxing into a slouch that’s more familiar than it should be.
  • “you, um, you’re here…often, then? working?” his expression flickers with something, too quick for her to catch, but then he scratches at the back of his neck like he’s nervous, and she supposes that he’s really not that hard to figure out after all.
  • she bites her lip, and offers him a business card. “by appointment only, potter. even for you.”
3

Here’s a youtube playlist of all the songs (except Need To Know), sorry I couldn’t provide you with an 8tracks link but I haven’t figured that website out really! All of the songs are available on Spotify, so if you wanna make a playlist there, feel free! C:

This is my own personal drarry playlist that I thought I could share! It starts out with pretty angsty songs, and in the end there’s a bit more fluff! I divided them all into different parts, as you can see (pre war, during war and post war). I’m referring to the war that happened in canon ofc. This playlist kinda suggests how their relationship could’ve developed if it had been canon.

Tbh I want to explain every song in more detail, why I chose it and my favorite lyrics etc. BUT I WON’T, otherwise this post would be annoyingly lengthy!

I hope you’ll find at least ONE song you like in here! There’s a lot of songs to pick from hahah ;v; Happy birthday (in advance) Harry!! <3

Post-war humans and ghouls are shorter than pre-war humans and ghouls so basically what I’m saying here is that an “average” height sosu, no matter if they’re dmab or dfab, would still very likely be taller than pretty much all the human/ghoul companions and possibly only shorter than Institute humans and non-infiltrator synths

  • eyeball - era 1 gem like ruby and sapphire, can do all your basic gem stuff (shape-shifting etc) but doesn’t want to most of the time

  • army & navy - tail-end of post-war era 1 but pre-era 2, have regular gem abilities but have never seen combat

  • doc - early era 2,  made during a serious mineral drought in gem production, is unable to shapeshift (save for fusion) and has really poor vision without the use of her visor

  • leggy - current era 2 (literally yesterday), made on a newer kindergarten site that’s trying to get ahead of the production period of mineral-deficient rubies, unable to summon a weapon but has developing lavakinesis
stevebucky sleep headcanons

Pre-serum/Pre-war: Steve sleeps curled up on his side, pretty much dead to the world like anyone with an illness would be.

Bucky often spoons up behind him when its cold, but he also sleep talks into the back of Steve’s neck.


WW2: Steve still sleeps curled up on his side like he did when they were kids, as it offers some form of comfort.

Bucky, however, can’t sleep in a bed. He can’t even sleep on his back as it feels far too much like being strapped down on that table with HYDRA.

So instead, he crouches into a ball on the floor (by the door post-rescue), forehead resting on folded arms over his knees, to fall asleep.

The only sleep talking he does now is mumbled and garbled reiterations of his name, rank and serial number.

Steve never asks why he won’t sleep in a bed, and Bucky (not wanting Steve to think he’s as broken as he feels) never offers up an explanation.


Post-WS: Steve is an incredibly light sleeper by now, not getting more than a few hours of sleep at a time.

He suffers with nightmares occasionally, and on the nights that he does, he can’t get back to sleep. Sometimes he cries to himself, sometimes he doesn’t.

On these same nights, Bucky will try to offer some form of comfort, just like when they were younger. But only if it’s a good day/night for him.

On Bucky’s bad days/nights, he suffers from horrific night terrors; often flashbacks and memories resurfacing of his time as The Winter Soldier.

He sleeps on his back, but in the same position as if he was back in cryogenic freeze. He seems dead to the world, just like it had been conditioned in him.

The less fear he shows, the less pain he’ll suffer.

So he doesnt thrash around when he’s had a bad night, it’ll only become apparent that he’s had a bad night by the next morning, when he’s incredibly subdued and seemingly in another world.

Steve tries his hardest to be there for him, as comfort, but he often fears he’s not enough.

Sole Survivor Ask Meme - Send me numbers to answer!
  1. What is their name? Do they go by the same name they did pre-war?
  2. What was their relationship like with their spouse?
  3. What are other people likely to notice about them first?
  4. Are they introverted or extroverted?
  5. Describe their voice
  6. Describe their most fond pre-war memory
  7. Describe their smile
  8. Describe their general appearance, post a screenshot or draw them
  9. What were their hobbies pre-war?
  10. What is their weapon of choice?
  11. Do they get attached to their weapons sentimentally, give them names etc?
  12. What is their sexual orientation?
  13. What kind of situations are they likely to avoid?
  14. Do they have any fears or phobias?
  15. Describe their morality. Is it black & white or are there grey areas?
  16. Which faction/group(s) are they affiliated with, and why?
  17. Which faction/group(s) do they dislike, and why?
  18. Did they find romance in the commonwealth? Who are they with?
  19. What do they love the most about their romantic partner(s)?
  20. Do they suffer from any mental health issues?
  21. Do they partake in anything that could be considered escapism?
  22. Do they have any memories that make them physically cringe with embarrassment?
  23. Describe their butt. You heard me.
  24. What are their insecurities?
  25. What boosts their confidence?
  26. What makes them angry?
  27. Do they cry easily? What’s likely to set off the waterworks?
  28. How do they cheer themselves up, or how would other characters cheer them up?
  29. What do they miss the most about pre-war life?
  30. Who is their bff post-war?
  31. Has the post-war commonwealth changed them physically?
  32. Has the post-war commonwealth changed them mentally?
  33. How do they react to being humiliated, intentionally or otherwise?
  34. Do they/did they dance? Describe their funky moves.
  35. How do they feel about ghouls?
  36. How do they feel about synths?
  37. They’re in a bar fight. Did they start the fight, are they getting beaten on, or are they trying to break it up?
  38. What ’S.P.E.C.I.A.L’ stats do they value/embody?
  39. When the going gets tough, your sole survivor….
  40. Who do they think is indisputably the most important person in Vault 101: He who shelters us from the harshness of the atomic wasteland, and to whom we owe everything we have, including our lives?
Theory:

I think Dragon Cry is going to take place post-avatar arc, pre-Alvarez war arc.

It’s makes Natsu’s heart’s conflict about being a dragon or demon more meaningful.

Natsu has his bandaged arm in all the promo art.

Could explain why Natsu and Lucy never had a big talk about him ditching for a year. Because we get it in the movie.

anonymous asked:

Can we have some Mama's Boy!Percy headcanons? Either Pre-Camp or Post-War. Sally deserves some love for raising him :)

  • he started his candy selling business so Sally could worry about saving up for herself  
  • he made her a card every Father’s Day 
  • he asks her if his outfit is okay before hanging to with Annabeth, “Very handsome.” with a wink 
  • Sally asks Percy how she looks before going out on a date with Paul, “You look beautiful, mom. Really.” 
  • as a kid when he would play outside he would always pick flowers and bring her a bouquet (though sometimes he would pout because there weren’t any blue ones) 
  • they would count fish together until he fell asleep 
  • every drawing he did in school was of him and his mom at the beach 
  • walks down the beach, holding hands and looking for pretty rocks to decorate their sand castles with 
  • running into her room any time there was a thunder storm 
  • he always says “Hey mama” when answering her phone calls 

I wanted to get the next chapter of the girl’s night fic up today (actually, it’s the boy’s night part), but it will not happen. I have not finished. I am very sad. 

I offer you, instead, a teaser for something down the road a bit (post-Ultron, pre-Civil War):


“There you are,” Rebecca called to her husband, stepping out onto the covered veranda off the hotel’s lobby. It was a lovely view. Mountains, trees, the river. Bucolic, peaceful. A surprisingly boring choice for her niece Marcia’s nuptials, but Rebecca supposed that the upscale grandeur of a destination wedding made up for its remote, quietness.

“Here I am,” Paul grumped back. He was leaning against the railing, his hands braced on the wood and his arms locked.

She eyed him for a moment, trying to gauge what had him on edge.

“Are you waiting for Darcy?” she guessed. “She called a while ago. She’ll be here in an hour or so.”

“Sam told me.”

“Okay. So … what’s going on?”

“I’m avoiding your mother and your cousin Erica.”

“Ahh,” Rebecca said, and felt her shoulders slump. It was going to be a long weekend, wasn’t it? “They started already?”

“What is Erica’s deal?” Paul slapped his hands on the rail and did a half push-up, agitated and surly. Then he pitched his voice up in to a mocking falsetto, “‘Oh, this is such a nice place, but gosh it’s expensive. I hope you’re not paying too much to have Darcy come. Marcia should have picked a venue closer to the city, with cheap motels nearby. A destination wedding is lovely, but it can be such a burden to family members who can’t afford it.' 

“I was this close,” he held up his thumb and index finger a hair’s-breadth apart, “to telling her Darcy could buy this place with her pocket change.”

“Well, Marcia got an amazing deal on a group rate,” Rebecca said evenly. Paul shot her a dark, grumpy look. “And I like how Erica managed to judge both Darcy and Marcia at the same time. Double backhand. That’s skill.”

Paul grimaced and looked back out over the river. “Am I being too touchy?”

“Maybe a little, but honestly, years of it gets old,” Rebecca sighed. 

Her mother had never been happy that she refused to tell her who Darcy’s father was. After one particularly ugly fight where her mother called Darcy a bastard child, Rebecca’s grandmother intervened and shut down the subject with a long string of loud, scathing words for Francine. Rebecca had never seen her bubbe that furious. It worked, and the arguments ended, but the judgement didn’t. Francine was never directly unkind to Darcy, but she was distant, cool.

“Yeah, yeah, exactly. Where do they get off judging Darcy?” Paul said, slapping the railing again. “She’s happy, which is more than I can say for Erica or her brood of miserable, petty—”

“Paul.”

“Well, they are,” he said with a petulant grumble. Rebecca rubbed her hand down her husband’s back, trying to sooth him.

“I keep one thought in my head when they do that,” she told him, “and it’s that one day Darcy’s going to come out, and then Erica and my mother will fall over in shock. And if God loves me, I’ll be there to see it.”

Paul bowed his head and chuckled. “That might be a little petty for God.”

“Well, okay, but don’t I deserve it after twenty-six years of this?” she asked with a plaintive moan. “And I promise to fan them gently with a magazine or something and call an ambulance.”

Straightening, Paul slipped an arm across his wife’s shoulders and pulled her in for a kiss on the cheek. “That’s what I love about you, your compassion.”

“Damn right,” Rebecca said with a laugh. “Don’t worry about Darcy, she’s tough stuff.”

“Maybe,” Paul murmured. “But, you know, she’s smart, and she’s smart about people, she hasn’t missed those little snide comments. There’s a reason she never wants to go to family events. She had her fingers crossed for an alien invasion when I talked to her last week.”

Rebecca frowned. “I know.”

“And maybe she’s tough, but they keep jabbing at the same place and that starts to hurt. Even Darcy.”

It was Rebecca’s turn to brace her hands on the railing and stare out at the scenery. She’d tried to shield Darcy from those comments for more than twenty years. She’d told off Erica more than once, she’d railed against her mother, but for all her efforts, they’d still tainted the well of family opinion.

Rebecca knew she hadn’t been present for any number of conversations about Darcy, and quite a few members of their extended family looked at Darcy like their little black-sheep slacker. And they treated her that way. The underachiever in a family of goal-oriented social-climbers. It didn’t help that Rebecca was, herself, a family black-sheep. She’d been a mouthy free-spirit who talked back to her mother, left the family homestead of Seattle for good, and had a child out of wedlock with a man she wouldn’t name. And those were just a few of the highlights.  

Darcy was tough alright, and she was smart. So smart, so much her father’s daughter. Paul was right, Darcy wouldn’t have missed those attitudes. Not everybody in the family was horrible to her or to Darcy, of course, but there were a few select people who were more petty than kind about a clever little girl. Her mother had her own disappointments in life, and she let herself project those disappointments onto Rebecca and Darcy. And Rebecca suspected that Erica was, and always had been, just plain unnerved by Darcy. Even as a child Darcy had a way of looking at somebody like she knew what they were really about.

Erica was the highest of the high-achievers, with a doctorate in chemical engineering and used to being the smartest of the bunch. Except for Darcy, who could see right through her. Darcy whose childhood pranks involved unexpectedly flammable substances and all the engineering prowess she’d learned from Tony Stark. The lightbulb paint bomb had been particularly spectacular, and kind of vindictive. And the 9-volt battery and powdered coffee creamer incident was both clever and creative — and also destroyed Francine’s lace tablecloth. Darcy swore it was an accident. Rebecca wasn’t so sure, but thought the prank had really just got away from her.

So, how do you impress a child who has that sort of know-how with your PhD? Rebecca knew Erica enjoyed the return of her sense of superiority when Darcy seemed to make a career of interning and then moved in with her father. Her father, who, as far as anybody knew, was an auto mechanic. Which was technically true, if only as a hobby rather than a vocation. Basically, Erica was a damned insufferable snob.

“I’ll talk to them,” Rebecca said. “I don’t want this to be a thing this weekend. I want Darcy to be able to relax and see everybody.”

Paul sighed and braced his elbows on the railing. “I didn’t mean to make this a big deal. It just got me thinking. When we were in New York in the spring.” His jaw clenched and he swallowed heavily. “The, uh, second time, I mean.”

Rebecca nodded silently. Five months wasn’t enough to get over having your daughter kidnapped by murdering Nazi terrorists.

“Anyway,” Paul continued. “I think it was when you and Pepper and Darcy went to the Met. I was cornered in the kitchen by a pair of assassins. Easily the third or fourth most terrifying thing that’s ever happened to me. Maybe the third and fourth most terrifying things. One of them on their own would be bad enough.”

Letting out a little laugh, she nudged his shoulder. “Oh, come on. You and Clint got along pretty well. And Natasha’s very nice. I like her. I hate why, but I’m glad we got to meet them.”

“But, say you’re going for an apple,” he argued back, holding out his hands in appeal, “and then you turn around and the two of them have materialized behind you from God knows where. And they’re staring at you. It was really unsettling, okay?”

“I see you survived,” she told him with a teasing smile.

“Barely,” he grumped. “They wanted to talk to me about Darcy. They had questions.”

Rebecca’s eyebrows rose. They’d both spent more time with her daughter over the last few years than she had. They had to know her pretty well. “What sort of questions?”

“It was something they noticed when they were training her. They had concerns. Well, maybe not concerns anymore, but they were curious. They said they noticed some self-esteem and self-confidence issues. Like, she never gives herself a lot of credit, always downplays her accomplishments, always compares herself to others and thinks she falls short. That sort of thing. And she covers it with brashness and over-confidence — which, frankly, is so Tony it’s crazy.”

“Yes, it is,” Rebecca murmured, thinking through Natasha and Clint’s observations.

“They were trying to figure out where it came from. I guess they’d been trying to … I don’t know, address that for a while,” Paul said with a shrug. “I didn’t want to blame Tony, and they didn’t think it was entirely him. Though, I know she’s always compared herself to him, and she doesn’t realize she’s comparing herself to somebody who is, literally, one of the smartest people on the planet. It’s such an unfair comparison, and I’m sure Tony never made it. Maybe I haven’t always understood that guy, but dad to dad, Tony turned out better than I thought he would. I mean, I hoped, but he still surprised me. In a good way.”

“He really did,” she agreed.

“So, then your mother and Erica started in, and I remembered that, and I had to come out here or I was going to snap.”

“I understand.” Rebecca rubbed at her forehead and closed her eyes. The idea of her little baby girl that wounded nipped at her heart. “Do you think I should have told my mother about Tony?”

“God no,” Paul exclaimed. “That would have been worse. It was a trade-off; I just hate that she made us make it. Either Darcy’s exposed to the world as a child — and there was zero chance Francine wouldn’t have made a scene —, or Darcy gets to have a normal childhood with a disapproving grandmother who can’t get past her own crap to enjoy her granddaughter. I’d make it again, in a heartbeat.”

“Do you think that they hurt Darcy that much?” Rebecca asked, afraid of his answer, because God, was she unable to protect her own child?

“No, not entirely,” Paul said, blowing out a long breath. “I mean, who doesn’t get at least a little screwed up by family? Christ, it’s not like Helen’s any better.” Helen was Paul’s sister-in-law and sadly another judgmental individual — though one less overtly bitter, but who preferred her family gossip to be more on the vicious side. How was that a fun way to live your life?

“And like I said,” Paul continued, “I don’t want to blame Tony, but he does have his own issues, you know?”

“An excellent example of being screwed up by family,” she said. “I think we did okay. I mean, she is happy. Mostly. And, honestly, I don’t think she cares a lot about what my mother and Erica think of her. But, you’re right, it probably left a mark, even if its small.”

“No, no, I think we did great.” Paul gave her an understanding smile. “And, honestly, I didn’t mean to blame your family. They just hit me at the wrong moment.”

“Well, I am sorry. I’ll lay down the law.”

Paul huffed a laugh. “You know, I think Darcy can probably handle it now.”

“She shouldn’t have to,” she replied.

“No, I guess not.” He ran a hand over his short-cropped hair, the dark curly strands starting to silver, and then something seemed to catch him and he laughed. “Darcy threatened to go full Stark this weekend. And … you know, I think she ought to. Don’t you? We protected that for so long, maybe it’s time we stop?”

Rebecca hummed thoughtfully for a second. “Maybe. Though, what does full Stark mean? Are we talking drunk, naked shenanigans? Or being obnoxiously arrogant and not giving a damn? Either would be hilarious, but I hope it’s not the first.”

Paul shuddered and grimaced. “God, me, too. But, she does have some decorum. We won that battle of nature vs. nurture.”

Rebecca brought up her clenched fists and shook them with a cheer, “Yay, us!”

“Though, there were moments,” he said with a dark frown. “The teenaged years.”

Rebecca laughed. “She wasn’t that bad. And she never got into any serious trouble. Skipping class a couple times, maybe. That time the Principle busted her at a Denny’s when she was supposed to be at a pep rally. She seemed to spend a lot of her time getting people out of trouble. Remember Luis at the Target?”

“France,” he spat out with a scowl.

“That was mostly Tony,” Rebecca corrected with a snort. “And they were politely asked to leave. Nobody filed charges.”

“Oh, great,” he replied sarcastically. “Kicked out of a whole country. God, only those two. And then they giggled about it. Both of them. I never want to hear a grown man giggle again.”

Nobody’d ever been able to get the full story out of either of them, but from a few little things Darcy said over the years, Rebecca was able to piece together some idea of what happened. It seems they cooked up a scheme to con a business rival of Tony’s — for their own entertainment, not for profit. How the police and the local government got involved, she couldn’t say, but even if she was curious, there were probably some things she didn’t want to know. She slept better at night.

Did she need to know, for example, that apparently at some point there was some sort of speedboat chase? Ten years ago, definitely she would have wanted to know that, but now all it would do was send her blood pressure sky high and then she’d have to yell. But, not knowing the details, and knowing that Darcy was fine, and also that it was so long ago, she felt better off letting it go. Maybe give it another decade and she’d be ready for the full story.

What it came down to, the most important thing, was that Tony was a surprisingly conscientious father, and after the first couple years of him being in Darcy’s life, Rebecca had few reservations about them spending time alone together. The France caper seemed to be one of those things where between Tony the mad genius and a teenaged, fearless Darcy, the situation clearly got a little out of hand. It happened to everybody, even if not everybody would get themselves kicked out of a country. And, it was worth noting, nothing like that ever happened again. As far as she knew.

“So, hey,” Paul said, interrupting her thoughts, “who’s she bringing? She still wasn’t sure when I talked to her last week.”

“Last week she was hoping for an alien invasion, remember?” Rebecca said with a small laugh.

“I remember. Is it Clint?” he asked hopefully. They really did get along pretty well. Paul liked to cook and Clint liked to eat, and they both liked college football and bad action movies. And despite the surprise apple interrogation, Clint was probably the most relatable of Tony’s teammates. 

“Nope, she’s bringing Bucky,” Rebecca told him. “I guess he wanted to come.”

“Oh, meet the boyfriend weekend, huh?” Paul said looking like he wasn’t sure how to take that. It would be hard to dad-intimidate a guy who was both a decorated war hero and an assassin.

“We’re supposed to call him James.”

“Fine by me,” he agreed with a shrug. “I still can’t entirely believe he’s actually Bucky Barnes. For real Bucky Barnes. I mean, I know he is, but still. I don’t think I could actually bring myself to call him that.”

“Is it weird that somehow I’m not even sort of surprised?” Rebecca mused.

Frowning, Paul turned to lean his hip against the rail and regarded his wife. “You expected the 98-year old undead assassin?”

“Honestly, I was pulling for the 98-year old undead super soldier,” she told him with a shrug, and Paul laughed and shook his head. “But why not Bucky?”

“Because he fell off a train and died?” he suggested with a lift of his eyebrows.

“But, clearly, he didn’t. And Steve crashed a bomber into the ocean and bam, here he is.” She held her hands out to him, presenting that odd, but indisputable evidence. “And as much as she’s a Lewis — and she is — she’s also a Stark. Howard Stark’s granddaughter, in fact. Howard Stark who was one of the guys who developed the super soldier process, some version of which was, apparently, used on Bucky, too. Of all the people in the world, somehow that it was Darcy who found him makes sense.”

“That is weird,” Paul murmured, his forehead wrinkling as he thought through that twisty reality. “I don’t know what to do with that.”

“You don’t have to do anything with it,” she told him with a fond pat on the hand. “But, it is what it is.”

“Okay, but boyfriend?” He glanced around the deck, making sure they were still alone. Lowering his voice, he said, “Are we just ignoring that thing where he was in Hydra, though?”

“Not of his own free will,” Rebecca told him. “Darcy insists. And, honestly, so does Steve. I talked to him about Bucky when Darcy was …” She bit her upper lip and let out a breath. “When Darcy was held. Tony accused Bucky of taking her, but Steve swore he wouldn’t. Even Director Coulson backed him up on that. But, I wanted to know. I wanted to understand. You were cornered by assassins and I cornered Captain America.” She gave him a wry, triumphant smile. “He told me a lot more than Darcy has, for sure. But, anyway, it wasn’t of his own free will.”

“So, they what? Brainwashed him?”

“I guess so. Steve was stingy on those details, but I gather it was horrible. They had him for seventy years, Paul. That poor guy.”

“Okay, and he and Steve don’t age?”

“They age. But, Hydra kept Bucky in some sort of cold storage when they didn’t need him. So it was a little like Steve in the ice.”

“Good Christ, what does that do to a guy?” Paul scrubbed his hands through his hair.

“Nothing good,” Rebecca said quietly. “Don’t get me wrong, I have my reservations. I mean, he is dangerous. We saw the footage from DC. That was him. God, I honestly don’t know how Darcy was able to talk to him right after. He’d terrify me.”

Paul looked grim when he said, “Okay, then, I’m glad she’s bringing him. I want to see this guy for myself. He can be an undead assassin all he wants, but I am her father. And we’re going to have a little chat.”

Rebecca stared at him for a moment and then snorted a laugh, and then another, and she really couldn’t stop herself. Paul’s face fell into a hurt pout.

“What?” he demanded, still pouting.

She shook her head, trying to get the laughter under control.

“Why is that funny? I am her dad. That’s my job. I want to make sure she’s okay with him.”

When she finally tamped down her laughter, she leaned forward to give him a kiss and patted his cheek fondly. “I really love you.”

“No, okay, but really, why are you laughing?”

“I don’t know. It was just … suddenly the absurdity of you giving Bucky Barnes, of all people, the dad talk … it hit me.” She waved a hand helplessly and laughed again.

He thrust out his jaw and pressed his lips together. “Watch me.”

“Oh, honey, I cannot wait to see it. You really have no idea.” She gave him another kiss then turned back to the building. “I’m going to go find Sam; I think he’ll want to see this, too.”

“It’s not a spectator sport,” Paul called after her.

Rebecca paused at the doors and turned back to him, clasping her hands hopefully against her chest. “Do you think I could sell tickets? We could pay off this stupid destination wedding trip in one go. Try and get him to arm wrestle you.”

Paul grumped. “I want a divorce.”

“No.”

“Then I want half the gate receipts.”

“Done. But only if there’s arm wrestling.” She pointed a finger at him. “Make it happen, sweetie.”

***

Sole Party - Day 1 - Introduce your Sole!

Name: Red (real name: Dinah Jones)
Age/Date of birth: 33 pre-war, 243 post-thaw / February 7th
Eye color: Blue-gray
Hair color: Red
Height: 5′8″
Weight: 160lbs
Sexuality: Heterosexual.
Factions: General of the minutemen & agent of the Railroad

Good traits: Smart, crafty/handy, kind, reliable, optimistic, fast learner, adaptable, observant, always willing to help.

Flaws: overly trusting at times, sees good in others but not in her self, can be reckless sometimes, hoards a lot of junk for future use, deathly afraid of mirelurks.

Relationships: Nate (pre-war, deceased), Hancock (current day)

Closest friends: Codsworth, Nick, Ada, Deacon, & Piper.

Friends: Preston, Curie, Cait, Maccready, & Strong

More details under the cut! (Sorry if it gets lengthy)

Keep reading

consider the Sole Survivor: 

  • incessantly making pre-war pop culture references that no one understands 
  • telling their companion(s) stories and they think they’re just a really creative person who’s making them up but really they’re just retelling the plot to one of their favourite tv/radio shows
  • getting cravings for food that doesn’t exist anymore and complaining about it for days or trying to make dishes by substituting in stuff from the wasteland and it coming out absolutely horrible but eating it anyway because in some small way it reminds them of their mother/father and/or spouse’s cooking
  • teaching their companion(s) card games they played pre-war that were otherwise lost in time
  • just trying to balance who they were before and who they are now by not living in the past but bringing little pieces of it to the present so they don’t completely lose themselves to life in the Commonwealth 
SASUSAKU FANFICTION: A LIFE WORTH LIVING

Title: A Life worth Living
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Rating: K+
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Words: around 3k
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Summary: How they spent the night after war at the hospital, only they will know. A night filled with pain, regrets and heartbreak but most of all love. / Post-war, pre-the last sasusaku fan fiction.
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A/N: Ever wondered what happened after Naruto and Sasuke’s battle? When the war ended and their arms were treated? And what if some sasuke and sakura encounters happened at the hospital? After all, she’s the top medic of Konoha.
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Well, its just my imagination. I hope you like it. ~have a nice day!
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A LIFE WORTH LIVING
- - -
Black crows having blood-red sharingans in the orbits of their skulls, flew haphazardly screaming hurtful voices. The red sky and the deathly atmosphere, made his heart to beat faster and faster with every passing second. He ran and ran, trying to escape from his detriment past.

He was the same helpless, poor boy who had lost his family due to a reason he was unconcerned of, again.

He ran desparately from that fear, trying to not re-live the tragedy that once turned him into something he was not.

Something he had never wanted to be.

He was a killer, a murderer and an assassin who had killed so many innocent people, he had no right to kill or to even scratch. He could see the rubicund skin of his hands, his blood stained hands. The blood he had shed, could not be washed away. It would stay there forever. On his hands, on his face, in his heart. He was no longer the happy, little boy he once used to be.

And it was all because of that night.

All because of the tragedy he was going through once again.

And a failed past which he was now reliving.

No matter how or where he tried to escape, his tragic past never stopped haunting him. Never stopped chasing him.

Stopping only to catch his unstable breath, he fell on his knees. His eyes were closed shut, afraid to catch sight of anything horrible. The caws of the dark birds made him shutter open his eyes and he saw something he prayed he wouldn’t have.

Standing in between the crows was a dark figure. Eyes, as red as blood.

His heart was filled with fear again after getting the sight of his beloved brother, Uchiha Itachi.

The way the tomoes rotated in his eyes, activating the mangekyou, the more his heartbeat increased.

“Foolish, little brother.”

“I-Itachi… why!?” He didn’t notice when tears escaped his dark eyes.

In an instant, he could see the said figure turning into crows-disappearing, leaving a ‘goodbye’ among the caws of those animals.

“Kill your bestfriend.”

“Kill… my… bestfriend?” he sobbed. “Yes, kill my bestfriend.”

He stood up, turning into the seventeen year old man he was, having the same bloody eyes.

kill your bestfriend.

He started to run, this time, without fear.

kill your bestfriend.

In a short while, he could see kusanagi stained in blood. Blood, all over his being. Yes, he had killed his bestfriend. Pools of blood were formed on the ground and a certain blood-covered blonde was floating on it.

He looked over at his blood stained hands and emotions hit him at the very moment.

what had he done? he couldn’t understand. Not until he saw her.

A teary eyed and broken hearted, pink haired kunoichi, dressed in her chunin uniform was right infront of him.

“This isn’t you, Sasuke!” She screamed, holding back them tears.

His heart ached at the sight but his consumed heart decided to commit the most unimaginable crime and without a second thought, he pierced her chest with lightening.

Her heart stopped beating. He had killed her. He had killed everyone he loved. But the words that escaped her blood stained lips, brought him back to his older self.

“Are you happy now, Sasuke-kun?” She managed to smile before collapsing.

He had killed the one person who had loved him more than herself. The one who filled his unworthy, lonely existence. The only feeling he could have at the moment was,

Regret.

- - -

He opened his eyes, breathing heavily.

He felt pain in the left side of his body but the pain in his heart was something far more greater than that. He couldn’t understand what was going on until he took a notice of his surroundings. The window of the room showed the world outside. The sky was not red, but was beautifully decorated with sparkling stars. The atmosphere was calm and there were no violent screams.

No blood and no pain.

He took a look at the room he was in. The moon light coming from the window was the only source of light. Different machines were placed on his left side, a machine showing his unworthy heartbeat and another medical equipment showing the status of his impure blood.

He couldn’t feel his left arm and knew it was due to the final clash. He sighed in relief knowing his bestfriend was safe and sound.

He aimed to sit on the hospital bed, but trying to do so, he felt a grip on his lone hand. Looking at his right, he saw the pinkette holding his hand and leaning her head on his bed, sleeping peacefully.

The look on her face made his heart fill in pleasure. Her beautiful pink locks decorated her calm features and her cheeks were flushed, may be due to the cold.

He smiled at the scene and the small smile on her rosy lips made his being warm. He could never imagine to lose her again, now that she was right by his side. To know she was well, made him satisfied. After all he had done, this was all he could ever demand for.

A cold breeze from the window, made her shiver and she opened her eyes, slowly. The way her eyelids lifted and the way her emeralds were now staring right into his obsidian ones, he couldn’t help but feel loved.

Loved, by the girl he had caused the most pain to.

The mere thought of his previous actions caused his shattered heart to pain even more. He remembered how he tried to kill her when she came to his rescue, to save him from the darkness he was stuck in. Or how he showed her her own death when she begged him to stop, to stop fading away.

Seeing the concerned look in her sparkling eyes, he felt guilty.

Guilty, for what he had made her go through. After all he had done to her, she still cared for him.

Annoying.

But at the same time, he felt longing. Longing to see those love-filled green eyes. And it was then he realized how he had missed her eyes. How he had missed her.

“Sasuke-kun? do you need something?” she asked,almost awake.

He nodded his head, no.

She kept on looking into his deep, black eyes. How she missed those eyes of him. His expressionless, stoic,beautiful eyes. The eyes she had fallen so hard for. The eyes she had loved all her life. But there was one thing more about those eyes now, they had caused her terror. They had caused her pain, but being the brave woman she was, she was not afraid of the owner of her broken heart.

She felt warmth on her hand and when she looked down, breaking the eye contact, she saw the only Uchiha holding her hand tightly, as if he was afraid of letting her go.

But little did he know, she was all his. And that, she was not going to run away, not when she finally had him.

Now that the promise was finally fulfilled, she felt her heart warming up and she was more than thankful to her best friend, resting in the next room.

Noticing the situation, a blush appeared on the holder of the darkest eyes and he looked away, losing the grip on her hand. But thanks to the darkness that crept inside the room, she didn’t see it.

“I woke you up.” he said.

“Thats okay, I was going to wake up any way.” She told him, moving her hand away from his. “So, are you feeling alright?” she managed to smile, hiding the blush on her face.

“Hn. fine.”

Even though he was not talking much, she was comfortable. He was never the talkative one any way. She nodded at his reply and as much as she wanted to stay, she thought giving him some personal time would be a good idea. She stood up from the stool, she was previously sitting on, aiming to leave.

“Um.. I should be taking my leave now, Sasuke-kun you should sleep.” She said, turning around.

“Sakura.” he called her, causing to stop her in her tracks.

“Yes?” she said, facing him again.

“Please, stay.”

The sincerety and gratitude in his voice shocked her a little. He had never talked to her like that before. Not only her, she had never heard him talking like that to anyone. Feeling a little special, she walked towards his bed.

“Do you need something?” She asked, sincerely.

Realizing how clueless she was, he turned his face to the window on his left.

“Tch. Annoying.” he whispered.

But she heard it correctly. And now that she knew the meaning behind this, she didn’t mind. Smiling, she sat on her previous place, looking closely at a pouting Sasuke.

She smiled at a cute looking Sasuke and accidently, said her thoughts aloud.

“You look cute, you know.”

Though she said it in a low voice, he heard her. And smirking, he turned his head to face her. She blushed furiously under his gaze and broke the eye contact that was once again being made.

“Hn.” he smiled softly but she failed to see it.

Looking at her flushed face, he remembered the young Sakura who used to blush like that everytime he was near her. At first, it was annoying but then, he loved that annoying side of her.

Looking at her now, he felt proud of how she had changed. She was now a strong kunoichi and a skilled medic. No one could match her strength as well as her abilities. He didn’t notice when she noticed him smiling and smiled back.

He was wrong. She was still the same Sakura who loved him with all her heart. And he was happy to know that.

“I missed you.” he heard her saying.

He felt tears forming in his eyes at the little confession and to avoid looking like a weak person, he turned his head away and closed his eyes.

“I did, too.”

She was not expecting a reply from him but the answer she received, made her feel like the luckiest person alive. A tear fell from her left eye but she wiped it away. Knowing that he wanted to talk, all she wanted was to satisfy him. She knew he was hurt and that she couldn’t take his pain away, all she wanted was to make him happy.

You bet she was willing to do so.

“Um.. so how was life outside Konoha?” She managed to break the silence and gain his attention.

All she wanted to do was to keep up any sort of conversation. Anything that could make him feel better. But being away from him for more than a little time, all she could do was keep up awkward conversations.

“It was fine.”

He said, not knowing what else to say. He was ashamed of his past and leaving Konoha. He was ashamed of leaving her when she told him she needed him. Even if he tried to, he couldn’t fill the hole. All he could do was to not hurt her anymore.

“And.. what did you usually do.. I mean after.. you left?”

She could not think of anything else to talk about. Carefully, she asked him about his past. A part of his past, she thought wouldn’t hurt him. But little did she know, leaving her alone was one of the mistakes he knew he had made.

“I.. I went to Orochimaru and trained with him, everyday. He taught me many jutsu, mostly those related to snakes.”

“well what do you expect, he is a creepy snake.” Sakura commented.

Sasuke chukled for the first time-at the statement- after that incident. Seeing him almost laughing, made her heart skip a beat. She fell for him, once again.

“I was too fixated on my goal,” he continued. “I learned everything he taught me, and once I was done learning everything, it was time for me to go after Itachi.”

His heart broke at the name of his beloved brother, but he continued, trying to not hurt the kunoichi and fulfill her expectations.

“Knowing Orochimaru, I knew he wouldn’t let me go for the sake of my body, so I killed him, taking advantage of the weak state he was in. Then I gathered a team and started persuing Itachi and when I found him, we fought and he died.”

She could see the saddened expression on his face and thought it was enough for him.

“But that creep Orochimaru is still alive, Sasuke-kun!”

“He couldn’t just die, could he?”

She chukled this time and felt happy for the more than enough answers he was giving her. A part of her bloomed and she continued the conversation.

“But when Tsunade-sama told us about his death, she herself was surprised. Guess she knew it will happen.”

Sasuke smiled at her and she felt warm. She had never seen him smiling, ever before.

“Tell me your story.” He said.

“Um.. well, after you left.” She regretted saying that but continued any way. “I made a promise to myself to become independent and not to depend solely on Naruto for bringing you back.” Another piece of her heart broke at the statement.

His chest hurt when he heard that. He once again felt guilty and all he wanted was to take away the pain he had caused her.

“I trained with Tsunade-sama. Learned medical ninjutsu and she taught me the byakugou..” She raised a fingure, pointing at the diamond on her forehead.

He felt happy for what she had achieved while he was away. But he also felt unhappy for not being able to watch her achieve all that.

“I saved chakra in my forehead and unleashed it during the war, you know the rest. Life was pretty much the same until Naruto returned and we started going on missions. Sai and Captain Yamato became a part of our team too. At first, me and Naruto hated Sai but then we accepted him. Missions were fun too.”

Sasuke felt bad for missing all the good time he could’ve had. An unfamiliar desolated, melancholy expression appeared on his face and Sakura noticed that.

“I fought Sasori of Akatsuki during our mission of Gaara’s retrival. He was always screaming ‘Art is eternal’, 'Art is eternal’ ” she chukled. “But he was strong nontheless.”

Quickly she changed the topic and tried hard to change his current condition which she actually did. Sasuke sat up on the bed, ready for a conversation for the first time in forever.

“You won’t believe I fought a member of Akatsuki. He was babbling about 'art is an explosion’ ”

“I know! the clay guy!”

“Hn.”

“I came to face him too but Naruto and kakashi-sensei handled him mostly.”

“He commited suicide trying to kill me..” he smirked weakly at the stupidity.

“what!? were you hurt!?” She said a little too loud, standing up from the stool at once.

Sasuke stared at the stupid girl in front of his eyes. How could she be so kind to him? How could she be so innocent? How could she still care after all he had put her through? After all the times he made her cry. Guiltridden, he replied with a simple 'hn’ turning his face away from her.

Realizing her reaction, which came out of nowhere, she forced a smile before settling down once more.

“Um.. so…tell me about your team mates!” she said, cheered up again.

The question caught him off-guard but he replied any way.

He stared at her for a while before finally speaking.

“Suigetsu. He was one of the seven ninja swordsmen.” Looking the interested look on her face, he continued. “He was like Naruto. Alaways fighting with me and saying 'you are not the boss Sasuke’ , A good companion nevertheless.”

Her face brightened up due to a more than satisfactory answer from Uchiha Sasuke. And Sasuke could see her glowing expressions even in the dark of night. A small, alomost invisible smile appeared on his lips and he proceeded forward.

“Karin. She was an Uzumaki. She was not too good of a medic but using her abilities, she could heal two people a day. She helped me at times too.”

Sakura felt a sign of jealousy in her heart at the thought of another woman near Sasuke. But knowing the said woman, due to their previous encounter, she supressed the feeling.

“Jugo. He was entirely dedicated. A test subject for Orochimaru’s curse seal.”

At the mentioning of the curse seal, her heart pained. She could see flashbacks of the time when her beloved was cursed because of the seal. It was the curse mark that changed their lives. The painful state he was in, broke her heart and tears formed in her eyes. But being Haruno Sakura, she decided to speak.

“Captain Yamato. He is strict as compared to Kakashi-sensei but generous too. He would always treat us while on night stays during missions. He would always scare the hell out of Naruto.”

She smiled replaying the memories they shared with their senpai.

“He was strong, woodstyle user. He always protected us.”

Sasuke noticed the serene expression of her face which took away the pain of being away from them. Knowing there was someone to protect the two precious people to him, he felt pleasure.

“And Sai. He is rude at times. Too outspoken. He looks like you but he isn’t like you at all.”

He was reminded of the intruder he once encountered. Being reminded of the incident when he tried to sever all his bonds, when he tried to kill them. He felt as if someone was squeezing his damaged heart.

“At first, he would give us that creepy fake smile of his and piss us off in every way anyone could.” she sighed, remembering the time he called her ugly. ’'He was sent to spy on Naruto from Danzo.“

He felt pride knowing he had killed the bastard with his own two hands, who was he supposed to mess with his bestfriend? But just the thought of the dreadful incident made his heart beat faster. How in the world he tried to kill both of them. How did he try to kill her.

He was so lost.

’'But he changed and learned about friendship and now we share a bond.” she smiled, lost in her own thoughts, unable to see what the Uchiha was feeling.

Every time he thought of that incident and how he tried to take her life away, a piece of his existence hurt. He couldn’t image what could have been done if Kakashi had not come. He could’ve killed her and he could’ve destroyed the one person who loved him, who cared for him.

A tear formed in his left eye and in order to stop it from flowing he closed his eye. It was as if a sharp blade was cutting his throat over and over again.

The pain was unbearable and he knew there was nothing he could do to pay for his sins. There was nothing he could do to mend what was broken.

“Sakura… I’m sorry.” the words escaped his lips without him ever realizing.

She looked at him with wide eyes. The tears she had tried to hold back, fell from her eyes to her cheeks and to his hand, she was now holding.

“Sasuke..-kun.”

She didn’t give it a second thought and stood up from her place, wrapping her arms around his neck. Her tears were soaked in his shirt and it felt as if his broken pieces were being mended. He breathed her scent and rested his head on her shoulder.

“It’s okay.. it’s .. okay!” she said between sobs.

A tear fell from his eye and he didn’t hold back this time.

It was just like the time when he woke up from the trauma with the help of the slug princess. The only difference was his arm wrapped around her waist protectively.

Never again. Never again was he going to hurt her. Never again was he going to cause her pain. Never again was he going to leave her alone.

The way he caressed her back and the way she held him closer, exchanged all the unsaid and unspoken promises between them. He knew he still had reasons to live and he was still impostant to someone. His life was not completely unworthy and he was grateful to the girl in his arms.

“Thank you, Sakura.”

He whispered in her ear and she smiled knowing the meaning behind those sacred words.
- - -
THE END

5

Raise the Red Lantern (大红灯笼高高挂). Dir. Zhang Yimou (张艺谋). 1991.

The Qiao Family Compound (乔家大院), a vast, sprawling 18th century estate in Shanxi province, is perhaps best known as the location for Zhang Yimou’s legendary film, Raise the Red Lantern. In the film, the house becomes that of Master Chen’s, and as tragedy is sowed in the seeds of bitter resentment and egomania, those dusty courtyards look on, unfazed, endowed with vibrant, violent color –– every shade of red, yellow, orange, like blood, like pus, like joy, like flushed cheeks, like warmth, like silk, like death.

Set in the tumultuous Warlord era of 1920s China, post-Revolution, pre-Civil War, the main character is Songlian (Gong Li), an empty-eyed young woman with an ever-so-slight overbite that trembles with fear and solitude over the collars of her lush collection of qipao. Following the death of her father and the bankruptcy of her family, she is pulled out of university and married off to a rich man to become his fourth concubine. Within that enclosed microcosm, insulated from the outside world, she soon realises that the house is a jungle ecosystem with wives and servants alike vying for the Master’s attention, going to great lengths to elevate themselves over the others. Songlian herself becomes angry, calculating. Snow falls, fire burns, ropes hang, and dawn glitters. Solitary figures scramble over the rooftops, as small and insignificant as the brick tiles beneath their feet. Their hearts are frozen over, unfeeling, unseeing.