seriously folks we have a lot of fun at our jobs

An Unconventional Hiveswap Dev Team Interview

Hey, it’s Cohen. Ash, our Associate Producer who usually runs these, is at E3 this week, so I’m doing the introduction. There was also a weird Affable Karkat vibe when he was answering this own questions, so I rewrote them a little. Here goes:

Obviously people sorta know you if they’ve been reading these interviews, but for the sake of the thing: What’s your name, and what do you do on the Hiveswap team?

Hello there! My name is Ash Paulsen, and I’m the Associate Producer on Hiveswap. As a producer, my basic role on the project is to help organize and sync up each department’s workflow while also facilitating effective interdepartmental communication. In layman’s terms: it’s my job to make everyone else’s jobs easier and do all the “in-between” stuff to help bring the game to the finish line, and that means I do whatever needs doing – which can vary from day to day!

How’d you get your start on Hiveswap?

This is actually a surprisingly straightforward story. Basically, What Pumpkin was looking to fill a producer position on Hiveswap, and luckily they were pointed in my direction by a mutual friend and colleague. So What Pumpkin then reached out to me via email, and I happened to be looking to take the next step in my career at the time. I then began a brief trial period as a part-time producer on Hiveswap to ascertain if the position would be an ideal fit for me. After a while, I was very graciously welcomed into the What Pumpkin family as a full-time producer – I must have impressed them somewhere along the way, and I’m happy I did!

Yeah, absolutely. Having a dedicated person for the work you’ve been doing has made my life easier. You’ve got some experience in 2D animation and video game production specifically, right?

My first production-related job came by way of Nickelodeon Animation several years ago, where I worked for about a year and a half as a Production Assistant on the Butch Hartman cartoons The Fairly OddParents! and T.U.F.F. Puppy. (Prior to that, I’d been working as a Game Master at Nexon – the developer of MapleStory – so this was a huge jump!) I later left Nickelodeon for a full-time position as the Senior Editor at UDON Entertainment, a publisher and art collective specializing in video game and anime art books. Somewhere along the way, I ended up taking on a second gig as an Associate Producer at ShiftyLook, where I got to help make super cool webcomics and web cartoons out of old-school, dormant Bandai Namco Games IPs, such as Bravoman and Wonder Momo.

It was that ShiftyLook job that reminded me just how much I loved producing and wanted to get back into it, so I put some feelers out there and when I was lucky enough to have What Pumpkin come knocking, I was ready to seize the opportunity!

Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into production? I don’t mean me, of course–it wasn’t until we brought you on that I realized how much production work I’d been doing as a matter of necessity, and I don’t want to go back to that life–but just, y’know. Tips and tricks for any aspiring producers.

In terms of advice for launching into a production career, I would say that a self-starter mentality and an honest willingness to take on pretty much any task – no matter how boring or menial – are key. I find that’s the best way to let people know you’re a team player and, in turn, get noticed! If something needs doing, just step up and do it! If you don’t know how to do it, ask questions, but do it nonetheless.

Yeah, including, when you’re not at E3, running these interviews. Speaking of, do you have any favorite games?

For someone who plays as many video games as I do – I’ve been an avid gamer since the original Super Mario Bros. captured my heart when I was just five years old – this is a surprisingly easy answer! My favorite game of all time is Chrono Trigger, a Super Nintendo JRPG you’ve probably heard of once or twice. That game is the total package: a gripping story, memorable characters, killer battle system, legendary soundtrack, and some of the Super Nintendo’s very best graphics. I think my favorite thing about Chrono Trigger is that the narrative can be as complex or as light as you want it to be; if you want to enjoy it as a simple time-traveling romp, you can do that and it’s great. But if you want to read between the lines and really dive into the lore where things get pretty dark and sophisticated, you can play it that way too and it’s even better in my opinion. It’s a game you can enjoy on your own terms, and for that reason and so many more, I just adore CT. My second and third favorites behind that are Okami and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

I just recently finished the Switch versions of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Blaster Master Zero, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, and right now I’m playing Horizon: Zero Dawn and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Looking ahead, I am unbelievably, ridiculously hyped for Sonic Mania and Kingdom Hearts III!

Do you pull any inspiration from those for your production work on Hiveswap?

Not in particular… I can’t think of much crossover between gaming and production work, either in terms of the skills required or really at all. I suppose there’s some tenuous connection between, like, turn-based strategy RPGs and project management, but even that’s reaching a bit.

Besides, working on Hiveswap is its own form of inspiration: I have the privilege of working with a team of wildly talented, creative folks on a daily basis, and when you’re surrounded by that much awesome every day, it’s hard not to be inspired to work harder and smarter!

Since this is a remote team, we’ve had people describe their workstations, which has been fun. What’s yours like?

I don’t really have a particular workstation, if that makes sense. Mine is mostly the kind of work that can be done anywhere as long as I have my laptop (I run with a MacBook Pro) and an Internet connection, so my workstation is generally wherever I want or need to be that day. Oftentimes that means a local coffee shop because I don’t fancy staying cooped up in my apartment alone every day, but if I have a full day of meetings I’ll usually stay home. The same ambient noise I go to coffee shops to enjoy tends to become a major liability when people are trying to hear you in a Google Hangout or Skype meeting!

Yeah, I can confirm that, having been in those meetings before you started staying home for them. What about music? Do you like to listen to anything while you’re working?

I constantly listen to music while I work – lots and lots of video game music! Game music has been my jam since I started burning line-out recordings of sound test menus to CDRs as a kid. (Not even kidding. The ‘90s, baby!) Usually it’s upbeat, driving chiptune anthems like the sort you hear in Mega Man games and other retro platformers like Shovel Knight, but I also love orchestral VGM like Final Fantasy  soundtracks. In fact, Yoko Shimomura – composer of the Kingdom Hearts games, among so many others – is my favorite musician of all time! I also listen to original chip music and a ton of EDM (electronic dance music, which encompasses so many other sub-genres) as well. I’ll give anything a chance, really!

Anything else you want to say to fans?

I’m genuinely appreciative of and humbled by the opportunity to leave my stamp on a universe as singularly compelling and bizarre as Homestuck. Despite my being a relative newcomer to the project and the wider Homestuck community, bringing Hiveswap to the finish line in a form that delivers on your expectations means the world to me and I take my role in that process very seriously. I’m really, really happy to be here!

Is there anywhere people can see more of your work?

As I touched on briefly earlier, I’m one of the GameXplain crew! If you’ve not heard of us, we’re a Nintendo-focused YouTube channel closing in on 800,000 (!) subscribers, though we also cover PlayStation and Xbox titles when time allows. You can find a link to our channel right here, where you’ll hear me yapping away in all sorts of discussions, previews, reviews, news updates, and more!

We’ll have Ash and the regular format back next week.

My Bloody Sweetheart (Part 2)

Originally posted by veryamooseing

Summary: The reader and Dean settle into an easy rhythm but Dean may have made an enemy already…

My Bloody Sweetheart Masterlist

Pairing: Demon!Dean x reader

Word Count: 4,200ish

Warnings: language, mention of murder

A/N: Dean in domestic life does things to me…

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Oscar Nominated Features 2017: Zootopia

I’m going to start off by saying that if this wins, I will not be disappointed at all. I already mentioned that I thought Moana should win, but Zootopia is a fantastic movie. 

It’s the most impressive bit of world-building I have seen in years, and maybe ever seen. And with talks of a sequel, I’m getting really excited to see more of the world that we only heard about.

Zootopia is a perfect example of how well Disney can hold a multi-generational audience captive. It’s a fine example of them not taking themselves too seriously, but taking their craft seriously. It’s the kind of movie that you go expecting to have fun and leave having had more fun than you could have imagined. 

More than that, it’s a movie that needed to be made. There’s a lot of bad feeling in the world, especially now while we’re so divided politically and socially. It was so important to see how even the most well-meant warning can be misconstrued and dissolve into dangerously charged segregation. But there is a danger that the movie accidentally creates, and it is inherent in the way it sends its message.

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Can you say “Disorienting Loss of Identity?”

Aside from the uncomfortable and demographically questionable portrayal of fandom as a whole here, which we’ve torn apart plenty in the past, there’s a lot of good stuff about identity, and reality vs fiction, and after 12.18 this also ties into Sam and Dean’s legacy.

DEAN: Who gave you the rights to our life story.
CHUCK: An Archangel, and I didn’t want it!
SAM: Well, deal’s off, ok. No more books. Our lives are not for public consumption.

But by then the LARP’ing has started, but what part of it was scripted by Becky Rosen and what part of it is really happening, with real ghosts? Sam and Dean are the only ones there who KNOW they’re not playing the game, but their efforts to uncover the real ghost who is really killing folks are repeatedly stymied by people who are too caught up in the game to realize that it stopped being a game…

Sam and Dean in unison: I need a drink.

HOTEL MANAGER: We generally don’t like to publicise this to…normal people…but yeah. 1909 this place was called ‘Gore Orphanage’. Miss Gore, killed four boys with a butchers knife, then offed herself.
DEAN: And is tonight really her anniversary?
HOTEL MANAGER: Yep, guess your convention folks want authenticity.

And I think this is in large part why Sam and Dean DON’T think of the Supernatural books as a proper “legacy.” Because even at that convention, where these real ghosts were really killing people, and Sam and Dean told multiple fans that they really WERE the real Sam and Dean… no one believed them.

DEAN: All right, you know what? That’s it. That is it.
DEMIAN: What’s wrong Bobby.
DEAN: (So angry he can’t speak for a moment) I’m not Bobby, ok? You’re not Sam. You’re not Dean. What is wrong with you? Why in the hell would you choose to be these guys?
BARNES: (In normal voice) Because we’re fans. Like you.
DEAN: No. I am not a fan, ok. Not fans. In fact, I think that the Dean and Sam story sucks. It is not fun. It is not entertaining. It is a river of crap that would send momst people howling to the nut house. So you listen to me. Their pain is not for your amusement. I mean do you think they enjoy being treated like… like circus freaks?
DEMIAN: Uh….I don’t think they care, because they’re fictional characters!

But these guys are about to go from thinking Sam and Dean are just a couple of fellow players in this “game,” to thinking they’re insane for digging up an actual grave, to being freaked the fuck out when the ghost shows up to attack them… 

They go pretty quick from thinking it was all just a story to seeing it’s all very, very real.

But after that first salt and burn when Sam and Dean try to leave, they learn they only had part of the story– that they’d been blaming the wrong ghost for the real haunting. Ms. Gore had been the one holding back the ghosts of the evil little boys from creating mayhem.

All the while Sam and Dean are trying to save all these unsuspecting people. They finally worked out the full story of the haunting, and even knowing it’s not a game anymore, Demian and Barnes volunteer to help… because “It’s what Sam and Dean would do.”

They might’ve come to the realization that these ghosts were real, but they still haven’t put it together that Sam and Dean were real, that they were anything other than fans of the books just like them.

BARNES: Oh my God. Supernatural makes digging graves seem so easy. It’s not though. I’m gonna throw up.

Meanwhile, Chuck gets to have his own moment of heroism, taking control of the situation and smashing a ghost with his microphone stand in front of the assembled crowd, while Demian and Barnes save the day with their own salt and burn.

DEAN: Guys, I don’t even know your names.
BARNES: Oh. Well, I’m Barnes. This is Demian. What’s yours?
DEAN looks at them for a moment, considering.
DEAN: Dean. The real Dean.
After a moment DEMIAN and BARNES laugh.
DEMIAN: Ahhh, yeah right. Me too!
BARNES: Get the hell out of here Dean!

I’ve still always wondered if Chuck wrote this book, and if Demian and Barnes ever read it and recognized themselves… and realized what actually happened here…

Because even after Sam and Dean left, and all these other people went back to their normal lives, even after seeing a REAL ghost and being part of a REAL hunt, Sam and Dean still walked out of there in complete anonymity, most of those folks not even really believing their own experience.

It’s just the nature of the job, hunters seem to have a sort of supernatural quality to them, a sort of magic that renders them invisible for the most part. Every time they’ve registered on the public radar, it’s seriously impaired their ability to keep doing their jobs (s7, I’m looking at you).

Their identities occupy a weird liminal space between being invisible enough to continue saving people and hunting things, the wider public acknowledgement of them through the Supernatural books, and the notion that they will even be able to leave a legacy for the future, and what kind of legacy that might be.

For the general public, for generations of hunters to come, for their own family, or for God himself.


@poshcy​ There are 2 things I love!

1. the Lord Jesus Christ



okay okay okay, so right after BTS debuted (2 years ago) Namjoon and Yoongi got invited to this radio show’s 1st anniversary thingie, where the MC interviewed them along with a few other underground rappers including this FUCKO named B-Free.

here’s a pic: 

look at this dick ^^^ (why’s he wearing glasses inside a coffee shop??)

okay, anyways, so everything is going great. Real fun, real interesting, then B-free notices how many BTS fans are in the audience and things. GET. HEATED.

so this other guy and Namjoon are talking about BTS’ album (the first one, O!RUL8,2?) and the dude goes “would you consider it to be hip hop?” and Namjoon is like “yeah” and dude goes “hip hop is more of an attitude, I’d say your album is just rap” and then B-free goes “not even that, its just an album with rap in it” 


and so Namjoon is all like “yikes!” but just trudges forward, explaining how he totally gets what they’re saying (he’s being super duper respectful here) and how he used to be an underground rapper like them and he’s trying to balance out the rap and hip hop in their genre and style. 

then the conversation shifts and the MC goes “so how do you feel when you put on make up for a show?” and the word he uses for make-up (boonjang) means like disguise but then B-FREE OUR FAVORITE DICK FACE goes: “no that’s not boonjang! that’s “yeojang”!” (which is when males disguise themselves as females) 😑😑😑😑


(look at Yoongi!)

(he is killing this JERK-OFF in his mind!!) 😑😑😑

Okay now Namjoon is still being a little sweetie and Yoongi is like “yeah Imma let you have this leader” so Namjoon says that he’s still uncomfortable with wearing make-up and understands why the underground scene would make fun of idols for wearing it, but he also understands the kpop industry and knows why he has to wear it (good bby) 😊😊😊


he calls out Namjoon for being two-faced. Saying stuff like “So what is it you want to do really?…If you say its awkward and you don’t like it, then why are you doing it? and what do you want to do?” 

and while B-Free is just WAILIN’ (Whalien 52, buy on iTunes support our boys ✌️ ✌️ ✌️ ) on BTS, Yoongi reaches for his mic and there’s this cute exchange where Namjoon gives his hyung his mic since Yoongi’s isn’t working 






its actually pretty mild, Yoongi is super polite but super direct and just lets B-Free know that he just wanted to be able to reach out to as many people as he could with his music (he includes Namjoon in this wish as well).
He talks about wanting to be a sort of bridge between the kpop industry and underground hip hop rapper scene. 
He then talks a bit about his experiences as an underground rapper and producer and how he experienced a lot of hardships in Daegu and how it was really tough BUT THEN B-FUCK OFF INTERRUPTS AND GOES: 

“Oh so you went to Seoul because you didn’t want to experience any hardships?” 

(I’m him ^^^)

Yoongi continues to be very polite even though he’s obviously ruffled and he goes: “No I came to Seoul cuz I wanted to continue to do music with my hyungs and because I wanted to gain recognition” 

and B-Free once again interrupts and goes “So its just about money?”
(really dude? 😒😒😒 bad taste) 

and Yoongi is like “no” he says he’s happy to have a broader audience that he can affect with his music and he’s very very grateful. 

After this things get even more heated (can you believe it??) because B-Free won’t shut up (he’s being super rude! Leading pointless conversations on a radio show that he’s a guest on) and B-Free asks the boys how Bangtan became Bangtan. 

Then Namjoon–god bless him–goes on this boring as shit ramble about how the group was just a hip hop group with no dancing but it got messed around until it became the BTS we know and love today and THEN


B-FREE GOES: “…You know, like SUGA said before about how he faced hardships and that he couldn’t make a dime, well, that was the case for all of us too. It’s like that for everyone, but the difference is, are you able to withstand it until the end…? I just feel like you and I are people who could have been walking the same path, but you weren’t able to resist the temptation.” 



Then Yoongi goes (god bless him) 

“I don’t really understand what you mean by temptation.” 

You can tell he’s pissed. EVERY ONE KNOWS



Like, brah, B-Free, be free and  let it go

So the host is like trying to get everyone to chill out and tries to change the topic but B-FUCK is like “I’MMA LET YOU FINISH BUT–” and then he’s going on some thing about BTS using the backtrack of Kanye’s song Black Skinhead and rapping over the original lyrics and how disrespectful that is. 

And Namjoon just kinda goes “well the lyrics were really R-rated so we had to change em so that it’d be appropriate for our fans and it was only used as background music for our dance” But B-Free isn’t having it.

And if I’m being honest, I don’t really get it…but like, does B-Free need to be antagonizing these two boys on this radio show in front of people like??? Cool your jets man! 

Originally posted by animatedtext

By this time the MC finally gets B-Free to SHUT UP and things move on and the radio show closes up…


If you’d like to watch a video of it in English here ya go! x 👈👈👈

So anyways after this, everyone goes home BUT B-FREE IS STILL NOT DONE! Boy still has shit to say!

A bunch of angry fans start tweeting B-Free about how disrespectful he was and he just goes: “Truly bless to have come from nothing and have people talking about me. only makes me want to work harder and make better music and maybe i can be a better person in the process. i just make fun of things from a perspective where if a man wears make up and dance like lady gaga, i just meant to make fun and that’s it.”


Originally posted by fiercegifs



Then he goes on to tweet some cheeky shit about how he’s getting so much attention and how these fans need to chill and find themselves a boyfriend

He also posts this picture:

“calm down…” targeting BTS fans who were at the radio show 

Obviously someone is having some jealousy issues here, like: YIKES

The best part is, is that BANG PD makes this tweet: 

“I think that speaking what’s on your mind is the basic attitude of hip hop. But no matter what the genre, shouldn’t you know when the time or place is or isn’t appropriate? It was another’s party to celebrate their one-year anniversary. If you can’t keep what you have to say to yourself, wouldn’t it be better to not come on?” 

Yessssss! 👏 Get 👏 him 👏 DAD! 👏

Namjoon just so happens to drop this “TOTALLY UNRELATED TRACK” about people not taking idol rappers seriously…like okay, sure Joonie, you’re not just trying to roast B-Free, sure…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

here it is: x

And here are some of my fav lyrics: 

-Yeah I’m a fucking monster idol. young fans hate me cuz I’m a fucking monster. Hip hop fans also hate me cuz I’m a fucking idol rapper who can’t come to their concert

-Doing music that I wanted to do, being able to say the things I’ve wanted to say, the moment I waited for, the fact that I can attain the dream I was desperate for

-I’ve included here the thoughts of mine, of someone who’s just had a lot on his mind and has been craving for something




Y’all know Cypher Pt. 2 right? Did y’all hear Yoongi’s verse? Did you know it was basically signed: “To: B-Fucko, Sincerely: Min Suga”? No? Well now you do!

Here’s the song we all know and love: 🙌

And here’s Yoongi’s verse: 

My domain is, scolded many with a mic
Speech and action are like shackles,
my crime is assault with my tongue
You’re so bad ever since you were born
If you’re gonna whine about this beat, just leave
Look at the arrogance of the hip-hop con artists
When you were playing underground,
BTS was playing at ground level

Compared to you who sleeps all night,
I’m a workaholic, shoppaholic

Overspending on my pens that are more in number than
your fans, if I go all in and shoot, it’s a goal in
Goal in, I’m ballin
, when I hear your rap,
I’m about to throw up
My voice even bewitches your girlfriend
The studio is my playground,
my partner is a pen and paper

You think being escorted makes you powerful,
I hope you put down your mic
If I’m the sun, you’re the moon,
because when I rise, you go down
All you hip-hip designer brand bastards,
come down from the foamy bubbles
Hey you brats, your crappy rap is a burden to others

Take a break and wait, just go to Hawaii, go home**
See how far I go, all the rotten roots will be replaced
Everyone, let’s play a game,
without efforts, you’ll just be grieving
You think you can do music?
Just go look for a part-time job*

Although your short and thin career
will get you nowhere I hope you survive,
keep rotting away, that’s your label

Your life is like a mudfish, your rap is recycled
You save up and divide up the flow,
write it up and use it again
Hey beat, know that you’re embarrassing,
just with 24 measures, you lay down sick
Compared to your size, your rap is so thin
Like your parents, my heart hurts every time I see you
I’ll put a period at the artery of your music career

(I bolded the parts that matched up with the topics that were discussed at the radio show and the shit B-Free was throwing at the boys) 
*B-Free mentions during the interview that he currently had a part time job to help pay his bills or something and I thought that this line drove home the point that Yoongi was rapping with B-Free in mind…

EDIT: **
Omg! The most helpful anon helped me come to this realization! I knew that B-Free was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and then moved to Seoul to pursue a music career buT IT DIDN’T CLICK UNTIL RIGHT FUCKING NOW THAT OUR GOD MIN SUGA PUT THAT IN HIS SONG! Like if you were kind of on the fence of “hmmm maybe Yoongi’s verse in Cypher Pt. 2 is about B-Free maybe noooot.” NOW THERE IS NO EXCUSE! Yoongi made DEAD SURE everyone knew who he was dissing on! 
Holy CRAP! What a brave and smart move! Yikes! 

Originally posted by bangtannoonas

So that there my friends is the tale of B-Free and our BTS boys…

But wait!

There’s more!

Just recently our favorite fuck-off, B-free made some tweets regarding his past behavior (I’m honestly surprised this guy is still relevant like ???) 

so we’re like: “cool…thanks I guess? I mean you’re still an ass-hat, but sure.”
(also this was right after BTS got major worldwide with HYYD2 like, how convenient you felt remorseful right about now…) 😒😒😒


When pressed by Army’s to properly apologize to BTS he goes: 

(oh wait, there’s more!) 

(to be fair, Army didn’t need to be antagonizing him like this, like yeah, let him do his thing wtv–idk when he was gonna see BTS next time, but if he wanted to do it face to face, let him do it face to face…no reason to ride his ass about it…
but from a totally biased point of view…DRAG HIS ASS!!

And then, our mighty hero (who had so much wonderful character development in the last like 3 hours) takes his last breath, and falls: 

Good heavens what a piece of work

And that my friends, family, country-men is the full story! (as I know it) 

Will we get a response from BTS?
Will Namjoon release another song thats-not-about-B-Free-but-totally-about-B-Free-at-the-same-time?
Will Our Lord And Savior Min Yoongi finally rid this world of the scum that is B-Free? 



Originally posted by g00dkidsadcity


09/09/2017; It’s time for the Speeches

After Luka made all of us laugh, Daddy Steen gave us advice about letting daughters go and the Bennett’s shared some wise words about marriage….it’s my turn now and I’m seriously just trying not to cry again because I’m not sure how many tears my mascara can handle anymore….

@emmaxsteen @mikobennett @itsmishamisha @gabrielkazakov @red-luka @siobhanchap @xnarcx @davina-onyx @classymarzia @romanraynesx @ryuuxlewis @daja-nae @dominic-vj @shantesecross @shindeweilewis @jadexmallory @imjasminetaylor

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“Seriously though, are you a technovibe?” Pele asked leaning forward over the bowl of popcorn perched on top of her crossed legs. There were a few other people in the Garrison community room but the two cadets were alone on the couch.

“Not a technovibe,” Lance said evasively.

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Sin City - Part 1

Word Count: 2522

Pairing: Dean x Reader

Warnings: Language

Series Rewrite Masterlist

“Would you look at this?” Bobby snickered and glanced up to Dean and you. You were sitting together melting down metal into bullets while Bobby was studying the Colt and a diagram of its parts.

“Look at what?” You asked, furrowing your eyebrows at Bobby.

“You two idjits. You haven’t stopped touching each other since you’ve been melting those bullets.” He chuckled. “And you haven’t stopped smiling.”

“What? We’re not – “ Dean started and looked down at your knees, clearly touching. “Whatever.” He rolled his eyes.

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14 New Summer Shows You Should (maybe) Be Watching

I’m going to start this off with some of the currently airing new summer shows that I’m watching and enjoying. Cut for length - no major spoilers.

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Creepypasta #750: Extra Ketchup

Length: Super long

Peter had this obnoxious way of withholding important information.

He’d tell you half a story, give you some sliver of knowledge, then flash his wide-eyed, square-toothed grin and you knew what was coming next.

“It’s no fun if I just TELL you!”


He had been doing this for as long as I’d known him. We met through a mutual friend who had actually warned me of this annoying personality trait. Don’t ask Peter anything, because “That’s how he gets you.”

We grew close based on a mutual interest in horrible Sci-Fi B-Movies and a general inability to grow up and join everyone else in the great maze of cubicles they’d disappeared into.

Basically, we were nerdy bums.

Aside from his obsessive need to control conversations by leaving out important points, you’d never take him for a weirdo. Short, kind of husky, he’d barrel into the room with a warm “Hello” and a strong handshake. Nobody who met him didn’t like him - at least until they actually got to know him. After a few separate conversations with Peter, folks would magically become too busy to hang out.

At one point, he actually seemed to have a chance with this young hairdresser. She was nuts. Short, crazy-colored hair, equally short fuse, and the need to tell everyone within earshot about her recent bathroom habits. The two of them seemed to be just damaged enough to work.

Then he told her about this new bar he had gone to, how he hung out there every night for a week and loved the place. When she asked why he stopped going… he grew that stupid grin… “It’s no fun if I just TELL you!”

She checked the place out, essentially based on what seemed to be his recommendation. It turned out the management wasn’t very on-the-ball when it came to health standards and she spent a good chunk of the following month with some gut-wracking supervirus.

Peter had gotten the same thing there. That’s why he’d stopped going.

As you’d no doubt imagine, the relationship ended soon after.

By virtue of being the only person who could stand Pete, and only because I knew how to talk to him without being duped, he eventually seemed to calm down around me. I could hold entire conversations with him and, much to the surprise of anyone who had met him, he’d actually behave like a normal person.

That is, until the one time I slipped up.

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The Anatomy of The Fallout 4 Clueless Gamer Cold Open

I’m extremely lucky that I get to work at a such a creative place with such an extremely talented group of hardworking people. Like everything else that goes on TV, the cold open was the work of many people working together - and I thought I’d take a moment to highlight those people by tearing apart the Fallout 4 Cold Open we did and explaining a bit of the process of how it all came together.

To begin, let’s start with the finished product - The Fallout 4 Clueless Gamer Cold Open:

Okay, so now that we know where we ended up… How did we get here? Well, every comedy sketch, no matter how big or how small starts with one thing: 

An idea.

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Manwhore - Part 1

Thanks to everyone that made such lovely comments to one-over-part-12. It was very kind of you to stick with me til the very end.  Also here’s my other stuff if anyone wants to check it out Ramblings

big thanks to @nenita1978 for advice and support and thanks to @redprairielily for advice, support and finessing - I am in awe of your grammar and spelling skills.

So in this alternate universe it’s 2001 Chloe never met the gang when Rae was in hospital. Rae’s just Finished uni and Chloe is about to finish at business school (where she met Izzy).

Manwhore (apologies for crap name - I’m happy to accept suggestions)

“What the fuck is that noise?” Rae startled upright in her bed. There was a banging on her door again.

“Rae! Wake up you lazy tart there’s someone on the phone for you.”

“Shit sorry Ben. I’m awake and I’ll be there in a sec.” She groaned and grabbed her bathrobe that resembled a pack of fizzy Refreshers. That old bathrobe always made her feel warm and comfortable as it reminded her of her childhood. She wrapped it around herself so her house mates wouldn’t be able to see her bits jiggling en route to the communal phone.

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Alexandria’s Sweetheart

author’s note: Uh, I know I took some time to upload this but I have been very busy this past week. I kinda rushed this so, again, I am sorry for it’s shitty quality. I left this open because I feel like I would do a part two for this but um, just let me know if that’s something ya’ll would want to ready.

prompt: Hi! Would you be able to write a Daryl x reader where it’s the Alexandria ‘welcome’ party & the reader is anxious about going- but she decides to go and she looks AMAZING and the whole family compliment her but she leaves early & bumps into Daryl and he is blown away (but they aren’t together) 

I kinda did it differently but I hope it’s to your liking, anon :D

Originally posted by theultimatewalker

“Open the gates!”  

You couldn’t help but to grin at the sight of the gates that guarded your home. The hot sun was beating on your back, sweat clung to your body, and you were both bloodied and dirtied by your travels. You couldn’t describe the feeling you had whenever you returned home after a long trip, but it was a warm feeling.  

The weeks on the harsh, dead-infested roads had been rather hard on you, it showed on your clothes and body, but the smile on your face erased all of that. The iron gates groaned in protest but opened to reveal your untouched home. The cookie cutter houses brought you a sense of comfort and relief. The sun would be setting soon, and you had much to catch up on with your mother, brothers, and father.  

“Aaron,” You grinned happily feeling your body relax at the familiar face, “Jesus, you will not believe the haul I have. I came across a few bakery’s, jack—“ Your eyes caught on the unfamiliar sight of an older dark-skinned woman lingering behind Aaron with an assault rifle in her hands, “Whoa, you convinced my mom to let in new faces?” You gaped at Aaron proud that he managed such an impossible task!

Originally posted by tchamblers

Aaron was trying his best not to look smug, but he was failing. He couldn’t help it. He had been super eager for Y/N’s return to tell her the good news. He was glad that she was unharmed and safe now. The Monroe family would be happy to see their youngest back.

“It took me a while but I did it. This is Sasha,” Aaron gestured to the dark-skinned woman who gazed at you with immediate dislike and caution, “Sasha, this is—“

“Is that who I think it is?” You immediately whipped your head around with wide, excited eyes at the sound of your father’s voice. Your father’s friendly eyes were glowing with relief and warmth. Your stomach churned pleasantly as you dropped your backpack and threw yourself into your father’s waiting arms.  

“Daddy!” You laughed as he embraced you tightly, his shoulders sagging, and a breathe escaping his mouth in relief.  

“Thank god, you took longer then usual, I was worried.” He said frowning down at her, “You didn’t radio in at all for almost two weeks, missy, I thought we agreed that this was going to be a two week trip not a two month vacation.” His disapproval was clear but the smile on his face countered that.  

You grinned a bit sheepishly, “Yeah, I know but things got a little crazy, but it was all worth it because I have a lot goodies for us.” Your dad was always easier to disengage whenever you did something you weren’t supposed to; after all you took after him the most, but your mother on the other hand…well, that was like another world war.

He sighed softly and shook his head, “I don’t like the idea of you going out there on your own anymore, Y/N. I think we should put an end to these long scavenging trips.”  

You rolled your eyes, having gotten this talk plenty of times already, “Because Aiden does such a fine job with his shitty runs.”  

“Hey now,” Your father reprimanded, “Aiden has a lot on his plate right now, cut him some slack.”  

You rolled your eyes not wanting to spoil your mood with talk of your older, annoying brother before perking up, “How many new faces do we have? When did they get here?” You questioned glancing at Sasha, who had resumed watch on the tower.

Your father followed your glance and smiled in amusement, “Forget about that for right now, right now we should focus on getting you home and getting some rest. You look dead on your feet, I almost mistook you for a biter.” Your father teased.

You gasped and glared at him playfully but couldn’t help but to laugh, “Your sass has not died down with your age, old man.” You commented with glee before calling out to Aaron who had returned to manning the gate, “Hey, I’ll come over your place to gossip later and tell Eric he better make some of his amazing tea for his favorite.” You grinned teasingly at Aaron.

The brown haired recruiter threw you amused look, “If you can escape the clutches of your mother.” He remarks smartly causing your father to laugh out loud.  

You groan as your dad began heading towards the house, “Is mom in a good mood today? Because I can hide out at Aaron’s until she’s in a good mood, oh, maybe you should slip her some wine to ease her up.” You gasped and looked up at your father pleadingly.  

You were tired and did not want to deal with an overprotective mama today. You had traveled through the night just to get here. Your body was practically begging you to drop to the ground for sleep.  

Your father smirked, “You know your mother, she’s never in a good mood whenever you’re not here.”

You sighed running a hand through your greasy hair and muttered, “Where’s the demon spawn Aiden?”

Your father chuckled, “Complaining to your mother about the new faces.”

“Bitch.” You mumbled.

Aiden and you were always butting heads, no matter how small it was, you could always bet you and Aiden fighting over it. That’s why Spencer was always there to calm things down between the two of you. Now, Spencer was another story. You loved Spencer with all of your heart, well, you loved Aiden too, but he was such a stuck up prick with a twisted sense of humor.  

Spencer was always the calm and quiet one. He was kind unlike Aiden. He knew how bad things were outside your iron gates. Aiden just made fun of everything and didn’t take anything seriously.

“Aiden got into a fray last week. He was worried that something must’ve happened to you and wanted to make a search party to go search for you.”  

Then Aiden acted like the worried big brother he was supposed to be and you just couldn’t hate him. You sighed, “I guess I’ll cool the bitchy attitude, but I swear if he tries something I’ll kick his ass.” You told your father.  

Your father laughed and nodded, “I believe you.”

A few familiar faces called your name, shared their relief that you were back, and went on their way. You smiled happy that you were home again. Your mother’s home came into view. You said your mother’s because you didn’t live with your mother and father; like Aiden. You and Spencer lived in the town homes on the other side of the safe-zone.  

Instantly, you spotted your mother speaking with an unfamiliar woman. She was pretty with her light brown hair and summer green eyes. You could instantly see yourself making friends with the woman. She seemed to be around your age.  

Your mother shifted to the side a little and caught sight of your father before she caught sight of you. Her mouth hanged opened, surprise and relief filled her sharp eyes, and the woman confusingly stopped talking to your mother to look over her shoulder and at you.

Originally posted by ledanna

“Y/N!” Your mother, Deanna, quickly made her way towards you and engulfing you into a tight, motherly hug.  

“Hey, momma.” You mumbled burying your face into her shoulder. You had missed her the most. You always loved her familiar warmth and smell. She always wore the same perfume.  

“I have half a mind to slap the shit out of you, missy, you were gone for a month! You were only supposed to be gone for two weeks! Do you have any idea how worried I was?” She demanded smacking the side of your head.

You laughed and rubbed your head, “I know but I hit a small town that was untouched by any humans and spent almost two weeks taking everything back to our warehouse.” You explained.

Your mother opened her open to reprimand you some more but your father quickly cut in, “Honey, why don’t you finish business with Maggie so Y/N can get some rest?”  

Your mother sighed and almost shot you apologetic glance, “I’m glad you’re back, baby, go on and rest. We’re having a welcome party for the new arrivals tonight—“

“Do I have to?” You groaned not really in the mood for a stupid party.

You were in the middle of a shit apocalypse it wasn’t the time to be having a formal house party! That was something that you didn’t like about your home…it had always been sheltered from the gruesome sights of the new world. The folks here had no idea what cruelty lied beyond your gates. They wouldn’t even last an hour outside these gates.  

You told your mother countless of times to train them but she saw no use for it when they had the gates and walls your father built up.  

Mother gave you a hard stare, “You’re going.” And that was the final say.  


Originally posted by tae-boogie

“Come on, Y/N, we’re already late.” Spencer, your older brother, walked into your room.  

You glared at him as you pulled your hair up in a messy bun, “I don’t want to go, Spence, you know how I feel about these damn parties.”  

Spencer patted your shoulder in a comforting way, “I know, sis, but this is important to mom. She wants to make the newcomers feel safe and welcomed.” He explained to you in a tone you knew would budge your stubbornness.

The dress you were wearing you had since before the world went to hell. It was meant to be for a dinner with one of the mayors from another state, but obviously that never happened. The dress was long and just barely kissed the ground. It was sleeveless revealing your delicate shoulders. The back was left open revealing your creamy back.

The color adorned against your naturally creamy skin. It made your soft eyes pop and your slightly rosy face to almost have a soft glow. It was also your mother’s favorite color; a gentle wine red.

Your silky curls were stubbornly pulled up into a messy but elegant bun with a few tendrils of hair framing your face. You hadn’t been this dolled up in quite some time. You hardly ever went to the house parties in the safe-zone and only went because you were forced too.  

It seems that even with the world being the way it was, mother’s always had rule over their children.  

“Fine, let’s go.” You sighed quietly getting up from your vanity seat.  

Spencer gave a light grin and draped his arm over your delicate shoulders, “Have you met any of them yet?”

You shook your head, “No, wait, Aaron introduced to one…Sasha? But I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself because dad showed up.”

Spencer held the front door open for you before pulling off his dress shirt jacket and draping it over your shoulders, “I forgot we’re heading into the fall and the nights are going to get colder.” Your old brother mumbled before the both of you began to head towards your mother’s house.  

“How are the new people anyway? Why did mother pick them?” You questioned.

Spencer sighed, “You’ll see when you meet them, sis. It’s hard to explain but you’re smart, so, you’ll see it.” His answer was vague but it only fueled your curiosity about these new faces.  

Spencer updated you on the gossip within the safe-zone. He didn’t really give you any information about the new comers but you figured you’d know once you mingled with them. It was most likely the reason why your mother was so adamant that you attend this formal welcoming. You were Alexandria’s Sweet-heart, as much as you didn’t like them calling you that, and you knew how to turn on the charm and make anyone feel welcome.  

It was one of your many God-given talents; one you were proud of.

You came to the door and sighed softly, “I’m only saying for an hour then I’m going back home. I am way too tired to put up with the gossip about whatsherface finding her stupid pasta maker.” You gave a scowl making Spencer laugh out loud.  

Your mother answered the door and gave you a slight scolding look, “You’re late.” She stated. The party in apparent full swing behind her.  

“You’re lucky I’m even here.” You sang with a smirk.  

She managed a small smile, “That is true.” You were just as stubborn, if not more, as her.  

She hugged Spencer and kissed your forehead before ushering the both of you inside. “I’m only staying for an hour,” You whispered to her and ignored her disappointed frown, “Mom, I am tired and honestly, you know how I feel about this pointless parties.”  

She just sighed and nodded knowing it was better to give in then to fight. She needed you here to make Rick and his people feel like they were worth trusting. You were her secret weapon in getting Rick’s trust.  

You were instantly greeted by familiar faces. They all welcomed you back warmly and proudly, asking what took you so long, and prodding for your adventures. It seemed like they were returning a war-hero. It made you upset. They knew nothing of what lingered outside these iron walls.  

“Y/N,” Jessie exclaimed with a grin, “I heard you were back, it’s so nice to see you safe.” The blonde hugged you tightly and you hugged back. Jessie was one of your closest friends and you did your best to watch over her boys and her whenever that brute of a husband was around.  

He might’ve been someone of importance here but if he even dared to touch or hurt Jessie, Ron, or Sam you’d put a blade into his skull. Your mother turned a blind eye to it, but not you. 

Originally posted by ghcstnoah

“Y/N!” Innocent, little Sam beamed up at you looking up at you as if you were his favorite superhero, “I missed you! Ron thought something happened to you but I knew you were alright!” Sam boasted happily.  

You smiled and ruffled his thin, brown hair, “I missed you too, kid, and you know me, I always come back.” You took in Ron’s absence and frowned a bit when you also didn’t see Enid. You were sure the girl was probably very upset with you. Enid was very closed off but you did your best to get the girl to open up to you. It took almost five months before she began to confide in you. Around that time, you suggested that she come live with you and Spencer. Enid couldn’t have said yes any quicker.  

“Y/N.” Pete smiled at you warmly.  

You stared at him with venom but flashed him a toothy grin, “Pete, my god you’ve gotten a bit fat. Jessie’s been spoiling you.”  

Pete’s smile faltered the tiniest bit but he just chuckled, “I’m a lucky man.”

You smiled, “Of course you are.”

“Rick, I would like you to meet my youngest daughter, Y/N,” Your mother’s voice came up from behind you and you turned around to see a brooding, imposing man standing beside your mother. He had these haunting blue eyes, curly brown-black hair, and had this commanding aura about him. Your mind immediately thought that this man had either been an officer, a mayor, or an army man. Someone of power. 

Originally posted by nerd4music

In that short instance, you knew why they were here. Glancing behind him, you saw other unfamiliar faces—even a baby. Something you hadn’t seen in a very long time. You forgot about your mother and her introductions. A massive smile broke out on your face at the sight of the beautiful little girl cradled in a boy’s arms—probably Rick’s son by the similar looks.  

“Oh my gosh, she is beautiful!” You cooed stunning Rick and his people.  

“Y/N,” Your mother sighed with a small smile.

“She is precious,” You gaped as the baby looked at you and babbled at you looking like she wanted to be held by you. “Oh, she is…may I hold her?” You looked at Rick.  

The brooding man looked like he would snap a quick no but glanced behind when he heard his daughter’s mewls and saw her reaching out to be held by the younger girl dressed in red. Rick’s stoic face softened and he nodded at Y/N.  

You giddily walked up to the teenager boy and gave him a smile, “May I?”  

The boy seemed to have blushed a bit and hastily gave you his baby sister. The baby cooed at you happily, going to pull your cheeks, and touch your nose. You laughed and the baby giggled cutely. “She is a gem, what is her name?” You asked to no one in particular.  

“Judith.” The teenager mumbled.  

“Judith, what a pretty name!” You did funny faces at Judith who squealed and laughed in joy.

“She’s never acted like that with a stranger.” Rick sounded impressed.  

“She has a way with kids.” Your mother boasted proudly.

You were introduced to Rick’s people. You could tell they’ve had hardships and seen gruesome sights. You could see it in their eyes, in their body language, and their expressions. There was this unspoken message between Rick’s people and you, it was like they knew that you weren’t like the others. You knew how it was out beyond the walls. You knew there were others seeking to take what you had. You just knew.

You were still cradling a sleeping Judith in your arms while speaking to Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Abraham. “They said you went away for some time,” Michonne, the dark-skinned woman with a hard face, asked you after cracking a joke that was so bad it made Abraham spit his beer, “What do you out on your own?” She was curious, if not a bit suspicious.

You shrugged and gazed between Rick’s people who looked awkward and your people who looked completely at ease, “I didn’t like sitting in this cage and not doing anything, so, I told my parents that I would go try to find other survivors or try finding supplies we needed, anything to help. Over a month ago, I told my parents of a town I once visited, a vey small and sleepy town, but it had quite a few bakeries and food joints, so I wanted to see if there was anything left to gather,”

You shifted your gaze around the room full of familiar people and noticed a few people missing still; Ron, Enid, Aaron, Eric, Sam, and one of Rick’s people named Carol.  

Aaron and Eric didn’t really attend parties mostly because despite the world going to shit, they were still people who were assholes and snobs.  

Ron was probably with Enid.  

Sam…where was the little boy?

“I didn’t think there would be a lot but there was, and I spent a lot of time going back and forth to one of our secure warehouses a few miles from here hence why I took so long.”  

“Why do you go alone?” Rick questioned with a frown.  

You shrug, “Because beside Aaron, Eric, and a few others…the rest here don’t know how to even kill a biter. They don’t know of the shit that happens out there. They think they’re safe within these walls, but what they don’t get is that there are people out there that want to take what we have. I try to tell my mother but she doesn’t want to believe it. Sooner or later, someone will see what we have and will try to take it and I can only kill so many people before someone takes me down.”

You were a bit out of breath and you had a frown on your face. Rick definitely looked impressed. Abraham was smirking and saying, “Hear, hear, princess badass.”

Michonne was looking at Rick with an eyebrow raised, “This some has spunk.”

Carl had this look similar to his dad and a slight red tint to his cheeks when you shot him a grin. It was clear he wasn’t used to an older girls attention.

“Damn right, I do.” You laughed.  

You mingled with Rick and his people for bit handing over your newest adoration in life to Rick. You could tell that he was a bit more trusting towards you. You moved towards Rick’s other people who looked a bit unsure what to do; Tara, Noah, and Glenn. Maggie was mingling a bit easier then her people.

Originally posted by undeadalliance

“You guys looked bored as fuck.” You commented with a friendly grin.  

Tara glanced at you and gave a friendly smile, “Not even before did I go to these.” She commented.  

“Yeah, same. The only party I went to was my neighbor’s.” Noah remarked with a small chuckle. The younger ones in Rick’s group were a bit more open.  

“So, how come you don’t go out with your brother Aiden?” Glenn questioned.  

“He’s a fucking idiot.”


Your mother had heard your comment and gave you a pointed glare while your father was snickering from beside her. “He is.” You shrugged as your new friends snickered.  

“That dress is amazing, Y/N.” It was Maggie who complimented you and was now sitting beside Glenn. You had learned that those two were married, and you could see the love they had for each other whenever they locked gazes. It made you feel hopeful.  

“Thanks,” You chuckled, “I was going to wear something more casual like jeans and a nice top but my mother would’ve killed me.” You made a funny face making your new friends laugh in amusement.

“So, I guess tomorrow you’ll take one of the trucks to the warehouse?” Maggi questioned.

You nodded, “Yeah, I am glad that I don’t have to rely on Aiden now. He’s such a pain in the ass,” You snorted and grinned at them, “I can use you guys to help, you don’t mind do you?”  

Tara and Noah looked back at Glenn who shrugged, “I’m sure Rick wouldn’t mind. Just one trip?” Glenn questioned.  

You grinned, “More then two or three trips.”  

“Whoa, this must’ve been a big haul for you, why didn’t you take someone with you?” Noah questioned with a cute, confused look on his face.  

You gave a small shrug, “Most of my other friends are out scavenging too and I don’t really trust anyone else to have my back like that. Aiden may act tough…but when it comes to the wire, he’ll freak. His friend Nicholas is the same too. Aaron is too busy with finding other survivors with Eric, although I think Eric will be out of commission for a while since he twisted his ankle.”  

“You don’t get along with your brother, do you?” Tara teased.  

You gave your new friend a sheepish smile, “I love Aiden but we butt heads way too much. No idea where he is tonight; probably fucking some girl.” You knew there was only two girls left in the safe-zone that were about Aiden’s age.  

You ended up staying at the party for more then an hour. You were exhausted and the heels you were wearing were killing you. You yawned and rubbed at your eyes announcing that you were retiring for the night. “Oh, come on,” Tara complained, “Noah just found Uno!”

“It’s alright, Y/N,” Glenn rolled his eyes at Tara and Noah complaining, “You go and rest up. You look dead on your feet.”  

You didn’t feel like telling everyone you were leaving; so, you told your mother and father before leaving. You were walking down the street enjoying the crisp, cold air on your exposed shoulders and back; it gave a jolt of awareness.  

You were humming a long forgotten song when you were turning the corners towards your townhouses and bumped into a warm, hard form. “Whoa,” You stumbled and in these heels, you felt your body swaying backwards but a rough hand caught your elbow.

“Sorry,” You immediately apologized, “I wasn’t—“

“Who the hell are you?” 

Your body responded to the voice unnaturally. The voice was raspy, deep, and tinged with a southern accent. Your eyes shot up to locked onto dark blue eyes that were glaring at you with confusion. The man had to be a good twenty years older then you but he was damn fine. He was dirty, covered in dirt, had a vest, and a crossbow on his back. His face was hard and sharp with a frown. His hair kissed his shoulders.  

“Who the hell are you?” You demanded hotly with a frown and placed your hands on your hips.

The man followed your movements and his eyes lingered on your slim but curvy waist before trailing upwards towards your best and to your shoulders. Your cheeks burned and your stomach pooled with a weird sensation.  

Daryl didn’t know what to do in this situation. Honest to God, he had never laid eyes on such a beautiful woman before. She was young maybe mid-to-late twenties. She had high-cheek bones that were elegant and soft. Her face was round, a sweetheart face, with charming and loud doe eyes and lips that would stretch into a beautiful smile.  

Her hair was up in a bun but a few strands were hanging loosely around her face. The dress she was wearing was nice and tight around her petit and lithe body. Daryl had never looked at a woman like he was looking at this one. Hell, he avoided women; they were complimented as hell, but this one seemed different. This one had bags under her eyes and looked tired—exhausted.  

It reminded Daryl of a warrior princess returning home from war—it was in a comic he had once read when he was younger.  

He inwardly scoffed, what the hell was he thinking?

“Oh, Y/N!” Daryl and Y/N turned to see Aaron jogging up to them.  

“Daryl?” The lovely vixen looked at Daryl with curious eyes.

Daryl clenched his jaw but didn’t comment. He was trying his best to ignore the tinging sensation in his lower stomach from when the woman had said his name—it was almost a bit too intimate for Daryl.  

“This one of Rick’s people?” She asked Aaron whilst eying Daryl, “He needs a damn shower.”

Daryl glared at her, “’Cuse me?”

“You heard me.” She answered boldly not backing down from his icy glare.  

Aaron watched the interaction between man and woman with amusement. He had never seen Daryl act so out of character; despite the short time Aaron had known the redneck. Y/N was known for being sassy but there was something off about the way she was staring at Daryl.  

“You got some nerve, girl.” Daryl snapped with a frown.  

“We have running water, ya know.” The annoying but lovely girl smirked. 

Originally posted by shadxv

Daryl growled, “You better watch your mouth, sunshine.”  

Feeling bold, you smirked, “Or what? What are you going to do about it?” You taunted taking an instant liking to this handsome redneck.  

Daryl clenched his jaw, “You gonna find out.”  

FT Fluff Week Day 7 (Sorry, late.)

Prompt: Serendipity

Summary: AU. Lucy’s life takes an unexpected turn when her wedding day does not turn out so well.

Pairing: Natsu/Lucy

Rating: T for language and a few (really mild) references to sexual themes.

Spoilers: Nope.


It was supposed to be one of the big milestones of Lucy’s life.

Everything was all planned. The cake was finished, the caterers had been called, the tuxes and dresses had been paid for, and every decoration was in place. It was Lucy’s wedding day: the day that she and her fiancee, Dan Straight, would be bound in matrimony. Lucy had mixed feelings about it, honestly. She was already having doubts about her life up until now. Dan was much older than her, and he seemed to be much more infatuated with her than she was with him.

She couldn’t blame this all on her father, no matter what. Sure, he’d been the one that had introduced Lucy to Dan, and had suggested that she date him instead of this hot guy at her school. She was the one who listened to him, after all, and she was the one who had accepted Dan’s proposal.

Things just didn’t feel right. They say that love should make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. Every kiss should have fireworks, every time you touch you should feel the connection, you should get butterflies in your stomach when nearby. Those feelings did not describe how Lucy felt.

With a sigh, she looks down at her feet. The poofy white wedding dress covers her white heels, the wide skirt feeling overly large. This dress was insanely uncomfortable… With a sigh, she decides to take a small walk outside the church. She really needs some fresh air.

The gardens outside are in full bloom. Bright shades of red, blue, yellow, pink, and purple greet her eyes, along with the rich green color of the foliage. She watches a tiny pink butterfly flit from flower to flower, its wings beating slowly. This peace is suddenly interrupted by the sound of a familiar feminine voice, “But will we be alone?”

“Don’t you worry, Angie-poo,” Dan’s voice replies. Lucy’s heart stops. “We’ll have plenty of time to ourselves after I move in with Lulu. I’ll keep on lying about having a job and come see you~ We can meet in my old house and go even further than two nights ago~”

Angel’s giggle that followed afterwards, along with the husky tone of voice Dan was using, broke Lucy’s heart in two. Dan…was cheating?! She had always wondered why he never paid for their dates: he never had money to begin with! Instead of having a job, he went around sleeping with women!

Tears sting her eyes as she runs back into the church. There she undresses, throwing the gown to the floor as she pulls on her t-shirt, skirt, and boots. She was so done with him. Sure, she was heartbroken, but at the same time…she wasn’t.

She storms out of the church in a huff, making sure to slam all the doors. On her way out, she tears off her engagement ring and leaves it by the men’s dressing room with a note that read, “Give it to the girl you’re doing instead.” Lucy didn’t care if she sounded like a bitch, she was so done with this man… Forever.

Lucy ran as fast as she could back towards her house. She had no car, as Dan had driven her here. She would’ve stolen his car, but he had the keys, and Lucy really didn’t want to go to jail today. Or ever, for that matter.

Wiping tears from her eyes, Lucy stops for a breather by an alleyway (in retrospect, it wasn’t really the best idea…). With a sigh, she gazes outward at the street. Not many cars came by her, but that was understandable. There were two ways to get to Lucy’s house: the fast way, or the long way. She took the long way, simply because she knew no one would follow her. The main reason, though, wasn’t because of the distance, it was because of the neighborhood. This part of Magnolia was the ghetto.

“Whatcha doin’, Blondie?” a creepy voice says from behind her. A shiver goes up Lucy’s spine at the man’s voice. A muscular, broad-shouldered man with lots of piercings and long black hair steps in front of her. His red eyes study her fairly short skirt. Oh…no… She was in trouble now. “You do realize that you’re in gang territory, right?”

Lucy swallows, about to answer, when another voice cuts in with, “Yeah, it’s gang territory, alright. However, it is not Phantom Lord gang territory.” A shadow of another person is cast upon the sidewalk. “Get outta here, Blacksteel. My gang’s still pissed off at ya for attacking one of our girls.”

“It was harmless fun,” Blacksteel snorts. “All I did was scare her a little.”

“By beating her senseless?” growls the other man. “Seriously, fuck off. I’ve already kicked your ass once, and I don’t have the patience to do it again.”

“You’re such a spoilsport, Salamander,” snaps Blacksteel. “All I did was-”

“SHUT UP!” Salamander shouts, and he leaps out of the alleyway and punches Blacksteel right in the jaw. Lucy’s jaw drops at the sight of him. He’s much shorter than Blacksteel, but definitely has strength, as Blacksteel lurches backwards as Salamander’s fist hits him.

“Fine!” Blacksteel shouts, rubbing his chin. “I’ll leave you alone for now! But just so you’re aware, Fairy Tail is not safe in these parts. You’ve always been little arrogant shitheads, and someday, that’s gonna come back to bite you.”

“Get lost,” Salamander snarls. Blacksteel then slinks off down the street, obviously pissed off. Salamander turns to look at her. “Hey, there. You okay?”

Lucy looks him up and down. Considering that he was in a gang in the ghetto, he had surprisingly nice clothing. His shirt was a bright red color, and over it he wore an unzipped black leather jacket. On the bottom he wore a pair of dark colored jeans and fairly scuffed up black shoes. His pink hair (yes, it was actually pink) was styled in wild spikes, although each one seemed to be gelled in a certain way. He stood confidently, his hands in his pockets as he studied her face.

“Y-Yes, I’m alright,” she stammers. “Thank you…he was scaring me.”

“That’s Blacksteel,” Salamander sighs. “He’s a prick who loves screwing with other gangs. He beat up quite a few gang members from various gangs last week, such as Lamia Scale and Cait Shelter. Us, too,” he replies, his expression grave.

“Is his real name Blacksteel?” Lucy asks him, a little confused.

“It’s kind of like a codename,” he replies. “We don’t want our real names getting out to the general public, because then the cops will have something to go by. They don’t like all the crimes we commit.”

“Who would?” Lucy answers immediately without thinking.

Salamander’s eyes narrow. “Look, most of the things we do aren’t for fun, okay? We do it because we’re starving, and no one wants workers from the ghetto when they can have normal city folk. There’s kids in our gang, and we need to support them too.”

Lucy’s jaw drops, “There’s kids in your gang?!”

“Well, yeah,” he admits. “We’re not like most other gangs. Everyone in our gang is an orphan, or has no place to go. We’re more like a family than a gang.” His cheeks suddenly turn pink as he rubs the back of his neck sheepishly. “And I can’t believe I just told a random person I just met all of this.”

Lucy smiles, “It’s okay, I won’t tell.” His shoulders sag in relief. “I’m Lucy, by the way. Nice to meet you, Salamander.”

“Oh, what the hell,” he groans. “I’ve told you so much already, you might as well know my real name. I’m Natsu.”

Surprised, Lucy feels her heart flutter. He’s the nicest gang member she’s ever met… “Well then, nice to meet you, Natsu.”

“Same,” he replies, flashing a grin. “Hey, uh, do you want me to walk you home? That way nobody else tries to hurt you…or worse.” Lucy opens her mouth to answer him, but he carries on. “Sabertooth has been brutal lately too. White Dragon and Shadow have been pissing me off.”

“Err…” Lucy doesn’t even bother to ask about the codenames, completely confused. “Well, uh, sure. It’d be great to have some company. I’ve had a really crazy horrible day.”

Natsu beams, “Alright!” Together they begin walking down the sidewalk. Now that Natsu was out of the shadows, Lucy could see his face a bit better. She blushes despite herself. She knows in that moment that she definitely has a weird taste in men…because this guy was really hot.

She coughs awkwardly. “Um…my house is this way.” She points to a street to her left with a slight wave her hand.

He stares at her. “Of course it is, weirdo. The other streets lead into gang territory or further into the ghetto. There’s no way you’d live there with clothes and makeup like that.”

Lucy feels her face flush. “W-Well, normally my makeup isn’t like this… You see…I…” She turns away from him. “I kind of just ran away from my own wedding.” Natsu chokes on his spit. Lucy quickly tries to explain, “I-It was for a good reason! I found out my fiancee didn’t actually have a job! Instead he’d go out and lie with other women!”

“Damn!” Natsu swears furiously. “If I knew that guy, I’d beat him up for you! He sounds like a total-”

Lucy cuts him off, “It’s okay, Natsu, calm down. I never really loved him anyways… I don’t even really know what love is, actually… It’s always been a mystery to me.”

“I don’t understand it either,” Natsu replies sheepishly, blushing slightly.

“R-Really?” Lucy blurts. “It seems like you would’ve had a girlfriend since you’re so attractive!” Natsu’s face turns bright red.

“Uh-uh-uh-” Natsu stammers, embarrassed. “W-Well, n-no…”

“Uh, well, I-this is my house,” Lucy finally says, walking up my walk. “Um…maybe I’ll see you again…”

“Soon,” he suddenly replies. “I’ll see you soon, Lucy.”


Four months later, Lucy hoists her bag up on her shoulder as she walks out of the grocery store. She can still smell the freshly cooked muffins in her bag. The scent makes Lucy feel warm and happy.

“C'mon, Angie-poo,” a familiar voice says, “we’re going to-” Dan stops short when he spots Lucy. “Oh, Lulu!” gasps Dan. “I haven’t seen you since the wedding! Where did you go?!”

“Leave me alone, cheater,” she snaps, turning away slightly.

“Oh, but Lulu-”

Dan is violently interrupted by a shout of, “Leave her alone!” A group of five people walk up to Lucy, Dan, and Angel. Natsu leads the group, and he is followed by a redhead, a young blue-haired girl, a little light blue-haired boy, and a shirtless dark-haired boy.

Dan’s face turns white. “A…a gang?!”

“We’re Fairy Tail,” the redhead says darkly. “My name is Titania.”

“I’m Freeze.”

“I’m Rain Woman!”

“I am Bookworm!”

“I’m Fish!”

“And I’m Salamander,” Natsu says darkly. He steps towards Dan. “No need to introduce yourself. I know who you are. You’re the bastard that hurt Lucy… I’ll never forgive you!”

“Natsu!” Lucy shouts, stepping in front of him. “Stop. It’s okay.” Even though Lucy could see that Natsu is seething, there was no way she was going to let him take his anger out on Dan. She turns back to her ex, her eyes narrowed. “Look, Dan. We’re through. Get your ass out of here. I don’t ever want to see you again.”

Everyone’s jaws drop. They couldn’t believe that Lucy had just snapped like that. Speechless, Dan slowly steers Angel away from Lucy and the member of the Fairy Tail gang. Lucy turns back to her friends. “Sorry, guys,” she sighs, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.

“Sorry?!” laughs Freeze.

“No, that was kickass, Luce!” Natsu grins. “All the more reason to give you this.” He pulls something out of his jacket pocket. “That’s why we’re even out here. Erza, oops, I mean, Titania, saw you going to the store, so we came after ya.”

The item he places in her hand is cool and smooth. Very slowly Lucy opens her hand. A gasp escapes her throat at the sight of the pink Fairy Tail symbol necklace. “You…you didn’t…”

“You’re now an honorary member of our gang,” Natsu says to her, placing a hand on her shoulder. “You wear this, the other gangs won’t touch ya. They’ll see that you’re under our wing, and they’ll either be friendly or leave you alone.”

“You want me…to be an honorary member?” Lucy whispers, tears of joy in her eyes.

“Aye!” Fish cheers.

Lucy breaks down into happy tears, throwing her arms around Natsu’s neck. “Oh, thank you thank you thank you! It’s so great to know that I have friends!”

“No problem,” Natsu grins. “Now, you can come hang out with us at our hideout. Dontcha worry, it’s not scary. Everyone’s super friendly.”

Lucy pulls away, gently pressing her forehead against his. “Natsu…” she whispers.

His cheeks turn pink, “Eh? What?”

Very slowly, she leans a tiny bit closer to Natsu. Behind him, his fellow gang members’ eyes widen in shock. Lucy closes her own eyes, slowly shortening the distance between them. Right as she’s about to close the gap, Natsu’s hands suddenly find the back of her head, and then he’s slamming his lips into hers. The kiss was forceful at first, but slowly turned soft, warm, and gentle. Lucy felt like she was going to explode.

She didn’t know how long they kissed for. The only thing she knew was that they kissed more than once, stopping only for small bursts of air. Behind them, their friends were watching, dumbstruck and embarrassed.

Sure, this wasn’t like the cliche love story. She had been through a failed engagement, disobeyed her father, and met and befriended a gang. And now, here she was, kissing a long-time member of the infamous Fairy Tail in front of a discount grocery store. But to Lucy, it really didn’t matter. This was her story…

All it had taken was a little Serendipity, and she finally found her way.

anonymous asked:

What career advice do you have for recent graduates, especially women?

This is a really tough question, anon. I actually brought this up over Memorial Day weekend with my friends when we were reapplying lipstick in between rounds of heavy drinking at the Nats-Phillies game. 

The question of post-collegiate advice is daunting, because surely you’ve already heard from every Tom, Dick and Harry who are well-meaning but pulling from a pool of professional information that is at least 35 years out of use, or overly optimistic and misguided people telling you to follow your heart (and yes, I truly believe that’s misguided). So I guess I will attempt to give you in broad strokes what I wish I had internalized earlier, when I was a bit younger, and hope that you come out of your twenties a little less bruised than I found myself. 

I think the first thing to know is that you are right, your suspicions are true: it is really hard out here. It is harder than your parents had it; it is harder than your grandparents had it. Boomers now who are looking down their noses at Millennials and throwing around words like “entitlement” and “impatience” are out of touch at best and cultivating active ignorance at worst. Their belief that everybody should eat shit and get hazed for the first years of their career is rooted in a work infrastructure that rewarded this sort of torture with security and guaranteed benefits and advancement. I, too, would put up with endemic bullshit if I knew it was just for a few years, and then I would be locked into an upward trajectory with more or less guaranteed raises and advancement. This hasn’t been the professional landscape since the 90s – maybe the 80s. Your unwillingness to be treated like garbage is not a character flaw.

That said, your other suspicion is true as well: you probably need to work harder. There are a lot of extenuating circumstances here (are you rich? do you have connections? are you in a field that’s gasping for employees and willing to hurl money at them? did you major in English? are you considering law school? don’t go to law school, seriously), but for most of us, because we aren’t rich and don’t have connections and may not be in fields that are gasping for employees and willing to hurl money at them – the difference for you and me? It’s who is willing to work their fucking ass off. 

My first three years out of college were fucking terrible. I got an incredible opportunity, and I don’t know if I fully rose to the challenge, but I tried my hardest. That meant stupid hours and 3 a.m. phone calls; years of being friends with people who got used to me bailing on weekend adventures and dates and dinners to go back to the office for fuck knows what reason. It was objectively terrible, and I in no way endorse it – I don’t think that anybody should threat their junior employees the way I was treated. I would never do that to a new hire or an intern or a rented mule for that matter. 

But the takeaway is that I rocked up to New York on the slimmest of odds, and based mostly on stubbornness, a good dash of luck, and the knowledge that I wasn’t the smartest, but I would kill myself trying to be, I did okay. There are less dramatic versions of this that people should aspire to live each day, because the ugly truth of the thing is this:

In the marketplace of employees, all the abstract things that you have discussed and enumerated and angrily reblogged – prejudice, capitalism, sexism, racism – they’re all there. But you still have to operate within the system because you have to pay your rent and buy food. The way to do this is the way I think immigrants have been telling their kids to do this for generations now: push all that other shit out of the way, fight the urge to feel sorry for yourself, and work as hard as you fucking can. Of course it’s unfair, of course it’s fucking maddening. But you are only going to be in a position to change it or make it better if you make it, period, and opting out or waffling isn’t going to put you in that role.

Whenever I feel like I can’t do it or it’s too hard, I think about my father. My father and I don’t get along; we love each other but we don’t like each other, and it took us putting continents and oceans between us before we learned how to be comfortable in our relationship. But my father was among the Sent-down youth of China, part of the country’s lost generation of oldest sons and daughters ripped out of school in the mid-teens and dispatched to do hard manual labor in the fucking farms of China. He spent years out there, completely fucking alone and without any hope or idea of how he would ever get past this, if he would survive, how the hell he was going to get out of that hellhole – if he could even go home to Shanghai. He suffered untreated kidney infections and frostbite all over his hands. When the universities started to reopen, he sat out in haystacks under the moon with smuggled books of physics and calculus and taught himself with a basis of middle school math because he knew it was his only possibility for escape. He got into Fudan University in Shanghai, where he studied Chemistry because he thought it might help him get to America, and it did. Now, my folks live in California and have a lemon tree in their backyard, and when I was 23 and crying on the subway home, he would tell me I was working too hard and it would fill me with a crippling, bone-deep shame. 

However fucking hard I had it, however fucking tired or destroyed or depressed I was? I never came close to my dad. I never will. And whenever I got low and thought I wanted to quit I would remember where I came from and get mad: at myself for being such a fucking coward, at the situation, at the fact that even for a second I let these assholes beat me down. 

This is getting weird and wander-y, but I guess it boils down to this: you will feel shitty and tired and wronged, and all of it will probably be valid. But you also have to get past that and work your ass off – especially because you are not a middle or upper class white male – to get what you want. 

Because at the very end of it, you will have a job where you can pay your rent and buy food and maybe even have some left over for fun. 

But even better? If you’re very fortunate and work very hard, you might get to have a conversation like I get to have sometimes, where someone says to me, “Is it weird to have three black women in a row in this presentation?” and I get to say to them, “No. It’s a good thing we have three black women in a row. Would you ever ask me that about white men?” Or when I get to mentor young women at work, talk them off the ledge in the ladies room when they’re freaking out; send someone’s boss a note saying, “Hey, this kid you took a chance on is doing great.” Or hell, even the ugly stuff, like where I have to tell a phalanx of old white guys that they can’t say this shit and they have to listen to me, because thank God they have to listen to me and they can’t say that shit. 

At the end of it, best of all, the very luckiest ones of us are even be able to pay it forward a little. 

So Anon, who probably didn’t want this response at all, I wish you some good luck because everybody needs it, and I wish you fortitude to push through the rest. There’s a whole big world out there – kick it in the ass.