several moments in fact

Short opinion: I might have had empathy for David while reading #20, but that all disappeared real fast around the time Jake tells Ax that they need to start looking for Tobias not in the sky but dead on the ground.  

Long opinion:

This book has always struck me as being a study in military leadership.  We get relatively little introspection from Jake for once (and thank goodness; as much as I love that kid even I think he needs to lighten up on the self-loathing sometimes) because this is a book about how the Animorphs are doing something very right.  Specifically, they are operating exactly as a small military unit should—and it takes a clueless, selfish outsider in order to act as a foil and show just how friggin’ competent these child soldiers actually are.  A lot of that competence comes straight from the Animorphs’ absolute, unhesitating trust in their leader, to the point of literally being willing to die at his command.  David throws a pretty huge wrench in the works by simply being there with the team, and none of the Animorphs handle that challenge to Jake’s leadership particularly well.  Then again, considering how much of the plot of this book hinges on the Animorphs needing strong leadership just to stay alive, one can appreciate their disgust at David’s disobedience.  

Because Jake holds that team together.  Marco might tease him for his lack of science knowledge, Rachel might treat him like a little brother, Ax might enjoy winding him up with the whole “prince” thing, Tobias might happily poke fun at his bad grades, and Cassie might be quick to point out his lack of people skills, but they all respect the hell out of Jake.  Again and again in this book (and in the series as a whole) they prove that they literally trust him with their lives.  Sure, it helps that going into the war Cassie and Marco have both been friends with Jake for years while Rachel’s known him her whole life, Ax wants anyone who can tell him what to do, and Tobias has latched on like a barnacle learned that he can rely on Jake to help him out.  But Jake also earns that trust over the course of the war.  He goes into every battle with six Animorphs, and he comes out of every battle except the last one with six Animorphs (X).  He will deliberately refuse to ask his team to do anything he isn’t willing to do himself, and he will physically throw himself between the line of fire and any of his friends if he can.  

…so it’s patently ridiculous that David thinks he can win leadership over the Animorphs through biting people.  It seems almost silly to consider that David thinks Rachel and the others will seriously acknowledge his superiority as a direct result of him hurting someone they love.  And yet that exact trope is incredibly common in fantasy and sci fi.  Highlander, Pacific Rim, Dune, The Sword of Truth, X-Men, Spectrum, Babylon 5, Journey to Chaos, and like 400 other books and movies I don’t have space to list all portray male characters winning or attempting to win leadership roles (or infinitely worse, the respect of relatively passive female characters) through punching each other.  Technically speaking, David and Jake’s little catfight is a classic dominance battle… and Jake loses.  Badly.  Non-technically speaking, David never had a prayer of getting the Animorphs to respect him as much as they respect Jake pretty much no matter what he did.  

Because this whole book is all about showing the boundaries of Jake’s authority, which are far-reaching and close to absolute. When Ax says that it would be smarter for him to join Jake in following David into David’s bedroom, Jake insists on having Ax in the backyard and Ax goes to demorph without question.  During the opening scene, Jake asks Tobias first for clothes for David and then for a seagull, and Tobias runs off (flies off?) to go grab both immediately.  When the Animorphs first pop up inside the banquet hall pillar next to the yeerk pool, Jake asks Rachel to go into battle morph… and then asks her to demorph thirty seconds later.  She does both without grumbling.  When the seven of them are facing down the (apparent) army of hork-bajir controllers, Jake asks Marco to attack the thirty-odd controllers while alone and unarmed (pun intended) and Marco just says “you’d better be sure” before he goes ahead and does it (#21).  Cassie and Jake toss the issue of What to Do About David back and forth, but Cassie defers to Jake’s judgment.  When the seven of them are poised to grab the Russian prime minister and Jake suddenly says “Battle morphs! Now!” without a word of explanation, his narration notes “No one asked why. No one hesitated” as everyone frantically starts morphing (#21).  

However, Jake also repays that trust in spades.  His snap-judgment order to have the team go into battle morph saves their lives when otherwise Visser Three’s trap would have closed on them all.  He doesn’t get Marco killed because he’s right about the hologram within a hologram, and he also correctly calculates that having Ax demorphed during that final battle with David is more valuable than having him in harrier morph would be.  When asking for favors from Rachel and Tobias he says “please” and “thank you” and “sorry for the trouble,” and offers to repay the surf shop out of pocket so that Tobias or David won’t have to.  He freely admits that Cassie’s a better judge of character, Rachel is a better fighter, and Marco is a better strategist than him.  He verbally acknowledges Tobias’s skill at aerial fighting and Ax’s at blade fighting.  

More than that, he knows his team.  Not only does he take the time to study all five of his friends, but he also spends this entire book trying desperately to figure out what makes David tick.  He says, “I knew each of the others. Name any situation. I could tell you exactly how Cassie or Marco or Rachel or Tobias or even Ax would react. But David remained unknown. Unpredictable,” and he’s right (#21).  He moves the chess pieces around and around and around solving the dual problems of the world leaders’ conference and the seventh Animorph throughout this trilogy, and eventually figures out how to solve the leaders himself and how to move out of the way to let Cassie and Rachel solve David.  He knows that when the David situation needs a gentle touch to use Cassie, that when the Animorphs start dropping like flies Ax has to “get Rachel,” and that when it comes to attacking controllers with finesse he needs Marco.  He tells Cassie that “I’m just a moron when it comes to figuring people out,” but the truth is that, while he might not be able to do it as easily as Cassie does, he’s still got the necessary brain power (and empathy, for that matter) to figure people out just fine on his own if given enough time to do so.  

All of the moments when Jake making snap judgments—and the other five core Animorphs following those judgements—result in lives being saved also justify the fact that Jake is pretty harsh at several moments in this book.  He threatens David’s life after catching him breaking into the hotel room, and actually snaps at both Marco and Rachel when they try to ream David out for nearly betraying them.  He risks everyone’s lives by sneaking them into the world leaders’ summit, and he goes after David on the roof of the mall with the intention of killing David to avenge Tobias.  Jake is not anyone’s dad (as he reminds the team again and again) but he’s also not a mere “teacher or principal or whatever” the way David tries to make him out to be.  The Animorphs’ lives depend on them having a strong leader who gives intelligent orders and can expect them to be obeyed immediately without question.  David threatens the continued existence of the entire team by subverting that order.  

Again, if this was a different type of science fiction series, then David winning the fight against Jake would be enough to promote him automatically to being leader of the Animorphs.  If this was a very different type of story, then David winning the fight against Tobias would mean he’d get to be Rachel’s boyfriend.  K.A. Applegate shows that those kinds of gender roles are frankly ridiculous, because the qualities that make Jake the leader of this team have nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to punch or bite things.  

10

requested by anonymous. (part 1)

Keeping Calm in the Face of Success

Many, many years ago (nine, I believe), I was in college and practicing witchcraft in between writing long papers. I was initially secretive about my interest in magick when I arrived at school, but over the years it became apparent that being a witch was only a very minor oddity on campus, and no one really minded too much. 

So, I gradually opened up about it, began giving Tarot readings in exchange for barter or small amounts of cash, and grew willing to discuss magick if asked. There were several other practitioners on campus and a few more amongst the locals, so I was in (mostly) good company. Occasionally, (as usually happens), someone who knew next to nothing about magick would seek me out after hearing I had an interest in it, and ask me to “do a spell” for them. 

One such person was a girl I’ll call Amy. We were watching Evangelion or something one night, and the topic came up. She mentioned the abysmal results she was getting from her job search, and asked if I could do a spell to help her find gainful part-time employment while she continued her studies. I told her that, while I myself wouldn’t cast a spell for her, I’d give her information and instructions to do one herself, and help her arrange for the supplies. 

She was pretty desperate (college is like that), and was amenable to this, so I explained a simple money spell and gave her the ingredients to make a charm bag. I offered to be there when she cast it, but ultimately she decided to do it alone, so I wished her well and waited to hear about her experience with magick and to see if she would, indeed, get a job.

A few weeks later, she came to me absolutely panicked, looking quite terrified. I asked what was wrong, and she explained that she had received two job offers since casting the spell. I congratulated her, but she still looked terrified, and I couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, she started describing how “spooked” she was by the spell’s results and how she had been “shaking” when she got the job offers by phone because it was all “just so weird and creepy.”

I was pretty flabbergasted by this, and all I could really say was, “Well, aren’t you glad it worked? You got a job…” She shrugged and said something about how the job was great, but it frightened her that “magick does stuff.” She also said that she had resolved to “never do anymore spells” because “it’s just out of hand.” I pressed for more details, asking if something besides the job offers had happened to worry her, but no. This girl literally cast a spell, and then panicked, not because it backfired, but because it worked exactly as intended.

This story would be an interesting curiosity had the same scenario not appeared in my life multiple times over the years, both before and long after this particular incident. Heck, a similar thing happened a few months ago when I coaxed a student into doing his first Tarot reading for another person - he started going on about how “spooky” it was when the reading was accurate, and briefly considered abandoning Tarot altogether. 

This sort of thing happens almost formulaically, and seems to be a quasi-regular occurrence regardless of what sort of magick or practice is involved. Someone does a spell, reading, or working or whatever, only to find it successful, at which point panic ensues.

 Why? It’s not something I, personally, really understand, but there could be multiple reasons for it. I’m guessing some of these people, taking their first tentative steps into the world of the occult, likely have preexisting worldviews that might conflict with the notion of magick and divination. They attempt these things anyways out of curiosity, and are fairly open-minded compared to most (who’d never dream of doing such a thing). 

Yet, when they face success, it’s a serious blow to whatever their initial worldview was, often in a way they couldn’t possibly have anticipated, so there’s a moment of scrambling to rewrite their personal perspective in order to compensate. Another possibility, too, is that at least some of these people are exploring these things not out of any desire for results or knowledge, but for aesthetic and social reasons, and never expected them to work - again, leading to the moment of panic.

To me, as I said, it’s a real puzzler. I’m not going to lie - I did have a “Oh my gosh, this is real?!” moment (several, in fact), early on in my explorations, but I recovered from it much more quickly and it certainly only made me more interested. The thought of quitting my experiments because magick and divination were “too spooky” never occurred to me. I think this is just due to a mundane personality quirk on my part - I’ve always been pretty gung-ho about exploring new things, and good at adapting. Sometimes, that’s a strong suit, as I think it was here, but I do know situations where a more reserved and less fluid worldview would be.

I think we can kind of see it as a bit of a test, though. We all react differently to new information about the nature of reality. Yes, some people panic; others just get curious. It’s just part of the diversity of human thought and perspectives. But recovering from that initial moment of panic or harnessing that curiosity (or whatever other emotion ensues) is absolutely crucial to success in witchcraft, magick, divination, or any kind of occult work. I rarely go around claiming something’s a requirement for practicing magick/witchcraft, but tentatively, I want to say that this is. Why? Well, if you shut down at the first sign that “the spooky stuff” is real, you’re probably not going to end up exploring it further, you’ll be shutting down one avenue of attainment, and you probably won’t have further successes because you won’t even try. 

“Keep calm when you succeed!” is thus good advice for any witch or magician, but it’s easier said than done, and I can offer no easy answers. I guess my message to witchlings and budding mages who may be experiencing this would be to, yes, step back from magick for a bit, and explore what about the experience is causing you to react in this way. This naturally means evaluating your own worldview as accurately and carefully as possible, but yes, it can also mean ultimately concluding you don’t know and powering through by continuing to practice. This, of course, only applies if you want to continue magick - there’s no shame in taking up something else, instead.

5 Times Shiro Almost Gave Up and 1 Time He Didn’t

For @tarball-sauce​ who commissioned me for a Shiro raising the twins during childhood. Sort of took it to the next level and went a bit above and beyond the request. I hope you like it and sorry it’s so late!

Series: Ao No Exorcist/Blue Exorcist
Rating: K (some cursing)
Word Count: 1751


I.

“I can’t. Fuck the deal, Mephisto. I don’t fucking care. Just come and pick them up. I can’t do this anymore.”

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Peace with the Templars?
Desmond Miles/William Miles
Peace with the Templars?

Desmond: Have… Have we ever tried to make peace with the Templars?

William: Throughout our history, there have been moments… Several, in fact. But… 

It’s impossible. There are… existential differences. Insurmountable. If there were to be unity, it wouldn’t be a truce so much as a submission.

Desmond: But knowing what’s about to happen… Wouldn’t it make sense to try and talk to Vidic? Come to an arrangement? Even if it’s only temporary?

William: We’d all be so busy watching our backs, nothing would be accomplished. Imagine that, we’re more productive at war…

Desmond: Well have we tried… sending in someone? Doing to them what they did to us with Lucy? Or Cross?

William: We have. And it’s never worked. We either sent in people who were either too weak, and found themselves turned - or too strong, and were unable to carry out the charade.

Desmond: I just feel like we all want the same thing.

William: We use the same words, but that’s all they are… words. In the end, it all comes down to freedom. We seek it. They detest it. And so there’s never an end to the fight. Not until one side is completely gone.

Desmond: Is that even possible?

William: Probably not. Our two groups have existed in one form or another since… well… forever. But things can be better than they are. And that’s something.

The Mind Cage, Ch. 7

Title: The Mind Cage
Summary: In another world, Stanford Pines places a metal plate in his skull far too soon. In another world, Bill Cipher is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Characters: Bill Cipher, Ford Pines, Stan Pines, Fiddleford McGucket
Rating: T
Click here for the first chapter, warnings and links to all chapters up so far

When Stanford opened his eyes, he could see nothing for several moments. Part of it was, of course, due to the fact he was not wearing his glasses; and then there was the fact his eyes were full of tears. Had it been him to shed them? Had it been Bill?

Did it even matter?

The alarm stopped blaring, and a clack followed, telling him that the time lock had opened. Normally, that would have been the moment he stood, however painfully, and stepped out of the cage - it was almost fascinating, how quickly that had become his own version of normality - to check the damage in the bathroom’s mirror. However, now he could do none of those things: unable to move, he could only wait for Stanley to come upstairs and free him.

The thought of his brother was like a stab in the gut. Was what Bill had told him true? Did Stanley truly believe him crazy?

He thinks you’re a wacko, my old friend, the kind they wheel off to the closest asylum! He doesn’t get it - doesn’t get you, like everyone else!

No. No, it couldn’t be. Stanley had to believe him, someone had to believe him.

I mean, you’re all ‘trust no one, trust no one’, and now you’re surprised he doesn’t trust you? Why should he, anyway?

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SuperCat Week Ficlet - Day 7

Title: How To Cause A Scene
Fandom: Supergirl
Pairing: Cat/Kara
Rating: General Audiences
Word Count: 549
Author’s Notes: Written for SuperCat Week Day 7 - Teachers AU

Summary: Cat Grant came outside for a fight, and ended up agreeing to a date. She’s not entirely sure how that happened.

—————————-

There were many things that Cat Grant was good at. Teaching being one of them. Storming in and making an entrance being another.

However her ability to do that was severely hampered at that precise moment in time, due to the fact that her heels were sinking into the damp grass with every step she took, turning her angry strut into more of a loping gait.

As she neared the group of screaming children Cat took a moment to compose herself and prepare for the impending confrontation.

“Miss Danvers,” she called out, in her most acidic tone, the one reserved for only the most badly behaved children.

From somewhere amongst the crowd of youngsters the PE teacher emerged, grinning brightly, with streaks of mud across her face.

“Miss Grant, what a pleasant surprise,” she said as she jogged towards Cat. “Come to join us for a game?”

Cat scowled at the woman’s cheerful demeanour. She was here to argue, she reminded herself.

“No,” she said icily, “I most definitely have not.”

“Then what can I do for you Miss Grant?”

Cat huffed, attempting to radiate her displeasure in as many ways as possible.

“What you can do for me, Miss Danvers, is to kindly keep your class under control.”

The younger teacher frowned slightly and glanced back at the group of children running around and screaming behind them.

“They look pretty under control to me,” she said with a shrug, and Cat ground her teeth in annoyance.

“Miss Danvers, my class are trying to watch classic French silent cinema, an effect which is somewhat ruined by a soundtrack of screeching children.”

Miss Danvers began to laugh and Cat felt herself bristle.

“Sounds like an improvement to me!”

“Ooooooh, burn!” A couple of the kids behind them said in unison, and Cat realised they had an audience.

Straightening her back to make herself taller, Cat stepped up into Miss Danvers’ personal space.

“I wouldn’t expect someone as uncouth as yourself to have seen any silent movies, let alone French movies, but if you had, you would appreciate their beauty and depth and would not feel the need to mock them in such an immature way!”

Miss Danvers cocked her head to the side and regarded Cat intently.

“Perhaps you’re right. How about this, you show me a silent French movie, say Friday night at my place, and if I like it I promise not to let my class make noise outside your classroom window ever again. How about it? Deal?”

“Alright Miss Danvers, if that is what it takes, we have a deal.”

Cat turned on her heel and attempted to storm off, but was once again severely hindered by her footwear and the soft earth.

“It’s a date,” she heard Miss Danvers call out after her, “and call me Kara!”

“oooOOOOooooh! Kara and Miss Grant, in a tree…” The kids began to chant, and rather than discipline them Miss Danvers, Kara, just laughed.

How had this happened? Cat mused to herself. She had gone out there for a fight and had ended up with a date.

Cat sighed as she glanced up at her classroom window, where 30 eager faces were pressed up against the glass and grinning down at her.

She really, really, hoped they hadn’t heard all of that.

anonymous asked:

KagaKuro for the meme please!

  • starts the coffee or tea in the morning
    Kagami starts the coffee, Kuroko starts the tea. No matter how sleepy he is, Kagami-kun is a tea-heathen who has adopted all kinds of terrible American habits. Like tea bags. And pouring the water before putting in the tea. Awful. Unacceptable. Now if Kagami-kun could get the box of real actual tea leaves down from this inconveniently elevated shelf, please and thank you, Kuroko will set about rectifying these barbarian circumstances.

    (“And you’re gonna do better, what with talking to the fridge and all?” Kagami snarks, torn between being offended and smirking because Kuroko is mumbling all those insults with his eyes still closed. Joke’s on him, though, because it turns out Kuroko can, in fact, brew a perfect cup of tea in early-morning Zatoichi mode. His grandma taught him well.)

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Lucky Charm

Marinette spies a little bell charm that reminds her of a certain someone.

Read on Ao3

Words: 1290, Language: English

  • Fandoms: Miraculous Ladybug
  • Rating: General Audiences
  • Warnings: None
  • Categories: M/F
  • Characters: Alya, Marinette/Ladybug, Adrien/Chat Noir 
  • Relationships: Slight ladynoir

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theamazingdrunk  asked:

The street lamps around Berkeley Square already settled into their night-long vigil as a well-maintained black Rolls-Royce scattered some nightingales into flight. It followed a tall, lanky young man along the narrow artery of Davies Street towards brighter-lit shops. Despite its sedate pace, it turned to block the zebra crossing at the first intersection they reached. The rear passenger door opened and hidden speakers in the empty rear began to play the first bars of the James Bond theme song.

Okay.  This was definitely a first for him.  It took Miller several moments to catch on to the fact that the car was following him and not just coincidentally keeping his pace and course.  He stopped when it blocked his path at the crosswalk.  The opening back door and music that greeted him made both eyebrows lift.  Glancing in either direction, aware that this could totally be a trap of some sort, he went piling into the car anyway.

Incarcerus: Chapter 2

summary: AU. Vampire and bail bondsperson Emma Swan is drawn into a supernatural murder mystery that entangles her with strange forces, dark secrets, a far-too-charming, handsome, and enigmatic fellow vampire named Killian Jones, and the ultimate questions of how to start a blog on Fangd, get a parking spot in Boston, and avert an immortal war. She is confident love is nowhere in the plan.
rating: T
status: WIP
available: FF.net and AO3
previous: chapter 1


Dawn was cracking the smoke-grey sky in rosy ribbons, giving her an unpleasant itching sensation like small insects scuttling across her skin, by the time Emma wearily trudged up the steps of her building, wondered what the odds were of encountering one of her neighbors in the stairwell if she blitzed up it at immortal speed, and got into the elevator instead, just in case. She lived on the eleventh floor, which was a bit of a trek even for a vampire at the end of a long night, and watched the glowing numbers beep upwards until the car stopped, she stepped off, and jogged to her door at the end of the hall, fumbling for her keys. Technically, she probably didn’t need to lock it, as most humans kept an instinctive distance from a bloodsucker’s lair – not even by conscious knowledge, but by the same primeval cognitive function that warned them against walking down dark alleys late at night, or jumping into a tiger’s pen at the zoo, or any of the normal ways not to place themselves at the mercy of a predator. But habit was habit, and besides if humans were drunk or on drugs or otherwise chemically enhanced, that part of their brain responsible for self-preservation shut down, and they could barge right in here while any number of their higher mental faculties were shrieking vainly at them. Emma was not about to take any chances of some pothead criminal, or perhaps one of the bail-jumpers she chased down, finding out where she lived and breaking in, and so she kept it locked.

Inside, she threw her stuff on the counter, pulled the drapes against the encroaching light, and tried to stay awake long enough to stumble to the bathroom and change into her pajamas. It was almost impossible to fight the physical shutdown of your body when the sun was above the horizon, which was why vampires preferred to be safely in their houses and in general reach of something soft and horizontal by the time it arrived. Otherwise, they could be knocked out for the count in some random public place, proved impossible to wake, carted off to the hospital, and discovered to be medically dead, which was hard to explain to the drop-jawed young resident in polka-dot scrubs who just wanted to take your blood pressure. Emma herself had learned that the hard way, and now made sure she left plenty of time between her last errand for the night and the scheduled sunrise; vampires had a smartphone app (someone with a rather diabolical sense of humor had named it SleepyTime) that customized itself to your geographical location and sent you alerts for astronomical, nautical, and civil twilight so you could make sure to hustle your undead ass out of the way beforehand. If it sensed you were still out and about even after these three warnings, it would then proceed to yell, “GET INSIDE, MOTHERFUCKER!” at the top of its tinny robotic voice-assistant lungs. It tended to have compatibility issues with iPhones. Siri’s burning hatred of it could probably be blamed.

Emma struggled out of her clothes and washed her face. The no-reflection thing was a problem when you were trying to do your makeup or ensure you’d gotten it off; she could make out a faint cloudy image of herself, but no details. She had wondered if the reason vampires had no reflections was to head off the fact that otherwise they’d probably spend the entire time taking selfies; they were so vain that the song was definitely about them, and well, they were, as a rule, very hot. But it was another reminder of your inhumanity, that you couldn’t even see yourself anymore; you got used to catching glimpses of yourself in windows or walls or in the “beauty face” setting on your phone, remembered who you were, the image you presented to the outside world. To simply not show up in it anymore left you feeling truncated, invisible, cut off and isolated – a reminder that while you could mingle with humans all you wanted, you would never pass or blend in or truly feel like one again. Some geeks were working on inventing a vampire-compatible mirror, but they hadn’t gotten close to a market version yet.

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