she is standing on a box

So, I think it’s time for me to take an unscheduled break from tumblr. Recently I opened a blog for a character from a Batman one shot (can be found here) because I hated the way she was handled in the comic. She was, ultimately, used for man pain and I can’t stand that trope with female characters. 

I logged on to tumblr today and I had 3 anons in her ask box that basically inquired to why I felt the need to create the blog, that I was homophobic for making the blog, and that I needed to delete her immediately. Do you know how fucked up it is to come to someone you don’t know and just attack them? Do you know how often I’ve dealt with this over my own hc’s for Oswald, Query, and now Cassandra? 

As a gay woman who’s struggled with her sexual identity for most of her life due to growing up in a deeply religiously repressive city (I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, in case anyone wants to know) it makes me feel physically ill that people feel the need to single me out and tel me I’m “ugly homophobic trash” because I’ve made a blog to exist outside of her plot-device trope. 

I didn’t make Cassandra simply to role-play with O/swald C/obblepot. I play Cassandra as heavily bisexual. I am completely open to ships that don’t involve the Penguin at all. I have a Gotham verse because I thought it would be fun to play on her namesake. Lastly, please unfollow me if you truly have a problem with me. Hell, block me. I don’t care. If my existence makes you uncomfortable, we don’t have to communicate with each other at all.

@marshmallowsims pls lmao, I am v glad you like this ;-; yes he is enormous next to her, she should really bring along an apple box to stand on next to him

@buckleysims lmfaoooo yes, arrogant af. He secretly love knowing no one else would meet her expectations after that. He’d just be perpetually doing that morning after walk sims do when they woohoo on another lot.

@storybooksimblr 🌚🌚🌚

anonymous asked:

“Are you waiting for someone?” + first meeting!! TOKUWAGA IEYASU please and thank you

She rocked back and forth on her heels, hands wringing together nervously; they had left her waiting for well over an hour, and the lord of the clan had yet to appear. The room they had her wait in was sparsely decorated, only a single table in the far corner with a box. Outside the walls, she could hear feet and chatter, but not once did anyone enter.

It was exhausting her nerves. Perhaps they had forgotten about her?

“Are you waiting for someone?”

The voice sounded kind enough, and she spun around quickly to meet his gaze, half standing.

“Y-yes! My name is Yahiko, I am to be Lord Ieyasu’s new poison taster.”

“Then you should be groveling, urchin, not standing. What kind of idiot doesn’t recognize their own lord?”

Him? He was Lord Ieyasu? The kindness in his voice disappeared with the insults, and out of an instinct for self-preservation, she threw herself to the ground.

“Milord!”

“Lower, worm.” 

She flattened herself as far as she could, torso touching the tatami, hands extended with fingers touching. Lord Ieyasu stepped around, muttering something about touching filth, before she gained the courage to rise once more and turn to him.

“I guess it doesn’t matter. You’ll be dead within a week anyway. Maybe by the end of the day.”

No sympathy. A chill ran down her spine, and she watched as he reached for the box on the table; inside were an array of daifuku, each a different color, and none sending a scent that came off as appetizing. Lord Ieyasu smiled.

“Depends on your luck. I have a lot of poisons for you to taste, after all. It’s important we know how they affect the afflicted.”


Mix & Match Writing Prompts

theodoradove  asked:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn in 1933. She meets Steve Rogers pre- or post-freezing.

OR BOTH!

1942: 

It was nice to be back in New York, Steve thought, after touring the whole country with the Star Spangled Show. Even better, once the show was done here, they were going overseas – not into combat, but at least it was a start. It made him cheer up just to think about it, and he maybe threw a little extra flair into the show every night, took a little extra time at the stage door.

“What’s your name?” he asked, crouching to get on eye-level with the little girl who had been patiently waiting behind several taller, pushier people. 

“Ruth,” she said shyly, offering him her autograph book.

“Lovely name,” he replied. “Did you like the show?”

She nodded. “I liked the dancing.” 

“You gonna be a dancer when you grow up?”

“Nuh uh,” she said. 

“What’re you gonna be?”

“A judge,” she said. 

“Yeah? You gonna make sure justice is done?”

She nodded soberly.

“Well, Ruth, you gotta study hard, you know that, right?” he asked, as he signed her book. “I expect to see you on the bench someday.”

“Thank you,” she murmured, stepping back, and another handful of kids surged around her. Cute kid. 

2012: 

Steve had always liked Civics in school, but when you had to catch up on seventy years between your last history class and the present, it could get a little overwhelming. On the other hand, celebrity was good for something; when he’d been working on memorizing the names and major cases of the Supreme Court justices, Tony had said, “Well, do you want to meet them?”

A couple of long phone calls and a few weeks later, Steve passed through a LOT of security, down a hallway, and into a courtroom; it was early in the morning, ahead of the open public hours, and the room smelled like coffee. A tiny bird of a woman in a black gown was standing in front of the seating box. 

“Captain,” she said, as he shook her hand. 

“Justice Ginsburg, right?” he asked. “It’s an honor, ma’am.”

“I feel the same,” she said, and there was something very familiar about her smile. “I wanted to get here a little earlier than everyone else, to speak to you in private.” 

He was opening his mouth, about to ask why, when she reached into a pocket of the robe and took out a battered leather book, the kind kids used to collect autographs in.

“I don’t suppose you remember, you must have signed a lot of autographs,” she said. “But back in the war, just before you left for overseas, I went to see your bond show.” 

Steve looked down. Scrawled on the page was his clumsy signature and, in slightly better lettering, To Judge Ruth. Study Hard!

He looked up at her, eyes wide. “No, I remember – I asked if you wanted to be a dancer and you said no, you were going to be a judge.”

“You were the first adult outside of my family who didn’t sneer at a girl wanting to be a judge,” she said. 

“Well,” Steve said faintly. “Guess you must have studied.”

“Captain America said he wanted to see me on the bench. Couldn’t very well let him down,” she replied, and Steve laughed. 

The Moms Of Voltron everyone.

Pretty much the lions in their respective human forms.


Headcanons: (I’ll be referring to them as their respective colors until I can come up with adequate names for them)

-Black let’s Shiro roam even though he’s like three, poor baby. Thankfully he usually ends up going to Coran’s to play with Allura

-Red is that Protective Mom™ and tends to stress alot. Keith makes her stress alot.

 “Why is he on the fridge I turned away for two seconds, Keith no you can’t eat the cereal from the box, how are you doing any of this you’re two.”

*Keith looking straight at her as he eats the cereal straight from the box*

-Yellow is pretty chill and Hunk is usually a great baby, he rarely cries and prefers just playing with his friends or napping with his mom. (She’s the best napping place everyone agrees)

-Blue is that mom with about 100000000 pictures of her son in her wallet and isn’t afraid to show anyone who stands next to her for more than 5 seconds.

Lance refers to her as giant woman because of her hair and he loves it so much she hasn’t had the heart to change it out.

-Green likes to show Pidge how different substances work (The safe kitchen kind) Pidge’s favorite is the volcano, even if it does taste nasty. Green has also built a hologram program that displays different animals and other objects to scale for Pidge and the rest of the kids to play with.

picture a baby pre-teen Kara DEMANDING that Clark and Lois let her perform a Kryptonian Rite of Marriage for them when they tell her they’re engaged because, despite the age difference, she is the first born of their house and it is her sacred duty to preside over their bond. Imagine her in giant robes that don’t fit that Mama Kent lovingly sewed for her based on a shoddy drawing she does from memory, her standing on a box (because she’s not actually tall enough to see over the makeshift podium they’re using) in the Kent farmhouse with the Kents and the Danvers - including a very annoyed and disinterested Alex - watching while she basically improv’s her way through a marriage ceremony. In her defense, she’d only seen one before Krypton exploded, and she was so young she barely paid attention. 


Besides, not even Clark can really speak authentic Kryptonian, so when she forgets what she should say she just fills in with ramblings about her favorite foods and how Lois is pretty even if she is kind of mean, and how she can’t wait till she’s an adult cause she’s totally gonna be taller than Clark. Everyone just stands there with that polite uncomprehending “i don’t speak your language” smile, the happy couple holding hands, and the ceremony ends with a banshee-like scream from Kara before she smacks them both across the face with some strange powder that no one knows how she got her hands on, leaving a handprint smear across both of their faces. She demands that they leave it on for the rest of the day, and they’re pretty sure she made up ninety percent of the whole ritual but Kara hasn’t smiled that wide since she landed and so they humor her. The night ends with a giant feast, with music and laughter, with Kara trying to teach Clark a Kryptonian dance but mostly just getting stepped on. It’s the first time Kara really feels like this new planet could be a home. 

a tiny bit jealous

Pairing: Peter Parker x reader

Prompt: Reader has been friends with Peter since forever, and has been in love with him even longer

Requested by: n/a

Warnings: sadness, slight self-consciousness 

Word count: 2,018

Notes: There! Will! Be! A! Part! Two! Message me if you want to be tagged in it! Writing this gave me major feels you don’t even know.

Part two

Originally posted by tom-is-bae


Keep reading

The Train

Pairing: Y/N and Harry

Word Count: 4201

Prompt: Y/N walks in, and Harry notices she’s wearing yellow again, this time it’s a yellow sweater with a pair of dark skinny jeans and brown ankle boots, her hair is pulled back into a pony tail with a white scrunchie with little smiling suns and he swears that he has to squint to look at her. “Oh! I know you-you’re the guy from the train,” Y/N beams, “Harry, right?” she sets down the tray of muffins.

 “I didn’t tell you my name,” Harry snaps.

 Y/N pouts, “well yeah, but I’m also not stupid,” she says. 

“Are you joining us today Harry?” the man asked, “I’m Seth, I run the group.”

“Why else would I fucking be here,” Harry grumbled.

 Y/N grabs a muffin, ignoring Harry’s sour attitude, “here, they’re made with love,” she smiled, holding out the blueberry muffin.

 “Fuck off,” Harry says. He watches as her smile fades and the glint in her eyes seems to disappear, for a split second Harry feels like a dick, but then he realizes he doesn’t care and Y/N should just shove the muffin up her ass.


Harry was annoyed.

It really hadn’t been his day at all. His morning was terrible, he woke up next to a blonde and he tried really hard to remember her name-only to fail. When he asked her to leave she insisted on making breakfast, to which Harry responded with “feel free to grab something and leave” and then he proceeded to shower. When he got out, the unknown girl stood in his kitchen making herself a smoothie and toast. Her red lips in a pout, “come on, you can’t be in that big of a rush,” Harry ended up calling security, she was crazy.

When he went into the studio he was blank, the songs he did come in with were rejected and he couldn’t find the energy or muse to write another one. He was out of inspiration, nothing amused Harry anymore. He found himself not enjoying the things he used to love, drinks seemed to be the only thing that made him feel something (and it was only for a little bit). He didn’t enjoy being surrounded by his friends and family, his love for writing was slipping through the cracks, and his energy was fading.

Keep reading

Best Mission Ever

Pairing: Peter Parker x reader

Request:Could you do a smut or normal but with make out for Peter Parker where him and the reader both get stuck in the storage facility and have to pass the time just like in the movie? But instead of webbing walls and jump roping with a web, they have fun with each other ;) I love your writing btw #blessyou- anon

word count: 2469

Warnings: SMUT

Note: I decided to change a bit how they got into the trailer with the alien tech for it to make sense in the fic? but everything else is pretty much the same. ALSO THIS IS MY FIRST? (kinda) SMUT SO GO EASY ON ME ALSO I’M KINDA EMBARRASSED? but anyways hope you guys enjoy!

Masterlist

Originally posted by tomhollandisdaddy

Peter was glad he got to go to the Academic Decathlon team, and so was Y/n, however they were for completely different reasons. Peter was really close to discovering who was robbing the alien tech and selling it back, he just needed to follow his tracker and everything would be okay.

Y/n was just happy that her boyfriend was reintegrating himself into school activities. With all his spidey action he barely had time for himself and the things he used to enjoy. Besides, a couple stolen kisses in hotel rooms wouldn’t hurt anybody, right?

They both had been studying non stop, trying to get as many practice as possible before the decathlon, until Peter claimed he needed a rest.

“I’m just getting really tired”

The girl smiled as she slid closer to Peter, playing with his hair and holding him close.

“Maybe we could go upstairs? We haven’t been alone in a while Pete.”

He knew what she meant, and there wasn’t anything he wanted more than to go upstair and kiss his girl all night, making her body shake under him, but he had to go.

He stood up before the girl got any closer, sending and apologetic smile at her.

“I know love, but I gotta go -uhh- take a shower, I’m really tired”

The girl frowned as she saw her boyfriend getting out of the room, leaving her hanging. Had he just rejected her? He only did that when he had superhero duties but-they weren’t in Queens; maybe he really was tired.

She decided to head to her room as well and give some time to the boy. She hanged with Liz until she suggested they got into the pool.

“Go tell Peter and Ned and I’ll tell Michelle and Flash”

“Be right back”

Y/n made her way to the boy’s room, but as she was turning down the corner she spotted Ned and Peter talking outside the door.

“You can’t go Peter! What if something happens to you!”

“Nothing will happen! I’ll be back before the decathlon”

“But what if you’re not? Does Y/n knows? What am I supposed to tell her?”

“Just tell her I had a migraine and falled asleep, I gotta go- see you!”

Peter went on the other direction running, as Ned watched him go, still outside their room. Now or never, she thought. She might as well confront Ned already.

“Hey Ned!”

The boy jumped in surprise as he saw her approaching, quickly closing the door behind him.

“Hey Y/n! Waddup!”

“Hey we are going all to the pool, wanna join us?”

“Sure, I’ll be down in a sec”

“Great, I’ll come inside to tell Peter”

She tried to grab to the doorknob, however Ned stopped her, getting in the way and blocking completely the entrance.

“You can’t go inside”

“Why not? He’s my boyfriend”

“Well, he’s just- uhh- sleeping”

“Well, I’ll just check on him, he said he was feeling bad earlier”

“No!- You can’t go inside”

“Why don’t you want me inside? What are you doing in there?”

“Im- uhh- watching porn”

The girl definitely stepped back as she heard his confession. Ned was a really dedicated friend or a very honest person. Either way, she didn’t need that much information

“Well, I’ll-ummm- leave you to it, we’ll be in the pool when you’re- finished”

If that wasn’t a sign that they were hiding something she didn’t knew what was. She decided to go in the same direction as Peter’s, and maybe try to spy on him. She hurried along the way until she spotted a blur of red and blue getting above the rooftop of a trailer. She took a cab and asked him to follow it, driving for almost 2 hours, until it finally made a stop.

She paid and got out of the cab, approaching the trailer Peter had just gotten into. She found the boy had left the door open, getting inside as quietly as she could.

They boy was looking around the place, looking for something, until he finally spinned around and saw her.

He took off his mask as his eyes grew wider in surprise. “Y/n! Why-What- What are you doing here?”

“I could ask you the same question”

The boy tried to think of a response until he heard a noise from above the top of the trailer. Shit Shit Shit! The bird dude had arrived.

“I’ll explain later okay just- hide for now”

She did as instructed and hided behind a big box,hoping she wouldn’t get discovered by whoever was getting in, but mostly worried about Peter’s safety. She waited, trying to get a peek at what was happening behind the boxes.

“I’m sorry but I’m gonna need you to give back those things” Really Peter? Way to talk during a possible fight

“Get out of my way or you’ll get hurt

“The only person getting hurt-”

The next thing she heard  was a loud noise as a couple boxes and things falled down, probably from a struggle. She couldn’t hear Peter anymore, and neither could she hear the other person. She waited a couple minutes in silence until she finally stepped out, finding some empty boxes and Peter’s body, unconscious in the floor.

She went straight to him, trying to wake him up, with no luck. He wasn’t responding to anything she did, and she was getting scared. He still had a steady pulse, so that calmed her a little bit.

After a while of waiting the trailer got moving again, trapping her and Peter inside. She didn’t even had her phone! She could not believe her luck.

She placed her boyfriends head on her lap and slowly falled asleep, while still stroking his hair.

Peter was the first one to wake up, standing up and realising what had happened, the trailer had stopped moving.He went next to his girlfriend and cupped her face, trying to get her to wake up.

“Love, wake up”

Y/n slowly opened her eyes, remembering what had happened last night.

“Peter! Are you alright?-What happened yesterday? Who was that and why- Oh my god the decathlon! What time is it?”

“Calm down Y/n, we need to find a way out of here first, then everything else okay?”

She nodded as she stood up. The moved together a couple boxes blocking the door and prepared to push it open. They tried a couple times until it finally set them free, at last from the trailer, since they were now in a big room full of other like that one.

“Where are we?”

“It’s a storage, they keep all the alien crap I told you about here”

“So, we are basically in the most guarded place on earth, how are we getting out?!”

“We should try to look for any escape? Come with me, we’ll shot at the door to see if it opens, or at least sets and alarm”

They tried to push, punch and move all the walls they could, however nothing they did helped. It was useless. They had been trying for what felt like hours, although it had probably been 20 minutes.

“Peter let’s just- stop. Someone will have to come here someday- and then we’ll get out”

“But it could be like- hours until that happens! I’m bored Y/n- I’m sorry you’re in this mess with me”

“At least we’re together, that’s all that matters”. She approached her boyfriend and stood close to him, cupping his face with her hands. “Besides, times flies by when you’re busy”

Peter looked at her in surprise as he recognized the tone in her voice. She looked kinda messy, with her wrinkled clothes and tangled hair, but she had a hungry look in her eyes that made him want her even more.

He decided to play along as he said “You’ve got any ideas to keep us busy, love?”

She leaned in once again, looking him in the eye and smirking. “I’ve got a couple”

Right after this she pushed him against the wall behind the trailer, staying hidden. She kissed him hard and sloppy as she pulled his hair, trying to get as closer to each other as they could.

Peter grabbed her neck, deepening the kiss as he slid his tongue on her mouth, making the girl moan. They continued kissing and biting, until Peter rolled over and this time he pinned the girl against the wall.

“Hands up babygirl”

Y/n held her hands up high as Peter went for her neck, barely brushing his lips against it until he reached her sweet spot. He went ahead and started licking and sucking into it, leaving marks all over the place. He grabbed her hips, keeping her still, but closer to him than before.

He continued kissing her neck and under her jaw, all the way to her collarbone, making the girl shiver at the contact, until he moved his hands under her shirt, stroking her abdomen.

Peter grabbed the shirt and pulled from the bottom, stripping her out of it, leaving her in her bra.

“Wearing my favorite pair I see uh?”

“I- uhh- I wanted to surprise you”

She blushed as she remembered how she was planning on kicking Ned out and spending the night with Peter.

“How exactly were you going to surprise me? Tell me about it”

The boy went back to her neck as she slowly unmade the clasp of her bra and threw it aside as he stroke her left nipple.

“Peter-I”

“Tell me”

The girl was enjoying the sensation too much, and was barely able to form any thoughts, let alone sentences, but she managed.

“I was going to- get up in your room and kiss you- so hard, slow- I would touch and kiss all your body- i wanted to- get on my knees and suck you off, make you feel so good Pete”

The boy kept on stroking it as he licked the other nipple, pushin his hard on against the girl, who moaned at the contact of his dick against her.

“You feel that baby? All your dirty talk got me feeling this way”

The girl wanted to put her hands down and pull Peters hair again, even remove the stupid suit getting on their ways. She looked at Peter’s eyes, asking for permission before he put her hands down himself.

“I know you want to touch darling”

She quickly made her way to the suit’s button, stripping him down and finally touching Peter’s chest, sliding her hands to the waistband of his boxers.

“Peter, please, let me make you feel good”

She got on her knees and locked at Peter once again, before he nodded and slipped the boxers off himself.

The girl grabbed his dick on her hand, getting it a little wet before slowly stroking it, like she knew Peter liked. They boy in front of him was a mess by such a little touch, whimpering as she slid the tip of his cock onto her mouth.

She tried to take as much of him as she could, and once she was full she started bobbing her head forward, sucking and licking.Peter kept making needy voices as his hips thrusted on her mouth, pulling her hair. Her hand was good on the base, tight and warm, while she came back up to his head, tonguing at his cum.

“Look at me”

She glanced back at Peter as she kept on sucking him, sending him over the edge. She swallowed as he came, letting her name out in a muffled moan.

“You did so good Y/n”

She stood up and went to kiss him, while Peter unbuttoned her shorts and got her hand in her panties.

“It’s your turn to enjoy love”

She felt her legs shaking as he pushed his thumb against her clit, rubbing little circles. She let out a series of whimpers and started moving her hips along to him, trying to get as much friction as she could.

He moved one finger up her entrance and kept on moving his hand, while his mouth was now back to her neck and breast. She let her forehead rest on his shoulders until she felt a second finger sliding in, making her bite on him.

“Peter- faster please”

They boy did as asked and moved his hand even more, this time completely sliding of her shorts and panties.

“You ready babygirl?”

Y/n nodded as she tried to sit down, before Peter stopped her.

“No- I’m going to fuck you against the wall love, and you’re gonna take every inch of it, got it?”

She catched her breath and nodded, shaking in anticipation she placed herself against the wall.Peter went for her waist and carried her, as she held onto him with her legs and her arms.

He slid the tip on her and then completely out of nowhere, making them both moan at the contact of each other together. The girl made a whimpering noise as she started moving her hips desperately.

“Needy are we?”

“Peter-It’s been so long- please”

The boy considered teasing her a bit, but he was just as desperate as her. He hold onto the wall and her ass as he thrusted into her once again, making the girl let her head back.

They found a rhythm, going faster and faster, with a thin layer of seat covering their bodies as they tried to touch and take as much of each other as they could.

Everytime he thrusted too hard her back would slam against the wall, making her boobs bounce, inviting him to taste. He went back to rubbing her clit and biting her nipples. Y/n never wanted to stop, but she was so close, Peter was taking such good care of her she could barely hold on any longer.

“Peter-i’m gonna- I can’t wait much longer”

At her words the boy quickened his pace, thrusting faster, harder and deeper, while still rubbing her. She clenched her walls against him, making them both come together with loud moaning and fast breathing.

She finally slid her legs off Peters waist, still shaking from her orgasm as they touched their foreheads together, trying to catch their breaths.

“That was-intense”

Peter laughed as they seated down, trying to calm.

“If this is what you do in your spidey action then you should take me to your missions more often”

“Believe me, the only spidey action I got today was you”

“Well, at least I made it a little less boring, right?”

“Are you kidding? Best mission ever”

This time they both laughed and hold onto each other. They still had to wait, but at least they were no longer bored.


Permanent tag list: @spideyydarling , @isucaf , @geekyyears9 , @slut-for-fandoms , @letsgoflyawaybirdie , @illegallyholland , @littlenerdgirl16 , @trinityjadec , @cabinetxbattles , @nwmtagsb , @peterparkyourassonme , @nonewmessage , @captain-sherlockomg

If you want to be added or removed from my permanent tag list let me know!

They barely let her pack a bag.

She manages about three t-shirts, an extra pair of jeans and underwear, a box of treasures she’s been keeping since she was five years old, a tin containing about $130 she’d saved over the years, and the journal she had started keeping this past year. She tries to gather more - memories, clothes, whatever - but her father stands in the doorway, arms folded, snarl permanently in place. She can’t bear be under his gaze anymore, so she leaves.

She can hear her mother crying from the kitchen as she walks out the front door. Her bag is heavy on her back, and she can feel the whispered gossip of her neighbours follow her down the street.

She calls her Abuela first, her mom’s mom and winces when she hears words like ‘abomination’ and ‘devil worship’.

Her mom’s sister is the same. How dare you call here, how dare you put your parents through this.

Issy is her last hope. Her father’s baby sister, only ten years older than Maggie. Issy had managed to escape Blue Springs when she was eighteen, and had not once looked back.

But Issy drives the two hours from Omaha to pick up Maggie. She calls Maggie’s school and explains the situation and helps get her transferred somewhere closer to where she lives. She’s twenty-four and getting a Masters in Software Engineering and doesn’t have to do anything, but she does. Her two roommates - both also in grad programs - agree to let Maggie live in their spare room without hesitation. Ashe studies law and Bridget studies economics and they both hug Maggie when they first meet her because she’s so small and so sad. They take her to Target and buy her some new clothes and they get a new dresser from Ikea and they try to make sure she’s okay without hovering too much.

Ashe tells Maggie that she’s brave, that she still hasn’t come out to her parents despite the fact she’s in a serious relationship. Bridget tells Maggie that she’ll help her with her homework and beat up anybody who gives her hell at her new school.

And Issy tells Maggie that everything will be okay, that they’ll get through this together.

Maggie keeps her head down at school, stays quiet and does her homework and gets good grades. She doesn’t dare rock the boat or cause trouble, because she just can’t do that to Issy. Issy does the same, works hard and saves money, thinking of nothing but her and Maggie’s future.

When Issy graduates, she manages to get a job at Wayne Technologies, and the two of them move to Gotham City. Maggie is just fifteen and she gets a job to try and help out as much as she can. Issy refuses to take a dime from her. So Maggie learns to cook and clean and she makes sure there’s always a plate of dinner waiting for Issy after a long day at work.

When Maggie brings her first girlfriend home, Issy interrogates her. And when Issy brings home Robbie - the man she’ll one day marry - Maggie does the same.

Their family is just the two of them, but there is more love than they know what to do with.

Issy cries when Maggie graduates as valedictorian of her high school class. She cries when Maggie gets a full-ride scholarship to Gotham University. She cries when Maggie moves out. She never cries over her estranged family, over the hateful things her brother has said to her over the years. Maggie makes her strong.

Maggie cries when Issy tells her she’s pregnant. She cries when Issy and Robbie ask her to be the godmother of their child. She cries when she holds her nephew Beckett for the first time. She only cries once over her estranged parents, and when she does, Issy holds onto her tightly, and doesn’t let go until Maggie is ready. 

When Alex Danvers kisses her, the first thing Maggie does is call Issy. They talk for hours, Maggie convinced she’d blown things for good, Issy telling her to have a little faith. And when her and Alex finally become an item, Issy texts Maggie nothing but ‘I told you so’.

When Maggie blasts Alex for ignoring her about Valentine’s Day, she calls Issy in tears, rambling about ‘cards from her mom who just happens to be named Eliza’ and ‘there must be something wrong with me’. Issy waits patiently until she’s done, before telling her that no, nothing’s wrong with her. She went through hell and she survived and nobody can make her feel guilty about that.

And when Maggie brings home Alex a few months later, Robbie reminds Issy not to be too embarrassing or hard on Alex. Issy agrees until she sees just how in love Maggie is, then she pulls out the old year books and laughs over them with Alex. Alex invites Issy and the family to National City for Family Thanksgiving, Issy invites Alex and her family to Gotham for Christmas.

As they leave, Issy pulls Maggie aside and tells her how proud she is, of absolutely everything Maggie has accomplished. She tells her that if anybody deserves the love she’s found in Alex, it’s Maggie. She tells her she loves her and to come home again soon and Maggie grins like an idiot and pulls Issy into a hug.

As far as she’s concerned, Maggie Sawyer has only ever had two homes. One is in Alex Danvers’ embrace. The other is wherever in the world her Aunt Issy is.

Haunting Me: Chapter 1

A/N; Eeeeek! Here it is guys, chapter 1! This story has me so pumped and i’m so happy you guys liked the intro. I hope you guys like this chappie, cuz it’s a bit of a giant relief haha. ENJOY! - Delilah ❤️

Pairing: Bucky Barnes x POC Reader

Haunting Me: Y/N is a normal young adult living in New York, but little does she know that she’s a reincarnation of the long lost Bucky Barnes’ fiance from the 1940′s. What happens when she runs into Steve in 2012? Most importantly, what happens when she runs into The Winter Soldier?

Warnings: Swearing. Slight angst. Mild violence. Hella feels. 





2012

You focused on the pencil in your hand, shading the paper as carefully as possible.

New York was beautiful in the summer time, especially once the sun hit the right spot in the sky. It wasn’t a cloudy day by any chance; in fact, there wasn’t a single cloud in sight. You sat in the metal chair, your legs crossed beneath you as you focused on the sketch in front of you. You reached for the pastry on the plate next to it and took a small bite out of it, chewing slowly.

You enjoyed your time alone, as you always did, especially when you got to sketch the totally gorgeous Calvin Klein model sitting two seats down from you.

Okay, he probably wasn’t a model, but he sure as hell looked like one.  He was built like a brick house and those eyes. Jesus –you could get lost in those ocean blue orbs of his. From what it looked like, he was drawing as well. He could draw and look super-hot while doing it? He was a rare gem. However, as you cocked your head to the side, curiously studying his features, you couldn’t help but notice how sad he looked. It made your chest ache just seeing him brood like that.

“Another brownie ma’am?” the waitress asked with a smile. And by the grace of god, the total hottie looked over at you. You blushed, looking up at the waitress with a timid smile.

“Um. No thank you.” She gave you a quick nod before walking away.

When you looked back over at the mysterious blond, you expected him to give you a small smile and continue throughout his day, but boy were you wrong. You looked back over and to your surprise, he was openly staring at you, his blue eyes widened with an odd mixture of fear and shock. He blinked rapidly, his eyes focusing on your face shamelessly.

Immediately you felt so self-conscious. Was there something on your face? Did you creep him out?  Oh god, did your eyeliner smudge. You had a habit of rubbing your face whilst drawing and you did forget you were wearing makeup sometimes.

After a few minutes of being stared down by the man, you had quite enough. You hastily packed your sketch book into your bag and placed a few dollar bills onto the table before standing. You swore you could feel the burning of eyes on your back as you stealthy maneuvered around the sea of people.

Before you could take another step, you felt a tight grip on your arm stop you.

“What are you doing?” you exclaimed, turning around with a scowl. You reached in your pocket for your pepper spray.

“I-I’m sorry!” The man sputtered, his eyes softened once he peered around at the many people watching the two of you. There was a small crowd surrounding you now and you felt so embarrassed, yet relieved. He wouldn’t dare try anything in public.  

You yanked your arm back, holding it in your wrist. “Why are you following me? Do I know you or something?” your last question caused him to frown. You could practically see the wheels turning in the man’s head as he chose his words carefully. He sighed heavily, before his eyes travelled down to the bag in your hand.  

“I uh…noticed you drawing earlier and I wanted to say how nice your shading technique was. That’s all.”

You blinked, your eyes widening. He did all that for a damn compliment? Who was this guy?

“Thank you,” you replied, which came out more as a question. Soon, the people around you began going about their day once they realized there was no harm being done to you. Leaving the two of you standing in the middle of the busy sidewalk.

“My name is Steve,” he smiled, holding out his hand for you. “Steve Rogers.” You raised your eyebrows. That was a bit of an older fashioned name, but you weren’t complaining. Your mom tried to name you Jane once before your birth.

“I’m Y/N,” you replied, gently taking his hand and shaking it.  

“Y/N Y/L/N.”


As the next couple years went by, you and Steve became two peas in a pod.  

Wherever you went, he went. At first, you found it sort of creepy that your best friend was following you around town all the time, showing up at your apartment in the middle of the night when the Stark tower got too much for him and he needed a place to sleep properly. After a while, you just assumed the man was a bit lonely, which was fine by you considering you were, too.

There were times where you two would just stay up all night watching old movies from his time. His favorite was My Darling Clementine, which you had seen so many times that you now knew the entire film’s script by memory. 

Soon, Steve began accompanying you on your trips to art galleries for school. It was a win/win for you as he always attracted so much attention being the hot shot Captain America he was, also, he eased the storm of anxiety that you struggled with your entire life. Steve was your wing man.  

But there were some times when you felt that maybe Steve wanted to be more than friends. 

You always thought of him as a brother figure, but the way he would look at you whenever he thought you weren’t noticing, it had you a bit confused. It happened when you were watching the old movies. He would look at you from out the corner of his eye, watching your reactions closely. You figured it was because he had a thing for you, which you didn’t return. 

You had a couple boyfriends here and there, but nothing special. And Steve, bless his heart, had completely unapproved of them all. 

But whenever you would sing along to your favorite song, Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland, you would see the look even more. You couldn’t put your finger on it, but something about that song probably caused unpleasant memories for him. You wondered why. 

Another time you got The Look, was when you smoked. It was a habit, yeah, one that you’ve had for far too long. Every time you would be out and about with him -which was always- and you lit up a cigarette, he would immediately scold you until you put it out. You loved Stevie, but you were a big girl. You could make your own decisions. 


You were lounging on your couch, watching old reruns of Seinfeld, when a loud banging on your front door causing you to nearly jump out of your skin. You looked over at your phone. 

Five O’clock. 

Steve was currently on a mission, or so you thought. Who on earth could it be? 

You sighed, standing up from the couch and made your way towards the front door. You flung the door open, expecting to see Steve standing there with a box of pizza like always, but instead you got something way, way more complicated. 

“W-What is going on?” you asked, eyeing the two other Avengers beside your best friend. 

Steve let out a sigh, giving you a guilty smile. “These are my uh…coworkers.” 

You blinked, staring at him with wide eyes. Coworkers? Really?

“May we come inside?” Natasha asked as she clutched her shoulder tightly. Her face was twisted into a grimace as she tried to cover the obvious gunshot wound in her shoulder. Your eyes widened. 

“Of course!” you jumped, reaching forward and gently placing your hand on her back, and guiding her into your apartment. She let out a groan when you touched her shoulder. 

“I think I’m gonna need a new shoulder.” she said. 


You placed the cotton swab on Natasha’s shoulder, gently dabbing the fresh stitches you had applied. She was lucky to be alive, the bullet barely missed a major artery. A couple more centimeters and she would’ve bled out in seconds. 

“So are you guys gonna tell me what the hell happened?” you asked, turning around in your chair to face Steve, who was seated on your couch, his body bruised and battered from the obvious fight. 

Whoever they ran into managed to put up on hell of a fight. 

“His name is The Winter Soldier,” Natasha chimed from behind you. She avoided your eyes as she spoke “He’s Hydra’s top assassin. He’s killed over a dozen elected officials and other people as well. We ran into him earlier.” 

Steve continued to stare down at the floor, his face in a distant frown. 

“What does that have to do with Steve? What happened?” you asked eagerly. 

“We just found out that this so called Winter Soldier is actually Steve’s best friend, Bucky Barnes.” 

Your eyes widened. You were so confused. Steve never mentioned anyone else in his life except for his mother and father. He always told you he was on the lonely side, but…he had a best friend apparently. An old best friend from over seventy years ago. 

“Who the hell is Bucky?” you chided, furrowing your brows at Steve. How could he have not told you? You and he told each other everything. 

“Bucky Barnes was considered KIA in 1942 when he fell off a locomotive during a mission to capture the evil scientist Arnim Zola.” Sam informed as he reloaded his pistol. 

“And now, he’s alive. And brainwashed, completely wiped of his memories of Steve.” Natasha finished, taking a sip of the glass of orange juice you poured her a few minutes ago. 

You felt your chest ache. 

Why couldn’t Steve feel like he could tell you about Barnes? You guys were so much closer than the average friends. 

You turned back to Steve, only to find him on the couch with his face buried in his hands. His breaths coming out in short huffs. 

You made your way over to the blond, bending down until you were eye level with him. He looked so broken, yet you had no idea what he was going through. You’ve never lost anyone before. You had no idea who this Winter Soldier was, but if it meant reconnecting two old friends, you were more than wiling to help Steve. 

You gently pulled Steve’s hands from his hair and brought them down, revealing his tear stained face. You smiled up at him, hope shining in your eyes. 

“Whoever this Bucky guy is,” you began, looking down at your entwined hands. “He must be a special kind of man for you to go these lengths. We’ll get your friend back, Steve. If it’s the last thing we do.” 

Steve felt his heart shattering even more as you spoke. Nevertheless, he offered you a false smile, hoping to distract you from the internal pain he was facing. To his relief, you bought it. 

He watched as you went back to Natasha and began placing the bandages onto her wound, your face set in a concerned frown. 

‘Oh, Y/N’ he thought to himself. 

‘If you only knew the truth.’ 


- Fin!  ❤️

Tag list of super awesome people! 

@sebbylover24 @softwintersoldier @amrita31199 @jezzula @jenna-luke @harrisbn @ifoundlove-x0vanessa0x @ballerinafairyprincess @gingerbatchwife @callmeoncette @bellaballanda @sebbyismyking @abigailredgrave @chou-maitresse @twinklingstarlight @abovethesmokestacks @dracu-ma-bucky @persephone-is-here-omg @i-write-tragedies-and-sins @melconnor2007 @nenyakj @watergirl1996 @marveloussssworld @ihavetwobuckystomyname @megandrawsspace @wintersoldieressiam @fridabarnes @abovethesmokestacks @mizzzpink @diana-daydreamer @meganlane84 @adrianabribiescacortes @r3stl3ss-minds @queen–valeskaxx @winterboobaer @addictivewriter @tatortot2701 @supersoldier-buckybarnes @the-winter-avengerrrrr @the-witching-hours12-3 @netflixa @kaitskennedyy @witheringblooddemon  @lostinspace33 @nottheopera @beebossinner @ktrivia @4theluvofall @the-lazy-leprechaun @behindthesehazeleyes27 @38leticia @davinaciaire @cry-me-a-fkin-river @buckyshattergirl @raeintheusa @helloitsgrc @icedragoncred1763 @sebbeanstan @shieldagentofthemonth @amillionfandoms-onlyoneme @sheriwallace123 @permanent-lines @hellstempermentalangel @answer-the-sirens @badassbaker @mrssgtjamesbuckybarnes @therealgoldenbookworm @buckyappreciationsociety @dream-equine @munsurieya @feelmyroarrrr @learisa @stephie-senpai @vindictivegrace @valynsia @saffreelove @say-my-name-assbut @feelthemusicfuckwhatheyresaying @alucialunn12 @bad-wolf87 @such-a-common-girl @yknott81 @frolicsomefawkes @svetlanaabril @hellahornyvirgin @mirkwood—princess @amour-quinn @tirednwired05 @obsessed-with-book-boyfriends @harleycativy @crazinessgraveyardsandcartoons @deathordesire

Ok so I kind of lost my tag list thingy so if I didn’t tag you on the list pls let me know or if i tagged you on the wrong fic, pls also let me know!

Tags are open for this series!

Intro

Mr. Yagi

Cowritten by @aoimikans


Ai worked front desk on the top floor of Might Tower with Hikari for nearly seven years. There were three staples of her usual day: a rabid group of ever-changing media personnel, All Might’s rooftop entrances and disappearances behind the Might Gate , and Mr. Toshinori Yagi.

Mr. Yagi was hired after All Might’s vacation following his fight with Toxic Chainsaw. It was rumored Yagi was replacing Sir Nighteye. His uncanny knowledge of every coworker - their birthdays, their favorite foods, the names of their pets - seemed to point to a similar quirk.  

The notion was quickly dashed due to Mr. Yagi’s poor health and his own round-about admission that he was Quirkless.

Regardless, the man was a fast friend to everyone in Might Tower.

“Good evening, Ai, Hikari,” Yagi greeted, exiting from his usual staff door. He carried a wide box, and he set it on the front desk with a grin, “Happy International Doughnut Day!”  

“Again Mr. Yagi?” Hikari said, giggling, “That’s the third obscure holiday this month!”

“Well, there’s plenty to celebrate,” Yagi chuckled, opening the box and offering the sweets inside, “Besides, you all work so hard. Might as well have fun every now and then.”

Yagi wheezed a laugh at his own joke and coughed, quickly reaching into his breast pocket for his handkerchief.  

Ai smiled fondly and nudged a box of tissues his way, “Thank you Mr. Yagi - oh! Is that a s’mores doughnut? Don’t mind if I do.”

Yagi grinned behind his handkerchief and took a few tissues, wiping his mouth and chin.

“Good choice,” he rasped.

Breaking News in Musutafu!

Yagi jolted, twisting to look at the large television screen on the lobby wall.

“Off to alert All Might?” Hikari grinned knowingly, munching on her own butterscotch doughnut.

“You know him,” He laughed, shaking his head and edging toward the Staff door, “No room for personal time.”

A giant villain is making an unwelcome splash at Ushimitsudoki Aquarium and Water Park.”

“No rest for the weary,” Ai said.

“Don’t I know it!” Yagi rushed to the door, pulling on his tie, “Keep the doughnuts!”

Keep reading

you guys asked for part three, so TADA!! this is part of my peter & michelle headcanon, and here you can find part 1 and part 2! 

  • michelle doesn’t bring up the day to peter right away because she just doesn’t know how
  • in her books, the girls always talk to their friends about boys, but michelle’s only friends are the boy and well…ned
  • basically,  michelle is on her own for this one and since she has no other way of deciding how to handle these…feelings…she starts to do some research
  • the next time she’s at the bookstore she finds herself in the teen romance section and she reads a few here and there
  • most of them are cringe worthy and cheesy but maybe…that’s a good thing
  • maybe it’d be nice for peter to hold her hand and to kiss her on the forehead in central park and to just be her person
  • but there’s one problem
  • peter is spiderman, the most abnormal and most famous superhero in new york
  • a relationship would be the last thing on his mind, and it should be on michelle’s too
  • this isn’t like her, she’s reading romance novels instead of ones about the zombie apocalypse for goodness sake
  • but since that day in her room, peter has maintained constant communication with her
  • he texts her every night when he gets back from being the friendly neighborhood spiderman, and sometimes he even texts her after he saves a cat or stops a bank robbery
  • and not that she asked ned or anything…but peter definitely texts her more often than he texts him
  • peter catches on to her sudden change in reading genre’s one day at lunch when michelle finds herself reading yet another teen romance novel 
  • he leans his head over the book to see her face, which puts them very, very close together and michelle has to remember to breathe
  • peter gets a confused look on his face and asks “since when do you read cute romance books?” 
  • and michelle panics
  • what if he figures it out? he’s spiderman he’s not stupid
  • but there’s no way he could ever figure it out, but she can’t take that chance.
  • she slams the book down before grabbing her backpack and standing up. “god peter! it’s none of your business!” and she snatches the book and rushes off, leaving peter and ned and their shocked faces behind.
  • she probably just made everything worse, but she just had to get out of there. 
  • that night, she takes all the romance books she’s collected over the last month and starts stuffing them in an old box of stuffed animals. this was stupid. there’s no way anything could ever happen with peter and she’s only falling harder and-
  • her phone rings 
  • peter. 
  • her voice cracks when she answers and she knows she’s going to cry the second she hangs up but he can’t think something is wrong, he can’t. she musters up all the courage she has and says, “hello?” 
  • “MJ, open the window.” 
  • she knows she can’t tell him to go away, so she hangs up and tosses the phone on her bed before going to her window and tugging the curtains back. sure enough, peter is sitting on the fire escape in his spidey suit, the mask in his hand again.
  • now she’s definitely going to cry. 
  • she opens the window just a crack, just enough so they could hear each other but that she’s still keeping a wall up. literally.
  • “what’s up?” she tries her best to remain nonchalant. peter raises his eyebrows when she doesn’t open the window more. 
  • “why’d you snap at me?” 
  • “i didn’t snap at you.”
  • “you literally snapped your book closed. my head was right there. you literally snapped at me.” he laughs again and michelle feels the butterflies and god dammit girl pull it together 
  • “sorry,” she shrugs. “i’m fine.” 
  • peter leans forward and opens the window all the way, causing her to stand up off her window seat. he holds his hand out. 
  • “what are you doing?”
  • “come on,” peter gives her an adorable puppy grin and she’s about to fly straight up to the moon from these butterflies in her stomach. 
  • “…no…it’s…cold,” she tries her best to keep elaborating but peter reaches behind him and tosses a sweater at her. 
  • his sweatshirt.
  • oh
  • my
  • god.
  • “you can’t hide from me, MJ. now come on,” he looks so sincere and michelle doesn’t want to make him feel even more confused so she stuffs her feet into her converse and tugs the sweatshirt over her head. peter helps her onto the fire escape and they close the window, making sure it stays unlocked so michelle can climb back in later. 
  • “so are we just going to talk on the fire escape or?” she asks, crossing her arms in the hoodie. though she and peter are similar heights, the hoodie feels big on her, and it’s probably since becoming spiderman peter has the muscles of a greek god in her eyes, but she’d never admit that
  • peter laughs again, shaking his head. “i got a better idea,” he says and he pulls her towards him, using an arm to wrap around her waist. he uses his other arm to put hers around his neck and michelle locks her hands together and she’s sure she’s shaking and she’s about to ask to forget this and go inside when suddenly peter is webbing the building across the street and they’re flying and she’s screaming and he’s laughing and it’s the most surreal feeling in the entire world
  • thank god she’s not scared of heights
  • they stop a few blocks over on a rooftop and peter makes sure she’s on her feet before he lets her go and now she’s definitely shaking but this is so cool
  • “the empire state building!” she points in the distance. “hey, you climbed pretty well in DC i bet you could do that.”
  • “i’ll pass,” peter shakes his head. they end up sitting close together, it’s not cold outside but it’s not warm either and michelle really wants to put her head on his shoulder but instead she settles for making sweater paws from his hoodie.
  • “you know, every time i save someone, i don’t even know who they are,” he starts talking out of the blue. “and every time i find myself thinking, ‘thank god it’s not aunt may or ned.” michelle nods, because it’s obviously ned and aunt may are the two most important people in his life. 
  • “and then lately, i started to think…” he trails off and michelle nudges his foot with hers. 
  • “think what?” but he shakes his head so she kicks his foot harder and he kicks back and eventually after going back and forth michelle swings her legs over his just so he stops kicking her.
  • that’s the only reason. she swears. they’re next to each other, her legs across his, and she doesn’t want to pressure peter because she knows he’ll say liz. liz has been gone for a year, she finished high school in oregon and moved to school in california but peter adored her. it had to be her. or maybe tony stark. or maybe even flash? he’s annoying but who knows maybe even-
  • “i started to think thank god it wasn’t you,” peter finally says and michelle whips her head around so fast her glasses nearly get knocked off. 
  • “you…you what?” 
  • “the hardest part about all of this is that i’m terrified something will happen to the people i care about. that the bad guys will try to hurt you to get to me.”
  • “peter,” she starts, but he shakes his head. he’s clearly on a rant now.
  • “and i hate it because god if something happened to ned, or may, or you, i couldn’t live with that. i couldn’t live without you,” he’s staring at her now, and his eyes are so sincere and the moonlight is right on them like how it’s described in her cheesy romance novels and suddenly she’s lacing her fingers behind his neck again
  • but this time it’s to pull his face to hers and she kisses him
  • and he kisses her back
  • and the butterflies are going crazy and so are the alarms in her head but all that matters is peter is kissing her and everything just feels so damn right in the world
  • he pulls away from her and leans his head on her shoulder and she’s still holding him and he says, “i can’t lose you,”
  • “you won’t,” and she knows she means it because if someone ever tried to harm peter or take him from her the world would implode she’s sure of it
  • peter sits up and brushes the hair behind her ear that fell out of her ponytail. “it’s too risky.”
  • “and? peter when have you and i ever done anything remotely normal? especially you,” she narrows her eyes and he nods because she does have a point. 
  • he reaches across and grabs her hand. “just…don’t leave me. please?” 
  • she’s never been so sure of anything in her life when she goes to kiss him again, but before she does she tells him “never.” 
  • and when peter drops her back off and helps her through the window, he says goodnight and kisses her on the forehead. 
  • and after he’s gone, michelle takes the romance books out of the box
  • because hey, maybe the books weren’t too cheesy after all

update: part 4 is here!

I Don't Wanna Live Forever [Connor Murphy x Reader]

Title: I Don’t Wanna Live Forever
Pairing: Connor Murphy x Reader
Fandom: Dear Evan Hansen
Requested: no
Summary: Your family takes an annual trip to the mountains with the Murphy family every year to unwind over the winter break–that being said, Connor Murphy isn’t the sweet kid he used to be, and you’d rather be anywhere else than sharing a room with him for two weeks. However, between your parents, a line of accidents, and a mapless trip in the woods seem determined to bring you together–if you can make it out alive.
Warnings: Connor’s potty mouth | Mentions of drugs, abuse, alcohol, panic attacks, sex trafficking, sex, blood, hospitals | First person reader | face paced/vignette style | not proof read | tenses may change
A/N: Here’s that long ass thing I’ve been working on for weeks and just finished a few minutes ago, ayy. Based entirely off the “Connor hated skiing” line. This is long af with no read more option, sorry :/ Here we go! (THANKS FOR 500+ FOLLOWERS ♡♡♡)


Connor Murphy was a lot of things.

He was stubborn–I’d never seen him admit he was wrong, but I’d definitely seen him throw scrabble pieces across the wooden floor of the cabin, leaving Zoe to scramble red-faced to collect them as he stomped up the oak steps to his room, echoing around the house.

He was annoying–I’d told him once I wasn’t crazy about Iron Maiden, which resulted in the album being on blast for the entirety of the time he drove Zoe and I around the mall in the family’s silver minivan.

He was stoic. He was impatient. He was angry.

I’d begged my parents not to go cabins for winter break. I’d begged them to pick a different mountain range if we were so dead set on skiing. But Mr. Murphy and my mother were business associates, and the last thing she wanted to do was make them feel like we were no longer on good terms–especially because of Connor.

“Larry’s been having an awfully hard time with Connor, sweetheart, you have to understand,” my mother crooned in our rental car, fixing her lip liner as she drove, my father keeping a white knuckled grip on the Jesus handle above his head. “He’s not doing very well in school and he’s been throwing tantrums at home. Poor Cynthia is at her wits end. They’re lucky to have that sweet Zoe, she’s so talented and smart. Poor Connor is jealous and acting out, just try not to rally him up, alright, dear?”

I didn’t dignify her with a response, mostly because I knew she wouldn’t like what I had to say anyway, but also because I knew she wouldn’t care to listen, either. I sighed loudly, watching the snow flurry softly outside the window. It wasn’t fair–here I was in the middle of something so remarkably beautiful, and I’d be shoved in a minivan with the Murphy kids and stuck in the valley town’s 1970s mall with crappy t-shirts and a vape store that Connor would spend all day in.

The cabin was huge, up with a view of the town below, nearly three stories made of solid, stripped oak, in the middle of a winding road with a four percent grade. Half the cabin was supported on beams which plummeted down the mountain face. I’d be lucky to stand on the deck without vomiting, let alone being able to venture into the hot tub.

The Murphy’s minivan was already in the drive, trunk shut, meaning they’d unpacked and I’d be left with whatever miniscule space they’d left for me in the loft area.

“Remember to be nice, sweetheart,” my mother crooned again, fluffing her hair in the mirror and giving me an enthusiastic smile in the rearview. “It’s important! They’re practically family.”

Geez, I was lucky to not have Connor Murphy for a cousin.

Slinging my backpack over my arm and exiting the rental car, I took the liberty to stretch, despite the cold air that stung my cheeks and the snow that fluttered down into my hair. This may very well be the last moment of solitude I had for the entirety of the week, and I was going to revel in it.

A movement caught my eye, suddenly, and I lowered myself off my tiptoes to glance up at the second story window–a curtain fluttered shut. It was most likely Zoe or Connor checking out the commotion that was my father and mother bickering over who carried what into the house, and shutting it once they’d realized I caught them. Feeling vaguely uneasy, I turned just as Larry Murphy, bundled in a parka, burst out of the house to take two suitcases from my father.

It was going to be a long two weeks.

——

Cynthia Murphy made me stand by the kitchen counter as she was stocking the cabinet with neon colored cardboard boxes containing various sugary, pink cereals with marshmallows and prizes inside. The Murphy kids were both picky eaters, I remembered quickly, Connor more so than Zoe.

Mrs. Murphy kept playing with my hair, crowing about how much longer it looked (despite the fact I’d cut it since the last time I’d seen her) and how pretty and grown up I’d become, asking me the usually annoying adult questions (“Any thoughts on schools yet? Oh, Connor can’t decide either! Do you know what you’re going to major in? That’s alright, you’ll figure it out soon!”) It would’ve been annoying, I decided, if and only if she didn’t look so sad all the time, the purple bruising under her eyes visible still underneath the layers of makeup. My mother could say whatever she liked about Cynthia Murphy where her wifely duties were concerned–Mrs. Murphy tried to be a good mother (re: tried, period), and that was more than enough to pass her in my book.

In the background, my parents were settling into the second master bedroom, Larry Murphy yelling at the bottom of the stairs to announce our arrival. I could do without the annual reunion, awkward questions about school. The Murphy kids were tolerable–Zoe definitely more so–but it didn’t mean they had to force us together so artificially.

Zoe skimpered down the stairs first, her soft moccasin boots barely making any sound on the stairs–I was surprised to find her long legs bare, her thighs peeking out beneath a pretty pink chiffon dress, covered by what I hoped to be a faux fur parka. Her pretty auburn hair was curled, pulled back with a polka dot headband I could recognize from her childhood. She was wearing eyeliner, and cotton candy flavored lip gloss I remembered sharing when we were thirteen.

It was such a stark contrast from how I remembered her before. The last I’d seen her she’d been gawky and fifteen with a mouth full of metal and a bra full of kleenex. She was practically grown now, and beautiful–it made me feel slightly subpar in my own blue jeans and blue sweater. Regardless, she smiled brightly and skipped over to me, opening her arms to wrap them around my neck.

“It’s so good to see you!” She exclaimed, pressing a quick kiss to my cheek that shocked me, as well as some others–Larry Murphy’s horrified expression was priceless, and I was convinced Connor put her up to it–but I just laughed and hugged her tightly before letting her go.

“You look so pretty,” I told her with a wry grin, and she just tossed the expression back, nodding with a, “So do you!”

“It’s so good to see you girls are still so close,” my mother tittered, beginning to uncork a glass of wine–we didn’t drink much at my house, but the Murphy’s, I knew, did, and my mother certainly wasn’t going to let that go to waste. “Where’s that sweet boy of yours?”

Larry Murphy at the bottom of the stairs, banging on the oak walls, yelling out, “Connor!” was enough to make both the Murphy women flinch visibly. Zoe still had her arm around my waist as we stared up at the ceiling above us, waiting for the squeak of sneakers on the polished wood.

“Don’t yell.”

Zoe jumped away from me as if she’d been burned, pressing herself against the countertop as if to make herself invisible. Mrs. Murphy, her hand clutched to her chest after the initial nose, fought hard to smile believably. I, myself, had jumped at the unexpected sound–Connor Murphy’s curt tenor clear across the room, no where near the stairs, instead standing the doorway were we had just come from. I couldn't  quite make out his frame from here–there was a line of bodies blocking my view, my parents, Mrs. Murphy, and Zoe all formed a human barrier that constructed the divide between Connor and I. Fine by me.

“There you are!” Mrs. Murphy chirped, clearly still nervous, visibly by her shaking voice and hands, fluffing her hair to give her something to do. “You didn’t miss much, Connor, they’ve just arrived.”

My mother said something unintelligent in way of greeting, to which Conner didn’t reply, just shut the door carefully behind him to keep out the cold air. I couldn’t see his face from here, but I could make out that he was much too still for a teenage boy, much too quiet.

“–You remember her, don’t you, Connor?”

My throat closed up as the Red Sea parted, everyone’s heads turning to look between the two of us.

He didn’t move from the doormat–boots  caked in snow, as if he’d gone for a walk, and the bottoms of his skinny jeans were muddy and slick looking. Still, he didn’t shiver, which was slightly unnerving. He was skinnier than I remembered, like he hadn’t been eating, and his face was all angles. He slouched, his pink mouth which was mottled red from the cold was set in a heavy frown. His eyes, which were scanning somewhere around my waist and hadn’t come anywhere near making eye contact since he’d seen me, had blown pupils. Drugs. He was doing drugs in the middle of the afternoon.

He hadn’t cut his hair since I’d seen him last, brown curls poking out of the bottom of a black sock toboggan with a soft pompom on top. It could’ve been funny, I supposed, his rough puberty finishing to leave him left over with this, something akin to a drugged out vogue model who listened to way too much 2008 Fall Out Boy, if he didn’t seem so…unnervingly somber for someone who clearly wasn’t sober. Geez, this kid was a school shooter in the making.

I glanced back up to find him finally staring at my face, shooting an uncomfortable alertness down my spine. His eyebrows were crooked in vague amusement that didn’t seem to reach his mouth, and I felt my face heat up under his scrutiny. If he was trying to intimidate me, it wouldn’t work. I wasn’t scared of boys like him.

“Yeah, I remember her,” he grinned mirthlessly, stuffing his hands into the gut pocket of his hoodie, giving me a nod that, while meant to appease our parents, also felt like a vague threat. I didn’t smile back.

“Great! Wanna show her the room?”

Connor grinned crookedly. “Follow me, kid.”

——

The upstairs layout was just like I remembered  it–Two rooms, one main one in the first entrance with a king bed tucked in the corner, a TV and a few gaming systems with some furniture in the front, a bathroom with two doors which lead through to the other room, which held the fold out couch and television I was accustomed to using.

The Murphy kids already had their belongs strewn about the room–Zoe’s stuff animals and princess blankets eclipsing most of the bed and an ancient Nintendo DS on the table with SpongeBob stickers on the cover that I’m sure belonged to Connor–and it left me very little room to maneuver through.

Connor was silent as he lead me up, as if I didn’t know the way, but surprised me by stopping in front of the king bed, holding out his arms to signal me.

“Your room, my lady.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “This–this is your bed.”

“Not this year. Dad’s decided it’s a little too Flowers In the Attic for Zoe and I to share a bed this year–I’m on the pull out and you girls get to have your fun.” He shot me a bitter smile to let me know he wasn’t thrilled about having the pull-out–he shouldn’t be, the thing was total garbage–but surely he’d enjoy the privacy of it?

“I don’t care to take the pull-out,” I told him, keeping my bag on my shoulder despite the fact it was beginning to be painfully heavy. “If you wanna–”

“Don’t have a choice,” he said, already turning toward the bathroom to walk to his half of the loft. “The bed’s yours.”

——

So, Connor Murphy had turned out to be a total dick. It should’ve unsurprising information, I knew, but part of me still remembered him as a charismatic kid I was, at one point, friends with. Back when the three of us all slept in the king bed, before any of us ever had a zit, when we’d fall asleep in the floor watching early 1990s Pokémon episodes, because Larry Murphy didn’t like them watching it.

Even the Connor I remembered at fourteen, gangly and silent and shy with close-cropped hair felt better than this. I was past uncomfortable, sitting stiffly between he and Zoe on one of the couches in the living room. There was a faux fur blanket hanging behind us, shedding hairs onto Connor’s black jacket, which would’ve been funny if he wasn’t picking at his nails with a slightly rusted pocket knife–I notice he’d painted them, which I oddly admired. I’d kissed a boy earlier this year who painted his nails, and his palms were always soft when he’d reach up to cup my cheeks. It softened Connor in my head, just slightly.

He was careful, I saw, to stay on his side of the couch, leaning into the apex of the arm and the back of the couch rather  than flush with me, his thin legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle to avoid me. I appreciated it, but it didn’t stop me from leaning forward, my elbows on my knees, sitting on the edge of the cushion. I could still feel warmth radiating from him–it was late, and I was tired with a full stomach. If I wasn’t careful, I’d fall right into him, and he’d never let me live that down.

Zoe practically was asleep, leaning forward as well with her head on my shoulder. Cynthia had let her have nearly two glasses of wine at dinner–not enough to get her drunk, but it didn’t change the fact Zoe was still lithe and young, and easily tipsy.

We’d all gone into town for a very awkward dinner–I was just thankful to be placed between my father and Zoe, in a position on the opposite end of the table from Connor, who was stuck in between Larry and Cynthia, looking as if he were in a permanent time out.

Now we were gathered around the coffee table in the cabin, the seven of us hunched over a tiny photo album that I couldn’t really make out from here. There were fuzzy polaroids of us as children, looking nothing like we did now. Connor and I at six, soaked from romping in a sprinkler. Zoe and Connor sharing a chocolate icecream cone, their faces covered in the brown spatter.

“You were all so small,” Mrs. Murphy crowed with a choked voice, covering half her face with her hand in a faux attempt to eclipse the emotion. “Oh, I miss it. You kids used to spend so much time together! Now we only get together for break, and Zoe is so busy there’s hardly enough time for her to spend quality time with her sweet brother.”

Zoe snorted loudly, earning a glare from Mr. Murphy I was positive I wasn’t supposed to see. I snuck a glance at Connor, whose face betrayed no emotion, just staring blankly ahead in the direction of the album. From his position, I was positive he couldn’t see more than the chipped leather cover of the book. Even if he leaned forward, he wouldn’t have been able to see much.

My mother and Mrs. Murphy went out in loud voices in a seamless attempt to pretend the seemingly secret interaction had taken place, so, while the focus was shifted, I turned my attention to Connor.

He didn’t cock an eyebrow this time when he caught me staring, instead just furrowed his eyebrows and looked at me, as if he expected me to speak.

“Can you see?” I asked, nodding my head in the direction of the book.

“I’m fine,” he said immediately–vaguely irritating, I’d admit, but nonetheless understandable. I was sure Cynthia Murphy had spent most of her life making sure Connor was comfortable at all times. Still, this was my olive branch, in an attempt to make this trip a little more tolerable, and Zoe seemed less than likely to console her brother at this point.

“We can change seats, I’m not really looking,” I promised, sitting forward more in my seat to show that I was ready to make the change.

“I’m fi–”

Connor was cut off by a squeal from his mother, who had tossed the book into our laps. It had taken a great deal of squinting, letting my heartbeat slow before I realized she’d been showing us something and not trying to kill some giant bug between us.

The polaroid was grainy, an ivory hue that whitewashed the photo and the years of existence made the picture hard to decipher at first, especially when we were so tired. The time stamp was from the late nineties, glowing yellow in the corner of the frame. I recognized the gilded tub from upstairs that dominated half the bathroom, big enough for three adults easily.

Connor threw to book onto my lap first, like it had scalded him. I should’ve done the same, but it took me a moment. To see, to adjust, to read and understand what was so socially condemning about the photo.

It was Connor, I realized first, small and tanned with bony ribs and chunky fingers and the apples of his cheeks straining against his baby skin. His hair was cropped so short, it looked almost silly. Beside him was me, my hair wild and tangled, curled as if my mother had teased it for dinner. My wide eyes were blazing, much too big for my face, and I was grinning with wet lips at the camera.

We were in the tub, surrounded by big pink bubbles.

We were very, very naked.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal–not really, unless you counted the fact that if this had been printed, our parents would be arrested for child porn. I was mostly covered, sitting beside Connor, my shoulders hunched forward. But Connor was standing, meaning the camera got a very decent view of–

“What the fuck, Mom!” He screaming, standing and ripping the book off my lap. Cynthia’s tittering died immediately, the hands covering her laughed instead covered her horrified face.

This was how it started, I realized.

“It’s not fucking funny,” he growled, tossing the book across the room, banging against the wooden wall with a heavy whomp.  

“That’s enough, Connor,” Larry Murphy growled low in his throat. Cynthia’s head was downcast, her eyes wide and wet. I recognized the emotion immediately–she shut down with conflict the same way Connor did.

“You don’t get to laugh at me for shits and giggles this whole trip,” Connor said, already lunging up the stairs, his hands shaking. “If I wanted to feel shitty, I’d have a conversation with you.”

So much for having a quiet trip.
——
Zoe wasn’t quiet in her gossip about Connor–his door was fashioned shut, I saw, and I doubt he’d come out for the rest of the night. I was positive he could hear his sister’s loud comments from our room.

“Sorry, he’s such an ass,” Zoe groaned, stretching on the bed, her little lilac nightgown shifting across her thighs. “I think his high is wearing off or something–don’t let it bug you. You don’t have to be nice to him, by the way. I’m not gonna let him hurt you.”

I shrugged, noncommittal. “We were friends once. I’m not gonna be mean, he’s never done anything to me.”

Zoe snorted. “You didn’t just see that? He’s a monster, and it gets worse.”

“He just has a temper. Everyone gets like that sometimes.”

I wasn’t sure why I was defending Connor–half because I didn’t want Zoe to tell Connor I disliked him, then he’d actively terrorize me–half because I had no idea why Connor Murphy was so pissed off. It was just a picture. Yeah, embarrassing, I’ll admit I wasn’t too thrilled about eighteen year old Connor Murphy seeing my nipples, and I’ll admit he definitely had the worst end of the stick.

“He loses his shit like that all the time,” Zoe said. “It’s not just a temper.”

“He’s your brother, Zoe,” I reminded gently, brushing out my hair in the bathroom mirror. “Can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

“He’s no brother of mine,” she whispered, rolling over on the bed and clicking off the light.

——

The next few days passed as the usually did–the adults going places without us, albeit romantic and boring, and leaving the three of us to wander about the town below the mountain crests. It was Zoe’s turn to pick the day’s activity, and she’d chosen the mall.

The place was all dark oak, and hadn’t been remodeled since the late seventies at the earliest. Zoe was chipper, balancing a bag of organic soap and bath bombs on her lap that she’d bought at a local shop, pouring over the cheese fries between us on a plastic red tray.

Connor had also been well-behaved since his outburst several days ago, albeit quiet. He’d separated from us the second we’d arrived, holed out in some record store. Zoe was thrilled to be rid of him, and very vocal about it. I was bored out of my mind.

“Don’t look now,” Zoe said brightly, despite her face suddenly shifting into a mask of disinterest. She bit down on her lip, covered in a pink glitter lipgloss she’d applied much too liberally, and pulled on her pretty auburn braid. “There’s some boys two tables behind us checking you out.”

I felt my face get hot. “You’re lying.”

“Nuh-uh,” Zoe said, leaning into take a sip of her milkshake, biting down on the straw–the look on her face told me she’d got their attention.

“How old are they?” I hissed. The last thing we needed were some creeps following us around the mall–this was how sex trafficking started. Surely Zoe knew that this was a huge red flag.

It was clear from her overzealous wave she didn’t.

I felt a hand on the back of my chair before I saw them–to Zoe’s credit, they were pretty. Both in thick denim blue jeans, both in letterman jackets over white tee-shirts. One was tall, skinny, with pretty dark skin and hair cropped close to his head. The other was a little thicker, pale and short, in badly need from a shave. They were smiling brightly at the two of us in a way that was less awestruck and more closely resembled a triumphant conquest.

“Hello, ladies,” the shorter man greeted, grinning like a shark between Zoe and I. His hair was dark, curling around his temples–handsome, maybe my age, maybe ten years older. It was impossible to tell. There were lines around his eyes that either indicated he smiled too much or was simply older. “What are two cute girls like you doing inside on a day like this–the ski lift is just a walk down the road.”

“We’re here shopping with our brother,” I said immediately, giving a grin. The taller boy quirked his eyebrows at me–his eyes, I noticed, were dark with tawny flecks hidden in them.

“That’s cool,” he said to me, switching places so that the other boy could be closer to Zoe. They both pulled chairs up to our table, facing us. My stomach pinched uncomfortably. “Where’s he at?”

“Nike,” I lied, seeing the sign from the distance and knowing very well that Hot Topic, while probably true, didn’t exactly invoke fear.

“Ah,” he said with a grin, his eyes glancing down at my bare arm with a grin. With two slim fingers, he reached forward to pluck at my woven bracelet Zoe had made me a few nights ago, my name in block letter strung across the twine. His hands were uncomfortably hot, and I drew my arm back into my lap. “Aren’t you cold?” He nodded to my bare arms. I’d left my flannel with Connor, who was sitting on a bench at the time–I hoped he remembered to grab it. I was just wearing a striped cotton tee right now, and my arm had broken out in a case of goosebumps, though I wasn’t sure it was from the cold.

“I’m fine,” I said, careful not to meet his gaze. He was pretty, and if I wasn’t careful, I might end up going somewhere with this guy.

“You know,” he began, and I could hear his grin turn predatory. “You’re very pretty.”

A jolt shot down my spine–I wasn’t pretty, not really, which terrified me. I could hear what the other boy was whispering to Zoe, but I could tell that all the stars were gone from her eyes. She looked pale, panicked. These weren’t the kind of boys we needed to hanging around with.

“I know,” I said quickly. “We really need to call our brother–”

“I think he can wait long enough for me to get your number, right?”

Across the table Zoe laughed, too loudly, pushing back and standing from her chair. She was grinning at the dark haired boy, beckoning her to follow with a jerk of her chin.

“Zoe–”

“We’re gonna run to get some coffee, okay? Connor should be back soon, don’t wait up.”

She didn’t meet my heavy glare for long, and didn’t turn around when I yelled her name. I watched in silent horror as the boy put his hand flush with her lower back.

I was alone.

The panic crept onto the back of my neck long before his thin fingers did. He smelled like cinnamon, strongly, like he’d done one too many sprays with his cologne that morning. When I turned to face him, his tawny eyes were asking.

“Is this the part where you say you’ve got a boyfriend?” He grinned, his teeth blindingly bright in his tan face. He was so close I could see the threads on the collar of his letterman jacket–it looked soft.

There was a possibility, I realized, that they weren’t dangerous. That I was just being paranoid–Zoe wasn’t stupid, and she wouldn’t go off with a strange boy unless she was sure it was safe. Still, they were definitely in college.

And boy, were they pretty.

“I do have a boyfriend, actually,” I said, lifting my chin to meet his gaze so he wouldn’t think I was lying. There was a small voice in the back of my head, screaming, raised on her tip toes that I should just take this plunge–let him hold my hand or kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, because this was a shitty trip and I deserved to be as reckless as the Murphy kids were allowed. I didn’t see a reason why I shouldn’t.

Besides, you know, the obvious.

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have a boyfriend?” He asked, biting back a smirk. I felt the voice in the back of my head get sucker punched by my ego. So, he didn’t think I was pretty after all. Which meant he was dangerous.

Which meant Zoe was in trouble.

“Yes,” I growled, standing, yelping a bit when his hand snaked up to grab at my wrist, nearly breaking my bracelet and keeping me bent over the table.

“Let go,” I hissed–the food court was nearly deserted, and the family in the corner was carefully avoiding my eyes. I wasn’t sure I had the voice to scream.

“I don’t believe you have a boyfriend.”

“Let go, or I’ll scream,” I warned, yanking on my arm. He let go immediately, holding his hand high above his head, which I knew was meant as a gesture of calm, but instead looked an awful lot like he intended to strike me.

“Where’s your boyfriend, then?” He taunted loudly, thrilled to see no one in the court coming to my aid. I felt sick, the panic rising in my chest. Where was Zoe? She was in trouble. I was in trouble. I was going to have to scream–

“He’s right here.”

My arm flailed, immediately cocking back in an attempt to elbow in the stomach whoever had wrapped their arm around my neck, their other spidery hand snaking just slightly under the hem of my t-shirt to splay across my hip, finger tips barely brushing my skin above my jeans. The arms were strong, vice like, pressing me against a hard body, and suddenly I felt limp, panic leaving me as I realized whose familiar smell I was enveloped in.

Hair grazed across my cheekbone, and I could make out the dark locks if I looked out the corner of my eye, and I nearly yelped when I felt lips press chastely against my temple.

I couldn’t make out much of the boy anymore, my eyes level with Connor’s adams apple from where he was pressing me against him.

“Babe,” Connor said cooly, calmly, making my knees knock against his. “Who’s this?”

“H-he’s leaving,” I managed to stutter out, barely a whisper, my voice hoarse. I sounded terrified. No wonder this ass in the letterman jacket hadn’t be intimated by me, I sounded about as frightening as a kitten. Connor pressed his fingers against the nape of my neck, tilting my head against his jugular so that I couldn’t see anything but the pale column of his throat and his dark hair. It was getting difficult to breathe–I felt sick. He moved his hand to wrap around my waist, yanking me tightly to him.

“You heard her,” Connor said, again stoic–half of me wished I could see his face, but the other half knew it would be terrifying. Connor’s temper was legendary and destructive–to see him so angry wouldn’t make the fist in my gut unclench. “Go. Take your friend with you.”

There was a beat of silence. Then two. I couldn’t hear much but my own shaky breathing, warm and wet against Connor’s neck, his hair making the space much too hot. I wasn’t aware I had knotted my fingers into his shirt until he started walking, dragging my stumbling form forward with him. He was going fast, too fast for me to keep up, and my chest could only rise so far before deflating painfully.

“You gotta breathe,” he grunted, one of his arms still around me. His face felt hot against me.

“Z-zoe!” I choked out, realizing I had no idea where she was. She could still be with that boy, be in danger–

“Oh, Christ,” he exclaimed bitterly, letting go and beginning to trudge forward. I was terrified briefly, suddenly overwhelmed with the fact I didn’t know where I was. There was a Game Stop, and a Victoria’s secret, the neon lighting combined with the screaming toddlers and the kissing teens and Connor was leaving

An arm swept up from behind me, leading me just as quickly, mumbling something I couldn’t make out into my ear.

“Zoe!” I grinned, immediately feeling safer, feeling my fear melt away just smidgen in my gut.

“I’m so so sorry I left,” she sobbed. “I went looking for a cop, but I found Connor first and I told him you were in trouble–”

“It’s fine,” I said immediately, surprised that my voice was no longer wet. “Thanks, Zoe.”

I was calm, or, at least calmer by the time we reached the van. Connor was waiting by the passenger side door, which was opened, leaning against a scratch in the silver paint. He wasn’t looking at us, instead appearing to observe the silver snowflakes as they fell.

My reflection in the side mirror revealed my face was red and blotchy, not just from the cold wind. I felt gross–guilty for the fact I hadn’t been able to defend myself and Zoe, guilty for the fact Connor Murphy was the one who had to come to my rescue, and guilty for the fact I’d cried all over him. His zipped up hoodie seemed to have escaped the mess, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel awful. 

He stepped out of the way when I made it close, gesturing for me to get in the passenger side door while glaring at the ground. I was only vaguely surprised, and followed along immediately. Zoe and I almost always rode together in the back. I let Connor shut the door, ignoring the disgusted look Zoe gave as she got into the back.

Connor hoisted himself into the driver’s seat, surprising me with a costume change, reappearing in only a forest green tee. He held out his hoodie to me, balled up in one of his fists without looking at me, before just tossing it into my lap.

“I–”

“I left your flannel in the back. Put that on or you’ll freeze.”

He licked his lips, staring coldly out the front window, before starting the car. I swallowed. Yeah, he definitely hated me.

“Okay.”

——

“You’re sure you’re alright, honey?” My mother asked for the third time. Her hair was tied up, her pink bathrobe covering little of her cleavage and bare legs. She was cradling a wine bottle in her hands, looking at me in faux concern.

I gave her a soft smile. “I’m fine,” I lied. I’d calmed considerately. Connor and Zoe had both agreed I needed to shower to wash off the panicked look on my face–I’d asked them to keep the days happenings a secret. They’d reluctantly agreed.

She gave me a clipped smile. “Maybe you should go to bed early, yeah? That’s what I plan to do.”

I nodded, scratching at my bare leg. I’d taken advantage of Zoe’s absense and changed into boxer shorts and an oversized tee with a kitten on the front–she and Cynthia had headed into town for the night, spending the night at a spa and would be gone for a few days, and my father had taken his annual ‘me time’ and booked a hotel downtown to do his own thing. I think Mr. Murphy went with him, but regardless, he was out of the house. It was just me and my mother.

And Connor. I tried not to think about it. I planned on offering him the big bed tonight, in way of thanking him for today, but we hadn’t spoken much since the incident and I felt…odd. Unsure how to thank him. Unsure why he helped.

I supposed the Murphy men were just gentlemen, even under all that teen angst.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “I’m probably gonna sit out on the balcony and then head to bed.”

She grinned. “Don’t stay out too late, it’s almost down to single digits, dear.”

I just nodded, sliding off the countertop, and slinking upstairs. I was surprised to see Connor sitting on the bed. I grinned.

He looked different, to say the least. He was still without his jacket, wearing only his tee and jeans, and little pair of socks with stars on them, which did seem a little out of character, but I assumed Cynthia bought them. His head perked when he saw me, simply craning his neck, keeping his shoulders bowed forward over his body.

He looked small, I realized. He didn’t look like a boy who punched holes in walls or scared off very big very scary men in shopping mall food courts. He looked like a vogue model with a little too much innocence.

He gave me a grin with no teeth, and it didn’t quite meet his eyes, but I gave him a sheepish smile back.

“Hey,” I greeted, tugging on my top to cover my shorts a little better–Connor Murphy didn’t have any interest in seeing my thighs. Despite all the panic, I’d been playing over and over in my head the comment the boy in the mall had made, incredulous that I had a boyfriend. It was silly to let it sting me, considering he probably wanted to stuff me in a van, but it crippled me nonetheless.

“Hey,” he greeted back, not rising from the bed.  I waited for him to speak again, and when he said nothing, I continued.

“I, uh, meant to say, since Zoe’s gone, you can have the big bed like good old times.”

He frowned. “I don’t need the bed.”

“I don’t either,” I promised, leaning against the banister. “Plus,” I sighed, scratching at the back of my head. “I’m not entirely sure how to thank you for today. I’d probably be selling for a low ball price on the dark web right now, if it wasn’t for you. So, thanks.”

Connor was still frowning. “You’ve had a really rough day. You should take the bed.”

“No,” I insisted, beginning to get frustrated. “I’m really okay, I promise. I can’t give you anything else, take the bed.”

His dark eyebrows knit together quickly, licking his lips again nervously. “I don’t–”

“Plus,” I cut him off again with a curt laugh. “I owe you for your Oscar performance. That was crazy, you know. I can’t believe you fooled him into thinking a guy like you would be with a girl like me.”

His head snapped up. “A guy like me?” He reiterated coldly. I felt my face grow hot.

“You know,” I said quietly.

“Know what?”

“That you’re cool,” I muttered. “And nice looking. And I’m not.”

I was thankful for the warm lighting in the room, concealing my red face. It was already dark out, the blinds drawn tightly. Connor’s fists clenched in the white lace comforter on the bed. I didn’t want him to feel bad for me, and I sort of regretted saying it. Connor had already seen me blubbering today and he didn’t need my shitty teen angst to deal with.

He bit down on his lower lip, staring coldly at the ground before murmuring, “I need a shower. Take the bed.”

I shook my head. “I’m gonna go for a walk.”

He just nodded, rising from the bed. “Don’t get too far. It’s cold out.”

Connor shut the bathroom door behind him, and I was left feeling like a total idiot. I could hear the shower running before I left, snagging Connor’s grey jacket from my bed post and sliding it on. I went down the stairs, sliding out the first door to the outside, stepping out onto the first floor balcony. I made a mental note to the shut the blinds later, before walking around to the front of the cabin.

I should’ve been thrilled to be alive, I realized, snorting at how melodramatic that sounded. Still, as I burrowed deeper into Connor’s jacket, watching my thighs turn red from the cold, I realized that I was shrouded in a veil of melancholy I wouldn’t be able to shake off.

I missed Connor. I missed being his friend. I missed him coming over for play dates when we were kids, gauzy fairy wings strapped to our backs, jumping on a trampoline when Zoe was still to young to participate. I missed writing him letters, like a pen pal, despite the fact he only lived on the opposite side of town. Going to different schools hadn’t deterred us, for a while, at least. We had sleepovers every birthday, and Zoe told the best scary stories. I remembered hiding under Connor’s bed with him, a hand clasped over my mouth so Zoe wouldn’t hear our breathing.

I remembered kissing him when we were in kindergarten, ridiculously late at night, a quick smack on the lips during a game of pretend. I’d kissed Zoe, too, when we were probably much too old for it, but thinking of Connor tugged on my chest.

It stopped as we turned twelve, I realized. I never saw him–he was still playing little league, and I stopped coming to his games to pick dandelions with Zoe. He was beginning to get teased. My parents insisted the slumber parties should stop, we were too old. Every time Connor and I were together at birthdays or Christmas parties, adults would joke about when we’d fall in love, how soon would it be before we got married. We avoided each other like the plague, unless we knew we could be alone. And we were never alone.

Connor hid inside himself. Zoe made fun of him at parties, loudly. I kept quiet.

He stopped calling during the summer months. He never rode his bike by my house. The only time I saw Connor Murphy was the annual ski trip.

I missed him. He’d been a childhood friend, and I’d let him go without a second thought to save myself some shred of dignity, like it wouldn’t be ripped away from me regardless.

Connor Murphy was nothing to be ashamed of.

And now it was too late to be his friend.

It had started to snow again, so I wiped my face and rose, walking the opposite way I had come, skirting the stairs–they led to the upstairs, but only to Connor’s room, and I didn’t plan to barge in uninvited, especially if he was still in the shower, two rooms blocked me from getting to the king bed, so I’d have to walk all the way around the house.

The lights were out, I saw, but again no one had bothered to close the blinds. The television might have been on, a dim blue glow resounding onto the leather couch–

I froze.

As it turned out, my mother hadn’t gone to bed. The television was on, showing some late show with some old white man making cracks about some politician I didn’t care for, casting the blue haze onto the coffee table, revealing the wine bottle my mother had been cradling. Two empty glasses sat on the table–my mother’s bathrobe crinkled on the floor.

I was disgusted in a comedic way, just for a moment, to see my mother in her nightgown kissing my father, who my brain had filled in under the assumption he’d arrived back.

I’d begun backing up to the stairs, Connor Murphy’s naked body be damned, when I realized my father’s car had never pulled up, and I’d been on the front porch the whole time.

A better look in the window revealed a man a little older, a little more gray and a little more handsome than my father.

I was sprinting by the time Larry Murphy had begun to peel his shirt off his back.

I didn’t knock by the time I’d made it to Connor’s room, just threw open the door, struggling to get my breathing under control. I stumbled to the pull out couch, dragging the sheets up around my freezing legs. I was in shock, I knew, and I needed to calm down before Connor came in–the bathroom door was shut, but I couldn’t hear the shower anymore, despite the steady trickle of steam coming through the cracks. I was trapped in this room until Connor came out.

My mother was cheating on my father Larry Murphy. Larry Murphy was cheating on his wife with my mother. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe it, I had to have made it up, this had to be a dream–

“What are you doing in here?”

It was an exclamation, alarmed, grasping a towel tight with thin white knuckles.

Connor. Connor in a towel. Connor wet with slick hair and chest hair and navel and hip bones. Connor Murphy, son of Larry Murphy, who had his tongue down my mom’s throat–

“Hey, breathe, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

By the time my eyes snapped back into focus, Connor was struggling to pull on grey basketball shorts without dropping his towel, and I dropped my gaze back to my shaking hands, almost startlingly red from the temperature change and what was most likely shock. I was hyperventilating, struggling to smother the sobs. I knew this deep in the house, they probably wouldn’t hear me–they were most definitely preoccupied anyway. 

The bed dipped, and Connor’s bare side brushed my thigh. I didn’t mean to jerk back, but I did, clinging to the arm of the couch and staring horrified–Connor looked almost hurt, but mostly panicked. I tried to calm down, for his sake.

“S-sorry!” I sobbed. “Sorry! I-I-I didn’t mean–I didn’t mean–I didn’t–I–”

“Hey, stop, breathe. You gotta breathe. Go slow, okay? Stop tryna talk,” he commanded, holding up his hands to show he wasn’t gonna hurt me, readjusting so that he sat up on his knees, leaning  over me to take my hands, rubbing them between his own despite the claminess.

I avoided his eyes, focusing instead on the dip of his collar bone, surprised to see thin lines of chest hair, wet and plastered to his chest. He was skinny, and I could see his ribs despite the tiny stomach roll from where he folded in the middle. His thumbs rubbed soothing circles across the backs of my hands, and for a moment, I didn’t think. I could’ve forgotten everything and fallen asleep right here with him.

He pulled my hands against his chest, cradling mine in his own, pulling me forward, asking with his slate eyes if it was alright.

I pretended we were friends.

“You wanna talk about that?” He asked very softly, looking down at where our hands were clasped against him–he was warm, his skin pink and hot from the shower. He’d combed his hair back out of his face, and it was almost cute like that. “If it’s about today, I promise you’re safe, alright? I wasn’t gonna let that guy hurt you.”

My heart sunk in my chest, nearly restarting my panic attack. I shook my head.

Connor deserved to know.

I was scared, briefly, that it would set him off. He might yell at me, throw things, kick me out of the room. He might hit me.

I didn’t care. He had a right to know.

I swallowed thickly, shaking my head. “N-no.”

“Did something happen on your walk? Are you okay?”

I shook my head.

“What? Trouble back home–your boyfriend break up with you or something?”

“My mom–” I started, voice breaking, feeling fresh tears of shock on my cheeks.

His eyebrows furrowed, tightening his grip on my hands. “Is she okay? She–”

I saw it in slow motion–his jaw unclenched, eyebrows relaxing from their set, pouted mouth turning down. It was calm. It was knowing.

“You saw them,” he said very softly, letting my hands fall back into his lap. I was too shocked to move them away from his thighs.

“You knew,” I spat–an accusation. I hadn’t meant to make it one.

Connor scrubbed at his eyes roughly, flopping onto his back against the bed. Frustrated.

“I was tired of my dad reading my fucking emails, so I hacked into his–I only saw a few. I didn’t want to see anymore.”

I paled, feeling nauseous. “So it’s happened before?” I choked.

He swallowed. “That was two summers ago.”

“Fuck,” I hissed uncharacteristically, surprised to find Connor stretching out an arm to me. I took his hand with a firm grip. “How long before then.”

He shrugged. “Maybe our whole lives. Maybe before. I’m not sure, angel.”

I nodded, secretly pleased that he was so calm. It kept me level, grounded, watching where our hands were linked.

“What do we do?” I choked. “I have to tell my dad. He deserves to know.”

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “Everything would change. He’d tell my mom.”

I bit down on my lip, folding down onto my back to lay down beside Connor. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Connor sighed, scratching at my hand tenderly with his black painted nails. “I’m not sure that my mom and Zoe could handle the news–it’s not like they’d turn to me. They’d be alone. Zoe might even take my dad’s side.”

I groaned, stealing my hands to scrub at my eyes. My wet hair was beginning to dry in a tangled mess.

“This is too much,” I mumbled, rolling onto my side to face Connor, staring at his bare, freckled shoulder. “I don’t know what to do. If I can do anything.”

I jumped a foot out of my skin when he placed a hand at the corner of my jaw, brushing the tangled hair back out of my face. “You don’t have to think about it right now. You’ve had a really long fucking day. You should sleep.”

I didn’t want to sleep–I didn’t want Connor to leave. I didn’t know how to say that.

I couldn’t believe that everyone had tried to desperately to convince me Connor Murphy was a bad boy–fuck them, Connor Murphy was good. He was better than everyone in this cabin combined.

He cared about me.

I caught his wrist, which froze in my grasp, but I just took his bony hand and cradled it between my hands the same way he’d done mine, tracing the lines across his palm. He sucked  in a sharp breath.

“Okay,” I said, and he smiled, moving away. I let go of his hand.

“I just have to turn off the light. Get comfy.”

His retreating footsteps filled my stomach with dread, but nevertheless I unzipped his jacket and draped it on top of the blanket so that it would at least keep my feet warm. Pulling the pillow tight behind my head, I was pleased to find it sort of smelled like Connor’s shampoo as the light clicked off. It left me feeling a little more safe. Ironic, I realized. I was in the middle of a wilderness, I’d almost been abducted, my mother was downstairs ruining our family, and all I could find myself to be worried about was if Connor would be okay.

The bed dipped behind me, shocking me into stillness, surprising me even more when someone lifted the sheet and slid in behind me, a bony hand resting on my hip.

“This okay?” He asked, and I dared to open my eyes to meet his. They were unsure, nervous. He was scared I’d reject him. I nodded, scooting closer.

“It really will be okay, you know,” he assured. “Whatever you choose, I’m gonna be with you.”

“You’re amazing,” I said without thinking, but being entirely sincere. Even in the dark, I saw his eyes go wide and his cheeks tinge a deep magenta in his pale face.

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are,” I assured with a laugh, reaching across the divide to poke at his side, slightly surprised to still find him shirtless. He’d withdrawn his hand almost immediately, keeping respectfully to his side of the bed. “I’d be dead without you. And you’ve supported me this whole way.”

His jaw clenched and unclenched, freeing one of his arms to pick at the wrinkled sheets between us. “I just, fuck, I knew you’d hear some shit, but I was hoping you’d be able to come out here and we could start over again, like before? Zoe started her smear campaign almost immediately. I just, fuck, nevermind.”

I watched him withdraw, turning over with his back to me, the pale plains of his back bared to me.

“Con,” I said very softly. “I don’t care what they say–fuck them,” I laughed, watching Connor’s shoulders shake. “I think you’re good, Connor, and I miss being your friend.”

I watched with bated breath as his back rose and fell with his steady breath in the cold room, his skin radiating heat. I shifted closer, crossing the divide between us. He didn’t respond.

I didn’t sleep.

——

I was alerted late in the day by a noise–it was daylight, I noted, the clock on the bedside table reading it was almost noon. I was groggy, still in the state between sleep and consciousness. The room was shrouded in a bright grey hue from the winter wonderland outside–it had snowed a significant amount, apparently, and the white fluff stuck hopelessly to the window.

At the foot of the bed, Connor was on his knees, pulling a navy sweater over his head. It was tight, with a stretched collar and holes at the hem, but he looked good in it. His hair was frizzed at the temples, and his eyes were wide when we saw me.

“You’re awake.”

I just nodded, a little embarrassed. Part of me hoped Connor would just let last night drop, and we could continue our indifference toward each other, but most of me felt as if we had an unfinished conversation to attend to.

“Is anyone back yet?” I asked, surprised as Connor came to sit in front of me, legs crossed kindergarten style. He shook his head.

“No, actually. No one came back from their trip, and the lovebirds have miraculously vanished for a ski day. It’s just me and you.”

“Oh.”

Connor seemed unsure for a moment, brushing his hands off on his pants. “I’m sorry, um, about last night? I should’ve asked first if it was okay to sleep next to you, I just–I know you said you missed being friends, so I thought–”

“It was nice,” I cut him off with a smile that was nearly all false bravado. “Warm. I really do miss hanging out with you.”

He pursed his lips in way of a smile. “Me too. Miss having friends, period, but you’re kinda great, so–I’ll shut up.”

Stretching, I groaned with the sensation and smiled widely at him. “We can be friends again, don’t you think?” I asked, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. When my vision cleared, he was sitting by my feet, eyes downcast.

“It’s kinda lame, isn’t it?” He asked, sending ice down my spine.

“What, I’m not cool enough for you?” I teased half heartedly, despite feeling slightly sick. If Connor left now, I’d be marooned on this island I’d made for myself, and it wasn’t ideal knowing I no longer had any allies.

“No! That’s not what I–no, fuck, I just meant. Don’t you like Zoe better?”

I shook my head. “I like Zoe–but I liked you first.”

“Yeah, I liked the Teletubbies first, doesn’t mean I prefer them to Death Cab for Cutie.”

I snorted. “Okay, I like you best. You’re both really similar, you know, but you’re kinder.”

He shot me a glare, which I supposed I’d earned. “Liar.”

“Can’t lie,” I protested. “And I like you better. Get used to it.”

He swallowed, shifting on the bed and looking at me again as if grappling to say something. His eyebrows were pinched in the middle, making him look slightly worried, small. I watched the way his mouth bowed as he opened and closed it, my eyes tracing over his soft lips.

He was pretty, I realized, in a way I wouldn’t have considered before.

“What about when you leave?” He asked softly, scratching his arm absently.

I frowned. “What about it?”

“We won’t see each other again.”

I smiled. “Connor, you just live on the other side of town. I do own a car.”

He frowned. “You’d come to see me?”

“If you wanted me to,” I answered honestly. “Or we could go do stuff. It doesn’t make me any difference–whatever you want, I’m game for.”

His eyebrows took a sharp hike into his hairline. “Whatever I want, huh?”

My stomach clenched nervously–decidedly a good kind of nervous. I didn’t realize it till he placed his hand on my ankle, grinning up at me with crooked teeth and pretty eyes, that I might’ve begun to develop a small crush on him.

Which wasn’t okay.

——

“This is such bullshit.”

I cackled as Connor continued to strap on his snow boots, repeatedly tripping and losing his balance in the snow.

“C'mon, it’s fun!” I protested, pulling my sock toboggan down tighter over my ears, trudging another few slow steps through the slush. Connor was frustrated, I could tell, seeing his pink nose and ears, his breaths coming out in angry puffs of smoke.

“No,” he grunted, dragging himself up the trail a few more steps. “Video games are fun. Cartoons are fun. Cheap Internet porn is fun. Dragging my frozen ass up a mountain covered in snow for ten miles is not my idea of fun, dude.”

“It’s not ten miles,” I protested, taking a seat on a mostly clean looking rock, patting the seat beside me in condolence to Connor, giving him a much needed break. He’d agreed to go outside with me at least once to take a hike, since the Murphy kids never ever wanted to do anything that didn’t involve fried food or touristy tie dye t-shirts. We’d been going for a few hours now, and the last bench had easily been miles ago. I wanted to see where the trail ended.

Part of me was scared he’d only agreed because he thought I would break. I’d surprised myself with how calm I’d been after, well, what a nightmare this trip had been. I supposed I’d be worse once my dad got back–but he wasn’t yet, so I was content to have my last moments with Connor.

“We’ve been out here for hours, man, don’t you think we should head back before it gets dark?” He whined, leaning forward on his elbows and rubbed his hands together–he had on mittens, which was probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Say what you want about Connor Murphy, his aesthetic was absolutely demolished once you put him in a fire engine red puffer coat.

I sighed, glancing wistfully up the trail. I’d like to finish, but Connor was right–it was getting dark, too dangerous out for us to be out here alone. He’d humored me enough for today.

Time to go back and face reality.

I just nodded, stuffing my hands in my pockets and rising from the rock, giving a decent stretch before moving forward back down the path, Connor scurrying along beside me.

“Thanks for coming,” I said again, nudging him with my shoulder. He stumbled gracefully, grinning with a subdued force that warmed me a little, before checking me back with his shoulder.

“Don’t tell anyone,” he warned, stuffing his hands in his pockets. “But it wasn’t totally awful.”

I snorted. “I won’t let anyone know Connor Murphy can feel fun.”

Biting back a smile, he nudged me again. “God, please don’t. Then they might bring me back here and I’ll have to spend another two weeks with you.”

“I’m sure I’m just killing you inside,” I teased. “How dare your parents give you unfiltered access to a teenage girl.”

“Who never wears pants around the house,” he added sagely.

“And sleeps in your bed!” I choked with laughter, the bird walking along the snow path in front of us clearing the way. “God, I can’t believe I did that. I’m sorry, I was probably awful. Did I snore?”

His mouth twisted, as if trying to look indifferent but instead just failed at smothering a smile, both corners of his lips turning in a different direction.

“Not awful,” he offered, earning an embarrassed groan from me. “No! It’s cute, like a kid, I promise. You kicked the shit out of me, though.”

“You’re kidding me,” I groaned. “I’m so so sorry! I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“Might be some bruises,” he grinned, to my further mortification. “Hey, nah, I’m kidding. Any damage will heal. It’s kinda funny.”

I cocked an eyebrow from where I was hiding my face behind my gloves. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, don’t sweat it,” he said, reaching out to take my wrist, pulling one of my hands away from my face. He didn’t realize it, just held it, swinging stiffly between us as we walked. He held his breath for a moment before continuing, “I would’ve let you know if I didn’t like it.”

“Kinky,” I said upon reflex, earning a lazy kick to my ankle.

“You’re hilarious. I just meant you’re warm, maybe the bruises are worth it.”

I felt my face get hot, words forming in my belly, escaping before I could choke them back. “Yeah? Maybe I’ll kiss them better tonight, if Zoe isn’t back.”

He let go of my wrist like I’d burned him.

“Sor–”

“Don’t,” he said quietly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, beginning to walk quickly ahead of me.

“What?” I screeched, frustrated.

“Don’t fake flirt with me. It’s not funny,” he spat, continuing walking too fast on his ridiculously long legs.

“Who said it was fake?” I grumbled. “I’m not making fun of you, Connor.”

There was a beat of silence, pulling at my heart with sharp claws, the dull ache starting in my chest and spreading. I’d messed up everything.

“It’s getting dark,” he growled. “And we don’t have a flashlight. Try and keep up.”

——

The panic set in at twilight.

We were running.

He was holding my hand again, dragging me roughly down the mountain, hoping desperately to see some kind of light pollution as the sun set, but there was nothing.

“We should see lights by now,” I told him. “We can see the lights from our cabin, we should see the lights now.”

“We went down the wrong side of the mountain,” he gasped, already out of breathe. I knew his lungs weren’t the best, and we’d been running for awhile now.

“There has to be something at the bottom,” I whispered hopelessly.

“There is,” he growled. “It’s called a gorge, then you climb the other mountain, and there’s the next state. Fuck, how did we get so turned around?”

“Doesn’t matter, Con,” I said hopelessly. “It’s gonna be dark soon.”

His dark eyes widened. “You aren’t sincerely suggesting we try to find shelter. In the middle of a national park.”

“I’ve got a flare gun and a flint,” I told him. “But we have to get back up out of the trees.”

“You want us to climb the mountain again?” He hissed, holding both my hands now. “Are you positive you don’t have signal?”

I nodded. “I’m really sorry, Connor.”

“Don’t be sorry. Start walking.”

——

It was an accident.

It was dark.

I had an analog watch, letting me know it was nearly nine pm. We’d found shelter just as it had started to snow–the  ground here was wet, quickly freezing into ice, and we kept slipping up on the trail. I’d set off the flare an hour ago, and, so far, nothing. The snow had begun to pick up, and we’d found a alcove between two adjacent rocks–not big, about the size of a walk in closet, but enough space for us, our bags, and a pile of wood that refused to light. It kept the snow and wind off of us, and the alcove was high enough I felt safe, with a small mouth that made me feel as if at any instant we could be trapped.

It was an accident.

“The fire won’t light,” I said again, hopelessly, watching my now bloody fingers go numb from trying desperately to get the flint to do its job. I couldn’t feel them without my gloves on.

Connor, huddled in a corner, viciously rubbed his arms in an attempt to get warm. I knew the  temperature would only drop from here. If someone hadn’t seen the flare….

“There’s no dry wood. I checked.”

“Nothing?”

“No, okay? Nothing. That’s it.”

I knew he was right–and searching now would only prove to be counter productive and dangerous. I moved our bags and the pile of firewood to the entrance, sealing us in.

“It’s gonna be pitch black soon,” I warned, watching Connor tap angrily at his phone. “You should probably save your battery. I don’t have a flashlight.”

He snorted. “You’ll bring sleeping bags and a flint, but not a flashlight?”

“It’s the emergency bag! I didn’t pack it, Connor. Make fun of it all you want, but it’s keeping us alive!”

There was a beat of silence, before he clicked his phone off, leaving us in darkness. “M sorry.”

I dragged out the single sleeping bag, stretching it out to him. “Don’t be sorry.” I felt guilty–it was my fault we were in this mess to begin with. “Wanna granola bar?”

“Save it,” he said in a clipped tone, unsure what to make of it since we were veiled in darkness. “We might need it later.” Then, softer: “What’s the plan?”

I heard him stand, and walk across the slick ice of the alcove, coming to stand beside me, his hand at my elbow.

“Well,” I said very slowly, feeling my throat get thick. “Survive the night, stay awake, and once dawn hits we head back to the other side of the mountain, if no one comes.”

“If no one comes,” he echoed, voice oddly hollow. I choked.

“It, erm, is very possible they think we just wandered off, you know? We’re teenagers,” I reminded gently. I left out the part the police would be less than willing to look–Connor had a history of running away after a bad binge.

“Fuck,” he growled.

It was an accident. It was quick, in the dark, we couldn’t see.

He reached our for me, his open palm colliding with the back of my head, yanking me tightly again his chest, my nose buried in his nylon puffer coat. I felt his other hand, too forcefully, at the small of my back, and I nearly screamed, terrified this was an episode I couldn’t control–

“We’re gonna make it outta here,” he breathed against my ear, his breath warm and humid against my freezing ears. It set off a light bulb in my brain. “We’re gonna go back home and–fucking shit, I’m gonna be a goddamn good friend to you and we’re gonna–fuck,” he hissed, his clipped voice breaking off. “I’m gonna take care of you, I’m not going anywhere.”

I let myself break open, collapsing against him, openly sobbing with regret. He stiffened, but just tightened his arms around me despite our bulky clothes.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “This is all my fault.”

“It is not,” he hissed, shaking me a little. “We had no way of knowing this would happen. The trail looked safe.”

I just nodded, knowing that arguing would tire me out. I felt the lethargy begin to creep in my bones–Connor was warm, and it was late, and we were tired. Falling asleep meant dying.

“Get out the sleeping bag,” he said, extracting himself from me, and I heard his hands scrape along the hard rock looking for the entrance. “And I’ll look for some more blankets in the bag, see if we can’t insulate–fuck!

“What is it?” I screeched, turning, grabbing his hand to only find that my own was suddenly wet, almost sticky, and Connor pulled away with a howl. I smelled the metallic sting before I realized.

“Something cut my hand!”

“Stay away from the wall,” I warned. “Take your undershirt off, I’ll rip it up.” I felt around desperately for Connor’s phone, immediately illuminating our little cave with a blinding blue light.

The amount of blood smeared across the wall was nauseating. There was a sharp spot Connor must’ve grabbed too quickly.

He was crying, trying desperately to unzip his coat with one hand, the other dripping onto the floor.

“Fuck, I hope something doesn’t smell that,” I whispered, laying down the light and running to help him get undressed, careful of the open cut across his palm.

“I knew I was gonna get naked tonight,” he said with an unsure laugh, “I just didn’t realize it would be like this.”

My face flushed. “What, you thought I’d suck you off because we’re about to die?”

He shivered, accentuated by me ripping his white shirt down the front, exposing his blue, goosebumped skin.

“Fuck,” he hissed, and I was unsure if it was from the cold, the pain, or my foul language.

“Hope this is clean,” I muttered, wrapping a strip of his white shirt across his palm in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. It was a good way to get an infection, but I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I didn’t–I wouldn’t ask you to–”

“I’m not sucking you off!”

“Fuck, I just meant–hypothermia, skin to skin, I saw it in a movie–”

The phone light clicked off. I sighed, tying off the cotton bandage.

“You wanna get naked in the sleeping bag,” I finished.

“I don’t want to!” He howled. “And not naked–just, enough to stay alive, shit. It’s gonna be negative ten out here soon, I just wanna stay alive.”

“We should hurry,” I said, surprising myself by reaching out to urge him to rub at his bare chest, earning a gasp from him. “You’re gonna freeze soon. Get your pants off.”

I handed him the sleeping bag, my breath catching as I heard his belt clink to the floor, trying very hard not to think about the implications of this. How far did he expect me to undress? And, if we did get in here, it would be ridiculously tight, we might fall asleep–

“Hurry up, this bag is an icicle with one person.”

Straightening out my bra and panties (even if we were going to die, Connor Murphy did not get to cop a feel) I felt my way to the sleeping bag.

My hand on his chest, he guided my legs one at time–one by his side, one between his knees–and gently folded me down against him, uncomfortably tight as his shaking fingers zipped the sleeping bag up.

He was breathing hard against my temple, and I immediately began to sweat–between the nylon bag and the fact I felt all of Connor Murphy pressed against my chest and stomach–it was nerve wracking.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he reminded in a hoarse voice, shaking a little. I couldn’t quite figure out where his hands were.

“Don’t get a boner,” I begged, earning a beat of silence before:

“I, uh, am–I’m really trying not to,” he groaned, and I could feel how hot his face was against my temple.

“If it helps,” I said, slightly disgusted. “You can imagine our parents kissing. That really kills my fire.”

“Ew,” he said. “Please don’t.”

I grinned. “What? You don’t want me to be your hot step sister?”

Stop it,” he begged, making me laugh, pressing my face against the soft cushion of his hair, nosing at the column of his throat. He groaned a little, and I felt his fingers twitch beside my hips.

“I can’t believe their secret is going to die with us,” I sighed. “No one is ever going to know.”

“I can’t believe you’re lying on top of me in your spiderman panties, but that’s also happening, so you’d better believe it,” he sighed, hands twitching again.

“You can touch me, you know,” I breathed, a little embarrassed against his ear. “We’re gonna die anyway, might as well die comfy.”

“We won’t die,” he promised, his hands clasping over the small of my back regardless.  “Hey,” he crooned, in a soft voice I hadn’t heard before. Encouraging. “Remember sharing a sleeping bag when we were kids?”

I laughed half heartedly, remembering fully. “The thing was always full of pixie stick wrappers.”

“It was an addiction, and I have quit,” he said sagely, earning another laugh from me. I almost joked about the pot, but part of me knew it wasn’t a funny joke. It didn’t have anything to do with him. He sighed, one finger trailing up my spine. “God, I was so in love with you.”

I froze against him, my body a live wire. His hand pulled back.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said tha–”

“Were you really?” I asked. I felt him smile, before leaning in to kiss my cheek, slowly, his dry lips lingering.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t know,” he groaned. “Zoe had me convinced you were just humoring me because you knew I’d do anything for you.”

I pulled up, as far as I could (which wasn’t much) squinting to make out his face in the dark. “That wasn’t true. You were my best friend.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I know. God, that time when you kissed me….I’m so sorry we stopped talking. I don’t think I’m ever gonna forgive myself for that.”

“Connor,” I said very softly, reaching up to tangle my hands lightly in his hair. “If we’re gonna die…can I just….”

He surged up before I could, the nylon around us snapping taunt, squeaking in protest. Up on his elbows, his bony hands found their purchase on my bare hips, and I felt the wetness through one of the bandages–his hand was still bleeding, the idiot.

His lips were dry, and he kissed much too roughly for someone who wasn’t holding my head in place, our teeth clinking together in a way that I knew was an accident, sending my skull ringing. His eyes were squeezed shut in the darkness.

I can’t believe it took us to the brink of death for him to admit this.

God, he’s an idiot.

I reached up, pulling at his hair, holding his head to mine, his tongue licking roughly up into my mouth before breaking away–

“Boner,” he warned in a squeak, earning a loud laugh from me, collapsing against his chest.

“Not even in death, Murphy, am I sucking you off on a first or last date,” I giggled against his neck, giving him a chaste kiss there, listening to him groan. His hips canted a little, scaring me, before taking a deep breath to calm himself.

“First date, huh?” I felt him grin, followed by a yawn.

“Stay awake, Connor,” I urged, smacking him hard. “Or I’m gonna twist your nipple.”

“Kinky,” he sighed lethargically. Shit, he was gonna sleep.

“Connor–”

“Promise me this,” he sighed, nuzzling lightly against the side of my face. “If we survive the night by some miracle, and we don’t freeze to death or get eaten by bears or bleed out–you wanna kiss me again? With more clothes on? As my girlfriend?”

I leaned into his touch, tilting my head up to give him access to suck a hickey into my neck, groaning.

“Murphy, if we live, I will suck you off.”

That was the last thing I remembered.

——-

Three days later, it’s still cold. I’m not wearing much–a blue gown with shitty pink flowers, it’s made of some kind of plasticy cotton material. There’s blood under my fingernails and bruises on my neck that are almost embarrassing when I remembered how I got them. My clothes were gone.

Connor was gone.

My mother and father were leaning over my bed, the Murphy's  (minus Cynthia) are behind them. No Connor.

They explained it slowly, eyes wide. They found Connor and I nearly frozen, unconscious. Connor lost a lot of blood, they said, and he wasn’t do so well but he’d woken up several days before me.

He wouldn’t eat until they let him see me.

I’d nearly ripped out my IV to get to him.

He was wearing the same shitty hospital gown, his hair pulled back. He’s got hickies I don’t remember giving him across his collarbone that are ridiculously visible. There were purple bruises under his eyes, like he hadn’t been sleeping.

“They said you were still too sick to get out of bed,” he grinned, opening his arm, and I immediately stumbled over to the thin mattress, pressing myself tightly against him. His hand is thickly wrapped in cotton, a few tubes full of a yellow brown liquid in them. He was combing my hair–which I’m sure was a rats nest–out with his free hand.

“They said the same about you.”

“We’re really lucky, you know,” I said softly, tapping at his chest. “I almost lost you.”

“Almost lost you,” he choked out, pulling away to scan my face, before grinning. “Which would’ve sucked, because you’re my only friend right now.”

“Friend?” I said, trying hard not to sound disappointed. I supposed I shouldn’t have been–what we’d done in the heat of a moment hadn’t meant anything then. It had been a lie for my humor.

It wasn’t fair.

Connor’s eyebrows furrowed. “You, um–do you wanna be my girlfriend?”

I frowned. “I mean, only if you want me to.”

He grinned, the smile splitting across his face. “It’ll suck–your parents will hate me.”

“Right now, I kind of hate my parents, so.”

“I do a lot of pot.”

“We can do something else instead,” I grinned, nudging him, having the nerve to blush.

He licked his lips, looking down at where he’d intertwined our hands. “You–you can’t fix me, you know? I’m still gonna be, you know.”

I nodded, bring his hand up to kiss across the bloody knuckles of his good hand. “I know. I promised I’d be your girlfriend, though. A promise is a promise.”

He grinned. “I’m glad you say that–because you did promise something else.”

I shook my head, rising from the bed. “The kiss is for when we have clothes on, remember.”

“I wasn’t talking about that kiss.”

Connor Murphy!

Batboys X Reader- Welcome To The Family

“He got another one?”

Dick and Jason stared at your dirty and small figure sitting at the dining room table, eating your food as if it were your last meal.  Bruce had informed everyone that he had taken you off from the streets when he found you at a crime scene.  You were hidden behind a couple boxes when a criminal decided to mug someone in the same alley.  The sounds of the victim struggling woke you up from your nap, making you leave your current home at the time.  There was a woman that was attempting to push a man’s knife away from her neck.  You quickly grabbed an old pipe you kept with you and stood up, quietly approaching the man until you were directly behind him.  You rose the pipe and bashed it on his head, causing him to drop the knife and collapse on the ground.  You hit him again for good measure and kicked away the knife.  The woman you saved stared at you, trying to process what you had just done.

“He’s still alive,” you muttered and kicked the man, receiving a groan from him.

“Thank you,” she stuttered out and hugged you.

You sighed at the warmth she provided, but had to let go, “Can you call the police?  I don’t want to be here without help if he wakes up again.”

She nodded and pulled out her cell phone out of her battered purse.  A few minutes later, a shadow enveloped you and the woman.  You turned around, the pipe still in your grip, to find the Batman looking at you and the woman.  He walked past you and the woman, grabbed the man, and placed some type of handcuffs on him.  Once he was finished with the criminal, he turned around and faced you and the woman.  

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Locked in Love (M)

Word Count: 24k
Member: Jimin x Reader
Genre: Smut, Fluff & Slight angst like it’s barely even there

Getting locked in the mall on Christmas eve isn’t ideal, but getting locked in the mall with your brothers best friend that you haven’t seen in a while? Well, it might have been alright if you didn’t have feelings for him.

↠ Day 5 of the seven days of Christmas collab! Read the other fics here

cr

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Giant

high school supercorp au. kara struggling to keep her superpowers at bay around the pretty super nerd. kara hasn’t grown into her hero image yet & lena hasn’t grown into her name.

There’s a giant leading me to God knows where
I’ve got news, I’m going my way
Fighting, and I feel I’m getting somewhere
All is right, all is right.

From high atop the water tower on the very edge of town, a shadow sat, pushing up her glasses as they fell slightly down the bridge of her nose. Just below, an entire city stretched out toward the sea, the lights bleeding into it, which then bled into the horizon, into the very sky itself. Down by the boardwalk, someone was throwing away old bread and cotton candy while the gulls gulped them down with contented caws that got lodged in their noses. The smell of the freshly cut, end-of-summer lawns wafted through the night, perfuming the last night of summer break perfectly.

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