shrimp skin

Gajevy Week 2017 - First Date

Posting from my phone is almost enough to make me rage quit, I’m telling you now. UGH. However, I’ve got the chapter finished on time so I HAVE to post it! Still following along the thread of the other prompts! Hope you like, much loves!! Side note :things bracketed like this are “text messages” being sent.: They’re supposed to be in italics, I’ll fix formatting again tonight when I’m home. 💙 

Update: I’ve fixed the things.

 "Are you sure you don’t mind, Lu? I know they’re a handful.” Levy had worry etched across her face as she inched closer to the door of her house, tugged along by her husband. Lucy laughed quietly, waving her hands at her friends. “Levy-chan, they’re sleeping. I’ve been here at least once a week every week of the last five months. I know their routine, they know me, it’ll be fine!” Gajeel grunted in amusement, aware of just how much knowing the twins’ schedule meant. Which was to say, absolutely nothing. 

 But, it had been five months since the Redfox parents had been able to have a minute alone that wasn’t completely consumed by sleeping or inhaling food so fast they couldn’t taste it. Levy had finally told him she was ready to get out for an evening, and he’d leapt at the opportunity. He told his wife to plan anything at all, even if she just wanted to go to the bookstore, he didn’t fucking care. So she had planned. Set up a meal at a restaurant they loved, looked up events across town that they might like, and realistically declared that they would probably just eat and come home. 

 Then she had found a sitter. Juvia had her hands full with her own two children, and had been acting very tired lately. Gajeel was pretty sure she was knocked up again, but he could be wrong. Erza was away on a mission, and Mira was of course working at the guildhall with Lisanna. Lucy was a great option as she did, in fact, spend a great deal of time with the babies already. Plus, if all else failed, she could summon Aries or Virgo for a second set of hands in an emergency. 

 With a final groan Levy turned to her husband, dragging him out of their home before she could change her mind. “Come on, love. We’re going to be late if you let me keep stalling.” The tall man just chuckled, draping an arm over his tiny wife’s shoulders and forcing her to walk slower. “If we miss our reservation, we miss it, Shrimp. Ain’t no skin off my nose.” She sighed, losing some of the tension she had felt before they left, and leaned against her dragon. “Isn’t any…” 

 Gajeel snorted, looking down at her with a wide grin on his face. “Remember the first time ya corrected me?” Levy stifled a giggle, sliding her arm around his waist. “Honestly, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. Wasn’t it something about ‘wouldn’t tell nobody’ something?” He squeezed her shoulder lightly, knowing well how the sleep deprivation they were both suffering from stole the ability to think sometimes. “Somethin’ like that, yeah.” 

 They walked in silence another block, enjoying each other’s company and the peacefulness of the city at night. Gajeel looked down, noticing the tiny Script Mage’s steps slowing. After being together for so long, he no longer had to think about slowing down his own pace to enable her to stay even with him, but she was dragging even more than usual. “Shrimp, ya alrigh’?” He stopped completely, turning to study her face. He was concerned the walking was straining her energy levels too much. For herself, Levy was staring at her feet, almost as if she was embarrassed. “Lev, what is it?” 

 “I… I know we haven’t been gone very long… fifteen minutes to be exact, but what if something’s wrong?” She looked up at her mate with pleading eyes, anxiety tearing at her. His ruby eyes met hers, a smile dancing in their depths. “All yer careful thought an’ plannin’ an’ ya forgot to grab the notebook, didn’t ya?” She nodded, looking down again. The Dragon Slayer chuckled and reached his free hand around to his back pocket, pulling out the enchanted notebook that Levy had created so long ago to be able to communicate with her friends. He tapped her lightly on top of her head with it, causing her to squeal and snatch it from his hand when she saw what it was. 

 Levy hurried over to sit on a bench nearby, flipping the book to the page she had that was connected to Lucy’s own copy. Hey Lu-chan, how’s everything going? Picking up her pen, Levy chewed on the end for a moment, waiting anxiously for Lucy’s reply. After only a moment, she started bouncing a leg, looking from the notebook to Gajeel. “Shrimp, give it a bloody minute, would ya?” As he finished speaking Levy saw words appearing on the page. Lol, Levy-chan you JUST left. The babies are still sleeping, I’m reading that book you left out for me. Enjoy your date! 

 She huffed out a sigh, blushing as she started to feel silly, and handed the pen and notebook back to her husband. “I’m sorry, Gajeel.” He just shook his head with a grin on his face and held out his arm for her to tuck herself against his side again. He would never tell Levy, but Juvia had actually warned him that this might happen. 

 “Don’t be surprised if your night out is cut short, Gajeel-kun. Levy-chan won’t be able to help herself. Juvia only lasted for an hour the first time she left Mizu at home with Levy-chan. And it took Gray-sama six months to convince Juvia to leave both Mizu and Kawa alone with someone.” Gajeel had nodded, remembering the popsicle complaining about the lack of time alone with his wife after their daughter had been born. And so, he’d kept that thought in the back of his mind as Levy planned everything out for their first date since… he didn’t even know how long it had been. Some few weeks before the twins had arrived, he mused. 

 Finally, they arrived at the cafe Levy had set their reservation at. She tugged the notebook out of his pocket, ignoring the murmured joke about wandering hands from her husband as she stepped aside and opened it to write to Lucy again. I’m sure you’re going to be checking in again sometime soon so I’ll let you know that Yaje woke up, but he wasn’t even fussy. He’s been changed and I fed him a little and now we’re playing with that rattle Gajeel made for him. I wish I could send you a picture, it’s adorable. He’s curled his feet up and is holding the rattle with them, just kind of smacking it with those chubby little hands. And there’s Shutora, she just woke up giggling. Enjoy your dinner! Levy quickly dashed the tears off her cheeks as she handed the book back to Gajeel so he could see what their children were up to as well. 

 Thanks, Blondie. He wrote before tucking the book away, grinning down at the bluenette standing next to him. “We have some damn amazin’ kids, Lev.” She smiled back up at him, laying her head on his arm as they followed the waiter to their table. Gajeel pulled her chair around to the same side as his own. “Jus’ like our very first date, yeah?” 

 “I shouldn’t be surprised that you remember!” Levy responded with a sheepish grin. Their waiter came around and Gajeel ordered for both of them, Levy giggling and leaning into his side. “I know ya don’t wanna be out too long, Shrimp. I figgered ya wouldn’t mind me orderin’ our usual stuff t’save time.” The tiny Script Mage tugged his shirt, the big man grinning as he leaned he head closer to her so she could kiss him. “Thank you, Gajeel. For being so understanding about all of this.” 

 “Ya may not believe it, woman, but I miss ‘em too. My princess likes to hide her face in m’hair. An’ m’little man is so strong. Ya know he pulled Lil’s tail so hard the other day Lil actually slid backwards?” The couple devolved into laughter, sharing stories of their children’s antics as they ate. Neither of them seemed to mind that their time away from the babies was spent talking about them. “In the short time they been here, those mini Shrimps have made themselves our whole world, haven’t they, Lev?” She nodded, glancing furtively at the notebook on the table. Gajeel huffed, pretending to be upset, and slid the book to her, opening the cover to the right page. 

 Hope dinner was great! Babies are asleep again, so if you want to stay out longer it’s no problem! “Lu-chan really IS a spectacular friend.” Levy laughed as she closed the book. “Do you want to get a drink at the pub or something on the way home?” She looked up at her husband, smiling gently. Her babies were fine. They were safe. There was no need to rush home. Gajeel smiled back, leaning to kiss her on her forehead. “Nah, Shrimp. How about we hit the bookstore before it closes and get that book you were talkin’ to Bunny girl about ‘fore we left.” 

 There was a squeal that erupted from the tiny woman as she hugged him before jumping up from the table. “I promise I won’t stay there all night!” Gajeel paid for their food, laughing as he tucked the notebook and pen into his pocket and stood to follow the bouncing woman. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it, Shrimp.” He offered her his arm again, and they headed for the bookstore. It may not have been Gajeel’s favorite place to go, but it made his wife happy, and that in itself made him happy. “Take as long as ya need, Lev.”

on #unfairandlovely

I went to visit my cousin in Baltimore awhile back. She’s from Bangladesh and she’s absolutely beautiful. I was a west coast girl living in DC for a few months so it seemed only right to visit family out there. She invited me over for the holidays, made me food, took me to an Indian-Pakistani store to get me those little easy to fry samosas I love so much. She wanted me to feel right at home, miles away from California. As we reached the cash register, she pointed upwards towards the shelves behind the counter. 

“Give me three tubes, please.”

The man at the counter handed her three medium sized fair and lovely boxes, all pink and white in all its glory. My cousin put all three into the bag with my samosas, smiled and said they were a gift from her. Charming. 

I’m from California. Big yellow sun, outside schools and shopping centers. I like to lay on the ground and have the warmth of it hit my back California. I’m not a huge fan of the heat, but I mean I certainly can’t avoid it. You ever been to Shaw’s Cove in Laguna beach? Stood at the edge of the underwater cliff, watching as each wave almost tucks you under the ocean floor, rolled in the sand until you look like tempura shrimp, skin golden and toasty underneath the grain? It’s a dream.

It’s also exactly the thing I was told to avoid as a child. As a teenager. Now. Don’t go outside too much, wear a hat, take an umbrella, even as a far as wear gloves when you drive so your hands don’t get darker while they’re on the steering wheel. When the first Indian female surfer started surfing, everyone told her that she’ll get too dark. Personal opinion: It’s one thing to cover up for modesty, in fear of skin cancer, to avoid sunburns, etc. but the concept of teaching young girls to stay out of the sun in fear of getting too dark is not only degrading to dark skinned people of color, of any race, but shaming girls into believing there is something wrong with how their body naturally looks, how it naturally develops melanin in outside world. It also keeps girls from outside for the sake of being beautiful usually to make sure she gets a proper husband. A husband that wouldn’t marry a dark girl. See what I mean? It’s a continuous cycle of dark shaming. Perpetuating colorism. It creates families that value lighter skin colors, communities that believe that skin color defines beauty, and that beauty defines a girl’s ability to get married to a proper household, which ultimately defines her success in life as a wife and a mother. 

When I came back from a winter in DC, my skin was very light. “You look so good!” When I’m in California, getting dark is hard to avoid. It took me years to develop confidence in my skin. I knew it was wrong to be afraid of the darkness of my skin, that I won’t be a pretty. But here I am in my twenties able to confront and accept and believe that this is everything I am, whatever shade of brown the world gives me is a story of where I’ve been. It’s a history of swimming in the summer, tan lines from the outings, that russet red brown from hikes up the mountains. It shows the warmth the earth gives me. I know that kind of skin-loving, self confidence in one’s darkness that doesn’t come for many girls. For the one’s constantly being reprimanded for not being pretty enough, not being light enough. 

We are girls of the sun. Your mother’s womb had a glow. You are the face of the earth, of elegance, of beauty. Skin shaming doesn’t end with dark skinned girls. I’ve seen girls destroy their skin with bad tanning lotions because they were “too pale.” “Blinding.” It never ends. The world wants us to be a perfect vanilla caramel, but the girls of the world aren’t coffee and don’t give a shit about your close-minded taste in women. 



Sorry I Made Fun of Your Eyebrows

Okay, I don’t think the Christmas special was my favorite special chapter ever, that honor probably belongs to 413 Days, but this one had its moments. At least until it got super creepy.

It made me think about why Gajeel doesn’t have eyebrows. And suddenly I had my own headcanon for it. I do semi-plan on doing Gruvia and Nalu post Christmas one shots but I shouldn’t really say anything for sure because I am terrible at keeping fanfic promises.

Anyway, on to my terrible headcanon.

Gajeel glanced at Levy, currently dead to the world, before looking back at Panther Lily. The Exceed looked up at him. “How much do you think she’ll remember?”

He shrugged. “Nothing if she’s lucky. It’s a night I wish I could forget…” He scowled, thinking about the game Erza had made them all play. “No wonder that idiot and the stripper don’t like being around the girls when they’re drunk.”

“Erza is terrifying in a whole new way when she’s drunk.” Lily fluttered over Levy adjusting her blanket. “Are we staying the night?”

“Yeah. If she gets sick, someone better be here.”



“When are you going to tell-”

“Shut up.” He growled. “Now’s not the time.”

Keep reading

She Stole My Shoes: What Being the “Other Guy” with a Cheater Taught Me About Loneliness and Lasting Love.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how people tend to sabotage themselves in wild, ruinous decisions, and what the root cause of these melt-downs really are — and if we should really be more mad about it or sad about the whole thing. When someone goes crazy, I’m wondering how we can dig to the bottom and change the ugliness inside.

I was thinking about this girl I used to know back in college who tried to cheat on her boyfriend with me. The girl had gotten into a huge fight with her boyfriend and they weren’t sure if they were staying together, and she called me for “comfort.” I went over to her place, alone, which was already a bad idea, and simple-minded me had no clue that I was the “other guy.”

It started kind of slow; she opened up her fold-out couch, we put on a movie, and she kept edging closer. The movie was actually good. I got genuinely interested in the plot and cinematography and I started thinking about popcorn and I looked over at the girl to ask for some, and she batted her eyes really big and leaned in to kiss me. At that second, I understood everything, like one of those epiphany plot-twists that re-arrange the entire story, and I almost kissed back — except her breath smelled really, really bad. Like shrimp skins and a refrigerator after a power outage. I probably would’ve kissed her even though I knew it wasn’t right, but her breath sobered me up and I pushed her away.

She suddenly threw me off the couch and cussed me out and just about drop-kicked me in embarrassment. I was so confused and bewildered. I apologized and left; I didn’t have time to collect my shoes, and she probably still has them. Driving home, barefoot, my stomach felt sick and I was kind of mad at her, but mostly mad at myself. I got home and I looked at my cat trying to jump out a closed window and I suddenly fell over with laughter. Whooping, cringing laughter. I didn’t know why, but it was better than being mad.

Later I found out that the girl went back to her boyfriend and she told him everything, and apparently I was the realization she needed that she only wanted to be with him. I saw them somewhere at some church event (of all places), and they both glared at me, the other guy, and I ran to the restroom and left out the back door. I felt that same sort of confused anger, the laughing and cringing, the twisted knot in my guts that I had done something terrible and stupid but was also violated somehow. Driving home, I felt flustered, and just as barefoot as the day she took my shoes.

I keep thinking today about this weird turn of events. I’m trying to understand that strange feeling of being mad and perplexed. I want to stay angry, you know, because that’s the obvious reaction — cheating is wrong; she tried to use me, she could’ve used mouthwash at least — and now they’re married and I was the dirty evil catalyst in their revisionist history of romance. It was humiliating.

But there’s this other thought. This deeper, softer, quieter whisper. I thought about this girl’s position, her precarious, uncertain spiral of anxiety, her life suddenly exploded. I thought about how lonely she must’ve felt, in her apartment, after her huge knockdown drag-out fight with her boyfriend.

And that was it maybe: that we all live with this intense, tragic, melancholic fear of loneliness and abandonment and disconnection, and we so often don’t know how to cope with it. We act out, we lash out, we cheat and lie and use and steal and absorb. Of course, that doesn’t make any of it right, but I understand it more today than I did then. We must somehow cope with this knowledge that life has launched into being like an irreversible hourglass and we are headed into a permanent dark, the lights shutting off behind us down a hallway of irretrievable nostalgia, and we ultimately walk this hall alone, with a few chances at connection, and then we’re gone. Everyone leaves, including you and me. No one stays because no one can.

She didn’t know how to deal with it, so she called me out of some misguided attempt to feel whole again. Like a pair of shoes, I was tried and tossed out, because I didn’t get with the program —  and I get it. I had only exposed what was already inside, this terrible fear that no one wants us and that everything is future dust.

This is why we’re so crazy and irrational. We feel the weight of this loneliness pressing in our lungs, squeezing our breath in an increasingly tightening choke-hold, and it’s unbearable sometimes. The silence is haunting, crushing. So we grab onto anything for wholeness, for healing. We expect an ideal day when life finally settles, when life catches up to the romantic picture in our heads, when we get a grip on control so that people won’t leave and our success won’t be fleeting. But that day never, ever comes. It’s all fleeting. It’s all dying. Nothing is really in our control, not our riches or poverty and certainly not people. We live alone and we die alone. We exist in our own heads, not really knowing each other or being fully known, and for a few seconds we might catch a glimpse of one another, and then the lights go out.

It explains, maybe, why we’re so angry all the time, or why we cry randomly, or why we need to be on our phones all day, or keep busy with our hands, or avoid tough conversations: because we’re constantly reminded of this bottomless abyss, this chasm where each human soul becomes extinct and extinguished for good. I get disproportionately angry when things don’t go my way, because it taps into this basement-truth that life never goes our way, and so I lash out, hoping to fight against the unfairness of the world by flailing against an existence I didn’t ask for, only to exhaust more time that I didn’t have. It feels like so many of our efforts are wasted into a singularity, a vacuum where no one notices, where years are spent on relationships and projects and children and charities and it all crumbles on a bad day. It is, as Shakespeare said, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I could tell you that God and faith and legacy and love are eternal, that they leave some kind of stamp on the earth beyond us. But it doesn’t always feel that way. I don’t have that sort of bow-tie wrap-up right now.

But I guess I’m trying to be less mad. At her, at myself, at the slow crawl down the tunnel. I understand more. I feel more, for the girl who tried to use me, because even though it was wrong, it was a way to make things right, a way to correct the disorder in her own universe, a way to shore up the loneliness that breaks in on us all. If I had to be the “other guy” for her to be happy somewhere else, then I guess it went the best way it could have.

And I think now, there must be better ways to shout against the dark, better ways than beating my fists and pulling from people what they cannot give me. There must be ways to cope with the shattered glass that do not leave us worse than how we got here. There is a path against the current. I suppose we must learn to live with the echo of silence inside, together, even if it’s only for a few moments before we return to dust. I suppose we must go, anyway. We cherish these falling grains of sand, somehow, you and I.

— J.S.