so basically what happens is that jenny tells me to watch something

     So, I was trying my best to decipher the cockles subtext from J2M semi panel from Jibcon 8 to find out exactly what the sleeping arrangements really were. My conclusion is, basically there were “barely” two bedrooms, “BARELY” Jensen insinuates. Then Jen goes on to talk about one of the bedrooms, but stops himself. We’ve all pretty much can gather what’s going on when Jensen does this. Then Misha steps in to talk about Jared sleeping on the floor, but Jensen made sure to point out he was in a whole other room. 

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

Jensen gets a bit extra when the curtains fall a little. The audience took this as a joke as if Jared and Misha were doing the sex, but he was trying to just stress he was not sleeping with Misha and Jared was on the floor next to “their” bed. Which is what I gathered from this whole exchange. I was paying attention to both Jared’s and Misha’s reactions for any sign or tells of what the truth may be out of the hilarious chaos. So there’s clearly something wrong with the other bedroom, but Jensen caught himself before explaining bc he needed then to state where he slept! Smart! But now I’m curious as to what was wrong with the other room? haha This happens a lot in Cockles stories, things get left out. At some moment of course JenMish had some sexy times, but not when Jared was around, so no actual hanky panky actually went down the way Jared jokes about. In conclusion, ergo, Jared’s, “the audience wish they knew what’s real and what isn’t, I wanna believe.” Oh I believe 😂 and before J2 left for work, they both definitely set down and watched gay porn together based off Jensen’s reaction to the graphic nature of the porn bc he was shaking his head in agreement as if reliving the memory of it and I was like, and Jenny, how would one know exactly the details of said pornography?Pffft I’m dying…😂😂🤣🤣

Originally posted by realitytvgifs

     Do y’all agree or disagree? Do you have another point of view or something to add? Let me know, my ask is always open! Even if you just want to be random! 😘💖💫👠💄💋💎👑

Gifs from (X)

A cringe worthy request. Haha! I hope someone does this though: Maybe a moment during their marriage (after making love, perhaps?) when Laoghaire realizes that Jamie will never look and love her the way he does for Claire. What would be her realizations? Maybe a comparison of how Jamie treats her during their union vs Jamie’s union with Claire? :)

For this prompt I thought it would be fitting to revisit one of my older fics. This is set in the Wounded Pride AU and is basically just Laoghaire’s perspective as the early events of that fic unfold. 

– Mod Lenny

Wounded PridePart One, Part Two

If she’d had any doubts remaining, listening to him as he told her to leave, to go home––to go home so he could go back to that witch and explain, as if she didn’t deserve an explanation too––watching him turn his back on her and walk back to the house, his shirt askew and his breeks barely buttoned, had settled her opinion.

Jamie Fraser was a coward.

Laoghaire stomped around Balriggan fighting the impulse to throw something or break the furniture. None of that would do her any good; they were her things, not Jamie’s. She wanted to break something that belonged to him, wanted him to feel the hurt and anger she felt.

What had happened to the gallant young man who’d stood up for her in Leoch and taken a beating meant for her? He’d been meant for so much more than what he’d become and so had she. If he’d married her then, before that witch interfered, both their lives would have been better. He’d have become laird of the MacKenzies, she was sure of it; so many had lamented him throwing himself away on a Sassenach wench.

And she’d been married off to her father’s choice, though at the time, she hadn’t cared. Nothing mattered during that time when Jamie had been lost to her.

Laoghaire thought that they’d been given a second chance when Jenny Murray had invited her to Hogmanay and Jamie had been standing there… like he was waiting for her. Feeling his hands on her waist while they danced, seeing him smile and hearing him laugh… She’d been so sure. She knew that the war had changed him––it had changed a good many men––but he hadn’t been so bad as others and it all seemed well enough at first.

But he was a coward. Not the same kind of coward her second husband had been, but it turned out he was a coward all the same.

She should have seen it when he’d left for Edinburgh, when he couldn’t bring himself to look at her anymore. Why hadn’t she seen it?

Light reflecting in the looking glass on the wall near her bed blinded her momentarily. She shifted her position so her head blocked the source of light at the window behind her. It caught her hair––still fair though her blonde locks were bleaching closer and closer to the dull white of old age––and lent her an angelic glow. She was a little thicker than she’d been in her youth, her curves more pronounced and soft, but she could still see the lovely lass she had been when she first loved Jamie Fraser.

That was it, really. She loved Jamie, even if he was a coward. Her love for him had blinded her to his flaws… but that didn’t mean she didn’t still want him. There had to be a way to fix him, to help him find his way back to the man he’d been when she first loved him.

And she was damned if she’d let that witch take him from her a second time.

She strode through the room to the front entryway calling for the girls.

“Marsali, Joanie, fetch yer cloaks back on,” she told them. She had to get a stool to stand on to reach the place behind a supporting beam where she’d hidden the pistol Jamie left her before heading to Edinburgh. It was heavy in her hand as she checked it over. He said he’d loaded it for her so all she had to do was cock the hammer back and fire.

She didn’t think it would be necessary but where that witch Claire was involved, it was better to be prepared. All she needed was to talk with Jamie and having this would ensure he listened to her. Once she reminded him of what he owed to her and the girls, he would come back to her and this time things between them would be different.

The walk back to Lallybroch didn’t seem to take as long or maybe it was the sense of purpose she felt driving her forward.

She spotted Ian in the distance as she approached and watched him turn away. As she and the girls finally reached the yard, Jamie was striding toward her with Claire, Jenny, and that whore’s son, Fergus trailing behind him.

With the gun clutched tight in her hand and hidden by her skirts, she stood her ground as Jamie’s angry voice reached her.

“Did I no tell ye to go on back to Balriggan?”

“Aye, ye did and so I went—as a good and obedient wife should—but ye said nothing of coming back again, now did ye.”

She knew she needed to send the girls off, to get the others to go back in the house and let her and Jamie talk things through on their own. However the sight of Claire standing just a few feet away had her palms sweating against the smooth wood of the pistol’s grip. Had she no shame? After having been caught in such a state, how could she bring herself to face any of them? And given the fury she’d heard from outside as Jamie went back inside to placate her, why was she even here?

The name of Ned Gowan jolted her back to focus. He was going to set her aside, to pretend that everything between them had never happened.

“Ye intend to shame me then. Ye intend to abandon me and leave my bairns to starve while ye take up wi’ yer whore again.”

Jamie’s rage soon brought him right to her face. It was the closest he’d been to her in months. She could feel the heat of him but it wasn’t the sheltering warmth she’d once imagined it to be. He burned as though he would consume her and leave her a pile of ash to be blown away, to vanish on the wind.

“Ye’ll no talk of Claire like that—not afore me. I’ve no intention of letting anyone starve but I’ll no have ye disrespecting Claire like that. Ye kent well how I felt when we wed—”

“I did not!” she exclaimed, her anger mingling with an ache in her chest. She didn’t want either of them to see her cry but especially not the witch. “I needed a man, it’s true, but I believed ye loved me as I love you. Aye, I do still love ye, James Fraser—though I dare say ye dinna deserve it,” she snapped.

“Ye may be right. I likely dinna deserve it,” he confessed. “From you or from Claire. But from you, at least, I never sought it nor do I want it now.”

It felt as though she’d been slapped right down to the stinging and watering of her eyes. Her grip on the pistol tightened and her finger slipped to the trigger, her thumb resting on the hammer.

He was a coward. He was standing there making excuses, saying he would do the honorable thing for her girls and acting like that would be enough. If he had any real honor…

“The honorable thing? Ye mean to do the honorable thing? Ye wouldna ken the honorable thing if it smacked ye in the face. Ye mean to choose that woman when she’s no children to provide for, no property to tend, while I have both—”

“She may no need me… but I need her.” He glanced over his shoulder at Claire.

Laoghaire was back at Leoch watching the pair of them together in the hall after they’d returned from collecting the Laird’s rents and announced they were married, watching Claire lean against Jamie’s shoulder as the bard played. Laoghaire was watching from the kitchen window as they laughed returning from the stables for dinner, Jamie’s arm around Claire’s shoulder and hers wrapped around his waist. Laoghaire was listening to one of the kitchen maids whose sister had been at the trial in Cransmuir and had seen Jamie force his way through the crowd to stand between Claire and her accusers, vanishing with her in the chaos and never returning to Leoch. Laoghaire was smiling as Jenny brought Jamie around the edge of the dancers to introduce them and remind Jamie that Laoghaire had been a friend of Claire’s back at Leoch. Laoghaire was holding Jamie’s hands as they stood with the priest only to hear Jenny gasp and murmur a quiet prayer before the ceremony was finished. Laoghaire was lying as still as she could beside Jamie so he wouldn’t know she was awake and could hear him whimpering Claire’s name into the pillow. Laoghaire was watching Jamie ride away with everything he’d need for Edinburgh in his saddlebags and a hollow promise that he would return to check on them as soon as he was settled. Laoghaire was standing in the doorway staring at a naked Claire writhing and panting in bed, her legs draped over the shoulders of Jamie’s equally naked and aroused body so that only the flaming tendrils of his hair were visible from between her thighs.

Laoghaire cocked the hammer and raised the pistol, aiming for Jamie’s fiery hair.

Fairy Tail Chapter 539 Review

Ladies and Gentlemen, this freaking chapter

Our cover is the GMG arc. Maybe this whole conclusion will turn out like the GMG arc, starts off good, then becomes bad, then becomes absolute garbage.

So we open on the random where Blue Pegasus is stationed. As they all begin to notice cracks in the sky.

Y’know what makes Jenny’s tears more sweet, the fact that Anna and Ichiya don’t show up in this chapter meaning there is a possibility they didn’t survive the christina explosion. I know I shouldn’t expect them to be dead but honestly wouldn’t that be a little interesting?

I just love all these looks of absolute terror.

My friends the king is back

Okay questions. First I understand eating the magic but the way Anna described it sounded like this wasn’t just magic but it actually was a space in between time, while Zeref said it’s overflowing with time magic which means Acnologia can eat it wouldn’t it still be hard and take time to get out of a rift in time and space? Second I never thought controlling the magic you ate was a problem for DS, in fact I believe it’s been a signature thing about how the DS body will adapt and incorporate what it’s eaten. In fact, we see that later on. Third I’m really just trying to hope this isn’t a new “level” of power because he’s already strong enough as it is, so I’m interpreting it as he’s just refueled himself from using up a lot of magic.

Acnologia whips out a technique called “Eternal Flare” (which sounds like he stole it from Atlas Flame) but hey lets check it out!

Thats… Thats my king’s roar! Okay if people don’t know I wrote a “How I would end Fairy Tail” and it has a big fight with Acnologia and he uses a technique I thought up called “King’s Roar” where he uses his breat attack (Y’know the energy blasts) and rains hell down upon the everyone. This is the same thing! This actually reminds me, there’s a fellow reviewer of mine named @ac-fairytail who made a prediction list and surprisingly a good chunk of her predictions actually came true. Well now with this our suspicions about Mashima just spending time on tumblr might actually be true.

Also literally 2 pages are devoted to destruction caused by this technique. On the one hand I like this for creating this sense of scope but on the other it seems like this eating away more page space than it needs to.

So we cut to Erza sinking and wow this is pointless, I mean regardless of the fact that she is basically invincible we see that focusing on her actually isn’t even for the future of the plot. I mean you are probably not going to do a damn thing this climax, Erza.

See! Wendy is taken! Wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on the character that will actually have an effect on not only the future chapters but also the character who we’re suppose to feel scared for? No lets focus on Erza again!

So apparently eating time magic gave Acnologia Ban’s fox hunt because we see he’s just grabbing all the DS from first, second, and third gen. Also this scene with Lucy and Gray, first off my god the re writing ENDs’s book actually worked? The hell? To make sense of this I’m still under the theory that maybe there was an organic link transfer to Lucy from the book and that’s why Natsu didn’t die. Second, wow are they so oblivious to not notice the glowing light just sucked away their friend. Also this is my other problem with the chapter and it’s something we will get into post chapter follow up. 

So Natsu (And most likely the other DS) have been taken to this newly forming structure in the ravines of time where we see human Acnologia. Okay I made jabs saying that Natsu vs Zeref is just ripping of Haru vs Lucia. Well maybe I was wrong. With being inside this area of time and a black sky plus the falling stars, this is basically a pseudo version of the star memory battlefield in Rave.

Post Chapter Follow up: This was honestly an okay chapter. What it does good is very obvious, it brings back Acnologia but what I really need to give credit to this chapter for is building tension. Watching just how big the strength of the widespread destruction is, plus the sheer terror of this situation really draws the reader in.

Now even though it’s okay it has some very hard to ignore flaws, the first being the moment of focusing on Erza. Why would you focus on someone who will most likely not be involved in the climax and is someone we obviously don’t fear will get taken by Acnologia. Now this isn’t me hating Erza it’s me hating the structure of the story telling. Speaking of structural problems, it bugs me is this chapter in context with the previous one we saw Natsu disappear then the cracks in the sky, but that’s not how the linear story telling went, the cracks are happening before the disappearance. It bothers me that Hiro wanted to have his cake and eat to because last chapter he did “death” of Natsu and the cliffhanger was the cracks even though that’s events out of order. It’s not even like this is so nitpicky that it doesn’t need to be fixed because in Tartaros when Mashima had the dual plots of Erza stopping face and Natsu facing Mard Geer he made clear distinction in the time difference of the events told out of order.

The biggest problem I have is the Acnologia plot convenience beam coming and grabbing all the dragon slayers. While I’m happy that we may get DS vs Acnologia we still don’t have any clue of what the DS have been doing and why we should now care. Wouldn’t it be so much better to use that breather chapter to check up on all these guys? What has happening to crime sorciere, how did they feel about Jellal just blowing them off or are they okay with it? What’s been going on with Sting and Rogue after their Larcade fight? With Gajeel and Laxus we see what they’ve been up to but the others are just being grabbed without enough build up of why we should care about the characters if their just going to be thrown into something with no build up, other than they are dragon slayers.

This chapter isn’t not bad it really is pretty decent, but it’s failings are still very note worthy.

Final Verdict: 5/10

  • Average but done decently
  • good tension building
  • But some poor structure
16 Days of Outlander - Day #12 Lallybroch

Lallybroch is easily my favorite episode of the back half of Season 1 - I’m a huge fan of Jenny and Ian and love the way the show approached Jamie’s return (I’m not really surprised though since the Anne Kenney wrote it and she’s basically my favorite of the show’s writers). 

Favorite Location: the Laird’s room. I love that the show defaults to this shade of blue so often (it’s already appeared several times in the promo pics for Season 2). I’m not sure whether it’s wall paper or tapestries but I’m absolutely in love with the wall decoration in Jamie and Claire’s room. The carved mantle and four-poster bed in that rich, dark wood are also an aesthetic I heavily subscribe to and the lighting somehow manages to make the room appear larger than I think it actually is - a true feat given such a dark color palette in the decoration. 

Favorite Costume: Claire’s quarter day dress. I told you all this dress would be making a reappearance. I think what impresses me most is how perfectly the fabric was cut and sown so the lines of the tartan align perfectly with the lines of Claire’s body and that the tartan’s symmetry is maintained. Also, those three-quarter sleeves are the ideal length and looseness for maintaining mobility and function. 

Favorite Music Moment: drunk Jamie. This was the track I was most looking forward to on the second volume of the show’s soundtrack (it kicks off the Tracking Jamie track, for the record). The whole scene is pure gold and the lilting way the track is played in imitation of Jamie’s drunken state works perfectly. And the resumption of the track as Jamie faces breakfast with a hangover while Claire smiles on with a smug sympathy… There are many times in the books when we get to see Jamie drunk and while this isn’t a scene that appears in the first book, it is definitely in keeping with some of drunk book Jamie’s more charming escapades (I wonder if we’ll hear a variation on this theme in future if they include some of those other drunken encounters between Jamie and Claire). 

Favorite Minor Character: Ian Murray. Having been around Frasers pretty much his entire life, Ian Murray is basically a walking “how to handle Frasers” manual. He’s able to deftly defuse the tension between the siblings, leaving Claire in awe and seeking advice. The chat between the two of them in the hallway is one of my favorites from the show and I really wish we could see more of their relationship (maybe next season). 

Favorite Line: “kick them harder.” Coming from a family that’s stubborn on one side and more level headed on the other (I generally fall on the level-headed side though there are certain issues where I definitely dig my heels in stubbornly), Ian’s observations and advice to Claire stick with me. 

“Once they’ve dug their heels in there’s no budging them and you don’t want to get between them when their danders are up[…] You can tug on their rope or give them a wee kick in their backside and they might move, or you might get bit for yer trouble.”

“And then what?”

“Kick them harder.”

Favorite “That’s not in the book” Part: Claire dumps Jamie out of bed. So I know there are people who don’t care for how the show portrayed Jamie upon returning to Lallybroch (that Jamie is too conscious of his responsibilities and capable to make the mistakes he does in the episode and that he wouldn’t be so pompous, etc.) and I understand why that criticism creeps up, I just happen to disagree with it. Even in the books, a lot of the incidents Jamie tells Claire about growing up at Lallybroch demonstrate that he isn’t/wasn’t always tactful or respectful (the incident with Mrs. Fitz during his first trip to Leoch comes to mind). Add to that the fact that it’s his first time home since his father’s death and that he is now saddled with the actual responsibility of being laird (a very different thing from his position at Leoch where, much as he manages to navigate the tension between Dougal and Colum, the responsibility for making the calls and enacting them still falls to Colum), and I think it’s completely believable that Jamie would revert a bit to his younger attitudes - I always go back to How I Met Your Mother and their “revertigo” episode. Anyway, what I love about this scene is the way that Claire is able to get through to Jamie (taking a bit of Ian’s advice). It also ties in so nicely with the earlier scene where he chastises her and tells her that she shouldn’t reprimand him in front of people because it’s just not how things are done in his time. She bites her tongue through a lot of the episode, letting things go where her natural instinct is to push. But here, she finally gives into her instincts and lets the honesty flow - it’s not a public disagreement but Jamie needs to hear what she’s saying and because it’s coming from Claire like this, he trusts it and sees the truth in it. 

Favorite Performance: Laura Donnelly as Jenny Murray. Donnelly and Heughan play siblings so well. The frustration Donnelly channels through Jenny during her altercations with Jamie is something I relate to strongly, right down to the “let him figure it out for himself then” attitude. I feel like it really emphasizes what comes out during the scene in the graveyard where Jenny and Jamie make amends - she blamed him in part for their father’s death and some of her treatment of him stemmed from that resentment, the need to punish him. But what I think truly makes this her episode is the way she laughs during the flashback with Black Jack Randall - it’s a huge part of what makes that scene so uncomfortable and compelling. 

Favorite Book-to-Screen Adaptation, Favorite Jamie and Claire Moment: first ‘I love you’s. Again, it isn’t a scene that is depicted exactly the way it transpires in the book, but they managed to capture all of the spirit of the exchange in such a way that the material is elevated in some ways. Peace has been achieved within the family and Claire finally feels like she’s somewhere she belongs, like she’s home. That so much of the scene is one continuous shot/take is downright amazing. It’s cute and funny and sweet and heated and intimate and just… everything that I was hoping that scene would be. I don’t think I’ve ever watched this episode without stopping to rewatch this scene at least five times. I often forget that there’s a little bit more after it (that damn cliffhanger). 

Summer of Steven: Week 2 Review (Spoilers)


The following are some of my thoughts on the last 5 episodes of Steven Universe. Keep in mind that I’ve only watched each of these episodes once and I’m probably going to be more critical than the average person because I’m a jaded, old, finicky curmudgeon who doesn’t like things that don’t specifically cater to his expectations and interests.

Keep reading

Shifted - Part 2, Chapter 2

Every Tuesday I’ll be posting a chapter from my brand new AU story. The premise is simple - what if Claire had gotten pregnant with Brianna a month or two earlier in the story, and she and Jamie had re-evaluated their priorities and decided that the cause was lost, and they were able to slip away from the army and quietly return to Lallybroch?

Previous installments…

Jamie lay on his side, sated, watching Claire nurse Brianna.

Neither of them had lasted particularly long – their desperation too great – and Brianna had dozed only just long enough for them to finish. But he felt exhilarated – the exhaustion from spending the previous night with a cranky baby melted away. And Claire – she hadn’t stopped smiling since he’d laid her down among the pillows and slowly, tenderly loved her.


She ruffled his messy hair. “Much.”

“Mmphmm.” He kissed the inside of her wrist.

Brianna released, squirming. Claire quickly burped her and handed her over to Jamie, who promptly settled the baby on his chest.

“She seems to like the skin-on-skin. It soothes her,” he whispered, watching Brianna’s eyes dart around the room.

“She feels safe with you.”

He snorted. “God knows that may change at any time.”

She frowned. “Don’t talk like that.”

He sighed. “Ye know it’s true, Sassenach. Mind what happened the other day?”

She did. She had been in the dooryard, taking advantage of a rare mild day to help Jenny string up the washing. Slowly she was easing back into the rhythm of life at Lallybroch – after remaining in bed under Jamie’s watchful eye for ten days following Brianna’s birth, she’d been itching to make herself useful again.

Almost back to normal now – except, of course, for the newborn slung tightly across her chest, a bright knit cap tucked around her tiny ears to protect from the chill. Had Jamie had his way, Brianna would have remained inside for the rest of the winter – he’d relented only after Claire had sworn to keep the baby covered from head to toe any time they ventured outside.

“I canna remember the last time the weather was this fine, so close to Christmas,” Jenny remarked, pinning up two of Young Jamie’s well-worn smocks. “No wonder Ian and Jamie were keen to walk the tatty fields – the top of the ground won’t be so frozen today, ken. Though I dinna think Ian realized the mud would make it hard going, wi’ his wooden leg…”

Claire shook out one of Jamie’s thick work shirts. Startled by the motion, Brianna sneezed.

Quickly Claire tossed the shirt over one arm and unfastened the neck of her cloak, pushing the cap back from Brianna’s forehead. The baby’s limbs flailed and her eyes darted, unfocused – but no harm done. Claire kissed Brianna’s brow before easing the baby’s head back between her breasts, tucking the hat over her ears, and buttoning up the cloak.

“She all right?” Jenny’s voice was muffled from behind a large linen tablecloth, half-hung.

“She’s fine.” Claire carefully strode over to Jenny’s side, pulling pins from her sleeve and settling Jamie’s shirt on the line. “I know I shouldn’t worry about every little thing, but – ”

“Ach, it’s fine, Claire. It cost you dear to carry her, and bear her – I dinna blame you for such concern.” Bending back to the wash bucket, Jenny drew out one of Claire’s shifts. “My brother, though – weel. If he’s this protective now, just wait til the lass is old enough to walk, or play in the yard wi’ her cousins. Puir girl wouldna be able to do anything fun.”

Claire reflected as she hung up two pairs of Jamie’s thick socks. Jenny was teasing – but there was a note of truth in her words. Jamie hated letting Brianna out of his sight – he was convinced that the moment he did, something was bound to happen to her – meaning he’d utterly failed as a father. It was good that he’d gone with Ian, today – he needed another man’s company for a while, another father whom he could ask about such things.

“It’s all still so new, Jenny – we both don’t quite believe she’s really here.”

Claire didn’t need to see Jenny’s face to recognize a smile in her voice. “She’s here, right enough – though it truly willna sink in until after your second, or third, maybe.”

Claire swallowed. Jenny had no way of knowing that Brianna had been her second – and that there may not ever be a third. She opened her mouth – not quite sure how to reply – but stepped back sharply when a small form darted under the tablecloth.

“Fergus? What on earth – ” Claire reached for Brianna by reflex.

The boy doubled over, hands on his knobby knees, breathing hard. “Milady – ” he gasped.

Jenny pushed past the washing and stood by Claire. “What’s got into you, Fergus? Ye’ve left a filthy smudge on the tablecloth – ”

“English…soldiers…milady,” he panted. “Coming…approaching the house.”

Claire’s blood turned to ice.

Patrols of ten or so men had scoured the Highlands in the eight months since Culloden, seeking out every last man who had pledged gold or loyalty to King James and Prince Charlie. Jamie’s revolutionary activities were well known and documented – but as he had spared himself and his men from the final battle – and had gained a pardon through a process which Claire still failed to fully understand - charges could not be formally brought against him.

But formal charges and needless harassment were different things. The terms of Jamie’s pardon meant that he could not cross the estate’s borders. So the patrols made it a point to always stop by Lallybroch – enquire as to the crofters’ output, the number of men working the fields, and especially whether Jamie – even though he was no longer the laird in name – was doing something, anything, not directly related to estate business.

And now they had the Dress Act to enforce – a law whose sole aim was to eradicate the tartan, that most basic symbol of Highland culture. Any man found wearing a tartan, let alone in the possession of one, could be arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of harboring rebel sentiments.

When news of the Dress Act had made its way to Lallybroch – just when Claire had told him it would – Jamie had quietly pulled away from the discussion in the parlor and climbed the stairs. Claire had followed him to their bedroom and watched him gently fold the three Fraser plaids in his possession – his father’s, his own, and a smaller length that had belonged to his mother – do them up with string, kiss them, and hide them under a floorboard.

“The clans are already gone and scattered,” he’d remarked to Claire later that night, head on her stomach while she ran soothing fingers through his hair. “What difference does a bitty piece of wool make now, to anyone?”

Claire hated to think of Frank whenever she was in bed with Jamie – but something he’d told her, right before she fell through the stones, came to mind.

“Frank – he told me once -” She paused, feeling guilty.

He turned his head and kissed her stomach – right on the marks left by Brianna’s birth.  “I dinna mind, Sassenach. Go on.”

Her thumb gently ran over his wide forehead. “Yes, well – he told me that it wasn’t so much the item itself, but rather what it symbolizes. Even though the clans will never unite again, it doesn’t matter. You don’t want anything to remind anyone of what once was – what once could have been.”

He sighed. “I mind you said it was coming – but still, I canna believe it’s here now.”

A long pause, interrupted only by the crackling of the fire.

“I saved them for Brianna, ken,” he said at length. “It’s my duty as her father to teach her the way things were. And even if the English come down on the Gaidhlig next, we’ll be ready.” Reaching up a big hand to cup Claire’s face, he stroked her cheek. “She must know her customs. She’ll know them, and love them, as her father’s people have – and will continue to, God willing.”

Claire swallowed at the memory – wishing she had Jamie’s bravura in that moment.

“How many, Fergus?” she faintly heard Jenny ask.

“Eight – ten? And horses and a wagon, too,” he added helpfully. He stood up straight, thin shoulders still panting. “Shall I go fetch milord and Monsieur Murray, then?”

“Please, Fergus – they’re at the potato fields. Tell them we’re all right – but hurry. Please hurry.” Claire squeezed the boy’s thin shoulder and he took off like a shot.

“Jenny – ”

Claire’s heart froze as a single soldier, atop a beautiful horse, entered through the stone gate into the dooryard.

caeillian  asked:

Hey! There's one thing I wanted to ask you about Misha's statement that Cas doesn't feel loved and that he's about to do a very bad decision, deal with the devil, etc. I can't quite grasp why Cas doesn't feel loved, at least by Sam and Dean - I mean with the Darkness on the run and his PTSD-like behavior, clearly everything isn't at it's best now. But just at the end of season 10 he said that both boys are like a family to him, and after he was cursed, they did everything to cure him (especially

Dean with his hands-on approach, if you know what I mean!). Okay, they had that argument at the end of 11x06, but all of that together, I don’t really see why Cas should feel so unloved in this situation right now. Or am I missing something important here? - Greetings!

Hello! And thank you for asking! I mean, thanks for asking me anything at all, because I don’t know how relevant my answer is going to be, but I’ll do my best. I like answering questions. I’m the nerd whose favorite part of school was taking tests. :D

As far as Castiel’s current mental status, and why he’s possibly feeling uncertain about his standing with the Winchesters, I think a lot of that comes back around to his PTSD. And I’m not even calling it PTSD-like. It’s PTSD.

Not that Sam and Dean don’t deal with it themselves on a constant basis, but learning to cope with this sort of trauma is relatively new for Cas. He may have suffered with it in the past, but he’d always been sent back for the sort of “reprogramming” we saw Naomi administering back in s8. His eons of awful memories were wiped away in the past. Naomi implied that he’d done many horrible things (like slaughtering the first born sons of Egypt), that he had no memory of due to his constant need for reprogramming.

Even when he was human in s9, and had suffered greatly, he was able to eventually pull himself out of his funk and get back up on his own feet (and then got some of his mojo back by stealing another angel’s grace). I think he was hoping that getting his own grace back would’ve helped that same way, but as all the angels have been telling him for more than a year now, when they look at him they don’t see an angel anymore. I think his own grace is fundamentally changed from what it was when we first met him back in s4. It’s not just the “human” part of Cas that’s grown, but the part of him that is his grace has also been changed by his experiences and emotions. And no one’s around to reprogram him anymore, which I’m glad about at any rate.

Now, he’s not only cut off from all his “family” in Heaven, he’s also feeling the crushing weight of what he’d done while under the attack dog spell, he’s been called useless by angels, told YET AGAIN that he’s not one of them, watched his only ally and friend left in Heaven die trying to help him the only way they could (rip Hannah we will miss you), and then killed three other angels to save himself. And nearly killed an innocent human woman, before then nearly killing Dean. Again.

On top of that, add the layer of guilt for lying to and essentially betraying Dean all last season while they were looking for a cure for the Mark. When he found out his actions helped release the Darkness, I can only imagine that took away 90% of the joy out of having learned that Dean was “cured.”

There were a nice couple of episodes in there where Dean and Sam actually seemed to be trying to help him recover. They tucked him into the bunker, helped him try to locate his car, involved him in hunts however indirectly (over the phone in 11.04), and introduced him to the joy of Netflix and cozy blankets.

The Winchesters have been dealing with mental and emotional trauma their whole lives. And yeah, they fit a lot of the classic signs of PTSD (nightmares, sleep disturbances, depression, self-destructive behavior, anger, emotional detachment, etc.), but that’s any given Tuesday for them. They may not be shining beacons of mental health, but they’re numb to it enough to keep on soldiering on. For Cas? This isn’t supposed to be happening to him. He’s supposed to be an angel of the Lord. He’s floundering.

While it’s great that Dean and Sam have been trying to encourage him to rest, recuperate, and heal back at the bunker, Cas has sort of taken that too far. It was cute when he was watching OITNB and The Wire, but now he’s watching infomercials and Jenny Jones reruns… and I’m scared for him. He looks like me at the depths of a bad depression. It’s not cute anymore.

And then he goes to try to help Sam and Dean when they call for him in 11.06, when just reaching for the doorknob out of the bunker gives him such a severe flashback that he’s paralyzed with fear and self-doubt. The only thing that gets him moving is a lead on Metatron’s whereabouts. Metatron being one of the only possible beings that can help him, both with the Darkness and the angels’ problems in Heaven.

What Metatron tells him, essentially, feeds right back in to all of his doubts. He’s not welcome in Heaven anymore. He’s only with the Winchesters as long as he’s useful to them. They’ll kick him to the curb again just as soon as he fails them, like he always fails. Sure he puts on a front for Metatron, claiming that his words don’t have any power over him, but in that weird way Metraton seems to have, we know his words hit right at the heart of Castiel’s doubts and fears. And then he leaves Metatron “in traction,” so he obviously beat him to within an inch of his life. Yikes.

So even if Sam, and especially Dean, are showing as much care for him as they know how to in the midst of an all-hands-on-deck crisis situation, there’s still a lot of unresolved tension going back to before Dean was cured of the Mark (oh my heart do I even need to mention what?), everything that Cas has been through this season, and the fact that he now seems to have been sidelined to sifting through ancient libraries looking for lore on the Darkness.

For reasons obvious to us, Dean’s not going to want to let Cas get within ten miles of Amara after watching her dissolve three angels without blinking. Dean’s also suffering his own dissociative issues about the effect Amara seems to have on him, as well as his apparent inability to hurt her (at least she doesn’t seem to be able to hurt him, either, which yay, I guess?).

Cas was not consulted about following up on Sam’s visions about having a chat with Lucifer. I think he’s going to be incredibly disappointed in both Sam and Dean about that. Not only wasn’t he consulted, but he was very conspicuously not even MENTIONED in the episode, despite the fact we know he’s one of the few beings on the planet who’s ever even SEEN the cage in person, and might’ve been able to find something out about Sam’s visions without putting Sam directly at risk. Who knows? But I feel his complete absence in the episode was deliberate. It’s going to be important when he meets up with Dean again.

While I was hoping all of this would come to a head and Dean and Cas would get a five minute break to hash out their crap, this is Supernatural, so I imagine they’ll only have enough time to do a basic, “You okay?” “Yeah, fine.” kind of exchange that they’ve been settling for in the last little while. I think Dean’s going to catch Cas up on the situation with Amara, and then the potential situation with Sam.

According to the plot synopsis that just came out for 11.10, Sam’s going to be busy trying to avoid paying a “steep price” for Lucifer’s aid, while Dean and Cas are trying to figure out if that laser beam from Heaven could’ve killed Amara. Being that this is a synopsis, I’m assuming that’ll cover about half of the first segment of the episode.

So, yes, Dean and Cas will be working together, which means that, yes, Cas knows Dean trusts and cares for him. BUT! With Sam trapped in the cage with Lucifer AGAIN, I think Dean’s gonna flip out. Again. and Cas is gonna do the sad nod lip pout and volunteer to throw himself on the pyre in order to save Sam. AGAIN. Even if that’s not what Dean would want (I’ll say it again: the doofuses REALLY need to talk to each other). Cas is at such a low point, and he KNOWS how much Sam means to Dean.

I don’t think he feels entirely unloved, but depression lies, and he is clearly and unequivocally depressed right now. He needs Dean to spell it out for him, that yes, he’d do practically anything to save Sam, but he’d also do practically anything to save Cas. And Dean’s proved it to US several times already this season (how much of his argument with Sam in 11.01 was about getting out of that hospital because they needed to save Cas? How many other times has Dean gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure Cas was safe?) He just needs to prove it to CAS.

Sadly, I think Cas’s actions over the next couple of episodes might very well give Dean that chance.

On the up side, that’s probably give us another opportunity for these idjits to actually talk to each other honestly, and hopefully just freaking kiss already dammit.

And yeah, he really does believe that Sam and Dean are like family to him, but he’s also given up armies for them, made deals with Crowley for them, taken on the souls of Purgatory for them, fallen from Heaven for them, etc. etc. etc. In the state of mind he’s in right now, It’s not a stretch to think he’d be willing to throw himself on yet another grenade for them, no matter how loved he feels. He might understand that they care for him, but I don’t think he realizes how much his loss would wreck the both of them. Especially Dean.

I hope he’s about to find out. And that everyone doesn’t suffer too much in the mean time. :/

So, thank you for asking me a question! As much as it hurts to think about Cas in this state, there is a tiny silver lining around this whole cloud of Darkness. I hope this actually addressed your question in some way. I think I may have rambled just a bit. Sorry it took so long to answer, and greetings to you, too! :)

Playing With Fire - Part 3


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a/n: hey guys! here’s the next part. holy guacamole thank you so much for 200+ followers in only a couple weeks. this part is intense lol. happy reading x 

Pairing: Cameron Dallas x Reader x Nate Maloley 

Summary: After finding Nate in his apartment, Cameron is extremely confused and seeks Y/N (reader) to explain what the heck is going on. 

Word Count: 2,800+ 

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anonymous asked:

Imagine collum or/and dougal and the rest at leoch meeting baby/toddler faith (perhaps she brings out the sweet side in them)

For this you’ll have to assume Culloden never came to fruition, and that Collum didn’t die (as he did in The Fox’s Lair). As such life at Leoch may have continued as normal.

– – —- – –

It hadn’t been an ideal situation. Jamie, as laird of Broch Tuarach, had to remain somewhat faithful to clan Mackenzie. As the tension grew between his uncles, he’d been asked to return and form council with the brothers to prevent the clan from destroying itself from within.

Claire had been suspicious and, for a few weeks following, had tried to actively prevent Jamie’s involvement. He’d agreed with her, of course. Knowing how badly this could go if he were to be unsuccessful.

“Must they always include you in their petty squabbles, Jamie?” Claire had (rather accurately) pointed out. “No good can come of this. Either way you’ll embed us more into their politics. If you manage to quash the flames that Dougal has so obviously stoked, then they’ll only call on you when they clash again. And, if you fail, it’ll somehow end up being your fault that they cannot agree!”

“Aye, I ken it well, sassenach. But I dinna see how I can refuse?”

In the end, though, it had been no matter. Ned Gowan had turned up at their door, a bottle of fine whisky as an olive branch, and Jamie had been unable to stall any longer.

“If ye dinna come, Jamie lad, I don’t know what’ll become of them. Dougal is still bitter about the Bonnie Prince and his failure to land safely in Scotland, and Colum grows more impatient with him as his health fails. I fear Dougal might resort to desperate measures if we dinna calm him. It can be only ye, I think.”

Claire had watched the meeting from the kitchen, cuddling wee Faith close to her chest as she listened to the men talk. At nearly four, she was still small enough to be carried, but it wouldn’t last for much longer.

“Your da cannot help but be dragged into these ridiculous farces, my lass. What are we to do? At least that bloody fool Charles is safely ensconced in Italy.” She rocked Faith from side to side, burying her nose in her thick curls, so much like her own.

“Da go?” Faith asked, sleepily, her voice muffled by Claire’s shoulders as she gripped her mother’s sleeves tightly.

“Yes, sweetheart, I think he must. Be don’t worry, he won’t be away for long.” Claire, one hand tucked under her only daughter’s bottom, swung them away from the conversation, knowing any discussion of Jamie leaving would only cause Faith some distress.

Since her rather dramatic entry into the world, and the stressful weeks that followed, Jamie had refused to be parted from Faith. Or Claire for that matter. He’d nearly lost them once, he wasn’t about to risk it again. This being the case, Faith hadn’t experienced *any* time away from her father, and their bond was almost unbreakable. Jamie had nearly had to travel to Leoch once before for similar reasons, but that time Claire had managed to intervene and prevent it. There would be no such luck this time.

“No, mama. No. Da no’ go.” Faith whispered, the faint sound of fear lacing her tone. Claire’s heart dropped.

“We’ll be alright, darling girl. Hush now, and if you’re good I’ll make sure Auntie Jenny brings you some honey for your dinner.”

Claire was not above bribery.

“NO!” Faith squealed.

*Fraser stubbornness, be damned*, Claire thought, placing a now very agitated Faith on the side whilst she grasped for some milk.

“Faith, mo ghalad donn òg, what’s the matter?”

Claire turned and tried to signal to Jamie, worried that his intervention would only exacerbate Faith’s distress. He winked and continued, much to Claire’s annoyance. Fine then, she decided, you can put her down for the evening when she’s too agitated to sleep.

Jamie, kissing Claire on the forehead before taking his wee lass in his arms, cooed and swayed her as he spoke. He kent the silent message, loud and clear. But he had a plan. “Tell me, aye?”

“Da…falbh?” Faith stuck her thumb into her mouth and hid her face against Jamie’s neck, seeking his warmth. She’d finally began to learn some of the Gàidhlig, he had Jenny to thank for that, himself being too busy to teach her much above the basics.

“Aye, I do…” he only paused for a brief moment, but it was enough time to allow Faith to process his words and curl herself tightly around him, crying out loudly in protest, “…hush, a leannan, let me finish afore ye get fashed, aye?”

Faith nodded, her curls bobbing as she did so. Claire moved forward and began to rub her back, soothing her a little as Jamie continued, “what if I told ye that yer coming wi’ me?”

Claire’s eyes snapped up to meet his, an angry haze coating her gaze as she scrutinised him. “Jamie, you know precisely what happened the last time we took her to Leoch. I’m not eager to be parted from you, but I don’t know…”

“Please, Claire,” he interrupted, “I ken that weel. But I will no’ leave ye here. What if I’m away for more than a month? And besides, wi’ you and Faith with me, Dougal will be dissuaded from taking any –unfavourable– actions against me, ken?”

“You’d better hope that’s the case, Jamie Fraser!” Claire quipped, smirking slightly as his nous. Thank –bloody– goodness, she mused, wrapping her arms around her little family.

– –

“Having a wean around can sometimes work to our advantage, aye?” Jamie spoke, saddling Donas as Claire prepared Faith for their ride across country.

“Clip-clop-clip-clop, we ride wi’ da, mama?” Faith chanted, her little hands patting Claire’s steady horse. She had, single handedly, managed to solve a number of issues without even knowing it.

Her presence wasn’t by chance, nor was it actually Jamie’s idea. It had been Ned who’d eventually broached the suggestion. Knowing Colum’s fondness for Jamie, and his guilt over Laoghaire’s actions during their first visit all those years ago, Ned had reasoned that and appearance by Faith and Claire might immediately calm his temper. Dougal would surely (hopefully) follow suit.

– –

The ride from Lallybroch to Leoch was an uneventful one. Faith had been restless, insistent on constantly swapping from riding with her mother to her father, eager to be close to both at once. But as the trees parted and made way for open ground, she’d been enraptured by the idyllic scenery.

“Mama! S’that?” She’d wriggle and point, impatient to know absolutely everything about her homeland.

“Well, that’s a thistle…” Claire would respond, and depending on whether Faith’s interest held, she’d inform her of the latin too, and then maybe a wee story to go with it. “…it’s the flower of Scotland.”

“Why? It’s no’ as pretty as some of the others!”

Claire laughed, “True, darling, but when the English tried to copy some of the Scot’s techniques for surprise, they stepped on them and hurt their feet. So the Scots adopted it as their national flower.”

“But mama, aren’t ye English? Do they no’ like ye then?”

Jamie snorted, desperately trying to sit up straight as he rode ahead of his wife and child.

Her questions calmed as they approached the castle, it’s looming walls filling both Jamie and Claire with some trepidation.

“Do you think you can help, Jamie? Really?” Claire pulled up alongside him as they stopped just short of the long winding path that led up to the keep.

“I dinna ken, sassenach, but I have to try. Ned did so much for me, for us, I canna ignore his plea, aye?”

Blessedly, Ned had finally managed to clear Jamie’s name, with the assistance of King Louis he had approached the courts and after a long winded process had succeeded. Claire nodded, they did owe him an awful lot.

“Then let’s hope they’re amenable.” She muttered, pushing their horses upwards, and into the bowels of Leoch once more.

– –

The moment Mrs Fitz laid eyes on Claire and the wean, she’d swept them up in a flurry of excited titterings and ushered them into the kitchens.

This left Jamie alone to go in search of Colum.

Ned, mercifully, found him before anyone else and whispered the comings and goings of the last few days as they wound their way up to the main chambers. Colum had finally snapped, his temper flaring at Dougal’s disobedience, and his castigations had been heard throughout the castle. Dougal, in his ire, had sloped off and hadn’t been seen for a number of days. Ned suspected he’d gone off to hunt, needing to take his anger out on something small and helpless, no doubt.

“Dinna worry too much about him, though. He’ll be back, always is. If we can get Colum to calm a little, I think we can begin to repair the rift.” Ned spoke so animately, as if Jamie’s presence would immediately solve all of their issues.

He hoped he was right.

– –

“What is it that ye have there, wean?” The booming voice came from behind her as she caught a butterfly between her small palms. As loud as he was, his tone held no malice and Faith turned with a large smile on her face.  

“Tis only a flutterby, she wanted a cuddle, ken?” Faith held her cupped hands up towards the tall man. His beard, thick and grey, covered most of his mouth and she was unable to tell whether he was smiling or not.

“A cuddle? Do ye think wee beasties want affection from humans?” He tapped her fingers once, his hands warmed from being hidden in the dense fabric of his kilt.

“Aye! I do. She came t’ me, ye see…” she opened her hands and released the insect, watching with wide blue eyes as it, seemingly, shook itself off and flew away. “She’s done now, though. Just a wee cuddle, this time.”

Claire watched from the herb garden, hiding herself behind a particularly large bush, as her daughter charmed Dougal. She watched the man approach from the south walls, muttering and stomping at the ground, pulling a rather large dead deer behind him. Still the same as ever, she scoffed as he threw the animal to the ground and walked towards and straight passed her, into the forecourt where Faith was playing with the creatures floating around her.

He obviously hadn’t seen the smallest Fraser until he’d nearly fallen over her, so caught up in his fury. She wasn’t worried about Faith, if anyone could calm him, it would be her.

“Auntie says that, sometimes, they just want t’ feel love. They always come to me, mama says I’m special!” She announced proudly, nodding her head once as if it were a fact.

“Weel, I canna say they’re wrong, can I? Ye seem to have a gift wi’ animals, is that so?”

“Aye!” She replied, happy that he’d noticed, “Da says I’ll be good wi’ the horses when I’m big enough.”

“Dinna be in a rush to grow though, aye wean. Adulthood isna all it’s cracked up to be.”

She saw a dark look cross his face, his eyes clouding over with some unknown displeasure. Tugging on the bottom of his kilt, she distracted him, whispering conspiratorially as he leaned towards her, “Shh…just now, look.” Pointing in front of her the pair watched a colourful, rather large, dragonfly flit passed them, “tis a bigger, thinner flutterer! Isn’t she pretty…?”

Faith, enraptured by the beast, skipped off after it, leaving Dougal laughing and rubbing the base of his neck.

“She didn’t annoy you too much, I hope?” Claire’s voice broke his revelry, and he turned his head to watch as she came to his side.

“Mrs Fraser, I hadna expected to see ye here.”

“No, I bet.” She answered, sarcasm lacing her tone.

“Still the same Claire, I see.” He muttered, turning back to watch Faith as she bounded through the long grass at the base of the small hill, her almost black curls bouncing up and down as she went. “She’s the spit o’ you, isn’t she?”

“She’s a bit of both, I think. She has the Fraser stubborn streak –and Jamie’s nose.”

“We wouldn’t want *that* trait to die now, would we?” He chuckled, finally letting his shoulders relax. “She seems tame enough, certainly less trouble than Jamie at that age.”

“Don’t let her fool you, she’s a charmer, like her father.”

“Aye, I see it.”

They stood in companionable silence for a while, just watching Faith as she investigated her surroundings. It was only the loud braying of a mare that broke the quiet.

“I hear you and Colum are squabbling again, can’t you just let him be once in a while Dougal?” Unable to stop herself, Claire broached the dangerous topic with Dougal, waiting for him to bite back. But, unusually, he didn’t. His eyes still fixed on the bairn.

“He expects me t’ follow him blindly, he canna do anything anymore. He canna walk, canna rule the clan. But I willna simply be his legs anymore! I willna let the *English* ravage our lands and pillage our villages, whilst he sits there and rules from on high. Dinna tell me ye havena seen him? It’s time, Claire, and he kens it well. He’s just hanging on t’ spite me!”

She had seen Colum, seen his wasted body as he lay in his bed. But it was his clan, and it was his choice.

“If you know this, Dougal, why don’t you just do as he bids you until the time does come? Surely that would be easier than tearing the clan apart. Aren’t you the one who’ll have to put it back together again afterwards? Why cause yourself that grief?”

“Because!” He spat, his hands crushing a small flower that grew beside him, its petals falling to the floor at his feet as he threw it, angrily, “how can he expect me t’ agree wi’ things I ken he knows NOUGHT about? He hasna been out for years! He doesna know!”

Faith’s head snapped up at the sound of raised voices, her hands stilling as they reached out for a cricket that was sat motionless in front of her. She scrunched her brow at the sight of her mother stood with the loud Scotsman.

“Hush!” She whispered, her finger coming to her lips as she tilted her head to the side, “ye canna disturb the sleeping hummer. He’s dozin’ and chirping. Bedtime, aye?”

A small smile lifted Dougal’s lips, “keep her that innocent, and ye’ll ne’er have to worry.”

“Indeed, but have you ever seen an innocent teenager?” She joked, trying to clear the air.

For once, she could see Dougal’s point of view. But she doubted there was much she could do. Colum was just as stubborn, and a tad smarter to boot.

“True, but I’m sure ye and Jamie will do a grand job of keeping her sweet. Good luck to ye Claire, truly.” Dougal shook his head and turned on his heel, walking away with his hands clasped behind his back, “and yer right, as always, I just hope he doesna live to see Clan Mackenzie fall because o’ it.”

Claire stood, her mouth gaping as he disappeared inside the castle walls. Had he just admitted defeat? She looked back over at her daughter, who stood with a rather large grin on her face, a small green grasshopper perched warily on her finger.

“See, mama? Wee hopper.”

– –

They didn’t stay the night. Colum had been in pain but, at Jamie’s insistence, had agreed to allow Dougal some dispensation.


The men had watched from the window as Faith, Dougal and Claire had chatted, not hearing their words, but observing their body language.

“He’s getting there, Jamie lad. Ye ken it’s you I wanted to rule over the clan after my death, did ye no’?” Colum had said, boldly. “But I see that’s no’ to be. Ye have yer own family, and yer own clan to manage.”

At this Jamie had balked. He hadn’t known, but there was little chance he would have gone against his temperamental uncle. No, he had better sense than that, no matter how insistent Colum could be.  

They’d viewed the whole interaction, until Dougal had walked away. Smiling as Faith skittered about below.

“If only he’d stayed a wee bit long in his own home, my lad, maybe raising a few weans would have softened him.” Colum announced, closing his eyes and laying his head back, “it does ye a world o’ good to simply watch them, aye?”


“So…” Claire broke him from his thoughts, “what did Colum say to you?”

“I could be asking ye similar o’ Dougal, aye sassenach?”

Claire laughed, causing a sleeping Faith to stir in her arms. Shifting herself, she brought her daughter closer to her chest as they rode on.

“I don’t think it was my words that cooled him.” She admitted, looking down at the sweep of curls that lay, tickling her chest.

“I’m beginning to think similar o’ Colum, Claire.”

“Really?” She returned, shock lacing her tone, “but he didn’t even meet her!”

“No, but we watched ye, from up high. I could see his eyes soften as he witnessed Dougal interact wi’ her.”

“Ha!” Claire chuckled, her shoulders shaking with the effort of staying still. “I do believe she might actually be magic.”

“Just like her mother, then. Eh, mo nighean?” He quipped, reaching over to join hands with his wife as they rode, now silently, towards home.

The Red Lady from Caribee

The first genuinely good episode of the season. The first when I didn’t think that I should be washing my hair right now. The monster of the week was interesting both in its appearance and its effect on its victims. The main storyline moved forward. The B-plot was compelling. Abbie got backstory.

If the show could do more like this, it would be back on solid ground again. All shipping aside, if they could just tell me good damn stories, I would be much happier. So let’s begin on a much less ranty (but still ranty because hi have you met me?) recap:

  • Oh hey! Fake-out cold open! I missed you because they no longer use you every episode so I immediately know no one is in any danger. Well-shot and cute. Also Crane’s love of fruity drinks will never cease to delight me. Proof that gender norms change significantly over time since enjoy froo-froo drinks was de rigeur in his day.
  • Going to do Zoe all at once. I enjoyed the awkwardness of the scene. It really captured how awful first dates are and an especially awful one at that. I really, genuinely hoped that Crane was going to go on one date, then go “good God, no” and turn his eyes toward Abbie. That clearly is not happening. But she was better written this episode. I loved that she brought him flowers. That she seemed like a person. And if Abbie gets back together with Danny for real, then honestly I wouldn’t really give a crap because Ichabod Crane does not deserve Abbie Mills right now. The biggest problem is not the character, it’s the imbalance. Give Abbie a love life and Crane can be with whatever weirdo he wants.
  • Also I’m sorry but Crane trying to protect her from the hibachi flames was adorable. I’m only human.
  • Let’s all take a moment to appreciate Abbie Mills’ hair in this episode. And let’s all tell Crane to drag a damn comb through his.
  • We did get some solid movement on Danny and Abbie this week, but why are they going so slow? They spent time shacked up together in a literal shack! You know neither of them wore clothes that whole time! They have great chemistry! Just go for it! Every time they are together it’s sparky and nice.
  • OK, I love Pandora but can we all recognize that basically thus far she’s been a Power Rangers villain, unleashing henchmen on the world while she watches?
  • Maybe the reason Danny/Abbie is going so slowly is because of the “professional courtesy” Abbie mentioned. Which, I get it. Abbie is professional. It’s a core part of who she is. But if that’s what’s holding her back, say that. Use words. They keep saying Abbie has this rich interior life and certainly we see it through Nicole’s acting but unless it’s canonical it’s little more than creator-approved meta. Authorial intent is meaningless. Do better.
  • It could just be that the show has beaten me down on the shipping front to the point that I can no longer see clearly, but the chemistry between Abbie and Ichabod does feel more platonic this season. Maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s acting, maybe it’s just hopelessness, but when Ichabod was asking what if Abbie was more than friends with Danny, it felt friendly. Not jealous, despite his earlier peacocking. There’s just something subtly different.
  • Why do I have a feeling Crane refers to everything as a harbinger of evil. “LOOK LIEUTENANT A HARBINGER OF EVIL.” “Crane that is a Dyson vacuum cleaner chill.”
  • Best exchange of the episode, by far: “George Washington, paranoid? No.” “Yessssss.” Abbie has had it with the Washington fellatio.
  • For one beautiful, shining moment, I dared hope that the show would be clever and make Grace Dixon Washington’s most trusted confidant during the war. But alas, Sleepy Hollow.
  • I am sure Nikki Reed is a lovely person who genuinely wants to save the rain forest or whatever she and Smoldy do together, but my God, did Onira ever showcase that she is way, way out of her depth here.
  • Current sexuality: Grace being like, “man, shut up, I am an actual witch” when Betsy tried to whitesplain the folk remedy.
  • You guys. Betsy Ross had winged eyeliner. On a battlefield. In 177whatever. Oh my God.
  • The queen bee taking out other leaders is really, really clever! The whole use of mythology here was, and you can tell that Shernold wrote out of both great love and great knowledge of the Trini culture. The whole bit with the double-speak riddle was so great. This is how all monsters of the week need to be. The world offers such a diverse array of fascinating monsters. If you write them with genuine affection and respect, it turns out great.

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- Back on my ranch, I got a little red rooster and a little brown hen and they fight all the time too, but every once in a while they make up again and they’re right friendly.

I, Witness

We’re back.

Was that the best episode ever? No. But it had a huge list of tasks that it had to accomplish – explain what happened during the time jump, work on mending the breach between Crane and Abbie, re-introducing us to Jenny, introducing Pandora and Betsy, plus a case of the week – and it did it all ably along with some wonderfully moving bits and some laugh-out-loud moments. If this is what we have to look forward to, I can’t wait to see what’s next. Let’s get into it:

  • OH HEY NO FAKEOUT COLD OPEN. What a pleasant surprise! And this really was the right way to start things. It was a passing of the torch, of sorts, Headless giving way to the new baddie in town while ably demonstrating that however bad Headless is, Pandora can whup his ass with a song. And even though Headless is off the table for now (though he can come back!), it felt like this was acknowledging what made Headless a great villain, as opposed to what he became. So even if we don’t get him, I hope we get that feeling back. 
  • The song Pandora sings, “Who Killed Cock Robin?” is, like the song she sings later, an English nursery rhyme about birds. It lists a number of birds. Interestingly, it could be a recounting of the death of Baldur in Norse myth, which basically involves Baldur (god of light) being murdered by Loki (god of mischief, not Tom Hiddlestone) with an assist from his hapless brother Hoor. So, maybe something to keep an eye on.
  • Does Pandora’s box remind anyone of the Ghostbuster pack thingies? Just me?
  • Current sexuality; Abbie smashing dudes in the face with a trash can lid.
  • Then Abbie goes from beating him in the face to reassuring him, telling him he’ll be protected, advocating for him because, of course, she’s been in shoes not so different from his. God I’ve missed you, Miss Grace Abigail. Throughout this episode we have moment after moment reminding us of Abbie’s greatest strength: her empathy. And it’s beautiful.
  • THE SWELLING ICHABBIE THEME WHEN ABBIE LOOKS AT CRANE FOR THE FIRST TIME. The fact that she has to laugh and look away lest this becomes something too deep too fast. The Romantic Lead look on Crane’s face when he sees her! 
  • So it seems that Crane did tell Abbie in some way that he was going to “clear his head,” and just never came back. That’s better than just leaving. You’re marginally forgiven.
  • “I required solitude. Then it became a habit. A deeply regrettable one.” Don’t we all know this feeling? You need to be alone, to heal, to remember who you are, but then it becomes easier and easier to be an island. And by the time maybe you don’t want to be alone anymore, you’re too far from shore to find your way back. This is very believable to me, especially for someone grieving.

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Dear Sleepy Hollow

I’d like to point out where you got me fucked up at as you don’t seem capable of locating it yourself.

See, I’m not a sci-fi fanatic and supernatural/fantasy aren’t really my go-to genres but there was something intriguing about this new show that was about to air called Sleepy Hollow. There was the interest of watching this man from a completely different time try to reconcile his knowledge of the world he knew, albeit dated, with modern times. Everything is different for Ichabod, everything. And now he has to figure out his purpose while navigating his way through a foreign time. At this point I’m thinking, “Ok, tell me more.”

Then there was the Headless Horseman, before he was given a head and an emotional heart-broken personality, stomping around like he was slinging the biggest and most powerful, er, weapon, in this world or any other. Seeing and hearing him ride up on his red-eyed steed was terrifying and captivating at once. I started thinking I could get into this.

And there was this tiny woman of color with the most precious face ever but she wasn’t going to be playing some sassy side character relegated to doling out neck rolls and lip smacks three to four times an episode. She wasn’t going to be the smart girl radioing in helpful tips from home base to the ones doing all the action. She wasn’t going to be some helpless damsel waiting on some big strong man to save her. She was going to be front and center, as a true partner (not a side-kick), kicking ass and slaying demons. I was in!

Season 1 was good. Not great, but good enough that I, someone not known to go nuts about sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural shows, became hooked. Visually, the cast resembled what I encounter on a daily basis. It wasn’t in a “Hey, look, we’ve checked off so many diversity boxes” type of way, it just was and I appreciated it. And there weren’t all these silly tropes being rolled out every episode either. Foundation was being put down for many different storylines that could be explored in subsequent episodes and seasons. The characters were all woven in and out of the storylines nicely and had purpose. Of course there were faults and flaws and some things that I didn’t completely love. But there was so much going for it, I couldn’t wait for Season 2 to begin.

But as the time neared for Season 2, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of promotion. My understanding is there was a nice presence at conventions, but again, I don’t follow those and I am sure that I am not the only one. I am not exactly a daytime or late night talk show watcher either, but many people are. Where were our stars? They should have been everywhere, or at the very least more visible, especially considering how long the break was between the end of Season 1 and the start of Season 2.

And then Season 2 began and some of the main things I enjoyed about the first season, the linear movement of the story, the constant presentation of questions and some being answered before even more questions were introduced, but all working to move things forward in a coherent way went poof! Did we ever get clarity on how exactly Abbie got out of the dollhouse? Then the focus shifted from the two Witnesses and the people and creatures they encounter as they pursue their mission to the Crane family dynamics in the midst of the apocalypse. What the what? No, seriously, what?

No one likes Katrina. No one. And the ones who claim they do are only doing so because they don’t want Abbie anywhere near Ichabod’s heart. Point. Blank. Period. There is nothing interesting or entertaining about Katrina whatsoever. She is a witch who fails at witching. She faints or needs assistance to carry out spells or actions of significance. She gets herself into situations and then needs to be rescued because she is too helpless or ineffective to save herself. She can’t deliver clear and concise messages. Her body has been taken advantage of and impregnated without her knowledge or consent. She’s walking around in a fucking corset. She is the object (and I use that word purposefully) of two men’s possessiveness and brooding about “She was mine,” and “Well she’s mine now,” fuckery and fighting as they pee around her while measuring dicks, excuse me, fighting for her affections, and it makes my stomach turn. What is Katrina’s purpose? What are her redeeming qualities? What is she offering? What does she bring? She’s basically at the mercy of what all the other men in the show want of her and that’s disgusting. She epitomizes the damsel in distress. I can’t root for that. This need to focus on her has derailed the entire show. Because of her, Headless is now viewed as a sad mope, Ichabod is all about his family, Abbie has to care for and rescue her, and she’s why we have to watch Henry whine and sulk. And more than that, she sucks up time that needs to be focused on Ichabod’s true partner, an actual Witness, the co-lead on the show.

The Headless Horseman was given a head and it turns out he’s just a sulky, bitter, jilted, scorn lover. How am I supposed to fear a man that is constantly on the verge of tears because his lady chose another. That’s his only reason for choosing evil? Horseman With A Head, you’re not scary.

Ichabod apparently has mastered all things modern and what he has yet to discover are simple things that present him no trouble. And his entire focus regarding his mission is now only in relation to how it impacts his wife and son. And I don’t think I will ever forgive him for ordering Abbie to go to Katrina and protect her.

Abbie, my lovely Abbie. The hashtag dedicated to her character deserving better from the show have eloquently expressed all the fuckshit and foolery that has happened to her better than I ever could.

Frank, locked away and only brought back to die. I guess I hope you come back from the dead but if it’s so you can be left out of entire episodes or only appear for a line or two, is it worth it?

I don’t need to bring up Hawley do I? I mean, his worthlessness couldn’t be more obvious.

Jenny, a regular who seemingly had more screen time before she got the upgrade. Everyone loves Jenny. Why isn’t there more Jenny? Not enough time? Cut the unnecessary useless fat from the show and there will be plenty of time.

It would seem in your quest for increased viewership, you made the miscalculation that everyone who was already watching would just hang on and you would focus on tired and overused tropes to gain more. You trimmed down your nonessential diverse cast members’ screen time, you dedicated more time for what you assumed would be a sympathetic and endearing white woman and added a sandy-haired free spirited white male rascal, and you pushed the black female lead towards a helper role. How’s that working out for you? Instead of picking up new viewers, you’re losing what you thought was your base. That’s what you get for ignoring what your base appreciated and wanted more of from the show. That’s what you get for dismantling what was building to be something really good.

I just want the show I signed up for back. If you’re not interested in delivering that, tell me now so I don’t have to worry about the return date. Thanks.

anonymous asked:

I don't get why everyone's so pissed about tonight's SH? Did I miss something?

The episode, I presume, if you don’t know why people are angry? But I’ll explain, because maybe that will be therapeutic…

Okay so my problems with this episode are numerous so lets number them:

1) The use of the Mystical Pregnancy trope. Much meta exists on why this trope is fucked up and grossly misogynist, and much more will be written after this episode (possibly some by me when I’m feeling more articulate), so for now I’ll link you to the TV Tropes page explaining it and sum it up by saying that it’s a trope that robs women of their free will and agency, violates their bodies, treats them as incubators (in many and this case for literal EVIL creatures) and brings up a whole range of other issues as well. The fact that it’s being used on a character that already has had her agency taken away so many times and basically is treated like a cardboard cutout of a character to fill whatever purpose the writers currently need makes it all the worse. I don’t like Katrina, I don’t think she has a place on the show, but treating her like this is fucked up, unfeminist and pure bullshit. 

2) The fact that Henry, Katrina’s own son, was directly responsible for her giving birth deeply implies rape and incest which again makes it all the more disgusting, especially given the jokes being made on social media about “another Crane in the family” and various pregnancy jokes. 

3) We inexplicably end up back at square one with regards to Henry’s redeemability - Henry impregnates his mother in a way that will kill her, he tells Ichabod to his face that he chooses Moloch - chooses evil - and yet somehow Ichabod arrives at the conclusion he can still be saved? How am I supposed to respect him as a character/person of intellect after that? Sure, he’s loyal, but there’s loyal and there’s stupid and then there’s whatever the hell this is. 

4) Once again Abbie is caught up in the middle of all this bullshit, continually in danger because of the Cranes, continually forced to clean up their messes and with no thanks (no, she gets to be the bad guy for her troubles). She’s there to support Katrina, to support Crane, she doesn’t raise her voice, doesn’t get angry more than very briefly and mildly, she’s just there to be a good sport and give Crane cutesy fistbumps at the end after he’s done making out with his wife. 

5) All the Ichatrina. You’ll note this is on spot number 5 and that’s intentional - this list is at least roughly in order of my level of hatred of each item. I’ve been a shipper a looooooong time, I’m used to not getting my way, to sitting through gross scenes of couples I anti-ship, I’ve learned to swallow a LOT, but they shoved Ichatrina so far down our throats this episode I think they reached all the way down to my feet.

To me, this feels pointed, this feels like the writers making a choice - the choice I’ve been wanting them to make for a while now: Ichabbie or Ichatrina? I feel like this was them answering that question, which is more than just shipper set-back. And in a way, if this is what they were going for and I guess future episodes will confirm or deny this, then I’m sorta glad, because personally I prefer knowing, I prefer being given the choice to not waste my time investing in a ship that will never be canon. The problem is that Len Wiseman made a comment not 2 weeks ago saying “we promise we’re not screwing with the shippers”, which is pretty much the only reason I’m even entertaining the idea that this wasn’t a final and decisive message of “fuck off Ichabbie shippers”. But it feels a whole lot like they are screwing with us, or rather screwing us over, so even if this is somehow part of a greater Ichabbie plan - and I don’t see how it would be - then it’s not a good plan. I’m feeling VERY screwed with/over right now.

6) Yet another Save Katrina episode. This should probably be higher, but at this point it’s like it’s almost routine - oh, Katrina’s in trouble again? MUST BE MONDAY. But this is the 3rd episode out of 7 this season where she’s in need of saving, where saving her is part of or the whole of the plot. This supposedly powerful witch and useful ally to Team Witness basically does nothing but waste their time. She’s provided no intel from her spying, her magic is useless 99% of the time and when it really counts, and yet she’s so important and must be saved every other week. It’s a waste of the characters’ time and it’s a waste of our time.

I could go on: The continuted wimpification of Headless as a villain, the use of Irving as a 2 second prop to get Ichabod a date with Henry, the use of Reyes again only briefly and as a means to an end, Katia Winter’s painful attempts at “acting”, not calling in Jenny or despite Abbie definitely needing back-up while Crane fussed over his wife (who he has appearantly forgiven at least enough to pretend everything’s hunkydory for now) - hell I would have settled for Hawley and that’s saying something, finding out Abbie definitely does pay Crane’s bills and her being only cutely passive aggressive about it while he doesn’t say a word… I could go on. You wanna know what I liked about this episode? That moment where she grabs him lapel and giggles, and even that I hated the context of. 

So please, tell me, why shouldn’t I have hated this episode? What did you like about it? What about what happened tonight was unclear? Because in all my years of watching TV I’ve never seen an episode that was so blatantly, obviously a giant middle finger to a specific part of the audience. 

I Need A Healer

This is a continuation of this story Born Out of Time. We’ve had a few request in the form of fanmail come in and I’m happy to continue it! 

Enjoy! – WTT

The Laird’s bedroom in Lallybroch Estate hadn’t changed in the decade since Claire had last been there. Bree’s condition steadily worsened, slower than what it had been in the 20th century, but still worsening. Her face was broken out with a light sheen of sweat, and the color was that of chalk—save for the bright pink fever flush of her cheeks.

Jenny fluffed pillows behind Bree’s head, her face held a look of concern.

“How did the bairn come to be so sick, Claire?” Jenny asked, her arms crossed tightly across her chest.

“I don’t know,” Claire said, smoothing a lock of sweat soaked hair from Brianna’s forehead. “One day—several years ago—she fell ill, ever since then it has been a gradual decline.”

“Several years ago? Ye mean to tell me this bairn has been sick for most of her life?” Jenny said aghast.

Before Claire had a chance to explain further, the door to the bedroom slammed open.

“Madonna, I am here to help petite fille!” In a swirl of silks, Master Raymond appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

“Master Raymond?” Claire said astonished. “What? How—?”

“Ah! I knew you were in need of my services, so here I am,” he said with a deep bow.

Jenny, for once, was speechless as this eccentric man commanded the room. Claire noticed when Jenny was starting to come-to, grabbed her arm holding her back, and watched with rapt attention as Master Raymond inspected Bree.

“Ahh my petite, fille malade, I know what ails you so,” Raymond whispered to Bree. Bree’s eyebrows furrowed, though her eyes never opened.

“Madonna, where is the Red Man? Where is your husband?” Whiskey colored eyes met whiskey colored anguished eyes.

“I-I do not know.” Tears began to well in her eyes as she thought of Jamie. She knew if she made it to Lallybroch the likelihood of Jamie actually being present was, in fact, a long shot. Claire had hoped she’d be able to ask Jenny, Ian, or someone on the estate as to his whereabouts.


Claire and Raymond both looked at Jenny whose voice was gaining strength.

“He’s on parole at a nasty estate called Helwater. Instead of being transported to the Colonies, his punishment was to be sent to Helwater and be an indentured servant. That servitude wilna be up for another six years, at least.”

Jenny turned to Claire. “I’m sorry, sister. I should have told ye sooner, but I’m still no’ sure what ye’re doin’ here, and alive at that! We all thought ye were dead and had no notion of this bairn. I’m no’ saying we are no glad to see ye, it’s just, how are ye here? Jamie was convinced of yer death!”

Claire’s tears ran freely down her face. “I’m not sure you’d believe me if I told you, Jenny. Where I’ve been….what I’ve seen and experienced is something you’ll think I’ve gone mad if I tell you.”

Jenny pulled her arm free from Claire’s grip and crossed it defiantly across her chest. Jenny arched an eyebrow and gave her a look only a determined Fraser could give and said, “Try me.”

Claire squared her shoulders and looked Jenny directly in the eye, “I’m from the future.”

Master Raymond smirked, and motioned for Claire to continue, not that she was paying attention to him; she was busy watching as Jenny’s mouth gaped like a fish, struggling to find her words.

“You can call me mad, a Faerie, a witch even, but I am none of those things. I’m plain Claire Fraser, the same sister you knew and loved all those years ago. Healer, surgeon, mother, wife:  all titles that I am and am proud to wear. I don’t know what all Jamie told you about my…disappearance, but it wasn’t as easy as you might have believed. I wanted to die with him; he is my heart and soul, that’s never changed. I, and now Brianna, are able to travel through time.”

And so she began detailing everything that had happened to her: her first journey through the stones, her desire to get back to her first husband at the time, how Jamie became her life, and the horrific day when Jamie sent her back through the stones to protect their unborn child.

“He had no choice in his mind. He didn’t want to risk me losing this miracle of a child we longed for, after Faith—we never imagined—I never thought—but that isn’t the point. He meant to die on the battlefield and he knew I would die with him. Brianna,” Claire smiled looking down at the ailing child, “Brianna was and is my world. She’s my piece of Jamie that got me through the anguished years apart from him, and she still does, even being here. She’s been sick ever since she was small.

One day, it got so bad that she’d fall over every attempt she made at walking. It scared me to no end. At my work, I had all of the best surgeons and specialists look at her, all of them told me it was hopeless. Here I was, a surgeon, able to heal most people that walked through the door, yet I could not help my child.”  Fresh tears sprang to Claire’s eyes.

“Bree was getting worse, and with her worsening condition came these vivid dreams. Dreams of the Scottish countryside. She could detail out every inch of Lallybroch estate, including you, Ian and who I assumed are your growing children. She spoke of a man who lived in a cave and would tell her stories. I didn’t know what to believe about that man, but I hoped and prayed somehow she could see her father.

That’s when I decided I didn’t care about society, my job, the rules of how things are supposed to be; I booked us a flight to Scotland first thing the following morning. We met an old friend of mine, she has a way of knowing and understanding things that are not of this world. She sent us back. Now here we are. Bree’s condition has slowed and I’m reunited with the family I’ve always loved. But I need my husband, Jenny. Is there a way to get him back?”

Claire’s tale sent Jenny’s mind whirling. “Ye mean to tell me that’s why ye ken the stuff ye do? About the potatoes you told me to plant, the famine ye rightly predicted, everything?”

Claire nodded.

“Did ye ken how that awful day at Culloden would end?”

Again, Claire nodded. “I did know, but I didn’t know the specifics of who would die and who would live. I knew the basics and the horror that was to follow.”

Jenny nodded, and began pacing the length of the room. “Jamie knew all of this as well.”

She stated rather than asked. Claire didn’t say anything.

“Ah, this is all well indeed ma’am, but do you know how to get the Red Man back? You said he was a place called Helwater, oui?” Master Raymond spoke up, his palm resting on Brianna’s forehead.

“Aye. I could send a letter, but I don’t know what good that’ll do. It takes months for us to get correspondence back.”

Master Raymond shook his head and looked down at his kin, “The girl is dying. We need both parents together.” He looked up at Claire, whose hand had covered her mouth in anguish. “Madonna, do you remember the day you lost your first child?”

Claire nodded; nothing could prevent her from forgetting Faith.

“Well, I had you call the Red Man to heal yourself.  The only way to heal this child is for both of you to be here for her to call upon. Since the child has never met her father, he needs to be present for her to draw from.”

Claire nodded, her eyes searching his. ‘Help. Please. Do whatever you must,’ her eyes beseeched.

“I can fetch him. I dinna ken how easily or fast it’ll be done, but I can get him,” Jenny spoke up.

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Claire said.

“Aye, ye can and ye will. I ken ye aren’t about to leave this bairn on her own. Let me bring him home.”

Cough Syrup

Ship: Chris x Ashley

Summary: Chris is sick from pneumonia and Ashley comes over to comfort him.

Notes: First time writing about Chris and Ashley. Hope you guys enjoy!

It was way late into the winter, around Christmas time, when the sickness started. It was just a small cough, but it got worse as the days went on. Ashley tried to help, but Chris didn’t want her to catch whatever he had, even if it was just a small cold. If Ashley got sick because of him, it’d kill him inside. It was now around Valentine’s Day and Chris was at home, bundled up on the couch under an excessive amount of blankets and pillows. He was watching tv when the doorbell rang and nearly scared him out of his sweatpants. He shoved all the blankets off him and stood, sniffling a bit as he opened the door to Ashley, a steaming cup in her hand. “Here.”

“When Josh said he wanted something steamy between us, I don’t think this is what he meant…” Chris grabbed the cup, letting her inside his apartment from the cold. Ashley laughed lightly, shaking her head a bit as she pulled off her beanie. Hearing her laugh made Chris smile softly. It was good to hear her happiness after all the worrying he was causing her.

“That was funny, I have to admit that.” There was a long pause while he walked passed her and she took her shoes off. “So… How are you feeling? The pneumonia calmed down? What about the flu? Is it gone?”

Chris sat down on the couch, pushing all the blankets aside for her to sit. “Well, the doc says the flu is finally gone. But the pneumonia is still active. I’m just glad I haven’t had an attack lately. Damn things hurt…”

Ashley sat next to him and sighed gently, her cold fingers holding the hot cup in her hands. “I just want you to get better… I know what it’s like to be really sick. I used to get sick so easily when I was young. Remember that time on the playground where I threw up all over Jenny Mots?” Both started laughing lightly, Chris nodding a bit. “I died that day. I thought the world ended. It was so embarrassing…”

“I walked you out to your mom’s car. You were trembling so bad.”

“Well yeah. I got H1N1.”

“Basically the flu.”

Ashley rolled her eyes a bit and shook her head, putting the cup up to her lips and taking a sip of the hot coffee. She glanced at his undrunk cup and raised a brow at him in question. “Is it okay? Or too hot?”

“Well, I’m curious. What is it?” Chris held the cup up to his lips, taking a sip and shivering a bit. “Hot chocolate. What, the big boy doesn’t get coffee? Ash, you know how much I love coffee.”

The girl shrugged, rubbing her thumb against the side of the cup slightly. “You don’t need coffee. It’d irritate your throat.” She had a point. Chris sighed and pulled the blankets over him again, shivering again, but this time out of coldness. “You okay?” He nodded a bit and rested his head back, sniffling. Ashley felt terrible… She blamed herself for his sickness. If she hadn’t’ve invited him out with her family to a mass movement out in the cold for Food for the Homeless, this wouldn’t’ve happened to him. It was a movement her Aunt started before dying of cancer. Ashley sat back against the couch, taking small sips of coffee as they both watched tv together. Chris reached over and gently wrapped his arm around her waist, his head gently nuzzling under her chin. Ashley was taken aback. The first time they even made a move was up at the lodge, when she thought she’d never see him again. Chris was really gentle to her, even more so in moments like this. She could tell he was not putting all is weight against her. He held her against him lightly and his breath was really soft. “You okay…?”

“Yeah… I just… I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for coming. I’m sorry I kept you away from me. I just didn’t want you to get sick, you know?”

Ash nodded slightly and ran her fingers through his blonde hair, looking down at him. “Hey, don’t apologize. I’m not mad.” Her voice was kind and light. It always was now that she and Chris were kind of a thing. It was never really said, but it definitely wasn’t just a friendship anymore. He rolled over and rested his head on her lap, staring up at her with those crystal clear eyes. Ashley smiled slightly, the hand that was running through his hair now resting on his chest, feeling the beat below the muscle he somehow had.

“I uh… I would kiss you, but I don’t want to give you my pneumonia.” He stated, a small blush coming her his face. “Sorry.”

“Chris. I honestly don’t care. The last thing I would do was get mad at you over a small bacteria.”

He reached up and gently pulled her down to him and he slightly leaned up, their lips connected softly at first, but it changed. It became deeper, more desperate than before. It was like Chris hadn’t kissed her in ages. Well, he hadn’t. Not since Christmas. It was difficult on him to keep Ashley so far away from him. He loved her warm presence and intelligent retorts to his jokes. It wasn’t like she was shooting him down, but playing along with her intelligence. When the kiss broke, Chris inhaled sharply, which made him cough slowly, then it progressively got worse. He sat up, covering his mouth as he coughed. He felt Ashley’s small hand on his back, gently rubbing. Once it calmed down, he put his hand to it chest, trying to calm the inflammation. “Ow…”

“Is there anything I can do?”

Chris motioned to the bathroom, wheezing softly. “Cough medicine… Inhaler…”

Ashley rose instantly, going to the bathroom and opening the medicine cabinet. She found the inhaler instantly and looked for the cough medicine for a bit before finding the small bottle against the back of the cabinet. “There you are, you asshat.” She grabbed the bottle and returned to him, sitting next to him and handing him the inhaler first. He put the inhaler into his mouth and pushed down the button, taking a deep inhale and holding it. When Ashley sat down he exhaled it slowly, then took a swig of the cough medicine. “I’m so sorry… I wish I could give you more comfort.”

“Ash, you are my comfort.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek softly, gently hugging her close to him. “You always have been. Remember what I told you? Every second I spend with you, it’s all I want to do. I don’t want anything else…”

“You have no idea how much that means.” She smiled sweetly and rested her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes a bit. “I’m glad I can help you. Even if it’s just my company you want.”

“As always.” He answered, clearing it throat of the pneumonia fluids. “Hey, if you don’t mind. Could you stay a little longer?”

“I’d stay all day if you wanted me to. You don’t even have to ask.”































—  Jenny Holzer, Truisms

So, Barcelona then. Nauseating aren’t they? And not just nauseatingly good. Nauseatingly nice. Nauseatingly successful. Plus – and this is a new thing – nauseatingly devoted, amorous, tender and basically very much in love. “Leo and Luis are great friends. I hope to play with them for a long time,” Neymar was reported to have said this week after the announcement of the three-man Ballon D’or shortlist. For Lionel Messi, also on the list, the only real sadness was the absence of Luis Suárez, the third el dude brother, from Fifa’s appallingly-tuxedoed top table for the big ceremony in January.

The tendency to luxuriate in the obvious personal chemistry of Barcelona’s attacking trident has been a recurrent theme recently as the football-watching world continues to boggle at the presence, right here, right now, of a genuine and very distinct sporting phenomenon. But then it is an unusual situation all round. With Neymar-Messi-Suárez, for once the question isn’t whether they’re the best we’ve got, or even the best we’ve seen within any sensible time-frame for comparison (the answer to both of which is, get a grip, of course they are). It is instead a challenge of interpretation and description, a search for the right superlatives, the telling angle, the best way to drink in, while it lasts, every detail of what is a rare sporting synchronicity.

Hence perhaps, after the tactical tweaks, the tessellation of skills and physical traits, the temptation to find another intangible, the idea of Neymar-Messi-Suárez as adoring confrères, selfless pals, a magical band of brothers. All football clubs rely to a degree on the idea of exceptionalism, the notion that victory is earned and deserved, a product not of what you do but of who you are.

Manchester United have their enduring (and heavily monetised) romance. Real Madrid are the imperial sun kings, born to rule. Barcelona win because they’re virtuous and pure of heart, not just better but better, simultaneously the second-richest club in the world and a pluckily overachieving realm of peace and reason.

And so here it is again. Neymar-Messi-Suárez aren’t just the best. They’re the bestests. Bros. Pals. Shoulder punching, high-fiving, bread-baking, wooden-horse sharing exemplars of the power of man-love. Which is all fine. Yup. Works for me. Just, you know, keep on doing that magic stuff with the ball.

Because right now any explanation is a good explanation, any angle on the sheer joy of Barça’s attacking trio is a good angle. Sporting brilliance is a precarious business. For once the pieces have stuck, the parts clicked, the jennies and pulleys and cogs aligned, however briefly, in mid-air.

It is a year and a week since Luis Enrique took a chance and shifted Messi to a free right-sided role and Suárez to the middle for a Champions League match against Apoel Nicosia. In 12 months since, Barcelona have won 54 games out of 67, waggled four trophies above their heads and won 14 of 15 matches against the then-champions of France, England, Italy and Germany, plus the last two non-Barça champions of Spain. In that run Messi has 53 goals in 54 games, Suárez 43 in 58, Neymar 42 in 53.

At which point your brain starts to ache a little. The numbers alone are relentless, great dribbling, cheek-cramming fistfuls of more and better and bigger. Really, though, it is the spectacle that will linger. Suárez, the catalyst, provides not just muscle and movement but that relentless hustling intelligence. With Messi we get the outright through-the-roof genius, not just in finishing and dribbling but orchestration and team play. Neymar is simply a beautiful player, a lovely little woodland sprite made from sherbet and twigs, all balance and grace and perfectly detailed moments.

Yet, there is as ever something else here, a slight sense of disbelief about the whole phenomenon. Watching them you do sometimes wonder: “Is this really going to be allowed to keep on happening?” Even brilliant football is still football, subject to the same laws of flux and entropy. And just as Messi-Suárez-Neymar arrived in a rush, so it is always a little later than you think.

For now let’s guzzle it down while the cogs are still spinning, the parts still aligned. Sport doesn’t often work like this. When it does, it doesn’t for long. Perhaps in part this is where that nauseating – yes, yes, in a good way – holy-buddy-trinity schtick starts to creep in. It may be obvious, overblown, shriekingly trailed. But the Neymar-Messi-Suárez phenomenon remains a small pocket of unbroken sunshine at the peak of a terribly fraught and compromised sport, a confusion of interests and wider power that simply fades away, in the white light of something this pure and this beautifully simple. (x)