something comfortable but fun and and with mutual respect and affection

Every Me And Every You - Twenty One

When you woke up again the next day you were alone in the bed. Shifting position, you tugged the kimono that had been discarded in the night back on, and searched in your bag for your phone.

9:30am

You checked your messages and social media apps, responding to a few friends before deciding it was time to get out of bed. Just as you were about to throw the covers back, the bedroom door opened and Spencer entered, a tray in his hands.

“Good morning. I was starting to think you really were Snow White for a while there. How’s your head?”

“It feels okay. Sleep seems to have done it’s job and got rid of the headache.” You rolled your neck on your shoulders, releasing the tension that was still pent up, hearing your neck crick. Spencer cringed.

“Sorry, it does that sometimes.”

He crossed the room, perching on the side of your bed and lowering the tray to you.

Coffee and orange juice. Pancakes and syrup, with a side of bacon.

“I thought you couldn’t cook?”

Spencer grinned. “I can’t. I can pour coffee and juice really well though, and the cafe down the road can cook and luckily, provide take out.”

“Well I appreciate it all the same.” You adjusted yourself on the bed, wincing as the cover dragged over your chest as you sat up.

“Sore?” he asked, noticing the wince.

“Not sore, they don’t hurt. Just…. Extremely sensitive.”

“Good sensitive or bad sensitive?”

“Currently, good sensitive. I mean, they’re sensitive at the best of times but the slightest touch would erm… Well you know.”

He raised an eyebrow at you. “The slightest touch would turn you on, is that what you’re trying to say Y/N?”

“Pretty much.”

“That’s good to know. Anyway, eat up before it gets cold and I’ll fill you in our plans for the day, providing you’re still happy to go ahead with what was discussed last night?”

“The role play? I’m still happy to try,” you told him, feeling a sense of excitement already. You started tucking into your food, the pancakes delicious.

“Excellent. It’s been a good few months since I’ve had chance to do this. You’re familar with the concept enough for me to not have to explain the ins and outs yes?”

“Well yeah, I mean come on Spence, the amount of role plays we’ve had to do on training courses. Albeit, they were a totally different kind.”

“And I’m very happy they were. The last course I had to go on was led by Morgan. I would have walked out if it was same kind of role play that we’ll be doing today.”

“Does the chocolate thunder not do it for you?” you teased, using Garcia’s nickname for Derek.

Spencer chuckled lowly. “Nope he most definitely does NOT.”

Something about the way he answered you made you ask the next question.

“He doesn’t do it for you because he’s got a penis right?.”

No answer.

“Right?”

Reid just stared back at you, his eyebrows raised again waiting for you to get it.

“Spencer…. Really?”

“Really what, Y/N.”

“Have you…. Are you…. Do I even want to?”

“I’m not gay, obviously. I’m not even sure what I’d label myself as. I’ve never been in a relationship with a man.”

“But you have….. had sex with a man?” you whispered the last part, although you weren’t sure why.

“Yes. I’ve experimented with a man. I’ve had my eyes opened up to a lot of different things over the years.”

Oh your little brain was having trouble with this one.

Spencer being into BDSM was one thing, Spencer having had sex with a guy was another.

He looked at you thoughtfully, trying to read you.

“Does that bother you, Y/N? That I’ve been with a man. You’ve got a pretty strange look on your face right now.”

You were sure you had.

“It doesn’t bother me, no. Not that. It’s just…… Every preconception I had about you is being smashed to pieces. None of this would surprise me if it coming from Morgan, or even Rossi. But….you just seem so innocent and…..I dunno. I should stop being surprised that you’re turning out to be the complete opposite of what I imagined.”

“And what did you imagine exactly?”

“I…. I don’t know.” You set your knife and fork down, done with your food.

“No come on. You said you had preconceptions about me. What were they?”

“Alright. Giving the teasing I saw from Morgan and Prentiss when I first joined the team, initially I presumed you were still a virgin. Which surprised me given your age, but you did very little to dispel that. I can’t remember exactly when I realised that you weren’t, but you said something and I thought ‘oh so he’s not’ but he obviously doesn’t get it very often.”

“Carry on. I can tell there’s more.”

“Okay… So then I figured you were some hopeless romantic who’d probably waited until he was like 25 before he lost it.”

“16,” he told you.

“Younger than I was. I was 18. Which again, shocks me. You’re just so awkward around girls at work or when we’re out. I don’t get it.

He shifted on his bed, tucking one of his long legs underneath him.

“What don’t you get exactly?”

“Why you act that way at work. When you’re clearly not as awkward as you let on.”

“It’s not an act Y/N. I AM awkward around other females until I get to know them. I’m weird and I talk too much about things no one cares about. Outside of work when I’m by myself, I’m a lot more…. prepared to take risks, when there’s no one to watch me get shot down or fall flat on my face. But in work, or around the team…. Well put me next to Morgan or Hotch or even Rossi and I’m the least appealing of them.”

“No you’re not,“ you replied, unbelieving that he could even think that.

“I’m fine with it Y/N. Really, I am. Stand me next to Derek Morgan with his abs and his pick up lines and I’d lose everytime. So I don’t even put myself up against him, there’s no point. I have my own thing and I enjoy my own thing, I’m good at it. And it’s really not an act. It’s just I feel more comfortable and at ease in certain scenarios than others.”

“Okay. Fair enough. I get that. But Spencer…..you wouldn’t lose everytime. Trust me on this. I’ve seen the way girls look at you when we’re out as a team. You get just as much attention as Morgan, you just choose not to see it.”

“Maybe I do, and maybe you’re right. I’m just not as confident as you are around the people we work with. Put me in my own comfort zone though and I’m fine.”

“But that’s a comfort zone you hide from everyone else.”

“And it’s a zone you’re hiding too.”

He was right. You’d never willingly tell the others that you’d been experimenting with BDSM, although it had nothing to do with who you were experimenting with.

“There’s still a stigma attached to it isn’t there. That’s why we’re not honest and open about it. You heard the jokes Derek and even Emily were making about the Doms and subs when we were out on that case. Oh god….. Spencer, I’m sorry. How uncomfortable he must have made you.”

Your companion shrugged, picking up the orange juice you hadn’t touched and taking it sip of it.

“I wasn’t uncomfortable. But you’re right. There’s a stigma. People into BDSM, people into anything other than the ‘sexual norm’ are still viewed as deviants or perverts. In our line of work, I can do without being judged because of what I like to do in my spare time and I’m sure that you can appreciate that just as much right now.”

You definitely, 100 percent, could.

“Spencer… Why me then? Why did you tell me when I asked? If it had been Emily or Penny, would you have opened up?”

He stared into your eyes momentarily before answering.

“Because I’d watched you all week, your curiosity was showing in your actions. The way you handled the evidence, the way you talked to the workers at the clubs or the witnesses. And you never once cracked a joke about the lifestyle. You were interested and I could tell. So when you asked, I figured I’d be honest. I trusted you enough not to say anything and to respect my privacy and you clearly trusted me enough to be open and honest about your curiosity, and then to ask me to do these things with you.”

“I trust you with my life, Reid.”

“As do I you. I also trusted that you’d take this for what it was and not find it weird that we’re two colleagues, fucking each others brains out in the strangest of ways.”

You laughed at that. You had found it strange initially, but not because it was a colleague, just because it was him. But it was so easy to be yourself around him and so far it had been easier for this to not affect work. Because you HAD taken it for what it was. A bit of fun, a curiosity that was being satisfied. There weren’t any feeling involved other than friendship and a mutual physical attraction. And that made it easy.

“Speaking of fucking each other in strange ways…. I’m done with breakfast. Are we moving on to sexy spanky times?”

“Sexy spanky times…..You make it sound like you want to me bent over my desk and paddled.” He licked his lips slowly, his eyes trailing down your face to your chest.

“Maybe I do. But only if I’ve been bad and deserve it.”

Yeah.. Dirty talk was not your forte.

Although by the flicker in his eyes then, perhaps you weren’t as bad as you thought.

“Okay. Get up, get bathed and dressed. It’s 10am now, that gives me time to set up in the living room.”

“Set up?”

“Rearrange it into an office of sorts. And to change into a suit. You report for work at 11am. No later, alright.”

“Yes Dr Reid.”

He shot you a look. “None of that. Sir will do nicely thank you. Black french knickers and the bra that fastens at the front please. Hair up, I don’t mind how. And stockings please. Yellow or red at anytime.”

“Yes…. Sir.”

He reached over and ran his thumb over your bottom lip, you poking your tongue out and licking it lightly.

“I could get to use to that coming from your mouth.”

Maybe you could too.

12 Characteristics Of True Love And How You Can Be Sure You’ve Found It

We all have different definitions of what true love is. Some people find it in fairytales, some in Shakespearean sonnets; others believe it is merely a phase and true love doesn’t exist in the real world. The truth is true love is an extension of our own true nature. What we are, we attract.

Even in relationships, we attract people who are reflections and extensions of our true selves. Therefore, in order to attract true love, we must exhibit the qualities we seek in our partners. Here’s what true love feels like:

1. Effortless and Eternal Attraction

When we are truly in love with someone, we discover moments of love and affection in the most normal of situations. We never have to “try” to spice things up. Everything seems fun and effortless just the way it is.

We never have to try to go out of our way to please the person. Love exists in the simplest things we do together. There is no need to convince or force anything on each other.

2. Mutual Respect

Respect for each other is the most important factor to sustain true love. It comes from giving each other enough space for personal growth and never crossing the line, no matter what.

3. Acceptance

When we are in true love, we naturally accept the person for his or her positives, as well as for negatives. It opens up our perspectives, and we see and learn things we wouldn’t have otherwise experienced.

True love changes us and how we think. It harmonizes all differences. There is no judgment, and we become open to receiving and accepting love, exactly the way it is.

4. Selflessness

We experience true love only when we have something to give. To receive love, we must give love. It’s not about fulfilling our own selfish desires, but about working on a common goal. It’s about being selfless and caring about our partner’s needs as much as caring about our own.

5. Trust

Needless to say, trust is the most basic foundation of true love. While it is crucial to trust the person with whom we are in love, it is equally important to trust ourselves. True love makes us feel vulnerable without being fearful or defensive.

Loyalty in relationships not only brings emotional stability, but also increases intimacy levels. When two people live with love and unity, there is no fear of getting hurt. In unity, love grows and strengthens with time.

6. Healing

Love heals and ousts fear. It makes us feel safe and protected. We feel at peace and we feel at home with our loved ones, wherever we are. True love never hurts because there is no ego involved. True love only heals pain from the past and gives us the strength to love again.

7. Growth

True love always favors personal and spiritual growth. It’s a natural process that is essential for our happiness and freedom. Everything needs to grow to survive: plants, animals and all living cells on this planet.

True love promotes natural growth that not only fills life with happiness and freedom, but also helps with professional success. True love is playful and grows together without resistance or fear.

8. Companionship

As human beings, we seek companionship from other human beings. When it comes to love, we look for someone who will be by our side through thick and thin, through our entire lives. We need someone with whom we can experience the wonders of life.

Someone with whom we can travel, share our secrets, discuss world events, fool around and grow old. True love means paying attention to the one you love. True love is there to celebrate in good times and to cry in bad times.

9. Communication

Many people say that they struggle to express their feelings to their loved ones; the only thing that stops them is their egos. Ego is not necessarily arrogance, but also a lack of trust in yourself and how you feel. When words have meaning and are said with a good intentions, it’s never difficult to let them out.

Making yourself understood and understanding your partner is the foundation of true love. When we speak our hearts and are open and truthful about our feelings, it shows courage and generosity. A true love will always recognize that and respect you for letting him or her inside your secret, sacred space.

10. Teamwork

True love is teamwork. Knowing when to step up and take control and when to back off and trust your partner to take over is teamwork. When two people are together in love, they combine their strengths and work like a team.

They know when to shut up and when to say the things that need to be said. Together, they create something so special that it is unique and indestructible. They share a common life objective and work together to achieve their goals.

11. Fearlessness

Where there is true love, there is no fear: fear of commitment, fear of making mistakes or fear of hurting someone. Fear makes love hopeless and complicated. When we are in true love, we know what to do.

12. Sacred

True love is sacred. It removes ego, brings joy and brings us closer to our real selves. True love frees us of fear and attachment. True love is freedom. True love is forgiveness. When we are in true love, we are closer to God.

We find true love by being ourselves. It comes to us when we least expect it. We will never find love or happiness by chasing after anyone. It comes when we are comfortable in our own skin and grateful for who we are. True love is attracted to us when we believe that we are truly attractive.

anonymous asked:

Hit there! Could you do headcanons for how the paladins cuddle with their s/o? You're doing great so far, have a wonderful day! :)

Aaw, thank you, dear! I appreciate that a lot. I hope you have a wonderful day as well. Here are some cuddling headcanons for you. :)

Shiro:

  • The real question: how doesn’t this man like to cuddle? Takashi Shirogane is always a slut for cuddling.
  • You see, Shiro is a very tactile person. You see it in those brief shoulder touches and occasional hugs in canon. It’s how he offers comfort to others.
  • And how he likes to receive it.
  • He only initiates it a little further into the relationship, though
  • Sometimes, during down time, he and his S/O just cuddle up next to each other with his arm around their waist or them just snuggled into him, practically squished together. (While ignoring their Space Children gagging and teasing)
  • In private, it’s a lot more intimate.
  • All forms of cuddling are open game BUT if Shiro had to choose, he likes it best when his S/O lays on his chest like a pillow and he gets to wrap his arms around them. He just wants to hold them and their added weight on top of him is comforting.
  • It reminds him they’re still there, an added comfort and security.
  • Definitely see Shiro dropping small, frequent kisses on top of their head in this position and rubbing soothing circles on their back
  • And of course he plays with their hair, are you kidding me? That’s one of his favorite parts.
  • Sometimes, they switch positions and Shiro loves it just as much because then he can listen to their heartbeat and actually feel the hum in their chest against his cheek as S/O talks
  • A lot pillow talk during cuddling. It’s a time for them confide in one another and just tell their partner how much they care
  • Cuddling with Shiro brings about a feeling of safety and protection just as much as affection and love. A physical reassurance that he truly cherishes them and will always protect them.

Keith: 

  • Keith is a little (really) unused to cuddling but he isn’t opposed to it. Definitely not opposed to it when it comes to his S/O
  • Just give him a bit to get comfortable up to it, ok?
  • Doesn’t really do it in public, even when they’re just sitting together and there’s ample opportunity. Not necessarily because he’s embarrassed or uncomfortable. It’s just not his thing.
  • Rarely initiates, so it’s usually up to his S/O if they want the cuddles
  • He will let his S/O lean up against, though, if they want. Keith likes to stretch his arm behind their head if they’re on a couch or something so they can use it as a head rest. He’s saved his S/O from a bad neck cramp or two because of this
  • Cuddles with Keith are mostly kept in private because he’s just a private guy when it comes to this stuff and frankly, it’s no one’s business what he and his S/O do behind closed doors
  • He more than makes up for it later
  • I can see him liking the “Heartfelt Headlock” where both are on their sides and S/O just slips under the crook of Keith’s arm. Occasionally his other arm pillows their head
  • Even better if S/O wraps their legs around him or just slings a calf over his hip to get closer still. Keith feels like he’s completely surrounded by them and it’s fantastic
  • S/O just feel so warm and safe and downright cozy there, lying chest-to-chest with Keith
  • If they feel like it, they burrow further into his chest and listen to his heartbeat but it’s also nice to face each other and simply enjoy each other’s presence
  • Eye contact eye contact eye contact - Keith wants to see his S/O’s face and watch them as they relax and maybe doze off a little
  • But Keith stays awake. He likes watching his S/O, even if they fall asleep on him (‘cause they are comfortable, man, I’d fall asleep, too). Kind of like he can hardly believe they’re even there and with him?? How did that happen???
  • More prone to pecking their forehead like this, even brushing hair back from their face. S/O might pretend to sleep just so Keith will do just that (he figures it out when they scrunch up their nose but keeps doing it anyway)
  • Neither really talk a lot while cuddling. Sure, Keith will listen if his S/O has something they need to talk about, but really cuddling with Keith is quiet but speaks volumes of the affection he holds for them. Intense.
  • You know this boy is not going anywhere. It’d take a set of pliers to tear him away.

Hunk:

  • Oh. My. God. Let me just start this with I want to cuddle with Hunk. He’s just so good at it, you know? Best Cuddler among the Paladins, hands down.
  • He’s big and soft and strong and it’s just the best thing in the world.
  • Best part? Hunk isn’t shy about it, so he’ll do it whenever or wherever but he also isn’t obnoxious about it either (unlike some people). Not at all. It’s all cool, man.
  • Initiates plenty and always up for it if his S/O wants
  • A lot of the time, Hunk clings close to his S/O when he’s either scared or nervous. This is both for his own personal comfort and also so he can just. Grab them if need be and run. Just in case.
  • Having his S/O close just makes him feel safe, you know? Doesn’t matter how as long as he can reach out and touch them
  • Overall, Hunk is a really sweet cuddler who likes holding hands with his S/O while cuddling.
  • Always has this big, huge smile when cuddling and it’s adorable
  • Typically his S/O lounges right on top of him with his hand resting (respectively) on their waist and the other cushions his head and
  • They just talk and talk and talk about everything and nothing - how they could possibly recreate cake with alien ingredients, what they miss about earth, Hunk’s fears, what they’ll see next in their voyage through space, whether there really is a nacho planet, etc.
  • Every now and then, he lifts his head up to grin at them and leans up for a kiss !!!
  • The best is when he starts laughing at something his partner said and S/O feels it erupt from his belly and then throughout his entire body which makes THEM laugh and suddenly they’re just laughing about nothing
  • Exactly what the Yellow Paladin needs at the end of the day
  • Cuddling with Hunk is a bonding experience in and of itself, how he and his S/O spend time together and decompress and simply enjoy life at the present. It’s comfortable and warm and fun.

Lance: 

  • Oh, Lance. Where do I begin with Lance? Well, I’ll just start with this: good luck getting him off you
  • Lance is a touchy person in general who has absolutely zero issues with getting in people’s personal space to rile them up or lounge all over them if they’re a friend
  • That goes up from like 1 to 1 0 0 with his S/O
  • Lowkey think it’s even more so now that he’s in space and far away from all of his loved ones, sooooo S/O gets all the extra affection Lance has been storing up for awhile
  • Good or bad, that’s up to the S/O in question
  • Lance usually hangs off of them all the time anyway but reaches the max when cuddling.
  • He and his S/O are literally a tangle of limbs. It’s hard to tell where Lance begins and S/O ends. The closest thing I found was something called the “Titanic Tangle.”
  • Doesn’t help that the Castle gets pretty cold and Lance, being from a hotter climate, just leeches off his S/O’s warmth.
  • Wraps those long, gangly limbs of his all around his S/O and won’t let go. His arms are locked around their torso and one leg is between both of theirs while the other is draped over them. There is no escape.
  • Lance likes to nuzzle his face into S/O and screw you if you don’t think that’s the most precious thing (until he nuzzles into someone’s breasts then it’s totally ok to smack him upside the head).
  • Lance makes up for it however with the things he says. Of course there’s the cheesy pickup lines, that’s who Lance is, but most of it really is sweet whispers that he saves up just for these occasions..
  • One of those rare moments where Lance starts getting quiet, voice soft and sincere, as he tells them how much they mean to them. He wouldn’t know what to do if they weren’t there. Do they know how much he loves them? He tells them how much he appreciates them, how glad he is that they’re there with him, how special they are.
  • Tons of kisses. So many kisses. His mouth always has to be doing something and if it isn’t blabbing, he’s kissing his S/O everywhere he can reach.
  • Lance is probably at his most vulnerable while cuddling with his S/O. He knows it’s a safe place for him and all the feelings he’s been holding back or putting behind that cocky act comes out.
  • He’s just really glad they’re there.

Pidge:

  • Ok, so the thing is Pidge is literally a smol and cuddling is probably as big as it’s gonna get for her for a little while.
  • Like a couple of years while.
  • That being said, it’s a little awkward at first. Pidge generally Does Not like to be touched all that often unless it’s on her terms and even those are kept brief.
  • Which doesn’t mean she doesn’t really care for her S/O. That’s just how Pidge is as a person combined with that awkward age of 14 where you don’t know what’s going on with your body half the time and feel so unsure how to actually touch another human being in a non-platonic way.
  • Y’all remember that age, right?
  • Cue stiff Pidge if her S/O so much as leans over her to look at the whatever gadget she’s fiddling with or sits close enough that their thighs are touching - so scandalous!
  • RIP if they even try “the Move”
  • BUT after some time, as Pidge gets more comfortable with her S/O, she’s more open to cuddling and it eventually becomes one of her favorite things?
  • Mostly relegated to a couch in a public living area where little Pidge and her beau just snuggle in together, Pidge’s head resting on their shoulder and their arm curled around her as they both watch whatever she’s doing on her computer
  • Turns out her S/O is actually pretty comfortable
  • If the Castle has it, I can totally see movie night being a thing they do together while cuddling and making fun of the characters
  • Cuddling with Pidge is literally the most precious and innocent thing ever?? like, it’s just being close to her S/O and spending time together as they enjoy their mutual interests
  • Until Lance ruins it all when he barges in and cuddleblocks them. That ass would probably wedge himself between them and sprawl half his body across the couch
  • Hunk comes in soon after with snacks ‘cause “Movie night, right? Who wants not-really-popcorn-but-close-enough?”
  • Then of course comes Keith and Shiro followed by the Alteans and suddenly it’s a Space Family movie night
  • And Pidge is so frustrated but can’t stay mad because this is nice, too
  • (She and S/O hold hands under the not-really-popcorn-but-close-enough bowl, the precious babies.)
bittersweet - newt x reader

warnings: angst angst angst, nothing but angst, no happy ending, reader is sad as hell, i just love depressing stories, talk about divorce, reader’s parents are divorced and they are afraid of relationships as a result 

also in all lowercase for ~the aesthetics~ and if u find runon sentences that’s bc it’s like my weird writing style i slip into sometimes that’s 50% poetry, 50% narrative, and 100% emotional as hell 

btw a quick note: IT IS OK TO NOT BE IN A RELATIONSHIP. it is ok! no pressure to find ur true love or settle down. you can be sad about a person or an unrequited love and still have a perfectly wonderful life in the other aspects. for example: my mother is divorced and has no plans to remarry or date anyone ever again. however, she loves her job and she loves her family. they are her whole life. she is happy without a relationship!! this fic is just about the relationship, which is why it is so bleak. this is in no way supposed to convey the message that life without romance is sad. you can be perfectly happy without a relationships!! relationships don’t define you!! reader in this is just upset about the way their relationship turned out. that does NOT mean that they aren’t still a happy person in other aspects of their life! just a reminder <3

also i straight up just didn’t edit this so have fun it’s probs shitty?

there was something about his smile that made everything seem right in the world, so you couldn’t complain when tina came into his life. it just meant that you’d see him smile more. he had never been happier than when he was with her, and you wanted nothing but the best for him. the best was what he deserved, and over time you came to realize that tina was, undoubtedly, the best for him. you surprised yourself a little when you and tina became very close, discussing your shared passion for adventure and justice (you had dreamed of being an auror too at one point in your life, but newt had changed that in an instant when he had asked you to travel with him) and finding each other’s company incredibly comforting. you would even go so far as to say that you grew to be as close to her as you were to newt, despite the fact that your feelings toward her were entirely different in nature from your feelings toward him.

you couldn’t resent her. it wasn’t her fault, and honestly there was nothing to be angry about. it wasn’t like she didn’t appreciate him. it wasn’t like she didn’t treat him perfectly, in just the way he deserved. and it wasn’t like there was anything wrong with such a loving and mutual connection, especially when it made them both so happy. you could see the stars that shone in her eyes when she looked at him; they were just like the ones in yours, but you had never seen them in newt’s when he was looking at anyone but tina. you couldn’t fault either of them for being happy. you couldn’t bear to take that away, even if it was incredibly tempting. 

the hardest were the moments when you were close to newt, either brushing idly against his shoulder, nestling close to read together, or holding hands for warmth (as best friends always do, he insisted). times like those, you always longed with every fiber of your being to pull him closer by the collar, his scruff on your cheek and your face in his hair with his distinct, comforting smell enveloping you as you brushed your lips over your ear and told him everything, all the “i love you”s you had swallowed like bitter medicine and all the “i need you”s you had almost choked out when his eyes met yours for a fleeting moment before he looked away. you had to hide your desperation every time you hugged him, and you always wondered if he’d notice how your grasp was a little too tight as though you’d lose him, how your fingers gripped his back a little too insistently as if you needed to steady yourself to keep from toppling over, how your arms lingered just slightly too long on his arms when you finally pulled away as if you were savoring every touch, but he never seemed to take any notice. you always told yourself that you didn’t want him to, but sometimes it was like you couldn’t help yourself, your curiosity swallowing you whole and disarming your defenses for a moment, and you’d allow your body language to scream to him “i love you, i love you, i love you” in rhythm with the thundering of your heartsometimes you swore you could see a little flash in his eyes, a little sparkle of recognition and sadness, perhaps a subtle reply of “i know”, but you would never be sure.

queenie was the only one who knew, and she most certainly did not know because you wanted her to. she hated to see you in pain, but she did her best to respect your desire to not discuss it verbally. this was the one thing you would not allow her to help with. you refused to spoil his happiness. you hadn’t confessed your affection to him before he had met tina, and you honestly had never even considered it until it was too late. your friendship was far too important to you. you couldn’t risk losing it, and, more importantly, you couldn’t risk hurting him. you’d rather see him happy than kiss him, you’d rather see his grin than feel his hands tangled in your hair, and you’d rather laugh with him as best friends than as lovers because there was so much attached to that word. 

lovers. there were so many people pushing down on you, your friends and family telling you stories of failed romances and broken hearts and muttering “once you’re lovers, you can never be friends again” and that scared the hell out of you. you had seen the way your mother and father once were, and the way they were now, and it had been a harsh lesson for you to learn. they had been so in love at one point, so full of affection and so sure that they wanted to spend their lives together, and now they couldn’t even look at each other. so many tears had been spilled, so many harsh words exchanged, so many hearts strained by the pressure of upholding what love was supposed to be. you were too afraid to become them. you didn’t want there to ever be a time where you couldn’t look newt in the eye, where you couldn’t smile at him or laugh with him or hold hands without being afraid of what might happen the next day to send it all crumbling to the ground. you loved him with all your heart, but your fear of losing him was far stronger and it dictated all of your decisions on the matter.

not that you had anything to decide anymore, you realized, your back slumped against a tree and your bare toes in the dewy morning grass. You could hear the music and the laughter and you could picture the dancing, and it was joyous and colorful and vibrant and lively and you couldn’t deal with it, not anymore. It felt dreamlike, seeming to waver around you and blur, the noises too loud and the laughter ringing in your ears. It might have been the giggle water, but you felt dizzy and sick and your limbs felt heavy, your feet dragging and even the simple act of smiling seeming to chip away at what little motivation you had left. You weren’t particularly fond of parties in the first place, and even out here, in the beautiful open field and surrounding forest that newt and tina had chosen to be the setting of their little wedding ceremony, you felt trapped, claustrophobic. you wanted out and you wanted out now, but you couldn’t leave for good–it was your best friends’ wedding for god’s sake–so you had opted to take a break and recharge. 

it was blissful to be able to sit quietly and frown. you didn’t have to muster the energy to socialize or to pretend you weren’t hopelessly in love with newt at the moment, and you were so relieved that nobody had noticed your absence. you had been tina’s only bridesmaid, with queenie as the maid of honor, and your simple but beautiful dress was a reminder that no, no you were not the one in the white dress at newt’s wedding and you would never be. you felt a sharp pang as you brushed your fingers over the fabric, allowing yourself a few moments of sulking and self-pity out here where nobody else could see. this was your own fault, and you couldn’t spoil their wedding by being a miserable mess the whole time. they deserved to be happy. the happiness of these two wonderful people was your priority, even if it meant sacrificing a little bit of your own happiness to reach that end goal.

but here, you could be sad all you wanted. you could probably disappear unnoticed for about a half an hour before you had to rejoin the group, and you were grateful that.

you were incredibly startled to feel a hand on your shoulder, and your head snapped up to meet beautiful hazel eyes. the longing was back, the tug at your heart was back, your desire to bury your fingers in that beautiful cinnamon hair was back and oh god it hurt it hurt it hurt and there was nothing you could do about it as he sat down beside you, concern etched into his handsome features. you flashed him a small, unconvincing smile, your lips twitching upwards only briefly before you averted your gaze.

“what’s the matter?” he inquired softly in that gentle, kind voice of his. you wanted to look up at him again, but you couldn’t bring yourself to raise your head again.

“the crowd, the people,” you half-lied. “i just need a break. i’ll be fine, i promise,” you told him, finally meeting his gaze for a second before looking away once more, subtly gnawing on your cheek to stop the tears that seemed determined to fall. not in front of newt, they wouldn’t. never in front of newt.

he tucked a bit of your hair back carefully. “if you say so,” he murmured, and you felt your heart twist.

“weddings are just a depressing reminder that i…i don’t have anyone,” you confessed, and it was partially the truth. but you didn’t want just anyone. you wanted newt.

he looked troubled. “i never pegged you as the sort of person who would be troubled by that,” he admitted carefully, leaning against the tree, his shoulder brushing yours.

“me neither,” you said, a smile twitching at your lips. he was an exception to the otherwise aloof way you regarded romance. it had never been an interest of yours until he came into the picture.

“you’re wrong, you know. even if you aren’t married, you have me, and you have tina and jacob and we all love you more than you know,” he said steadily. 

you have me.

no, i don’t, that’s the problem! you wanted to cry out. you wanted to gather his face in your hands and tell him what he meant to you, why you were here, why you were so sad, why you couldn’t bear to dance at his wedding, but it was out of the question.

“having a boyfriend,” he paused for a moment to study you. “or a girlfriend? a significant other, i suppose. having a significant other is lovely, but i value our friendship just as much as i value what i have with tina. it’s different in nature, of course, but platonic relationships are just as wonderful as romantic ones,” he explained, doing his best to raise your spirits. he did, a little, and you appreciated that, but the word platonic was echoing in your head and lingering in your mouth like a nasty aftertaste. platonic. that was how he saw you, and that was how he always would.

“of course,” you said, your lips twitching. “i’d choose your friendship over a romance any day,” you said carefully, and that was the complete truth. he wasn’t aware of the whole context, but it was most certainly the truth. you would rather have a secure platonic relationship than a romantic one that might leave you heartbroken and cause you to lose the person that mattered most to you. you pushed on his shoulder. “go on, i said that i’d be fine. it’s your wedding, for god’s sake, go enjoy it! i’ll join you in a little bit,” you promised, and he pressed an affectionate kiss to your temple before he left you alone once more.

you were alone with your thoughts for only a few moments before queenie was at your side, holding you close, whispering to you “i know honey, i know,” and you were gripping her arms for purchase, for grounding, as you cried hoarsely, shoulders heaving and hot tears sprinkling down onto her beautiful dress.

you returned to the party with her hand in yours after you had finished crying. she had cleaned up your face and lead you carefully back to the dancing, to the music, to the beauty and the happiness, and you were able to muster a genuine, if rather bittersweet, smile as you saw the way tina was smiling as newt twirled her clumsily. their faces were glowing, and despite your sadness, all seemed right in the world.

to the groom!
to the bride!
from your sister,
who’s always by your side…

Over the Garden Wall Review (Happy Halloween)

So, what with Halloween at our doorstep, I have taken it upon myself to do something in the spirit of the day of spirits. At first, I was going to do a review or perhaps a top ten episodes of Gravity Falls…but that show is, like, 40 episodes and I didn’t really feel like plunging back into and marathoning the whole shebang. Instead, I decided to take on the much more manageable task of viewing and reviewing Over the Garden Wall, at its less intimidating full running time of about a hundred minutes.

To preface this review, I’m probably going to be focusing largely on the positives of this series as opposed to the flaws, because, quite honestly, this is one of my favorite animated works of all time. It took basically only the first couple minutes of the first episode for me to realize that I was going to love this show. So rather than a fair review, this will probably feel more like me enumerating my many praises of the program. Just fair warning in case you were hoping that, I don’t know, I was going to be that one guy who would share your less-than-enamored feelings toward Wirt, Greg, Beatrice, and their many outlandish encounters.

Oh. Also.

OVER THE GARDEN WALL SPOILERS. OVER THE GARDEN WALL SPOILERS. OVER THE GARDEN WALL SPOILERS.

Okay. On with the review.

Keep reading

ESTP Relationships & Compatibilities

ESTP Relationships

An ESTP relationship, even that which does not work out, is never boring. This personality has a great sense of humor and is virtually fearless when it comes to approaching people. Metaphorically speaking, they could charm the birds from the trees, and this gift is a wonderful tool to use in the dating field. People who find it difficult to initiate a conversation with a stranger are naturally drawn to ESTP because this person does all the work in a seemingly flawless way. They tend to have a great sense of humor which can serve as an ice-breaker during moments of awkwardness or slow progression. ESTP’s fondness for making the most of every moment will likely lead to a quickly developing relationship.

This type of personality can certainly have a long-lasting relationship, but this isn’t typically something that ESTP is looking for. They like to take things day by day to see what new and exciting opportunities may arise. This can also mean that ESTP will keep his or her eyes open for an alternative companion if the current relationship does not meet their needs for excitement and action. As this personality is not particularly good at expressing emotions, they may not take the time to explain their feelings of unhappiness to a partner and instead may simply end the relationship if a better opportunity arises. Never one to waste a moment, ESTPs tend to end a relationship quickly if they feel that it is not satisfying or has become boring.

When part of a mutually satisfying relationship, ESTP can be very loving. A “doer” may not express his or her feelings verbally, but instead may use gift-giving as a way to express their love or affection. They try to add an element of fun to any experience or job, even something as common as yard work. When an emergency situation arises this individual can be counted on to remain alert and calm. They will do whatever needs to be done in order to sort the issue. As a parent, the “doer” does not take a structured approach to raising children. In fact, this persona is much like a big kid and will happily spend hours-on-end playing with their children. The “doer” doesn’t usually have an issue with administering punishment but will often avoid “teaching a lesson” until the situation calls for it.

Compatible Personality Types

ISTJ and ISFJ personalities seem to get along best with a “doer.” These personalities are primarily led by an introverted sensing factor which allows them to share a preference for facts and concrete evidence. ESTP tends not to do as well with highly emotion-based individuals because they aren’t very sensitive or supportive of the feelings of others. ISTJ and ISFJ personalities are similar in this respect and do not require a great deal of emotional feedback in order to be happy. The judging traits in these personalities serve as the yin to ESTP’s yang. These companions would be able to pick up the tasks that a “doer” find too boring and provide structure where it is lacking.

Relationship Guidance for the ESTP

You love the idea of being with someone but the thought of making a long-term commitment is comparable to diving into icy waters – shocking and a little suffocating. You are happiest when you aren’t expected to remain within the strict parameters of a committed relationship. That is not to say that you can’t be loyal, but you probably prefer that a relationship remain casual until you have decided whether it suits you or not. You are perfectly happy to have a companion with whom you can laugh, spend enjoyable moments with, explore new terrain, and fulfil your enthusiasm for physical affection. You certainly aren’t looking to act as an emotional babysitter and attempting to do so will only make you unhappy.

Your impulsiveness may or may not be under control. If you find that you spend money without thought or you impulsively buy extravagant gifts for friends and family members, then you may want to consider how this might negatively impact a partner. Even if you are only dating, displaying this kind of rash decision-making with finances could mark you as irresponsible in the eyes of a potential companion. Even other free spirits need to some form of security, so try to keep your spending habits down to a smaller, more respectable level.

You might not feel threatened by conflict, but ESTPs tend to avoid it simply out of ignorance. They may not realize that a partner is trying to broach an important subject. Ignoring a problem may feel like a good solution but it will not solve the underlying issue. With a bit of training you can learn to pay attention to the signs indicating that your partner needs to talk. Genuinely listen to what they have to say and challenge your problem-solving skills to rise to the task. Once you and your companion have reached a suitable solution your “doer” trait should have no problem jumping to action.

Tips for Dating an ESTP Personality

One of the most notorious problems with ESTP relationships is that the “doer” can easily become bored. Boredom will eventually lead this person to sniff around for a more exciting companion and then end the relationship. In order to keep your mate from losing interest in you, it is important that you show enthusiasm whenever your companion suggests a new adventure. Disinterest will not only make you appear boring to a “doer” but it can also be interpreted as laziness. Above all, your companion values the ability to act and accomplish things, so prove to them that you are a capable and practical partner who still knows how to have a good time.

Your “doer” companion does not like to feel bound by schedules, plans, and long-term issues. For this sort of person all priorities lie in the present. If you are a planner by nature then you may feel incomplete or even anxious by tossing aside this need to prepare for the long-term. Try to keep this impulse a bit more personal. You should be able to carry out your own plans for the future without sticking it into your mate’s face. If you are comfortable with the idea of living in the present then by all means do so! Just remember that two similar-minded individuals (at least in this respect) may drift into totally different interests and your impulses may lead you down different paths. Try to come up with exciting hobbies or activities that you and your companion can do together so that you don’t drift completely apart.

INTP | ENTP | INTJ | ENTJ | INFP | ENFP | INFJ | ENFJ | ISFP | ESFP | ISTP | ESTP | ISFJ | ESFJ | ISTJ | ESTJ

H’s guide to fandom

As made after a month break that was really quite refreshing. And recommended. 

- Clean your dash. Don’t think about popular blogs, don’t think about mutuals. If you don’t like the content they post, unfollow. Your dash should be however you want it. You want drama? Find it. You want peace and happiness and cute boys and never ever any drama? Find the blogs who reblog that content (it’s doable, trust me). You want occasional ballet pics or Harry Potter posts or biology facts or puppy pics? Find those blogs. Mix it up, it’s fun. 

- Is tumblr not fun today? Is there drama? Did something bad happen? Are anons freaking out in your inbox? Leave. Log out. Take a day off. You’re not obligated to follow what happens, you’re no obligated to be in the know all the time, you’re not obligated to function as an update account for confused anons. If it becomes too much, turn off anon for a while. It’s okay, it’s allowed. Take a day every now and then. If it’s all too uurrgghhhh, take an entire month; get it all put into perspective, get some distance. I promise, by the end of that month, you’ll know a lot more about how you want your tumblr experience to be. Maybe you don’t want to come back at all. That’s okay too. You don’t owe anybody anything.  

- Be nice. Always, always be nice. Respect others, respect their opinions and treat them nicely. Nice breeds nice. Remember that.

- Don’t be a hypocrite. Just don’t. Tumblr is a nasty place 65% of the time. Don’t be one of those people.  

- Don’t talk down to anyone. Don’t talk down to those of different opinions, don’t talk down to anons. Just don’t. You don’t know why they might be more ignorant than you, you don’t know why they might know less. You don’t know if it took them a lot of courage to contact you. So don’t. Help rather than bully, educate rather than ridicule. Do humanity a favour, eh?

- Don’t let anyone guilt you into not reblogging something (or reblogging something for that matter), keeping mum about something, or not liking something. You don’t agree with the general consensus? Well, that’s alright. Your blog is your space, as long as you stay within the limits of what’s, you know, decent human behaviour and ethics, you’re allowed to think whatever you want. Don’t compromise what you are or think in order to fit it. It’s okay not to fit in sometimes, you’ll probably find that there’s a lovely group of “outcasts” just like you, and it’s a lot more fun being there anyway. 

- Don’t make fun of other people for their English. DON’T DON’T DON’T DON’T. I swear to God, I’ll haunt you in your sleep if you do so, and I can be a very scary person. 

- Fandom sometimes feels like a very exclusive club you can’t get a membership to. Sometimes it feels like the friendships you make here are superficial at best. Sometimes you might look at your dash and see everybody be friends and feel a lot like you don’t fit it. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe it’s the time of your life and you look at your RL friends and think they have nothing on your online ones, Maybe you get the blues because you can’t meet up with your tumblr friends on the regular. Who knows. Just don’t feel obligated to have those really close friendships, don’t feel obligated to give away more of yourself than you feel comfortable with. Don’t want to give out your name or nationality? Don’t. And if you wanna talk to people, do it. Write them. If they don’t write back, they’re the assholes anyway, it has nothing to do with you. 

- If it starts affecting your real life, your own mood, take a break. Their lives are not your life and such they shouldn’t dictate your happiness.

All of these things are something we all know in theory, but 9/10 bloggers are terrible at actually practicing this. Just do it. Seriously. Your fandom experience is going to become a thousand times better. 


Especially for fic writers:

I’d say write for yourself not others, but I also know that’s bullshit. Every writer craves feedback, we’re vain like that. That’s okay. But don’t write if it isn’t fun, don’t write if you don’t like the process of it. Write because you can’t not

This fandom is really gross when it comes to fics and writers a lot of the time, but don’t feel encouraged not to write because some writers are held above everyone else. Everyone starts somewhere - everyone! Maybe it’s not until your third or your thirtieth fic that the fandom as a whole gets their eyes up for what a brilliant author you are, but that doesn’t mean your first fics aren’t appreciated. Everyone starts somewhere – everybody starts from nothing. If you’re not sure about your fic prior to posting, ask someone to read it through, get some feedback, find a beta. Just above all else have fun with it. No matter what, there’ll be people who don’t like what you write. Luckily there’ll definitely be people who like it too. 

From the South Pole Iceberg to the Republic City Portal: Part Thirty Three

ATLA Book Two: Earth

Chapter Fifteen: Tales of Ba Sing Se

In which Iroh’s tale makes everyone cry. A lot.

Once again, Book Two: Earth brings us a high point of the show in the form of “The Tales of Ba Sing Se”. It is, of course, most notable for its unique structure, being presented as a series of vignettes that do little to advance the main plot of the series, instead showing a series of uneventful days the main cast spend in Ba Sing Se. The uneventful nature of the story is important because it helps build a sense of the time the cast spend in Ba Sing Se, for the first time in the series being properly rooted in one location instead of traversing the Avatar world. Moreover, the rooted nature of the story gets at the heart of what makes the Avatar franchise: the way it is willing to spend quiet moments with its characters, making each of them distinct and unique. As a result, it seems best to break down my analysis of this episode into each individual tale, exploring what each one tells us about its titular character(s).

The Tale of Katara and Toph

The series’ focus on female friendship has become increasingly prominent throughout this season, with the relationship of these two characters being the main example of this, and so this tale makes perfect sense, considering where the characters are at this point in the series. The vignette works as an exploration of their friendship, highlighting how they get along in spite of their incredibly obvious differences.

These differences are on display from the beginning, with the early juxtaposition of Toph and Katara’s morning routines highlighting Toph’s “tomboy” characterisation and Katara’s  more feminine nature. In spite of these differences, Katara persuades Toph to go on a girl’s day out at a spa: she is determined to be friends with Toph in spite of their superficial differences.

The things the girls share in common become more apparent when Toph starts to enjoy the day. This enjoyment comes first on Toph’s terms, as she freaks out the staff by making the “alien” face with her mudbending, which Katara laughs along with: the two girls share a sense of fun and humour. Then she begins to enjoy the day on Katara’s terms, enjoying relaxing in the sauna, and actually liking how she feels after having some make up put on: while Toph is most comfortable not conforming to gender roles, she is happy exploring her more feminine side, especially in the company of a girl like Katara.

This bonding pays off in the tale’s final scene, where Katara and Toph send a group of mean spirited girls down the river after they insult Toph: in spite of their differences, Katara and Toph’s friendship is strog because they have each other’s back, and wouldn’t let anyone hurt the other. They also offer one another mutual support, with Katara’s comforting of Toph being noticeably maternal. She doesn’t question Toph’s not entirely true claim that she doesn’t care what other people think, instead expressing admiration for Toph’s attitude and quietly giving her the boost in confidence she needs anyway. In showing this maternal edge to their relationship the show acknowledges that Katara is older and in some ways more self-assured than Toph, who in some ways is incredibly confident in her abilities, but also frequently masks her insecurities (in this case around her appearance) with false displays of bravado. While they are different people, Toph and Katara balance one another out and support each other in a relationship that improves the show vastly.

The Tale of Iroh

This is the tale that everyone talks about, and as a result it can be somewhat surprising that it is placed right at the start of the episode, a structural point that speaks to the true nature of this vignette. It is not placed as the big emotional gut punch at the end of the episode, but is instead framed as just another story, highlighting the way Lu Ten’s death affects Iroh. Iroh’s grief for his son is a constant part of his character that informs everything he has become, but it is not something big and flashy that is drawn out in high-stakes parts of the story for angsty and overdramatic moments. Instead, it is a quiet grief, constantly in the background if the story.

So, why is this tale such a famous part of the show? Largely because it’s so impeccably written ad structured. Iroh helping the group of young boys run from the man whose window they break provides the emotional set up: we see how he would have been with young Lu Ten, laying the groundwork for the emotional reveal. Similarly, his helping the mugger who’s down on his luck shows how Iroh’s loss has turned him into the kind of man who wants to help people to atone for his failure to help his son. Meanwhile, his shopping in the market place lays out the plot elements necessary to peel away the layers to reveal he is celebrating his son’s birthday. The first time we hear him sing “brave soldier boy”, meanwhile, serves as emotional and plot set up, as it is used to show him comforting a crying boy, once again highlighting his paternal nature, while also setting the key element of the final gut punch in the tale, namely, the song’s reprise.

Ultimately, what this tale really gets at is the nature of Iroh as a character, highlighting the way his development works. From the moment we met him, Iroh was a character who has mostly changed his ways and been through most of his redemption story before the series begins, so he doesn’t change that much. What makes him a dynamic character is the way the audience’s understanding of him changes: we are first introduced to him as a comic relief character who balances out Zuko’s angst, but by this point in the series, we know enough about him to see the depth, shades of grey, and tragedy that informs his story.

The Tale of Aang

As with Iroh, the help Aang provides here reflects the grief that is currently driving him at this point in the series, namely his grief for Appa. He begins the tale looking through the Zoo, sad at the confinement of the animals, quite possibly having come to the zoo because he was looking for, or thinking of, Appa. It is particularly notable that before “Appa’s Lost Days”, the two characters most connected to Appa (Momo and Aang) have taes that heavily evoke his absence. As a result, helping the animals can be read as Aang trying to make up for the fact that, at the moment, there is nothing he can do to help his bison.

The juxtaposition of the animals in the zoo at the start of the tale compared to the enclosure at the end also draws out a key theme of the season, as we once again explore the mistreatment of animals by humanity: they are deeply unhappy in their cramped conditions at the start of the tale, and are clearly much more comfortable in the enclosure at the end. Once again, the series takes the time to emphasize the needs of animals and the need for humanity to respect for nature, setting up the themes of the next episode.

The Tale of Sokka

As with Iroh, Sokka gets a tale that really breaks down how he works as a character. In this case, the tale does this breakdown through the perspective of the comic relief aspect of his character.

The first thing worth noting is that Sokka is prompted into action after being called an “oaf”, providing a hint of the insecurity that will drive his actions in “Sokka’s Master”. The woman leading the Haiku class only sees him as a blundering comic relief character, so Sokka responds by seeking to prove he is worth more, only doing so because he fears that he is just comic relief, and isn’t worth anything else.

This insecurity is a part of Sokka even though he demonstrably is much more than a comic relief character. He’s the inventive, intelligent member of the Gaang who organises and plans for the group and improvises ideas to help fight back where his status as a non-bender limits his combat abilities. And his ability to improvise is in evidence here as he adapts to the haikiu-battle, creating poems on the spot. In this instance, his ingenuity combines with the comic relief aspect of his character, allow him to be a funny in a showboating way that is very different to main source of humour for his character, namely his everyman frustration at the fantastical elements of the Avatar world. As a result, the tale shows how the comic side of his character extends from the serious parts of his characterisation.

However, his showboating comedy is punctured with the “That’s one syllable too many” joke, returning him to the “everyman frustration” humour that drives his character. This is a fitting reflection of the fact that Sokka is still driven by his insecurities at this point in the show: Book Three will finally see him making peace with the person he is, but that’s a little way off for now.

The Tale of Zuko

Let’s look behind the scenes of the show for the first time. This tale is Katie Mattila’s first writing credit, and while she’s only a minor creative figure for the show, her contribution to the series is interesting. She is the only writer from this episode to write more scripts for the franchise, and is also the only person who wasn’t a staff writer to write more than one script for ATLA. She’s also the only non staff writer from ATLA to go on to write for LOK, where she was, for what it’s worth, the only female writer to contribute a full script, with writing credits for three episodes from Books three and four of the sequel series.

Mattila contributes a sweet and thoughtful vignette that explores Zuko as a romantic figure for the first real time in the series, as we see him go on a date with an Earth Kingdom girl. And it’s a date that successfully expands the things the show can do with his character, breaking down the angsty, brooding side of his character to get at the dorkier, funnier side of him. This dorkier side, which we have seen before comes out in full by setting his overdramatic angst against the mundane, and from his extreme discomfort with the ordinary. In a way, this humour is a reversal of the “ordinary man’s frustration with the fantastical” humour provided by Sokka, making this the perfect vignette to follow on from and contrast to Sokka’s tale.

The ending of the tale, where leaves the date because, in his words “it’s complicated”, shows that Zuko’s backstory means he is still closed off from being someone who can fit into an ordinary life. But notably, this is a moment of progress for Zuko, being the first time he appreciates an aspect of this life, ending the tale by admitting to Iroh that he had a nice time.

The Tale of Momo

It may seem strange that this is the tale that concludes the episode, focussing as it does on Momo, the least fleshed out character in the ensemble of “The Last Airbender”. However, this positioning within the episode makes sense when we consider what is to come. “The Tale of Momo” is placed at the end of the episode to lead into “Appa’s Lost Days”, with Momo searching for Appa before finding the footprint that will be a key plot point in the next episode.  As a result, this tale is the natural conclusion to the episode, leading into the next story.

Thematically, it is also the perfect lead in to the next episode. We explore animal agency in the most direct way the series has managed so far, as Momo is the subject of his own story, rather than an object in the Gaang’s narrative. We get to see Momo’s perspective on the loss of Appa: he is sad to have lost his friend, searching for him every time he sees a sign of Appa. We understand how he sees predatory animals, first running from the cats that try to eat him, before helping rescue them from the humans who want to capture and cook them: this tale becomes a story about animals banding together and saving one another from the threat humanity poses.

Animal Agency, environmentalism, and interconnectedness are themes that run through the season, and are all woven together in this tale. This provides the ideal set up for the equally experimental “Appa’s lost days”, which will take these themes and explore them at even greater length. Book Two: Earth is rapidly moving towards its endgame.

End of Part Thirty Three.

So Bethyl….again….

I’ve already written a “why I ship Bethyl” post, but somehow amidst our ship analysis posts (of which there are many) and character analyses and a not-so-fun shipper war, my reasons for shipping Beth and Daryl together have, not changed, so much as shifted a bit.

Obviously, the reason I started shipping them has remained the same. I can’t go back in time and change it.  In 4x01, when Beth “doesn’t say goodbye” to Zach as they’re packing up to go on the Big Spot run, she teases him and walks away. Enter Daryl, who glances behind him at her exit and mutters, “Damn romance novel.” My heart actually skipped a beat in the moment, because I knew what it was, or at least I knew what it would be if I were writing TWD. That moment, when the surly, badass, leader of the prison group derides a romance in such an obvious way (even though he was likely half-joking) between a character that’s about to die and a character he’s going to be spending a ton of time with later in the season SCREAMS foreshadowing to my writer-spidey-senses. It’s a realistic and in-character way of setting up a character who prior to this has very little interest and/or time for romance. You force it upon them.

Daryl would never be the type to pursue a romantic relationship. He still isn’t. The most I could ever see him seeking out on his own would be a purely sexual relationship. I actually think it’s the reason why he and Carol never really ventured beyond friendship. Daryl wasn’t going to initiate a sexual relationship with someone he considered a friend, the first person who accepted him into the group. While he’s emotionally stunted, he wasn’t so much so that he knew to keep that relationship platonic when he wasn’t capable of anything beyond meaningless sex. And I’m rational enough to admit that a sexual relationship between Daryl and Carol would not have been meaningless. It would have meant a lot and I don’t think Daryl would have been able to handle that. To be honest, I’m not sure Carol, with her massive amount of well-earned relationship baggage, would have been able to handle it either. It’s tough to make a solid relationship out of two people who were broken in very similar ways. They could have gone there. They didn’t and I think their friendship was likely the stronger for it. 

Okay, moving on. Season 4 Daryl has come a long way from the man who stepped out of the woods and started cursing out a walker for eating his deer and told Dale to go back to On Golden Pond. Obviously. I’m sure I don’t have to delineate his character development for you all. It’s been rehashed over and over again and most recently, c-sand wrote an excellent post about it here. What I do want to highlight is that Daryl’s character development, up until now required that people earn their way into his affections. He needed to make a substantial connection with someone before he’d care about them. We saw the first hints that this was changing during season 3 in the episode “Home” when he helps out the family trapped on the bridge, despite Merle’s protests. He helped simply because it was the right thing to do. That bit of character development extended through the end of season 3 and into season 4 and has only grown. He clearly cares about the people at the prison. ALL the people at the prison. So, how does this relate to Beth? It doesn’t, at least not specifically, what it does mean is that making connections with people is something Daryl does often now and the next step in development for him would be to make a deeper connection than he’s made previously.

That’s right. I’m about to say it and some people will hate me for it, but it’s time for Daryl to fall in love.

Now, you ask, why Beth?

First of all, the timing is right for Daryl, but also in the narrative itself. They are going to be separated from the group together for the foreseeable future. They clearly already have a connection, even if it’s no deeper than being a part of the same group for the last two years or so. They’ve had one moment, the famous hug-scene, which suggests that connection is not simply surface level. Perhaps they’ve developed a bit of a friendship. He respects her. She respects him. Mutual respect is a pretty damn good place to start.

That being said, I don’t think their relationship will only develop because she’s a pretty, warm body he’s stuck with for a while. While we don’t know a ton about Beth specifically, we can glean a lot of things from her character simply through her actions. 

First, she’s pretty smart. Go back and watch her during her suicide arc. Listen to the things she says to Maggie. She’s in a terrible place emotionally, but she’s making sense. She’s not just whining about things not going her way. She’s a seventeen-year old girl recognizing the world for what it’s become and she doesn’t want any part of it in the same way that Andrea, a civil-rights lawyer who is obviously very intelligent, did and then even faster than Andrea did, she GETS it, that she wants to live and that the world is still worth fighting for. Daryl’s smart, but not in the traditional sense. He’s observant, can read people like the back of his hand and knows a lie or a truth when he hears it. Her smarts and his smarts would compliment each other.

Beth might even have more relationship experience than Daryl. She had what amounted to a normal relationship with Jimmy, until the world went to hell and then, even with the ZA swirling around them, managed to form a pretty decent relationship with Zach.  What we can surmise from this is that Beth is comfortable creating romantic attachments and that’s something any potential partner for Daryl needs. If neither of them is comfortable, nothing would ever happen. I do see how both of Beth’s relationships ended to be a potential stumbling block for her, at least internally. Maybe she feels like she’s jinxed or that she doesn’t want the pain of losing another man to the ZA, but you can’t help what you feel. So she might fight it, especially at first, but I think that would be a realistic conflict in a Bethyl relationship and what good is a romance if there isn’t any conflict (internal and between the two parties)?

Speaking of conflict, the biggest hurdle for any romantic relationship for Daryl, will of course, be Daryl. It could come from a number of places, but his own insecurity on matters of the heart is probably the most likely. And that’s why it’s ESSENTIAL for anyone even attempting a relationship with Daryl to be sympathetic. We don’t know a lot about Beth, but one thing we do know is that she is capable of extraordinary compassion. She encourages Lori when they first arrive at the prison and it’s clear that the pregnant woman is struggling emotionally. She keeps the faith when everyone else seems to think that Hershel is about to die. She sings. Yes, I know the singing annoys some people, but remember that these people have nothing else to unite them and lift them up. They have each other and her songs help when they’re feeling down as a group. Even Merle couldn’t be assed to make a sarcastic comment when she’s singing, Hold On in season 3. (Just as a side note, that’s one of my very favorite songs and Tom Waits is one of my favorite singers Do yourself a favor and look up, Tom Traubert’s Blues, it’s a song that screams DARYL, if a song ever could. If you have a problem with Waits’s voice, look up the Rod Stewart version. Just trust me. Anyway…)  Beth takes on the role of Judith’s caretaker without being told or asked, she just does it. She instinctively knows that bringing the baby to Maggie after her time in Woodbury will help her recovery. And last, but certainly not least, she knows that Daryl needs a hug. Could you think of anyone else that would hug Daryl? Seriously. Everyone else is either too closed off or just flat out not going to go there, including Carol. The hug is sweet and awkward and the perfect physical starting point for a potential romance. (I’d argue that the neck/back massage in season 3 between Carol and Daryl was one of those moments as well, but the writers clearly chose not to go there and they let the moment pass because neither character was in the emotional headspace for a romantic relationship, like I said earlier. That moment was their only physically awkward moment in the show and they never went there again. There’s a reason for that. Plus the story called for different things at that point, external conflict and other storylines that needed telling, but I digress…again.) 

So there you have it, in a not-so-brief ramble of why I think Beth and Daryl would be good for each other. I’ve said it before, I don’t think they’re going to go straight into romance this season. I think they’re going to build up a solid foundation of friendship and trust in the back half of season 4 and they’re going to learn from each other.  Beth is in mourning needs to deal with her father’s death and the possible loss of her sister, brother-in-law and surrogate daughter. Daryl’s dealing with similar pain. Hershel was the father he never had. Rick is his brother in every way, but blood. He’s dealing with Carol’s actions as well. Plus, they’ve lost everyone else AND their home. Emotionally, they can be there for each other as they try to survive out in the world again. Whether that develops in a romance, well honestly, who knows? I’m just hoping that they both survive, but I’m saying that it could and if it did, it would make sense.

So…can it be February now?