soul of hamburg

Intimacy is a four syllable word for, “Here’s my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.” It’s both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without. Intimacy also comes attached to the three R’s… relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can’t escape. And other things you just don’t want to know.
—  Meredith Grey
Honeymustard Collection 10

THE BIG ONE-OH! Blanket apology to the folks wanting me to post HMC on AO3 - I still plan on it, I’m just…lazy.

Have some abuse in the meantime.



Red spat blood. His mouth sang with pain and his skull was spinning. Shit – he couldn’t remember a time Boss had hit him so hard before. Not since he’d cracked his skull anyway. This was bad. Red tried to prop himself up from where he’d been thrown to the floor but his shivering forearms collapsed instantly when the weight of a heavy boot pressed between his shoulder blades. Boss’s heel twisted into his spine.

Red gasped but held his tongue. Screaming usually made things worse. If he stayed quiet Boss would get bored quickly and leave him alone to lick his wounds.

“What’s this?” Boss murmured, putting more weight on Red’s spine as he crouched down on top of him. He gripped Red’s jaw and forced a clawed thumb between his teeth. Red’s pupils dilated in panic and pain, nearly gagging on Boss’s phalanges as the taller skeleton forced his aching jaw open wider. Red sucked in short, shallow breaths, some part of his narrowing conscious wondering what had sparked Boss’s interest.

Boss clicked his teeth in a chiding, disappointed manner.

“Ch,” he said softly, “you’re so weak. You break too easily.”

Boss pressed a thumb to the part of Red’s mouth that had drawn his interest – a tooth, broken and bleeding in its socket. A pained whine slipped out of Red’s throat, muffled by Boss’s forced hand in his mouth.

“Well,” Boss droned, wiggling the hook of his phalange into Red’s cracked jaw despite the smaller skeleton’s gagged scream and desperate writhing, “we’ll just have to replace this one.”

He ripped the tooth out, root and all.

Red jack-knifed upright in an unfamiliar bed, panicked magic flaring in his left eye socket. He jerked his head around, wondering where the fuck he was for a frantic moment before he recognized the lanky figure under the covers beside him and remembered. He yanked agitatedly at his collarbone, willing himself to get his ragged gasping under control before he woke the other and –

“Red?”

Shit.

Papyrus rolled over groggily and propped himself up on one elbow, rubbing an eye socket with a slow yawn. Red silently cursed himself for dozing off in Stretch’s bed after they’d fooled around that night – he usually slept on the couch and had so far managed to hide his night terrors from the other. He’d grown too comfortable around his Boss’s copy lately and had dropped his guard.

“It’s nothin’ – just a dream,” Red tried to say casually, but the remnants of magic in his eye socket and the break in his voice betrayed him immediately.

Papyrus sat up beside the smaller skeleton, lifting a hand to rub his back comfortingly. Red tried not to flinch but couldn’t stop a shudder at the other’s touch – shit, sometimes it was downright unnerving how similar the weight and shape of Stretch’s body was to Boss’s. He might as well have been back in that dark, stifling bedroom in his own timeline, feeling the heat of Boss’s breath on the back of his neck and nearly gagging on that sulfuric smell…

Red pressed a palm to his mouth and hunched his shoulders, squeezing shut his eye sockets.

“Whoa, hey,” Papyrus moved closer, looping an arm around the other’s stiff back and pulling him against his bare ribcage. “You okay, Red? C’mon, talk to me.”

A harsh bark of laughter rattled from Red’s throat.

Talk to you? Seriously, Stretch?”

Papyrus rolled his eyes, easily seeing through Red’s calloused front. He knew the smaller skeleton’s act was all hot air – but that didn’t make the situation any less worrisome. Papyrus dropped his chin to rest heavily on Red’s shoulder and circled his arms around his hips, effectively cradling the other despite his general dislike for “touchy-feely shit” – as he put it.

Papyrus gave Red a minute to calm his breathing and relax against his chest. He counted the other’s inhalations and exhalations, not wanting to push him too quickly, but knowing that he couldn’t help Red unless the other opened up. Papyrus mustered the smallest amount of light magic in his phalange-tips and picked up Red’s arm, softly brushing over the scars that spider-webbed the surface of his ulna.

“How long have you been chipping?” Papyrus asked softly.

He felt Red swallow – gave him time to decide whether or not he wanted to answer.

“Dunno,” Red finally muttered, “couple of years, I guess.”

“Hmm,” Papyrus hummed absently, moving his phalange-tips to another puckered scar that ran the length of Red’s radius from wrist to elbow.

“And this?”

Red gritted his teeth. He saw where this was going and he didn’t like it. The less Stretch knew about his timeline the better. It’s not like Red needed to bellyache to anyone about his troubles anyway. So what if he couldn’t sleep? So what if his anxiety made him sick sometimes? So what if the ghosting memories of painful encounters with his boss still made his bones…ache…

“I dropped a plate that time,” Red said, almost too low for Papyrus to hear him. “Boss got real mad. ‘A break for a break’ he said.”

Papyrus’s breath was warm on Red’s neck. Red shivered as the taller skeleton gently placed his arm back in his lap and moved on to the next scar – a short, but deep break on his scapula. Papyrus’s magic-laced phalanges traced the scar lightly, casting jagged shadows that exaggerated every hairline imperfection on Red’s bones.

“This?” Papyrus prompted.

“Woke him up on accident,” Red mumbled.

“This?” (an array of cracks on Red’s mandible)

“Didn’t get out of his way fast enough.”

“And here?” (a break that spanned three ribs)

“Messed up dinner one night.”

“Here?” (knots of a shattered femur that had healed wrong)

“Got caught sleeping at my station.”

Papyrus purposefully avoided what looked like claw marks on Red’s ilium and pubis – remembering what Red had yelled in his anger-induced haze when they’d come to blows a few days before. He traced the rest of Red’s scars though, lightly brushing busted bones and bad heals and stress fractures and what seemed like a hundred cracks from a hundred different occasions. Red numbly explained each of them – some he couldn’t even remember, others Papyrus knew he was outright lying about, but that didn’t matter so long as he kept talking.

Having traced the whole length of Red’s body front and back Papyrus returned his arms to their position circling Red’s waist, taking a while to simply hold him in silence. Red stared blankly into the darkness of the bedroom, something horrid cinching in his gut. Papyrus probably thought he was disgusting. Pathetic. Weak. So easily broken…

“I wanna show you something,” Papyrus said suddenly.

Red swallowed, not sure what to expect.

Papyrus held his hands out in front of them, unlit since he’d let his magic go out. A long moment passed. Just as Red was about to ask what the hell he was doing there was a faint ting! and the darkness was chased off by a clean golden light. Papyrus presented his soul in his hands and Red’s mouth fell open in silent, unconscious astonishment.

Papyrus’s soul was unlike anything Red had ever seen. It was so clear and bright and strong. Completely unmarked. How was that possible? Hell, even the children in Red’s timeline had soul scars. Shit – his own soul was like fucking hamburger meat compared to…

Papyrus thought he caught a flicker of understanding in Red’s eye sockets. Brief. Small. And absolutely heartbreaking. Did he realize yet? Did he understand how fucked up his timeline was? Did he see that it didn’t have to be that way…that all he had to do was say the word and he would never have to go back to that shitty house that reeked of blood and sweat? Papyrus allowed his eye sockets to droop in relief…and no small amount of regret for being the catalyst that had yanked Red from his strange, ignorant, broken happiness.

“Here,” Papyrus said, tilting his palm closer.

Red pressed back against Papyrus’s ribcage, shaking his head frantically.

“N-no, Stretch, I don’t think that’s s-such a good idea.”

“C’mon, Red,” Papyrus chuckled, picking up Red’s wrist with his free hand.

“I don’t…” Red’s voice trailed off when Papyrus placed his soul in the smaller skeleton’s flat hand. “…wanna ruin it,” Red finished half-heartedly.

Papyrus could feel Red’s hands shaking. It was cute. Red was unbearably innocent about the strangest things. Papyrus kissed the large crack on the crown of Red’s skull and watched the smaller skeleton study his soul intently. It wasn’t until later that Papyrus realized he hadn’t stopped smiling since he’d handed his heart over. He gave a little sigh and squeezed Red closer against the curve of his body.

Intimacy is a four syllable word for, “Here’s my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.” It’s both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without. Intimacy also comes attached to the three R’s… relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can’t escape. And other things you just don’t want to know.
—  Meredith Grey
Meredith: [voiceover] Intimacy is a four syllable word for “Here is my heart and soul, please grind them into hamburger, and enjoy.” It’s both desired, and feared. Difficult to live with, and impossible to live without. Intimacy also comes attached to life three R’s… relatives, romance, and roommates. There are some things you can’t escape. And other things you just don’t want to know.
—  Grey’s Anatomy: Meredith Grey - 01x04 No Man’s Land
7

George Harrison, photographed in Hamburg, April/May 1962, by Astrid Kirchherr (and part of the Guernsey’s Astrid Kirchherr archive)

Photos: Astrid Kirchherr

“He had so much respect for John. And he always treated me with so much sweetness. I think he understood real love, deep love, more than the others. Professionally, I always remember how serious he was… how determined he was to make sure that I received the creative credit I deserved. George was a sweet man, who, despite reflections on him by others, was really the least complicated of the Beatles… at least to me.” - Astrid Kirchherr on George Harrison, When They Were Boys [x]