“Hey everyone! I just wanted to send you this quick video message to tell you how excited I am to be attending Clexa Con, the very first Clexa Con. I’ll be there next weekend in Las Vegas of course on Saturday March 4th and Sunday March 5th. Make sure you follow them on Twitter and Instagram @clexacon and check out their website so you know when and where exactly to find me. And I will see you in Sin City. So many queer ladies under one roof. That’s going to be a wild trip. Byeeee!”
Okay so: when Peter was 14, he made his spider-outfit big and baggy so he could wear it with just a sports bra under it so he wouldn’t be exercising with a binder on. When he got Tony’s first spider-suit, he went ahead and wore a binder under it because by that time he’d figured out that super-strength (and super-healing) kept his lungs and ribs safe.
When Tony found out that he was wearing a binder under his suit, he freaked out and told Peter that just because you have superpowers doesn’t mean you can suffocate yourself all day. Peter refused to stop Spider-Manning in his binder, and Tony finally said “okay, what about surgery then?” Peter hadn’t even thought of that as a possibility because of lack of money and being a minor, but Tony insisted that it was an investment in the protection of the city and found a surgeon who would work with permission from a guardian plus letters from psychiatrists.
When Peter was almost 15, Tony talked the surgeon into working with Bruce to find ways to operate successfully on someone with super-healing and talked the surgeon into operating with Peter’s mask on. (Convincing him to accept guardian’s permission and letters without Peter’s name on them was actually the hard part; the surgeon was very excited to work on someone with superpowers.)
For Peter, the worst part was the period he wasn’t able to go out as Spider-Man. They had to temporarily slow down his super-healing in order to operate, so for the first two weeks he healed only a bit faster than a standard human, and his arms wouldn’t move properly and his chest hurt and there was no way Tony was letting him go swing around the city and tear open his stitches, especially when his healing factor was offline.
When Peter was 15, his super-healing had fully taken care of his incisions, like they were never there, and he only had the occasional twinge - apparently healing factors don’t entirely eliminate the effects of nerve damage.
When Peter was 15, he went swimming for the first time since he was 7.
Once he saw the guys all pointing to the other side of Jin, he turned around to find you biting on your thumb to keep from sobbing too hard. He instantly rushed out to hold you to him, “Baby what happened? Are you okay?”
Yoongi was alone in the studio when he heard you knocking. He opened up to find you jumping into his arms and sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder from the absolute shit day you just had. He was a bit shocked at first but didn’t hesitate to hold you tightly to him and whisper for you to relax and that he was right here. “What happened? Did someone upset you? Who was it?” He asked once you’d calmed down a little and was on his lap.
You walked into the studio and looked around for Hoseok while you held in your tears. Once your eyes met, he immediately knew something was off. He hurried over to you before you wrapped your arms around his neck and began to let it all out and cry. He held you tightly as he continuously asked you what was wrong. What’s you had calmed down, he sat you two down. “Baby please tell me what happened today.”
Namjoon was about to head into the practice room when he heard his name called. He turned around to find you with your hand over your mouth, choking back your sobs. You both made your way to eachother before you crashed into his arms. He told the guys to give him a second as he took you out to speak. “My love, what’s the matter?”
You pretty much ran into the studio and past the boys to jump into your boyfriend’s arms. Jimin caught and held onto you as you sobbed onto his shoulder. “Shh baby, calm down. It’s okay, please don’t cry.” He softly said as he carried you both to privacy.
Taehyung saw you walk into the studio and look for him. He made his way to you, knowing something was off. Once to you, you wasted no time in pressing your head against his chest and finally crying. He held you tight and close while texting namjoon that’d have to skip practice for today. His priority was you today.
Once jungkook saw you walk into the studio with a tear stained, red face, he made his way to you and gripped your arms gently to look into your eyes. “Baby? What happened? Are you alright?” You didn’t get the chance to respond before the tears started coming again and he pulled you into his arms. “Shh darling…it’s alright.”
Call what we had an oil spill. Call what we
had dirty laundry. Call how I pulled your face
from the concrete that evening when you wanted
a vehicle to tear open your body like Thanksgiving
dinner, manipulation. Call my name now and you
will not hear an exaltation, but a eulogy of every
negative aspect you can relate to a relationship.
Call your anger venting when we both know it
is you accepting the destruction of your own being.
Call what you and your new girl have pure spring water.
Call what you feel for her awakening. Call it revelation.
Call it enlightenment. Call what we shared poisonous;
ivy crossed with stinging nettle crossed with
nightshade. Call this disastrous persona you
carry something holy. Call yourself beginning anew,
and ending later. Call yourself magic; all starlight and
coal turned diamond. Call our ending the meteor that
avoided colliding with your planetary body. Call my
name a singe against your skin. Call your absence
blessing. Call this end retribution. Call her name
poetry incarnate. Call my aura an alarm you never
learned how to switch off after my leaving. Call this final.
Barry’s head pokes into the dining room table, the Neverwinter Times folded into his hands. He looks down at himself, pokes his own nose. “I don’t think so? I don’t look dead.”
Lup looks him up and down, then says, “Yep, you really don’t.”
In response, Lup takes the package she’s been holding, grabs it by the ends, and turns it on its head. Letters - bundled into packs bound with black ropes, spare ones scratched on torn napkins, envelopes-within-envelopes written in deep dark ink - spill all over the table.
“What are these?”
“Consolation letters,” Lup says, grinning. She plucks the first one off the table, slits it with a brightly-painted red nail, and begins to read. “‘Dear Lup Taaco, my cult and I would like to express our condolences for your loss.’ Aww, that’s so sweet, they’re cult-bonding.”
Barry narrows his eyes. “Is that a necromantic cult or a religious one?”
“Dunno.” She tosses it aside, picks up another one. “‘Dear IPRE, sorry for your loss. We hope Barry feels better soon. We know most people don’t feel better after being dead but he’s done it before.’”
Barry drifts forward, looking at the stack in apprehension and slight awe. He picks one up at random, skims it, and turns white. “Why do these people think I’m dead?”
“Don’t know, but there’s definitely a consensus, babe,” Lup says. “Aww, someone sent a bunch of dead flowers! I’ll pass them onto Merle.”
“Lup, no, this is weird. This - this is weird.”
“Yeah, for sure,” she says, leafing through the next letters. The mound grows intimidatingly the more Barry looks at it. “What did you do?”
“I - I don’t know.”
“Huh. Maybe someone started a dumb rumor. You never know the kinda shit floating around Faerun these days.”
True? Okay. Okay, no, this is just another mystery. Maybe there are clues in the truly preposterous number of letters sitting on the table. Carefully, Barry picks the first one up, a letter wrapped in a satin ribbon and addressed in dark ink so black it almost looks tar. He tears it open gently and sets the envelope aside, then begins to read.
Dear Miss Lup,
I’m really really sorry your husband is dead. I want you to know that my mom and my dad love him too and that if you ever need someone to talk to because death is a really really bad thing then you can send us a letter any time. I’d give you my mom’s frequency but I don’t know it.
Below is an address. It’s from the far east, a remote village that Barry only knows because he passed through there while hunting for Lup a couple of years into his search.
He’s not freaking out so much as very, very confused. He’s certain he’s alive. Pulse beating in his throat and everything. So why does everyone think he’s dead?
He goes through a couple more without finding any clues. Most are of the same vein - sorry for your loss, hope you’re doing better. A couple recommend Lup some therapists in Neverwinter. Two cite him as his inspiration for practicing necromancy. He’s gonna need to pay those fans a personal visit. Probably with his scythe.
“Barry?” Lup says after a little while. She’s set the letters down and is now looking at him strangely.
He opens another one. This one’s written in blue ink. All the others have been black. Really goes to show what kind of person picked Barold J. Bluejeans, lich and necromancer-turned-reaper extraordinaire, as their favorite of the seven birds. “Yes, dear?”
“When you died, you picked up your bodies, right?”
Barry freezes. He thinks back to those ten years on his own, dying repeatedly. He’d had a process - he’d freak out, flicker a little bit, and pull himself together - with admirable speed and courage, of course. Then he’d grab his jeans (can’t leave those behind), a couple hairs, a bunch of blood (which wasn’t typically too hard to collect), the coin, some supplies, and take off for Wave Echo Cave.
He’d leave the body, though. He didn’t need it.
“Barold J. Bluejeans,” she snaps, setting down her letter with a thwack on the table. “Did you leave your corpses strewn all around this continent?”
“I only needed a little blood to make a new body!” he yelps. “I was a lich, it wasn’t like I could pick up my body and carry it with me!”
“You managed to keep the same clothes for ten years!”
“I’ve had these jeans for a hundred years, they’re precious to me!”
“That’s fair,” Lup says, grinning too widely to be angry. “So you’re telling me, these people stumbled across your dead body and thought it was you?”
“Probably,” he replies sheepishly. “I mean, in my defense, I didn’t think anyone would find it. I kinda fell off a mountain range.”
“And you didn’t go collect them when you got an actual body?” she asks, gesturing toward him.
“I was a little busy creating your body.”
Lup sighs, exasperated. She throws an envelope at him. It drifts unimpressively down to the table. “This is it, Barold. This is what you get when you don’t show up at press conferences ever. People start to think you’re literally dead.”
“I hate them,” he mumbles. “Too many spotlights and reporters and questions. I get all sweaty.”
“You’re one of the seven birds, babe. People want to know your story.”
“They already do, sweetheart.”
“Yeah, but they want to hear it from you.” She glances over her shoulder at the Taako Time™ calendar hanging on their wall and grins. “Babe, there’s one tomorrow and you’re going.”
“I don’t wanna,” he whines. “Lup, they…they suck. All the reporters and the microphones and the spotlights….”
“No arguments, dear,” Lup says, standing and crossing her arms over his head to rest her cheek on his hair. “Lucretia hates them too and she goes.”
“She was the Director of the Bureau of Balance, she’s good at that shit now,” Barry grumbles. “Besides, Davenport doesn’t have to answer questions.”
“Davenport’s at sea, babe. Getting to interview him is like finding a Shiny.”
Barry groans, tugs on a strand of Lup’s hair. It’s dyed red toward the ends. “If you loved me you wouldn’t make me go.”
“I love you,” Lup affirms, “so I’m making you go.”
“Can I at least - ”
“No, you can’t wear your tuxedo T-shirt. You have to wear the sweater vest I bought you.”
Barry slumps his head toward the table. Lup slides down his neck to rest her chin on his shoulder. “Cycle forty or sixty-eight,” he asks, words muffled by the table.
“Forty,” she decides. “I won’t make you do sequins.”
“Thank the Queen.” He straightens. There’s ink on his forehead. Lup laughs, then licks a thumb and wipes it away. “Gross.”
The letters flare in the corner of his vision. Sighing, Barry tugs Lup onto his lap. She sits with a laugh, gleeful and teasing, and reaches reaching for a letter of her own. Leaning her temple against his, she slices open another letter, and begins to read.
“Wow, babe,” she says after a couple minutes. “You’re really an inspiration for some up-and-coming dark magic babies.”
“I know,” he sighs. She chuckles and ruffles his hair affectionately. “I’m gonna have to go talk to them.”
Lup’s counterproposal is cut off by her Stone of Farspeech buzzing against her collarbone. She picks up without looking and says “Heyo, Blupjeans household, whaddya want?”
“Barold J. Bluejeans!” screeches her brother’s voice through the receiver. Barry jumps. “You wanna explain to me why my dining table is fuckin’ swamped with condolence letters?!”
Lup and Barry turn to stare at each other in horror. Then, right on cue, Barry’s Stone rings. He checks it. It’s Magnus’s signal. They stare at it.
“Oh Gods,” Lup groans, and picks up.
“Barry? Barry, are you okay?” comes Magnus’s voice. There are a couple of dogs barking in the background, as there always are when Magnus calls. “I heard you were dead, I know it sucks, like, serious ass to be without a body, I wanted to check in, and also tell you that I’ve got a ticket for Neverwinter on hold if you need me down there - ” he says.
Lup and Barry exchange glances. Barry begins to laugh.
You remember this? My dad and I used to build model airplanes. And this, this was my absolute favorite. Tenth birthday. This is a Nieuport 28. It’s the same plane Quentin Roosevelt flew in World War I. When you were about two years old, you got your hands on this, and you broke off one of the wings. I spent about an hour with a hot glue gun trying to fix it. It ended up in about 20 pieces instead of 2. Quentin, sometimes trying to fix something only makes it worse.