test later

Red Hood and the Outlaws (2016) #7: Jason and Bizarro

I love these panels. I love Jason seeing himself in Bizarro. I love Jason trying to help Bizarro. I love that Jason took him to a beautiful place to show him how beautiful the world is because Jason had needed it at a dark point in his life as well. I love Jason sharing his experiences and feelings with Bizarro. I love that because Jason is doing all of this Bizarro is also healing better than he would have alone.

I just love this scene so much and as it goes on we see that Bizarro understands everything that’s happened to him.

Then when Jason is putting the kryptonite bullet filled gun to Bizarros head, to me it reads that Bizarro is LETTING him.  Bizarro knows what he is.  Bizarro is trying to come to peace with it and he may not seem so smart but his words show otherwise. What’s really happening is that he’s GIVING Jason this power over him because he doesn’t trust himself to make that kind of judgement.  

But Bizarro thinks that if Jason can trust him, keep him on the path of good, then maybe he can become better, his own person.  But Bizarro doesn’t want to become evil, he fears himself becoming like that, but the bullet is actually a comfort to him because if he went too far, became evil, then Jason would be there and he trusts that he would put that bullet in his head.

Jason himself isn’t used to being the one holding the moral ground around someone else, this is also something new and scary for him because he gets to experience first hand what it’s like to trust another person who may fall into moral ambiguity.

In the end it’s extremely bittersweet because when you read this issue Jason purposefully is being written to make you feel that he’s just so young (and he is still pretty young) and unsure even though he’s seen and been through so much already.

Then when you read Bizarro you really feel so much of Superman, so much of Clark Kent’s certain brand of ‘goodness’, inside Bizarro even though he was never, and never will be, Superman.

These two are just being really well set up for some emotional trials that are still to come.

(K)Langst where Lance dies. He literally dies, and not in a heroic last stand. He dies needlessly, without purpose. Maybe he was kidnapped and killed by bounty hunters. Maybe he dies in a free accident. Maybe he gets sick. However he goes, the team is left devastated. Blue is devastated. Keith is devastated. 

It’s only when he’s gone do the team realize how much life Lance had provided the team. How his silly and playful attitude empowered them, gave them the sense of hope they needed to keep moving forward. It takes a long time for them to pick up the pieces, for Blue to open herself up to a new Paladin (Allura), but they never manage to put themselves back together completely. 

Skip three years after Lance’s death, when one day Blue starts going all fidgety. She stops communicating with Allura (not that they ever had the strongest bond in the first place). Then she just hightails it out of the Castle, flying to some random planet. 

Blue comes back later that day, but she’s not alone. Climbing out of Blue, looking incredibly confused and exactly as he did three years ago, is Lance. Lance, who smiles at them with the biggest smile before demanding to know what’s going on. And why are they pointing their weapons at him, seriously guys, what the quiznack?! 

Faced with this stranger (because it can’t be Lance, they buried his corpse back on Earth), they lock him in the cellar in a whirl of chaotic emotions. Keith in particular is enraged that someone would impersonate Lance, pretend to be him. The team debates over what to do with this impersonator. Keith half-sarcastically suggests throwing him out the airlock. 

That night, Hunk can’t help but go down to see this Lance impersonator. He sensed something about him, something so so familiar. Lance is overjoyed to see him, if a little miffed because he doesn’t understand what’s going on. He insists that it’s him, it’s Lance, and Hunk, despite himself, wants to believe it’s him. He asks Lance questions, personal stuff only Lance could possibly know. And Lance answers all of his questions. He tells Hunk all about his family, his older sister and brother, his little brother and sister, his mother, his father. He talks about the Garrison, talks about secrets Hunk had only ever told Lance.  

By the end of their talk, Hunk is convinced. Somehow, someway, this is Lance. A DNA test later reconfirms his genetic identity when compared to an older DNA sample of Lance. And with Blue’s behavior, there is no other explanation. It’s Lance, back from the dead. A Lance who doesn’t know he died in the first place. 

Hunk and Coran are overjoyed. Allura and Shiro are more cautiously happy. Pidge is obsessed with finding out how this even happened. Keith alternates between being obsessively overprotective and hovering and avoiding Lance. He’s not sure how to process this. It took him a long, long time for him to sort of bury his feelings regarding Lance’s death, and his revival brings all of that back to the surface. He never actually coped/accepted/healed from it, and seeing Lance again, it brings all of his grief back to the surface, and he’s so angry at himself because why is he sad when his friend has come back? Why is so scared to talk to Lance? 

It’s Lance who comforts him, who gets him to face those feelings, who helps him cope with what happened all those years ago.   

Lance, meanwhile, tries to adjust to his friends being years older than the last time he saw them. Tries to adjust to how everyone is staring at him, as if he’s a ghost who could disappear any minute. To how much time he’s missed, the adventures the team had without him. It’s hard. It’s hard for everyone. The pieces the team managed to put back together fall into shambles once again. But little by little, all of them together, they reassemble, stronger than ever. 

@spirit-gem @thetwilightroadtonightfall

Personality stuff about me

I keep seeing these on my feed and have wanted to do one for awhile. These are really fun to learn about, some of them being a wake up call for me (mainly how high my psychopathy score is, oops)

Zodiac Sign: Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpio | Sagittarius | Capricorn | Aquarius | Pisces | 

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

Life Path Number: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 11 | 22 | 33 |

Four Temperaments: Sanguine | Melancholic | Choleric | Phlegmatic |

Enneagram: The Reformer (Type 1) | The Helper (Type 2) | The Achiever (Type 3) | The Individualist (Type 4) | The Thinker (Type 5) | The Loyalist (Type 6) | The Enthusiast (Type 7) | The Leader (Type 8) | The Peacemaker (Type 9) | 

Celtic Zodiac: Birch (The Achiever) | Rowan (The Thinker) | Ash (The Enchanter) | Alder (The Trailblazer) | Willow (The Observer) | Hawthrone (The Illusionist) | Oak (The Stabilizer) | Holly (The Ruler) | Hazel (The Knower) | Vine (The Equalizer) | Ivy (The Survivor) | Reed (The Inquisitor) | Elder (The Seeker) | 

Celtic Animal Sign: Stag/Deer | Cat | Cow/Bull | Horse | Butterfly | Adder/Snake | Seahorse | Fish/Salmon | Wolf/Hound | Fox | Wren | Swan | Falcon/Hawk | 

Soul Type (one test): Hunter | Caregiver | Creator | Thinker | Helper | Educator | Performer | Leader | Spiritualist | 

Hogwarts House: Gryffindor | Hufflepuff | Ravenclaw | Slytherin

Ilvermorny House: Thunderbird | Wampus | Pukwudgie | Horned Serpent |

The Animal in You: Lion | Tiger | Dolphin| Bear | Wild Cat | Fox | Weasel | Badger | Dog | Otter | Wolf | Sea Lion | Wild Dog | Walrus | Gorilla | Deer | Rhinoceros | Hippo | Sable | Horse | Sheep | Mountain Goat | Warthog | Zebra | Baboon | Elephant | Bison | Giraffe | Cottontail | Mole | Bat | Porcupine | Beaver | Prairie Dog | Shrew | Mouse | Eagle | Rooster | Owl | Swan | Peacock | Vulture | Penguin | Crocodile | Snake | 

Archetypes: Creative | Athlete | Rebel | Caregiver | Visionary | Royal | Performer | Spiritual | Tastemaker | Explorer | Advocate | Intellectual

Brain Lateralization Test: Left | Right

Cerebral Personality Test: 1-10% | 11-20% | 21-30% | 31-40% |41-50% | 51-60% | 61-70% | 71-80% | 81-90% | 91-100% | 

Multiple Intelligences Test: Kinaesthetic | Linguistic | Logical | Interpersonal | Intrapersonal | Musical | Visual/Spatial | Naturalistic | 

Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (Primary Psychopathy): 1 | 1.5 | 2 | 2.5 | 3 | 3.5 | 4 | 4.5 | 5 |

“Okay, you know what? This isn’t getting us anywhere. That was RUDE, Mel!” 

[So I read @wheaterz amazing fic Testing Maintenance and WOW. It has some amazing writing and it’s such a good read. If you haven’t read it yet, it features Mel and Virgil and it’s just well written and worth checking out!]
(Yeah, the pic is a bit sketchy, but I’ve been coloring all day so I’ll come back to finish/clean this up later)

“You’re a terrible father” - Tony Stark x Daughter!reader

Love the idea. And really, I kinda take any requests :D. Thank you for this one, it’s right here, hope you like it :

_____________________________________________________________________

It was the twentieth fucking time you tried to call your father, Anthony Stark, and you fell, once again, on his stupid voice saying that he was “too busy to answer” and that he’d “call back” but “probably not”. Damn that man. 

In your entire life on this Earth, you were pretty sure he never picked you up on time somewhere. Never, ever. He was just always late, so much that you came up with a trick of actually telling the wrong times for him to be on time. If something was at 6pm, you’d tell him it was at 4. But even with that trick, he still often managed to be fucking late. Which is why most of the time, your stepmother came to get you. But Pepper, wasn’t available today. 

You smiled, thinking about your “stepmother”. You were so glad she was in your life, being pretty sure that if your dad never had the help, he probably would have lost custody of you before you reach the age of 1…You considered Pepper your real mother. You never met your biological mom as she just dumped you in front of your dad’s house, with a note. One paternity test later, and it was confirmed you were his…You were the first step to his transformation, the first to help him become the man he was today. Better. 

So you grew up with Pepper around. She filled in brilliantly the mother role, even before she actually started dating your father (you remember the day you finally convinced him to just tell her his feelings, and smiled).

You were just so glad she was there. Being Tony Stark’s daughter wasn’t the easiest thing ever. He was quite…peculiar. He always took good care of you, even when he was still in his “I’m a drunk, but I’m a genius so it’s ok” days. He was always there for you (even if late to the party), but the pressure of being the daughter of someone that famous was always difficult for you, especially since your biological mother was MIA…Everyone always expected so much of you, to be a genius like him, to change the World like him, and they always asked the same fucking questions about your mother and blahblahblah…While you just wanted to be normal. Which is why you hid the fact that you were a genius too, and helped him a lot on the design and montage of his latest suits. 

Being Tony Stark’s daughter wasn’t easy, and Pepper Potts always got your back. Helping you avoid paparazzis, talking to you about things you just couldn’t ask your father, telling you everything was going to be OK when you were wondering why your dad fell asleep in his own vomit, dead drunk etc etc…She was just always there for you when your dad wasn’t. 

Fortunately, since those times where you were afraid you’d lost your dad to alcohol, he greatly improved. Since he got involved with the Avengers in fact. People like Captain America helped in the transformation that begin the day he discovered he was a father. It made him want to be better, to not make and sell weapon anymore, but to create things that would help the World and its inhabitants. To stop drinking and wasting his precious health. To become a role model for people, and not just because he was that cool rich dude, but because his action inspired people to do better too. 

But one thing he never fucking improved, was his damn habit of being late all the time. After calling him one more time and him not answering, you were about to just hitchhike back home when your phone rung. It was him. At the sound of his voice when you picked up, you knew he knew he screwed up. It was easy to know though, he often screwed up. He was (became) a good dad, but damn he made so many mistakes. You didn’t mind much. Except when he was late, you hated waiting. He shyly said :

-Hello baby girl…Something you needed ? 

-Oh yeah. I just have one question for you. 

He could hear in your voice that you were…sour, and carefully asked : 

-Yes ? 

-Did you like…forgot about me ? I’ve been waiting for you to pick me up from college for almost two hours. It’s 8 dad. You’re a terrible father…

You made sure to make your last sentence sound like it was a joke, not wanting your dad to feel too bad, just a little bit. You knew he was self-conscious about the education he gave you, afraid he didn’t do enough…When really, he did. It wasn’t always the best, but it was his best. 

Silence on the line. You heard him put the phone away from his mouth, swear a little bit, and take it back to his face.

-I’m so sorry honey, I was so caught up in…

-Working on a new suit, I know. Can you just come pick me up please ? Or maybe I should just call Steve ? 

-I’m on my way. 

You smiled as you hung up the phone. Your father didn’t really approve of your new relationship with one of his superhero colleague, Steve Rogers. You met him at the Avengers’ tower one day, and you guys just got really well along. He was a bit older, just a few years (well, technically, decades older…), and Hawkeye and Black Widow convinced him to ask you out, hoping it’d piss your father. They were right. But here’s the thing, you were a Stark, stubbornness was written in your DNA, so you just didn’t care at all and went on a date with Cap’ anyway. It went wonderfully. Six months later, you were officially together. And there’s nothing your dad could do about it (except clumsily trying to make you two break up, and not succeeding at all).

If you wanted to annoy your dad, you just had to pronounce Steve’s name lovingly, and he was gone for hours of rant about how, out of respect, someone should never date  a friend’s daughter…But deep down, he was happy it was a gentleman such as Captain America that caught your heart, at least, he knew he was a good guy. Not like him at all, which was good. 

After a few more minute, you heard the sound of your father’s car, and you stood up from the wall you were sitting on. 

He parked on the side of the road and rolled down his window to show you two nice warm cup of coffee. 

-I got coffee…As an offering of peace ? 

You rolled your eyes and got into the car, snatching both cups from his hands. You fucking loved coffee. He gave you a look meaning : “really ? Watch your caffeine intake girl”, and you gave him a look meaning : “F’ you, you’re late, I love coffee, everything is for me”…You guys communicated a lot with just your eyes. People always were kinda freaked out that you could hold entire conversation by just moving your eyes and eye brows. 

Your dad stayed silent for a minute, thinking about what he could say without pissing you off too much. He knew you really didn’t like small talk. 

-So…how was school ? I still don’t understand why you’re doing an English major, by the way…

-School’s going great. Had lunch with Steve, he wasn’t late. And I chose English by pure contradiction spirit. People expected me to get into engineering and shit, I definitely wanted to disappoint them. And besides, I don’t need to learn thing I already know, do I ? So…English and language in general. 

-…I guess it makes sense. You had lunch with Cap ? I thought he went back to New York. 

-He’s going back tomorrow, for a few days. And yeah, he made me great sandwiches. 

-Sandwiches…Lame. I’d have make you…Osso Bucco or something.

-Osso Bucco ? Really ?

-Yes. Or something else. Come on anything is better than just sandwiches.

-Yeah, maybe, but he was on time.

-Ok I get it. Sorry once more. Won’t happen…

-Don’t you dare say it won’t happen again, because it always happen, no matter. I told you I was getting out at 3, even though my last classes ended at 6…and you still managed to be late. 5 hours late. Most impressive. 

-I’m sorry. 

-Yeah you already said that. 

-I mean it. 

-I know dad, I know…

Silence. You two were so alike, and yet so different. Physically, in one glance it was easy to see you were related. You basically were a female version of him. Mentally, you thought a lot the same way, but you were…Nicer. Less pretentious. He’d say you were too nice, and not confident enough. 

-You know, I’m really trying. 

-Yes dad. I know. Don’t worry, it’s ok. Those two hours waiting outside actually gave me enough quiet time to work on…a little project. 

-Yeah ? 

-Yeah. 

You took out of your bag blueprints you made for an idea you suddenly had for a new suit…And he smiled. 

-Brilliant. 

-I know.

He smiled. You were a lot like each other, and yet different. He’d say you took all of his good sides, none of his bad. 

You quickly forgave him for his tardiness as you both got completely focus on your new project, and also because…Well, he was your dad. No matter what he did, you’d always forgive him. Besides, contrary to some people’s belief, he was mostly a good dad. Sometimes a prick, like a lot of father, but always there. Late, but there. You didn’t had a flawless education, but hey, it was still pretty great…

It wasn’t easy being Tony Stark’s daughter, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. 

anonymous asked:

Can you make a really fluff relationship goals one shot with jeff atkins? He is such a pure soul who needs more stuff regarding him on this webpage😭❤

title: boy, you got me helpless

word count: 475

note: more of a lil drabble just because it’s late at night, but it’s still cute. jeff is an adorable, caring cinnamon roll. PEEK THAT HAMILTON REF THO this is like one relationship goal based on what i feel my goals are tbh lmao it’s cute tho


Your clock on your bedside table glared a bright, jarring red “1: 34 AM” and you groaned inwardly as you slumped over on your desk, lying your head on top of your American Government textbook. You had a test in the morning that you needed to study for so you could pass and bring your grade up. However, your attempts were being derailed by the menace known as sleep. Just as you were drifting off on top of a page about public opinion, your phone buzzed, playing the quiet tune of “Helpless” from Hamilton, the special ringtone that showed Jeff was trying to contact you.

You picked up your phone, smiling tiredly at the contact photo for your boyfriend as Eliza sang “Boy, you got me helpless.” Your finger slid easily across the answer button.

“Hey, sugar,” you greeted, your voice obviously dripping with drowsiness.

“Hey,” Jeff replied on the other side of the line. “I really didn’t think you were going to answer. I figured you’d be asleep right now.”

“No, no. I’ve got a test in American Government later and I’m trying to cram for it.”

He sighed and it came through crackly, distorted and quiet. “You should get some rest. If you don’t, you’re going to flunk it no matter how hard you studied tonight.”

“Where’d you learn that?” you asked jokingly.

“Clay. He told me once after a tutoring session that if you don’t get enough sleep before a test, it can seriously affect how well you do. I trust him, babe.”

It was your turn to sigh; you knew Jeff was right. He usually was when it came to stuff like this.

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Really, [nickname]. Get some sleep. If it’ll make you feel better about it, I’ll meet up with you extra early tomorrow at Monet’s and I can help you study.”

“That sounds really nice, but I don’t want to wake you up earlier than you need to be. I know you have that baseball game that’s, like… three hours away. You need the energy-”

“[Full name], your test is way more important than some baseball game. I know you really want to bring your grade up in that class. It’ll be okay, I promise.”

Another sigh. “Alright.”

“Thanks.”

“Jeff?”

“Yeah, sweets?”

“You know I love you, right? And that you’re the best boyfriend in the history of boyfriends?”

He chuckled on the other end and you knew from experience that he was blushing, running a hand over his face; he always did when you complimented him like this, especially when it was spoken softly late at night.

“Yeah. You make sure to let me know every day. Just so you know, I love you, too. And you’re the best girlfriend in the history of girlfriends.”

“Thanks, Jeff.”

“No problem, [Name]. Goodnight, love you.”

“Love you more. Night.”

  • Wyldon: It's not natural for women to fight.
  • Alanna: It's not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.
npr.org
The Most Expensive Record Never Sold
The story of a mysterious Florida musician, fake identities and the record-breaking sale of a rare album that might not actually exist.

This is the story of a hoax that almost was. Its motivating force was a hunger for fame, or infamy, or whispered legend in a particularly American sort of way. It begins on a beach somewhere in south Florida.

Earlier this year, a test pressing (literally a test, for labels and artists to hear before ordering a full run of new record) of an unknown musician’s record was put up for sale on Discogs, a resale website popular with collectors. Two days later that test pressing almost became, at a price tag of $18,000, the most expensive album ever sold on the site, besting a record set last year for a sublimely rare Prince piece which sold for $15,000.

The lightning-fast turnaround on this record-breaking sale, however, seems to have been a fiction woven by the record’s creator. Thursday, Discogs canceled the transaction.

heinousactszx  asked:

You read Homestuck in FOUR DAYS?!? How on earth did you do it do fast?!

I have this good ability to focus on one task for 12 hours and also I read fast.

JOKER SAW BATMAN WITH HIS MASK OFF

okay, let me clarify since y’all may not know what I’m talking about.

if you HAVE SEEN THE BATMAN LEGO MOVIE (SPOILERS BTW)

YOU REMEBER THAT HEART REATCHING SCENE THAT TAKES PLACE HERE.

(remember where Barbra and Alfred are, I’m gonna test yea later)

then we have this happen

sadness ensures.

BUT THEN.

THERES THE BAT FAM…

THEN WHO DAT LITTLE SPLOCH IN THE UPPER PART OF THE SCREEN

(indicated by a circle)

why its none other then the joker himself. I CAN SEE THE GREEN HAIR EVEN PAST THE HORRID PIXELS AND BLUE CLOUDS.

then batman falls then we have the whole group of peeps

(the other villains all saw Bruce bat too now that I think about it but that’s not the point…)

THE POINT IS…JOKER KNOWS ITS BRUCE WAYNE.

so I expect joker makes lots of visits after this movie is all I got to say.

RESOURCE FOR (major) AP TESTS

Yo!! for those of you students (or not) who’re taking AP tests, there’s this channel called Crash Course that has a bunch of AP-related series. each video’s between 10-15 minutes long and a lot of students use them as review or catch-up on stuff that their class skimmed over/stuff they didn’t understand or missed. Here are the ones that I know are for sure AP courses:

AP World History (also, if you want a more in-depth look at a lot of these topics, check out World History 2 as well)

AP US History

AP Ecology

AP Biology

AP Chemistry

AP English Literature (in terms of analysis and close reading, not so much about paragraph and essay styles…sorry, if anyone’s got a good source for that, please reblog and add some sources)

AP Psychology (helped me get a 5 on the ap psych test, no joke!!)

AP United States Government and Politics

AP Micro- and Macro-economics* (I believe, feel free to contest this)

AP Physics* (not sure which specific tests these videos cover) - (MinutePhysics is also a good source for specific topic in physics)

* indicates series that are, as of May 3rd 2016, still running/incomplete

If anyone has any other AP-related testing help (in terms of subject matter, not how to take the test), please reblog and add more. I hope y’all pass your tests!!

Fanfiction - He Who Loves Him (College AU)

All my fanfiction here

He Who Loves Him

Claire was brushing her teeth, silently going over every possible therapeutic scheme for a pneumonia – she had a pharmacology test later that week -, when her phone buzzed inside her pocket.

“Going for an early session with JG, need to train our plays. Meet me there later, Snch? Love u. XO”

The image of John Grey the previous night, his unshielded emotions pouring out, came to her mind with the impact of a slap. Could she be wrong? She didn’t thought so. In that fraction of time John had laid down his guard, totally exposed as his heart called out for Jamie’s. She knew that look – had surprised it enough times while looking into the mirror or gazing at Jamie’s eyes since that first night, months ago.

Was Jamie aware of his affections? That issue was even more complicated. He was a sensitive and wise man – Claire highly doubted he would proposedly seek John’s company so often, knowing that it might encourage him somehow. Knowing that, deep down, every time they stood close he was teasing John. No – she was fairly sure Jamie had no clue. Besides, she was confident he would have shared any thoughts of that nature with her.

It was like holding a grenade – a weapon of destruction had been bestowed into her care and now she had to decide what to do with it – she could almost feel it, throbbing dangerously in her hand with each passing second. Should she share her suspicions with Jamie? The repercussions of that discovery floated in front of her eyes, as ripples of a disturbance in the water. Perhaps she ought to remain silent and wait for things to unfold as they would? Perchance knowing his feelings unreciprocated, Grey would slowly forget Jamie?

Slowly she typed her answer and hit send, her chest heavy as a quarry. “See you then. XX”

She went to the library in search of some articles, needed to complete her essay on the benefits of breast cancer screening. All the time, while she perused the books and medical publications in search of helpful materials, a permanent weight was trapped inside her, like a vine around her trachea and lungs, threatening to suffocate her – the burden of secrets kept and the clairvoyance of pain to come.

“Claire!” Ian called her with urgency, hurriedly walking along the corridor of bookcases. He was almost breathless and he had a deep crease on his forehead. “A Dhia! I’ve been searching everywhere for ye. Something happened.”

“Jamie.” She whispered, dropping a pile of books on the floor, her lips numb. “What is it, Ian? What happened?”

“He is alright.” Ian comforted her, but his lips were twisted in apprehension. “But he punched John Grey – hit him pretty badly.”

“What?!” Claire asked, astonished. She grabbed Ian by the shoulders and shook him slightly, as if panning gold from a river. “But they are friends.”

“Well…” Ian swallowed hard and blushed like a lobster under the influence of the cooker. “Apparently Grey kissed him in front of the whole team.”

****

Claire found him sitting – of rather collapsed - on the lawn of the nearby park – usually a perfect hiding place, if not for the gossip that followed him and made him as easy to trace as a fugitive kangaroo.

“Have you come here to yell at me?” John asked, his eyes caught in the distant flock of birds, raiding the top of the trees like a heavenly army, flaunting their freedom with a stroke of wings. “God I wish they’d stop doing that.” He grumbled, as a couple of girls blatantly pointed in his direction from afar, their laughs clear as seagulls’ cries calling for a storm at sea.

“You kissed my boyfriend.” Claire said in a conversational tone while she sat next to him on the grass, folding her legs in a meditation position. “The thought of giving a shout or two has crossed my mind. Don’t you think I’m entitled to it? Or being a boy is supposed to offer you some privileges?”

“I was thinking you’d find it ridiculous enough to pity me.” He snorted, brushing his knuckles. He was sporting an impressive black eye, as if something had started to rot from the inside out, hidden truths closer to the surface of the skin. “I’m not your rival, Claire – never will be.”

“There’s nothing ridiculous about your feelings, John.” She said softly, brushing away a stubborn curl waving like a flag on the breeze. “I hope you know that.”

“Jamie didn’t seem to agree.” John closed his eyes and grimaced. “I didn’t mean to disrespect you in any way, Claire. I know what you are – who you are – to him.”

“So what did you mean?” She waited patiently as his fingers played with a solitary dandelion, an outcast amongst the green blades of grass, akin to himself.

“I’m in love with him.” He whispered, his ears acquiring a faint pinkish tone – his light blue eyes serious and tormented. Was it the first time he admitted it out loud? “I had promised myself I would never act upon it – would never sought nothing more than his friendship. I was decided to cherish whatever he chose to give me as my most precious gift.”

“What changed, then?” Claire nodded, observing as an ant made its way across her finger, tickling her with its infinitesimal steps – unbelievingly strong by nature’s standards and yet so fragile had she chosen to crush it.  

“He was so happy after practice today – so hopeful for the Championships next week.” John explained in a choked voice, shrugging. “For a moment I lost track of reality – I was entangled in the fantasy that I could be part of his elation. I kissed him because I forgot myself.”

“I understand.” She gently placed the ant on the ground beside her, contemplating as it continued its previous path, undisturbed. “I do.” She repeated, noticing his sideways glance of doubt. “I know how easy it is to love him. I could never reproach you for that.”

“Yes.” John bit his lip, until a drop of blood was formed underneath his teeth – as if he had been kissed by an angry deity, marking him for the ultimate sacrifice. His voice was low and almost angry – not with her but with himself; with the temptations of loving a man beyond his reach. “And how hard is it to laugh with him and not touch him? To hear him talk and not kiss him to drink down his words – ever thirsty, ever wanting? This mark,” He brushed the bruise on his face with moving tenderness, as a caress of a lover. “It’s the closest thing I’ll ever have of his touch on me.”

“You took him by surprise.” Claire watched as he finally crushed the dandelion bellow his trembling fingers, annihilating the part of himself that stood out from the crowd. “I’m sure that’s why he hit you.”

“Perhaps.” The young man laughed – a short and forced sound, like thousands of cries trapped bellow his ribs, cracking every vessel, every organ, wide open. “But now I lost him forever. I won’t have him in any capacity – and I don’t think I can live with that notion. He demanded that I never speak to him again – or even call him Jamie. I feel small and pathetic as only loveless beings can be.”

They sat in silence for a while, strange companions linked by the shared love of a single man – one heart sure and complete reaching out to glue the shards of one irredeemably broken. Claire felt a million different emotions, battling inside her mind like opposing armies, until she was ready to surrender to a numbing conclusion – part of her mourning for John’s uncorresponded love; another screaming in blasphemy at him, who had dared to steal a kiss promised only to her.  

“I’m sorry I told you these things.” John whispered, as shadows grew around them, finally making him invisible to unwelcome eyes. “It can’t be easy hearing another soul lusting after what is rightfully yours. How do you feel about all this?”

“Sad.” Claire said in a soft tone and then, looking to him with sincerity written all over her face. “Avenged.”

****

She knew where to find him – there was only one place on campus that could ease his troubled soul, where he would go to release his consuming thoughts.

Claire entered the locker room without knocking on the door – it was late and any practice had surely ended hours ago. He was there, sitting on the bench, a towel draped around his shoulders – he looked worn out and battered. His fast breathing was the only audible sound besides her own steps – he had been working out, probably repeating the dynamics she had witnessed the day she first saw him. Once upon a time he had been consumed with the desire of being better, of overcoming himself – now he was using the same tactics to run away from things that awaited on the inside, dreary and haunting.

“I’ve been looking for you.” She said softly, coming closer to him. “I thought you would come to me after what happened.”

“I needed to think.” Jamie looked at her with troubled eyes. “Besides, I dinna know what ye’d feel - and think - about all of this.”

“I think you’re hurt.” She whispered, her thumb touching her silver ring for strength – it seemed like a lifetime ago, the night he had given it to her, the fountain singing around them. “And you shouldn’t be alone.” Jamie glared at her and his lips contorted in agony.

“Ye knew.” He affirmed – almost accused – in a raw voice, his eyes drifting away from her face. “Didn’t ye?”

“I did.” Claire admitted, leaning against the lockers behind her.

“Why didn’t ye tell me?” Jamie asked, cleaning the sweat of his brow with a towel. “I thought we had honesty between us, Claire.”

“We do.” She inhaled deeply. “Between us. This had nothing to do with me, Jamie – it was not my place to tell you of those suspicions. What if I had been wrong?”

Ifrinn! I would have been prepared.” He hissed, throwing the towel on the floor. “I wouldna have been caught unaware like a blind fool.”

“I am sorry.” She breathed, sitting on the bench – keeping a respectful distance from him. “I didn’t want to torture you with things that might never come to pass. And John, he…”

“Dinna say his name to me!” Jamie spat out, closing his fists over his knees. “I should have killed the man.”

“I know you didn’t punch him because he likes men.” Claire said evenly. “I know you Jamie. You’re better than any of those prejudices.”

“He touched me against my will!” He snickered. “And you think I’m not entitled to be outraged?”

“I’m sure you are.” She conceded, leaning over to search for his eyes. “But that is not all of it, is it?”

“I hurt him because he betrayed me, Claire.” He said between his teeth, sounding as broken and ruined as John had sounded earlier. “I opened up with him. Told him personal things, allowed him inside – and he used it to get close to me. He abused my trust.”

“That’s not all of it either, is it?” Claire demanded, sliding from her seat and kneeling in front of him – she held his hands on hers, battered and swollen knuckles as medals of sorrow, and felt the tremor in his body. “Tell me, Jamie. Why are you like this?”

“I’m angry because he got hurt!” He yelled, his fist releasing form her grip and hitting the locker next to him with a bang. “He left me no other choice! And now we canna go back and pretend this never happened, Claire.”

“You lost him too.” She realized, licking her lips, watching his blue eyes moist and fierce. “But you can still amend things.”

“He robbed me of something.” He shook his head, his hands finding their way to her face, as he held on to her. “I’m yers, Claire. I dinna want to belong to anyone else, ever again – he had no right to endanger that. If ye had suspected me or heard what people are saying…I canna breathe thinking I could lose ye.”

“I’d sooner doubt my heart than yours, Jamie.” She assured him, cradling his head between her hands.  “Trust me in this – as I’ve trusted you. I will only believe that I don’t hold your heart the day you tell me so, yourself. Nothing else on this earth can part me from you.”

“Claire.” Jamie whispered, tugging her closer. “Claire, I need ye so.”

She allowed him to claim her body there and then – pressing her against him in an urgency that was a coronation of his fears. And while he sought reassurance of his rightful place, she prayed for those who would never know such love, alone in the darkness outside of a healing heart.