Clapper’s testimony should not be overlooked. His description of the thoroughness and certainty of the intelligence community’s assessment of Russian interference belies President Trump’s bizarre and entirely unjustified efforts to call into question his intelligence community’s findings. The findings and conclusions some four months after the report concluding Russia had interfered in the election to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton was issued “still stand,” he said. Clapper stated, “They must be congratulating themselves for having exceeded their wildest expectations. They are now emboldened to continue such activities in the future, both here and around the world, and to do so even more intensely.” He warned, “If there has ever been a clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the very foundations of our democratic political system, this episode is it.”
Yates’s testimony continues, as do the string of questions surrounding the administration’s bizarre conduct.
Yates is giving a tutorial in committee testifying. She just walloped not one but two GOP senators. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) tried to accuse her of misconduct in refusing to defend the Trump administration’s travel ban, which was ultimately blocked by multiple courts. Yates reminded him that at her confirmation hearing, Cornyn had asked if she would refuse to carry out an illegal or unconstitutional order. She recalled she had promised him she would indeed refuse. Ouch. Then up came Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) sleazily trying to get her to opine on Huma Abedin’s email habits(!). When that led nowhere, he took to quoting the statutory basis for the travel ban. She corrected him by pointing out that there was subsequent congressional action that specifically prohibited religious discrimination. Moreover, she took the opportunity to drop the news bomb that the administration ordered the Office of Legal Counsel to not even tell the acting attorney general the ban was in the works. Game, set, match.
I’ve many times discussed “victory blindness,” brought on by the seduction of big wins for civil rights and which has had many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people believing they’ve “arrived” ― that LGBTQ rights are secured ― while not seeing the perils ahead.
From as far back as 2014, watching the way that anti-LGBTQ forces were organizing for the future, I was worried about how the LGBTQ community would get too caught up in the anticipated win at the Supreme Court on marriage equality that was coming down the pike in 2015.
The onset of the Trump administration has certainly been a clarion call to snap out of it. And so many queer people have seen the threat and joined the Resistance.
But some recent exchanges and interactions I’ve had lead me to believe that many people, queer and straight, still believe that LGBTQ rights are secure and advancing. They point to public opinion polls, to cultural changes and to progress even in the most conservative corners of the country.
One person, educated in the history of the LGBTQ movement, told me that he couldn’t believe that the Supreme Court would undo something that the majority of Americans now supported ― marriage equality ― and implied a lot of the sounding of the alarm was for the conspiracy-minded.
I find this thinking to be naive and enormously dangerous.
It often doesn’t matter what the majority of Americans believe ― over 90 percent support universal background checks on gun purchases, after all, but we can’t get the legislation passed. The Supreme Court has handed down ruling after ruling that reversed precedents and defied the majority of Americans’ beliefs on voting rights, corporate money in politics, immigration and so many other issues. What is happening in our country right now is clear: a powerful minority is in control and is trying to get the fix in so that it can rule from the minority for a long time to come.
Hello kind sir! Just a question about the color pie...just kidding :) Your blog(s) are fascinating, and this community is becoming one where the people observing the canon are more qualified than those drafting it. My question, as a plot follower from the 90's onwards, is whether you believe the self-sufficiency and sentience of the Glistening Oil is a retcon. I remember that all Phyrexians simply shut down at the moment Yagmoth's "clarion call" left upon his demise.
It’s definitely a retcon. We do know that it wasn’t the original intent for how Mirrodin got terraformed into New Phyrexia (it was supposed to be an unfinished bioweapon), but that was just something the author mentioned on a forum, and how much you value that as ‘canon’ is up to you. It’s still a retcon in the sense that it’s different than how Glistening Oil was presented up until Scars of Mirrodin. It’s ultimately the least problematic retcon of SoM though.
He thought he’d just give Scott some time, to mend their friendship after Scott was done grieving, but when Stiles finds himself in some serious trouble, Scott and the rest of the pack are nowhere to be found. Left on his own to face down this new horror and try to protect his dad, Stiles becomes trapped. His soul and body separated, so he can walk amongst his friends but they don’t even realize he’s there.
Time is running out for his body before it dies and he is stuck like that. Will his pack be able to solve his disappearance and save him? Or will they find themselves too late to rescuing their human friend?
Stiles snorted and started laughing, too. “For what?” he chuckled.
“Stiles,” Derek mumbled. “I think I’m high.”
Stiles laughed harder and louder, the sound echoing off the trees and interrupting the birds and crickets. Derek watched him for a second, then joined in, leaning heavily on Stiles while his body shuddered as he gasped for breath.
Stiles can read Allison’s name on her headstone, he can read her date of birth, that she was a loving daughter and friend, and that she’ll be missed. Stiles can even count five fingers on his fathers hand as the Sheriff guides him back to the car, but if this is real, why doesn’t he remember waking up?
When it gets a little too silent in the car, 5.0.5. takes turns trying to play music with the others phones and MP3′s, but when all four of them can’t decide on a song, he takes matters into his own hands…paws.
By popular demand, a wee morning-after follow-up to my original post based on this anon prompt:
I really liked this earlier Imagine: ‘Imagine in ep 1 they party stops to sleep for a little bit and Claire is freezing, so Jamie offers to warm her discreetly’. Would any mods be willing to continue this story or another alt point-of-view where J & C get closer, more affectionate, more sexual tension in those moments in beginning of book Outlander? Love your fanfic!! You ladies are so creative!
>> Be warned: this installment is slightly more NSFW -❤️ Mod Bonnie
I was ice and electricity. Every cell, every muscle fiber, every neuron somehow both frozen and exploding with the same insuppressible energy.
A sound of need. Mine? His? Yes, each rising to answer the other in kind.
Warm arms came suddenly tight around my back, lifting me, then lowering me—maddeningly slowly—down to straddle his broad thighs. Everything was heat. A warm mouth explored mine and I struggled against warm hands that kept my hips confined, keeping me from taking what I wanted. The warm fingers gripped tight even as they dragged upward, skimming under my shift to the narrows of my waist; up still further to thumb—for the barest of tantalizing instants—the tender, yearning underflesh of my breasts. I cried out in distress to feel the mouth—that blazing, devouring mouth—leave mine and a cloud of white obscure my vision. The sound had barely left my throat, though, before it was obliterated by another, a cracking moan of startled, throbbing relief as the mouth began to worship first one nipple, then the other, then the first again. The breathtaking sensations fell through me like whisky in my blood, and my body begged, begged, for more, pleading out a desperate, wordless question over and over in empty thrusts and moans. I gasped as the question was suddenly and forcefully answered, just as wordlessly; gasped at the visceral relief of being filled deep with red-hot iron. We moved together, the heat of his cock stoking and then igniting me, actual flames licking outward from my womb to encircle every inch of me. I wasn’t frightened of them; far from it, for they transformed me into a Fury, all-powerful to consume. ConsumeI did, riding him hard, and then harder, grinding furiously against the thumb that had the sensitive flesh above our joining glowing like a coal, sending shockwaves of heat up my spine. I began to keen, fast and urgently; then laughed darkly as I heard him begin to do the same under my power. My cries drove him, and his, me; together we roared, rising upward, and upward, and still upward into a seething conflagration of burning skin and breath and pounding blood, until—
I awoke to waves of pleasure rolling through me, my limbs quaking in the aftershocks of a rather spectacular orgasm. I closed my eyes tight at once, and exhaled, trying to savor the fleeting, pulsing sensations for as long as I might: the blood pounding between my legs; the comfort of being held by strong, warm arms; the beautiful, manly smell all around me; the unspeakable joy of being sheltered by the body that had just brought mine to compl—
My eyes snapped open.
His ruddy forelocks were in his eyes, inches from mine. His head was lolled back slightly against the grain sacks, but even so nearly rested against my own. His arms were tight around me, still… and mine were around him.
I was still trying to catch my breath from the rigors of orgasm and the heated encounter of my dream, and couldn’t tear my eyes away from his mouth.
Those lips…warm lips….
I supposed it…
Of course it was a dream, idiot. You saw how nervous he was to touch you. He nearly soiled himself when time came to get that sopping shift off.
Despite everything, I had to stifle a giggle at the memory of him, going suddenly stock-still and screwing his eyes and fists tight, looking unmistakably like a naughty child caught red-handed and steeling himself for a whipping. Thank goodness for Murtagh’s sang-froid; and, for that matter, that I was no fainting ninny! While, granted, I had never before had the experience of being urgently undressed outside the realm of the boudoir, my upbringing with Uncle Lamb—to say nothing of the exigencies of six years as a combat nurse—had trained me not to fret over prudish concerns. No embarrassment to be had over matters of propriety if one dies of hypothermia while quibbling over them.
No, it had been a dream. How could it be otherwise with those otherworldly flames that had surrounded us during our pounding, burning ecstasy? Besides, as little as I knew about Mr. McTavish’s past, I did think I knew him well enough to surmise that he was not one to seduce a lady in the night, particularly not one he had taken under his protection.
….but God, I thought, letting my palm feel the curves of pectoral muscle beneath it, the strength of him, “our ecstasy,” my subconscious brain had just called it. It had felt so real, so immediate, so….
Guilt gripped my stomach, violent and indicting, in an attempt to distract from the other, more pleasurable tightenings occurring in my body at the thought. I was a married woman, for Christ’s sake; and yet, here I was, practically naked by the standards of the eighteenth century, having both spent the night in the arms of a huge, rugged Scot and enjoyed shockingly detailed dreams about having my way with him.
E n j o y e d.
Yes, I felt guilt. Not for having the dream…but for the undeniable part of my being that wished it hadn’t been a dream at all. Even now, in the faint light of pre-dawn, that great opportunity to dismiss the foolish fancies of night and revert to reality with no questions asked, I couldn’t deny the things I was feeling for him, the sensations that still had my body lit like a candle against his…wanting more.
I shifted slightly to look more fully up into his face. I started a bit to see his mouth turned up in a smile. Good gracious, had he been watching me the whole time? Seen me staring at him for minutes while trying to get a bloody grip on myself? But no…he was still asleep, eyes closed and breathing steadily. The smile had been just a momentary flicker, it seemed, for his face was impassive once more. The high, elegant cheekbones; the golden stubble breaking out along his jaw; the soft movement of his breath against my forehead as he held me close and warm, even in sleep.
A sound of tenderness escaped my throat, as I thought thinking back on all the moments Jamie and I had shared, from the first day at the stones, to Leoch, these long days on the road….and last night.
No, it wasn’t just lust I felt, potent as it was. This man, this fierce warrior, big and strong enough to destroy a man in battle, had cared for me through the night, holding me as carefully and gently as he would a kitten. Despite his hesitation, his evident fear of crossing the boundary of propriety, he had given me the warmth of his body, cradling me to him and chanting soft words over me. He had seen me safe.
My fingers were reaching out as if of their own accord, needing to touch him. “You sweet lad,” I whispered, and I grinned widely to see him smile once more in sleep at the touch, the warm cheek tightening under my fingertips.
Suddenly, though, his eyes flicked open wide and met mine dead-on. My grin fell into an expression of blank shock, and I tried to adopt a casual air as I—bloody goddamn fucking fool, Beauchamp—moved my hand to my scalp to feign an itch that convinced no one.
He was gracious enough not to call me out on this half-rate pageantry. “Did ye sleep well, Mistress?” he whispered, voice scratchy with sleep, looking down now with an expression of shy eagerness.
“Yes,” I whispered back, tucking my hair nervously back behind my ear, avoiding his eye. “Thank—thank you again, Mr. McTavish…for warming me.”
The whooshing rush of melting ice. A burning tongue tracing up the lines of my neck and hollow of my ear. Our cries rising high and fierce above the roar of the fire.
AVE MARIA—GRATIA BLOODY PLENA—
“And—and you?” I stammered, my voice several notes higher than I’d ever heard it and my cheeks so red I thought he could surely see, even in the dim light. “Did you, erm, sleep well?”
He certainly didn’t look it. His eyes were bloodshot, and there were dark circles underneath. “Oh—oh aye—” he said, with a faint grin. “Verra pleasur—pleasantly!—to—to be sure.” He blushed furiously and averted his eyes.
Suddenly the panicked impulse to vomit came over me and I had to clench all the muscles in my body to quiet the screaming alarm bells going off in my head. My own nocturnal experience might have been a dream, and certainly I hadn’t actually ravished Mr. McTavish, but had I done something lewd to him in my sleep while having it? Frank had always said I was inclined to writhe wantonly about in sleep before initiating sex; my body’s own clarion call. Had I—?
Oh. FUCKING. Hell.
Mortified, my cheeks all pins-and-needles from anxiety, I began to jerk free my arm from where it lay pinioned behind his back, mumbling, “I should— gobacktomytent—proper clothes, you know—b-breakfast—”
Before I could extricate myself, though, his hands tightened on me, and he uttered the tiniest of sounds. I surely wouldn’t have heard it, had I not been still pressed against his chest. It was a pitiful kind of noise; a whimper? expressing, in the barest of instants, both protest…and need.
Slowly, I looked back up into his face. The same emotions were written there, too. “It’s…an hour or more until full dawn,” he said, voice tentative and cracking. “Ye might…stay a while longer, yet…so as not to wake the others?”
I might stay….
I might stay.
Shaking the image of standing stones from my vision, I saw the anxiety rushing across his features at my silence. “Christ, I dinna mean to say—not that—only if ye—”
I laid a hand on his shoulder and he stilled. “I wouldn’t want to wake the others,” I said quietly.
“No…” he breathed, blue eyes clear and alight.
“And…I am still a bit cold,” I whispered hoarsely. That wasn’t a lie, I told myself belligerently. It was a cold morning. It WAS.
“Well, then…” he said, voice low and deep and resonant against my skin, rippling down all the way to my fingertips.
Just until dawn, I bargained silently with my conscience.
Slowly, I lowered myself back down to him, resting my cheek against his shoulder. I thought I heard him sigh; in contentment? It was rather hard to tell for sure, for my own sigh—escaping me as I settled back into the warm arms and felt the warm hands pull me subtly closer against him—seemed to drown out out all other concerns.
our doubts are traitors snippet 5 (Yuri on Ice powered assassins!AU)
DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY TIMES I’VE ALREADY HAD TO REWRITE SCENES FOR THIS CHAPTER, DO YOU
(Basically: IDK, this one seems like it might take a while. I’m wary of rushing things and putting out something that feels like a disservice, so I’m taking my time with the next chapter, sorry! In the meantime - have this as an offering!)
Snippets 1, 2, 3, and 4 here. (1 and 2 are in the fic in their entireties; 3 was rewritten but is in the fic in spirit; 4 is waiting in the wings and may be cannibalised - although you’ll find it shares some tonal similarities to this one!)
That feeling in the pit of your stomach when a Black news commentator who you deeply admire only started reading Cap comics at all when Sam got the shield, and they have an excellent argument for why they support Secret Empire based in their own foundational understanding of how insidiously white supremacy functions, but they don’t know enough about the pre-Ultimates history of Steve Rogers to understand why this is complete character assassination, and they don’t know the Jewish comics base well enough to know people have been protesting the active promotion of Hydra in all Marvel materials, and how it directly parallels to the alt-right versus neo-Nazis argument, and you could map it out for them, but this is the second time you’ve heard this from people who assume being pro-Steve means being anti-Sam and you don’t want to call attention to yourself by being the “well, actually-” person.
And this is the second time you’ve heard a Black person argue that ‘of course Steve’s gonna be racist’ when the entire arc of Steve’s defrosting in the sixties and the introduction of Sam as a character were built around Steve learning the perspective of the Black civil rights struggle from Sam and performing allyship to the best of his ability. You can’t even explain that, because saying Steve was intentionally reborn to learn from Sam will probably just come off sounding like “well, Bernie marched with King,” because Marvel’s increasingly white writers and editors have refused to use Steve correctly as an inspiration and clarion call for how to perform allyship since the launch of Ultimates, and it’s just that they tried so hard to make Sam and Steve equals from jump and give them a balanced dynamic and make them a unified front, and it’s been reduced to this.
I can be pro-Falcon!Cap, protective of Steve’s legacy, anti-Spencer, and uncomfortable with SHIELDRA merch all at the same time. I can also walk and chew gum.
It’s just so disheartening. Where do I even start? I’ve done like four Say No To Hydra Cap essays already and, while I’m probably going to do more, it feels like only newcomers can be influenced and nobody who has chosen the other side of this is going to be swayed. Ugh.
On Spider Houses and Greed within The Legend of Zelda
“If you lift the curse … I’ll teach you … something good … Hurry … Please … This is awful … In here … The gold ones … The cursed spiders … Defeat them all … Make me normal … again … .”
- The Cursed Man, Majora’s Mask
“Human desire is an insatiable, fearsome thing … even to a demon! But then again, I suppose it’s also what makes your kind so intriguing … .”
- Batreaux, Skyward Sword
Above: The Cursed Man of the Fearful Spider House
For me, and perhaps many readers, one of the most powerful images from The Legend of Zelda retained by memory is that of the House of Skulltula in Ocarina of Time’s Kakariko Village. Nestled in the midst of the most ostensibly peaceful location in Hyrule is an unassuming grey house, which, as we learn from the townsfolk, has a dark history and a necessary moral lesson. An elderly villager in Kakariko gives us this history: “Folks around here tell of a fabulously rich family that once lived in one of the houses in this village … But they say that the entire family was cursed due to their greed! Who knows what might happen to those who are consumed by greed.”  This tale is corroborated by the cursed father within the House of Skulltula, who tells Link of the curse on his family. Avarice fed his unquenchable desires, and before long, such vice led to the Curse of the Spider, here represented by Gold Skulltulas – themselves a perceptible symbol of greed. In order to dispel the spider’s curse, Link must destroy Gold Skulltulas the world over, collecting them as he goes; and in doing this, he also destroys a visible manifestation of greed and selfishness in Hyrule. 
Oft talked about, but little understood, the Spider Houses inhabiting both Hyrule and Termina hold a subtle fascination commonly overshadowed by rising plot, climax, and resolution. Spider Houses do not play pivotal roles in furthering the story, but they often augment small side-chapters parallel to the larger story with parables, morals, and mysteries. They also sound a clarion call against avarice, warning of greed’s corrupting influence on the face of the human soul.
As true in all societies and all places, the Curse of the Spider can take root in any human being, so it should be unsurprising that we also find people consumed with, and transformed by, greed within the parallel realm of Termina.
“A New Storm Against Imperialism” by Chairman Mao Tse-tung (April 16, 1968)
Some days ago, Martin Luther King, the Afro-American clergyman, was suddenly assassinated by the U.S. imperialists. Martin Luther King was an exponent of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists did not on that account show any tolerance toward him, but used counter-revolutionary violence and killed him in cold blood. This has taught the broad masses of the Black people in the United States a profound lesson. It has touched off a new storm in their struggle against violent repression sweeping well over a hundred cities in the United States, a storm such as has never taken place before in the history of that country. It shows that an extremely powerful revolutionary force is latent in the more than twenty million Black Americans.
The storm of Afro-American struggle taking place within the United States is a striking manifestation of the comprehensive political and economic crisis now gripping U.S. imperialism. It is dealing a telling blow to U.S. imperialism, which is beset with difficulties at home and abroad.
The Afro-American struggle is not only a struggle waged by the exploited and oppressed Black people for freedom and emancipation, it is also a new clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed people of the United States to fight against the barbarous rule of the monopoly capitalist class. It is a tremendous aid and inspiration to the struggle of the people throughout the world against U.S. imperialism and to the struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. imperialism. On behalf of the Chinese people, I hereby express resolute support for the just struggle of the Black people in the United States.
Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progessives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.
In 1963, in the “Statement Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” I said that the “the evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black people.” I still maintain this view.
At present, the world revolution has entered a great new era. The struggle of the Black people in the United States for emancipation is a component part of the general struggle of al the people of the world against U.S. imperialism, a component part of the contemporary world revolution. I call on the workers, peasants, and revolutionary intellectuals of all countries and all who are willing to fight against U.S. imperialism to take action and extend strong support to the struggle of the Black people in the United States! People of the whole world, unite still more closely and launch a sustained and vigorous offensive against our common enemy, U.S. imperialism, and its accomplices! It can be said with certainty that the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism, and all systems of exploitation, and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.
coldflash week | day five december 08 | undercover
Earth-2 looks different than the last time Barry visited. The streets look emptier, though there are plenty of people rushing to get back to their jobs after the lunch hour. The buildings Black Siren destroyed are being rebuilt slowly. The sounds, smells, and view of construction zones covers the city. It’s the missing buildings that make this Central City seem smaller, Barry realizes.
He can’t stop looking at the campaign poster plastered on the brick wall of a post office. THE MAN WHO SAVED CENTRAL CITY is emblazoned above a picture of Earth-2 Leonard Snart, who looks more refined in a bold blue pinstripe suit. RE-ELECT MAYOR SNART captions the photograph.
“I knew I’d like this Earth.”
“We need to keep moving,” Barry tells Snart. “The last thing we need is to get you surrounded by press when the city needs him to get re-elected.”
“You saying I’m not fit for public office?”
“You’re a criminal.”
“You think he’s not?” Snart gestures at the campaign poster. “The girl didn’t seem too surprised when you told her I’m Captain Cold.”
I disagree with the notion that Cyclops was right in blasting Captain America on Utopia, at the start of AvX. There was no jusification for that and it only tells me that the mantle of leadership was taking its toll on him and Scott was succumbing to madness long before being taken over by the Phoenix. With as many times as Avengers and X-Men had fought side by side over the years, for Scott to treat Cap and the Avengers like some kind of invading army was nothing more than unjustified paranoia.
I just don’t see how any honest appraisal of the situation could come to that conclusion, Nathan.
Captain America tried to use the appearance of a soft sell. “Let’s talk like rational people”, and “we’re here to help”
That was all just flowery language to make a demand appear to be something it wasn’t. He and the Avengers went to an autonomous nation, and told them what was going to happen to one of their people. This is the authority they believe they can speak with in any situation.
Captain America acted in a similar role as the envoy to Leonidas, except he was also Xerxes, and his army was waiting, ready for immediate action if the wrong answer was given.
This was not seen as a meeting of equals in the eyes of the Avengers. They were the king of the mountain, who were giving demands of the X-Men, for the good of everybody as they saw it.
Nathan, I don’t know how you see them as anything other than an invading army.
The Avengers came ready for war, to the home of their “friends”. If Scott had said no, and walked away, the Avengers still would have attacked. Steve was not going to give them a chance to prepare for a defense, or take any answer other than full capitulation.
You talk about all the times the two groups fought side by side, but that does not appear to have been a consideration for Rogers, other than him providing Scott a chance to say yes or no, before he took what he wanted.
If you know a fight is going to happen, especially with somebody who has the power to truly threaten your well being, you hit first. You do not give them the chance to get initial momentum.
Cyclops optic blast also act clarion call, letting the other X-Men know shit was going down, and prepare for battle. These were people who had been going about their normal routines, and had no idea the Avengers had come ready to bloody them up, and take one of their own. Even with the advantage Scott gained by hitting first, The Avengers still had them on the defensive. Without it, I don’t think they would have stood any chance of defending themselves. It would have been foolhardy to allow the Avengers to hit first. Those people are A Game.
Reylo: that one time they were captured and handcuffed together
(This is pure, utter, ridiculous crack. It makes zero sense and heavily features Matt the Radar Technician. It’s not my fault.)
Rey rolls her eyes on a deep sigh as klaxons sound and heavy boots echo along the bridgeway. It’s so loud here, officers shouting and the clarion call of alarms and her wrists are starting to ache from where they’re bound, one to a steel utility pole and one to…
“I’m going to fucking kill them,” the man next to her seethes, his fingertips carving indentations into the steel grates beneath them, and he keeps tugging on the metal cuff joining their wrists. “Them, you, fucking everyone who is currently permitting this indignity…”
It’s hard enough keeping her cover aboard the Finalizer, hard enough to stay calm and slow her heartbeat enough not to be noticed as she ducks her brow beneath the mechanic’s cap and shouts of “RESISTANCE FIGHTERS INCOMING” shriek along the bridge.
But she will not allow this gangly maintenance man to keep scowling at her, not when they’re forced together like this (“for your own safety as civilians,” the superior officer had said, and Rey could have sworn she’d seen him smirk at the man beside her).
“Would you shut up already, ‘Matt,’” she hisses, swiftly kicking him in the ankle as best she can. “And why are you dressed like that, anyway? You look like a complete idiot.”
The man glowers at her, open hatred shining behind his wire-rimmed glasses. “Dressed like what,” he spits. “This is my uniform. For my job. I am a radar technician.”
Rey rolls her eyes harder than she ever has in her life. “Oh, sorry, ’Matt,’” she intones, curling her fingers into air quotes.
“You’re welcome, ’Kit,’” he echoes her mocking tone, nodding to the crooked nametag on her own jumpsuit.
Silence stretches between them as the klaxons begin to die down, as the shouts fade deeper into the ship.
“So,” she hears ‘Matt’ start from beside her, sniffing and straightening his glasses with his free hand. “You… like working here?”
His gaze is sharp, and she feels the prickle of the Force, of darkness at the edge of her consciousness, and Rey ducks her head down.
“…yeah. It’s great.”
‘Matt’ shifts awkwardly, straightens a lock of wayward blond hair. “You, uh… what do you think of Kylo Ren? Buddy of mine said half the girls on the Finalizer are after him.”
“I’ve no doubt,” Rey mutters to herself, absently Force-tugging at the pole binding her other hand.
“Girl I knew in… radar technician school… who absolutely existed… she was crazy about him. …two girls, actually. Three. I stopped counting after awhile, there were so many of them. Anyway. I tried to ask them out once, but they were just like, ‘Matt, you’re sweet, but no one can measure up to Kylo Ren, you know?’”
Rey nods, only half-listening, straining as the pole starts to give.
“…you think he’s cute, or what? It’s okay if you do. Most girls do.”
“A bit curious so many girls would fancy him, seeing as he never takes off that mask of his,” Rey says pointedly, tossing ‘Matt’ a glare over her shoulder.
“Not 'never’. Just with, you know. Cute girls. Who are strong with the Force.”
“A lot of those in radar technician school, are there.” Just a little more…
The pole gives, and Rey scarcely has time to celebrate before his hands are tightly around her wrists, holding her to him.
“Rey,” he murmurs under his breath, and his eyes are dark, purposeful behind his glasses, and Rey finds herself trembling in fear as the klaxons sound again.
It’s easy, criminally easy to sweep his legs out from under him, and ‘Matt’ falls hard to the grate beneath them. Rey smirks to herself as his glasses and wig fly across the corridor, jet-black hair spilling to his jaw.
Rey unlocks the cuffs from around their wrists with a twist of the Force. “I prefer Kylo Ren as a brunette,” she says, an impish curl of a smile at her lips. “Matches his eyes.”
Kylo Ren is dazed, eyes dark with want as he stares up at her, and Rey holds his gaze for a long moment before tipping her cap to him.
“Give Ren my best regards, would you,” she says lightly before breaking into a sprint down the corridor, towards familiar masculine voices and blaster bolts.
It’s two weeks later that she receives a missive at the Resistance base, printed on heavy paper and neatly folded into an envelope, with an evaluation card addressed to “Kit (Rey)”.
Thank you for choosing the Finalizer for your First Order needs. We hope our technicians were able to successfully assist you. Please rate Technician Matt on the following:
- Attractiveness - Force strength - Force instruction (if you did not use this service, please contact Technician Matt to do so as soon as possible, you really need a teacher, “Kit”) - Lightsaber skill (please use separate lines for combat and construction, on a scale of “awesome” to “really, really awesome”) - Your personal willingness to meet him for a cup of caf on Coruscant at your earliest convenience
Rey decides that she really, really needs a raise.
I wish you would write a fic where Steve is a siren, please?
The Commandos never wondered why they agreed to rejoin the war. When the biographers came years later, with their staticky tape recorders and the hero worship bright in their young eyes, the men had shrugged.
“We were a bunch of idiots,” Monty offered, holding the shattered pieces of a pipe that Jones had filled with Stark explosives.
“Were?” Morita echoed, staring at Falsworth’s singed eyebrows and Jones’s smirk.
“Rogers barely had to ask,” Dum Dum reminisced, the whiskey in his hand soothing the catch in his voice at their Captain’s name. “Of course, he waited until we were on our fourth pitcher of beer.”
“Do you remember?” Dernier cut in, waving his cigarette into their circle, the orange glow winding through the air like a pilotless plane. “Before.” He shook his head, dropped his hand to rub at his wrists where Hydra had kept them shackled during the day. “Sarge always told us that no one could say no to Steve.”
Morita chuckled, distracting the young reporters from the flask the others were tipping into their drinks. “No one ever did say no to Cap,” he declared, shaking his head to brush the graying hair out of his eyes. “Especially when it came to the war.”
Jones poured himself a fresh glass of whiskey and finished it off in one long swallow. He didn’t say a word about the night that Sarge had settled next to him during his midnight watch, rolling a ball of wax between slender fingers, dirt and gun oil streaked across his hands. Sometimes, Sarge had whispered, handing over the wax without meeting Jones’s questioning gaze, his shoulders hunched, staring through the dark with a sniper’s unerring aim. Staring at Steve. Sometimes, Gabe, Steve gets a little … carried away. Make sure you plug your ears.
Gabe polished off the flask, and didn’t think about finding Rogers alone in the train car. Couldn’t remember what had happened after that, just the sibilant hiss of Cap’s voice and the welcome weight of the gun in his hands, blinking awake to feel the blood running down his cheek, surrounded by the dead.
After that, Gabe had always remembered to plug his ears.
*** Sarah Rogers had met Joseph in Ireland, she told the boys, running thin fingers through their downy hair, lulling them to sleep. His troop ship had run into bad weather off the stormy Irish coast, must have gotten turned around and ended up on the rocks. Maybe it was a U-Boat, Steve muttered, voice slurred with sleep.
Bucky watched Sarah smile, and didn’t flinch at the glint of her green eyes and white teeth. She caught him staring and rolled her eyes, raising an eyebrow at the blond boy laying between them. Bucky bit down his giggles, and never told Steve that a submarine couldn’t get that close to the rock-strewn coast.
She had found Joseph on the beach, she continued softly, half-drowned. Bucky thought of his uncle’s nostalgic sketches, cliffs that dropped straight into the sea, nothing like Coney Island with its shallow waves and hot sand, and curled a little closer into Steve. He said she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. She had patched him up, and loved him, and held back her tears when he marched off into the war and never came home.
She told them stories, at night, and Steve complained that she never sang to them, not like Mrs. Barnes sang old ballads and hummed the lullabies her grandmother had sung, when they still knew the words. Mrs. Rogers blew a raspberry on her son’s cheek, tousled his hair and sang all four verses of Roddy McCorley in a clear voice sharper than the peal of the church bell on Sundays, echoing through Bucky’s small chest like a cresting wave.
Then she pushed them out the door to play, and Bucky broke his knuckle on Timmy Houlihan’s face.
*** “I don’t want you hanging around with that Rogers boy,” Bucky’s father demanded, a heavy hand on Bucky’s shoulder pinning him in place. “Your teachers say he’s always starting fights, or that you’re starting them, that boy’s forked tongue in your ear.”
Steve hated bullies, railed at them in a high, thin voice that rippled through Bucky’s veins, left him breathing hard with the taste of copper in his mouth and bruises blooming on his hands.
He started going home with Steve, after, because Sarah Rogers never seemed angry when they stumbled in with torn shirts and swollen eyes. She smiled when Steve leaped up to reenact Bucky’s fight, making Bucky look like a hero and not a stupid third-grader outnumbered four to one.
“Why aren’t you angry?” Bucky wondered, ten years old and finally brave enough to ask, long used to the sea glass of Mrs. Rogers’s eyes and the press of her teeth into her bottom lip. Steve lay between them, sleeping fitfully through the fever radiating from his skin. “Aren’t you worried he’ll be hurt, fighting like we do?”
Sarah laughed, the sound ringing through the dank room like the hollow echo of a knife against an empty glass, calling for a toast. She ruffled Steve’s damp hair. “He’s fine,” she told Bucky, less concerned than the doctors always were. “He just has too much water in his lungs.”
Joseph Rogers had drowned off the Irish coast and met the most beautiful woman in the world. Bucky shivered, and blamed it on the sweat soaking his shirt to his skin.
“And the fighting?” he asked, swaying toward Steve, because he was never going to be brave enough to ask again.
“Some of us are born for violence,” Steve’s mother breathed, quieter than the rasp of Steve’s snoring at her side. She leaned forward, pressed a gentle kiss to her son’s overheated brow. “And some of us are called to it, Jamie boy.” Mrs. Rogers lifted her head and gazed at him without blinking, her green eyes sharp as the rocks that feasted on the bones of ships lost at sea.
“Is there a choice?” Bucky whispered, his hand wrapped too tight around Steve’s, squeezing his friend’s limp fingers until they went white at the tips.
“There’s always a choice.” Sarah Rogers straightened up, and Bucky leaned into her touch when she brushed clammy fingers through his uncombed hair. “You can fight, child, or you can drown. It’s up to you.”
*** The first time Bucky kissed Steve, the other boy sunk his teeth into Bucky’s bloody lip, and Bucky shoved Steve hard into the wall, the rasp of bricks scratching pink lines down his pale skin.
Steve had a voice like a clarion call, like the trumpet that had brought down city walls. Steve had a voice that lured men to their feet and left bodies in his wake, his smile sharp and his blue eyes glinting like the last patch of sky a man would ever see.
Bucky licked the blood from Steve’s mouth, pushed him back into the mattress and made him keen, voice high and thready and thrumming with the promise of a hurricane, the storm pounding through Bucky’s veins.
You could fight, or you could drown. Bucky fisted his hands in Steve’s hair, pulled bruises on the porcelain skin of his throat, and waited to be swallowed by the waves.
(Author’s note: I love this prompt, thank you! I went a little vague with mythology: sirens have voices that cause shipwrecks. Sirensong, thus, is a call to violence, a lure to a man’s doom no matter on land or sea.)