the only real thing in the world

Basically I Just Really Want a Sanders Sides Novel...

Sanders Sides—A Novel

By: Yours Truly (unless @thatsthat24 wants to adopt the rest…? *wink wink*)

Chapter 1—Thomas

I swear I didn’t mean for this to happen. And as you’ve probably figured out by now, I don’t swear a lot. So you know I’m being serious. I never wanted this to happen. But it did. So now I had to deal with it.

Logan was on all fours, holding his head and cringing.

Patton was blinking rapidly, looking around with his eyebrows lowered.

Both of their glasses now actually had lenses in them.

Roman was smoothing out his hair and his sash.

Virgil just sat on the stairs and watched.

“What… what just happened?” Patton asked curiously.

Roman rolled his eyes dramatically, as if the answer should have been obvious. 

“We split off from Thomas and became separate physical entities, of course!” Logan supplied, straightening his glasses and necktie.

“Wait so we’re really here?” Patton breathed, looking around the familiar apartment in awe.

“Duh,” Roman retorted.

I ran my hands through my hair—which was still purple even though Logan’s wasn’t for some reason—and sighed heavily. “This is a disaster,” I decided. “This is a complete disaster.”

Virgil snorted. “You said it, boss,” he remarked sarcastically.

It was Logan’s turn to be uncharacteristically confused. “Alright, but how exactly did this happen?”

I shrugged. “I dunno,” I replied. “I had a headache so I got some water and burrowed down to watch some Steven Universe or Stranger Things when the pain got really bad. It built and built to a tremendous amount of pressure and then it just… burst. When I looked up, you were all… here. But the pain is gone, so that’s good.”

Virgil gave me a confused look. “How are you in any way optimistic about this situation?” he demanded. “The four of us literally just burst out of your head into reality. There is no way this is a good thing!”

“But…” Logan began to protest. “We are all just visualized, mentally-projected aspects of Thomas’ single personality. We should not be able to be here in actual physical form. This doesn’t make any scientific sense whatsoever!”

“Cool your jets, Teach,” Virgil snapped. “Yeah this is bad but be grateful it’s not the end of the world.”

“Normally it’d be you, Mr. Sour Patch, being worried about this being the end of the world and Mr. Smarty-Britches over there assuring you—and by extension Thomas—that everything is going to be fine,” Roman pointed out, looking between Logan and Virgil with an interested expression on his face.

Patton wasn’t paying attention to them. He’d realized that the central column in the middle of the five of us that kept us separate was no longer there and had latched onto me in a tight hug that I was returning absentmindedly.

There was a brief moment of silence…

And then Virgil, Logan, and Roman all started talking at once. Patton perked up at the noise and promptly joined the conversation—if it could be called that.

I only caught snippets of what they were saying while I tried to rein them all in.

“Honestly I can’t see how this could get any worse—”

“—find some way to put us all back inside Thomas’ head—”

“—wonderful opportunity to explore the world!”

“–really exciting, but I’m a little confused…”

“ENOUGH!” I shouted, not being able to take the endless onslaught of my own voice from four different directions. The Sides went deathly quiet, four sets of my own eyes turning to look at me—which was more than a little unnerving. “Okay, just like in the videos, you need to take turns when you’re talking. Because millions of people may not be watching and silently judging—” Virgil clicked his tongue, acknowledging it was his fault I always wondered if my viewers were silently judging my videos. I shot him a silencing glare. “—but I’m still here and if you don’t all speak one at a time, that headache is going to come back.”

The four Sides all looked around at each other, and I had a vague memory of Roman mentioning the “others.” I knew I’d been planning on introducing other Sides at some undecided future date, but I hadn’t planned much out of that particular idea up until that point. I wondered for a moment if that was why they were all looking at each other. Like the headache coming back would make those potential others appear the way these guys did.

Oh man, I hoped not. I could barely handle the Big Four on my own and they’d only been in reality/existence for a couple minutes.

“Alright,” Roman began, taking the lead. “So what do we do?”

“Aaannnything we darn-well please!” Patton exclaimed excitedly.

“Whoa there, Patton,” Virgil chastised, gentler than he’d be with the others. “We can’t just go around doing whatever we want. The four of us aren’t… whole people. We’re not as complex as a normal human. Plus, Thomas is something of a public figure. Four extra people that suddenly look just like him, right down to the giant freckle behind his ear, would definitely be noticed.”

“BUT,” Roman interrupted, cutting Virgil off from whatever he was about to say next, “this does mean we could make the most amazing Sanders Sides video ever! We could all cross over into each other’s spaces, or even be in the same frame the entire time and it would be EPIC!”

“Pump the brakes, Princey,” I warned. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

Patton’s expression dropped. “Awww! Why not? That could be nifty!”

“It sounds like a headache,” Logan muttered. Patton didn’t hear him, thank heavens.

“Because, Pat,” I began, “if the Fanders somehow realized that it wasn’t some super-well-done split-screen effect, I’m pretty sure everything would fall apart and some people would certainly go ballistic.”

“Where’s Ballistic?” Patton inquired.

Logan face-palmed and grumbled something under his breath that I didn’t catch, but Virgil gave him a slightly startled expression.

“Wouldn’t’ve expected that out of you, Teach,” Virgil commented sharply.

“What’d he say?” I asked suspiciously.

“Y’know, honestly, I don’t think you want to know,” Virgil muttered darkly, adjusting the shoulders of his hoodie and sitting on the stairs where he usually stood for videos.

Or rather, where I usually stood to portray him as a character for videos.

“He means people would go crazy,” Logan explained to Patton impatiently.

“Ohhhhh that makes more sense…” Patton mused quietly.

“Serious-talk time!” Roman exclaimed loudly. “Really, what are we going to do?”

“The smart thing would be to figure out how we got out of Thomas’ head and then figure out a way to get back into Thomas’ head,” Logan replied self-importantly, once again straightening his glasses.

“You’re so smart,” Patton whispered, his hands covering his mouth.

Exasperated with the whole situation, I was really tempted to just face-plant my couch, call Joan, tell them about what was going on, and then let the Sides do their own thing. Logan could go teach at a university. Patton would adopt about a hundred dogs—and/or children. Roman would probably want to audition for a part at DisneyWorld or something. Virgil… I wasn’t entirely sure what he’d want to do with his new autonomous freedom. Maybe he’d just continue to sulk in corners and keep me up at night with strange questions like, “what lurks in the shadows when I go running at night” and so on.

“You know, that’s probably a safe idea,” Virgil agreed.

“Playing it safe isn’t adventurous!” Roman burst out before shaking his head and straightening his sash. “Sorry. Had to get that out there. Moving on—let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.” He cleared his throat. “Much as I hate to agree with the Nutty Professor and Sir Gloomy the First,” he continued, “that, actually, seems like our best option. I much prefer being part of a whole, rather than a whole myself who is missing pieces.”

“Look at my sons all agreeing with each other…” Patton murmured to me with a proud smile.

“They’re not… Never mind. Okay,” I muttered. “Whatever.” Was it even worth it? When I was in charge of the script, I had a lot more patience for these guys because I was delivering all the performances and they weren’t real. When they were actually in my living room, I couldn’t help but be irritated. They were a lot harder to handle when there was no editing magic involved.

“Right!” Roman barked brightly. “Let’s get down to business!” He paused for only a moment before continuing in song, “To defeat—the Huns!” He raised his samarai sword. “We have a quest to put ourselves back into Thomas’ head and set things right! It’s world-saving time!”

Virgil cocked an eyebrow. “I doubt our presence in the real world will result in the Apocalypse, Drama Queen,” he grumbled.

“I am a Prince, thank you very much!” Roman countered sharply.

“I can’t believe this is happening right now,” I muttered into my hand.

Oh dear. To those panicked and/or upset about the current storyline in my inbox:

I mean, if people are offended then they need to step away. It’s a SOAP. If it was a story written for raising awareness of serious issues or portraying something of poignance then I’d understand upset. This isn’t Aaron’s prison storyline or David’s cancer or Rhona’s abuse… it’s quite possibly the soapiest thing ED have done for a long time.

It is nonsensical madness with Rob at the centre playing puppet master as per @dasoni ’s genius art! It’s him unravelling and it is in no way about The Whites. This isn’t their story, it’s his. There’s no focus on how this is affecting them emotionally. The only scenes where they’re without Rob are only there to set up further scenes aka Chrissie chatting with Rebecca about her concerns about Kath… that’s not there to show Chrissie is a great sister or a shrewd business woman or that Rebecca needs to assert herself as capable…

It’s there to give the audience that feeling of “oh no, Chrissie is going to rumble Robert”. It serves to make Rebecca sadly into more of a clueless idiot. I mean dear lord. It reinstates Chrissie as being the one who always sees through Rob’s shit in some way or another etc

It’s not their story. The audience aren’t rooting for them - or most aren’t anyway! It’s Rob’s spiral to rock bottom using the people he’s hated consistently in one way or another for a large chunk of his life, who have made his a nightmare and who he has, in turn, terrorised! They’re poison, they always have been. They’re fickle and shallow and any emotional depth in any of them left a long long time ago (except for Chrissie, she has had some lovely development and that’s why I want her stick about as she’s real to me). Their motivations are irrelevant and GOOD because when you’re expected to understand them, you can’t and it’s the most infuriating thing in the world (see the Andy revenge and Rob’s retaliation plot). God that was such a mess.

Taking offence at this is pretty much pointless at this juncture. Is Rob doing bad stuff? HAHAHA YES OF COURSE HE IS. Is he getting worse? Yeah, probably. Has he always been like this? Pretty much. He’s not doing anything here that he hasn’t done before, only now he’s doing it in a concentrated way - one thing after another to the same victims…!

Soap is a difficult medium to police. You have characters who do bad things. That’s a given. Almost every single character on the show has done something terrible in their time. Look at Debbie and Chas nearly killing each other. Andy has been well dodgy in the past. Aaron has put more than one person in hospital. Moira has committed adultery more than once. Zak stoved his own son’s head in. Charity has schemed and cheated and stolen and planned to bump off. Cain… well I could be here all day… these are beloved characters!

Even the nicest characters have in some way done bad things and that’s Soap. There’s no point having a village of saints.

It’s all about how a story is framed and personally I think this one is being framed kind of well…! I mean, it’s clear that Rob is the centre of it. He’s the catalyst to all of this, the one whose emotions we have focus on and who we are supposed to be following. We are seeing HIS reactions. His responses are the ones the audience are privy to. We’re not seeing any aftermath of Larry or Rebecca or Chrissie when Rob leaves. The camera follows him and we see his “I hate myself and I hate them all and I have ruined my own life so I don’t care what happens now” face!

It is being framed as his journey to ruin and knowing the end point is also helpful to us because we KNOW how this is going to end - with Robert’s realisation, with rock bottom and his perspective changed and perhaps remorse or some decision to change. I was never fully on board with the previous Rob redemption as it wasn’t so much about him but more about Aaron. This seems more focused on his character just like Aaron’s recent development has been and I really love that. This isn’t ending with The Whites being better understood etc. Whatever happens, they’re gone and they are the tools in Rob’s story. It’s why I feel it’s be such a shame if Chrissie leaves as they’ve taken time to focus on her and to give her depth and connections and to keep her disconnected from this story for as long as possible.

If people don’t like it then it’s definitely understandable. It’s INSANE. I mean, if I didn’t get joy out of watching The Whites suffer (haha) and if I didn’t know the intention of this story etc then I’d potentially be enjoying this less but it’s all signposted and the writers are taking Rob so far away from Human Rob as they can to give him that rock bottom. I mean, COME ON we’ve wanted it for so long. Sweetheart is just spiralling right now and we all know what happens when Rob isn’t thinking straight and when he hasn’t got Aaron = bad shit. Haha.

Originally posted by welcometoyouredoom

This is like Rob’s brain at the moment. He is undergoing “THE EPIC LOSS OF AARON DINGLE”. It’s a process. He doesn’t deal well with self hatred. He doesn’t deal well with loneliness or heartbreak or anger. He is off the charts and ridiculous and it’s couched about 70% in humour. I mean, the “oh I need a doctor, seen any handsome ones around?” comment by Larry with Rob ready to crazy murder him. I laughed - loud.

Aaron is being kept so far from all of this because Aaron is home, he’s sense and logic and honesty. He’s Human Rob’s person. He’s the way through to Robert, the person that matters, that can make a difference. Rob isn’t allowed that till he’s schemed himself into the ground with no lower to go… it’s the only way for him tbh and it’s been a long time coming.

Aaron will return into his orbit properly when Human Rob returns and that’s when the story is likely to be more serious. Robert has never been a happy person. He’s always been lonely and full of rage and spite and manipulation. He rested into his relationship with Aaron and found peace and comfort and that’s who he is in his heart - aka “I just want to be myself now with you”. This Rob is pantomime Rob and he’s bloody lost all sense of reality. He always needed this because being with Aaron still didn’t help him realise this in himself, he hadn’t learned his lesson. Now he is.

If he destroys The Whites in full Soap fashion then it’s a plus and i can’t think of anything else to say to help people if they’re struggling. They’ve done all they can to sign post that this is Rob’s story, it’s all about his heartbreak and hatred of himself for the way he’s screwed up his own life and it’s about a long long standing bitterness against this entire family. I’m finding it hilarious and pretty damn enjoyable and I cannot CANNOT wait to see their faces when it all comes out. I seriously haven’t got a clue what is going to happen and that’s really new for me with ED. I’d say just try to enjoy it if you already aren’t! See it for what it is and what it will be.

To finish with another classic Tuckerism:

Originally posted by duckodeathreturns

4

““I’m sorry, but if you’re comfortable with writing a child getting raped, then YOU ARE ONE.”

In your submission, you say that you write an eight-year-old child. Does that mean that YOU are an eight-year-old child, according to that logic of yours? I mean, you’ve certainly proven that you have the intelligence and critical thinking skills of one. Do I need to contact Tumblr staff? Because the ToS says you must be 13 or older to sign up.

You then you claim that aging up minor characters is pedophilia, too? Let me guess, you’re a part of that psychotic side of the roleplaying community that claims an age gap between two adult characters is ALSO pedophilia, like a twenty-year-old having sex with a fifty-year-old.

So, according to you, those who write cannibalism ARE cannibals, or they at least fantasize about eating the flesh of another human being? Those who write child/animal abuse ARE child/animal abusers, or they at least fantasize about harming a child/animal? Those write drug abuse/drug trafficking ARE drug addicts/drug dealers, or they at least fantasize about being one? Those who write cold-blooded murders ARE murderers, or they at least fantasize about killing another human being?

I can EASILY keep providing examples to show how utterly fucking ignorant your argument is. I can even already predict your whiny-ass, equally ignorant response, too, because that extremist viewpoint is literally the core thought process of Tumblr’s SJWs: “THOSE ARE DIFFERENT. PEDOPHILIA ISN’T SOMETHING ANYONE SHOULD WRITE ABOUT BECAUSE IT TRIVIALIZES CSA SURVIVORS!”

To which I would say: You are a disgusting piece of trash. Who are you to just fucking decide what is or isn’t “okay” to explore in writing? Who are you to insinuate that the experiences of victims from any other crime in this world is LESSER to the victims of crimes with a sexual element?

After reading that ugly submission of yours, I’m more inclined to believe that those people weren’t throwing a tantrum because you told them “no”. I’m pretty certain you started talking down to them, implying that they’re dangerous and gross individuals for ever wanting to write pedophila. Or you made half a dozen vague posts, calling out and accusing anyone who writes sexually dark themes as being actual perpetrators/apologists of those of those themes in real life, because the only thing more predictable than taxes is a SJW/anti/virtue-signalist on a moral crusade.

There is nothing wrong with writing FICTIONAL pedophilia just as there is nothing wrong with writing FICTIONAL incest, rape, psychological torture, drug abuse, gang violence, racism, homophobia, Nazism, genocide, misogyny, serial killing, and FUCKING so on.

If SOME unpleasant, dark, emotionally provocative content is okay to explore in writing, then ALL of it is okay to explore in writing. You can’t reasonably explain why content with sexual violence should be censored compared to everything else violent and disgusting without it being a huge, hypocritical emotional fallacy.

So do me a favor and shut your fucking mouth, you ignorant, LIBELING bitch.”

Sinbad no Bouken 165.

A Long rant by me ^^ I tried to be more careful but i’m still at work and doing this as a side task, so beware of the usual things ( missreads, typos, i tried to not miss any stuff ) i will check it later and reblog it when i’m at home!  

This is only a fan translation, don’t forget to support the official releases of Snb and the MangaOne app if you can, and ►[Please don’t repost without giving credits. If you use this translation, don’t forget to share the link to this post!]◄

Update: Revised ^^

Night 165 “the invitation to despair”


Keep reading

The thing with nazis primarily focusing on working against the left isn’t “only” because we are their natural enemy, the movement that stands against all they stand for. It is also strategically smart of them. Because we are the real threat against the upper classes and their world order and they are willing to accept anything as long as it undermines socialism. That’s the main reason that the nazis got the support of Hindenburg and “the good right-wing” in Germany, they promised to take care of “the communist problem”.. And they did. When we say that liberals will always side with nazis and other fascists it’s not just because we don’t trust liberals, it’s because we know that our visions of society impossibly can exist together, while their vision can. They are natural allies against the entire working class and every opressed person on the planet. They may form other strategic allianses from time to time, but they will always abandon them in the end.

Padackles One Shots

All of these can be read as one shots but will take place in the same universe. My version of the real word where Jared is married to Gen and Jensen is married to Danneel. They are all best friends like in the real world and the only thing that is made up is the adventures I create for them. 

Stories coming soon! 

I can see people’s auras… and it’s a curse.

by A10A10A10

Yes, I can see people’s auras.

And I hate saying it so bluntly. It makes me sound like some hack psychic who fakes the ability as a means of exploitation and a paycheck. I’ve never made money from my ability. I’ve never taken advantage of it. And, until now, I’ve never spoken of it to anybody.

But I really do see them, and I’m starting to view it as more of a curse. I have a reason for typing this out and I assure you, there isn’t a happy ending.

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college advice from someone who’s been on both sides of it

So I’m finishing up my Ph.D. and preparing to depart for the real world (no, just kidding, I’m going to be in school forever, only in a different capacity) and I thought I’d put together a list of some college tips to share with you all. I graduated with my B.A. in 2012, magna cum laude, with 2 majors, 1 honours thesis, 2 on-campus jobs, and 3 music things. Since then, I’ve gone to grad school and also taught six semesters of first-year seminars. Now I’m going on the job market for teaching positions. All of this means that I’ve seen both sides of the college experience, as a student and as an instructor. There are a lot of great & useful college advice posts going around studyblr this time of here, and I wanted to add my own. I hope it’s useful. So here we go, with a “read more” because it’s long (sorry if you’re on mobile):

academics

  • find your classrooms ahead of time (profs’ offices too)
  • figure out how long it will take you to walk between places
  • figure out where your best seat will be & claim it
  • say hi to the people next to you, learn their names
  • take notes in class
  • take advantage of extra credit
  • try your best not to fall asleep in class (and if you do fall asleep, apologise to the prof afterwards)
  • bring your glasses if you need them, don’t be stubborn about it
  • check out the library, wander in the stacks, talk to the librarians
  • figure out how & where to print
  • buy used books/textbooks, or rent them, but be careful with ebooks (some profs don’t allow them)
  • plan breaks into your class schedule, or block everything together, whichever works best for you
  • work out the pros & cons of 8am classes and/or night classes
  • plan ahead – have a planner, put things in it, do them
    • fake deadlines are a thing (write down earlier deadlines, trick yourself into meeting them, bask in satisfaction)
  • grades won’t be what they were in high school
    • keep in mind GPA values: a 3.5 will see you graduating with honours
  • be nice to the departmental administrative staff, thank them for helping you (even with small things)
  • office hours versus emailing profs: both will get your questions answered (probably) but if you can go and talk in person, do it
  • profs & TAs are people too, they have lives, they have bad days
  • if something comes up, talk to your prof, be honest but don’t overshare, just show them you’re trying
  • on that note, try

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Adding to canon is not the same thing as destroying canon

At San Diego Comic Con, we learned that Sonequa Martin-Green’s character, Michael Burnham, is Sarek’s adoptive daughter. The second I heard the news, all I could think was, “Let the hate begin.” And boy, did it ever.

I understand the disappointment, particularly with fan fic writers who invested a lot of time and effort into crafting stories that fit neatly into canon. Amazing how one sound bite can bulldoze right through decades of widely accepted fanon, huh?

Keep reading

So like @ everyone who still says things like “in the real world no one cares about your pronouns” and shit like that, you’re just completely and utterly wrong. I don’t know what century you’re living in but in this one people in the “real world” adapt to new cultural norms constantly and adjust to accommodate them.

At my college (and countless others), the vast majority of professors ask for pronouns and use them correctly with no issue. Not only that, but I’ve discovered that nearly every middle school and junior high school (and by extension most likely the high schools) in the surrounding areas do the exact same thing. Teachers ask for and use the correct pronouns with their students, who are as young as 10 years old.

The world is moving on without your ignorant ass whether you like it or not. Trans people and their pronouns exist and are being accepted and used more and more often. Keep up or get left behind, I don’t really give a shit either way. ✌️

Things I wish people would understand

There’s only 2 genders.

The world is not flat.

Vaccines can’t cause autism.

Islam is not a religion of peace.

Black people can be racist.

The gender pay gap is false.

The racial pay gap is false.

Islam is not a race.

Sharia law would bring more oppression.

Men aren’t the only perpetrators of rape.

Slavery was not created by white people.

Pepe the frog isn’t a hate symbol, just a meme.

White privilege is not real.

Wealth privilege is real.

Racial preference is not racist.

A gender studies degree won’t even get you a job at McDonald’s.

Misandry and Misogyny are the same thing.

Reverse racism isn’t real, thats because it’s just racism.

i will never, not in a billion years, get over the most 2017 thing to ever happen: jack douglas aka jacksfilms, after months of absolutely trashing the emoji movie by mocking it relentlessly, tirelessly, making an even bigger meme out of it - this man, this icon, after all this, not only receiving a letter from sony with un-fucking-believable merchandise including fucking goddamn fidget spinners, but also being invited by actual sony to attend the fucking world premiere of the movie

i dont think i can put into words – this is the most iconic fucking thing to ever happen

truly the hero we needed and deserve. a pioneer who inspired us all showing that if you have enough determination to milk a joke until its dead, and rely on big companies being subject to poe’s law, you. can do. anything

Things you should know when starting university

1. Don’t worry about making new friends. There will be so many people and opportunities!!

2. There’s nothing wrong with feeling anxious and afraid. Everyone is new and will be feeling scared like you!

3. Don’t try to change yourself or act as if you’re someone different. You’re fine the way you are – so just be genuine and real.

4. It’s normal to feel lonely and to miss the life you had. It’s part of taking risks, and being brave, and moving on.

5. You’ll wonder if you’ll fit, or find a place in this new world. But that will start to change, and soon this new place will feel good.

6. Don’t only socialise, and go to everything you can. Make some space for being alone, and time for quiet solitude.

7. At the same time, make sure you force yourself to move outside your comfort zone, and try new things with others, and see what you enjoy.

Im disappointed at what they did to the Bowers gang in the movie

I understand that you can’t have all the details in a movie adapting  a 1000 pages book. But they left out all the humanizing traits of Belch and Victor (or dehumanizing in the case of Patrick) and even Henry

So in the Book:

Belch:  Sacrifices himself to save Henry, he decides to die so his friend can live! imagine a 13 boy making that decision, He definetly was a loyal friend and didn’t follow Henry only out of fear.

 His death went from sacrificing his life for his friend to die at his hands…the exact opposite… and that is what i hated most of all

Victor:  Approached the losers with the initial attempt to join them but changed his mind and instead warned them of Henry’s growing brutality. 

Patrick: One of the most interesting and evil characters in the book:  In the novel, Patrick is notoriously difficult to scare because he thinks he is the only real person in the world therefore he has no sense of fear, so much so that IT had a hard time figuring out which form to take.

Henry:  The gay scene with him and Patrick give us a glimpse into the gay sexual repression that happend in the 50′s he may be gay but knowing that his father is extremely homofobic (among other things) he may have hated himself for thinking there is something wrong with him. And oviously is a very difficult situation to be in. and a lot of teenagers with unsuportive families and friends have been lead to commit suicide

as and adult:  he to apologised to Belch for leaving him to die at the hands of It. showing that he really cared for him

what i hated the most of all is Henry killing Belch and Vic. That for me was the worst

they were bullies and assholes but they were friends and cared for each other 

Ain’t Got Nothin’ But Love

A Highschool AU SnowBaz fic for the Carry On Valentine’s Celebration


Admittedly, it might not be entirely truthful to say that Baz joined Vocal Jazz because he loved singing.  This is not to say that he didn’t love singing, it just wasn’t something that he tended to broadcast. And yes, Vocal Jazz was a good way of coming out of his shell, breaking past that barrier of shyness when it came to his own voice, plus maybe making some friends.

           However, let’s just say that Baz might not have auditioned if it weren’t for the blonde-haired blue-eyed tenor.

           And maybe he didn’t get up for those early morning practices before class purely because he loved singing, but because he loved something else.  Someone else.

***           

Baz was more than a little disappointed when the group was split into two for the Valentine’s Day Musical Candy Gram event.  Granted, some might find it a little overwhelming to have ten people singing at them in front of the class, but couldn’t he at least have been put in Simon’s group?

           No, because the ensemble only had two basses and two tenors.  Both groups needed one of each, and Simon couldn’t miss third class.

           So Baz was left to swallow his disappointment as he followed his group down the halls of Watford High, singing excerpts of Beatles songs at poor unsuspecting students.  Objectively, it was a cute little setup.  They would barge into a classroom with the chorus of “She Loves You”.  Then Trixie, one of the sopranos, would call out the names of any “lucky” students, who would then have to make their embarrassing way to the front of the room to accept a flower or a card or both from Trixie and be serenaded with “8 Days A Week”.  All in all, not horrible.  Objectively. Baz was just glad he wasn’t on the subjective side of things.

           After fourth period, which he spent both quietly chuckling at the sound of his choir mates in nearby classrooms, and also praying they wouldn’t burst into his classroom or, heaven forbid, bestow a Musical Candy Gram upon him, Baz returned to the empty music room for his coat, which he had left there when the group had met at lunch.  As he buttoned up the coat, he couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit melancholy.  He hated to admit it to himself, but while singing was great, it was nothing compared to singing with Simon.  Because when he was singing with Simon it made “I’ll Be Seeing You”, their competition piece, feel different.  He wasn’t just singing words; it was more of an outlet.  Like pouring his bottled-up feelings down a drain.  They weren’t going to Simon, but at least they were going somewhere.

           “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah…”

           Baz’s heart sank when all nine of his choir mates filed into the room, singing and snapping their fingers, this time directing their song at him, but he had to smile a little.

           “Really?” he smirked as Trixie came forward to hand him a single rose with a card attached by a ribbon.  “Is this all necessary?”  In response, they burst into “8 Days A Week”, beaming at him like he’d won some sort of prize.  It was mortifying, but it was almost nice.

Baz snuck a glance at Simon, who was singing through a grin, and even though he knew he was probably blushing, Baz held his gaze for a few more seconds, saving the sight to replay later.

“Alright, who’s it from then?” he demanded when the others had finally finished singing.  “There’s no name on the card.”

“Oooh, a secret admirer!” squealed Trixie, but nobody had an answer for him.  Baz didn’t miss the smirk that twisted Simon’s mouth though, or how smug the boy looked when he left the room.

 ***

“You know, don’t you?”

Simon didn’t answer right away, but Baz saw his mouth twitch.  “Know what?”

“Who sent me the card and the flower yesterday.” Baz tried to sound indifferent as he trawled through the philosophy section of the library.  “I could see it on your face.”

Simon pulled a book on Aristotle off the shelf, not looking at Baz.  “It’s possible,” he drawled.  “After all, you are my best friend, I ought to know who has a crush on you.”

“What you ought to do is tell me, best friend.”

“I can’t.”

“You won’t.”

“I can’t,” Simon turned to him giggling.  “If I tell you who sent the Valentine, it would be breaking confidence.” He solemnly put one hand over his heart and one in the air by his head.  “I am under oath.”

“Under oath to whom?”

“The person who sent it, of course.”

Baz shot a look at him.  “So you’ve talked to them about it?”

“You could say that.”

“You’re being annoyingly cryptic.”

“Do you have any suspicions?”

Of course Baz had thought about it all day yesterday after school, but his mind had kept wandering back to what Baz wanted.  Because there was only one person he wanted to be behind the Valentine.

And if Baz was being honest with himself, it Simon hadn’t sent it, Baz didn’t want it.

He just shrugged.  “No one I can think of really makes sense.”

“Most love doesn’t make sense,” Simon murmured in reply, so softly that Baz thought maybe it wasn’t for him to hear.  Granted they were in a library, but still.

“Would you tell me if I guessed correctly?”

“No guarantees, but you have permission to interrogate me.  Ask away.”

“Boy or girl?”

“Hopefully a boy.”

Baz raised an eyebrow.  “What do you mean ‘hopefully’?”

“Well, in theory,” Simon stammered, “whoever sent it cares about you enough to know that you’re gay, and if it were a girl, hopefully she would respect you enough to know better than to send you a Valentine.”

Baz had to admit he had a point.  “So basically what you’re saying is that it was a boy?”

Simon smiled.  “If that’s what you think.”

A thought occurred to him.  “It wasn’t Agatha, was it?  Just to get that off the table?”

“No it was not,” Simon admitted, “that would be a bit weird.”

“Especially since she’s still carrying a torch for you,” Baz snorted, maybe a little louder than was appropriate in a library.  Simon gave a wry smile that Baz couldn’t quite interpret.

“It wasn’t her,” Simon assured him, “guess again.”

Baz was honestly stumped.  There just wasn’t anyone else who seemed even the least bit interested in him.  He had thought that maybe Dev had had feelings for him a few years earlier, but now Dev was happily involved with his girlfriend, which eliminated that possibility.

“Really?” Simon smirked.  “No one?”

“There just isn’t anyone who shows any signs of liking me like that,” Baz shrugged.

“You might be surprised at the number of people who would gladly date you.  I mean, you’re certainly not hard to look at.”

Baz shot a surprised glance at Simon, who was apparently very interested in a chapter about nihilism.  Did he just…

“Is there anyone you want it to be from?” Simon asked quickly, like he didn’t want Baz to question him further.

You.

“Yes.”

Simon looked up at him with a smile that seemed just a little bit painted, and looked back down quickly.  “You should ask them,” he said in an overly cheery voice, “you could get lucky.”

“There’s no point,” Baz shook his head.

“Why not?”

“There’s no way it was them,” he chuckled sadly, “absolutely no way.”

Simon shrugged without looking at him.  “Maybe that’s for the best.  If you never know who it was, you can just imagine that it was who you wanted it to be, and the person can just imagine that you like them back.”

Baz didn’t have an answer for that.  It sounded like an easy solution, to just let the whole thing fade away and imagine that Simon had picked out the rose with care, that he had skirted around Baz when the group prepared all the Candy Grams so that Baz wouldn’t find his own name among the Valentines. That he had done something silly like kiss the card before tying it to the bloom.

But it was too good to be true, and Baz knew it. He would never stop wondering if he didn’t find out for sure.

So he steeled himself and forced the words out of his mouth: “Was it you?”

Simon looked up at him with practiced innocence, but his eyes betrayed a touch of fear.  “Why would you think that?”

“I just had to ask,” Baz floundered, hoping he hadn’t gone as scarlet as he felt.  “So that’s a ‘no’ then?”

“… No.”

“No, what?”

“No, it’s not a ‘no’.”

Baz’s brain was going at a thousand miles per second, and yet he couldn’t for the life of him comprehend what Simon was saying. “Oh,” was his scholarly response. “So that means…”

Simon stared straight ahead into the bookcase. “I sent it.  You got me.”

“Why?”

Simon finally turned to look at him.  “Why?  Gee, I don’t know, Baz!”  He was whispering, but with so much force that it felt to Baz like he was shouting. “Maybe because in all the years we’ve been friends you have astounded me and I only just made sense of it all! Maybe because you’re brilliant and gentle and so goddamn beautiful and when you sing I never want you to stop, and even if you never found out who sent you the stupid flower or if you didn’t care, at least I would have tried to tell you how much I like you, at least I would have -”

The next sound he made was one of shock as Baz’s mouth covered his own.

The sound after that was one of oh god, finally because Baz had him backed against the philanthropy section and was tangling his fingers in Simon’s curls, burying his lips in heat and need and oh, this is what all the hype is about and it was a million times better than Simon could have hoped for.

“Under oath to whom, again?” Baz teased against Simon’s lips, and Simon laughed lightly as he snaked his arms around Baz’s neck, already desperate for more.

“You got me,” he whispered, reaching up for Baz’s mouth again, and Baz couldn’t help but grin as Simon pulled him down to meet him.  Baz angled his head and deepened the kiss, a low sigh escaping his throat.  In the back of his head he remembered the rose and the card, and took to moment to appreciate the fact that he wouldn’t be throwing them away after all before setting up a long, slow rhythm against Simon’s mouth like they had all the time in the world.

I think one of my favorite aspects of the Six of Crows duology is the fact that Kaz and Inej do not end up together.

And that’s not because I don’t ship them.

It’s because Inej, unlike so many YA heroines, isn’t what “heals” Kaz. Her love doesn’t magically fix him or make him a better person. He wants to change for her– he wants to get over his phobia of human touch. He wants her to love him. But it isn’t some overnight happening. He doesn’t suddenly overcome his affliction because of his love for her.

In the end, Kaz is still morally ambiguous, sometimes outright corrupt, and still has severe PTSD trauma.

And while Inej might love Kaz despite those things, she is not willing to lower her worth to accept them in a relationship. “I will have you without your armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

That was one of the most powerful YA heroine lines to her love interest that I’ve ever read. So many fictional girls (and real girls, for that matter) stay in the hopes of fixing a man, of healing his brokenness. Inej wants to heal him, but she understands that she cannot. Only Kaz can heal himself. Only he can want it enough to change. And it won’t be some overnight affair. Wanting to change and actually changing are two entirely different things. Kaz will have to go through agonizing changes if he ever wants to grow.

So far, he has accepted that he is the “demon of the barrel”. He still wants to burn the world down. He is still angry and hurting. He talks about wondering why over the years, with every violent turn his life takes, why his phobia has only gotten worse. It’s because he’s let himself rot in it. He’s stripped any and all goodness in the world down to the barest threads.

That’s why he is not ready for Inej. Inej, who might have her own issues and flaws, but who still has hope for a better world. Who is still willing to fight for it.

It’s not Kaz’s inability to touch her that she wants him to work on. It’s his mindset. His finality in the evil in his heart and his acceptance of it. He will never get over his phobia until he can understand goodness, the goodness of touch, the goodness of man.

And Inej will not accept him while he still holds on to that armor of hatred. And I think that is beautiful. It is healthy. It shows a level of self-respect that is often sadly absent from our fiction today.

— lit me up | (m)

pairing— kim namjoon x reader, author! namjoon
genre/warnings— smut, slight angst, romance
words— 9,222

:: summary— you find yourself becoming captivated by a mysterious, handsome author, but you may have bitten off more than you can chew…

note— extracts taken from the bts highlight reels, found here and the serendipity lyrics, found here. Inspired by the song found here.

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