the shadow: year one

8

One Sun, One Shadow by Shane Lavalette

Five years ago, photographer Shane Lavalette was commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to produce brand new photographs of the south, through his eyes, for their 2012 exhibition: Picturing the South.

Many of its images became part of Lavalette’s larger project-turned-monograph, One Sun, One Shadow, released in 2016. Highlighting the south’s elegant stillness and beauty, the book reflects a deep seeing and visual meditation into the essence of this region. 

Grow with us @ Instagram.com/wetheurban

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NHL!Bitty (Pt. III) - Post-Season

Bitty loves Seattle as much as a southerner can love a city that barely sees the sunshine, and he loves his boys, but god bless it if he doesn’t cross his fingers and toes every year hoping to get picked up by a Metropolitan team so he can at least live on the same coast as Jack.

For a few blissful months every year, Bitty gets his husband back; and promptly does none of what he’s planned to do with said husband.

(Also, point-of-order, Jack’s three-year, 1.2 million a year, Falconers contract, is on the lower end of the spectrum. The average (2016) NHL salary is around 2.9 mil a year, meaning Jack went pretty cheap for someone being scouted by so many teams. Did our beloved Canadian hockey robot turn down mad-money elsewhere to sign with the Falconers? Probably.) 

Part I - Hug Check |  Part II - Chirping

_________

They’re both snuggled up together in a rare moment of post-season calm. Neither are keen to move any more than the absolutely have to; tucked into lopsided couch cushions while the television plays split-screened between another film missed in theaters and the NHL Network.

It’s been a long, hard-fought season for them both: the Falconers knocked out of the playoffs in the second round, the Schooners barely making a dent in the first. Combine that with their newfound ‘chronic’ injuries and Bitty is happy to just lie here, mindlessly groping any part of Jack he can reach: he’s currently got a handful of pec, while Jack alternates between Bitty’s ass and lower back. It’s not arousing at all, just comfortable; until Jack’s wandering fingers hit a sore spot.  

“You okay?” Jack whispers when Bitty flinches.

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10

The Last Shadow Puppets
Webster Hall, NYC
4.11.16

“ i can’t… it’s not right…”

( 6 v 6 ;;;;) …I.. haven’t drawn this pairing in years, lord why did i ever stop?!

kylux fic recs

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

EMPEROR HUX:

BEN SOLO SWAYED BY THE FIRST ORDER AU:

LIGHT SIDE AU:

FORCE SENSITIVE HUX:

HUMAN AU:

PRE/POST THE FORCE AWAKENS:

SOUTHERN GOTHIC:

AU’S:

fic descriptions in alphabetical order below the cut - 

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Hogwarts Houses: Seventeen

Seungcheol:

  • gryffindor 
  • head boy
  • quidditch captain; chaser
  • constantly offering himself up for sacrifice when it’s unnecessary 
  • “I’LL BATTLE THE TROLL” “coups…no one really asked you to-”
  • is shadowed by at least one first year at all times

Jeonghan:

  • slytherin 
  • prefect 
  • on a one man mission to change the perception of slytherin house
  • throws as much shade as the whomping willow anyway
  • clapping back at first years
  • volunteers at the infirmary mostly to remind his peers how avoidable their illnesses are

Jisoo: 

  • hufflepuff
  • the most liked prefect
  • can’t help but assist house elves with chores
  • gasps and clutches his chest when he hears the “m-word”
  • volunteers in the infirmary with jeonghan but with much less sass
  • responsible for making up all of the house points DK loses

Junhui:

  • ravenclaw
  • quidditch chaser
  • known for his in-air acrobatics on the quidditch pitch
  • infamous for starting study groups for all assignments 
  • has a lowkey soft spot for his slytherin friends
  • uses the dancing feet jinx on people he catches making fun of minghao

Soonyoung:

  • gryffindor
  • quidditch chaser
  • unsure if wizard or just a really large pygmy puff
  • once burned off an eyebrow in potions and had to beg jihoon to fix it
  • late night recon missions to the kitchens
  • somehow always in detention most often with DK

Wonwoo:

  • ravenclaw
  • herbology expert
  • general status: barely passing
  • attempts homework while watching mingyu at quidditch practice
  • uses the room of requirement to house his rare plants
  • hobby: creating new spells for mingyu to use in underground duels

Jihoon:

  • slytherin
  • death glares from his cobwebby library corner
  • king of nonverbal hexes
  • plays piano for frog choir practices
  • the slytherin that ravenclaws come to when they can’t figure out the common room riddle
  • is tired or the flitwick comparisons - so unless you want to be hexed into oblivion, quit it. 

Seokmin: 

  • hufflepuff
  • walking felix felicitis 
  • just happy to be at hogwarts, no matter what house he was placed in
  • creates a calendar during quidditch season, so he can cheer on all of his friends equally
  • “N.E.W.T.s this morning! Fighting!”
  • Hobbies include: freeing house elves and passing out cauldron cakes to students having a bad day

Mingyu: 

  • ravenclaw
  • quidditch beater
  • underground wizarding duel coordinator in which he puts all galleons on himself
  • the quiet voice that whispers the correct answer in the back of the classroom before seungkwan someone shouts it louder
  • asked by six different girls to the yule ball. went with wonwoo instead
  • huge purveyor of owl post. even if it’s just to his friends in other houses.

Minghao: 

  • slytherin
  • prank master
  • metamorphmagus
  • completes the slytherin cinnamon roll coalition with jeonghan and vernon
  • dueling champion
  • king of protecting his friends by any means necessary

Seungkwan: 

  • ravenclaw
  • quidditch commentator but always biased
  • uses his intellect mostly for insults
  • too busy trying to find his way out of homework than to actually do it
  • the sole reason why ravenclaw has never won a house cup
  • mingyu’s underground wizard duel hype man

Hansol:

  • slytherin
  • quidditch beater
  • genuinely frightened by the dungeons, so he needs a buddy to get to his common room
  • same for attending care of magical creatures as it’s beside the forbidden forest 
  • literal mad scientist (top potions student)
  • keeps a list of common room passwords on his person at all times

Chan: 

  • gryffindor 
  • quidditch prodigy 
  • youngest keeper in a century 
  • regularly turns in five extra inches on essays but mostly because he writes big
  • aspires to be head boy
  • has to learn to stop talking back first
Of course all thanks for sorting help go to my @novaurora13 :)
Encore (3/5)

Joint patrol,” Ichigo grumbles, shifting an inch-high stack of paperwork away from him, and dragging the next heap closer. “Joint. Logically you’d assume that the paperwork was split, right? Half the usual amount? So why the hell do we have twice as much?”

Across from him, on the other side of the mess hall table they’ve commandeered and drowned in forms that need to be filled out in triplicate, Shuuhei snorts. “Because bureaucracy thrives on killing our souls,” he mutters, tipping his own forms into their completed pile. It’s already impressively high. “Doesn’t help that we encountered Hollows. Or that five squad members got injured.”

Because they’re morons, Ichigo wants to growl, but he’s Shiba Kei and that’s not something he’s going to say about those under his command. He settles for a subtle roll of his eyes and picks up his pen once more. “At least neither of us had to go to shikai,” he says, partly to console himself, and contains a wince at the thought of those forms, which would add another three inches to their respective piles.

Shuuhei winces, too. “Argh. Don’t even speak of that.” Then he looks up, eyes narrowing, and tacks on, “You say that like low-level Hollows could make you use your shikai when even a fight against a captain can’t.”

Ichigo battles the urge to laugh. “Are you offended on your captain’s behalf, because I didn’t draw my sword in our match, Hisagi?”

That gets him an eye-roll. “Please, Shiba. I’ve known him since he was a brat in the Academy. His swelled head needs regular puncturing. You doing it simply means that I don’t have to. I’m just…curious. Has anyone seen your shikai?”

“I don’t even draw my sword often,” Ichigo admits with a shrug, sidestepping the question neatly. For all that he’s living a constructed life, he’s still not all that great at lying. “I can use kido and that’s usually enough, so why bother waking the old man up if I don’t have to?” Zangetsu more than did his duty in the war, after all.

Shuuhei looks faintly sympathetic and nods, going back to his work. It’s one of the things Ichigo appreciates most about Shuuhei, that he knows instinctively when to let a matter drop.

He appreciates a lot of things about Shuuhei, actually. Chief among them is the fact that Kurosaki Ichigo never really knew him, so Shiba Kei has a blank slate as far as friendship goes. It’s been that way with several of the lieutenants, because for all that Ichigo fought with them he was never one of them, at least until now. Kira and Tetsuzaemon, Nanao and Matsumoto—they’re all people he’s not entirely familiar with, and meeting them like this is good, easier than it would be if Renji and Rukia or even Ikkaku were lieutenants.

A sharp clatter of pots dropping makes both Ichigo and Shuuhei look up, startled, and Ichigo manages to catch the tail-end of a glare from one of the cooks. Only then does he realize that it’s close to ten at night, and he shares a faintly sheepish look with Shuuhei as they hurry to gather up their work.

“Might want to eat elsewhere for a while,” Shuuhei murmurs as they all but lunge out the door. “The cooks all seem to carry grudges, and if we’ve held them up…”

Ichigo thinks of what they could do to his food, from simply burning it to all number of creative poisons lifted from the Twelfth, and grimaces. “Good idea.”

They slow to a walk once they’re a safe distance away from the mess, nodding their greetings to a few shinigami hurrying by. Otherwise, they’re the only ones out, because it’s the middle of the week and Yamamoto has been assigning extra patrols lately. There’s something killing people in the Rukongai, massacring groups of travelers and attacking shinigami squads, and it’s pissing off just about every shinigami in the Seireitei. Each division has at least six ten-man squads on active duty right now, and another four on call and in reserve.

Apparently thinking along the same lines, Shuuhei sighs and shifts his stack of papers to his right arm. “More patrols tomorrow,” he says a touch wearily.

Ichigo makes a noise of agreement, fighting another wince. Captains are generally too important to lead patrols, so the task falls to the lieutenants. With their current schedule, it’s only a matter of time before they start dropping like flies from exhaustion, and they’ve yet to even so much as catch sight of the bastards doing this. “At least they keep putting the Sixth and Ninth together,” he offers. If he had to suffer through an entire patrol with Nemu or Yachiru he’d probably end up blowing some inner gasket.

Shuuhei’s again on the same wavelength—and really, Ichigo isn’t used to such a thing, not even with Rukia or Renji or Chad. With them, the understanding always came in the form of a fight, against or beside them. With Shuuhei, it’s more of a shared ease, and only-sane-man mentality when dealing with the other lieutenants. It makes Shuuhei’s soft huff entirely translatable, lets Ichigo read the amusement and weariness and disbelief that they’re surrounded by people like Matsumoto and Yachiru and Omeada as lieutenants.

“At least,” Shuuhei agrees. At the intersection of two streets, he pauses and looks longingly at the brightly lit and clearly raucous bar just a little ways down. “Damn, after this last week, I really want to get drunk.”

Ichigo snorts. “Well, if thought of your captain’s reaction is holding you back,” he says dryly, “I wouldn’t worry. That’s his hair in there, right?”

Shuuhei chuckles, but after one more lingering glance keeps walking. “Yes, well, he doesn’t have a 54th District patrol an hour after dawn tomorrow.”

With a groan at the reminder, Ichigo rubs a hand over his face. They’re close to the Sixth, and when he looks up, there’s a light on in the captain’s office. “I’ll be there,” Ichigo tells his friend. “Entirely conscious or not. Night, Hisagi.”

“Good night, Shiba,” Shuuhei answers, lifting one hand in a halfhearted wave before continuing into the dark. Ichigo stares after him for a long moment, a part of him wondering how all of this happened, how everything changed so much. He’s a lieutenant now, a hardworking and dedicated one. He has dinner with Kukaku and Ganju every weekend that he’s free. He’s a full-fledged superior officer, leading shinigami on patrols and into battle.

It’s a long way from being the hotheaded substitute shinigami dragged into a war he wasn’t ready for, or the powerless drifter he became afterwards.

Byakuya is at his desk when Ichigo enters the office, sorting papers into what Ichigo has privately termed his answer-now, put-off-for-later, and can’t-be-fucked piles. Doubtless the captain has fancier terms for them, but Ichigo’s never asked, and he likes his names.

“Captain,” he says politely. “You should go to bed, sir. It’s getting late.”

Byakuya blinks twice, and then raises his head. He’s too dignified to look weary, but there’s a certain set to his mouth, a collection of new lines between his brows that tell Ichigo he’s been here for far too long already. “Lieutenant Shiba,” he says after a moment. “I believe you have patrol in the morning with the Ninth.”

The ‘who the hell do you think you are, telling me what to do’ is only implied, if strongly so.

Ichigo nods, settling his paperwork in completed and fucking-hell-that’s-a-lot-left-to-do stacks on his desk. The insane patrol schedule also means he’s dealing with roughly five times the normal amount of paperwork, and Ichigo thinks longingly of his bed. He hasn’t seen it in a very, very long time. “Yes, sir. Hisagi and I were just going over some paperwork.”

There’s no answer, which is unusual—Byakuya is generally too polite to leave a conversation, even an inane one, hanging. Ichigo looks up, slightly concerned, because surely the captain isn’t that tired. But instead Byakuya is watching him with sharp grey eyes, which have always seen far too much. He’s the only one to realize that Shiba Kei is actually a thin veneer hiding Kurosaki Ichigo, after all.

There’s a long, full pause, and then Byakuya stands. He takes three steps from his desk to reach the window, turning to present Ichigo with his back. Another pause—not quite a hesitation, though Ichigo would probably call it such with anyone else—and then he asks deliberately, “Are you adjusting well to this life, Shiba-kun?”

The question catches Ichigo off guard, and he blinks, hands stilling on the pen set at the corner of his desk. He looks down at it, tracing the lines and shadows, and considers his answer. Is he adjusting, one full year into being a legitimate shinigami? He’d like to think so, at least. There haven’t been any complaints about his tenure as lieutenant, at least, or his handling of the squads. Moreover, on a personal level, it’s a relief to have a job, to be doing something. Ichigo’s never been fond of idleness. He also remembers Rukia’s stories about the Rukongai, the hollows, the danger. At least this way he can make a difference, more than he ever could on his own. And he has Kukaku and Ganju. They’re not something he would have ever considered a bonus, before, but Kukaku is like some strange mix of Yuzu and his father with a dash of his mother and Tatsuki thrown in for good measure, and Ganju is a solid, dependable friend-slash-brother-figure. Ichigo cares for them.

But…

“Your father,” Byakuya says, with strange care, “is not among the most dignified of the captains—”

It’s very, very hard for Ichigo not to snort loudly at that.

“—but he is still a captain, and trustworthy.” The Kuchiki lord half-turns, looking at his lieutenant, and finishes softly, “I know what it is to hold oneself at a distance from family, Kurosaki Ichigo. I have also become aware of the fact that it is a mistake.”

The use of his real name almost shocks Ichigo more than the meaning of the words, because it’s so close to careless, saying such a thing in what amounts to a public area, and Kuchiki Byakuya is anything, everything but careless. Then he grasps the content and swallows, heart suddenly lodged in his throat, because—

Because Yuzu and Karin and Goat-Face are all alive, are all here, and Ichigo hasn’t been able to keep himself from ghosting by their house in the middle of the city more than once, has had to physically restrain himself from asking Momo how the old man is doing. He’d thought, arriving in Soul Society, that a little bit of distance was good. They hadn’t come to see him, and he wouldn’t have been able to see them even if they had, back when he was human. And then in Soul Society he’d had Kukaku, and then Eiji and the Academy, and then the division, and he’s entirely stopped himself from thinking about his family.

They’re safe here. They’re safe and they don’t need him to protect them anymore. Surely their lives will be better without a reminder of the reason they were killed in the first place.

Apparently Byakuya isn’t waiting for a response, because he turns, picks up a few sheets of paper, and crosses the room to lay them on Ichigo’s desk. “Please see that those are delivered directly to Captain Kurosaki in the Fifth before tomorrow evening,” he says formally, and then inclines his head in an elegant farewell and sweeps out of the office entirely.

A little dazed, Ichigo wonders if Byakuya would consider teaching him to walk like that. It’s definitely impressive, in a fuck-off-I’m-busy-and-you’re-insignificant kind of way.

Almost without conscious thought, his eyes drop to the papers on his desk. They’re nothing urgent—should he chose to embrace his inner coward, he could send them off with a seated officer in the morning and it wouldn’t change anything. Except that it would, because Byakuya just gave Ichigo the best excuse he’ll ever get for facing his mistakes and putting them to right.

Ichigo’s never, ever in his life been a coward, and being in his afterlife now isn’t about to change that.

Taking a careful breath, Ichigo picks up the forms and quickly neatens them, then turns off the office lights and heads out the door. There are no second thoughts, no hesitations—Ichigo’s the type who doesn’t waver once he’s made up his mind. He’s faced down monsters and would-be gods and Kukaku in a snit. This…this won’t be easy, but as Ichigo hurries along darkened streets, the night breeze tugging at his shihakusho, he’s almost…relieved.

Byakuya presented it as a choice, a left-or-right kind of option, and those are the kinds of choices Ichigo’s always been good at. He picks one, sets his feet on the path, and doesn’t waver. Urahara said once that his greatest ability was his growth rate, but Ichigo likes to think that his growth rate is only what it is because of his determination.


He checks the Fifth first, but the captain’s office is dark and the building is empty—to be expected, perhaps, because Goat-Face has Yuzu and Karin waiting for him at home, and he’s not one to ask his officers to work late if he isn’t as well. Without letting himself think about it, Ichigo continues on, heading for the neat little house by the eastern wall, set up as a family residence when Isshin took control of the Fifth.

It’s a pretty house, neat and orderly, and Ichigo can see Yuzu’s hand in the decoration and cheerful hominess of it. He strides up to the door, settling his courage around himself like armor, and glances his fingers over Zangetsu’s hilt for luck. The sword hums at him, approving and supportive, and Ichigo only pauses to check that the lights are all still on before he knocks politely at the door.

The resulting ruckus inside is entirely familiar, and Ichigo is fairly certain he hears Karin kick their father into at least two walls before she calls, “One second,” and there’s the sound of a lock being undone.

“What do you want? It’s late?” she asks as she pulls open the door, and then her breathing stutters ever so faintly and she goes still, staring at him. Ichigo is staring right back, though, because Karin’s always been mature, especially for her age, but now…

Now she’s a teenager, a young woman, and Ichigo has seen her at a distance, teaching the kids around the city to play soccer and generally raising hell, but this—seeing her up close is entirely different.

“Can I come in?” he asks quietly.

Mutely, Karin steps back, opening the door all the way so he can move past her. Ichigo does, even as thundering footsteps sound and a voice cries, “Who is it, my beautiful darling daughter? If it’s a robber, Daddy will save you!”

That seems to jerk Karin out of her shock, and she growls, “Who the hell needs saving?!” as she turns, performing an impressive kick that knocks their father, captain of the Fifth Division, right back into the wall.

“Oh, what a good kick! Daddy is so proud!” Isshin warbles, pulling himself out of the plaster, and Ichigo snorts before he can stop himself. Instantly, Goat-Face shifts his attention to him, and like Karin, he goes still.

Ichigo takes an unobtrusive breath, steeling himself, and then looks at his sister. “Goat-Face still giving you hell?” he asks, mouth tilting up at the corner in the half-smile that Kurosaki Ichigo always reserved for his sisters alone.

“Ichi-nii,” Karin breathes, eyes wide.

The honorific is one she stopped using years ago, and it warms something inside of Ichigo to hear it. He reaches out and ruffles her hair with a faint smile. “Hey, Karin.”

With a sound that could be a growl or a sob, Karin launches herself at him and wraps her arms firmly around his stomach. Ichigo stumbles back a step and then hugs her in return, feeling warm all the way down to his toes. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about their reaction before, hadn’t wanted to consider blame and rejection, but the lack of it is still staggering.

There’s a gasp, a cry, and another small body slamming into his side. Ichigo chuckles and shifts his grip to accommodate Yuzu as well, murmuring, “Hey, Yuzu. You look beautiful. Both of you. Geez, when did you manage to grow up?”

Karin punches him in the ribs. “While you were off playing lieutenant and ignoring your family,” she growls at him, but tellingly doesn’t move away. “I—we didn’t know it was you, Ichi-nii. You acted so different, and… Why didn’t you say something?”

Ichigo looks up to meet his father’s eyes. Isshin is standing in the middle of the hallway, face unnervingly blank and arms crossed over his chest. The last time Ichigo saw him was right before the final confrontation with Aizen, right before Aizen’s high-ranking Hollows converged on the Kurosaki house and Isshin went down fighting, along with Ichigo’s sisters.

“You died because of me,” he says honestly. “Because I chose to fight. How could I come back, after that?”

Isshin closes his eyes as though in pain, but steps forward. He wraps a hand around Ichigo’s shoulder and tugs him fully upright, then holds him at arm’s length and simply looks at him. His gaze lingers on the black hair, the lieutenant’s armband, the white-wrapped hilt of the katana peeking over Ichigo’s shoulder. Then he meets Ichigo’s eyes, and the blank look softens into something warm and proud and unspeakably relieved. He smiles and Ichigo can’t help but smile back.

“Lieutenant, huh?” his father asks lightly.

“I think Kukaku-nee-san would have butchered me and used my corpse for fertilizer if I made anything below fourth seat,” Ichigo admits, fighting back a shiver. With Kukaku, such things are less threats and more inevitable promises to be avoided at all costs.

Isshin laughs, shooing the girls away and dragging Ichigo into a tight, back-slapping hug. “That would be Kukaku,” he says fondly, and grins at his son. “Welcome home, Ichigo.”

“I’m back,” Ichigo answers quietly, and for the first time in a very long while, it’s really true.

He’s home.


“You look like hell,” Shuuhei says promptly when his newest friend rounds the corner. “Did you get any sleep at all, Shiba?”

“Good morning to you, too, Hisagi,” Kei mutters, and really, Shuuhei’s seen him look bad before—they’re all running themselves down to the bone, these days—but this is entirely different. The normally pristine lieutenant is still neat, but there’s a nearly rumpled air to him, and deep, dark circles under his eyes. Still, regardless of that, he looks almost…light, as though some weight has been lifted off of his shoulders.

Still awful, but also happy.

Shuuhei studies his friend critically. The Shiba is usually keyed up before a patrol, but now he’s relaxed. The black ponytail isn’t quite as tight as normal, giving him a more comfortable look, and there’s a red scarf tied like a sash around his waist. That’s definitely new, and by the look of it it’s a woman’s scarf, so the obvious conclusion is…

“You got laid?” Shuuhei demands.

He gets the satisfaction of seeing Shiba Kei, genius and prodigy, flush a dull red from the tips of his ears down to his collarbones and start spluttering. “Wh-what? No! Why the hell would you think that?”

Shuuhei snorts, reaching out to touch a stray piece of black hair that has the audacity to escape its tie and frame Kei’s face. “Because for once it doesn’t look like you used a winch to pull your hair back, you’re wearing the same uniform as yesterday—don’t try to deny it, you spilled tea on the edge of your sleeve and I can see the stain—you’re wearing a sash that would make Rangiku envious, and you look like you got maybe an hour of sleep at the most. Logically…” He trails off meaningfully.

Kei’s face goes about four shades darker. “No! The scarf was a gift from my sister. I spent time with my family last night!”

“What? That’s boring,” Shuuhei complains, disappointed, but he takes a step back. “And here I was hoping to live vicariously through you. But I suppose if you had to endure a night with Shiba Kukaku that’s punishment enough.”

Kei mutters something Shuuhei is probably lucky not to catch, and drops the subject like a ton of bricks—and with about that much subtlety, as well. “We’ve got the 54th District today, right?” he asks, turning away and heading for where their squads are assembled. “Western quadrant?”

Because he’s feeling magnanimous, Shuuhei doesn’t call the other lieutenant on it, simply following the swaying ponytail with a faint, amused smile. “Of course. Akon says they’ve been picking up strange reiatsu readings bouncing around the district, and he wants us to check it out.” Seeing the fairly blank look on Kei’s face, Shuuhei rolls his eyes a little. The man is really terrible at matching names with faces. “You know, that guy I was eating lunch with the other day? Brown hair, horns, shares his skin color with an anemic corpse? Second in command of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute?”

With a matching roll of his eyes, Kei flicks a hand in acknowledgement and calls to his shinigami, “Squad Seven, all accounted for?”

The squad leader, a small woman with dark green hair, salutes as she steps forward. “Yes, Lieutenant Shiba!”

With a faint wince at the volume, Shuuhei takes a look at his own men. “Squad Fifteen, any problems?”

“None, Lieutenant Hisagi,” the young man at the front offers with a grin. “All present and prepared.”

Shuuhei and Kei exchange glances, holding a silent debate, and then Kei inclines his head, ceding control of the mission to the older lieutenant. With a nod of thanks, Shuuhei steps forward. “All right, let’s move out.”


“Something’s weird about this,” Shuuhei murmurs, just loud enough for Ichigo to hear.

Crouched on the ground in front of him, studying the markings in the muddy earth, Ichigo nods in silent understanding. The weird reiatsu signatures keep flitting around the district, pausing for barely a handful of seconds before they move on again, and it’s making Ichigo and Shuuhei both a little twitchy. It doesn’t feel like a Hollow, either, but the bodies of a group of travelers at the last site are more than enough to show it’s just as deadly as one.

“I don’t like it,” Ichigo agrees, looking back at the tracks in the dirt. There are no settlements around here, and the others have already checked the area for wanderers, of whom there are none. They’re not actually that far behind whatever the thing jumping around the district is, but these…

These are, without a doubt, human tracks. From several humans, if Ichigo isn’t mistaken. He can’t feel any reiatsu, either, which is another sign that something’s wrong.

An idea flickers through his thoughts, and he rises to his feet. “Hold on, I’m going to try something.”

Shuuhei steps back, looking wary. “What?”

Closing his eyes, Ichigo focuses on the reiatsu shivering in the air around him, rising in sparks and coils, and concentrates on compressing and visualizing the ribbons of reiraku. “Spirit ribbons,” he says shortly. “Shinigami show up red, Hollows are black, and everyone else is white. Even if we can’t track them like this, it will give us an idea of what we’re facing.”

“Seeing reiraku is a high-level technique,” Shuuhei says, but he sounds interested.

Before Ichigo can answer, the awareness just…snaps into place around him, and he opens his eyes with a faintly satisfied smile. “Got it,” he murmurs, surveying the whirl of red around him. It’s easy enough to pick out the familiar feel of his squad, and Shuuhei’s squad only takes a moment longer. Carefully, he drops into a crouch again, studying the air above the footprints, and consciously blanks his face to keep from scowling and/or swearing.

“Shiba?” Shuuhei asks sharply.

“What’s the body count these guys have racked up?” Ichigo asks tightly, rather than answering. He keeps his eyes fixed on the damning ribbons of power twisting across his vision.

“Over fifty civilians,” Shuuhei says, and he’s beginning to sound grim. Like he can guess what Ichigo found, but doesn’t like it. Ichigo doesn’t blame him; he doesn’t like it at all, either. “And they put two squads in the hospital before we started joint patrols. Six dead, eleven with serious wounds, three with no chance of recovery.”

Ichigo pushes to his feet again, trying his best not to grind his teeth. “Shinigami,” he explains flatly. “Their reiraku is red. Damn it.”

Watching

Orion rides high above,
or so we perceive,
A jagged dark silhouette
of a treeline to the east
as gravel crunches and rolls
beneath my boots
I’m seeing something
a paler shade of gray blue
rolling and folding over itself
and I wonder so I walk
into the shadows until I see
one hundred yards
and one hundred years away
the leaping flames of a bonfire
around which dark figures stand
inside a circle of warmth and light
smoke rising into cool sharp air,

And it hits

So hard I can’t breathe

I am lost
two thousand light years away
out of reach and in the dark
and I’m never going home again
and I could walk and I could run
but I’ll never be able to reach
where they are
the fire could burn forever
but it doesn’t for me
I kept running circles
on roads that never end
until I’ve forgotten how
to come back to the places
roads are meant to lead to
I am the shadow
invisible inside the night
staring through blurred eyes
at something I let get away
refusing to realize
it might not come back

So, it’s raining outside and I have work to do (has been working all night in fact, and I still haven’t finished editing this text I have to polish up a little bit before it can go to the press… 30 more pages to go and I’m ready to just throw my laptop out the window) but I’m also tired and… did I mention it’s raining? So I allowed myself to have a little break…

… and since it’s raining… I decided to read a little bit of @suchadearie‘s Shadow Manor (I don’t know why, rain always puts me in the mood to read that fic). 

And, um… all I want to say is…

“(…)His voice betrayed his growing impatience, and she licked her lips as if they had suddenly gone dry. He knew all the signs of fear, and he reacted on a primal level to it, closing the gap between them with a swift step, wanting to intimidate her and pressing her into submission. But instead of retreating, she straightened her back and squared her jaws, meeting his eyes unblinking.”

reading that scene, all I can think of is this:

Shadow Manor aesthetic! 

“And I expect you to be civil and not bully me into spending time with you when I don’t want to. And right now, I am not hungry.” / “Threats won’t make me love you again, Rumple.” 

I. Am. Dead.

(Gif stolen from the amazing @clusterstruck)

February, 1937
Shadow Case File #119

Did you know that Dynamite Entertainment put out a comic series from 2013-2014 called “The Shadow: Year One?” Over ten issues, the series explored the character’s origins in the 1920s, and tried to explain how he became the man with “the ability to cloud men’s minds.”

It also delves more into his many identities and who “The Shadow” may or may not really be…

  • sfrj, the beginning: mod silver is the cinnamon roll, #down with mod amy, "like i give a shit, i was spacekin anyway"
  • sfrj, the climax: mod sonic is a literal tyrant, mod sonic/mod amy/mod sally love triangle, mod knuckles types in all caps, mod super sonic happens
  • sfrj, the first ending: mod super sonic turns into mod dark sonic, everyone gets kicked off, the war is over
  • sfrj, the rebirth: mod silver comes back with mod shadow and mod blaze, mod shadow turns out to be an sjw, mod silver has a dark side
  • sfrj, the second ending: mod sonic and mod amy come back as a couple and boot everyone else off, everything's revealed as one big joke, no one gives a shit anymore, mod chris comes up
  • sfrj, the resurrection one year later: communismskills wakes the dead, mod shadow comes back, newcomer named mod komaeda shows up, throws caprisun on the floor, tells mod shadow 'fuck you' and kills him, what the fuck

                                            𝔏𝔬𝔯𝔡𝔰 𝔬𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔇𝔞𝔯𝑘

dual muse aesthetic for the sith and the shadow