shoutout post for all u dms and gms out there (especially you newbie ones), y’all have such a difficult medium of storytelling to work with and it must feel like you’re herding cats 99.8% of the time but you guys have the absolutely amazing ability to engage your players in such a rich world where their words and actions matter and you turn absolute chaos into such a beautiful story that your players are so proud and happy to have had a hand in shaping and just….you’re all fantastic and i love you
Exceedingly Rare Sumerian Green Chalcedony Cylinder Seal of King Kurigalzu II, Kassite, 14th Century BC
A chrome chalcedony cylinder seal with seated profile figure and Sumerian cuneiform inscription in eight columns; depicting a seated bearded divine figure facing left, holding a trident, three right-facing locusts above; the eight lines of scholarly Sumerian cuneiform text with a prayer to Ninurta for the prosperity of Kurigalzu’s reign. The seal fitted with an antique gold pin passed through the original longitudinal perforation and a loop to enable it to be worn as a pendant. Translation (by Professor Lambert) for each column:
(1) dkur-da-ru gada gìr / ‘Ninurta, powerful lord’ (2) saĝ kal šà-aš-DU / 'special chief, foremost’ (3) ururu mah an-ta-ğál / 'the lofty city (?) being in heaven’ (4) ur-saĝ dili-ni rib-ba / 'champion on his own standing out’ (5) [diğir] ní-su-ši ri-a / 'the god moving with a halo of terror’ (6) ku-ri-gal-zu / ’(on) Kurigalzu’ (7) nun nì tuku-tuku-zu / 'the prince who reveres you’ (8) bala šà dùg-ga ğar-bi / 'place a reign of sweet heart’.
The extremely rare green variety of chalcedony was only known to the ancients and the Romans, until circa 3rd century AD, when it disappears from history. It is only known from small worked pieces such as beads and intaglios. The source has been recently discovered as being from northern Turkey (Anatolia). The color derives from the presence of chromium.
Summary: You have to break the news to Jared and, later, Genevieve. At a convention, Jared lets slip some information that gets you into an uncomfortable situation. Jared x Reader (mentioned Jared x Gen, Jared x Reader x Gen), Genevieve, Jensen, Kathryn Newton (brief Matt and Rich) Words: 6.2k+ Warnings: pregnancy, hella drama/angst, self-deprecating reader, uncomfortable confrontations Beta:@blacksiren
Ever wonder how butter came about? Author Elaine Khosrova
has a theory:
Sometime around 8000 B.C., a weary herdsman reached for the
sheepskin bag of milk knotted to the back of his pack animal. But as he tilted
his head to pour the warm liquid into his mouth, he was astonished to find that
the sheep’s milk had curdled. The rough terrain of ancient Africa and the constant
joggling of the milk had transformed it into butter – and bewilderingly, it
Khosrova says the story of butter is a historical roadmap of
humanity. Her new book is called Butter:
A Rich History.
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 Words: 5.5k Genre: Angst, Multiple Personality!Au Summary: Jeon Jungkook is a puzzle with too many missing pieces from his past and too many sides. Somehow, it’s become your job to solve him. → Inspired by the Korean Drama - Kill Me Heal Me Warnings: Topics of mental health, mentions of death and medical disorders. Disclaimer: Although this piece of work required lots of in-depth research and was attempted to be as accurate as possible, at the end of the day, I am not a psychologist and this is fanfiction. Specific things may be altered or exaggerated for story-telling purposes. Please take all medical terminologies and procedures with a grain of salt.
“You need us.” “Jungkook.” “We’re only trying to help you.”
He bolts straight up, only to fall off the mattress and onto the hard ground. The thin, cardinal curtains are closed, trickles of sunlight pouring in and painting the unfamiliar room in a hue of crimson. His head is pounding and his eyes are swollen; he doesn’t know where he is or who he is.
It was a simple word, sliced up into two by none other than Rich.
But the word boyfriends (or rather RIENDS, as written on Michael’s satchel) gave him weird heart palpitations. So what if he’d spent the last…four weeks subconsciously drawing hearts and scribbling Jeremy’s name on his notes during bio?
The turning point though, was the backpacks. The fact that he was now truly “half of a pair” now that their backpacks spelt out “boyfriends” was more than his little heart could handle.
“You don’t mind the fact that our backpacks say boyfriends? If you do I probably have a red–”
“Mike, don’t worry. I’m not thrilled that half my sexuality is paraded around school but it’s whatever.” Jeremy said around his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The brain freeze Michael got from the slushie was probably one of the happiest ones he’s had in a while.
After a hell of a high school day, nothing brought Michael’s spirits up more than smoking a joint and playing vintage games with Jeremy. They’d snack on Doritos and Red Mountain Dew, share a beanbag and talk about their day between bouts of shouting at the television.
“Hey, if the squip works, you won’t be too cool for video games right?” Michael gestured lamely at the Nintendo-64 plugged into Jeremy’s tv.
“You know you’re my favorite person, that’s not going to change.” Jeremy grinned, nudging Michael’s shoulder. Michael hoped that the joint he smoked after school covered for the blush burning on his cheeks.
“Is it really true I’m your favorite person?” Michael cooed, his heart twisting in his chest. The simple fact that Jeremy just smiled and laughed, such a wonderful laugh, was not helping Michael’s crush. Jeremy half heartedly shoved Michael on the beanbag they shared, though he pulled Jeremy along with him as he fell off the bag and onto the floor.
With Jeremy on top of him. Neither moved to sit up. Michael glanced down at Jeremy’s lips, wanting so, so badly to close the gap between them.
“I’ve gotta say, this is pretty gay.” Michael joked. Jeremy’s face burned red, biting his lip.
“I mean, we do have boyfriends written on our backpacks.” Jeremy joked, his eyes flicking down to Michael’s lips.
Michael leaned up and pressed his lips against Jeremy’s. His heart almost shattered until he felt Jeremy relax against his lips and kiss back. Michael tangled his fingers in Jeremy’s curls. He sucked on Jeremy’s bottom lip gently, a bout of pride flowing through him when he heard Jeremy groan into the kiss.
The kiss broke, leaving the two breathless and grinning widely.
“Jesus, you don’t understand how long I’ve wanted to do that.” They said over each other.
“You’re kidding,” Michael asked. Jeremy bit his lip and shook his head.
“It’s been a while actually. A couple of months.” Jeremy said before kissing Michael again.
The next day, Michael walked into school with an extra kick in his step, and it wasn’t just because his favorite bob Marley song came on.
Highlights of Introducing my Friend to Be More Chill
-“It’s the squips creepy phantom of the opera moment”
-“WHY IS THERE A SONG CALLED THE SQUIP LURKS? LURKS IS NOT A GOOD HAPPY WORD”
-“Rich should tell Jake ‘my love for you is a BURNING desire”
-“This isn’t okay”
“What isn’t okay?”
*sends all the lyrics to Upgrade*
“T H I S”
-“Well apparently I love a lot of people cause I put pants on everyday”
-“It’s a GODDAMN TWO PLAYER GAME MOTHERFUCKERS”
Based on that one richjake post i made a while back. I seriously meant this to be purely fluff and like it’s not super angsty but there’s a quick mention of some internalized biphobia (technically it’s coming from the deactivated squip) and then there’s also mentions of some pretty intense stress coming from Jake about his busy schedule + parents.
They’ve got each others back though don’t worry.
It takes a ridiculously long time for Rich to pick up on it. Sometimes when they’re hanging out Jake will just sit down. Rich doesn’t like to sit down, he’s already short as hell and not to mention that it’s only when Jake sits down Rich actually looks taller than him. So Jake sits down, on benches, on the bed when they’re hanging out in either one of their bedrooms, in some rare cases he’ll sit down on fences if they’re comfortable enough. Rich doesn’t get it. Jake is an active guy, he likes walking around, likes to be constantly in motion. Even when he’s standing still he’s shifting his weight from one foot to another.
So Rich doesn’t pick up on it.
Jake sits down on his bed and looks up at Rich, he looks sort of hopeful and Rich can not for the life of him understand why, or what he’s meant to do.
”What’cha looking at?” he says nervously and swallows the wave of anxiety that comes rushing whenever he feels like he doesn’t know what’s going on. He doesn’t exactly want the Squip back per se… but it’s times like these when he remembers why he got it in the first place. The Squip would tell him what to do in this situation.
The Squip would tell you to leave immediately, dating boys won’t get you anywhere with the popular kids. He hopes he doesn’t visibly flinch as the voice is suddenly there, present in his mind and he hates that his response to it isn’t just I don’t give a fuck, but rather, Jake is a popular kid. Dating him does exactly zero damage to my rep.
If Jake notices the internal debate Rich is having with the voice in his head he doesn’t comment on it. ”Nothin’,” he says instead and it takes a few seconds for Rich to get back enough in the present moment to remember he was the one who had asked a question, ”just thinking.” He smiles up at Rich as if his words don’t make the lump of anxiety in Rich’s stomach grow larger by the second.
“Right, right, ” Rich says, nodding quickly and turning away to go through the shelves holding all of Jake’s comics, as if he hasn’t read them all long ago. He trips over his own shoelaces on his way and he’s barely steadied himself before Jake comes up behind him wrapping his arms around Rich and holding him securely against his front. Rich immediately relaxes and is able to take a deep breath.
“You okay?” Jake asks, and there’s genuine concern lacing his voice, reminding Rich that Jake isn’t playing any games, he doesn’t have to jump through any hoops for Jake to think he’s cool enough.
“Yeah… yeah I’m good.” He leans back towards Jake and puts his hands over Jakes’. They don’t move for a while after that. They’re good.
He’s stressed out. Jake is ridiculously stressed out and Rich doesn’t know what to do about it. They’re back in Jake’s room, with the taller pacing back and forth while Rich stands a few feet away trying to find a chance to calm him down, to be of some kind of use.
“Jake-” he starts softly but Jake doesn’t hear him or he doesn’t care.
“I don’t know how the hell I’m supposed to get it all done! i’m failing math, the theatre is so much more work than i thought and dude don’t even get me started on football!” Jake’s voice is becoming more and more frantic as he rants on, his voice is uneven and Rich is afraid he might be more emotional about it all than he lets on. Jake doesn’t mind letting people know he’s frustrated, it’s when he’s feeling genuinely worried and anxious that he’s scared to become vulnerable.
“Jakey,” Rich tries again but before he can continue Jake stops pacing and whips around to look at Rich.
“-and can you believe,” he interrupts, his voice growing in volume until he’s yelling, “I got a fucking letter from mom! You know what it said? Maybe a “hey honey how are you doing?” or possibly a quick “i hope you’re good”`? No, she couldn’t care less! She doesn’t give a shit about me she just made some dumb-ass comment about keeping my grades up and the house in shape! As if she has any right to harass me about this shit when she’s the one who left!” His voice finally betrays him on the last word, it cracks and breaks Rich’s heart in the same second.
Jake stands there for a few seconds and then seems to realize what he said, seems to realize who he’s really been yelling at since they came home. It’s like someone snapped their fingers and now jake is suddenly back in his body. His face goes slack, the anger drains from his eyes and it kills Rich that he looks so guilty. He backs away slumping down on his bed, looking up at Rich desperately as if he’s pleading with Rich to fix things. To hold him together. Suddenly the pieces click together in Rich’s mind.
“I’m sorry,” Jake says, voice trembling, “I’m sorry,” he repeats, “I just don’t know what to do-” it’s the tear that rolls down his cheek on the last word that spurs Rich into action and he’s there standing in front of Jake before the other has the time to wipe the offending drop away. Rich cups Jake’s face in his hands, gently brushing the tear away and pressing a kiss to his head.
“It’s okay…” he whispers, “you’re okay, you’re gonna be alright…” he continues as Jake tips his head forward to rest on under Rich’s chin. He feels Jake’s arms wrap around his waist and he steps closer so that he can envelop Jake in his own arms, standing in the V of Jake’s legs he continues to softly whisper words of comfort. He doesn’t know if Jake can hear him or if he’s present enough to understand him but something tells him it doesn’t quite matter as long as he just keeps holding Jake the way he is right then. “It’s gonna be perfectly fine,” I’ll help you study for math, Michael can probably help you as well and you know Christine won’t mind cutting you some slack with the theatre, you can still be involved and not have it take over everything else.”
It takes a few minutes but after a while Jake begins to relax, the tension draining out of his body, he’s still holding onto Rich and Rich is reluctant to let go himself. “You okay,” he asks instead.
Richie Tozier, the boy who’d lived a life full of neglect, finally understood love. He felt love with Bill Denbrough, his childhood best friend. He also felt it with Beverly, Stan, Mike, and Ben - his other best friends. But, with Eddie Kaspbrak, Richie felt a different kind of love.
This type of love made him want to scream out to the Heavens, to thank whatever creator might sit up there. With Eddie, he wanted to see tomorrow and the days following - because everything had meaning and it was beautiful.
Paired with this exhilarating feeling comes the overpowering sense of protectiveness; Richie knew he would do absolutely anything for Eddie, to keep him safe and happy. Sonia Kaspbrak, Eddie’s batshit crazy mother, also knew this - and she used it to her advantage.
Richie held a cigarette between bruised fingers, shakily bringing it up to his lips and inhaling a deep breath of toxic smoke. His head spun, nausea climbing it’s way up his throat. The sun settled on the brink of the horizon, threatening to disappear any minute. His eyes throbbed uncomfortably behind thick-rimmed glasses, as if he hadn’t slept for days. His friends approached quickly, dropping their bikes on the sidewalk.
“Richie,” Beverly Marsh spoke first, crouching down next to him and taking his purple hand to examine, “What the fuck happened?”
He sat silently for a moment, dropping what was left of his smoke and pulling another out of his pocket. Bill, Stan, Mike, and Ben all took seats around him, taking in his unusual features. Richie Tozier’s face had lost it’s glow, the quirky grin had been replaced with a heartbreaking grimace, his once bright eyes now dull. His cheeks were sunken in, even more-so than usual, dark bags staining his pale skin.
“I can’t hang out with you guys anymore.” There was no hint of humor in his tone; Richie sounded completely lifeless.
“W-What do you m-mean?” asked Bill half-heartedly, frown etched onto his face.
“Where’s Eddie? Why isn’t he here?” Stan added on, noticing the missing member of their club.
Richie ran his tongue over his chapped lips. His chest felt ached with a sense of emptiness. His breath hitched in his throat as he fought back the tears blurring his vision.
“I’m going to break up with him today.” He croaked, trying not to sound utterly crushed, “And after I do, I want you guys to be there for him. Make sure he’s okay for me.”
They all fell silent, mouths agape, confusion bubbling throughout the circle. Beverly clutched Richie’s hand tightly, staring holes in the side of his head as if trying to read his mind. Stan slipped an arm around Bill, who looked absolutely torn apart.
It was well-known how strongly the boys felt for each other. They were practically attached at the hip since they’d first met. Eddie was Richie’s other half, the sun to his moon.
Mike voiced their thoughts, “Why the fuck would you do that? It’s obviously hurting you.”
“Just make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid, okay? Stay with him until he’s alright.”
“If you do this,” Ben said slowly, “Eddie will never be alright. Rich, he needs you.”
“No, he doesn’t!” Richie yelled, startling all of them.
Not even Bill had ever heard Richie so angry and broken. Richie’s skin flushed, heating up in uncontrollable rage. His fists clenched, brows knitting together.
“Eddie doesn’t need me, Ben! I’m just the annoying loudmouth, right? The ‘waste of space’ Tozier who’s always cracking jokes and can’t take anything seriously - Eddie doesn’t need that!”
Richie got up to his feet in a flash, pushing his way out of the group to pace in frustration and toss his cigarette onto the street. The others just watched him as he seemed to be fighting internal panic, only getting up as he let out a desperate scream and threw a punch at a street sign. Beginning to throw another, a hand caught his wrist.
“Richie, calm down.” Mike’s voice seemed to ground him, “We will figure this out together.”
Richie broke down. He collapsed in Mike’s arms with heart-wrenching sobs, bunching up Mike’s shirt in his bloody fists. Mike struggled to keep him up, practically holding Richie up off the ground. Richie’s entire body stung, as if he’d been attacked by bees. No one could bare to look at him as he let out a violent cry, writhing in Mike’s arms as if electrical shocks were running through his body.
Mike turned to the others, “Somebody go get Eddie.”
“No!” Richie cried sharply, looking at the boy wide-eyed, “No, I can’t do it! Not yet!”
“Rich, you don’t have to. Whatever’s going through your head, whatever’s bothering you, we’ll work through it.” Beverly spoke sweetly, rubbing the taller boy’s back soothingly.
“E-Eddie l-loves you.” Bill stated, “J-Just as m-muh-much as you l-love him.”
Richie sunk to the pavement, clutching handfuls of his hair and dragging Mike down with him, “You don’t understand, Big Bill.” Tears streamed uncontrollably down his cheeks, “None of you understand.”
Ben grabbed Beverly’s hand, giving it a squeeze as her eyes glossed over.
“So, if you break up with Eddie,” Stan dropped down next to Richie, “And we all stay with him to make sure he’s okay - who’s going to make sure you are?”
Richie grabbed Stan’s shoulders, voice cracking as he spoke, “Promise me you’ll be there for him.”
Stan stayed silent, his eyes wide and sad. Richie’s cheeks were blotchy, lashes dripping with tears. His expression screamed one of worry and apprehension.
“I’m not letting you go until you promise me!”
Stan nodded slowly, “I promise, Rich.”
Richie pulled Stan into him, embracing him tightly and letting his head fall in the crook of Stan’s neck. Mike, Bill, and Beverly all joined the hug - followed by Ben, who’s heart ached for both Richie and Eddie.
“Why are you doing it, Rich?” Beverly’s words were muffled by Mike’s shoulder, “Did someone say something to you?”
Richie pulled away from the group hug with a sad smile, wiping at his wet cheeks with the back of his hands. From his jean pocket, Richie pulled out a folded piece of notebook paper, ‘Eds’ scratched messily on the front.
“Bev, will you give this to him?” He laid the note in her hand, “Wait a few days, though. Don’t upset him.”
“Rich, this isn’t…” Beverly trailed off, biting down on her lip as a sob choked her.
Richie gave a soft laugh, “It’s not a suicide note. It’s a letter. I want him to know why.”
“But, Richie, why?” Ben asked, watching sadly as Richie stood.
“Maybe Eds,” He flinched at the nickname, sucking in a deep breath, “Maybe Eddie will tell you.”
He lifted his bike, throwing a leg over to straddle it. Richie looked back at his friends, offering a glance and a smile at each of them. None of them returned the smile. Beverly was obviously crying now, Bill not far behind. Ben’s eyes watered profusely, and Mike and Stan both looked defeated.
Richie gripped his bike handles with trembling hands, emotions overflowing in his mind. He pressed his lips into a thin line to keep from letting out another sob. Blood continued to run down his knuckles, though he hardly noticed.
“Richie, please,” Beverly pleaded, taking a step towards him, “We won’t be the loser’s club without you.”
“W-We l-love you, t-tru-trashmouth.”
Richie turned away from the group as a fresh round of tears began to escape his
“It’s been fun, losers.”
Richie took off towards Eddie’s house, sobbing and cursing himself the entire ride there. He ached with unbearable pain, his lungs restricted and denied him access to breathe. He knew this would hurt him, he knew this would hurt Eddie even more - but, Richie would do anything for his soon to be ex-boyfriend.
Even if that anything involved breaking his heart to keep him safe.
Maybe you’ve heard this story before. Two sisters, one the golden child, the favorite, as pointed and mean to others as her mother is. The other the scapegoat, polite and compassionate, made to do the chores, fetch and carry, serve the other two. The scapegoat sister ventures into town and helps a crippled old lady draw water from a well. In exchange, she is blessed, for the old woman is a fairy in disguise.
The mother is piqued that her favorite child got no blessing while her other daughter won a boon. She orders her favorite to go out to the square and look for an old lady to help, so she too can receive favor. But the golden child, so intent on looking for the old lady, insults and pushes aside a young girl who asks for her help. The young girl reveals herself as the fairy and curses the golden child as punishment for her actions.
Each sister gets what she deserves: one a mouthful of gold and jewels, the other a mouthful of vermin and poison.
Except… was the cruel sister truly cursed, or is her mouthful of poison a blessing in disguise? The sister enchanted to spit riches with each word has the three great golden coins of providence, but the sister enchanted to spit vermin with each word has three great crowned familiars at her beck and call, each ready to teach her to harness power and lead her through the mysteries of witchcraft. What lessons will she learn from this story? What sort of person will she become, now that she can experience hardship and learn lessons from the shadows?
And what sort of person will the blessed sister become? Now that her words can buy her anything she desires, what value does kindness have to her?
Who will be the monster in this story?
Get a printable, colorable version of this by pledging to my Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/felixwarren
[The way you said “I love you.” + 27. A taunt, with one eyebrow raised and a grin bubbling at your lips]
“Rich,” Jake pleads. He’s on the ground, propped up on his elbows while Rich stares him down with a merciless gaze Jake can barely see in the dark, illuminated only the neon lights surrounding them. “Don’t do this. Please.”
“Why not?” Rich grins, sharp and cruel as he takes a step forward. In his hands, he holds his pistol, a finger already on the trigger.
“Because I love you,” Jake says, knowing full well it’s hopeless. He knows when he’s lost.
“‘I love you,’” Rich parrots his words back to Jake, scoffing. “I know you do, babe.”
Rich points his pistol straight at Jake’s chest.
“But it’s too late for love to save you now,” he says.
And he pulls the trigger.
Jake’s laser tag vest beeps miserably before powering down, unhelpfully telling him that he’s indeed been shot. At that moment, the end signal of the match plays over the arena’s speakers, and Jake falls to his back with a groan while Rich raises his fists in victory.
“Take that Mr. ‘I’ll destroy you at laser tag, just you wait,’” Rich crows while Jake puts his hands on his face. “Mr. ‘I’m an archer, my aim is flawless.’ Mr. ‘I hope you’re okay with losing.’”
“That was before you introduced plot,” Jake says into his palms. “You didn’t warn me about that! How was I supposed to be on top of my game when suddenly we’re assassins who’ve wronged each other?”
Rich bends down to help, offering Jake a hand, “I was a rogue spy and you were the assassin. Keep up, dude.”
“You made references,” Jake takes his hand, standing up. “What the hell did I do to you in Mumbai?”
“We consummated our steamy secret affair and it was this that was the downfall of my career in espionage, duh,” Rich tells him, keeping his hand in Jake’s as they walk out of the arena. “I’ll tell you the rest after you buy me the milkshake you owe. Because I beat you.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Jake laughs. He’s been on a fair share of first dates in his life, but he thinks this one is his favorite. Even if he did lose. “Strawberry?”
“You know me so fucking well,” Rich grins, squeezing his hand. Yep. Definitely his favorite.
It appeared to be all consuming, the act of kissing someone. Sirius was slightly surprised by this. He’d kissed loads of girls before, in fact he’d done quite a bit more than simply kiss them. But he questioned it now… had he kissed them? He didn’t think so, not really.
It had never been like this before.
It had never been that each and ever act or thought his body and mind performed somehow stemmed back to the kiss, to Remus. It hadn’t even been particularly long. It had been rushed, lost in the heat of the moment. Wonderful, but nothing monumental as far as kissing goes. Sirius had led him to bed afterwards and forced himself to walk away. He’d apologized afterwards and taken it back. As far as kissing goes, it honestly should be considered rather awful. But it wasn’t.
Sirius felt slightly sick with nerves, standing there surrounded by the whirling action of of the First Bloom Ball preparations. Stray petals scattered themselves on the floors of the long hallways, having fallen off of the millions of bouquets that were being transported into every part of the castle imaginable. Noble and servant girls alike stood around in groups, chattering and working excitedly, hoping desperately that they would receive a bloom from whichever boy it was they dreamt about. It was rumored that the one who gave you the bloom was the one who remained yours forever. Sirius allowed himself a small smile at this. The idea had never appealed to him until now. Then again, the idea had never applied to him either. It still didn’t but he allowed the smile all the same.
Sirius felt the eyes of many on him as he strode about the room. He knew it was because of the party, but he couldn’t help but notice the eyes lingering on his head more than his face, or, more specifically, his crown. He didn’t make a habit of wearing it about but it was one of those days that his mother had insisted. She did that occasionally. He liked it fine and all. It sat comfortably, if not a bit heavily, but he could definitely do without the attention—something he knew his mother valued above all else. He only made the mistake of making eye contact twice before the barely repressed squeals that followed taught him to keep his eyes pleasantly aloof from any one person, discreetly searching for the dark mass of hair that was James. He finally spotted it peaking out from behind a particularly large bouquet. He pulled on his jacket some, straightening it, before all but speed walking over to him, waiting by the double doorway then falling into step with his stride.
James’ face appeared between two pink peonies, “S-“ His face straightened, eyes glancing around, “Your Royal Highne-“
“My mum isn’t here. Can you come?”
James heaved out a sigh as he let the vase carefully down on the table, dusting various shades of what looked like pollen from his shirt. Sirius distastefully glanced only briefly at the yellow stains it left behind.
James raised an eyebrow, “I’m thinking you’re forgetting that status of our relationship.”
Sirius blinked, “What?”
James raised both eyebrows now, offering a smile, “Sirius, it isn’t a matter of if I can come. If you want me somewhere, I go.”
Sirius knew this wasn’t meant as a blow. James was probably joking, relieved that he was getting out of work. But it was true. James couldn’t refuse. Sirius thought briefly back to the way Remus had kicked him out that night of the chocolate cake. The heat that was becoming familiar to him very quickly filled his chest at the memory and he motioned his head for James to follow him. He was doing this. He could do this. This was James.
Sirius walked until they were nearly half way across the castle, in the predictably quiet West parlor. He motioned for James to shut the door.
“What’s this about? I can’t be gone for too long. My mum would have my head.”
Sirius could have laughed at his particular choice of words if he hadn’t been so bloody nervous.
“Well, I’m certainly about to tell you something that could cost me mine.”
James froze half way between standing and sitting on the couch. He rose again, “Come again?”
Sirius sighed and pushed on his shoulders until he plopped down on the cushions, then sat on the lean wooden table across from him. He took a shaky breath, lacing his fingers together across his knees. He went to open his mouth, but suddenly found that his jaw wouldn’t cooperate.
James spluttered, “Mate, you can’t lead with a phrase like that then sit on it.” He waited a moment more then shoved Sirius’ shoulder, “Come on.”
“I kissed someone.”
James blinked, mouth falling open in surprise. Sirius suddenly wished there was a fire crackling, or a rainstorm outside, anything to fill the silence.
“Oh.” James shook his head a little then laughed, “Well, what’s so bad about that? Your mum doesn’t approve of her?”
Sirius looked at him.
The realization spread quickly over James face and he nodded again, “Oh… Oh. Does- Does she know?”
“No one knows.” Sirius said quickly, “You know, I know, and- and… she knows.” Sirius swallowed.
Sirius felt like he was swallowing over his heart. He surprised himself with just how desperate he was to shout that it wasn’t a she, and that it hadn’t felt like just a kiss.
James went to speak again, but Sirius held up his hand, suddenly glad he had some power of James. He didn’t know how many questions he could lie his way through.
“Just listen, alright?” He sat back, letting his hand rest nervously against his thigh once more, “I need you to do something.”
Remus had spent the better part of the minutes between three and four in the morning running his hands over the soft fur of Sirius’ slippers over and over. By the time he had to get ready, he almost felt guilty stashing them away in his tiny moldy trunk at the base of his bed, underneath a pile of old shirts. The flower too, that had somehow remained tucked into his hair, got flattened between the pages of an old book he found in there. Maybe it was more sadness than guilt. Things so wonderful shouldn’t even been associated with such items, much less wedged between them.
He missed the feeling of the soft leather against his heels. He swallowed. He missed the feeling of Sirius’ hands on his skin. His mouth…
There was a hiss from in front of him and he jolted backwards at the steam issuing from the nearly over boiling pot of tomato soup.
“Shit.” He crouched, using the long iron tongs to push the heavy pan to the side, away from the flames, causing the bubbling to subside.
“Since when are you such a day dreamer?”
Remus turned his head to Mrs. Potter who was giving him a sly smile over her steadily growing mound of peeled potatoes. He offered her a slightly sheepish, slightly tight one of his own, “No. I mean- yes. I mean, sorry. I don’t know where I was.”
Mrs. Potter laughed, “Don’t apologize for dreaming, Remus. If anything apologize for the swearing.” Her eyes were kind and reflected the firelight warmly, “But never for the dreaming.”
Remus had to turn his head away. He didn’t want her to see his face fall, his grin succumb to uneasiness. He let the soup swing back into place and eased the fire down to a bluish flicker, then stood and dusted his hands on his apron.
He hesitated a moment, hands pressed to his thighs, before turning around slowly on his heel, “Um. While we’re… I… Just, about dreaming…”
Mrs. Potter’s knife flew on the potatoes and she didn’t look up, but hummed in a way that let him know he had her complete attention. Remus was glad for the lack of eye contact.
“If you…” He paused, desperately trying to think of his words carefully and quickly at the same time, “If you… have something. A dream. Something good, but you know…” he walked forward, pressing his hands to the cool counter top, “you know it isn’t going to last, this dream. This something good…” Mrs. Potter finally looked up at him, fingers stilling, and Remus swallowed before finishing, “do you think it’s worth it? Dreaming it up at all?”
Mrs. Potter looked at him for a moment thoughtfully, then went right back to peeling, “Hm.” She took a breath, “There’s a tale of two brothers. They’re walking in the forest and they come across a stone.” Remus looked at her quizzically but she pressed on, “On the stone are instructions on how to live ten years of pure bliss and happiness, full of riches and power. One brother follows them. He climbs a mountain, he wrestles a bear, he crosses a stream until he comes to a house that holds an enchantress that gives him what he came for. The brother becomes king of a large village with all the money and happiness one could want.” She hands Remus a few potatoes of his own and a knife then continues, “It lasts for ten years, just as the stone said. After his ten years of bliss, his kingdom falls, the woman he loves leaves him, his people turn against him. He is left powerless, loveless, and friendless. He has nothing to do but turn to the only person who knew him before he became what he was.”
“His brother.” Remus supplied, peeling slowly, more intent on listening.
Mrs. Potter nodded slightly in his direction, the pile beside her growing as she spoke, words rich and purposeful, “Exactly. Now, his brother had refused to take the instructions. He claimed that he was happy right then, with the life he was living. He didn’t know what would happen after ten years, so why risk it? He had a modest home, a good wife, had enough money to put basic food on his table. Why take the risk?”
“Well, he’d be happy for a time, at least. Truly happy.” Remus twirled his knife thoughtfully against the wooden counter, the point creating a small indent in the wood, “Why would he settle for something that he was just… content with when he could have something fantastic like his brother did, for even a little while…”
Remus trailed off, suddenly realizing what he was saying. Mrs. Potter was looking somewhat knowingly at him, almost too knowingly for Remus’ comfort.
“Well, I do believe you’ve just answered your own question, love.”
Remus felt his cheeks flush and he smiled, flicking a potato skin in her direction and making her laugh, eyes crinkling. They worked in silence after that, the soft scraping being the only sound that filled the room.
Remus supposed he had answered his own question. He had something good right now. Something better than anything he’d ever had in his life. He had someone. Or at least he was beginning too. Would he really be able to give that up, to give Sirius up, out of, what, fear? Fear of the future? It was there. It was definitely a real fear. There was no hope for them. They had kissed, Sirius had smiled, Sirius had apologized, Sirius had taken it back, Sirius had left. That in itself said it, right there: They both knew, if this began, how it would end. Remus closed his eyes briefly. If it hadn’t been for the remembered feeling of Sirius’ hands on his skin, Sirius’ lips on his own, he would have been decided right there. End it. Sooner rather than later. But logic was consumed by emotion, planning consumed by memories.
Remus’ voice sounded louder when he spoke again, hands slowing, “He’d have the memories, at least.” Remus swallowed, “When it was all over, I mean.” He felt Mrs. Potter’s eyes on him and looked up too, “That’s worth something, isn’t it? He’d remember the happiness. That’s worth the risk?”
She thought for a moment, her own hands slowing as well, knife gliding smoothly, “Memories are tricky, I think. Remembering them is okay, good even. They can take us back to that time, that place. We can feel what we felt again, or almost what we felt. But living in them… it gets dangerous. I suppose it depends on the person, and how valuable they think the memories will be to them. If they would value the memories over their own present happiness.” She looked at him again, eyes slightly more serious but not alarmingly so, “That past can be a tempting thing, Remus.”
And Remus probably knew then. He could feel a ghost of what unbearable weight could eventually settle on his heart if he let this happen, if he let this happen until it…couldn’t anymore. Until it stopped. And it would stop. But he isn’t in the past yet. He’s in the present. And aren’t people always saying to ‘live in the now’?
What a dangerous expression that is, and perhaps the most tempting thing of all.
The already hot air rose about ten degrees when Sirius swung open the door to the kitchens. He probably should have noticed the pies cooling by the window first, or the sharp smell of spices and butter in the air, or the obscenely large pile of white potatoes on the island. But he zeroed in on Remus almost instantaneously, and for a moment all he could feel was him, was last night. His frostbitten skin that turned to warm cheeks and soft kisses and tangled hair-
“Oh my. Your Royal Highness.”
Sirius blinked away from the wide amber eyes and to Mrs. Potter standing next to him. And yes, he definitely should have noticed that.
He tried to shake off his surprise and gave his best yes-I-am-your-charming-prince smile, only to wince a little at remembering how that smile made Remus frown. His expression most likely turned out rather odd.
Mrs. Potter smiled kindly at him and bowed her head respectfully. Sirius glanced at Remus, whose eyes were still fixed on him, hoping desperately he wouldn’t do the same, but knowing he had too. It felt odd, wrong, to see Remus acting like a subject in front of him. Sirius straightened uncomfortably as Remus bowed too, a male’s bow, lower and one had behind his back. Sirius wanted to grip his shoulders and stop him, maybe with a kiss if he was lucky-
“My prince, what might we help you with this evening?” When Sirius just stood there after a moment, Mrs. Potter glanced at Remus, confused, “Or… Or have you come on behalf of the Queen, perhaps?”
“No.” Sirius said quickly, snapping back into himself, what he was brought up to be, “No, nothing of the sort. I’m hear on purely…” he glanced at Remus once more, “physical business.” He had to fight off the smirk at Remus’ flushed cheeks, and looked back to Mrs. Potter, “I require you to fetch Nurse Pomfrey, if you would. Quickly please. I fear my cheek is rather infected.”
Mrs. Potter squinted slightly, obviously worrying over the gash on Sirius’ upper cheek, before nodding, bowing again, and rushing out of the room.
Sirius wasted no time.
It had it perks, being tall, and he closed the distance between him and Remus in just four strides, pressing his hands to Remus’ cheeks at the same time as Remus’ went to his hair. And if Sirius had thought the last kiss had been good, he felt nearly knocked off balance by this one. Remus fingers wound tightly into his hair, pulling and knocking the crown slightly askew as he kissed him, breath hot and needing, filling Sirius to the brim with relief and he doesn’t regret this, he wants this as much as you do.
“Jesus, the one time you choose not to be alone.” Sirius sighs into his mouth, thumbs stroking over Remus’ cheeks, imagining he can feel each freckle there and keep them.
“The one time you choose to wear this bloody thing.”
Sirius laughs. He noses gently along Remus’ cheek, relishing in how fucking natural it feels, like he’d been doing it for months and years and eternity.
Remus laughs too, “Honestly, the first time I get to kiss you without being nervous and you restrict me with this.”
“Excuse you, you had James’ mum next to you. Who’s restricting whom?”
Remus smiles, leaning into the place where Sirius presses a kiss to his cheek, and straightens the crown atop Sirius’ head before letting his hands fall to his neck, “Hm. I suppose you’re right.”
Sirius just lets their foreheads rests together, already dreading having to pull away, “Did you just say you were nervous to kiss me?”
He practically feels Remus roll his eyes, “We were both nervous.”
“I wasn’t nervous.”
Sirius feels a little pinch on his shoulder, “Yes, you were.”
He smiles, “Yeah, I was.”
Remus laughs again then lets out a long breath, nudging their faces closer together. They’re silent for a few moments, just enjoying the other being there.
Sirius feels reluctant to break the quiet. It feels like they’re in their own little bubble, protected from whatever this world would throw at them. But he has to ask before Mrs. Potter comes back with Pomfrey.
“Will you meet me? Tonight.”
“Tonight?” Remus questions, “Tonight’s the ball.”
“Tonight.” Sirius slides his hands from Remus’ cheeks, to his waist, feeling the well worn linen beneath his fingertips, “West parlor. Where we met.”
Remus smiled at the memory, “What a pompous little prick you were.”
Sirius laughed, hands tightening around Remus’ shirt and pulling their chests together. He didn’t miss the small gasp Remus let out, “I’m still a pompous little prick. Just not around you.” He tilted his head to the side, lips hovering over Remus’, “And I’m not so sure about little.”
Remus hummed, seeming more intent on closing the distance between their mouths than actually answering.
The sound of footsteps made them both jump terribly, but Sirius pulled Remus back against him, just for a moment, savoring, needing, “Say you’ll come.” He whispered.
Remus pressed his palms once against Sirius’ cheeks, lips quick to steal one more kiss, “Of course I’ll come.”
They stepped apart, Sirius moving to the other side of the table. Mrs. Potter entered, alone.
Sirius raised an eyebrow at her, “And Pomfrey?”
Mrs. Potter looked absolutely bewildered to see him still standing in the kitchen. She glanced at Remus who had turned away, pretending to tend to the fire. Sirius longed to glance too, maybe get a quick view of-
“You- Your Highness, I didn’t expect you to be here. I would have thought you would return to your chambers, I’ve sent Pomfrey there. My greatest apologies-“
Sirius rolled his eyes a little and then, with the way her face fell and mouth snapped shut, he wished he hadn’t. He was suddenly desperately glad Remus wasn’t looking.
The truth was that Remus was correct. He was a pompous prick. It seemed to go along with his inheritance. But he didn’t want to be. He had to let Remus know he was trying, he was changing.
“No matter.” He supplied, “I will seek her there.” He almost turned, then stopped himself. He had to try, “The- The food smells wonderful, by the way.” He hesitated, shifting uncomfortably, then dipped his head, just slightly, “Thank you, Mrs. Potter.”
He turned on his heel and left, leaving a wide eyed Mrs. Potter in his wake.
She turned to Remus, who was still desperately stoking the fire.
“Well. That- That was rather kind of him, wasn’t it?”
Remus kept himself turned away, hiding the grin that felt like it was nearly splitting his cheeks in two.
“It was. Maybe he’s having a good day.”
Sorry it’s a bit shorter! I just felt like I got a lot across in this chapter that should be separate from what is coming in the next. I hope you enjoy! I’ll definitely try to be more regular at updating now that school is over! Thanks for sticking with me <3 <3 <3 <3