three mounds

Rest Stop Part 4

When Lance woke up, his arm wasn’t a bloody mess anymore and he could hear something other than his heartbeat trying to dash out of his body. Exhaling, he scanned the room and realized the quite chatter he heard was from upstairs. It was probably the refugees. He blinked.

The refugees. Wait.

Sleep chamber knees or not, Lance scrambled out of the pod, his armor ruining the impact of the floor when he tripped. Lance kind of needed something to smack some sense in him as he frantically ran for the door.

Keith? Is Keith okay? Is Pidge? Where’s the team? I don’t see anyone in a pod, so that either means everything’s okay or someone’s dead-

Where’s my helmet?

Really, Lance? Now? Of all times?

The itch for to find it doesn’t make much sense until Lance remembers there are communication systems in his helmet. I’m a genius!

After three seconds of looking around the room like an idiot, Lance spots it on top of his folded jacket and jeans. His shoes sat next to them. Someone must have thought to leave them there for him, which was nice, but he wasn’t going to take off his armor until he knew no one was dead or in danger. Picking it up, he pushes it on his head and sighs as it turns on at his DNA signature. “Hello, anyone there?”

“Lance!” Allura’s pleased voice overwhelms him for a second, but he focuses on what she says. “I’m glad you’re awake. All the prisoners are located in the ballroom, and there were only a handful of injuries. Your fellow paladins are safe and doing recon at the moment. You can change into your regular clothes and join them in you wish, but Coran and I wouldn’t mind you hanging back.”

He smiles. Good, everyone was accounted for. “Nah, I’ll go.” He says, shucking off the armor on his calves. He pulls it off while Allura chatters on. “Okay, I’ll send them a message to let them know you woke up and will be joining them shortly. They’re on the coast of this island, which is relatively small, so you’ll be fine walking out the castle door and straight. Rest up when you’re done. We can’t have a paladin tired from battle injuries. Don’t think you can get away with it either. Hunk has a drone with him that monitors the rescue and I will see if you try anything reckless.”

“Okay, Allura.” He laughs, removing his chest plate. She huffs, and says goodbye, the switches off the coms. Lance pulls off his helmet and peels away his flight suit. His back is wide, exposed, and easy to see.

He knows. He knows. He should hurry.

Keith toes a thick chip of metal, flipping it over in a pile of rubble. They’ve just cleared out another jetty, reeling in prisoners with Pidge’s bayard on the floating escape pods, and pointing out the direction they should walk for help. A furry pile of three distinct round mounds hops past quickly, fluffy pastel fur tickling the other colors. It chirps in thanks before speeding up. Cold, dry hands pat Keith on the arm in gratitude as a leathery mix of tree and human walks past, thin legs extending to move the whole body like it’s floating above it.

He huffs. He wants Lance.

Yeah, he could admit it. Lance, was a solid person to have beside him. He always had Keith’s back, he was loyal and funny, and he had just taken a bullet for him. He wanted to make sure he was okay. He wouldn’t stop looking back, searching for a rustle in the bushes and a bright smile, his heart lighter but impatient without Lance.

Keith sighed and crossed his arms, smiling tiredly.

Yeah, he really couldn’t wait to have his sharpshooter by his side again.

After all, a good team takes two.

Lance tugs on the waistband of his jeans and slips on his shoes.

His armor is a heap on the floor in front of the pod - he’ll have to come pick it up later. Anxiety twirls around by his feet and dances up towards his back. His exposed back. There’s a problem. He needs to cover his tan skin immediately. But he hadn’t been left a shirt. He’d have to wear just his jacket and not take it off.

They did “salvage” in casual clothes for a reason. The armor, as protective as it was, added weight. It might have been light and flexible, but it still got in the way of some maneuvers, and if someone fell in water, it would weigh them down. Even if the helmet had life support, it only lasted so long. There were too many “what if’s” when it came to the armor and water. Their best chance at surviving was getting to the surface as fast as possible. Unnecessary weight would slow them down.

Funny how Lance was only physically light. He sunk like a rock everywhere else.

It was ironic how many people would want him to drown when he was the only one who could swim.

Stuffing his arms inside, Lance shrugged on his jacket, and zipped it up. He passed through the halls like a ghost, the survivors busy chattering around him. Demon held inside his jacket, he walked out into the semi tropical rainforest.

It was the worst possible situation.

Lance had just brushed past a leafy bush to have the sea roar in his ears and salt hit his lips. The team was hovering over the rocky coast that disappeared into the blue ocean, craving to save the pod tittering on a small cliff of rock, but unable to risk crossing the water. The pod was absolutely trashed , the spike of obsidian piercing the buoyancy - if it fell, it’d sink to the bottom. Flying out would get them both killed - the pod could fall and take one of the team down, trapping them in the waves, and both the prisoners and them would drown. But what made it horribly, horribly worse was who was in the pod.

“Dad! Matt!”

Two recongzinable faces peered out the door way, the door probably having been ripped off in the crash. Matt was gripping the edge, bracing himself and using his leg to hold back a weary Samuel Holt. He was definitely injured, unconcious, the small trail of dark blood dripping off into the ocean. The sea rocked and churned underneath them, an uncomplete death sentence, and the pod creaked ominously, ready to give in and crash at any second. Dread sat heavy on Lance’s tongue.


Shiro was grasping Pidge by a hand, his face terrified but trying to gain control. Pidge wasn’t struggling against Shiro- she was struggling against herself, desperation written in her features, but the menacing roll of the ocean warded her away. All she wanted was to save them, Lance could tell, but her body was screaming to flee the water, to fly, to escape being dragged from the sky, dragged to a heavy, wet death. Hunk and Keith looked like a watered down version - scared, cautious motions back and forth, unsure and scared.

Lance’s hand was already playing with his zipper.

Everything about Matt screamed tense and near frantic. Tensed like a cat, his body locked against the open air, sagging like an acrobat on ropes, Matt clearly was trying to find a way out of this without killing himself, his dad, or his sister. But he hadn’t found a possibility. If he moved, the pod would tilt with his weight, or his dad would fall into the water. No one could fly out to them - he’d have to get off himself. But he couldn’t move, the floor of the pod wrecked with a spike behind him and Samuel supported by his leg.

Lance could be that possibility.

Like a sick bird that had finally had enough, the pod plummeted in the water with the screech of torn metal.

Pidge’s heartbroken scream matched it.

Lance was tearing out of his shoes and jacket, tossing it in the sand, head leaps and bounds ahead of him. Sand kicked up from his sprint sprayed the droid and the team as he raced past. Lance could feel their incredulous stares go from the flooded hunk of metal to his bare back, but it didn’t freeze the determination in his veins. He dove in the water with a splash.

Calm was the first word in his mind when the swirling blue washed over his head. It was calm here, the gentle roll of the current miles below him. He was light, weightless. The second word was control. In water, Lance was in command, a quiet authority. He pushed and pulled himself along, arms scooping out his way. Quick, strong kicks brought him to the submerged metal ship, and he pressed two hands to the metal, looking for the window. This ocean wasn’t his, wasn’t theirs’s. They needed to get out soon.

Gliding in through the empty window frame, Lance slinked up to search over the jagged metal and broken, dead wires. Matt’s transfixed face meet his. His eyebrows furrowed, and for someone who should be drowning, he was doing remarkably well at staying calm.

Matt stared at him as if he was a mirage almost, but Lance could tell Matt was the kind who didn’t care as long as they didn’t die. Tapping the roof of cramped pod, Lance waited for Matt to nod before reaching over and working Samuel over the barrier with him, pulling the older man into his arms. A cut craved out a thin line across his calf, a blood came from a smaller one of his head. He was clearly passed out and needed to be brought to the surface ASAP. Lance smiled and held up one finger, then two. Realizing Lance would come back for him, Matt nodded sagely and floated back.

Propelling off the wall, Lance left water dragging behind him. The weight in his arms was incredible - the man wasn’t much shorter than him but had to weigh almost twice as much with his wings.

Thick and waterlogged, they curved and looked fluffy like Pidge’s. Lowered with age, his wings dragged behind him like a pair of broken airplane wings. Streaked with brown and gray darker than Pidge’s, they’d ironically cause the man they made light to drown like an anchor if Lance let go.

He doesn’t dare tempt this new ocean.

Breaking past the surface with a gasp, Lance clutches Samuel to his chest and awkwardly swims to shore with one arm. Scrambling up the loose, wet clumps of sand, he ignores the stricken staring of them team and flips Samuel on his back.

He starts pumping Samuel’s chest.

Come on, come on.

He’s on a time limit, damnit!

He pushes harder, and Samuel suddenly jerks against him, coughing water out of his lungs. Lance takes the second to arrange him on his side so he doesn’t choke on his own vomit, then dashes back into the ocean. His kicks are a last-ditch effort that pay off, literally almost ramming himself into the pod. He yanks himself through the window and nearly slices his hand open on the broken metal wall. He might not be able to fly, but he can swim and save someone drowning. He can. He can, no matter how worthless he is. It is called a trash can - not a trash cannot. (He thinks that’s a line from some anime, but he doesn’t have time to really ask himself if he made a refrence while saving someone drowning. He probably did).

Matt’s lips are turning blue when Lance arrives. His jaw is set and cheeks ballooned out, precious oxygen held inside. Quickly, he reaches out to Lance, who helps him over the wreckage. Wrapping his arms around Lance’s neck, he tucks himself against his body. Lance latches an arm around him, careful to hook it under his wings. They are near replicas of Pidge’s, though clearly entering the final stages. Less childish, more rectangular in design, with darker hints of brown. The tops poke Lance gently in the face, but the bottoms are pressed to Matt’s knees.

Using the smooth sheet of metal as a boost, Lance rushed up to the surface, leaving the pod to sink even faster than before. The distance was greater, the weight heavy, and the time less, but he’d have wings before he let go of Matt.

Bobbing to the surface, he gulps in air. Matt is sucking in giant breathes against his neck, giggling and trembling with relief. He even happy kick-spams to shore with Lance.

But relief is far, far, away from Lance.

The weight of a wingless world crashes on his back, so, so much heavier than Matt or Samuel.

His shoes are too far away.


He doesn’t wait for the team to ask questions, doesn’t give the anxiety and self hate a chance to strike, snatching up his jacket. There’s a quick “Hey-” before water is filling his ears again, and he’s swimming out, swimming away. Desperation and adrenaline sing in his veins, overruling this sea’s temper. This isn’t his ocean. The pushes and pulls are closer to shoves and yanks, semi-aggressively telling him to leave, but Lance makes his way through anyhow. Currents a similar shade of blue to the ones from Earth twirl around him, tiny air bubbles decorating them like stars. It’s frigid, a cold, agitated embrace that makes Lance burn in a satisfying way. He wasn’t like the others, he couldn’t be. No one wanted a wingless. Nothing was ever permanent, not even love.

Lance comes up for air, swallowing a lungful before smoothing back down into the deep. The few seconds he’s up, he hears the team,incomprehensible , but they’ve figured out he’s leaving. Fear pounding at the brittle door calm forces up in his head, Lance dives deeper, the water turning darker without the sunlight. He can still see, but the water is a murky, dusty blue, not the clear, aqua where the light reflects easily. His speed is probably breaking any records he’s had before. Nothing like the people you came to love hating you to make you have a lighting fast exit.

Rocketing through the water, Lance left giant disturbances in his wake. Air bubbles burst out of existence behind him. He had already shifted when he came up for air - his hands curved out his path with the webbing, and the water pressure boxed gently on his ears. His knees weren’t knees anymore, just two long, flat masses of flesh and bone that shot him through the water. The second pair of eyelids he had blinked out any grime in the water, the rhythm different and more pronounced than his first pair. His tongue pressed against the sharp eyeteeth in his mouth, the threat of nicking his tongue grounding him.

He doesn’t know how long he swims, limbs throbbing with fluid energy. He goes until rocks start to spike up, some gentle curves and other sudden daggers slicing through the water. Miles below, he can spot the muddled, bright light purple and galaxy red glow of underwater volcanoes in the darkness. Lance hasn’t seen anything alive yet, but he knew better than to test it by exploring near lava.

Gliding up against the smooth rock, Lance spots the openings to caves, pretty corals fanning out from them and shells dotted here and there. Clutching his jacket tighter, he twists through one. It’s small, and hallow, the water pooling much lower than the majority of the rock. The roaring of the waves crashing washes over the cave, but the cave shelters him. Coal black rock juts out here and there, blocky, but gorgeous in the way only sea caves were. Soft colored crystals lit up small patches of shadow, a handful clustered around an alcove.

Carefully, he clambers up the dry rock to the opening and settles back into it, his knees pulled to his chest, cheek resting against the even rock. The anxiety coils up inside his neck.

Now they despise you.

I mean, why wouldn’t they?

Even you despise you.

Useless, ugly, waste of space. Wingless.

Just drown in that goddamn ugly water you call home.

It suits you.

Nothing but extra weight.

God, why do you exist?

Chilly air pricks at Lance’s bare feet. He tucks himself tighter, wriggling his toes. His jacket is drenched, but he drapes it around the exposed parts of his back. He clings to the rock, hoping the warmth will come back. He’s not freezing, but numb, like rain soaked pavement.

Leave already!

He could stop here, lulled by the tune of a sea that wasn’t his, void emotions filling up his silhouette, abandoned by himself, half asleep in a crevice with a mundane storm brewing over head.

Yes, this would make a good rest stop.

anonymous asked:

Those three dots look like a 松浦三つ星 (The design of 3 stars). I found some info on one page and if I understand correctly it says that this 三星 is a star of a general and it's a star of "winning the fight". Also this might not have anything to do with this but 三星 looks like a 三星堆 which in Chinese you read it Sānxīngduī; literally: "three stars mound" and it's an ancient Chinese civilization that mysteriously disappeared (probably was destroyed).

I looked into this and I did find something very interesting.

All the pages I could find with info were in Japanese, and Google translate wasn’t being a big help, but I think I figured out what what you’re talking about is. I think it’s the crest of the Mōri clan, which was a Japanese clan founded around the thirteenth century.

I think it’s interesting to note this about the family tree; the naming patterns of the Mori clan appear to be somewhat reminiscent of that of the Washuu, at least to some extent. These three samurai each have “chika” in their name. Chika is, of course, not only a component of Hide’s name, but was also the name that Yoshitoki Washuu went by in his youth.

Not sure if this is of relevance, but Mōri Tokichika’s son, Mōri Sadachika, was supposed to succeed him as head of the clan, but they were both killed. That sort of reminds me of what happened with Yoshitoki and Matsuri, although, Matsuri is thought dead rather than actually being dead.

Interestingly enough, Mōri Tokichika’s name (毛利 親) uses the same kanji as Washuu Yoshitoki’s name ( 和修 吉). In the context of Tokichika and Yoshitoki,  “時“ is pronounced “toki,” however, it can also be pronounced “chika,” as we see with Yoshitoki’s original name; Washuu Chika ( 和修 時).

This page seems to have the most information, but it’s all in Japanese so I have no clue what it actually says, however, I did notice something on the page that piqued my interest; this name.

A quick Google search is enough to tell you that  豊臣秀吉 is Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Every time I’ve made a post about Samurai clans’ significance in TG, his name seems to pop up. So I went to check out the wiki to see if I could get any more info on how Hideyoshi was involved with the Mōri clan.

Basically, during a war with the Oda clan, the Mōri aided the Ikkō-ikki clans (mobs of peasant farmers, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests and local nobles who rose up against daimyō rule in 15th- and 16th-century Japan) by establishing a trade route between each other’s docks and harbours. The Oda pretty much fucked everything up by attacking their trade ships and attempted to destroy the Mōri fleet (but they failed). Some not very interesting stuff happened and the Oda essentially destroyed the Mōri naval threat after their second go.

The head of the Oda clan was Oda Nobunaga. He was a powerful daimyō and attempted to unify Japan during the Sengoku period. He’s regarded as one of the three unifiers of Japan, the other two being his retainers, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Symbols for the Degrees: Libra

The Sabian Symbols were symbols or “images” designated to each degree of each sign in the zodiac by clairvoyant Elsie Wheeler in 1925. They can be used to paint a specific picture of each of your placements based on its degree.

Originally posted by the-eternal-moonshine

0th-1st degree: In a colletion of perfect speciments of many biological forms, a butterfly displays the beauty of its wings, its body impaled by a fine dart

1st-2nd degree: The transmutation of the fruits of past experiences into the seed-realizations of the forever creative spirit

2nd-3rd degree: The dawn of a new day reveals everything changed

3rd-4th degree: Around a campfire, a group of young people sit in spiritual communion

4th-5th degree: A man revealing to his students the foundation of inner knowledged upon which a new world could be built

5th-6th degree: A man watches his ideals taking a concrete form before his inner vision

6th-7th degree: A woman feeding chickens and protecting them from the hawks

7th-8th degree: A blazing fireplace in a deserted home

8th-9th degree: Three “old masters” hanging on the wall of a special room in an art gallery

9th-10th degree: Having passed through narrow rapids, a canoe reaches calm waters

10th-11th degree: A professor peering over his glasses at his students

11th-12th degree: Miners are surfacing from a deep coal mine

12th-13th degree: Children blowing soap bubbles

13th-14th degree: In the heat of the noon hour, a man takes a siesta

14th-15th degree: Circular paths

15th-16th degree: After a storm, a boat landing stands in need of reconstruction

16th-17th degree: A retired sea captain watches ships entering and leaving the harbor

17th-18th degree: Two men placed under arrest

18th-19th degree: A gang of robbers in hiding

19th-20th degree: A rabbi performing his duties

20th-21st degree: A Sunday crowd enjoying the beach

21st-22nd degree: A child giving birds a drink at a fountain

22nd-23rd degree: Chanticleer’s voice heralds sunrise

23rd-24th degree: A butterfly with a third wing on its left side

24th-25th degree: The sight of an autumn leaf brings to a pilgrim the sudden revelation of the mystery of life and death

25th-26th degree: An eagle and a large white dove change into each other

26th-27th degree: An airplane sails, high in the clear sky

27th-28th degree: A man becoming aware of spiritual forces surrounding and assisting him

28th-29th degree: Mankind’s vast and enduring effort to reach for knowledge transferable from generation to generation

29th-30th degree: Three mounds of knowledge on a philosopher’s head


Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters.” Native Americans always inter-planted this trio because they thrive together, much like three inseparable sisters.

By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together.

Each of the sisters contributes something to the planting. Together, the sisters provide a balanced diet from a single planting.

  • As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support.
  • The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three.
  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together.
  • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons, which don’t like to step on them.

Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.


  • To try them in your garden, in spring, prepare the soil by adding fish scraps or wood ash to increase fertility if desired.
  • Make a mound of soil about a foot high and four feet wide.
  • When the danger of frost has passed, plant the corn in the mound. Sow six kernels of corn an inch deep and about ten inches apart in a circle of about 2 feet in diameter.
  • When the corn is about 5 inches tall, plant four bean seeds, evenly spaced, around each stalk. About a week later, plant six squash seeds, evenly spaced, around the perimeter of the mound.
An Unexpected Turn


Member: S. Coups
Genre: Suggestive
Word Count: 453

“That’s the ugliest snowman I’ve ever seen.” You teased as Seungcheol shoved the carrot in the three mounds of snow triumphantly.

“It’s…” Seungcheol paused, thinking up the right words, “Abstract!”

“It’s an insult to Picasso.” You added quickly as you noted the snowman already tilting to one side, ready to tip over. You weren’t exactly lying– the second lump of snow was much bigger than the first, Seungcheol couldn’t find a top hat so he used one of Woozi’s baseball caps that was too small for the snowman instead, and the sticks he used for arms were short and oddly shaped, making the “snowman” look like a contortionist.

Seungcheol puffed his cheeks out and trudged up closer to you through the heavy snow. It truly did feel like Christmas, the snow hadn’t let up for three days and the temperature was far below zero. Still, this morning, despite the icy conditions of the roads, Seungcheol still somehow made his way to your house and insisted on going outside. “Maybe that’s because you didn’t help me.” Seungcheol mumbled, and before you could make up an excuse of your gloves being too thin or the snow being too tall Seungcheol had you pinned down in the fluffy snow. You thanked god you were wearing an obscene amount of layers because once he laid each of his knees on opposite sides of you to straddle you it became apparent that he was not planning on moving until he got what he wanted.

“You’ve been so naughty lately, haven’t you? Do you really think you’re in control here?” Seungcheol’s hot breath resinated on your neck and you could no longer tell if you were hot or cold, for your body was a bundle of fire, but the wind and the shivers sent down your spine told you something different. “I might just have to teach you a lesson right here, you would like that wouldn’t you? You would like it if I peeled back each and every one of those layers. We could make some snow angels together, but I don’t think what we’re doing would make the angels happy.”

Your eyes fluttered shut and your breath sped up as soon as you felt his cold teeth bite your earlobe. You really would have liked it if Seungcheol chose to take you right then and there, all for the neighbors to see (and that godawful snowman). However, Seungcheol never did what you expected and that was proved once again when he took a snowball he had been hiding behind back and teasingly pushed it down your jacket. You let out a surprised and annoyed scream and you quickly stood up to make a new snowball.


Prompt 1: Welcome Home

This is from my personal prompt list. These will vary between one-shots and multi-chaps. I’ll post them on my fanfiction account, too, so check me out over there! (Link in bio)

Prompt 1: Welcome Home 


Post-”The Last”


Sakura’s hands trembled. Each expert chop shredded away the round cabbage she’d purchased earlier that day in the market when the sun was high and the streets were busy. Now, it is almost evening. It is time for families to gather, for meals to be prepared. It is time for friends to speak of joyous memories and mundane duties, with smiles on their faces and food in their stomachs. 

With an expert flick of her blade, the sliced vegetable gathered atop her knife. She separated it equally into three mounds, placing it neatly beside the Tonkatsu pork chops she had finished frying only minutes before.
The woman took a step back to eye her plates. Were they presentable? Did it taste well? Sakura had followed her mother’s recipe perfectly, but she had a knack for making even the freshest foods inedible. There’s nothing wrong with adding healthy ingredients…but many tended to be bitter and hard to swallow.
With a vicious inhale, the slender woman devoured the aroma of her hard work and went to fix the table.

She had very important guests coming.
As she sat the last of the chopsticks down, three simple knocks rapped on her front door. Wiping her sweaty hands on the front of her apron, she untied it and hung the worn thing on the handle of her kitchen oven. Sakura’s steps were slow and graceful, despite her uneven heartbeat.
Naruto stood before her with masculinity and aristocracy. Though his eyes would always show innocents, it was clear that he had mature. He was no longer the wild, sly fox of his youth—after all, he would be Hokage in a few years.  

Training was difficult and tedious for the Kyuubi. Sadly, because he was busy learning the trade, he and Sakura rarely saw each other much anymore. Still, the man made sure to keep at least one day out of the year open for her.
Sasuke had promised the same.
Naruto smiled—a charming little thing that showed off the whiteness of his teeth—and brushed by her petite form. “It smells great, Sakura-chan. Is the teme here yet?”

Sasuke had always been punctual. She assumed that if he had not made it to her home at seven on the dot, he wouldn’t be arriving at all.
The man had been traveling for months now—searching for a redemption he would not find in the loneliness of damp forests and unfamiliar towns. It worked out well for the village, because he was often put on secret reconnaissance missions, and he could protect his people from the outside.
Still, Sakura missed seeing him.

She respired, letting the heartache flow from her lips as if it were the very air inside of her.  "I don’t think he’ll make it…again.“  
It was the second year in a row.
Together the old friends sat, sipping frothy green tea and speaking of important assignments and hospital conundrums. As they conversed, Sakura realized how…utterly uneventful her entire year had been. When she was a girl, a new year meant a new start. Things like a different hairstyle or losing weight to suit her structure better had always been at the top of her lists of "change”. 

She did not have the time for such thoughts anymore. The business of her life had taken such a strong hold; a full year had come and gone uninterestingly, but busily. Though Konoha’s peace was always a blessing, the woman couldn’t help but feel…trapped.
It was almost like life was just an endless cycle of scraped knees, emergency surgeries, and non-threatening missions.
Naruto spoke of his expecting wife and how excited he was. His years have been a lot more interesting. Hinata was three months along now—and although she had just started to show, the entire village already knew of their pregnancy. 

A hero’s child was soon to be born. Everyone was excited to meet the heir. Sakura, especially. 

The blush-haired woman finished her meal and gathered her dishes dazedly as Naruto continued. He waved his arms wildly with excitement. “She eats all of the time now. I’m lucky that she craves ramen, at least!”

“What if your child develops that habit? Make sure she takes all of the proper prenatal vitamins and only eats ramen as a treat. It’s so high in sodium!”  
She couldn’t help chiding him. Naruto always had a way of reminding her of his prepubescent self, and of better days—innocent days—when she had something to pick on him about. She grinned as he brought her his empty dish, leaning against her as he rinsed and scrubbed.

“You’re getting better at making food, ya know.”

“I practice all of the time." 

"It’s a pity you’ll throw that one away. I'm…really sorry, Sakura.”
The sincerity behind Naruto’s words was not lost on Sakura. She discards the leftovers and leans against her counter, thinking of Sasuke and wherever he may be.

“It’s alright. The food is cold, but his heart is warm. Something must have come up for him to be absent.”

She had hoped to woo Sasuke with her improving skills as a housewife. For a moment, the night before, she could almost picture the subtle quirk of his eyebrow as he walked into her home. Perhaps he would say, “It smells nice in here. Did you cook all of this? I’m impressed!”  
She rolls her eyes.

As a Genin, Sasuke had expected her to train more and get stronger, so she could be a useful kunoichi and defend herself. As a Chunin, Sakura had become one of the strongest ninjas in the entire nation. Now, as a Jōnin—powerful and famous and an expert in medical expertise—she was worried about childhood fantasies all over again?

It all felt silly. She is caught in between, no longer a child and not yet a woman. The ripe age of 20 tended to do that to you.

Naruto left not long after. He was the anxious type, and when away from Hinata for too long he began to get antsy. Sakura enjoyed his company, though, and reminded him that he was always welcomed in her home.
When he left, he took his brightness with him. The emptiness of her one-bedroom flat only taunted her. But, life was as happy as it was sad, and loneliness was nothing to dread. It would be bedtime soon, but Sakura was not tired in the least. 

She sat on her couch and zoned out to the news and weather, frowning slightly at the imminent chance of rain.

As her television blared and its cool blue glow tinted the color of her living room, a small knock sounded on her door. The wind had been howling since midnight, sending waves of fallen leaves against her home. For a moment, she thought that something from outside had come loose and pecked against the wood of her door.

But then, it happened again.

Wrapping her shawl around slender shoulders, she toed on her slippers and grabbed her hidden kunai from underneath her coffee table. She was a kunoichi, after all.
Tentative steps led her to the front of her home, and with an excruciatingly slow turn, the knob unlocked and she peeked on into the darkness of the night.  

The tall man brushed passed her and shook the leaves from his floppy black hair, letting them fall on the ground of her foyer. She took his cloak in a bewildered panic, brushing the smooth cotton with her fingertips before hanging it on a coat rack. 

“W-w-welcome…” her voice faltered, and the phrase she’d worked so hard on tumbled gracelessly to her newly dirtied floor.

“I didn’t make it in time.”

Sasuke’s statement caused a red heat to feather her cheeks. She smiled as warmly as she could, shaking her head in a ‘don’t-worry-about-it’ gesture. “You must be hungry. Can I make you something to eat? You can use my bathroom if you need to.”

Sasuke was the type of man that could look impeccable even in the thickest of grime. Sakura could not remember a time when he smelled of perspiration or of body odor, even in the longest and most grueling of missions. His scent, however, was always different, almost like his body soaked up the environment around him. 

He smells humid and rainy like he’d encountered a heavy thunderstorm that left him completely dry. She inhaled him.

“Ah,” He says, under the impression that her unabashed sniffing had caught something rather unpleasant. He followed her to her small restroom and took the spare clothes she had. It was a simple black top and men’s bottoms, still soft and new from a recent purchase.

“I’ve been stocking up on spare clothing,” She explains. “I always get strange visitors in the middle of the night. You wouldn’t believe how many stone-cold ninjas are too afraid of Tsunade to go to the hospital!”

Sakura knows that, if he’d let her, she would babble for hours. But he wants to wash up, and her mouth would certainly send him back out to the wilds if she didn’t keep calm. 

She makes her way to the kitchen and starts to prepare a modest meal—rice balls with bonito flake filling. She is grateful for her mother’s advice in this moment—to always leave her rice out to soak overnight—and it gives her plenty of time to fix her hair and fold up the shawl left on her couch.
When everything looks presentable, the woman turns on her tea kettle and waits, thinking of all of the things Sasuke has missed out on, and all of the things she wanted to tell him.

For some reason, Sakura only has unimportant things pop into her head. Though she knows no one would be interested in the strange price increase on deer antlers and thisslebush flowers like she is, (because they are used frequently in the medical field), she can’t help wanting to express this to him.
Sakura wants to tell Sasuke that the red bridge they used to meet on has a loose plank—the third to the right. She wants him to know that the cabbage vendor has a new grandson, and that her landlord just turned 68, and that she broke her favorite glass vase a few months ago and still hasn’t found a replacement.

Sakura doesn’t want to talk about how long he will stay, or when he will be leaving again.

When he walked into the kitchen—barefoot and still toweling off his thick, ebony locks—she had just finished shaping the last onigiri. She is shy with her steps but genuine with her smile. So when Sakura places the food down on the table and pulls the chair out for him, Sasuke can’t help but eye her skeptically.
She’s not angry like his mother would have been for arriving so late.
She’s not needy like Naruto is when he hasn’t seen Sasuke for a while.
She’s not nagging like Kakashi does when Sasuke doesn’t give notice of a delayed arrival. 

No, she is simply Sakura—warm, inviting, and loving—like she always had been.

Sasuke looked at the meal in front of him. He cannot remember how long it has been since having food prepared just for his sake.
During his travels, if anyone asked where he was coming from, Sasuke said he belonged to the land—that he was just a roamer with no home to come back to. But he has found his home in Sakura, no matter where he lays his head at night.

Placing his towel over the armrest of the chair, Sasuke approached her. His words could never fully convey his gratitude, his thankfulness—not like his actions could. 

Gathering her face in his hands, he meets her gaze fully.
In this proximity, Sasuke can see the flecks of gold and silver in her shocked irises, and the feathering blush that blooms across the bridge of her nose, and the parted mouth pant that escaped just before her breath was captured against his lips.

And when he moves away, still in her gravitational pull, Sakura says the words she’s wanted to say to him the most—the words that wouldn’t come out before.
It is not about deer antlers, or thisslebush flowers, or the vase she cannot replace. 

It is about them.

“Welcome home, Sasuke-kun.”

And in the end, Sakura knew she was right. Because the food may grow cold as their kisses get deeper, but his heart will always be warm. In her hands, he could never grow cold again.

How Termites Build Complex Homes Without a Master Plan

by Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Termites are tiny insects, but they are capable of moving tons of soil to build giant nests. Now scientists are discovering simple rules these insect architects might follow that could help explain how they build complex homes without a master plan.

Such research could lead to robot swarms that can organize to assemble intricate structures. These findings could also help decipher the rules governing complex systems ranging from blood vessels to neural networks.

Keep reading


Day 45: To Evoke the Goat.

Between the horns, a candle lights.

And before the skull is laid the feast of Red.

Red bread for the body, red wine for the blood. 

Red as the flowing of life.

Red as the lust of He Goat. 

And Red as the sacrificial river flowing from the veins of the King of the Mounds. 

Three nails for the Christ King. 

One for the purity of the crown. One for the truthfulness of the spirit. One for the deep power of the soul. 

Three times did he sigh. And three times did the heavens answer. 

And in his final words he ascended to the heavens, and descended into Hell, all the time the He Goat his guide, the heavenly father his crown. 

And then he ascended into the stars, and sits at the right hand of God, and judges the living and the dead in wisdom. 

And from the cup is brought forth the bread of life. 

One for the Father, One for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit of the Mother.

In nomine Patri, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. 

(Closed RP with shylittlevelvet)

It was a snowy and cloudy day at Vale’s huntsman and huntress training school, it practically blanketed the ground, no sign of grass or stone anywhere upon the ground. Most of the students were enjoying themselves in the frozen water. Some having snowball fights, some building snowmen and making snow angels, a few students even made a snow fort. One such student was building a snowman away from everyone, he preferred it this way for a few reasons, but mainly because of how he dressed currently. He wore a simply black cloak over pants and a shirt, nothing extra worn to keep him warm, granted he had any warmth to preserve. The cloaked boy went on with the snow man, making it look as best as he could for three mounds of snow, unaware of anything really around him, including those approaching him.

F2F || Jack and Marley
  • Jack: was having a good day. It was the opening game of the season, and he was on top of his game. Every now and then when he got a chance, he'd flash a smile to the audience, waving at the crowd, and finding Marley somewhere in the stands. He was having fun talking to her, with his playfulness, of course and once the game was over he'd invite her to dinner. After all, she seemed to enjoy herself. At the last inning, Jack tossed the ball back to the mound. Three strikes, three outs, they had won the game. After a lot of cheering and everyone was headed to the locker rooms, Jack waited for most of the crowd to leave to have a word with Marley.