through a fence

THERE IS A POPATO CHIPS John are losing feathers on their head through openings in fences.

VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY GAY I AM GAY I AM TOO ANYBODY WOULD BE IF THEY WERE STUCK ON EARTH WITH YOU TOMORROWS FAR AWAY.

Hello Chickens! It’s me the Easter Bunny! I’m here to collect eggs…..yes eggs…to hide for the kids to find on Easter day! You can trust me I promise I’m not going to eat the eggs!

You were a forest fire when I met you. Reckless and unaware of your pent up wrath. You were a natural hazard. A blizzard, a hurricane. Destruction was your middle name as you tore through people like plastic fences and through drugs like dry leaves. Your father was two parts angry and one part stern, trying to steer your aimless wanderings but you told him that no gusts of rage could turn you into him. And you yelled, god you yelled. Every day was as unwanted as the last, and life was no longer a gift but a burden you wanted to give back. You engulfed the coast with your tribulation, shouting to heaven, and then damnation and in your bursts of raw frustration even the winds on mars could feel your sorrow. Your voice shook the ground and your anger engulfed trees and even though I loved you, I was scared to have you near me. I was your home for a time. And then you moved onto another place, as catastrophes often do. You cant blame an earthquake for making you fall and break yourself; and you cant criticize a flood for moving on. They have had their way with you and there are simply more interesting houses to watch crumble. But fires are short lived. Blizzards go away. Volcanoes burn out. Hurricanes decay. Tsunamis are nothing. Sinkholes turn to laughter. I may have been a broken house but you were the disaster.
—  hal3ynicole, An Ode To Moving 
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When you intern at Wolf Park you can eventually get cleared to do Through The Fence training with the animals. We train all our wolves with positive reinforcement and teach basic behaviours such as targeting, sitting and lying down. When you reach a Level 2 clearance, you can work on more advanced behaviours such as bow and back up.

Here is Fiona and Bicho and Kanti working on some basic behaviours. As you can see, they do seem to enjoy the interaction and the treats! It’s a great form of enrichment for them!

Things That Noodle Has Canonically Done:
  • Mailed herself in a FedEx Box from Japan to England
  • Kicked a zombie gorilla in the face
  • Kept a giant head in her room
  • Tried to go up against two fighter planes with just an old machine gun
  • Threw her gameboy at a camera crew
  • Agreed to fake her death just so she could take a vacation
  • Pretended to be a video game character
  • When on a floating island thousands of feet in the sky, decided to casually sit and swing her legs over the edge of it
  • Accidentally released a ancient demon while pearl diving 
  • Made an entire album(and music video) by herself
  • Broke through an electric fence, just so she could test drive a race-car 

2-D Murdoc Russel

(feel free to add more)

So this is a picture of that house I shared a while ago with the figures in the windows, only this is during the day and it doesn’t look that creepy, but Since that first picture, I had heard another noise coming from that Street and a person with a deep voice started talking to me through the fence. Today right after I took this current picture, my phone randomly shut off within two seconds of taking it. My phone wasn’t dying and it wasn’t cold enough to shut it off. My phone never does that.

@sixpenceee

House Aesthetics

GRYFFINDOR the bonfire spitting stars// skinned knees and scabbed-over knuckles//sand seeping between your toes//wrists branded with matching tattoos//cigarette smoke and the pounding of drums//uncertainty tucked under your tongue like a beehive, like a knife, like something you wish would stop hurting you

{bonds as strong and as steady as the summer sun}

HUFFLEPUFF polaroids strung across your throat// dandelion seeds spinning across the skin of your palm//the sky crowded with stars//ferns reaching up to caress your face// minimalism and vintage clothes// tenacity rooted in you like a third lung// falling and the whole world tilting to catch you

{the world is as enchanted as you make it out to be}

RAVENCLAW calligraphy inked across the curve of your cheekbones// the personification of winter, all beauty and crisp edges// the flicker of computer screens// gowns sweeping across marble floors// standing still in a sea of people// the bass thudding through you like a second heartbeat

{stress cresting in a wave that threatens to drown you, but always comes just shy}

SLYTHERIN the moon hanging in the sky like a claw//fingers laced through chain link fences//girl cults and blood oaths//their bodies a staircase for your ambition//test answers scrawled across the skin of your thighs//distressed jeans and lipstick as red as your defiance// loyalty coiled like a snake across like crevices of your collarbone

{cowardly is just what we make you think we are until you give us a reason to be crafty}

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Submission: @why-animals-do-the-thing, can you explain the leopard’s behavior here? It’s growling, but is it a good growl or is it a ‘leave me alone’ growl?

This isn’t a growl - it’s a guttural noise, but it’s not a growl. A growl would be noisier and rougher sounding and be a hell of a lot more scary. Leopards can’t purr, but this is a similar type of affiliative noise (I have no idea what it’s called). 

I absolutely do not ever condone this sort of interaction with big cats - if you can get your hand through that fence, it can get a full paw out back at you, and putting your face that near a leopard’s claws and teeth is stupid and dangerous - but this looks like a leopard that is enjoying a good scratch. 

i can’t stop thinking about that one mission in Ride to Hell: Retribution where the protagonist needs to get over a flimsy electric fence

he kills a bunch of truckers nearby to steal their semi, and instead of driving through the fence with it, he drives several miles away to the local power plant, kills everyone who works there as if they’re standard enemies when they’re just innocent people doing their jobs, blows up the truck to destroy the whole facility and knock out electricity for the entire area, and then presumably walks all the way back to the now inert electric fence so he can climb over it

anonymous asked:

can u write one from josh's pov where he is madly in love with y/n but she's already got a boyfriend and he can't help but feel heartbroken knowing that josh is just always going to be y/n's best friend

authors note: all i could think when reading this prompt was Jim and Pam, so that’s kind of what I loosely based this off from. This is a longerish fic, hopefully what you were looking for.  Enjoy!

JOSH DUN IMAGINE

“Square up, Y/L/N, you’re going down.”

Josh hovered over your shoulder like a bug that just wouldn’t go away, muttering discouraging words into your ear, trying to distract you from the task at hand.  You had to admit he was doing a good job, because all you wanted to do was turn around and smack him, but you had to stay focused.  A bag of chips was on the line here.

You took a deep breath and pulled your arm back, nothing but sheer determination in your vision, and you let your paper airplane sail.  You watched as it flew through the air, coasting past the copier and fax machine, past the cluster of desks, past Josh’s airplane resting on the floor, until it hit the door to the break room and finally landed.

“Yes!” you shrieked, throwing your hands up in victory.  “I beat you by like four feet!”

Josh stares, stunned at how you managed to sail your paper airplane all the way across the office, but nonetheless, hands you over a dollar to get your bag of chips from the vending machines.

“You really should stop betting on things with me, I always win—“ you gloat, as you both make your way into the break room.

Josh leans against the vending machine, watching you select your favorite bag from the top row.  “No way, you can’t get rid of me that easily.”  

You laugh, shaking your head at Josh’s remark before opening your bag of chips and heading back to your desk.  

Josh watches you go, that familiar sinking feeling becoming prevalent in his stomach, just like every other time you walk away.  He takes a deep breath, trying to regain his right state of mind.  He loved the friendship you two shared, but sometimes he needed a minute to contain all the thoughts running through his head, otherwise his undying love for you might just slip out one of these days.

The hardest part of Josh’s day was at five o’clock, when your boyfriend would meet you at the door and walk out to the parking lot with you.  Josh would smile and wave goodbye, pretending like it didn’t burn every fiber of his being watching you lace your fingers with his and smile into his side as you exited the building.  Then, he’d slowly gather his things and head to his own car, wishing you were at his side.  

You and Josh had been friends ever since you started working in Columbus two years ago.  Two entire years, and Josh still swears it was the minute you walked in on your first day, a spot of dried toothpaste on your chin, that he fell completely in love with you.  

He spent that entire first week getting to know you, and the next planning out ways he could ask you out.  He’d never been more sure that he’d finally met the person he was meant to be with.  His soulmate, if you will.  Josh had been waiting in his car for your gray SUV to pull in one morning.   He planned on exiting at the same time as you, playing it off as a harmless coincidence, and then walking with you up to the third floor.  It was a cold December morning when he saw Lucas for the first time.  Then of course he didn’t know his name.  He knew the man as someone driving you to work, with broad shoulders and a trimmed beard.  He leaned over the center console and planted a kiss right on your lips before making a U-turn and exiting the parking lot.  Josh had let his head drop and made a beeline for the door, trying his best to ignore you calling his name and the gut-wrenching dread he felt.  

That was two years ago, and Josh still hadn’t moved on.  How could he when you sat only feet away from him?  Spreading your infectious laugh and always there to make him smile?  No, Josh hadn’t moved on.  Instead, he’d just learned to live with it.  He swallowed his feelings and instead focused on the friendship that you two shared, no matter how much it killed him inside.  It was always about more than friendship, and he knew it from the start. Even though that is what he loved most about you. Falling in love was quick, easy, inevitable. You would talk and laugh and be happy. If life is a series of moments, then it was those innocent instances that defined Josh for the longest time.

But falling also hurt.  You were his everything. And you were his best friend. You told each other everything, but he had to keep his biggest secret hidden from you.  On that first day, even if she didn’t remember it, he could see a future. Your future together. And for that split second he wanted nothing more than to kiss you, to forget about the rest of the world and focus on you. But there were no messing this up. This was you, and it was really just complicated.

Josh sat in his car in the parking lot the next morning eating his breakfast and occasionally warming up his hands in front of the air vents. Just as he was finishing off his bagel, there was a soft knock on his window. It took him half a second to realize it was you; your coat was zipped up to your chin and your beige scarf covered most of your face. Josh quickly got out of his car and you both exchanged hellos in the still-dark parking lot.

“What are you doing here so early?” he asks, shivering a little in the cold winter air.

“Lucas and I kind of had another spat last night and I wanted to get out before he woke up…" you trail off. Josh’s jaw clenches at the mention of his name.  ”What about you?“

“One of my biggest clients is a morning person, if I don’t call him by 8am sharp, his account is as good as closed, so I wanted to get here early and go over his file.”

“So you got here before the sunrise?”

“It’s a big file,” Josh says with a smile.

You chuckle and then looked over to the far end of the parking lot, “Hey, come with me.”

It was one of those commands Josh didn’t have to hear twice. He followed you, his hand in his pockets and his nose buried in his own scarf. You both walked over to the edge of the lot, and you stepped up on the curb, standing on your tip-toes. Josh furrowed his eyebrows.

“Come on, Josh,” you say playfully.

He laughed nervously before following your actions. He faced the direction you were facing and saw that through the fence there was a perfect view of the distance hills on the east side of town. The sky was thick and dark blue and the hills looked outlined with gold. The sun began to peek over the horizon and the buildings of Columbus went from grays to a bright mixture of yellows and oranges.

Josh glanced over at you as you looked at the view, smiling wide, the sun hitting your eyes. Josh could never quite tell, your eyes always looked hazel and sadly dull in the florescent light of the office, but for the first time his saw their true color: a brilliant green with splashes of brown near the center.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” you asked.

“Yeah, really is,” Josh says, still looking straight at you.

“We should go inside,” you said quietly, noticing his insistent stare from your corner view.  “I’m freezing.”

Josh nods, eyes lingering on the view a moment longer before he trails behind you inside the building.  

It’s habit, more than anything else, that has Josh lingering in the break room when he sees the tired lines in your face three days later. It’s instinct, to ask you if you want to talk. To take a seat at the table before he has a chance to consider the implications of what he’s just offered.

Besides, first and foremost, he’s your friend.

More than anything, he wants you to be happy.  And if there’s something he can do to ease the tension in your shoulders, to watch the frustrated crease in your brow fade back into familiar calm, then he will. Of course he will.

Being the one to elicit a smile from you is worth the cost of his own discomfort.

Patiently, he listens to your perspective on the misunderstanding between yourself and Lucas, he tries to detach himself from the situation enough to give you the sort of sincere and thoughtful advice he’d extend to anyone in that position. But he doesn’t want your thanks — your gratitude that much worse because it’s genuine.  

Josh had served as the backboard for you since he met you.  He was always around to listen.  Maybe he was imagining it, but it seemed like you and Lucas had been fighting more and more lately.  He hated seeing you upset on a daily basis in the break room and he tried to ignore the sliver of hope he felt inside.  

Apparently last night had been bad.  Josh can tell the minute he sees your puffy eyes and quivering lip.  

“What happened?” he asks, concern evident in his voice.

You shrug, trying to be brave, but the tears fall anyway.  “He threw a glass at the wall next to me last night.  He was drunk… muttering about how he thought I was cheating on him.”

“Oh my god—“ Josh said, gut dropping as he imagined how scared you must have been in that moment.

“I don’t think he’d ever hurt me or anything.  But I was scared.”

“What’d you do?” he asks, taking the seat at the table across from you.

You curled your hands around your mug of coffee, “I left.  Went to my moms.  I think it’s over.  I mean, it has to be, right?”

Josh wants to blurt out a gigantic yes, but instead he empathetically furrows his brows and nods softly, “I definitely don’t like the idea of you being scared.” And without thinking, he reaches his hand across the table and touches yours softly.  

Your eyes shoot down to where your hands touch, all of a sudden you feel so nervous.  You pull back and drag your coffee mug to your chest.  

“I should get back to work.”

Josh has a hard time focusing the rest of the day.  It was over.  You said that.  It was over and maybe, just maybe, Josh had a chance here.  He’d be your friend first, of course.  Just like it’d always had been.  He wouldn’t rush you.  But now he had a chance to prove how much you truly meant to him.  He was elated.  Lighter and more hopeful than he’d felt in months.  

It all comes crashing down with the sound of the office door opening and closing. Josh’s fists clench at his side the minute he sees Lucas walk through the doors.  He’s ready to get up and ward him off if necessary; the idea of him yelling at you makes his blood boil.  But he watches from his desk instead, as Lucas makes his way to you, gently tapping your shoulder and whispering something in your ear.  

Your initial reaction is wide eyes, filled with what is that?  Fear?  It fades quickly, morphs into anger.  Then sympathy.  Josh watches as you grab your coat from the back of your chair and willingly follow him up to reception.  You mutter something to the secretary before continuing out the door without looking back.  

“He apologized, and he really was just so sincere.  I think he really meant it.”

Josh nods and takes another swig of coffee, which was lukewarm by now.  He cringes.  

“Sounds it,” he says dully.  Not even he can fake enhance the amount of enthusiasm in his voice.  

“What’s that?” you ask, offended by his dull tone.

He looks at you and raises an eyebrow.  Disappointment and anger and frustration all boiling under the surface of his skin after seeing you and Lucas kissing in the parking lot again this morning, so he decides for the first time in a long time; to be honest.

“No, it’s just I’ve heard all of this before.  It gets a bit old is all.”

“It gets a bit old?” you repeat, stunned by his response.

“Yeah you and Lucas.  He does something nasty, you break up or contemplate breaking up, then he apologizes with roses or chocolates or what was it this time?  Perfume?  Same story, different version.  Can’t blame me for getting bored with it.”

And then Josh walks straight out of the break room and back to his desk, where there’s a light flashing on his phone.  He presses the button and pulls up a chair to listen to the voicemail.

“Hey Josh, it’s Craig from Corporate.  Meant to catch you before lunch, but I wanted to talk to you about a job opening here in Detroit.  It’d be a promotion for you.  More pay, more duties, all that.  Give me a call back with the details if you’re interested.  Thanks.”

It ended in the parking lot, the blooming seed of happiness that lived deep in his chest was fading, right next to his heart.  It was his best friend, his sole support, the girl of his life who made everything just a little bit better. It was you standing there, your jaw dropping with surprise and Josh with his entire heart and soul on the line.

It was Josh that changed the game. This game of yours, the little dance of just barely something more than friends.  He had nothing left to lose, because he couldn’t do it anymore.  So he gave himself an ultimatum.  Tell her you love her.  Tell her and if she turns you down, you can accept the job.  Tell her you love her.  Tell her and if she loves you back, you can live happily ever after.  

The words hang thickly in the air.  “I love you, Y/N.  I’ve loved you since the day I met you.”

You stand still in your spot, eyes watering and eyebrows furrowed with confusion and surprise.  And for a quick second, Josh thinks you might say it back.  But then you drop your clenched fist to your side and you let out a loud, inconvenient sigh and it’s amazing how quick his gut picks up on the rejection.  It drops as you start muttering about how “you can’t” and  “you have a boyfriend.”

“Listen, Josh—“

But that’s all. Because Josh clearly doesn’t want to listen. His hands wrap around you and Lucas has never held you like you’re this precious.  It’s gentle  and firm, warm and large, pulling you softly towards him, gathering you, even as his mouth falls against yours, just as lightly, just a hint of pressure and you feel so small against him, against this unspoken message that he loves you. And it’s powerful.

“Josh—“ you say, finally pulling back.  

He freezes, jerks away, his hands still gentle, even as his eyes are screaming, those big brown eyes that love you. “You’re really going to be with him?”

Your ‘yes’ is locked into your throat and tears fill your eyes, but somehow you can’t look away as you destroys your best friend from the inside out. There are a million reasons to stay with Lucas and only one to leave him, because you maybe love Josh, but you maybe don’t love Josh, and it’s that thought that makes you nod.  

“Okay.”

You can’t blame him when he walks away, when he holds on to your hands for as long as possible, even as he can’t look you in the eyes. You want him to look at you. You want him to fight for you, but you know that’s unfair to ask him. But you don’t want to lose him and you somehow know you’re going to and you need him to understand, but before you know it… he’s gone.

It’s not as if you’ve never seen his desk without him sitting there, because of course you have. He’s stayed home sick, made occasional use of his vacation days, gone on client calls — you know what the office looks like when the shape of him is missing, it’s the permanence of it that hurts.  

As you settle in that first day of Josh’s absence, you hang your coat up and take a seat, You let yourself miss him as a coworker and as a best friend and that’s it. Work will be work, with or without Josh Dun.

But that’s a lie, because of course it hurts like hell.

Each day it’s harder, when it starts to sink in that this doesn’t mean a handful of days out recovering from the flu or visiting his family, but that there is a new and permanent Josh-sized hole in the fabric of you. So you play sudoku to avoid noticing the absence of his voice and

you doodle in notebook margins during conference room meetings to ignore all the jokes he can’t whisper in your ear.  

As the day goes on, regret floods deeper within you.  You always knew Josh was your best friend.  But you probably always always knew he was more than that too.  You just wished you’d been brave enough to see that.

That night you break up with Lucas.  This time, there’s no yelling or screaming or wine glasses thrown against the wall.  It’s respectable and understood that they are just not meant to be.  You thought there’d be a Lucas-sized hole inside of you now too, but there’s not.  Instead, it just makes room for Josh’s hole to grow bigger.  

It’s twenty past five and you’ve got your coat on and bag in hand when the phone rings.

You debate for a moment about answering it — after all, technically you shouldn’t even still be here.

But, well, you are still there, so it’s equal parts obligation and impulse that has you reaching for the handset and saying, “Hello?” with a slightly tired edge in your tone.

“Uh, hey.”

And — oh, oh.

“Oh my god.”

“Hi.”

“Um… Hi.”

Witty. Clever. Exactly the kind of thing you’d imagined herself saying to Josh when you finally reconnected after too-many-weeks of silence.

“Sorry, I needed a number from Mark.  It’s a co-client thing—”

“Oh.”

“—and I was just gonna leave a voicemail, because I didn’t think anyone would be there.”

It’s hard not to wonder if Josh had been making an open effort to avoid you on purpose, if he’d waited to call until twenty past five because you were supposed to be gone and he’s supposed to get an machine instead.  

“Why are you still there?”

“I had to work late.” And then, because that sounds flimsy, goes on. “Well I didn’t have to, but there were just some open files I wanted to finish up.”

“Wow,” he says, the faint tone of amusement in his voice.  “Wow, they’ve really changed you Y/L/N.  Going above and beyond, that’s not you.”

And you’re smiling—because it’s Josh and you aren’t sure your face is capable of behaving any other way around him—but there’s something nervous and careful in the lines of your expression that isn’t usually there. You’ve missed him, but knows that a subtle shift occurred in their relationship that can’t be undone, that things might never be as easy as they once were.

“Everything else is pretty much the same here.” Except—god, no—of course it isn’t.

“Oh…good.”

You change up your previous statement. “A little different.” Because you need him to understand that even though the routines of the office cycle on, no part of that environment could ever be the same to you without him there. Then you ask, “what time is it there?”

“…What time is it here?” He pauses, something uncertain and unsure in his tone. “Um, we’re in the same time zone.”

“Oh, yeah, right.”

“How far apart did you think we were?”

“I don’t know,” you mutter, embarrassed. “It feels really far.” And you can hear his thoughtful, quiet agreement that suggests it’s more than just the miles dividing Columbus and Detroit that’s currently between them.

It took you until the next morning to get your act together.  You were walking into the building, the sun rising across the lot, and you felt it.  A crumpled up piece of paper in your pocket.  You gripped it in your fist before pulling it out, unwrapping the paper and trying to make out the scrubbed words.

You can’t get rid of me that easy.” It was a note from Josh.  One from back before the airplane competition, where they’d bet on how many green M&M’s were in the jar resting on reception.  You’d beat him easily, leaving time to gloat on how he should just give up on betting against you, cause you always won, just like you did every other time you two bet on something.  Josh had left the note on your desk with the soda you’d won.  

You could feel the tears surfacing, blurring your vision as you turned in your spot and starting walking all the way back to your car.  You opened the note up again after you’d sat in the driver’s seat, unfolding the paper and running your hands over Josh’s scratchy scrawl and letting yourself feel what was long overdue.  It all floods in at once.  The despair, the guilt, the regret.  But also the love and admiration and memories of laughing, smiling, feeling lighter than ever around him.  

You didn’t think twice as you flicked your blinker on to turn onto the highway headed towards Detroit.

The city was so close down the road, you could see the outline of hazy buildings out of the window.  You stared diligently ahead, running through what you were going to exactly say to Josh when the time came.  But before you knew it, you were pulling into the parking lot of the Detroit branch, sliding into the spot beside Josh’s car as an automatic reflex, and you still had no idea what you were doing, what you would say. Yet your feet trudged up to the front door, almost like a little girl who knew that you had to admit to your mother that you’d smashed her favorite vase, because it had to be done, you just weren’t quite ready for the aftermath. There were no obstacles now.  No Lucas or unacknowledged feelings and you were sure that’s what scared you the most. What if, after all this time, Josh had just had enough?  What if you just weren’t meant to be?

You walked right up to reception, waiting until the woman hung up the phone before telling her you were here to see Josh.

“Y/N?” his familiar voice rings through the air and when you look over, you can see him taking off his headset and standing up from his desk.  “What are you doing here?” There’s a hint of curiosity and surprise and maybe even a little excitement in his voice.  

You couldn’t tell him here.  You had to go somewhere more private.  

“Could we um, talk?” you say quietly, offering him the slightest smile even amidst your nerves.

“Yeah,” he says, “let me just grab my coat—“ he motions back towards his desk with his thumb, where you see his familiar dark blue fabric hanging off from the back of his chair.  You wait patiently with your arms crossed across your chest, bouncing on the backs of your heels.

“All set?” he says, hand buried deep within his pockets.

You walk down to the parking lot in silence, still pondering what you were going to say to Josh in your head.  

“How’s Detroit?” you asked after thanking him for holding the door open for you.  You wanted to stall as long as possible.

Josh chuckles, “Common, Y/N.  You didn’t drive three and a half hours to Detroit to ask me how the city is.”

You blush, of course you didn’t.  But you still didn’t know what to say to him.  To Josh.  The man you loved, completely and wholly, with everything inside of you.

You could feel your cheeks growing hot as you thought about what you were about to admit.  You’d had so much courage built up inside of you before, but now, it was quickly draining.  You had to say it before you were completely empty.

“I miss you.”

Your heart’s still thumping like crazy, banging against your ribs, and you’re not entirely sure what you just said.

And Josh didn’t say anything back to you, but it wasn’t like you said all the stuff that you were thinking to him.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” you continue, your voice wavering.

Josh shakes his head. “I’m okay.“

You nod. There’s a silence, long enough that you worry you’re not going to be able to say it all and nothing will happen and you’ll go back to being scared and afraid. You want to be someone who says what they feel.

“It’s just— the office isn’t the same and… I miss you.  I miss you a lot, Josh. I miss my best friend.”

“It can’t be that way again, Y/N,” he says. “I wasn’t your best friend. I was in love with you.”

“We could be friends now. Just go back to the way things were—“ you weren’t sure why you were burying your feelings again, but it was instinctual.  

"No,” he says. He’s standing so still, arms at his sides.  ”What you miss – that wasn’t friends. That was us… that was me being something more. All the time. And I can’t do that anymore.  It hurt too much.”

You feel kind of sick, but a little voice in the back of your head says you should be grateful for whatever happened, because it was better than being endlessly, endlessly quiet.

“Then I’m really sorry,” you say at last. “Because I miss that.”

“What do you think that means?” he asks, and there’s a little heat in his voice. “What do you think you’re really missing?”

This morning you would have undoubtedly ducked your head and avoided the question, or flat-out lied. Now though, you had driven three and a half hours and you’re standing in front of Josh, far enough away that you have to speak up for him to hear.

“I know what it means,” you say quietly. “And you know.”

He shakes his head, “I don’t. You’ve made it clear you only wanted to be friends.”

“I don’t think I’ve made anything clear,” you say, and for the first time you have the urge to move closer, speak more softly, because this is the hard part, the thing you couldn’t say in front of everyone else. “I should have been honest a long time ago, and I know that, but I couldn’t until I knew what I wanted.”

“Do you?” he asks after a moment, his voice low. “Know?”

You take a big breath, letting the oxygen go to your head, willing back the feeling you had just before you ran up to the third floor. “I want to feel the way I did when I was with you, back before you moved to Detroit.  I don’t want to be lonely, and I want to redo the past two years except it made me figure out a lot of things about myself, so I don’t know. I want stuff to be easy, Josh, and it isn’t, and I thought that maybe if we could be friends again I could have one thing in my life that made me happy, even if it wasn’t what I really wanted.”

He’s quiet for a long time. The wind whips against you, making you shiver.

“Why can’t you say it?” he asks.

“Would anything change if I did?”

“I don’t know, everything changed when I said it.”

“Fuck it,” you say, the cold air filling your lungs, “I love you.  I have loved you but I was with Lucas and I was afraid and I didn’t know it.  And I’m still afraid, but I know it now.”

You stare and wait for his reaction, hoping with everything inside of you that you weren’t too late.  But the look on Josh’s face, the sad, almost pitiful stare, gave you reason to believe that you were.

And your courage drained for good.

“I’m sorry,” you said, wiping a tear falling down your cheek, “I shouldn’t have come.  I’m gonna get going.  It was nice to see you,” you mumble before turning away and heading towards your car.

When Josh saw you turn away, it was as if lightning struck him. All he could see was your back, stiff and tense, walking back towards your car, parked near his, and suddenly he didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know how it had come to this. The last several months had turned you both into people he didn’t even recognize anymore, and he blamed himself.

You were all he ever wanted. You were the one he saw in his dreams and imagined in his fantasies for years on end, and he had you. It was supposed to be forever, but all he seemed to do anymore was hurt you. The Josh from six weeks ago would absolutely kill him for that. The Josh from six weeks ago would feel about him like he used to feel about Lucas. Lucas took you for granted, and didn’t consider your feelings.

Like Josh was doing now.

He sprinted toward you, his long legs reaching yours in just a couple of long strides, and he grabbed your arm to turn you around. You had no idea what was happening, but he didn’t stop to explain. He simply wrapped his arms all the way around you, and held you close. You didn’t resist, but you didn’t reciprocate immediately. He pulled you closer. He buried his face in your hair, nuzzled into your neck, and tried to breathe you in. He remembered the electric shock of when you first met (for him, anyway), how it felt to love you and not be able to have you.  He couldn’t let himself let it slip away.

You finally wrapped your arms around him, and he felt a small shudder go through you. You pulled back and he could see your face crumple just before you took his face in both hands and kissed him. When you parted, you were both smiling as said, “I love you” in unison.  He hugged her so tightly he almost picked you up off from the ground.

Another Look Around (Gaston x Reader)

Originally posted by reyskyvalker

Word Count: 2,097

Warnings: None

    Early mornings in your small village of Villeneuve were something of a dream. The soft lavender skies were yawning off the dawn and blossoming into day, a thin, swirling mist drifted above the rooftops and over the distant hills, setting the entire scenery in a hazy, enchanted state. The smell of fresh bread being baked and the aroma of the floral shops wound through the cool air like an intoxicating perfume.

    The premature breeze on your face and the fresh, dewy air was enough to make you beam despite the morning hours. You closed the front door carefully behind you, not wanting to wake your sleeping family and slipped down the steps and through the small gardens that flourished in front of the house.

    The clicking of your boots on the cobblestone was a solitary noise. One of the few other sounds present were the quiet songs of the rising birds, and the creaking of the wooden blacksmith’s sign that hung suspended over his door. It was so simple and quiet and serene that it was easy to imagine that the town was merely frozen in time rather than emerging from the night hours.

    Any time now, you thought to yourself as you took up your usual vantage near the square. Sure enough, it wasn’t more than a minute before the first cheery “bonjour!” rang through the air.

    You squealed a bit as a pair of arms were thrown around your shoulders from behind, and a familiar voice near your ear said, “Guess who?” You laughed and responded jokingly, “Hmm. Prince Charming.” The person gave a light, musical giggle and untangled herself from you to say, “Sorry, no such luck. Guess you’ll have to make due with me for now.” You rolled your eyes and turned to face her. “Oh, how dreadful.”

    Belle smiled widely and embraced you properly. When she pulled back you glimpsed an unfamiliar binding peaking out of the folds of her dress. “New book?” You asked eagerly, linking your arm through hers. Belle’s eyes lit up and she nodded, pulling the novel out of her pocket and holding it out to you as you began to wade through the steadily filling streets. “I found it in the cellar last night,” she explained as you gazed at the worn brown cover lovingly. “The Count of Monte Cristo,” you read.

    The pair of you paused to purchase a few items from Monsieur Jean, then resumed your walk. “I haven’t read it yet,” Belle said, dodging a group of laughing children as they danced past. “But from what I saw when I glanced through it, it seems exciting. Adventure and revenge and romance…”

    “Sounds like the perfect package.”

    “That’s what I thought. But I’m not finished with Romeo and Juliet yet, so you can read it first.”

    You squeezed her arm and grinned broadly. “Thanks.”

    Passing through the crowded rows of vendors every morning was uncomfortable when your family had first moved to Villeneuve. You and Belle had taken instantly to one another, despite the fact that she was considered by the townspeople to be a “funny girl”. It wasn’t long before you became guilty by association and earned yourself the same title. You were the only bookworms in town, the only people who ever thought of leaving for a different life, the only people who were able to disappear into their imaginations to escape the mundane. However at this point, you were both used to it. You learned to ignore the staring eyes and disapproving glances.

    After making a few more stops and greeting several of the shopkeepers good morning, you and Belle had managed to make a full circle around the square. You were just about to join Belle for a late breakfast when you were stopped by a loud, deep voice calling your name from across the street.

    You flinched, closing your eyes and groaning, “Oh no.” Belle snickered, her eyes fixed on the man who’d called to you. “Well,” she said hastily. “I’ll be at the house. Good luck, (Y/N)!”

    Belle gave you a smart smile, then dashed from your side and made her way quickly down the street towards her home.

    “Thanks a lot,” you muttered, shaking your head at your best friend as she disappeared from view. Steeling yourself, you slowly turned to face the man swaggering towards you, his red coat nearly blinding you in the bright sunlight.

    “Bonjour, Gaston,” you greeted politely.

    Gaston flashed a dashing white smile, the edges of his eyes crinkling slightly as he took your hand and placed a kiss to the skin. “Good morning, Mademoiselle,” he returned, his voice simultaneously rough and silky.

    “Mademoiselle? Really, Gaston, have we not know each other long enough for you to remember my name?” You teased lightly, beginning to walk slowly towards Belle’s. “On the contrary, (Y/N), yours is a name I could never forget,” Gaston assured you, following instantly. You resisted the temptation to roll your eyes.

    Gaston was easily the most popular figure in the village, as well as the handsomest. The only problem was that he knew it, and rarely did he try to conceal that fact. When he walked by, women would melt like snow on a summer day, and men would stare after him in envy. A former war captain, Gaston was most certainly an impressive sight. His chest was broad and strong, his skin tanned, his arms and legs thick with lean muscle, and his hair was dark and shiny. His face could’ve been carved from enchanted stone, his jaw and cheekbones sharp enough to cut, dusted with dark stubble. His lips were nearly always smirking, and his eyes were a smoldering brown. Ever the romantic, the man could make a horse swoon without lifting a finger. There was no denying that he was truly something.

    “You’re flattering me, Gaston,” you replied, brushing your fingers along the iron fence that ran the length of the street. “It’s too early for that.”

    “Well, in that case perhaps I should drop by later this evening.”

    You winced inwardly, realizing that you’d practically walked right into that one. You halted abruptly, causing Gaston - who had been trailing particularly close - to bump into you. You turned to him with a slightly annoyed expression, to which he merely smiled apologetically. You pursed your lips, trying to find a kind way to refuse his offer. In the end all that came out was “Um…not this evening.”

    The shaky and terribly unconvincing way in which you’d spoken made even you cringe. Unlike Belle, you didn’t despise Gaston, and sometimes even enjoyed his company. However his constant attempts at wooing were a bit off-putting at times, and soon they began to blend together into one big blur of flowers and romantic gestures. It was because of this that you declined his invitation, yet the last thing that you wished to be was rude or insensitive…or in this case, awkward.

     There was a falter in Gaston’s smile as he asked, “You have other engagements?” You bit your lip debating whether lie and tell him that you had plans, or to tell the truth and admit that you simply weren’t in the mood for company. You wound up hesitating too long, causing an ungraceful “Yes” to tumble through your lips.

    You wheeled around quickly so that Gaston couldn’t see you scrunch your face in frustration. You were usually able to handle these situations with relative ease, but for some reason, today was different.

  Gaston continued to follow you as you set off once again towards Belle’s, clearly seeing straight through your terrible lies. This time when he spoke, his voice was suave, but earnest.

  “Oh, (Y/N), how long must you keep this up?” he said, practically walking on top of you, his chest to your shoulder, somehow managing not to trip either of you. “It’s been three months and talking to you is practically like trying to hold a conversation with a brick wall.”

  You gave a short, breathy laugh and countered, “It’s been four years, Gaston. Ever since we met I couldn’t go five steps without either you or LeFou hanging over my shoulder. Surely even you can see how that might get a bit old after a while?”

  Gaston didn’t reply immediately. In fact, he stopped where he was, and you had made it to the gate of Belle’s house by the time he pursued you again. You slipped through the iron fence and closed it just as Gaston arrived, planting his hands on either side of where yours rested on the gate. “Very well then, perhaps my attempts have been a bit excessive over the years –”

  “A bit.”

  “- but answer me one thing, (Y/N) …if not me then who?”

  You opened your mouth to reply, but nothing came out. Gaston’s expression was imploring and sympathetic. Whether or not it was sincere, you couldn’t tell. You swallowed, unable to respond.  

  “What about after your father and mother die?” Gaston went on, slowly sliding his hands to cover yours. “And it’s just you and the responsibilities that you won’t be able to fulfill without a husband at your side. You know what happens to spinsters in this town once they’re left on their own…” He leaned forward over the fence. “…they wind up on the streets, begging for food and spare coins from complete strangers until the day that they die sad, lonely deaths…”

  Your heartbeat was accelerating. If you had the will, you would’ve informed Gaston that coming upon a single stranger in Villeneuve was immensely rare, and that you obviously wouldn’t be alone, thanks to your friendship with Belle. But the words simply wouldn’t leave your throat.

  By this point, you and Gaston were practically touching noses. Your cheeks were now the color of his crimson coat, and your gaze was trapped in his intense brown eyes like flies trapped in honey.

  “I wouldn’t be able to live knowing such a fate had befallen you,” he whispered.

  You swallowed thickly. “Are you implying that I’ll never find another man besides you?” you practically squeaked. Gaston smiled sympathetically. “Of course not. Only that time won’t wait for you.”

  “So you think I simply haven’t met the right man?”

  “Well -”

  “Because it’s a small village, Gaston. I’ve met them all. So, I suppose that means that my future husband won’t be a resident of these parts.”

  With that, you gathered enough willpower to pull your wrists from his grasp and back away towards the front door. Gaston gave what sounded like an indignant sigh. “Well, maybe you just need to take another look around!” he said, easily swinging himself over the fence and following you to the steps.

    You turned back around once you reached the top, seeing Gaston perched beneath you, one leg mounted on the second step, staring up at you. You raised your eyebrows.

  “Another look around?”

  “Exactly!”

  “Preferably in your general direction, I suppose.”

  A dazzling smirk slid across his lips.

  You laughed out loud, turning your back and grasping the knob of the door. Before you could open it however, Gaston tread up the steps two at a time, throwing one hand against the door to prevent you from escaping him, leaving you trapped between the pane and his body.

  “Gaston!” you practically whined. He looked pleased with himself, but stealthily masked it. “Please, (Y/N),” he said quickly, giving you a desperate smile. “Just one more chance. That’s all I’m asking of you. And if in the end your feelings are unchanged, then I will relent to your wishes and leave you be.”

  You were surprised to see his eyes suddenly soften, and for the moment, his entire demeanor changed. The cockiness faded to nonexistence, and sincerity bloomed in its place, so raw and real that you felt butterflies going haywire in your stomach. Your chest was brushing his, the difference in your heights was laughable, yet somehow he seemed so, so, close…

  In one swift move, you managed to remove his arm from the door, yank it open, and slide inside. But before closing it, you hastily informed, “It wouldn’t be completely pointless for you to look for me at the tavern tonight.”

  Then before the heat in your face became too evident, you closed the door and practically collapsed against it, your heart pounding and an extremely stupid grin on your lips. It certainly didn’t help when you heard Gaston’s deep, husky laughter ringing just on the other side of the wood.

  Belle peered quizzically at you from the kitchen for a few seconds, then she frowned as she asked, “What on earth happened to you?”