- Men are going to die today attacking that merchant ship out there and they’ll die not knowing it was all based on a lie. - A lie? - We don’t even know if the Urca’s schedule is accurate. We’re completely relying on the cook. How can you just pretend you have no doubts about any of this? - Years of practice. There’s always doubt, Billy. No sane man would deny that. No good captain would acknowledge it. Take our present route, for instance.
A heads-up: This was called Closer to the Edge too, but it has nothing to do with that phenomenal story from @thepromiseofanend!
bell over the door was ringing. “Ella!!! Please could you come? I’m standing on top of the ladder!” I heard
Tobi cry, the new customer he promised that someone would take care of him
immediately. I sighed and let the ropes
I was untangling fall back to the floor. Entering the room, I saw a weird
looking guy standing at the front desk. I took in his appearance, he had long,
somewhat creasy hair with blond dips, a bushy full beard and was wearing what
seemed to be some shorts over space leggings? His upper body was covered by a
white T-shirt with a lot of holes, the sides cut out so you could see his nice
toned abs and additional he wore it inside out. Internally shaking my head at
this sight presented to me, I approached him and asked: “What can I do for
you?” As he turned his head, I was met with some very big, very blue eyes which
reminded me of the eyes of a small kid. He let his gaze wander over me and a
cheeky grin spread across his face. Chuckling to myself I prepared for the
attempt of flirting that I was sure was coming.
-He doesn’t like weed, sure, it calms his ticks and all, but he doesn’t like it. He hates it.
-He has REALLY fluffy hair. Like, it’s ridiculously soft and fluffy.
-He’s really skinny, and he’s really lanky on top of that. It’s a wonder how he throws and swings those hatchets with such ease…
-He has like, one hoodie and he NEVER wears anything but that hoodie. like, if all of his clothes are dirty, he’ll strip to his boxers and just walk around in his underwear and his hoodie until it’s washed.
-He can’t really taste correctly.
-Lots of food and water spills out of his mouth because of his gash so she has to wear a band-aid instead of his mouth guard and drink with his head tilted to the side.
-He has drank out of his gash before. He likes it because of that. Yet again, he’s not really self-conscious of scars so…
-He has been bitten by so many ticks that Kate and Hoody are keeping a jar of them so they can count them at the end of the year. He’s currently at 245 this year. In total, they have ten jars, all filled to the brim with dead ticks. Toby likes to look at them sometimes.
-He’s scared of EJ. Like, he’s okay with him when he’s calm, but the second EJ says something to him, he listens and stops what he’s doing. Slenderman uses this to his advantage, and gets EJ to order Toby around if he’s too excitable.
-He annoys Masky because he was the one to start the waffle craze. Toby likes waffles, but not THAT much. He got him back with the cheesecake joke a while later when he realised that merely poking him and saying his name wasn’t going to be enough.
-He and Clocky are that one chill couple that you want to be. (I go with the original pairing of Clockwork and Ticci Toby, simply because I like the idea and his creator stated that his cannon girlfriend is Clockwork. Not to say that other shipping aren’t cute or interesting, but I like to go as cannon as I can while still catering to my followers.)
-He is a heavy sleeper. Like, a REALLY heavy sleeper. He could probably sleep through a hurricane and not realise.
-He has to remind himself that he can’t bite his hands anymore because he needs them for work, and if he can’t work, he’s as good as dead.
-He’s kinda innocent and REALLY direct. He doesn’t like you? He’ll tell you straight to your face. You flirt with him? He won’t get it. Like, really, he won’t understand until someone tells him or until he replays it in his mind once or twice. Then he’s a blushing mess.
-He sleeps in the weirdest positions, and it looks like a lot of girls when they’re on their period, just tangling themselves up in knots to stop the cramps. (Fellow period suffers, we all know this is true.) He once kicked himself in the face and punched through the wall. On the upper hand, he nailed Jeff him the forehead and knocked him out. But then he had to spend an hour being patched up after being separated from the wall.
Okay, this is a long fic that I did for @sufferingkid, since they’ve been nice enough to write such wonderful fics for me. This one is a follow up to their fic about Alistair, and I really hope they like it! This one is a mess…I don’t really like it though. I tried, I hope you guys enjoy it.
Warning: descriptions of vomit, asthma and mentioning of abuse and violence
The aftermath of the altercation with Alistair’s father left Julius with several new worries about his boyfriend. For starters, there was Alistair’s poor face - his nose had definitely been broken by his father’s merciless fists, and within a day the bruising around his eyes was deep and black, and he winced whenever Julius tried to feel the swelling. He had a pounding headache the day after he received the injury, and had spend the entire afternoon curled up in Julius’s lap, cradling the new kitten and stroking his velvety ears.
As well as the pain in his nose, Alistair was plagued with an uneasy tummy too. His father had tricked him into eating meat, and it had been so long since Alistair had eaten it that his body rebelled against it, and he spent days unable to eat anything other than bread and water without having to dash to the bathroom to vomit.
That would have been bad enough, but Alistair was actually physically repulsed by the idea of eating meat too. Sometimes he’d be feeling fine, but then he’d suddenly start thinking about that poor cow being herded off to the slaughter house, and then he’d be forced to dash to the kitchen sink, retching and groaning. Julius always pulled back his boyfriend’s flaming hair and rubbed his back, but he couldn’t help laughing fondly.
“You big softie!” Julius giggled, wrapping Alistair up in his arms when the red-head had finished coughing up several mouthfuls of bile, leaving him shaky and breathless. He leaned against the smaller boy gratefully, clinging on tight.
That was another thing - Alistair had been left shaken after the ordeal with his parents, especially as he knew he was going to have to detach himself from them before they killed him. He’d be left without a penny to his name, and that was scary.
When Alistair was frightened, he grew clingy, but Julius had never seen him this bad before - Alistair wouldn’t leave him alone for a second. He curled up on Julius’s lap on the sofa, he hung off him like a necklace when Julius cooked dinner, he even perched on the toilet seat while Julius was in the bath.
It was worrying Julius a good deal, and all the stress was starting to take its toll, leaving him feeling run down and ill. He wasn’t getting much sleep either - Alistair was waking up with a wet bed a lot more often, still wracked with fear and worry. It was Julius who was left to clean everything, and then coax a weeping, embarrassed Alistair out of the bathroom.
After several days, Toby came knocking. He knew Alistair and Julius had had a fight, but nothing after that, and he’d been worrying about them. He arrived at noon on a day where Julius had been feeling particularly tired, plus there was an ominous stirring nausea in his stomach, but he still greeted Toby very warmly. After the argument with Alistair, Julius had gone dashing to Toby in tears, and the older boy had sat with him for hours, patting Julius’s dark curls with his clumsy, gently hands.
Toby came blustering into the flat ready to give Alistair a lecture for upsetting Julius, but he stopped short when he caught sight of Alistair’s bruised face, his black eyes, his red, swollen nose.
Alistair glanced at him sullenly, huddled up on the sofa in his pyjamas, clutching a mug of piping hot tea. Toby shook his head in shock, then sat beside Alistair with a sigh. He hadn’t bothered to tie his long hair back, and it fell in untidy waves just past his shoulders.
“Are you gonna tell me what the fuck happened on your birthday?” he asked Alistair bluntly, making the red-head scowl. He stalled as long as possible, taking a sip of hot tea that scolded his lips.
“I was an asshole, me and Julius argued. My bitch mother blackmailed me into eating out with her and father, he tricked me into eating meat, then broke my nose. I called Julius and puked in the street. To cut a long story short, I’m not any fonder of my fucking birthday,” Alistair muttered in a rush.
He made sure to keep his tone derisive and scornful, but his hands started shaking violently. The cup of tea suddenly toppled, and burning liquid spilled onto Alistair’s lap. He leapt up, yowling, startling the kitten so he yowled too. Toby, despite everything, burst out laughing. Alistair shoved him angrily.
“That was your fault!”
“How was it my fault?” Toby laughed. “You should ask Julius to kiss it better. You know, just so there’s no hard feelings after the fight.”
“Oh, fuck off.”
The red-head sat back on the sofa with a scowl, plucking at his wet pants irritably. Toby stopped grinning, his face suddenly serious. He took hold of Alistair’s chin and examined his broken nose and bruised eyes as best he could before Alistair jerked his head away.
“Fuck, Alistair… You need to break away from those parents of yours. Surely having no money at all is better than this. Julius and Isabelle wouldn’t let you starve. For God’s sake, Julius would do anything for you, he’s not going to leave you struggling. If you keep taking your parents’ money, they’re always going to have this hold on you,” Toby said, his voice uncharacteristically firm and solemn. Alistair sighed irritably, biting his nails hard.
“I know that, you fucking idiot. Do you think I haven’t been sitting up at night, trying to work all this crap out in my head? I could just about manage, get a student loan and a job where they don’t mind that I’m a dick…but it’s still fucking scary, alright? So shut the fuck up about it, Toby!” Alistair said fiercely.
Toby sighed tiredly. He didn’t feel like he should just end the conversation without helping Alistair make any solid plans, but he knew there was no point pursuing it - otherwise he’d be the one in danger of getting his nose broken.
Alistair sat silent, thinking. If it wasn’t for his parents, he wouldn’t be stuck in such a stomach churning uncertainty now… They’d brought him nothing but pain his entire life. He grew angrier as he recalled each hateful insult, every harsh slap or vicious punch, and the endless cold indifference to his very existence.
And still they left him in a torment; it hadn’t stopped when he was old enough to leave that awful house. They followed him like a bad smell - and they made Alistair feel bad too, until he lashed out and hurt the people he cared about. They’d ruined his entire childhood. Why couldn’t they just leave him alone now?
Without even really knowing he was about to, Alistair suddenly stood and hurled the empty cup across the room. It shattered with a loud crash against the wall, making Toby jump and bringing Julius running in from the kitchen.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
“Oh Star, baby, come here…”
Alistair didn’t respond to either boy. It was as if a red mist had descended over him, and he couldn’t focus on anything but his parents, and that deep, raw pain. Because that’s all it was, deep down. Alistair hated his parents, hated them like poison - but deep, deep down, he was still so hurt that he’d been rejected.
“I hate them! I’m never going to see them again. Too fucking bad if it embarrasses the family, I couldn’t give a fuck. I’m sick of being a Renfrew. I’m sick of being the fucking punching bag. Well fuck them! I don’t care anyway!” Alistair screamed, tears pooling in his eyes.
Toby and Julius stared at him, and the look in their eyes made Alistair feel sick. They looked so sorry for him. Alistair hated it - he didn’t want to pitied. It made him feel pathetic.
The red-head stormed past them, out of the living room. He grabbed the big sharp scissors from the kitchen, kneeling on the floor with them. Julius gasped at the sight, and Toby’s eyes widened. They both stood stock still as if frozen, fearing that Alistair would use those scissors on his own scarred arms.
But no. Alistair took out his wallet instead, pulled out all the credit cards linked to his parents’ account, and started snipping madly, his nimble fingers so thorough he reduced the cards to stiff confetti. Toby leapt at him, trying to prise the scissors out of his hands, both of them yelling.
“Stop, Alistair, you little psycho, this isn’t the right way to do it!” he cried, but Alistair barely glanced at him, not relinquishing the scissors.
Both boys suddenly stopped in their tracks when they heard a loud thud. Julius had crumpled to the floor, his legs stuck out like a broken doll, his face draining white. He was breathing quickly, his chest rattling and wheezing, and he placed a hand on his chest as if trying to ease it.
Alistair stared at his boyfriend in horror. The scissors dropped with a clatter, forgotten. Now all his focus was on Julius, and how to stop this turning into a full blown asthma attack.
You caused this. You’ve been stressing him out and that’s why he’s having an attack.
Alistair clenched his teeth, trying hard to ignore his own guilt. Toby just gawped, looking terrified, but Alistair went running, grabbing Julius’s reliever inhaler from where it was always kept in the flat (on the shelf next to the artificial flowers).
Julius scrabbled for the inhaler desperately, taking as deep a breath as he could manage while spraying the medicine down his throat. Alistair pulled the small boy onto his lap, rubbing his back gently, whispering to him.
Toby was yelling frantically, asking if he should call an ambulance, but Julius just shook his head weakly. He knew the difference between a flare up like this, and a severe attack, one that left him flat out on the floor, writhing horribly, his lips fading to blue. Those were the attacks where an ambulance needed to be called hastily - these flare ups were frightening, but they just required several long puffs on his reliever inhaler, until the tightness in his chest eased.
Julius slumped against Alistair’s warm chest, breathing into his inhaler, and slowly, slowly, his wheezing stopped. But the exertion and the panic had a terrible effect on the boy’s already uneasy stomach. He suddenly lurched forward, away from Alistair, vomiting violently onto the floor, coughing and heaving. Alistair winced, guilt pooling in his tummy like thick oil, and tried to rub his boyfriend’s back gently.
“Oh Jules… It’s okay, try to stay calm. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”
Poor Julius retched for a long time, his back and shoulders rolling and lurching until the nausea finally eased. Julius was sobbing convulsively by then, his small frame quivering violently. He fell against Alistair and started really howling.
“Star, please, I’m so worried about you! I’m trying…I’m trying so hard to be strong for you, but watching you hurting like this is…it’s terrible, Star. Please, you need to get some help. We can’t pick up the pieces on our own. Please talk to someone,” Julius wept, his hands clutching Alistair’s jacket so, so tightly, as if he was terrified he might somehow lose him.
Alistair struggled silently, holding Julius so tight. He wanted to say no so badly. He hated talking about the stuff with his parents - he’d far rather bury it in the ground, cover it up with earth and pretend he didn’t notice it, pretend so determinedly.
But then…it was clear that wasn’t working. And now he was worrying Julius - dear, faithful Julius, the best thing that had ever happened to him - so much that his asthma was flaring up, that he was being sick. In the end, as Alistair glanced at his boyfriend, who was sobbing so hard into his chest, he knew there was only one answer.
“Okay. I will, Jules. I promise. I’m sorry. Please don’t cry so, it’s hurting so much… Please, I love you,” Alistair mumbled, getting so worked up that he suddenly started bawling too.
Julius thanked Alistair fervently, kissing his hair and nose and wet cheeks. They embraced together on the floor in a damp, sobbing huddle, clinging tight to each other. Toby, who had been watching rather uncomfortably for a while, finally spoke up.
“I know you guys are having a moment right now, but you should clean up that puke. And…this is getting way too intimate for me. I feel like I just watched you have sex.”
And just like that, the atmosphere lightened. Julius started giggling, and Alistair hastily wiped his wet cheeks. He picked Julius up in his arms gently, and the smaller boy nuzzled his face into the crook of the red-head’s neck. It would be okay… They’d work through this, Julius knew they would. They always did. They loved each other, didn’t they? That was the most important thing. Alistair scowled at Toby.
The world sat under a blanket of silent ebony, as a lone woman walked along a dusty path; worn by age and footfall into the rock. It was strange but she felt the overwhelming feeling of déjà vu that just wouldn’t shift from her mind. Everything seemed so familiar and yet somehow alien at the same time almost as if the memory has been warped somehow. As she walked, the painfully recognisable stone walls glistened in the harsh sunlight making the look as if they were covered in a layer of fine glitter. The reflection from the shimmering stone blinded her for a moment, causing her to stumble over an overgrown tree root. It snaked its way around her fragile ankle making her suspect that it was alive. In her struggle to get free, the root somehow managed to claim her shoe leaving the soft arch of her foot to discover that the limb was covered in tiny thorn which bit into her skin.
The woman cursed under her breath and pulled the tiny barbs from her foot before she stood and went to reunite her shoes. She went to lean against the wall so she could squeeze her foot back into the unruly boot without bothering with the lengthy unlacing process as barbs from the root had knotted with her laces. As she transferred her weight onto her covered foot while she went to lean against what she presumed was solid wall of rock. However, as she quickly discovered the wall was not solid at all, in fact, there was no wall there at all. She grasped desperately at the air for a second before the world tilted violently skyward and she landed rather painfully on her back. She lay there for a minute or two feeling thoroughly winded and bruised. All she could do was look up at the glittering night sky.
“How peculiar, stars in the middle of the day” she muttered to herself as the midday sun was painfully obvious, with its sticky heat. Yet night fell around the burning ball which was actually quite soft considering the time of day. She noticed how it seemed to pulse, it’s corona flickered rings of purple and green. For a moment she thought she must be looking up into space; had the sky not been darkened by the shadow of a large bird. It’s a gigantic wingspan threw an equally large shadow over everything she could see. She squinted against the sun to see what type of magnificent creature would create would leave such a grand shadow in its wake. But by the time she looked up, it was already hidden by the sun’s rays. She heard it screech somewhere among the stars. A loud, demanding sound as if it was announcing its presence as lord of the sky. At the sound, a shiver ran down her spine and she lay still, unblinking for a few moments until she was certain the bird had passed.
She got up, rubbing the back of her neck, having landed awkwardly on a rock and began dusting herself off. It was then that woman began to realise exactly why she had taken a tumble. Running fingers over the stone until they met the air again the girl deduced that she had come across a passageway that had been hiding in plain sight all along. The strange feeling of déjà vu increased as she decided to carry on along this new path. As she rounded the corner, the scenery turned into paving slabs, surrounded by thick emerald green hedgerows. They looked as if they belonged in the silicone perfection of suburbia; not a twig was out of place. She had to reach out and touch the luscious greenery just to convince herself that it was not in fact made out of plastic.
“what an odd place this is, it can’t quite make up its mind over what it wants to be” the woman said to herself as she ran her long slender fingers through the long mess of smoky coloured hair. “Neither can you” A voice whispered behind her causing her to turn expectantly, yet there was nothing there; just the walled eternity she had just come through.
The stifling heat of the midday sun gave her a rather unpleasant sensation as her hair stuck to her increasingly clammy skin. If it had been somewhat cooler then no doubt the hair on the back of her neck would have stood on end, but as it was she felt nothing but a slight feeling of unease.
“So are you stone or shrubbery?” she asked a small part of her wishing that the bush would answer her but it did no such thing as it was a mere bush and therefore did not have the ability to speak. As she continued walking the path ahead of her split out into a cross road. She tried to see if there was any kind of signpost that would help but if there was one she certainly couldn’t find it. Not that she would know where to go, even if the paths were clearly labelled. She was just wondering aimlessly, letting her feet and the strong sense of familiarity guide her on a kind of autopilot. She tried to picture in her mind what she was looking for and why she was even here. Yet it felt as if a dense fog had taken over her thoughts and the answer was just out of reach. She could almost touch it but whenever she tried the thought just sunk deeper into the fog. She did have a vague feeling that she was looking for something though that could just as easily be a someone. But she couldn’t concentrate long enough to connect the smoke-like wisps of thought together.
She peered down each one of the paths and was surprised by what she found. Of course, the paths were identical and if she didn’t know any better she could have sworn she was looking into three well-placed mirrors as the paths were infuriatingly identical and unassuming.
“This place is maddening” She muttered to herself. She had a sneaking suspicion that the path before her was something of a dead end so that just left the two side paths.
“Left or right?” she mused to herself, though she has the strangest feeling that both paths circled round and joined back up just out of view. She shuffled her feet along the ground, kicking a small stone which skittered off towards the right before disappearing out of view. She took it as a deciding sign and set off on the new path.
One thing she instantly noticed that was different was the odd sheen the paving stone seemed to have. It magnified the callous midday sun, which stung her eyes and left spots on her vision. That, and there was a sudden loss of cover from the lush hedgerows.
Large gnarled trees had begun to interweave with the emerald greenery, choking out the life from the plants almost viciously. In its wake sat row upon row of skeletal shrubbery that looked like it had been taken straight from a gothic fairytale.
She sighed to herself wistfully and took in a deep breath of the lightly spiced air. The smell was so unusual and yet so familiar. Was it the fragrance of the wallflowers or something else? She wondered to herself. Either way, the aroma was strangely comforting and it did nothing but exacerbate the feeling that she had done all this before somehow. She felt an odd pinpoint of recognition reverberated somewhere deep inside her. But alas it was too deep to dredge forth any sort of memory.
“This must be some kind of a maze there meant to be confusing,” she said to herself before she stopped in her tracks. “No not a maze it’s a….” she paused as she searched for the word; It was just on the tip of her tongue.
“Labyrinth!” she declared triumphantly, yes that was the right word alright. The word stirred up something in her memory but it refused to surface and buried itself back in her subconscious before she had a chance to grasp it. She let out a defeated sigh and went to carry on the path when she heard a voice behind her.
“Sarah” it whispered. She jumped and quickly turned to confront whoever said her name but she saw nothing but the oddly glittery dust blowing along the path she had already ventured through. The echoing crack of tumbling rocks shook her world along with the teeth grinding scream of metal scraping against metal. The path in front of her and the labyrinth walls began to crumble away as if the stone was made out of soft bread. The hedges began to uproot themselves as if possessed by some unseen force and before she knew it Sarah was surrounded by huge chasms on each side. She stood on an impossibly tiny island of rock as all around her was the darkness of an unending void.
A word suddenly appeared in her mind as she stood there staring down into the nothingness that had her cornered. ‘Jareth’, it was a strange sounding word and she wasn’t sure what it meant or why it had suddenly appeared in her head, but she felt the compulsion to say it out loud.
“Jareth?” Sarah asked aloud the word tingled on her lips as if she had just been kissed by an invisible lover. She felt a small breeze brush her hair aside as a deep enchanting voice whispered in her ear.
“My, oh my Sarah, how things have changed. Do you still think it was all a dream?” The voice asked. It was undeniably a masculine voice and so delightfully smooth it was intoxicating but more than that it was so damned recognisable. She felt a shiver run down her spine as the velvet voice said her name. It brought forth feelings of confusion and a strong feeling that left her wanting more.
“You’ll see soon enough. Sweet dreams Sarah” the voice whispered with a chuckle. “As the world falls down” the voice seemed to sing, hauntingly the words echoing slightly before fading away.
She wanted more, she felt the need to hear this voice again but before she had the chance to do anything a sharp pain sliced through her temple. She put her hand up to her now throbbing head and she saw blood on her fingertips. She gasped and tried to move away from whatever it was but the small patch of the path that was left crumbled beneath her feet. Leaving her to be devoured whole by the murky darkness.
Another sharp pain erupted in her head, as her eyes flickered open to see a toy car come sailing through the air only to land inches away from her head, leaving paint scraping on the now slightly indented wall.
“Toby you little monster how many times have I told you not to throw toys,” Sarah said sleepily. She back was stiff from falling asleep in the wrong chair. A heavy cramp had claimed her limbs making her feel as if she was in early rigour mortise. She promised herself that this was going to be the last time she fell asleep on the sofa, the next time she might wake up finding something worse than just toys flying at her head.
“I swear those dreams just get weirder by the day,” she thought to herself as this time a house made of Lego bricks came flying towards her. The mischievous little boy giggled as he watched his sister try and dodge out of the way from the army of assaulting toys
“My Sarah” the little boy exclaimed “My Bad Sarah has bad dreams” he giggled almost manically. Normally giggling would have been sweet and endearing on any other child but when Toby did it, somehow it always seemed unnerving. She hated to admit it but it always seemed like her little brother was planning something unseemly when he laughed like that. She knew that it couldn’t be true, the only things her brother cared about were toys and food. But that didn’t stop her from feeling that there was something slightly off about her little brother but whatever that thing was she couldn’t quite quantify it.