today has been a paper draws day

Soo I’ve been practicing drawing on paper, as I said I would xD I have to say, I’m happy with what I’m doing now and how it looks in the end..

Especially drawing @thatsthat24 ’s fave fills me with so much joy? Like.. He’s the most inspiring guy I’ve ever seen and I’ ll gladly dedicate hours of drawing him! :3 (does that sound weird? Sorry)

Well anyway, I hope everyone has/had a great day today! :3

2

I’ve been trying to get her character onto paper for a few weeks now and finally today she came out exactly how I wanted her to! I’d like to introduce Adenium Day, a Serval from a family of Florists! She helps out Fex with getting herbs for her alchemy and in return Fex is able to train her to fight so that she can stray further from home! <3

She’s born from my love of plants and succulents, so it makes me happy to finally be able to draw her uvu 

Also yeah, my style has always been a bit all over the place, but I feel like if I draw in the same “style” all the time I get a bit tired of it! Oddly enough you can see it’s still my art no matter how much I change it up, so I’m happy with that. c:
For those who don’t know, Fex is the protagonist in a comic I have been planning out called “Fallen Star”!

It’s me again ;D

Okay it seems I just love making update posts lol so here we go again!

I’ve been working at my aunt’s gardening centre for a few weeks, which has been really nice,  and today was my last day! So, you ask, does this mean you’ll have time to draw loads more and explore all those concepts you have written down on a note somewhere and maybe even open commissions?

Haha nope! :D

Lol yeah I have an art showcase the 22nd, which I need to help organize and be co-host of, so that’ll take quite a bit of time. Though it is super exciting and I’ve gotten a few of my artworks printed on good quality paper! Super cool to be able to hold them all in my hands x3

Second, I really need to get back into drawing the cards form the Wicked Grace commission. I’ve given myself a break during work weeks but now I feel ready to get on it again, and really get some work done. So point is that art will lessen for a bit now, as I really want to finish it up soon. One can wish for before summer ends, but I have 16 cards and a redraw to make so yeah >3<

And to wrap it up, we hit 800 followers a few days ago! :D How awesome is that! I won’t have another giveaway now, even though that’s an insane number, but there will definitely be more of those in the future when I’m not feeling as stressed ^-^

Thank you for following me and being lovely!

Lots of love, hope your day has been going great so far! <3

anonymous asked:

Andreil prompt: artist!neil and malemodel!andrew???

a/n: i’m really sorry dear anon. i took an unreasonably long time to write this. it’s so long, i hope you like it. let me know how it was. 

i want you, i’ll colour me blue (anything it takes to make you stay)

Neil’s duffle felt especially heavy today as he climbed the steps to the small town art academy in the heart of New York City. Neil Josten loves art, loves every bit of the colours and textures; loves the unsaid words underneath layers of paint and strokes. It only fit then that he took up a space in the small institude as an art student after his mother died. Every day on this campus was something worth waking up for because unlike highschool, Neil didn’t have to shove papers and textbooks of dates he didn’t want to remember and people he didn’t care about in his brain. Art school was serenity; a peaceful part of day. Except it wasn’t peaceful, because today was the last day of the semester, which meant it was summative day. For their final summative (which frankly amounted to a large portion of his grade,) students were to pick a medium they preferred and draw a live model.

By the time its Neil’s turn, his anxiety has worn off. He’s always been his best with pencil drawings and with 6 different HB pencils, he really sees himself as invincible. It wasn’t particularly bragging; it was quite honestly the truth. When Neil sees Andrew Minyard, he’s dumbfounded with a new appreciation for mankind for an instant. (Neil being dramatic as he is) It doesn’t take long for him to analyze his subjects (he calls things he draws subjects, its weird, he knows) and he’s a little awestruck because this model is ..beautiful? The school chose these models o purpose, making sure their features bounced light in all the right angles but Andrew had a jaw that was hard enough to be defiant but it was curved with a soft hand that edged somewhere on the bounds of gentle. His cheekbones were high and gave his face a steady structure.

Neil’s pencil works feverishly, first drawing the outline of Andrew Minyard’s face, looking at his face, then looking back and sometimes looking for unnecessarily long moments, but by the time the clock hits the 45 minute mark, he has only the eyes to shade in. Neil wanted to get the eyes right. The eyes, he found, were the pivotal part of all his drawings. The eyes animated the drawing, and he usually took an hour to do an eye but Andrew or the board wouldn’t appreciate that. He sort of wished he could borrow Andrew to draw for a few days.

“Quit staring,” Andrew growled. It took Neil way too long to realized he was being spoken to.

“Oh, that’s, uh, kind of my job.”

Andrew scowled and that just prompted Neil to speak more.
“Oh, stay mad! Oh my god you look good like that.” Andrew’s eyebrow raised in sync with the blush up Neil’s throat.

“I mean, like, the expressions on my drawing look good like that,” he shoved a pencil in his hair. Andrew huffed.

“I swear I don’t get paid enough for this.”

Neil ignores him and continues drawing, noticing every indent and curve and edge to his face and engraving the darker shadows with his softer HB pencil and leaving the hard lines to his mechanical one. At some point, he asks, “Can I touch you?” and Andrew raises his eyebrows and something like “That’s not allowed” is on the tip of his tongue but this tiny boy is so enthusiastic about his work and he looks more like art than anything he’s seen in this academy all day long so he says, “Okay.”

Neil doesn’t do anything strange, he just tilts or turns Andrew’s head a little sometimes, to see how light hits his hair or his eyes or his cheekbones. He finds Andrew quite ethereal, for the lack of a better word. When the sunlight glints off of his silver-blond hair, it looks like brand new gold. His eyes also change a shade or two when exposed to natural light and Neil’s never understood people’s attraction with coloured eyes before and today he realizes how brown eyes could be so intense and versatile in the thousands of shades the sun could paint them in.

When he finishes, Neil leans back to evaluate his work and exhaustion pulls at his head after a rushed hour of smudging and stippling. There’s a proud smile grazing his lips and it changes his features, Andrew notices. Neil lets out a huff in relief and says proudly, “You are a work of art.” That’s when Andrew leaves.

***

The next time Andrew sees Neil is in a museum. It’s one of those small in-home museums, where people convert their small, vintage homes into walk-in museums. It’s by the less urban sides of the city and Andrew sometimes comes on the weekends. Andrew isn’t exactly here for the museum part of this situation, though, he’s outside the door on a nearby bench smoking. Neil, on the other hand is purposefully striding towards this general direction and Andrew can recognize this certain art student without a second glance. His first instinct is to turn around and leave, but then he realizes he doesn’t care enough and stays. Also, Neil Josten was actually rather interesting.

“Oh, hey, it’s you,” Neil’s smile looks like sunshine.
“Andrew, right? I mean we called you Mr. Minyard and all but you’re practically the same age.”

Andrew looked up at him coolly.
“Neil Josten.”

His smile widens.
“So it isn’t your twin, then. I was worried I’d found your evil twin for a second there when you didn’t respond. I thought you didn’t recognize me.” Neil helped himself to Andrew’s bench to his greatest dismay.

It’s three months later and they’re sitting in a bench inside the exact same museum. It’s more of an art gallery, really, Andrew finds quickly, and currently there’s a wall-to-wall painting hanging in front of them and Neil looks like he’s found an alternative universe.

“I can’t believe you used to come here all the time and not come inside,” he says and his disbelief is true and exasperated. Andrew still doesn’t really care for the art, he mostly just came for Neil.

“I just don’t understand it. Books are easier to read than art. I don’t see what you see in these paintings.” He doesn’t get what Neil sees in him either.  

Neil doesn’t turn around but he twines Andrew’s fingers with his as his eyes stay focused on the paintings.

“It’s so much more than the colour and strokes, you know. My first year in art school, we did this thing when we got showed a painting but we analyzed it in three steps. The first was seeing it for the first time, and then we looked closer to see the details we missed, and then we did the analysis of what the artist meant last. It’s like, look at the colours,” he pointed with his other hand at The Scream.

“Edvard Munch had a disorder at the time he was making this. He was sinking in depression, right? So basically the screaming thing you see has like no dimension because that’s how he felt. He felt as if the voices in his head were trapped and he was trapped, with no one listening to him, and the orange is dark because—” Neil went on for another good four minutes, all while gesturing and smiling at the painting while Andrew just set his disinterested gaze on Neil.

It was so fragile, this type of flame inside someone, of enthusiasm and devotion and Neil was doused in his passion for anything with a paint stroke or a pencil mark in the way he always analyzed everything twice, in the way that every day he had to make at least two artistic metaphors for everything. Neil found art in everything but Andrew just found passion in him. He didn’t care or understand what Edvard Munch was feeling when he was painting The Scream, it looked two-dimensional and strange to him, but it made Neil happy and watching Neil’s eyelashes glow in the sunlight from his angle and his smile grow broader every second was worth listening. Andrew hadn’t noticed that Neil had stopped talking so when he finally turned around, he had to regain his facial composure.

“—and that’s why I think that in a way, you are art, to me.”

Andrew didn’t understand art but he definitely knew he was not it.

“I am not art, Neil.” He looked terribly bored, as if the very idea of Neil comparing him like that didn’t make his throat ache.

Neil bordered on a look that showed hurt and he pulled Andrew’s hand closer.

“Art doesn’t have to be on a canvas, Andrew. Art is so many things, it’s alive and living.”

Andrew’s response was simple and blunt; the only way he knew how. “I have scars, and they aren’t nice, Neil.”

He sounded angry, like he blamed Neil or himself, for not being enough to be eloquent and breathtaking and everything else that his idea of art was. Neil frowned. “Art isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s supposed to be a catastrophic symphony of imperfection that makes you feel something.

And you do that for me,” he was very close now and Andrew had trouble breathing. He flicked Neil’s forehead and the crease between his eyebrows loosened, painting his face in shades of  a sunrise and warm laughter and the soft essence of Neil.

“Don’t say stupid things, Neil,” but his eyes landed on Neil’s lips regardless.  
Neil laughed, “You know I’m stupid about you.” And Andrew thought he could get drunk on Neil’s laugh.

***

It was Andrew’s birthday when he woke up to Neil sleeping softly in the bed. Sunlight filtered through the white curtains, and the breeze outside gently swayed them into a soft, lulling pattern. Andrew woke up with Neil pressed in his side, wearing one of Andrew’s (many) loose black sweatshirts. He looked peaceful. No, he looked at peace, Andrew thought, with his eyelashes brushing his cheeks, the skin between his eyebrows smooth without the pull of concentration. His fingertips still held a small trace of black because of all the smudging (presumably another drawing) when they were curled in front of his face. His lips were full and inviting and Andrew wanted to wake Neil up.

Neil was a fierce stroke of graceful, even with messy hair curled softly on his head. Andrew ran his fingers through it, careful to not touch his scalp so he wouldn’t wake up. Neil was full, and steady, and he praised Andrew as if he was his reason to breathe. Neil had been a strange annoyance when they had met and how they got from there to Neil being the blood in his veins, Andrew had no idea. But between the art metaphors and sketches of his lips and late-night paintings on his back and paint-filled fingertips on his lips, Neil had become home. It had become that much easier to accept himself, more than just his physical self, when Neil had barged into him and turned him into a museum, a place worth visiting.  

It was as if he had taken a pencil in his hand, and rewritten and rearranged all the parts that were Andrew so that they were likeable and more tolerable. He talked about Andrew like he talked about art, every bruise on Andrew’s back was a galaxy, the shadows in his eyes were starry nights and war grounds, like his fingers were a sculpture of china instead of bone. He talked about Andrew as if he was worth something. And maybe he was, to Neil, and that twisted his gut in a soft and unexplained way. It summoned something scratching and hot in his throat.

“Hey.” Neil’s voice was soft but it startled him.
“You’re up.”

Neil frowned. “I wanted to be up first today.”

Andrew shifted, “And why is that?” Neil didn’t answer, he just pulled himself off his back and onto his elbow to bring his face closer to Andrew’s.

“Yes or no?” Andrew huffed but closed the gap between them. When Neil pulled back, he smiled somewhat like starlight, and whispered, “Happy Birthday, Andrew.”

“I don’t even like birthdays.”

“Well I do, and I like you, so I’m going to say it.”

“You already said it.”

Neil rolled his eyes.

“You’re insufferable.” He moved again to shift closer to Andrew, placing his hand in his hair, gently carding through the glowing blond strands absently.

“But you’re pretty in the sunlight so I guess I’ll live with it.  You know your hair looks like a magical halo in the sun? I’d say you looked like an angel if you weren’t murderous 98% of the time.”

“I’m always murderous when I look at you.”

“And you’re always what I want,” Neil said and brushed his lips with another kiss. Something sharp rose inside Andrew and he tried to bury it underneath another kiss that pinned Neil to the bed. He was insistent and warm, and he didn’t seem to want to do anything but run his spidery fingers through his hair. Andrew pulled back, eyes landing on Neil’s mouth but his forehead still connected to Neil’s, as if to ground him, and his breathing was rugged.

“I am not always going to be this, you know,” he gasped. Neil tugged at his hair.

“Always what?” There was a singular beam of light pushing through the window and it landed on Neil’s eyes, warming them from a frost blue to the blue of water on the summer beach, the azure of a sky that promised a good day. Neil looked tangible and soft and everything against what Andrew stood for, and when he kissed his jaw, Andrew closed his eyes.

Andrew pulled himself up and Neil moved swiftly with him, finding his neck with his mouth and letting his eyelashes leave trails of open nerve endings on his throat. Andrew struggled to find his voice, “Always what you want,” he scowled, and it maybe it came out a little too harsh.

Neil pulled back to look at Andrew’s eyes for a moment, confusion knitting his expression and something hazy swimming in his eyes and for a moment Andrew wondered if he was even fully awake.

“You are always what I want,” Neil said, as if it was as simple as that. (Andrew wished it was.)
Neil tugged at Andrew’s fingers and brought his fingers to his lips, back to his silent routine of memorizing Andrew with his mouth, seemingly oblivious to the inferno burning in Andrew’s eyes. Andrew pulled his hands back, with a little too much force, and brought a little too much of a stricken look on Neil face.

“No, Neil, I am not like your art,” and he just sounded frustrated now. Neil looked genuinely perplexed.

“What is that supposed to mean?” His voice was low and Andrew’s was just loud and louder.

“Art, Neil. You treat me like your art—“

“I value my art.”

“I am not a damn painting, Neil. Paintings don’t age with time, their colours don’t fade, dammit.” He wanted to say, “the colour of my eyes will, though, with everything else about me, and my art won’t be so fucking poetic anymore” but he did not.

Andrew looked at Neil for a second longer, fire singing in his body, but Neil was just shocked to stillness, unmoving, unchanging, sitting in a pool of white sheets in Andrew’s black shirt. Exasperation came to him in waves; it was longing, then frustration, then long-lost fear, then guilt at the decision he had made. It was back to longing again.

“I don’t understand, what are you—I’m not with you because of how you look, Andrew, Jesus, what the—“

“I have to go,” and he was leaving the bed, and dressing faster than Neil’s brain could comprehend what was happening.

“Andrew, look at me. God, did I say something? I’m– “

“No.”

“No to me saying something or no to me?”

“Just no, Neil. No to this,” he motioned to the empty sheets between them, stretching and folding like all the unsaid words they should have said. Neil’s heartrate spiked in sync with Andrew’s voice.

“To this?”

“I can’t be what you want me to be, Josten, and I sure as hell can’t be art.”

At some point, Andrew’s sculptured face would be marked with lines and his hands would be calloused with the weight of the years he lives. At some point, his back would lose its sturdiness and his throat would no longer respond to Neil’s mouth. At that point, Andrew thought, Neil would realize that turning Andrew into art had been a mistake from a start, because Andrew aged but the sketches of his lips and his eyes and his hands did not. At this point, Neil would realize this was a mistake. Andrew didn’t care, he didn’t care, but he did and that was enough reason to leave because seeing Neil’s eyes turn from a soft blue to the blue of harsh rejection would choke him; the mere idea brought the long lost enemy named fear rise in his throat. Fear, it seemed, was a carnivore, and instead of letting it swallow Andrew, Andrew decided to swallow it himself.

Neil’s voice was low and deliberate. “I didn’t need you to be a work of art. I don’t, God, you’re enough, I don’t understand what changed.”

“I did,” Andrew said, and he trailed an ugly silence in his footsteps as he exited the room, then the apartment, before he was gone altogether. Neil sat in their unmade bed for what seemed like hours or days, but it couldn’t have been, because the beam of sunlight glazing Andrew’s hair only minutes ago was now just shifted to the base of their bed. Neil looked out the window with something like hollowness and constriction in his throat.

The day Andrew left, the sky was the colour of his lips.

***

Andrew didn’t come back. Neil didn’t know where exactly he went, he didn’t really try to find out. Andrew wouldn’t want that. Neil didn’t know when he’d started caring about what Andrew wanted and didn’t want. It didn’t matter, he hadn’t wanted this. He hadn’t really wanted Neil. He stopped drawing, it turned into an ugly reminder of what was and not what could be. When Neil drew, his fingers guided him into sketching or painting ideas and things that made him feel content, things that reminded him of who he was. Except sketching brought thoughts of Andrew’s lips and his hands, and that only led Neil to thoughts of who he used to be.

Artistic talent wasn’t something that was sucked out of you, though. Neil knew this wasn’t going to dissipate like Andrew had, but he couldn’t find it in himself to touch a pencil when it’d been tangled in Andrew’s hair a month ago. Neil ventured to newer things, something Andrew would never stand for, something with ugly bruises and bright jerseys and hard racquets: Exy.

Neil was actually (surprisingly) rather good at Exy. He obviously couldn’t join a university team, but he didn’t need to play for a living. He wanted to try it out, so he joined a local team, and it served the purpose just fine. Exy worked him hard, sore muscles and torn hands and battered ribcages and absolutely no space in his mind to think. (Good.) He still worked and scrolled through his life with the sheer will to exist than anything else, but Exy took up time and it healed.

Andrew Minyard had shown up as flame too bright and then vanished just as fast. Neil hadn’t even had time to be angry. He should be though, and he was, and he let it sink into him like an anchor after about three months of his absence when Andrew’s discarded armband in his sock drawer felt like a burn in Neil’s throat. Neil had been healing, healing from the strange cavity in his life that Andrew had dug into like a sweet knife, and Neil was glad. He was young, he couldn’t tell stories of love that lasted forevermore because he was too naïve to tell what that word even meant, but he’d thought Andrew would help him define it. He was wrong, though, so it didn’t matter. The bruises that Exy and Kevin Day left on him were his remedy and that was enough.

So when Kevin walked up to him after an especially draining win and leaned in to kiss him, Neil let him. (A small part of Neil knew it was the the buzz of adrenaline that coursed through him like the ingredients of an energy drink that caused his weird ecstatic calm, but he ignored it in favour of his sanity.) Truth was, Kevin was predictable. He cared about Exy and almost nothing else so he was predictable and easy to extrapolate. Andrew hadn’t been easy, kissing Andrew had been jumping into turbulent waters without a lifeline, and Neil hadn’t even hesitated before stepping his foot over. Kevin was an Exy stadium, one foot after the other, ball in the net, and point. Easy. So Neil let Kevin tug his hands in his hair and for a moment, he grimaced and pulled back because he imagined hazel eyes and silver hair mapping him out but he shut it down soon after and let Kevin drag him down.

***

There was a knock at the door and Neil frowned, turning the tv off at what seemed like 1:21am.  When he opened the door, he saw this: a memory, a flame, a shadow. And he let him in.

“Andrew.” He said it because he wasn’t sure he was real.

“You are in my veins,” Andrew said, terribly bored, and Neil stared at him for an eternity.

Andrew raised his eyes in question, asking if Neil would let him in, but Neil didn’t trust himself with words right now, the weight of Kevin’s lips too heavy on his so he just moved out of the doorway.

Andrew didn’t feel much like talking either, it seems, so he just walked around the apartment like a ghost. (The ghost he’d finally come to be in Neil’s life. Neil was haunted, though, it seemed.) He kicked Kevin’s shirt beside the bed, as if he sensed it didn’t belong. Neil’s world came crumbling down around him. Six month of healing and six months without Andrew and six months of Exy and Neil was healing. Andrew was back, as viciously as he’d came the first time, as furiously as he’d left the last.

“You came back.”

“Are you going to ask me why?”

“No.”

Andrew walked over to the couch and touched the jersey that lay sprawled on the back.

“Day? Kevin Day?”

Neil closed his eyes. There was something sour rising in his throat. Something like anger, something like a sob.

“You left.” Andrew didn’t move. Anger seemed to finally fuel Neil’s body.
“You left, Andrew, in the middle of the day, for a year, and now you’ve decided to barge back. Thank you for the explanations, by the way, they’ve been real handy.”

Andrew didn’t ask if Neil wanted him to stay, because they’d never had straight-forward and they never would (if there was a them.) He didn’t ask if Neil wanted him to leave either because the answer would be too much to lose. Neil was too much to lose, but he’d already lost him.

“I will trade you a truth for a truth, Neil.”

“You are in no position—“

“Yes or no?” What he was asking was ‘Me or Kevin Day?’ and Neil laughed, an empty, hollow thing, because that was such an Andrew thing to do. Andrew watched him with a hooded solemnity, watching his nightmare unfold in front of him. Neil probably took a moment too long to reply out of his sheer disbelief because Andrew started to head for the door. There was no anger in him though.

“Your keys are in my drawer,” Neil said in a low voice. So Andrew stayed.

***

Neil had let Andrew stay because of many reasons. One of those reasons was that he was a little bit tired of needing bruises from balls and racquets to become the source of adrenaline in his veins instead of Andrew’s mouth. It was far fetched, he knew, to get rid of an attachment like that, but it would take time, and Andrew hadn’t given him that. Neil had found temporary solutions for a permanent problem; sometimes it was Exy, sometimes it was Kevin. Both times, it was temporary.

It wasn’t the same, it wasn’t going to be for a long time, but this was Andrew and he had to give them another chance. So, Andrew moved in (there wasn’t much he’d brought with him, there wasn’t much he’d left either) but he stayed in the guestroom. Andrew’s presence lingered in Neil’s life, which was still as much of a lie as it had been when he was gone, but lesser so somehow. Andrew had told Neil the truth of why he left and Neil had told Andrew why he was angry. It was little, but they’d started again, and they were learning, learning each other again. Neil stopped pretending to find Andrew in Kevin Day. Andrew stopped pretending he didn’t care about Neil too, but that took a while.

Neil had come come late that night and though Neil and Andrew technically lived together, they lived together like roommates, not owners. So when Neil stumbled into the apartment at 2am with a bruise along his temple and a limp, Andrew raised his eyebrow.

“You’re bleeding.”

“And you’re up.”

“What’re you doing, Josten?”

“I play Exy.” Andrew raised an eyebrow.

“Sit down.” Neil didn’t feel like listening to Andrew but his leg wouldn’t exactly carry him any longer so he did. Andrew didn’t turn the light on but the streetlamps outside illuminated the room enough to see everything clearly enough to make sense. Andrew brought the First Aid Kit.

He started on Neil’s face, swiping peroxide wipes across his gash slowly, to clean the wound thoroughly. Neil thought Andrew’s proximity burned more than this wound. He closed his eyes.

“Don’t sleep, there might be a concussion.” Alarm was creeping in Andrew’s voice.

“I’m tired,” and it was the truth.

Andrew finished his face, then silently moved on to his leg and then back to his face to check for any last touches.

“Since when did you start Exy?” Neil didn’t answer. Exhaustion was settling over his bones.

“Did you also stop sketching?” Neil opened his eyes, but didn’t answer. They both knew the answer to that, too.

Andrew continued to wipe away the dried blood from Neil’s temple and it felt too much like when he used to trace Neil’s face in bed.

“Okay, I’m fine now, thanks,” Neil clips out because he too can see the shadow of remembrance in Andrew’s eyes. He gets up, a little too abruptly, and to add insult to injury, his leg falters and he lands back on the couch in a strangely compressing position. Neil clenches his jaw. The silence is a stench.

“Is Day going to come by tonight?”

Neil grimaces, “He hasn’t come since you came.”

“Yes, but I can clear out for a bit if you want.”

Bitterness coats his words when Neil replies. “You didn’t care about what I want when you left.” The moonlight is harsh on Andrew’s face.

“I wanted—” He stopped, because that starting was already too unfair.

“I ran from myself, Neil.” Neil’s eyes were unfathomable.

“I came back,” he choked out, because this softness wasn’t like them, “for myself, mainly. I came because I couldn’t do it anymore.” Moonlight lit Andrew up in all the right angles. His hair was the same shade of silver Neil had imagined when he’d kissed Kevin.

“I wanted to stay more than I wanted to run from the perfect image of me you’d created.”

“They were not expectations, Andrew, they were what I saw of you.”

“I guess they were my own expectations, then.”

Neil considered, then sighed. “I’m tired.”

“Okay.”

Neil shifted on the couch to adjust his body and his throbbing head to let himself pass out and not think about the regret he’d heard in Andrew’s voice.

***

The next day, Neil skipped Exy practice and asked Andrew to meet him on the roof of their apartment building. Neil’s legs were already hanging when Andrew saw him, he was lost in observation or thought, or neither. The setting sun created a glow around his head that made Neil look like a glowing ember of light in the darkening sky.

When Andrew settled beside him, Neil didn’t hesistate to begin.
“I called you here because I’m tired of knowing you’re in the guestroom and not being able to walk towards you. I don’t know what happened, I don’t think I ever will process it completely, but I can’t do this anymore, Andrew.” He never once looked at Andrew while saying this and maybe that was for the best of both of them at the time. He didn’t really say anything after that so Andrew supposed it was his turn to speak but there wasn’t much he could say really, so he settled on “I will wait, as long as you need me to.”

Neil looked at him swiftly at that.
“I don’t have anything to wait for, I want to stop pretending with you.” His bruise was darker today, Andrew noticed. He did not want to look at Neil’s eyes right now. They betrayed trust.

“And Kevin Day—“

“Does not fit into this equation.” Andrew didn’t say that his jersey on Neil’s couch had burned sharper than anything these past few weeks.

“What do you want to do, Neil?” Now it was Andrew’s turn to stare off at tiny rooftops with feigned interest. Neil didn’t want an apology, he didn’t really want an “I was wrong”, all he wanted was sunlight streaming on both their bodies in one bed and Andrew’s hands in his hair.

“I want you to stay. I want you to give me the truth.”
“I stayed.”

“No, stay as in with me, not in my apartment. I kind of just want to kiss you.”

“Yes.”

Neil raised his eyebrow. “Just yes?” Andrew stayed quiet for a long time, then shifted his weight, and turned around to face Neil properly for the first time.

“I am going to kiss you now, yes?”

Neil nodded, he hadn’t answered this question in so long. So then Andrew leaned in and Neil pushed back with a force that was probably too dangerous for two boys sitting on the edge of a roof, feeling like they were on the edge of the world, but it was enough. Andrew bruised Neil with all the choked up apologies he’d constructed in his mind at night, he tried to burn the fact that he had missed the weight of Neil beside him against his tongue, and he tugged at Neil’s hair when Neil was on the edge of a prayer against Andrew’s mouth to sear away the memory of Kevin against his lips. It seemed that they were so terrible at speaking for two people with so much to say, but maybe that’s why they worked. Andrew, when he pulled back with an uncharacteristic softness, saw Neil’s eyes still closed and the trace of smile still hugging his lips.

“You are in my veins,” Andrew whispered, and it sounded too much like “I missed you.” Everything in this moment seemed too fragile startle with a heavy voice, so they sang the whispers of the stars.

“You should move your stuff to our room,” Neil smiled and it filled him whole.

“You should bring your pencils out again.” The sky was the colour of a new beginning.

It’s ten years later that Andrew Minyard still despises tuxedos. Age suits him well, the taut of the skin of his face is just starting to show the marks of years of laughter, his hands are rough with supporting the weight of their lives, and his hair is just beginning to burn silver at regular intervals.

“Andrew, wear your glasses, I don’t want you knocking over random vases in the museum,” Neil’s voice drifts from the bedroom, where he’s probably still just getting dressed. Andrew doesn’t understand why its been over ten years of their time together and Neil still can’t sense the irritation that lateness brings Andrew.

“That happened one time, Josten.”

“The Guest of Honour at an art exhibition shouldn’t be destroying an art gallery, Andrew.”

“I still don’t understand why you keep calling me that. Just because it’s your exhibition and I’m your plus one doesn’t make me the guest of shit. I do not like wearing this either.”

Neil doesn’t answer but he walks out of the room, looking pristine and so boyishly Neil despite his age that Andrew cant help but think of an earlier time when he had just met Neil. It had been ten years but when Neil leaned up to kiss him, the swirl in his gut was still the same reassuring calm that it had been the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that. Neil never weathered down.  Andrew let him balance his glasses on the bridge of his nose without argument.

“Neil Josten!” someone exclaimed and Neil grinned wide to meet the source of the voice. There was a large frame covered with an excessively pristine-looking white cloth, with a large crowd surrounding it. Neil waved, as he moved towards his covered work, with Andrew not far behind him.

“Mr. Josten, we are tremendously excited to see the piece you’re unveiling tonight.” Neil gripped Andrew’s hand, and it was a common enough gesture that Andrew’s fingers found Neil’s without hesitation.

“Thank you, I’m also quite excited.”

“And Mr. Minyard is the Man of the Hour tonight, yes?”

“Always,” Neil replied, and Andrew rolled his eyes with the double meaning.

When a fancy-looking woman walked over in red high heels and took off the cloth to reveal Neil’s work, the eruption of applause and laughter that soared through the high arch of the art gallery was dumbfounding. Andrew was the sole person standing who seemed utterly and irrevocably frozen. A soar of pride and exasperation rose in his chest and he let Neil shake more hands and exchange hugs and formal kisses on cheeks. As the Guest of Honour, he even shook a few hands without breaking any bones. It wasn’t until after the reception was over and Andrew was standing by his black BMW, watching Neil approach him with his tie disheveled that he felt a long overdue smile beginning to curve his lips.

“’MINIYARD’ That was your grand idea for a title?”

“It’s clever, don’t you think,” Neil laughed, leaning against Andrew.

His rise to artistic success had required Neil to release a piece of work that was generated from self-expression and ingenuity. Neil had named his piece “Miniyard” and created a portrait of Andrew (the Andrew now, 35 years and all) from small snippets and pieces of all the portraits and drawings he had made of Andrew ten years ago. Every drawing of a hand, eye, jaw, mouth, every photograph of a young Andrew, of an Andrew-then that Neil had owned, he had rearanged to form a portrait of of an Andrew now, the Andrew he’d grown old with, the Andrew he still wanted. It was little, but in the grand scheme of things, it had felt to Andrew like a blow. It said to Andrew that Neil saw Andrew still with the same wonder that he had when they’d adopted their first cat. It spoke to Andrew that Neil still looked at him with the same tenderness in the morning as he had ten years ago. It said to both of them that though time had passed and they had aged, they still woke up every morning with a fondness that was brand new, a trust that would grow old but not frail. It all spoke to Andrew as a promise, a promise that Neil was truly home.

When Neil pulled back, he was still grinning.
“Did you like it, though?”

“Shut up.”

“I think you’re still offended about the ‘Mini-yard’ thing. I thought it was cool, but you are pretty short though, I might as well just call you Andrew Miniyard on a regular basis.”

“I would slit your throat.”

“I wouldn’t be able to kiss you then,” Neil hummed and he was already against Andrew’s throat, loosening his still immaculately tied tie.

“We are not going to make out in this parking lot, Neil.” But didn’t know if he was trying to convince himself or Neil.

Neil pulled back reluctantly and laughed, “I kind of want to.”

When Andrew kissed Neil when they got home that day, he enveloped his gratitude in the hands that tugged Neil’s hair or the lips that trailed electricity down his back. At some point, Andrew pushed Neil back on the bed and hummed “You deserve it” against his collarbone and Neil knew it meant “I’m proud of you.”  

based on this post

Castiel takes the twenty dollar bill from the suave guy that he believes is classified as a ‘hipster’, but honestly his suspenders with the little bees on them is kind of adorable and Castiel doesn’t understand why people say ‘hipster’ like it’s a bad thing. Putting the twenty in the register to get change he notices a scrap of paper. With a number on it.

He squints at the young man in the bee suspenders with the big black rimmed glasses and floppy hat.

He squints a little harder and says, “Your coffee will be ready in a few.”

The young man wanders a few feet away to wait. Castiel turns to the espresso machine and focuses on work.  

Today has been a very strange day. Men keep giving him slips of paper with phone numbers on them. Some with lewd suggestions. Others with cute drawings like little hearts.

Balthazar has been in good spirits. He keeps winking at Castiel and snickering when he thinks Castiel can’t hear him.

The hipster takes his coffee and leaves. Castiel pockets the number instead of crumbling it and throwing it out. If anything, he’d like to know where the young man got his suspenders.

It’s mid afternoon so the lunch rush has lulled and he can actually catch his breath. Castiel should go wipe down the tables and collect the dishes. Instead, the bell chimes over the door and a young man in a leather jacket - in this heat, seriously - swaggers in. There is no other word to describe his jaunty bow legged manner of walking. He swaggers. Castiel takes a deep breath and waits for him to come up to the counter.

His face is indescribably pretty and handsome at the same time. It’s infuriating. He’s smiling at Castiel and his eyes keep flitting from the menu board down to Castiel. Back and forth. He swaggers closer to the counter, leans a hip against it.

“So. Hella fucking gay huh? Is that a new term these days?”

“Excuse me?”

“Well you’re the barista aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“And desperately single?”

Castiel hears Balthazar cackle through the window to the kitchen where he’s preparing pastries.

Castiel sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. He implores the customer, “I’m sorry but if you haven’t decided what you want, I need a second.”

The customer’s face smooths as the wrinkles from his smile disappear and his mouth is open in an ‘o’ for a minute before he says, “Yeah, sure.”

Castiel turns and opens the door to the kitchen, not even caring if the customer hears him when he yells, “I’m going to fucking castrate you once and for all Bal!”

That felt good.

Balthazar is still snorting.

Castiel turns back to the register and asks, “Do you know what you’d like?”

The man is laughing. His head tipped back and a hand on his belly. Castiel stares dumb founded.

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll just have a plain coffee, large. Man, you must have pissed off your friend.”

“Balthazar always does the chalk signs out front. I have been wondering why people have been giving me phone numbers all day. And he’s not pissed off, he’s just a little shit.”

Castiel steps away to fill a cup, his head part turned to listen to the customer.

“What, that doesn’t happen on a regular basis? Guy like you, I wouldn’t peg you for desperately single.”

Castiel passes the coffee over, and the man passes him a five. And a scrap of paper with a number on it.

“I have standards.”

“Ouch. Message received.”

The man visibly flinches and moves back.

“Oh. No I didn’t mean that about you. I just meant that it’s hard to meet people in general sometimes.”

They stand awkwardly staring at each other for what must be a full minute. Castiel swears he can hear the creak of the kitchen door.

“I’m Castiel.”

“Dean.”

“I’m off work in an hour.”

Dean glances around the interior of the ‘quirky’ independently owned coffee shop.

“Yeah uh, you got some interesting looking….. gardening… magazines in here. Figure I might stick around.”

“You don’t usually come to places like this do you?”

“What can I say, the sign caught my attention.”

Fic: Wouldn’t Recognise You Anyway (Hannigram)

This is for @towardthegrace​ for the #fannibalsecretexchange – hope this is what you were looking for. Writing it really helped me get back into the swing of things, so thank you for the prompt, and Happy Christmas :D

It can also be found on AO3, if you prefer reading that way.

There was a petite brunette named Emilia who ran the corner store down the block from their townhouse. For the first few weeks after they moved in, she was nothing but friendly conversation and coy smiles. Hannibal was more amused by her attraction to Will than jealous, almost encouraging of it just to watch Will squirm under the attention. But in the end, she’d grown taciturn. He overheard her a few days later, talking about the unfriendly white man who was always scowling at everyone.

The thing was, Will had spent most of his adult life trying to fly under the radar, trying to avoid attachments, to discourage others’ interest in him. Objectively speaking, he should have been thrilled with the fact that it was working, except negative attention was still attention, and it was the last thing they needed when they were lying low. And in this particular instance, it hadn’t been his intention. Emilia was cute and harmless, and it wouldn’t have hurt anything for her to carry on with her flirtation.

Will wasn’t a vain man, but he found himself cursing Dolarhyde for this newest scar in his ever-expanding collection. One more, in the grand scheme of things, wasn’t that big of a deal. This one, stitched with infinite care by Hannibal’s delicate hand, was barely visible when Will wore a beard–a narrow bald patch for the first few days that filled in as the hair grew longer. Of all the myriad marks on his body, the scar was hardly the most troublesome.

It was the damage done to the buccal nerve in his cheek, weakening the underlying musculature. Those first few weeks had been utter agony. Eating, drinking, brushing his teeth, even the accidental graze of his hand against the skin of his cheek, all more painful than the memory of the knife sinking into his flesh. He’d batted away the pain meds Hannibal offered and curled into a ball in his bed for days on end, until it passed, and he could finally bear to eat again, down almost twenty pounds with his ribs protruding and his sweatpants hanging on jagged hip bones.

Eating had become a chore, at best. Meals something to tolerate out of necessity rather than pleasure, despite Hannibal’s efforts in the kitchen. Will wasn’t sure which of them resented that fact more. He’d long gotten over any reservations he had over eating the food Hannibal placed before him, particularly now with the restrictions they’d placed upon themselves in hiding. Chewing only one side, the alternating tingling, aching, or itchiness in his right cheek distracting from any enjoyment he might have otherwise taken from the meal.

When he brushed his teeth, he had to manually pull back his lips with his fingers. He’d given up on shaving not only to hide the scar, but because it was more trouble that it was worth, pulling the skin taut, and his beard was one more barrier between anything that might come in contact with the over sensitive skin

Now, having slowly gained back a bit of weight, in repose, the visible result of Dolarhyde’s attack was negligible, just the slight downturned corner pulling at the line of his lip. But when he smiled, it was more of a grimace–something out of a horror movie, more like. The left side lifting as normal, while the right pulled down, the whole thing off-centre, revealing teeth and gums.

Over the months, he’d practiced it time and again in the bathroom mirror, fogged around the edges after his shower. Hannibal had to know, but he’d never commented, beyond his initial reassurance that in time it would heal. Damaged and inflamed, but not severed. Of course, that wasn’t going to happen overnight, but Will stared hard at his reflection, seeking out even the smallest improvement. That little tic of muscle the only external sign of the massive effort he expended.

There was no longer any pain, but every shift in his muscles tugged at the line of the scar. A reminder, or a warning. Finally, outward, visible evidence of just how twisted up and gnarled he was inside. Will chuckled, perversely amused by the way it looked in his reflection–a snarling madman.

Mostly people didn’t notice, or if they did, they were too polite to say anything. For Will, as with anything else, it was written across their face–their inability to look away, or to meet his eye, focusing on his shoulder while they speak.

Hannibal probably preferred him like this. Will imagined a therapy session between them, walking down the hall from the bathroom to the study, sitting across from one another just like they used to. Hannibal asking Will if he was bothered more by the reactions others have had to this new look, or the fact that, if he were being honest with himself, he found it freeing. He was glad not to have to suffer Emilia’s smalltalk any longer.

They were being careful. That’s what they’d agreed upon. Hannibal didn’t seem to chafe under the restrictions placed upon his extracurricular activities. He’d taken to life in Havana like a duck to water, and even knowing they had to keep a low profile, couldn’t quite resist the lure of high society. No more hosting lavish dinners in their home, but he still attended the opera and ballet and all the gallery events, and dined in all the finest restaurants.

When Will accompanied him, no one expected Hannibal’s “friend” to engage in small talk. Whether he scowled to hide his smile, or loosed it, the end result was the same. Neatly slicing through all the bullshit that polite society expected of him. No need to stumble his way through that dance any longer, trodding on bruised egos. Now everyone gave him a wide berth.

There were, inevitably, snide comments made behind his back. Wondering why someone like Hannibal would associate with someone like Will, so antisocial. Remarking on what a shame it was, such a pretty face ruined by his ghoulish smile. These opinions were of little consequence to Will. He’d heard worse from coworkers and students and random people on the street reacting to his disposition long before he’d been scarred. Hannibal, however, beneath his placid, benevolent grin, rankled as if personally slighted by their words.

Will would meet his gaze, give a subtle shake of his head as if to say Jack is watching. The minute some rich asshole tourist goes missing after a night at symphony, he’s going to put two and two together, Hannibal really. And that, generally, was that.

But there was a night when Will was actually in a decent mood for once. Had been all day, since he’d woken and hadn’t felt any of the normal discomfort brushing his teeth and had managed to get through breakfast without the ache of fatigue settling into his jaw.

He tried to keep himself busy most days with chores around the house and a reading list he was working his way through, but the scent of salt water coming in from the ocean was calling. He followed the stairs down from their villa, lighting on dock, where Rio Jaimanitas spilled into the Florida Strait. It was the perfect, mild weather for a late morning on his boat, a nice wind and low humidity. He caught a few mackerel to bring home. Hannibal had a way of preparing them, so they melted in the mouth. It was a meal Will could look forward to and enjoy.

During the week, unless there was a special event, they spent most evenings at home. Hannibal would often compose or draw. Will had grown use to the soundtrack of plucked out notes on the harpsichord or the scratch of charcoal on paper. Tonight, the buoyancy that had carried him through the day made the walls feel too close. He wanted to be outside.

Will grabbed a bottle of whiskey and they made their way down to the malecon, passing it back and forth. Hannibal arched a dubious brow at first, but took a swig when handed to him.

“I assume today has been better than most, pain-wise?”

Will shrugged. “It’s not particularly bad most days. Just annoying.” He ran his tongue along the inside of this cheek, where the scar tissue was thicker than the rest of the skin. “I’m getting used to it.” He took a drag of the whiskey, relishing in that lovely numbing sensation.

“It’s good to see you enjoying yourself for a change,” Hannibal said. “You’ve shown significant improvement, much more quickly than I’d anticipated. At this rate, you’ll be back to full sensation ahead of schedule.”

Hannibal was fishing. They’d been so careful with one another since the fall, tiptoeing around any sensitive subjects. Will was growing tired of it. He missed that raw, probing honesty. Hannibal had never hesitated in the past, but now, it was as if he feared that if he pushed, it would drive Will away once again, this time for good.

Will snatched the bottle from Hannibal and took another sip. He wasn’t interested in getting drunk tonight, but maybe a nice buzz. El malecon was practically deserted. Tourist season had passed, and they were pretty far west, anyway. Beneath the wall, the waves crashed with incredible force against the shore. The wind from earlier in the day was building into a nice storm that would no doubt break overnight.

“You know, I’m starting to get used to it. I mean, I could do without the pain in the ass that is chewing, among other things, but the other…”

“Your smile,” Hannibal clarified.

Will shot him his smile now. “If you want to call it that.”

Little that Hannibal did these days surprised him, though he doubted the same could be said in reverse. All the same, he was taken off guard when Hannibal reached out for the bottle and caught Will around the wrist instead, bringing them to a standstill facing one another. Will fought the urge to flinch when Hannibal lifted a hand to his cheek, palm brushing over scarred flesh.

It tingled at the touch, neither pleasant nor unpleasant, just strange. Will knew he was being touched, but couldn’t register much of the sensation. The man he once was might have been unnerved at their proximity, even as he longed for it. He would have averted his gaze, trembled at the thought of such intimacy between them.

Now, he lifted his eyes to Hannibal’s, unflinching, as he dragged his thumb back and forth over the downturned corner of his lips. “The Japanese aestheticians of the art of wabi-sabi hold that there is beauty in the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Your scars and your smile tell the story of your existence, and you are all the more beautiful for them.”

Will laid his hand over Hannibal’s wrist–stilling its movement, but not pushing him away. “You don’t have to stroke my ego, Hannibal. I know how it looks. I know what people think when they see it, and yeah, that bothered me at first, but maybe living with you has finally gone to my head.”

“Oh?” Intrigue and anticipation sparked in Hannibal’s eyes, black in the moonlight.

“You know I’ve always perceived things differently from how others do. When we–” Will cast a glance around them, but there was no one as far as the eye could see. “When we fought Dolarhyde, I could see the Great Red Dragon, and I think I envied him his clarity, in a way. That he understood the path of his becoming, while I struggled against my own, afraid of where it might lead.”

He swallowed hard, jaw shifting, throat closing up tight around the words he wanted to say. “Then I saw for myself just how beautiful it could be, but I tried to turn away from it. I tried to ignore what I knew I could become, just like I always have, but Dolarhyde, he left me with this reminder. And I’ve hated him for it, but I think…I think I owe him my thanks. You can’t hide what’s inside when it’s written across your face.”

Hannibal’s eyes widened just a fraction. “Will…”

“Tier, Dolarhyde, they underestimated me. Even as they died, they couldn’t conceive of what it was I carried within–what you’ve seen in me. I’ve imagined what it would have been like, to show someone else.

“And who would be deserving of such a sight?” Hannibal asked. He was close enough for Will to feel Hannibal’s breath ghosting hot across his lips, tense longing drawn taut between them. Will honestly couldn’t say what nature of desire it was that either of them felt in that moment. Such divisions hardly seemed to matter any longer when they were concerned.

“I didn’t have anyone in particular in mind.” Will licked his lips and crooked his brow. “It was more of a general expression of interest. Maybe once the search is officially called off.”

At this point, it was only Jack’s rage that was driving the manhunt, when most were convinced that the two of them had perished in the ocean. Soon even that wouldn’t be enough for the FBI to justify continuing to pour money into a fruitless search.

Hannibal was silent for a moment, struggling through cautious delight. “I would love nothing more than to bear witness, if you would allow it.”

It was a good thing that Hannibal didn’t realise just how much power he held over Will. All the things Will would allow Hannibal if he only asked. Outnumbered only by the things Hannibal would do for him. Yet neither of them ever asked.

Will took step closer. Feet slotting in between Hannibal’s, knees sliding together. Will laid his hand on Hannibal’s hip. “There are other things that will be easier, once it’s healed.” His gaze darted to Hannibal’s mouth and back. “But it might be interesting to try, anyway.”

My father doesn’t know how to text. Someone once showed him how to send picture messages so instead of learning how to type, he writes my sisters and I messages, takes a picture of the paper, and sends it to us. Cute things like “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY” or “YIIPPEEE” when one of us has accomplished something big. Always with the same goofy smiley face that he has been drawing since I was a child.

This morning–the morning after I release the video for my poem “Today Means Amen”–I woke up to a text from my father: his first selfie. He made it. I made it. Today really does mean amen.