unconcerning

60.

You just kinda forget, sometimes. The good and the bad. Sometimes your brain allows things to slip slide beneath the surface, allows you to go through your life unconcerned, untroubled by the things you forgot to remember.

Course, then, you forget to remember to forget and it’s like tripping over in your dreams, gut shot of adrenaline and the futile drum of feet against mattress, blown back years and any number of steps ‘cos corner-caught windows are that certain shade of blue.

But it works both ways, 'cos you can’t think about the good at all hours of the day or what the hell else would you get done? So there’s that sudden gut shot only this time it’s warm, impossible, stomach punch awareness 'cos of how beautiful he is when he smiles. He’s beautiful when he smiles.

And it feels like a secret, like a rediscovery, like the world is new every time he pushes his hand through his long damned hair and your world tilts a little on its axis. Like the exact colour of his eyes is some kinda revelation.

So you’ll take the blue, and the moment of terror, 'cos your brain working this way lets you remember you love him every day like it’s new.

I held a lamb today! I was outside priming my precious cast-iron guttering, and the lamb was alone in the fields for several hours (too long), bleating sadly from time to time. None of the ladies were taking any interest in it, which worried me; they’re attentive mothers & don’t ignore their lambs. Eventually I walked over toward it, figuring it would hop up & streak off to its mama, since that’s what they usually do. But no! It just sat there, so I patted it and picked it up. There was still no interest from any of the ladies, which is unheard of – they won’t let let you near their children.

The lamb was warm from the sun & unconcerned about being petted, but it was so tiny and I was concerned that it might be getting dehydrated. So I called the farmer & explained the situation. Shortly thereafter her son came wheeling over on his quad bike; he grabbed the lamb up by its forelegs (!!! hardly the tender handling I was giving it) and rode away. I received a text message telling me lamb & mama are reunited now; apparently it was on the wrong side of a fence and the mama was very far away, unable to hear its sad, lonely peeping.

I asked whether I’d done the right thing by calling, since I don’t want the farmer to think I’m a soft-hearted idiot (even though I am). He said yes, because apparently if the lambs are separated from their mothers for too long, sometimes the mothers will no longer accept them (i.e., won’t let them nurse). Jeeze! That seems harsh, given how they love to go on adventures through holes in fences.

tale of the sleeping prince au
(has this been done? of course it has. I AM UNCONCERNED.)
in which yuuri’s mother gives her son a pair of enchanted glasses in order to cure his failing vision
but as a side effect the glasses show him visions of a rather lovely stranger (calling for help?)
so he goes out on an adventure to find the mysterious prince
joined by sidekick fairy minako
and overly friendly adventurer victor who seems very curious about the quest
i forgot yurio and otabek, butts!!

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
unsuitable.

I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.

Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.

If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.

—  Mary Oliver

aurum88  asked:

I am in LOVE with the night club au. I would love to see more of it if you ever felt like it. I know you mentioned them sitting through a police raid... Also I love when you do fahc from an outsider's perspective, it's so good and so enjoyable. Keep up the good work :)

Thanks so much! I really didn’t stick to the perspective as well as i meant to but i just wanted to knock something out without going back to fix it so it is what it is. 

As for the raid, well. Normally Geoff’s contacts are enough to keep that sort of thing from happening no matter what kind of business he’s meddling in, but every now and then someone fresh and optimistic comes along trying to change the world, or one of Geoff’s crooked pals forgets what they owe him, and the club is subjected to a night of privacy infringement and poorly veiled insults courtesy of Los Santos’ finest. The notoriety of a raid never hurts FAKE’S business but any night spent entertaining the boys in blue is a night not spent raking in the cash from the public, and that just does not make Geoff a happy man.

Still, when the police descend and pull him from his office Geoff stays cool and calm and infuriatingly smug, Jack professional and blasé at his side, and the pair conduct every interview with the perfect polish of upstanding citizens despite everyone in the room knowing they are as guilty as sin. They’ll smile, will answer questions as their property is invaded and their people are harassed, they’ll pointedly refrain from mentioning that the police chief is a close friend of the business, and no matter how thorough the search is they’ll never be caught with a scarp of incriminating evidence.

None of the casual workers have anything to say, not privy to any of the background business, but even if they were they’re all smart enough to keep their mouths shut, and all too soon they’re deemed useless and sent on their way. Steffie and Matt tend to play themselves out with the crowd and laugh at the others come morning, saved yet again by their ability to refrain from stirring up a hornet’s nest, avoiding aggravating the cops in a way the rest of the FAKE’S crew is oddly incapable of.

The main team are not so lucky, though for the most part they bring it on themselves; intentionally infuriating and insufferably cocky they all toy with any member of law enforcement they’re faced with no matter the rank, daring them to bite back, safe in the confidence that there’s no trouble Geoff and Jack can’t get them out of. Corralled to the side of the bar to await their questioning and watch the raid unfold not one of FAKE’S diehard employees can refrain from commentating, calling out particular officers who look like they’re slacking or making suggestions of places to look, slouched together in their insolence, collectively laughing off every attempt to bring them into order.

Ryan, Jeremy and Michael always play their interviews the exact same way; stoic and unimpressed with crossed arms, incredulous looks and just enough menace to keep things interesting without tipping all the way into threat.  Lindsay and Mica swing from overtly airheaded to ruthlessly clever brutally enough to keep any member of law enforcement too busy trying to dig themselves out of the pit of offensively sexist stereotyping to bother collecting any viable information. Trevor pleasantly answers every question without ever actually answering a single question, and Gavin is, as always, a menace. All big guileless eyes and affinity for starting trouble he pokes and prods, taunts and teases, chewing up and spitting out officers like they’re regular patrons of the club, but the detectives are another matter altogether. They always circle back to Gavin, closeness to Geoff making him a prime candidate for interrogation, and for all Gavin hates them they tend to hate him right back, or pity him, or on one notable occasion that instantly turned the tone of the room from amused to quietly furious, call him all kinds of unpleasant names casting aspersions on his character and role at the club.

That particular detective didn’t last long; for all he mocked Michael’s sudden snarling appearance and Gavin’s scathing response, sneer only wobbling in the face of the cold, silent judgement of the FAKE’S around him, he wasn’t laughing when Geoff caught up to him later. Wasn’t laughing when he slunk back into the club the next night, face burning with humiliation as he issued a full blown apology in front of everyone, suffering through Gavin’s haughty dismissal and turning on his heel to leave. He certainly wasn’t laughing when Ryan, Michael and Jeremy sprung into motion at a nod from Geoff, effortlessly cutting through the rolling crowd like wolves as they silently followed the detective out into the night. Safe inside the dancers keep dancing, keep drinking and flirting with the staff, keep gossiping about FAKE’S latest brush with the law as they pour their hard earned cash into the club, utterly oblivious to the free lesson in minding one’s manners that is transpiring in the unlit alley out back.

Something that’s been fascinating me the longer I look at it.

Throughout ‘06 (and previous games as well) Shadow’s always had a predictable reaction to someone or something threatening him - he drops into a battle-ready stance, usually with his fists out, ready to start throwing punches:

It’s not surprising - Shadow fights, it’s what he does.

But I’ve been looking at his body language during the confrontation with Silver and it’s completely different:

He drops to the ground and doesn’t bother getting up for a good five seconds, despite Silver being an immediate threat.

Once he finally does stand up, he turns his back on Silver entirely for another five seconds to check on Sonic, even though Silver is still clearly looking for a fight.

Silver readies himself to attack, and all Shadow does is casually uncross his arms.

Shadow kicks the shit out of Silver, sending him flying, and then proceeds to stand and watch with his arms hanging, looking unconcerned.

I’ve always thought Silver was actually a better rival to Shadow’s physical strength than Sonic - Sonic has Shadow beat when it comes to speed, but every time we see Sonic and Silver face off Silver wrecks Sonic’s shit.

The only reason Sonic ever survives their encounters is because someone else runs in to stop the final blow.

But Shadow clearly doesn’t think so. His body language during the entire scene suggests that he hardly sees Silver as a real threat. Shadow will adopt a fighting stance for some of Eggman’s weakest robots, but not for Silver.

I’m wondering if this doesn’t have something to do with his previous hostile encounters with Sonic, actually. Shadow knows that Sonic can use Chaos Control - not to the same level as himself, perhaps, but he was able to do it with a single, fake emerald in SA2, and that’s impressive enough. Maybe all Shadow sees here is some young, hot-blooded hedgehog who’s being deceived by Mephiles (since Silver originally mistakes Shadow for him), and figures he’ll wear him down to the point where he’s learned his lesson.

And then this happens:

Silver, in desperation, copies what he just saw Shadow do - hold out the emerald and yell “Chaos Control!” - and accidentally opens a portal with Shadow’s help. Shadow’s first words to this are:

He sounds shocked. And after this happens, he immediately offers Silver a temporary alliance to go back in time and take on Mephiles. That’s my theory - that Shadow originally saw Silver as a nuisance at best, proceeded to be impressed by his abilities and resourcefulness, and realized he would make a better ally than an enemy.

Idk, I just really like this scene.

  • Viktor: Care to come with us?
  • Yurio: And spoil my carefully calculated air of selfishness and unconcern? Not until the last second, thank you very much!
  • Yurio: Beka and I have an appointment in 30 minutes.

There is a special, insidious sort of cruelty to telling people they’re being unreasonable for worrying that a president elect will do exactly what he said he would do, which is exactly why you elected him (either with your vote or your lack of a vote).


You cannot praise someone for extremist rhetoric and abandoning “PC” talk and in the same breath scold people for hearing him.
It is your right to vote for an extremist racist, sexist, ableist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic candidate unconcerned with consent, let alone reproductive rights.


It is your right to vote for someone who literally built a campaign on a “great wall” and a promise to profile people based on their religion. It is your right to vote for a candidate who actively incites violence and got the loudest cheers at his rallies for vowing to “carpet bomb” other countries (and then to say that he does not want war). It is your right to cite “due process” on multiple sexual assault and rape charges for your candidate and vote for him anyway.


It is psychological warfare/gaslighting to do that and then say that you do not intend to silence those who disagreed, those who will be affected by the radical changes you signed on for.


Do not insult our intelligence OR your own by saying that we’re being hysterical. Own your vote. Own your candidate. I am sick of this “I voted for Trump but not for hate, I’m against hate, let’s come together” bullshit. You don’t get to play both sides of this. If you voted FOR HIM, you are with him. You like and approve of his ideas. You actively endorsed them. So stand with them. Don’t vote for someone who ran on a platform of hate and then claim you don’t support that same hate. You do, it’s yours, and you better wear it now

—  unknown
Ai

Yuri!!! On Ice One-Shot | Read here or on AO3

Pair: Viktor Nikiforov / Katsuki Yuuri

Tags: Drunkenness, drunken confessions, fluff

Synopsis: Yuuri gets drunk, and Viktor’s not quite sure what to do with him. How the tables have turned. 

Viktor drank an alarming amount. Sometimes he’d buy the expensive vodka from the international liquor store when they went to Saga; sometimes he drank the fragrant sake that Yuri’s mother served him for free. For a figure skater, he seemed unconcerned about it.

Keep reading

Flood my Mornings: Victories

Notes from Mod Bonnie:

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment: Mama (Claire spends time alone with Bree for the first time in ages). 

Victories 

[The next morning]


Jamie was kissing me: my cheeks, my temples, my eyelids, my shoulders, the warm pressure of his lips moving across my body, soft and comforting and home. 

That was the first thing I became aware of as I swam upward from the clutches of sleep. 

The second was that it was far, FAR too light in the room.

I bolted upright, nearly smacking heads with Jamie. “Wwha — what time is it??” I slurred in a rush of panic. 

“About half past nine,” came the soft reply, blissfully unconcerned.

“Jesus H bloody effing—!” I threw back the blankets, my muscles feeling maddeningly as though they’d been dipped in cement —two bloody hours late already, god, this would mean the sack if Nurse Gordon was shift manager today—but Jamie took me by both shoulders and pushed me firmly back onto the pillows.“Jamie, what are you  — get OFF, you brute! I have to get to—”

“No, ye don’t.”

“But—I was supposed to drop Bree off on the way to — !”

“When ye didna report for work at seven,” he said, stubbornly talking over me, “I spoke wi’ Miss Della. She’s covering your shift today. And I phoned Penelope from the hospital room to tell her.” He smiled sweetly in that way that made his eyes crinkle at the corners. “All’s taken care of, lass. You’re at your leisure today.”

“Oh! That—that was—very kind of them,” I said slowly, rubbing my eyes and still trying to regain my senses from sleep. A wave of guilt made me groan. “Ugh, I feel terrible for this—Of all the unprofessional—”

“Dinna fash, mo chridhe. You’ll be back on schedule tomorrow,” Jamie said soothingly, rubbing my leg. “I, for one, am glad of it: you evidently needed the extra rest.”

“You’re wearing slacks,” I blurted, staring at his trousers through still-bleary eyes. 

“Aye, so I am,” he laughed, bemused. “Naught gets past you, Sassenach. Perhaps you should join the police brigade, with a hawk’s eye like that.”

With a snap, reality fell back into place, and I stared at him in horror. “Please, please, PLEASE tell me you didn’t go AWOL from the hospital, Jamie…” 

A…wall…?”

“Absent without leave?” I said in rising anxiety. “Did you just…walk out??” 

He grinned. “No, t’was an honorable discharge for James Fraser. The doctor said when he came ‘round this morning I was fit enough to go home, at long last.”

“Oh, darling, that’s wonderful news. I’m so sorry I wasn’t there with you to—” I broke off and stared at him again, my mouth hanging open. “How the bloody hell did you get home???”  

“Took the Bus.”

“You what?!”  Good grief, I was getting dry-mouthed from all this astonishment.

“The OmniBus. Wasna so difficult,” he said with an offhand shrug. “No more so than the train or Aeroplane. Only had to ask about as to which was the closest stop to the house, find it on the wee map, and follow the routes.” 

Despite himself, he was looking exceptionally pleased with his success. I leaned back on the pillow, shaking my head in genuine wonder. “Well, look at you: Mr. Cosmopolitan!”

Jamie grinned still wider and tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. “Aye, and I didna even vomit once. Surely I deserve a medal of some kind.” 

“I’ll see what I can do,” I said, grinning back. 

He leaned in to kiss me, but was halted but the sudden, grumpy, “G’MOOR-NEEEEEN!” bellowed from the nursery.

We laughed, and I began to swing my legs out of bed. Jamie, though, put out a hand. “I’ll fetch her, love.” 

I heard his footsteps as he padded into the nursery, followed immediately by an exultant, “DAAAA!!”

“And good morning to you, a leannan.” I heard him groan in mock effort as he lifted her. “There’s my bonnie lass. Did ye miss me?”

They appeared a few moments later in the bedroom doorway just in time for me to see her give him a sloppy kiss on the cheek with an emphatic mmmmwah!

“I’ve missed you too, cub.” He returned the kiss and placed another five or six on her forehead for good measure. “Now, you, Sassenach,” he said briskly, turning his eye on me, “are going to stay abed—AYE, ye most certainly are—while I make us all some breakfast.” 

“Oh, erm…Is that so?” I said apprehensively. Jamie had made impressive strides in navigating the novelties of 1950, but household machines still tended to flummox him, on the whole. The morning before the wedding, he had come close to setting the kitchen on fire while trying to use the toaster.    

As if following my uneasy line of thought, he laughed good-naturedly. “I’ll no’ say that it mightn’t burn to a crisp on the first attempt, but I’m in a conquering mood, today, my lovely Claire, and the Electric Stove is the opponent.” He looked down at Bree. “Will ye stay and cuddle wi’ your Mama, then, or come help Da wi’ the cooking?” 

“Mmahelp!” Bree said decisively.

“A bonnie wee lieutenant reporting for duty?” Jamie asked, inspecting her with an air of stern command. “A braw fighter, by the looks of ye, to be sure.” He cocked an eyebrow. “But can ye be relied upon to follow your captain’s orders come what may?”

“No!” Brianna crowed automatically. 

We both coughed with laughter. “NO?” 

“AYE!” she amended with equal vigor, giggling and clapping her hands for emphasis. 

“That’s what I thought! Right then, soldier,” Jamie said dramatically, shifting her in his right arm and brandishing an imaginary dirk over their heads with his left. “TUALACH ARD!

“Toodle-car!” 

And off they charged, Red Jamie and Red Brianna, to vanquish the morning’s scrambled eggs.


keep reading with the next chapter

“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. 

“I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.

“Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.

“If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

-Mary Oliver

Boston Post, Massachusetts, July 23, 1921

Boston Common Introduced to Feminine Trousers.

Miss Hazel Sears, a star in the cast of the Paragon Revue at Paragon Park, Nantasket, was the first to reveal the new knickers for women, and she created some excitement when she tripped unconcerned along the walks of the Common. Did folks look? They did, and looked again.

“‘Ladies,’ Elend said to the women, ‘as Lady Vin herself will be quick to tell you, I’m rather ill-mannered. That, in itself, would be a very small sin. Unfortunately, I’m also quite unconcerned about my own disregard for propriety. So, therefore, I’m going to steal my wife away from you all and selfishly monopolize her time. I’d apologize, but that’s not the sort of thing we barbarians do.’”—Pages 290-291

I love Elend when he’s at these parties because he’s so sassy.

“At that moment—as the music began—Elend reached into his pocket and pulled out a book. He raised it with one hand, and the other one her waist, and began to read.”—Page 292

He’s also an adorable little shithead.

what if we…stopped wishing death on the poorest communities in “red states” who are facing natural disasters such as forest fires and flooding…what if we just… weren’t massive assholes completely unconcerned with rural poverty…

“Try not to die, Huntress,” she says as the Harvesters roar in over the dunes. 

Imperious, Eris thinks - if ever there were a woman born to be a Queen, this is she. No wonder she is the source of so many legends - one glimpse of her bright armor, gleaming in the ruddy light of Martian noon, and Eris believes them all.

Beside glorious Wei Ning, the wall of shield-sisters holds firm, unconcerned with the ineffective Harvester-fire, hardly blinking as the troops drop.

There are more than Eris expected. More than any of them expected - far more. None seem concerned. Behind the line of Titans, countless Ghosts work through the wreckage of the Collapse to recover…something. Something they feel is important - important enough to make a stand.

She pulls the rifle from her back. It has been her crutch for the last month, the tool she uses to navigate the endless sight-lines of the wide open sands, and the legion that has hosted her these past few months has not stopped needling her over it. 

A greenhorn’s weapon, they used to tell her. A coward’s weapon. The whispers faded when they heard her name, when they saw the overlapping tally marks etched the full length of the long, worn barrel - when they heard what she had done at the Gap. Now she recognizes the gentle ribbing for what it is; some sort of Titan bonding behavior. 

And they call the Hunters strange.

“Shields!” Wei Ning yells, as barrages from the distant Colossi rain down upon the Wards that blossom at her call. Dull explosions, visible through purple voidlight, shatter atop their heads, but their leader stares through it all, toward the lines of Phalanxes that march over blood-red dunes. 

“Hold, Sisters,” she says, arms clasped behind her back, “Until you can smell them.” 

Two Titans to a Ward. One carrying the Blessing, one the Fist. It is a mark of respect that Eris shares the Ward of Wei Ning and her shield-sister; the Ward of the commander of the Martian Shield-Lines - not just in name, but in the heart of every Titan on the planet. 

Either that, or it means Wei Ning thinks she cannot take care of herself.

Not a Queen, Eris thinks, an Empress.

Psions open fire from a distance, and Eris wonders again why they cannot understand that their bullets will never penetrate the Ward. Something very much like fear drives the legions here, some sick desperation that Eris can sense in every ambush, every assault. Not for the first time she wonders what forced the Cabal to Mars.

The Phalanxes grow larger, Ghosts still buzzing frantically through half-alive computing systems.

“Hold,” Wei Ning says again, this time a whisper that only Eris can hear, and she is certain the Titan is talking to herself. “Huntress, I’m afraid your long rifle may be useless when the fighting grows close. There’s still time to trade it out for a real weapon.”

Eris hears the laughter on her voice, as the huge woman pulls the sleek shotgun from the holster on her back, leans it back against her shoulder. The words on her right gauntlet glint purple-red; words that any Guardian stationed on Mars for more than a week can recite by heart.

“I’ll try to leave some for you,” Eris says, checking her magazine, and beside her Wei Ning’s shield-sister chuckles. 

She has seen Wei Ning’s Lines fight before, has watched them fall upon unsuspecting legions like the eagles from the old books, and she has learned enough about their kind that she knows it must kill their leader to stand and wait and defend, rather than take the fight to the Cabal. And yet that is what they do, and the muffled explosions beyond the Wards do not shake the grim calm of the Titans.

It is Wei Ning who leads the charge at last, as she always does, tearing from the Ward like a bolt of lightning, her fist shattering the skull of a legionnaire, two quick coughs from her shotgun felling the closest of the Phalanxes.

Eris has danced this dance before, and by the time the Titan whose Ward she shares has reached the battle line, Eris has neatly sidestepped from the bubble, lifted her rifle, and removed the head of a Centurion.

One, she thinks, and then the fight is on.

Wei Ning, to Eris’ dismay, is right. Landing shots grows more and more difficult as the lines blur, as Titans and Phalanxes crash together and the lone Huntress is buffeted by the changing tides of battle. Still, she is quick and sharp enough to find a line, here and there, and when she does she does not miss.

The Cabal do not stop. At first, they fall like the cannon fodder they are, but slowly - so slowly Eris is not certain that the Titans see it, close as they are - the sheer numbers begin to overwhelm the lines of gleaming plate. They are being pushed back; herded, almost. But wherever the Cabal begin to gain the upper hand, Wei Ning crashes through them, dragging her Shield-Sisters behind her, leaving corpses in her wake.

Eris knows that it will not be enough. 

She has abandoned her rifle, and now it is her cannon that does her bloody work. Before long her arms ache from its tireless kick, but still the Cabal come in an unending wave, their fear of death outweighed by their fear of whatever waits behind them. And die they do, in droves; they fall to Wei Ning’s fist, they fall to Eris’ cannon, they fall to callous lines of barking shotguns. 

Then a Titan falls. A Defender, caught off guard when her Ward finally shatters. And then another. The purple blisters on the dust begin to drop, and no new Wards blossom to take their place. The Lines shift, to shield the fallen, to allow for Ghost revival. And still the Ghosts ask for time. 

Across the dunes, Wei Ning, indomitable, drives her knee into the face of a Colossus, takes its head with her, but around her the Lines have begun to falter. Eris pulls her rifle from its sling again, yells into the screaming wind and sand, yells to call for a retreat; but this is not her Line, this is not her planet, and these are not Hunters.

It is not until Wei Ning, standing strong atop a dune, makes a motion with her hand that the Lines begin to fall back toward lonely Eris Morn, auto rifles keeping the ever-advancing wall of Cabal shields at bay as best they can, Eris’ own scope preying on those stupid enough to show their ugly faces.

The Ghosts are slow, so slow, but whatever they want from this dead place will have to be taken soon or be lost to the relentless march of the Cabal. Eris hopes that it is worth the ammunition, because their re-grouping has become a full-blown retreat, has become the desperate, crouching, backwards shuffle that Eris remembers from the Gap, and Traveler take her if she will watch another Guardian die.

The Light finds her knives, and the Trance consumes her. She runs through lines of retreating Titans, skips through rows of bulky armor now dulled by sand and munitions-fire, and she carves a hungry path through the advancing Cabal towards Wei Ning, towards the woman who will - who must - pull them from this disaster. 

She reaches the vanguard at last, crackling Light dripping from her armor, and with a final spinning lunge she breaks through to Wei Ning and her shield-sister, her commander’s shotgun still couched in tireless arms, hands still clenched into unbreakable fists.

“Wei Ning! We must leave!” she yells, but Wei Ning does not turn to acknowledge her. 

“Now!” she continues, “Before the Ghosts are taken!”

“Go!” Wei Ning screams, fury in her voice, and she thrusts her shield-sister towards the last defensible position in front of the Ghosts, to where they will make their final stand. And then she turns the full weight of her gaze upon Eris.

“Get behind me,” she growls, and Eris learns what it is like to fight back-to-back with her Empress of Fist and Thunder.

Together they hold the line, buying time for the scattered lines of Titans to retreat. Eris’ rifle may be slow but she is faster than any Titan, and with Wei Ning beside her there is nothing she cannot kill. They kill and kill and kill, with fist and knife and rifle, until Wei Ning grabs Eris and forces her to run, the massive Titan shielding her with nothing but her own bulk.

Eris sprints after the commander, breathing hard, diving in and out of the limited cover, and she is certain that the last sound she hears will be the hiss of Cabal artillery.

Wei Ning does not see the motion, far to their right, that pulls Eris to a stop. She skates ahead, and before long Eris is alone, sheltering behind the ruins of an ancient something. Eris has always seen more than most, and what she sees now makes her blood run cold. In the hollow of a dune, a Titan - her own Titan, the same Defender whose ward she shares - is pinned between two advancing lines of Phalanxes. As she watches, one of them raises a shield to block a shotgun’s shell, and with the same motion it smashes the Titan to the ground. 

Eris runs. She runs over the sand that does its best to trip her, runs through the hail of bullets and rocket-fire, runs toward the tiny purple shape in the distance, not noticing when her shields begin to chatter static.

She is not fast enough. The Phalanx lifts its shield again, slamming the edge into the chest-plate of the fallen Titan; once, twice, three times, and as Eris leaps from the edge of the dune she reaches forward through that endless distance and she pulls - and then she is there, and her long rifle does a shotgun’s work, hitting the Phalanx center-mass before her knife finds the beast’s throat, purple ichor blooming in the sky, and then she is in the dirt, leaning her full weight against the immovable mass of full Titan-plate, struggling even to shift it, as her shields fail and a bullet strikes her arm.

She screams, drops her rifle. Another hits her leg, and she falls to the ground. Around her, the ring of Phalanxes closes. She stares down the barrels of a dozen slug throwers, stares at them and snarls, but before she can lift her cannon something howls out of the sky and the ground shatters in blue arc-light, hurling Cabal soldiers away as though they are children’s toys. Then Wei Ning is beside her, auto rifle laughing at the Darkness, and before long there are no enemies left. With one hand she lifts her fallen squad-mate and hefts her over the shoulders of another Titan who skates away.

She pulls Eris to her feet as well, and her Ghost finally recalibrates and catches up with the damage she’s taken. The pain lingers, and Wei Ning lets Eris lean on a shoulder as they retreat.

“Ghosts have what they came for!” she yells, and Eris nods, trying to catch her breath. 

“What do they want here?” She yells back, as distant Harvesters disgorge yet more troops onto sand burned to glass. She reaches for her long rifle out of habit.

“I don’t know, and I don’t care. They can have the place, and may they choke on the dust. Let’s go.”

“Wait. My gun.”

“My shield-sisters have already retreated. We’re not staying. You can get a new one.”

“I’m not leaving my gun!” Eris says, pulling away from Wei Ning.

“Hunters,” the Titan mutters, but she accompanies Eris back to the crater she made herself, and stands guard as Eris retrieves her worn rifle.

The Titans are waiting for them when they return at last, over dunes and away from the ruins the Cabal seem to want so badly, inside a claustrophobic bunker open to the Martian air. Wei Ning passes her helm to a Titan, then kneels in front of her battered comrade. Eris slumps to the ground, pulls her own helmet from her head, and leans against the comfortable weight of her rifle.

“Good eyes, Huntress,” Wei Ning says, not looking as she lightly slaps the Titan’s cheeks. “I should have noticed.”

“How is she?”

“She’ll live. Thanks to you. I suppose that’s what they call - ” her mouth curls into a grin - “‘Fine shootin’.”

Eris smiles a tired half-smile. Her whole body aches. She does not understand how this human wrecking ball appears none the worse for wear, but Wei Ning stands and offers her a hand. Eris takes it, and lets the woman pull her to her feet for the second time.

“You’re no Titan,” says Wei Ning, “But I name you shield-sister nonetheless. You can fight at my back any day, Eris Morn.”

Aside from a handful of appreciative grunts, no one seems to notice. The Titans are already intent on their next objective, but it is enough for Eris that a few nod in her direction. She cannot help the grin that spreads across her face then, as she returns her long rifle to its holster and trails her Empress back out into the alien light.

Once, she had thought that Twilight Gap would break them. Perhaps not. Perhaps it has made them stronger.

Perhaps this is what Pack feels like.