we used to have this book in my house growing up, and..well.. Kuroo would try to show his appreciation for Daichi’s dad music but unfortunately his super smooth plan was thwarted by the misheard lyrics.
Hi~ I want to recommend some ao3 stories that I really like: crossing distances by Anonymous (vmin), your love was handmade for somebody like me by tangowithsuga (vmin), photograph by rosiex (yoonjin), scrambled eggs by august_d (jinkook), when it's cold outside by shrdmdnssftw (yoonjin), prom nights and first times by xiujaemin (namgi), travel plans by siderum (sugakookie), and you say you want passion (i think you found it) by jemkay (namgi). Hope you guys like it too~
First of all, thank you for the amazing stories you’re recommending, I’ll make sure to check out the ones I haven’t read!
“hyung, i looked up more stuff on hong kong,” jeongguk says when they’re both in the bathroom together, like he’s reaching out for yoongi’s approval. yoongi’s brushing his teeth. “it looks like a nice place. is new york not your favorite city anymore?”
🗣️ I haven’t read this one, but it’s short so it’ll be a quick read! 🗣️
yoongi has a plan for his birthday and that’s to go out, get drunk, maybe have a questionable hookup, and definitely not think about the lowkey crush he may or may not have on his English tutor. that plan falls apart when kim namjoon walks through the door and jimin’s face lights up like christmas came early.
🗣️ Ahh, I really love this one too! The storyline is so good and the smut is so good and i mean the ship? so good! 🗣️
The "Nahiri was under Emrakul's influence too" theory kind of falls apart when you realize Nahiri's plan took a full year on Innistrad at least while Emrakul was still on Zendikar.
Do Emrakul’s mental effect require her physical presence on a plane? She was corrupting minds even though she couldn’t enter Innistrad, and she’s technically not really ‘on’ any plane, but in the blind eternities, where distance doesn’t really matter.
Was Emrakul on Zendikar that whole time? She hadn’t been spotted in a long time, and she certainly wasn’t there when the Gatewatch arrived. The art book even says she recovered fastest and left.
I’m not particularly serious about this theory, it was just an off-the-wall suggestion, but we don’t really know the answers to these questions. I think it’s a reasonable framework, but I also like the idea of a white-red villain who has an idea of justice that is pretty monstrous.
Many people, particularly those of /r/scienceofdeduction, enjoy deductive exercises in which one is presented with a picture and from it, attempts to extract as much meaningful information as possible about the owner/taker/subject of the image. Much to the surprise of the original poster of the image, people can be quite good at this game. Personally, I love that people have taken the time out of their day to practice such things.
Unfortunately, community learning tends to suffer from a lack of rigor. One of the problems I have seen with games like this (problems which I attempt to avoid as much as humanly possible when engaging in this activity) is that people tend to conflate the ideas of “doing deductions” with something called “cold reading” in a(n) (sometimes subconscious) attempt to make their results sound more impressive.
Cold reading is a technique used both to gather information about a subject, and to artificially increase the validity or importance of the information already collected. It is used by magicians and performers who wish to appear more knowledgeable or perceptive than they actually are. While it can be quite entertaining, it strays from the art of detection in subtle ways that I will attempt to elaborate upon.
It’s Easy to Backpedal
First of all, those who perform cold reading will often wrap their assertions in uncertainty by using words such as “perhaps” or “maybe” or “possibly.”
It’s fine to be unsure, but be sure the parties involved are aware of your uncertainty in order to avoid stepping over the line into being overtly mysterious. A good rule of thumb I use is that if someone were to announce that they had proof that your deduction was incorrect, it would have to be iron-clad evidence to even introduce a shred of doubt into your mind.
Always lean towards saying too little, keeping the rest for further meditation than saying too much, forcing other people to cherry-pick the facts from the guesses.
Cold readers rely HEAVILY on what I’ll call “fortune-cookie statements.” You’ve seen them. They are those phrases you see so often in horoscopes that say things like, “You’ve recently suffered a loss of some kind,” or “you tend to get stressed when your plans fall apart.”
These phrases might have some truth to them, but be wary - it is only the truth that you yourself ascribe to them. That’s the point. A cold-reader doesn’t know the truth, so they say things that allow the audience/mark to fill in the blanks in their own mind. They can be dangerous as they tend to create the idea that the cold-reader has an incredibly complete picture of the subject and is thus qualified to make personally relevant statements, knowing that the subject will know what it means. It is not the case.
Fortunately, there is an easy 2-part vagueness test one can apply to statements such as these. It goes as follows:
Is this statement true for lots of people? Not what you think the statement refers to, but the literal statement itself. Most people experience “loss of some kind” many times a week.
Are the supporting reasons for the statement clear? While intuition is a powerful source of detecting power, a good detective should at least be able to articulate a reason for a particular assumption. (Ex: “The table seemed weird, perhaps because of the empty space in the middle here. It feels like there should be something there due to the arrangement of the other items.”)
If the statement is true for many people, discount it. If the statement is unfounded, discount it.
It’s Not Truth-Seeking
Cold-reading is certainly a skill that takes a lot of practice to cultivate. It can be a wonderful means of extracting information when necessary, and tends to create a dramatic flair which so many of us are quite fond of.
Sadly, because it lacks the rigor of detection, it cannot be relied upon as a means of advancing one’s knowledge, only a means of suggesting new places to look for it.
Any method of collecting information that depends for its effectiveness on the receptive nature of its subject cannot accurately be called detection. Perhaps it falls into the purview of interrogation. In any case, cold-reading is less about getting the truth and more about the appearance of doing so.
Beware fellow detectives of inadvertently saying more than you know. You may appear clever, but it’s much harder to improve as a result. Cold-reading allows for a sort of safety-net when making wilder assumptions. We don’t need it.
This is not meant to be a lecture - I am guilty of relying on a safety-net from time to time as well. It is meant to be a reminder that the truly great detectives don’t require one, and that practicing with one is good until it ceases to be helpful.
Ravenclaws are collectors. Dedicated to knowledge, to facts, systems, tools, or skills, the things they have already learned are what they call on when things get tough. They can collect useful skills, build complex clever systems, invent vitally useful things, or just learn everything there is to know about the birds of South America.
Ravenclaws’ efficacy often relies on what situation they are in: what the problem is they have to solve and whether or not they’ve prepared the proper tools for that problem. While Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors can apply their skills at stockpiling trust or inspiring passion to attack various situations, Ravenclaws’ tools are necessarily task specific. Do they know how to ride horses? Speak Greek? Do they have contingency plans for earthquakes, zombie apocalypses, or a surprise visit from the in-laws?
If they’ve already built themselves a tool set for a situation, they’re likely to excel at it. If they have not, they’re likely to blink a few times while they try to either invent something new for themselves or to cobble up something approximate from their existing resources.
Hey, do you have any advice on getting off medication?
It depends on what kind of medication you’re taking. In general, it’s best to discuss with your doctor and come up with a plan to wean you off gradually. It’s particularly important to do this with non-stimulant medications like Strattera, because it needs to be kept at a constant level in your system in order to work, and discontinuation syndrome (brain zaps, dizziness, other “fun” stuff) sucks worse if you quit cold turkey than if you lower your dose slowly. (I did it right and still had discontinuation syndrome.)
If you mean managing once you’re off the meds, you need to make a plan to develop the skills and methods you’re going to need to manage once you’re done. That means setting up and getting used to routines, having contingency plans for when things fall apart, and so on and so forth.
can i ask what you mean about renly's littlefinger-esque manipulativeness? i always thought renly seemed, like, averagely manipulative by kl standards. although maybe he would have grown up sneaky
Hi anon! Excellent question. I think the sizable Renly fandom has completely misread his character, especially as he compares to Stannis (a juxtaposition GRRM makes explicit, over and over again). D&D would seem to be among that fandom, given how straight they play that scene between Brienne and Pod in which Renly is eulogized as a “good man.” I literally had to pause, stand up, and walk around for a while to clear my head after that.
Renly Baratheon was not a good man. He was callous, arrogant, dangerously superficial, and staggeringly selfish; had he taken the Iron Throne, he would’ve made a terrible king.
Compare how Renly and Stannis react to discovering (separately, before A Game of Thrones starts) that Cersei’s children were fathered by Jaime. Both realize that going to Robert without ironclad proof would produce disastrous results; neither wants to make an enemy of Tywin without the authority of the Iron Throne behind them.
What does Stannis do? He tells Jon Arryn, knowing that Robert will believe the man who started a rebellion rather than sacrifice him to Aerys’ madness, but also knowing that a thoroughly decent good-government type like the Hand will be able to rebuild the Robert’s Rebellion coalition around toppling the Lannisters, and keep the basic functionality and legitimacy of royal authority humming in the meantime.
What does Renly do? He tells Mace Tyrell, an amoral power-hungry schemer (and another widely misunderstood character; he’s much cannier than he appears, and indeed uses his buffoonish reputation to his advantage), and the two of them plot to swap out corrosive Casterly Rock corruption for corrosive Highgarden corruption. When the initial plan (replace Cersei with Margaery) falls apart upon Robert’s death, Renly neatly steps into the figurehead role, and promptly declares the end of hereditary succession and the dawning of the era of pure rule by force.
Oh, but before that, he sees an opportunity to divert Tywin’s wrath away from him and toward the Starks, encouraging Ned to cement his authority as Lord Protector by seizing Cersei and her children and holding them hostage to ensure Tywin’s compliance. We can argue whether this is a good idea (I don’t think it is), but the point is that Renly is using Ned as a shield against the Lannisters while he prepares his own coup. Littlefinger, as it happens, tries to manipulate Ned into the exact same scenario, with the stated goal of exposing Joffrey’s heritage once Stannis has been eliminated…and seating Renly on the Iron Throne. While I don’t necessarily believe Renly and Littlefinger ever joined forces (although the fact that Littlefinger so easily draws the Tyrells into both the Lannister camp and the plot to kill Joffrey following Renly’s death is certainly suggestive), it’s morally telling that they improvise near-identically in the wake of Robert’s showdown with the boar.
Or examine their contributions to the Small Council debate over whether or not to assassinate Daenerys. Pycelle, for all his venality and corruption, frames the question in utilitarian terms, arguing that it’s better to kill Dany now than let thousands die later in Rhaego’s invasion. I can disagree vehemently with that argument (and despise the man making it) while respecting it as a serious and considered position. But Renly and Littlefinger are so fucking casual about ordering the murder of a pregnant barely-teenager who has never done them harm; Renly breezily comments it should’ve been done years ago, and Littlefinger takes the opportunity to make yet another crude sexual comment. Why would anyone trust either of these preening adolescent assholes with power?
GRRM links the two most explicitly, however, in their contempt for Shireen, ASOIAF’s purest cinnamon roll. Here’s Littlefinger:
“A trade envoy from Lys once observed to me that Lord Stannis must love his daughter very well, since he’d erected hundreds of statues of her all along the walls of Dragonstone. ‘My lord,’ I had to tell him, ‘those are gargoyles.’” He chuckled.
And here’s Renly:
“If truth be told, I ofttimes wonder how Stannis ever got that ugly daughter of his.”
She’s your niece, Renly. Fuck you.
The exact phrase I used to describe both Renly and Littlefinger was “manipulative cruelty,” with emphasis on the latter. Renly does not give a damn about his brothers, even though Robert gave him Storm’s End when he didn’t have to, even though young Stannis would rather have starved to death than let Mace turn his kid brother over to the Mad King. Renly does not give a damn about the long-term devastation his “might makes right” model of governance would unleash; as racefortheironthrone points out, if Renly’s sons and grandsons can’t muster the same near-monopoly on force, then Renly has condemned Westeros to a Hobbesian nightmare of all against all. Renly does not give a damn about anything other than the pomp, circumstance, and ego-stroking that comes with the crown.
And neither does Littlefinger, really; he’s much shallower and more impulse-driven than his devious-chessmaster reputation would suggest. He can’t keep himself from boasting about his (half-true) sexual history with the Tully girls, nearly destroys himself by unnecessarily framing Tyrion for the second assassination attempt on Bran, only survives the Lords Declarant with a remarkably clumsy and obvious mummer’s farce involving Lyn Corbray, and doesn’t seem to realize that he’s teaching Sansa exactly how to bring him down. Basically, GRRM has to work overtime to save Littlefinger from himself. To paraphrase Tywin: anyone who has to keep declaring themselves the smartest man in the room isn’t actually the smartest man in the room. Similarly, Renly maintains the impeccable appearance of the perfect king, but with none of the substance.
i'm writing a story set in a victorian-esque fantasy world, and i was wondering what sort of unique weapon i could give my protagonist? (she's a snarky, agile con artist who later develops a dark form of pyromancy, if the detail helps.) it gets boring reading about the same old pistols or swords.
Well, she’s got her razor wit, right? If your character is a confidence artist, that is her weapon. The way she defends herself is by lying. Bringing a weapon in is going to actively make her job harder while simultaneously functioning as a security blanket for the audience. So, the real answer is to start playing without a net.
This is one of those truths for spies and con artists. If the job doesn’t require a weapon, and your cover doesn’t allow for one, you don’t bring one. If your character is bringing a sword or revolver into a meeting while pretending to be a betrayed heiress, or officer’s widow, it’s going to raise some serious questions.
If she’s pretending to be a returning war hero, a police investigator, or some kind of bounty hunter, then that’s different, and the weapons are part of her cover. At that point she needs to know enough about the weapons to look like they’re a natural part of her day to day life. But, the weapons she carries will be defined by what her cover identity would need, not what she wants to carry.
Also, for a con artist, roles like that are better suited to corroborating another character’s con, not running their own. She’s there to put pressure on the mark suggesting that the real con artist really is being framed for murder/the relative of an unjustly disgraced soldier, or something similar.
What your character really needs is the ability to talk their way out of trouble, especially when their plan starts to fall apart. It takes a lot more guts to walk unarmed into a place where the residents will kill you if they realize you’re deceiving them. And, that’s the kind of brinksmanship a good con artist narrative thrives on.
If things start to go sideways, her recourse needs to be lying, not shooting her way out. That is her area of expertise, after all. She needs a convincing explanation for everything, especially after her lies start to come to light. Things that rationalize them, make them look like they are really are the truth. To paraphrase Burn Notice, the solution to a blown cover is to play it harder, go deeper and own the illusion, because it’s the only way to make it real enough to save her life. In that moment she needs to believe her lies, without forgetting the truth.
Writing a character that lies isn’t about someone who fast talks their way out of problems. It’s about writing a character who can keep their eye on the objective reality, and twist it just enough to leave other characters a little off balance, second guessing what they know, and lashing out at the wrong people. Your characters can tell big lies, but when they do, they need to do the work to support it.
Someone who is a pathological liar will make a terrible con artist or spy. The ability to keep one eye firmly fixed on objective reality, is a vital compass for them to gauge what they can get away with. They need to keep their lies within a narrow range of reality or the characters around them will start to pick up on something being off. For someone who lies pathologically, that’s just not possible. Their lies are a defensive mechanism, that has more to do with keeping them “safe,” and people do pick up on that over time, no matter how badly they want to believe.
The problem with pathological liars ultimately boils down to a truth about con artists . What your con artist does and says isn’t about them. The role they choose to play is defined by who the mark is, not your character’s preferences. The lies they tell need to be tailored to the victim, not what your character wants. The con artist needs to understand the social rules for the society they’re infiltrating, which for a Victorian setting is a fairly impressive skill set in its own right.
Someone who lies about who they are is, paradoxically, easier to write than to actually do. This is because you’re already engaging in this behavior, as the writer. You’re putting yourself into their life. You just need to write two characters instead of one; your con artist, and the person they’re pretending to be. Again, it is just one more character in your story. If your con artist isn’t a PoV character, this becomes even easier, because you need to keep a rough idea of what their real goals are in the back of your mind, but they should just play their cover on a scene to scene basis.
So, some good con artists in fiction to look at.
The Talented Mr. Ripley. I’ve only ever seen the film, though I’ve heard very good things about the original novel by Patricia Highsmith. Either way, the story focuses on a sociopath that manipulates the people around him to get what he wants, its half serial killer in training half con man.
Burn Notice, is technically about spies. But the ultimately this is almost a how-to on manipulating people without resorting to unnecessary violence. It offers some good explanations on how to provoke people into doing what you want, and keeping them on the hook, even when things start coming apart.
Payback: The Director’s Cut. This is one of those rare cases where the difference between the theatrical and director’s cut is flat out a different film, not just one with some extra bits tacked on, that probably should have been left on the cutting room floor. The lead character is, primarily, a con artist. I wouldn’t list it, but it does a pretty decent job of presenting someone juggling a lot of other characters simultaneously.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre is another spy piece. But, the focus is on identifying and outing a mole. I’m recommending it, because you should pay close attention the the lies the mole used to keep himself from being exposed.
Finally, read up on the social structures of the Victorian era. This is one of those things that sounds intuitive, but it’s really not, and we’ve both seen a lot of writers try to mimic it without research to terrible effect.
I’d suggest starting with the original Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. None of the adaptations will give you what you need, trash them right now, don’t even think about them. Pay attention to what Holmes is looking at, and the social systems he’s examining and prodding, not what you think is normal, or his behavior, because the character is extremely eccentric for the world he’s navigating.
If this is aiming to be a professional piece, it might be worth digging up The Norton Anthology of British Literature. Specifically the second collection. This is far more useful for the footnotes and commentaries that explain the state of the world during the Victorian era, and events in it, than just sampling some lit from the period. Remember, the time frame you’re looking at was dominated by massive upheaval. The selection of lit from the period is a massive jumble of discussions on different issues. From Austen to Gaskell to Dickens and beyond, these stories revolve around a radically changing world.
You have the Industrial Revolution, Slavery, Child Labor, Women’s Rights, Colonialism (This was the height of the British Empire, including India, Australia, China, portions of Africa, and beyond), Mass Migration, the development of a true Middle Class, Education, extreme poverty, Worker’s Rights, Unions, Poor Houses, Work Houses, Displacement, and the list goes on. It was not a pastoral, “things are as they’ve always been,” fantasy, even though there were people trying to shove their fingers in their ears and pretend the outside world wasn’t happening.
It’s a fascinating period in history, but also a difficult one to get right. Police, Criminals, the Penitentiary system, it all looked very different during the Victorian period. Even if this is “fantasy”, you need to understand the systems at work and what your character will be facing if she gets caught.
Incidentally you might also want to research the etymology of “con artist,” I have the suspicion that the abbreviated form is early 20th century slang, and inappropriate for a faux Victorian setting.
Similarly, unless there’s a Queen Victoria somewhere in your setting, establishing the tone for that era, the term “Victorian” is going to be alien to your characters.
SOME WEDDING PROMPTS FOR UR OTP BC ITS ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WHILE AT A WEDDING YESTERDAY im in ruins
“this wedding is so boring, no one is dancing, everyone looks miserable and its unacceptable so im gonna try and bust a move on the dance floor and encourage people to come out here with me to get this party started and while im trying to drag people out you see me struggling and trying so you come join me with ur horrible dance moves (i love them) and u dance with me and help me get people to get on the dance floor which ends in success bc people are pouring in and we end up dancing with eachother the rest of the night and u are super fucking hot can i have ur number so we can do this again and maybe make out later” au
“im at my ex’s wedding and im miserable idk why i came but i did and it was a bad idea so im dwelling at the bar in my sorrows planning on getting very drunk and u are the really goodlooking bartender that i end up talking too and you are really nice and it turns out the wedding wasn’t that bad afterall considering once it was over you were driving me home with your kiss burning on my cheek and the following year im the one sending out the invitation to the ex that im getting married to his wedding bartender so hA im also v happy so thanks asshole ex” au
“you are the host of the wedding entertainment and when the dancing/DJ segment comes in yOU KEEP DRAGGING ME OUT ON THE DANCE FLOOR and everytime you saw me sitting back down yOU AGAIN DRAGGED ME OUT why are you doing this to me i want to sit my feet hurt and i feel awkward dancing while you are an amazing dancer leaVE ME TO WATCH EVERYONE DANCE AND DWELL IN LONELINESS And oh why are you bringing me out to slow dance??? oh nO- ok fine yes your hands feel nice in mine and i like being in your arms so this is ok” au
“You are in the band at the wedding and you drag me out to sing with you even though this isn’t really a duet but i guess u don’t care (of course u had to pick me why am i not surprised, sad i had to put down my martini im not drunk enough for this) and wE JUST HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL’D THIS SHIT WE SOUND FANTASTIC TOGETHER AND EVERYONE LOVES US I LOVE YOU- i mean i love singing too yeah singing. also ur rlly hot.” au
“im the wedding planner of this wedding and im super stressed bc everything isn’t going the way its supposed too and the bride is my best friend and her to be husbands best man/woman is annoying the fuck out of me acting like everythings fine and noTHING IS FALLING APART WHEN IT IS. MONTHS OF PLANNING ALL GOING DOWN THE DRAIN AND HE’S MOCKING ME AND DRINKING FUCKING BEER WHILE I HAVE A BREAK DOWN AND- wait did he really just manage to fix half these problems and make this wedding out to be one of the best i’ve ever been too??? and is he actually doing everything he can to make sure im having fun and not worrying about things??? iS HE ACTUALLY GRABBING MY FACE AND KISSING ME AT THE END OF THE NIGHT???? wow like i said; best wedding i’ve been too” au
a lot of the fandom is just worried because Vriska is known for manipulating people. so we dont know the extent of her manipulation on the trolls and kids that made them change their character eventually. that's why in the recent upd8s they feel so ooc.
Extroverted Thinking (Te): Sharpay knows how to get what she wants. She is confident, bold, and assertive to the point of being aggressive. Her songs are great demonstrations of this (“Bop to the Top” and “I Want it All”, specifically). She constantly bosses people around and becomes vicious when her plans fall apart (as seen in HSM 2 when she sees Gabriella at Lava Springs).
Introverted Intuition (Ni): She has clear vision of what she wants, whether it’s to be the star of the musical or to win Troy over. She has a knack for knowing which strings need to be pulled in order to get what she wants, as well, for example, telling Troy about Gabriella’s Honors Program letter and telling Ms. Darbus what a good idea it would be to reschedule the callbacks to a time that will make it difficult for any competition to be there.
Extroverted Sensing (Se): This is best demonstrated in her flashy sense of style and love of performing. The way she moves on stage, the way she sings and dances, and her ability to live in the moment while performing are examples of how she uses Se.
Introverted Feeling (Fi): Sharpay sees herself as a unique individual, and prides herself on it. Her actions are based on what she wants for herself with little regard with who else will be affected.
Hello, it's me. Your local hamburr trash who maY or may not be Abigail ahem anyway. Here 2 provide u with an Idea: aaron is too insecure to admit he has feeilngs for alexander and he wants to keep things Professional but the sexual tension gets really high after they're stuck working on some really high stakes cases together and hamilton is getting on burr's fucking lasT nerve so he starts writing him anonymous and absolutely filthy letters from a "secret admirer" with instructions of
(part 2) how he should pleasure himself, and Alex at first wonders if it’s a joke but the letters get more and more… personal, they know the things Alex likes, they push all the right buttons. Every evening a new one is slipped under his door. The commands get filthier, Burr can’t help but suggest he do things like leave himself desperate without coming for days, and then watches with satisfaction as he nearly falls apart under pressure in court
(part 3) all the while playing innocent as though he isn’t the one sending the letters in the first place, asking Alexander if he’s quite alright, if he has heatstroke. He starts leaving hints, a slip into his normal handwriting, a familiar phrase, not enough to provide proof but enough that Alexander starts /looking at him/ in a different sort of way, watching him too closely, biting his lip, imagining those filthy words in the letters in Burr’s smooth measured vioce
(part 4) the things in the letters turn more personal, Burr is losing his resserve, waxing poetic on the things he wants Alexander to do to him, and he’s giving himself away, now Alexander /knows/ who’s writing the letters, hell the man lives next door, how sneaky can he be, and one day he confronts him about it while they’re supposed to be discussing case notes, his plan is to fuck Aaron senseless over the desk in his study but it doesn’t exactly go as planned when
part 5 ? 6?) that plan falls apart when Burr starts to murmur those familiar commands in between kisses, the instructions from the letters, those filthy phrases tailored just to Alexander’s desires (“get on your knees for me love, that’s it keep your eyes open I want to see you take my cock”) and Alexander is helpless to obey, to do everything Burr asks of him and more. Needless to say the two of them show up to the most important segment of the trial late and both look absolutely wrecked. ——
Gryffindor girl and Slytherin boy who are partners in crime? :)
I imagine the Slytherin with his tools trying to sneakily pick a lock and scout out the place… and then the Gryffindor just kicks down the door and runs in screaming.
- Justin (Slytherin)
The Slytherin is going to be the one with the real plan, but Gryffindors are better at improvisation when shit hits the fan. They can go in with a plan, but be fully ready if/when that plan falls apart.
title: ask me no questions (i’ll tell you no lies)
pairing: oliver queen/felicity smoak
There’s no reason for him to deviate from the plan.
The plan was good. The plan was solid.
Walter had already recommended an IT technician in the form of one Felicity Smoak - whose services, apparently, had come with the highest of accolades.
Diggle had already been ditched - firmly directed to wait for him in the lobby while he attended to some important business.
The laptop - well, the bullet holes couldn’t be helped, but hopefully Miss Smoak would accept his name and lies for what they were, because in the end, he was technically her superior and who was she to question him?
In hindsight, he shouldn’t have been surprised when the plan falls apart. (He could just hear Slade - Slade, his brother, not Slade, the madman laughing in his ear).
“Felicity Smoak,” he called, strolling over to her desk. He knew it was her; he had already tracked down her photo ID in the company roster that morning. There was no question in his tone - like he had planned - her name came out all smooth, confident assurance that he knew exactly who he was addressing and why.
She spun round in her chair, pen propped between her lips, eyes wide behind rectangular frames. Her photo ID had not quite prepared him for the vibrant fuchsia of her lips, puckered and pretty against her pen.
Still, he has a plan.
Swallowing, he tried again. "Hi,“ he smiled, "I’m Oliver Queen.”
It was the only part of the plan he could call a success.
By the time she had finished babbling, he’d came to two conclusions - one, he was happy to listen to her babble, because in the weeks since he’s been home, no one’s done anything but avoid talking to him (what can we tell Oliver? What’s a safe subject for him? What truth can he handle today?) and two, the vibrancy of her lips didn’t hold a candle to the way she lit up as she talked, drawing all the energy in the room to her.
It’s almost, almost the type of zing one could call a soulmate call, but those were rare; rarer still, the chances of anyone being unlucky enough to pair themselves with him.
“I’m having some trouble with - a - computer, and Walter said you were the person to come and see,” he stuttered, trying - and failing - to regain control of the conversation. He’d planned on saying my, but the other words had skipped out instead, sliding right past his lips. Gritting his teeth, he continued. "I was - tracking down Deadshot, but he shot it before I could get to it.“
Those very attractive lips puckered into an ‘oh.’
Fuck. Oliver clamped his mouth shut, before he could go - and he didn’t know, do something even more stupid and maybe tell her he was the Arrow while he was at it.
What had just come over him?
He moved to snatch the laptop back, but she lunged to her feet at the same time, clamping her hands over his wrist.
"Excuse me?” she squeaked, “What did you - who’s - Deadshot? Shot?” Her eyes widened even more - they were, he noticed, a very pretty, clear shade of blue, and now really wasn’t the time - scanning the laptop, one hand moving down to trace its surface. "These look like bullet holes?“
"That’s because they are,” he answered, the words, again, slipping past his mouth before he could censor himself, his eyes widening in surprise.
This was very much not part of the plan.
A memory tickled at the back of his mind, a ramble from Anatoly over vodka one long winter night, a lifetime ago. “Soulmates,” he’d told Oliver, “I was part of a pair, once, and here is what they do not tell you. They come with - insurance. Keeps you from screwing up. I had a way of getting hurt; my pair had a way of feeling it. It was a good incentive to stop.”
He’d always had a bit of a lying problem. (And a cheating problem too, Laurel’s voice reminded him).
He flinched away from her, leaving the laptop - and his only link to Floyd Lawton - in her hands. He had to regain control of the situation. He could parse whatever this was later, but this - this was very much not part of the plan. Clenching his jaw, he braced himself.
No lies. He could do that.
“This laptop has important information I need,” he intoned, hoping his tone impressed the seriousness of the situation, “If there’s anything you could salvage, I would really appreciate it.”
Felicity pursed her lips, tilting her head to the side. He almost thought she was going to ask another question, which, if she did, he didn’t think he’d be able to avoid answering. He couldn’t help thinking she looked undeniably cute though, before he promptly shoved the thought aside.
Not the plan.
Instead, she drew the laptop to her chest, her lips quirking upwards, even as the incredulity never left. Almost as if she couldn’t understand why she was trusting him. "I’ll see what I can do,“ she answered, turning back to her desk.
He spun on his heel, walking away before he could say anything else. He couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lips though.
Maybe. Maybe he needed to give up that particular plan.
Near the ending of Catching Fire, Beetee is supposed to bring down the force field, but gets himself electrocuted before finishing; Finnick is supposed to guard Katniss and the others, but winds up running around the arena guarding no one; and Johanna is also supposed to protect Katniss, in fact is the one primarily responsible for Katniss at that moment, and actually manages to succeed even when their plan falls apart.
It just seems so unfair that after that Beetee and Finnick get rescued and Johanna is captured. It’s not that I wanted harm to befall Beetee or Finnick, and I am aware that they mostly did their jobs in the arena, but Johanna did everything she was asked to do. And she was left behind. That’s rough.
Melissa Hastings: Black Widow and Leader of the B Team
This theory centers around the premise that Melissa was being truthful when she told Spencer that she has been protecting her since before it started and that she has always tried to look out for her. I believe that she truly has been out to protect her sister from the beginning and that this is why she was so hurt in earlier seasons by Spencer’s betrayals against her (kissing Wren, stealing her essay, etc.)
The creation of the B team:
The B Team informally started when Melissa thought that Spencer killed Ali that night. As we know, she buried Bethany because she thought that Spencer did it and wanted to protect her.
How does the NAT club fit into this? I think that Melissa then used NAT footage to blackmail the other members of the club into staying quiet about what happened. She also blackmailed them to help her.
Garrett went along with her blackmail by allowing Jenna to think that he had killed Ali and by planting the note on Jason saying “I know what you did” so he’d think that he did it and not suspect anything else.
Ian was angry about this which is why they broke up (haven’t you ever wondered why they broke up? According to Ali’s flashback, Ian and Melissa made up earlier that day, but suddenly they weren’t together after her death). He agreed to be silent because of her blackmail but wouldn’t help any further.
After the pilot:
We saw Ian and Melissa get back together. They had whispered conversations at night, which Spencer noticed. She thought it was about him being guilty, but really it was about protecting her. Melissa thought that he wanted to protect Spencer, but really he just wanted to keep Melissa from being caught because he loved her. He blamed Spencer for putting this stress on Melissa and on his relationship with her, so he tried to kill Spencer so people would know that Spencer was guilty (he thought that she was, so did Melissa!)
Melissa knew that because everyone saw that she hated Ali, she could infiltrate almost any bad group of people without causing suspicion. So she joined up with Wilden when he was working for Charles. She pretended to be helping him, at which point she recruited Jenna and Shana to help her. All she had to do was show Jenna the NAT footage of her molesting Toby and then Jenna was in, Shana following like a puppy.
On the Halloween train, Wilden’s task from Charles was to kill Garrett, so Melissa went along with it even though he was her friend and ally. Before being killed, Garrett told Spencer that he had wanted to protect her.
The night of the lodge fire, Melissa sent Jenna and Shana to the lodge to see if Ali came to meet the girls. But when she found out that Wilden was planning on setting fire to the place, she put on an Ali mask which she got from the mask shop where her own masks were made and she went to the lodge. She pulled the liars out of the fire, saving everyone but Hanna and Mona, because she saw Ali coming in the red coat and let her do it herself. Her mask got burned in the fire (we saw Black Widow with a burnt Ali mask) and Jenna’s arm got burned (we saw that too).
Furious with Wilden for setting the fire and almost killing her sister, Melissa killed Wilden. When Spencer asked if it was true, she didn’t even bother denying it! Even though she stood by her choice to kill him, she felt guilty about it, so she attended his funeral, keeping the black veil on to protect her identity and avoid suspicion.
Next she infiltrated Mona’s Army, as we saw. She proved her loyalty by putting the rat in Paige’s locker (we saw her with a rat in a bag outside of the barn).
Then she infiltrated the A team as A’s new Wilden following Wilden’s death. She gained access to A’s RV (we saw Black Widow in the RV wearing the burnt Ali mask). She occasionally helped Charles with things, which is why we had that one A ending scene with Charles, moving boxes, and Black Widow.
What about Wren?
We know obviously that Melissa and Wren are currently together somehow. Is he good or bad? Is she using him or what? It’s likely that she recruited him for her team as well. He was on the inside at Radley and could help her quite a lot. To avoid being caught for killing Wilden, she framed Hanna’s mom. This plan threatened to fall apart when Mona showed up and confessed to killing Wilden. This confusion could lead to the cops figuring out the truth. So she had Wren get involved. He spoke to someone on the phone the last time we saw him on the show, telling them to take care of their part and he’d take care of his part. And then he went to tell Veronica something that led her to visit Mona and threaten her. This was then reported and Veronica was thrown off of the case, ruining everything for Hanna’s mom. This protected Melissa.
So basically this is my theory explaining why Melissa became Black Widow and how Black Widow, unlike Charles and Red Coat, is good and is secretly protecting Spencer.