where i rather be

feministevan  asked:

Season 3: going off the Steve’s bf ask about ben, him and Steve taking the kids all out for ice cream and the boys and max are all being loud because “eleven hasn’t had hot fudge on ice cream before” and Steve and bens character just smile apologetically at the employee as they herd their gaggle of kids towards the register. They grin when el orders perfectly by herself and Steve just grabs his boyfriends hand and whispers ‘There’s no where else I’d rather be’ ‘me too.’

this brought a literal tear to my eye. this…this is the definition of perfection. @netflix make this happen

  • Evan Hansen: Two friends, on a perfect 'day'
  • Me, and my tree bros heart: I KNOW YOU WANT TO SAY 'PERFECT DATE' EVAN

yamitamiko  asked:

jolly ranchers or disassociation bears

So when i was like… Six? Seven?  My family and my Dad’s parents took a trip back to Iowa to see the family there and record a video of all the places Grandpa grew up.  Which resulted, at one point, in all of us hiking out to a cement slab int he middle of a cornfield and Grandpa saying “This is where the schoolhouse USED to be.”

The whole thing is pretty hazy becuase I was having heatstroke/carsickness most of the time but I remember the following:  

  • Grandma in the backseat with me and my sister, working on the HUGE catherdal window quilt she hand-stitched to pass the time.  It ended up being about 9ft by 12 ft when she was done, and we still have it at my parent’s house.
  • an ungodly amount of corn
  • which I realize everyone says about iowa, but the corn is one of the few thingsi recall with VIVID detail- the musty but very ALIVE smell of it photosynthesizing, the rouch texture of the leave and how my bare arms and legs got scratched up from hell to breakfast when i went wandering it.  The violently geometric rows that would snap back to noneuclidian madness- I could never get to where I intended if i tried to cut across fields- Always on the wrong side or too far past where I wanted to come out.  or on the wrong property, on one occasion.
  • You’re never alone in those fields, not really.  There’s a distinct Otherness about being three feet tall in the midst of six-foot corn, the closeness, with gaps where you can see forever and ever, the constant rustling like you’re being pursued.  I’m willing to chalk a lot up to paranoia but I know the Wolfdog has better senses than me and that when she growled at something, she meant business.
  • The one thing we did find in a field was a swan.
  • Just chilling, sitting in one of the troughs.  It was there with a bunch of Canada geese, hiding in the shade from the midday heat.  It let me get within arms length before putting it’s head up, looking me dead in the eye from a sitting position. It began a low, continuous buzz, like bagpipes right before they scream.  Mazel warned it with a low “Whurf” noise, and it stared her down for a minute, before it decided I had some kind of prior permission and decided I could stay.
  • I also found a small ceramic otter, half buried in the dirt.
  • That field used to be a lake, apparently.
  • I’d also never been anywhere with lightning bugs prior to that august, and didn’t believe them until one of the Iowa cousins caught one for me and showed me that it was, in fact a bug and not the lawn about to explode from swap gas.
  • Maybe I was just sweaty and prone to spilling punch on myself but they rather liked me, landing all over my skin and hair.  I felt lighter than air when they came, like I could float away with them into the night.
  • To the point where I went chasing them rather far into the woods until I ran into an old barb-wire fence, mostly rotted and easy to pass, covered in blackberries. I was about to cross when half a dozen turkeys came running full-tilt at and then past me, hardly chattering at all.  I decided to take their lack of words and went hack to the cabin.

So you have some context for the WEIRD part of the trip.

We’re driving around the county of I can’t remember I was six and Grandpa is driving, and he turns down what I’d assumed was another dirt road when Mom starts asking about “Uh, do you actually KNOW the people who live here?”  “Oh pshaw. it’ll be fine.” and I realized we were in some backwater Iowan’s DRIVEWAY, pulling up to a house, right about the time when the Bull charged the car.

“EDWIN THERE’S A BULL.”  Shrieked my grandma, grabbing both me and my sister and heroically yanking us out our seatbelts and to the other side of the car, behind the quilt, in hopes it would protect us from potential impalement.  Gandpa, Bless Him, stopped the fucking car and leaned out the window to look.

“Aren’t you handsome!” He laughed and the half-ton of angry pot roast stopped up short, blinking stupidly, before cautiously trotting up the rest of the way and attempting to stick his head in the car for skritches.  He was stopped by the fact that his horns didn’t fit in the damn window.

Grandpa proceeds to drive the rest of the way up to the house, bull following us, before casually… getting out of the car, walking right up to the front door and ringing the bell.  A Pair of the most American Gothic-looking people answer, looking bewildered at the elderly, plaid-covered man in front of them, offering them a ham of hand.

“My name’s Edwin, and I grew up on this farm- Did you ever meet the Fitzgerald’s?  I was hoping I could show my family around where I was a boy.”

“Oh my god.” Said my mother, burying her face in the seat. “He’s going to be shot.”

“OH WELL COME ON IN!” The Gothic Americans say, apparently thrilled. “WE’VE GOT PIE AND LEMONADE AND AIR CONDITIONING.”

“…Or not.”  mom shrugs, relived.  For the moment.

So the family piles out of the car and into this house, which while rustic and probably charming, is also crammed to the brink with more fucking memento mori than a dutch painting museum that got invaded by a Dia De Los muertos parade.  

I’m talking taxidermy animals, portraits where everyone is skeletons, mannequins covered in flowing cloaks, pinned insects and pressed flowers, tiny skeleton dolls sitting in corners,  a literal wall of scythes, a hall of livestock skulls and on the mantelpiece, in a glass bell jar, an actual human skull.  I, six years old and a weirdo, am immediately in love with this place. 

“That’s Great-Uncle Richard.” The lady says, fondly.  “He’s the one that your grandpa’s family sold the farm to!”

“COOL.” I say as Grandma takes out her rosary.

“COME ON IN FOR SOME PIE.” hollers the gentleman from the kitchen.  We go in and there is not one but like, SIX fucking pies on the table and milk and lemonade and whiskey and an angelfood cake and it’s all very Norman Rockwell except for the part where the kitchen is Not Immune and there’s a centerpiece pf chipmunks taxidermied to be drinking tea in the center.  I am DELIGHTED, my grandmother is praying harder.  My mom had decided she’s going to enjoy this encounter and sits down for a lemonade and a slice of apple pie while my Dad gently tell my two-year old sister to not lick the skeletons.

Everyone has a grand time sitting around the table with these people, Lucille and Barry, talking about the history of the farm and long-passed relatives and crop yields and whatnot.  Except for my grandmother, who is Too Catholic For This, and when my ADHD ass gets bored and asks to go look at the animals, says she’ll go with me, despite being decidedly non agrarian.

We go outside to find Mazel sitting in the water trough, becuase being part husky in Iowa in August is HARD, and sometimes one needs to get soaked up to the neck to cope.  The Bull is displeased by Strange Dogs sitting in his trough, but she leveled him with a look and low noise that was more rumble than growl to remind him she was Canis Lupis Decidedly-Less-Familiaris and she ate his cousins ground up for breakfast and he decided he had important Bull Business on the other side of the barn.

We get into the barn where there were about 20 dairy cattle having a nap in the shade that afternoon before milking, and I point up and shout ‘LOOK GRANDMA JUST LIKE CHURCH’.  Growing up agnostic had left me fuzzier on certain religious matters, and I naturally assumed that the gaunt, rather tortured looking figure hanging from the rafters was a crucified Jesus.

It was not.

It was, I would later learn, a sculpture of Great-Aunt Margret, wife of Richard-on-the-mantle, who had a wild sense of humor and had left instructions that she wanted to be strung up to watch over her beloved cows and also to terrify any would-be rustlers. Her family had the good sense to not leave an actual corpse hanging from the rafters, but whoever made that scultpure did a Damn Fine job capturing the pants-shitting terror Margret had been after.  Grandma attempted to haul me out of there but I was much more interested in the cows, and merrily fed them scattered bit of hay through the bars of the queuing area before the milking stall under Margret’s watchful eyeless sockets.

I also found a nest of pitch-black kittens, a white and very arthritic hound that managed to get up and follow me around the barn anyway, and a fat, green-black chicken that came up to my navel and wanted chin scratches.  There were various other odd  decorations scattered around the property- the large, wrought-iron sculpture in the middle of the duck pond was particularly choice.  It was constructed of several arches and a few curled spikes, so that when it was viewed with a reflection on a still day, it formed an eye.  It was a splendid afternoon.

When I got back to the car, grandma had added another seventeen cathedral windows to the quilt out of spite and was ready to wring my grandfather’s neck.  We hauled mazel out of the trough, patted the bull goodbye and left with some lovely family history and a furious grandmother.

Lucille and Barry passed away a while ago, but we always exchanged christmas cards, and I’m still Facebook friends with their daughter, Juliet.  She;s thinking about turning the farm into an eco-amusement park.

So to actually answer your question, Jolly Ranchers.

What’s up, it’s Alexei!

When Ngozi posted this picture yesterday of young post-draft Tater “trying his darnedest to answer press questions in English,” I thought, “You know, I could make a play fic out of that.” Which is what led to the following 2700+ words about Tater and his ESL tutor.

Many, many thanks to @ktheunready for being my Russian authenticity consultant and beta!


Georgia Martin stood at the back of the media scrum and watched Alexei Mashkov stumble his way through his post-draft interview, saw the way his fingers kneaded the brim of the brand-new Falconers’ cap he’d been handed for the initial official photos, saw the way his eyes widened and stayed intently glued to whoever was asking him a question, like he was afraid he’d miss some key bit of meaning if he blinked.

She pulled out her phone and made a call.

***

«No, Mama, I promise, my room is very nice. The family is very nice. Everything is very…»

«Let me guess, nice? »

Alexei sighed. «Yes.»

«You know I don’t doubt you, right, Alyosha? I’m not worried you can’t do this. You will be fine. But I know this is your first time to live in another country, with none of the boys from your teams here. It can be… hard, sometimes. I know.»

«Yeah, Mama, I know. You told me.»

«Are you telling me you’ve heard the stories of my youth too many times?» she asked in mock outrage.

«No, no!» he laughed. «Of course not.»

«Good. I should think not.» He could picture her face exactly, and it made him smile. «I’m glad your host family seems nice, Alyosha. I’m sure you will have many friends in no time.»

He flopped back on the bed again and stared at the ceiling. «I hope so.»

«We’ll talk again soon. Love you, son.»

«Love you, too.»

He hung up and let his phone rest on his chest. He’d been to America before. He’d thought he’d known what it would be like, that it wouldn’t be so bad. Different, yes, but there would be so many interesting new things to see, and new teammates, and he certainly knew how to play hockey. What he had failed to take into account, apparently, was how exhausting it was to try to function in English all day. For a US hockey team, the Falconers’ roster was shockingly low on Russian players, so his host family was one of the French Canadian ones. To their credit, they did speak some Russian, but it was hardly enough to have a real conversation. Alexei felt like he’d been practically mute all day.

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2

♡15/09/17♡ - 🌿thursday 🌿

a busy week! i haven’t had the time to sit down and take good photos of my spreads, but i finally got a few shots in on wednesday morning!! my arts deadlines are coming up and it’s going to be a tough few days, but bangtan’s new comeback is still getting me hyped 。゚+.(・∀・)゚+.゚

this is the spread for the september hols!! wishing to go back to the time where i could wake up at ten in the morning rather than six (´ヘ`;)but at least i actually really like these two pages for once~

colour scheme: 🌿🌾🌿🌼

im having a very bad depression day and hate myself so instead of self harming i have opted to watch 7 episodes of Big Mouth

here is my review

5

More Women than Warriors by @steklir  (moodboard)

“The first time Clarke sees the Head Girl she’s sitting on a throne, presiding over her dominion with a piercing stare and a crown of braids in her hair. Her warriors are spread at her feet, a multitude of them, all long-haired and wild and clad in identical brown regalia. There’s something of the sacred about her, like the crimson cloak draped across her shoulders and her divinity are one and the same.

Or at least it feels that way”

British girls’ boarding school AU. Obviously.

I promise it won’t be easy. There will be days where we fight, especially over stupid things like who left the coffee pot on again.

There will be times where I’ll yell at you to go sleep on the couch but I swear, every single time in the middle of the night, I’d tell you to come back to bed because god knows I can’t sleep properly without you.

We won’t always be that couple people would want to look up to, but we will be that couple where we don’t care about what anyone else thinks.

Like for instance, we can be sitting at a resturant and all of a sudden, you’re putting straws into your nose and pretending that you’re a walrus and everytime, I would laugh.

Even if the joke dies down about after the fifth time and people are staring at us, I promise to always laugh.

And I know it won’t be easy, because we both do things that makes the other person crazy but we are we, and I love you and I’m willing to wake up every day going through life loving you, even on the days where we both can barely stand each other.

Because honestly, there is no where else I would rather wake up at if it isn’t beside you.
—  A.M// for jake, it won’t be easy but i promise to always love you.
4

That Worn Old Red Scarf

“Hey, Paps, do you still remember who gave that to you?”

“Nyeh… Not really? All I know was, that I always had it since we moved to Snowdin.”

“Ah…”

“And it never fails to keep me warm…”

Have some Dadster and little Papyrus feels?ヽ(´▽`)/ This could’ve been longer but my hand was already falling asleep… Gotta let it rest now.

You are the type of person that is simply unforgettable, I can never seem to get you off my mind. You are my incurable addiction, my salvation in the dark and my strength on the days where I am existing rather than living.
—  Tenari Ioapo // To my one and only.

thesparklingpariah  asked:

Dorian crawled into the stress box and pulled out a small bundle of rags. He opened it and handed it to Eremes. Inside were two small snails and a large one. "Here. For you. And you better like them, because I'm NEVER getting the slime out of my clothes." But despite his harsh words, he smiled and wrapped an arm around Eremes, trying to comfort his stressed little friend.

he tries

After Hook cast the Dark curse, we were shown three waves of rainbow magic sweeping across town. It seemed like overkill at the time, but they were the perfect way to distract us from the fact Hook’s Dark Curse was never broken. Since the curse seems to follow the desires of the person who cast it, I thought it would be interesting to look at what that might mean.

“I want to hurt you, like you hurt me.”

Apart from Hook wanting what he always wanted when he cast the curse - revenge on the Dark One - he also revealed what he wanted to do to Emma when he found out he was the Dark One in Storybrooke. He wanted to hurt her like she hurt him… so how did she hurt him?

  • Turned him into a villain again, a person he didn’t want to be
  • Lied to him
  • Stood in the way of his revenge
  • Took away his agency
  • Controlled him
  • Chose to save Regina over being his happy ending
  • Stole his memories

Right away we saw him hurt Emma in retaliation by taking her memories after finding out he was the Dark One in Storybrooke. It was her last crime - in his eyes - that wasn’t accounted for under his curse. All the other ways in which she hurt him, he knew about when casting it. This means they already were part of the curse and his memory loss was the last thing that kept his curse from taking on its full effect in Storybrooke, but they were a slave to it as soon as they landed, maybe as soon as the smoke came. They were already compromised. Emma may have taken their memories without anticipating she would be under his spell once in Storybrooke. After she got there, she may not have been capable of cleaning up her own mess. It was only a matter of time before their entire world was bent to his wishes.

When Hook cast the curse, he was incredibly angry about Emma controlling him with Excalibur.

Emma: “I’m never going to try to control you again. I love you.”
Hook: “It’s just I’m usually the one who has to say that first.”
Emma: “Yeah, well…”


After that exchange - with Hook showing surprise about Emma expressing her love - they go to Camelot’s displaced Granny’s where Hook casts his curse almost right away. The anger driving him was all about creating a world where nobody controlled him - and one where he controlled Emma specifically.


Emma: “You were playing me the whole time.”
Hook: “Once you lied about Excalibur all bets were off. I knew it was just a matter of time before you tried controlling me. And now, no-one will ever control me again.”


She just promised him she wouldn’t try to control him again and she follows that up by telling him she loves him. Their kiss didn’t work to break the Dark One curse. Hook later goes to talk to Belle. He already suspected and now he knows for sure she was lying, especially if he feels certain of his love for her. If he wants to hurt her like she hurt him, it makes sense for the curse to take complete control of Emma. He would use emotional manipulation on top of the curse itself and take her lie about love and force her to live it.

In this light, the conversation where Emma tells Regina there is no Savior for the current curse takes on a new meaning. If Emma can’t really control what she does, she was working within the limitations of Hook’s curse already. She may not even be capable of being nice to Regina anymore - Hook was jealous she chose to save Regina - and she is incapable of telling her the truth. So she antagonizes her, trying to challenge her into being their Savior.

This conversation may mark real Emma’s final moments of resisting Hook’s curse, before she lost control over her life completely and became a slave to his desires. It was the only way to try and let Regina know she was powerless.

“Good you, still in there.”


The scene where Emma angrily tells Regina to step up and do what needs to be done reinforces this. Regina specifically describes seeing good Emma shining through. She’s right but the thing she doesn’t realize is that Emma isn’t limited by the Dark One curse, she isn’t compromised in the way Regina assumes. She’s limited by Hook’s curse. The good part of Emma is the one yelling at Regina, trying to give her a message. That’s why Regina doesn’t understand what Emma’s trying to say.

Gold warns her that ‘you always lose the ones you love the most’, after which Emma goes into the shed to cry over her memories in private. Just like the others Gold assumes she’s only under the influence of the Dark One curse. We are once again misled because we see Emma choosing Hook over and over again and the person who is most familiar with the Dark One curse tells us that she has a choice. Right reasoning, wrong curse. Emma can still cry in private, but she can’t tell anyone what’s really going on. She feels she’s already lost them at this point. It’s telling that the people she hurts the most as the Dark One are the people Hook has a vendetta against. Hook turns Emma into a villain like she did to him. Since then we’ve seen her become selfish and judgmental, acting like an addict when it comes to Hook.

When Hook regains his memories and takes her memories instead, it seems like Hook made it particularly easy for Emma to find the stolen memories, but can we be sure they weren’t edited? They were stolen and added to the curse with just one dreamcatcher™ while in Storybrooke there were several ones. Technically both Emma and Hook could have done their own editing. There may be memories the characters - and the audience - still don’t know about.

“Evil doesn’t always look evil. Sometimes it’s staring right at us, and we don’t even realize it.”

What we do know for sure is that this seems to mark the end of Emma fighting back. His Dark curse seems to be taking full effect. Hook gets forgiven for everything by everyone, Emma endangers her entire family and takes them to the Underworld for him after he tries to kill them all. Nobody questions it because the Dark One curse was lifted and Emma looks like herself again, but we were warned by Regina herself that evil doesn’t always look evil.


Emma seems to have identified Regina as the key to breaking this curse. Was it because there actually is a Savior for this curse - built in by Merlin who put it together? Darkness wants to snuff out the light, we know it came for Regina right away when it was free. The curse isn’t just Hook’s, it was described as the darkness using him to get what it wants. So his desires serve a greater purpose. If Regina is the one to bring back light together with Emma, then the darkness fighting the light and using Hook as a vessel - because it wants Emma and Regina apart… seems to have worked.

Or is it because Emma knows there really is no Savior, only leaving the most powerful magic of all as an option to break this curse? Knowing that it can only work if Regina loves her back. Was Emma giving Regina the dagger a way of telling her that she loved her and had the power to save her or destroy her depending on Regina’s feelings? After all True Love’s kiss up to that point was the only way we’d seen the Dark One curse almost being broken. Is Regina’s insecurity about being worthy of love the key to breaking this curse?

We’ve all noticed that Emma seems more like her old self as soon as she gets close to Regina. Regina is the only one who stands up to Hook and has expressed criticism since the curse took hold. It does seem like the curse has less of a hold on her. If all the heroes are compromised except for her, then at some point she will have to realize her power. She will have to rely on her inner compass instead of on mimicking what Emma and the Charmings do. Right now it could be she’s blinded because she still sees herself as a villain and them as heroes just because of their old labels.

“It’s like my whole life is darkness and when you’re around, things are brighter.”


When Lily told Emma she made her life more bright, Emma didn’t listen, now it seems like she is in the same position. She couldn’t understand how Lily could have everything she could only dream of and throw it all away. How she could still be unhappy. Now technically Emma too has everything she ever wanted and yet… it’s not what she needed.

Regina seems to be to Emma what Emma was to Lily in the past. We’ve seen it before. Regina doesn’t try to save Emma. In Neverland she taught Emma magic so she could turn on her own light while Hook and Neal were fighting over her. She has been loving and supporting Emma, going to the Underworld for her without expecting anything in return, saving her from the wish realm. Regina has been a light in that she tries to remind Emma of who she is, remind her of her own power. A light that brings clarity in its brightest moments.

The power of the Dark Hook curse seems tied to Storybrooke and Storybrooke’s magic. Emma acted more like herself when they left Storybrooke for New York and the magic was tied to the crystal. Proximity to the crystal seems to impact them. Regina and Emma were interacting like before and parenting Henry together. As soon as magic came back into the crystal, Hook came back and when they arrived back in Storybrooke, she went right back to him. In the wish realm Emma also acted more like her former self once she remembered who she was… until she returned to Storybrooke. Same with their time in the land behind the mirror where they were working together. Seems like there’s a bit of a pattern there.

“I should have known that Operation Cobra: Part Two wouldn’t have been as simple as I thought. Because it’s a sequel, and they’re always more involved than the original.”

What unifies the entire story is the Black fairy’s Dark curse. Everyone used and adjusted her basic recipe to cast it, but beyond that we can actually divide the story in two parts. Regina’s Dark curse was the original. Emma broke its hold and Regina herself destroyed it completely after sending Emma and Henry away taking them all back to the Enchanted Forest. The second part starts right after the missing year with Snow White’s curse. We know everyone’s memories were returned, but that part of the curse was Zelena’s addition, so since we never went back and Emma started giving in to Hook as soon as that curse was cast, we may also still be influenced by Snow’s desires. She even admitted she started planning Emma’s wedding after the first curse. Then Hook cast his curse and Emma marrying him while singing and dancing would definitely seem like something that would happen where Hook and Snow’s desires intersect.

The Black Fairy’s curse is now added to both of these curses, but they seem to form a whole. It seems like Regina possesses a particular power she is unaware of, so it makes sense that the Darkness used the desires of people like Snow and Hook to set the stage. Snow carries resentment towards the Evil Queen. She may want Regina to be happy, but that’s not all there is to it if you look at what happens as soon as Snow’s curse is cast. Regina falls for a man she previously wasn’t interested in, but she always keeps losing him… just like Snow kept losing Charming because of the Evil Queen. Marian showed up, putting Regina in the same position she was in when David was married to Kathryn. Snow also wishes very traditional things for her daughter, like a marriage and a man. Where Emma always kept a bit of a distance with Hook, after Snow’s curse, she started to let him in. Hook’s curse took all these things to the next level, with Emma torn by the desires of others and Regina far away from her. They barely interact.

Emma & Regina were always the power couple. Together they have defeated most of the threats to the town. So what did the darkness achieve, exactly? What did those two curses achieve? They weakened Emma and Regina’s bond and they kept them apart. We weren’t made to fear the Black fairy. She’s not the scariest villain we’ve ever had. What we are made to fear is that this is really how the story ends. What is everyone really going into the Final Battle for? What are we worried about? About the Black Fairy or about the fact that Emma Swan doesn’t seem like herself anymore and that Henry’s parents are talking even less now than back when they seemed to hate each other? What set this story in motion in the first place? We can sense that the Black Fairy and Gideon are a summary of all of Emma’s fears she needs to face in order to win. Emotionally, however, we all feel exactly what this battle is about.

The songs in Emma’s heart are all the elements that go into the final battle. In the past Hook says he doesn’t need Snow & Charming’s treasures, their gold or their title. In the present he married their golden-haired greatest treasure, which technically makes him a prince… but he’s shown right for the wedding he’s still driven by that same revenge from the past. Meanwhile Regina’s Evil Queen song is one about resisting love. She tears Emma’s baby blanket up, she gets upset when Granny sings about the princess and when Snow and Charming sing about their daughter, she sings about her happy ending at the same time. Emma carries this conflict in her heart. What’s different between Hook and Regina is that Regina isn’t the Evil Queen anymore. She has let love in. Self love. She loves Henry. She let Robin love her and cared about him. She has profoundly changed since singing that song.

As the Evil Queen mentioned earlier, there is a very thin line between love and hate…

…and they’ve both worked too hard to have their happiness destroyed.

So, this is it. The Final Battle indeed.

Blurred Lines (Smut)

MASTERLIST

A/N: Celebrating Shawn’s birthday. Feedback is always lovely. 

Word count: 4,518

Originally posted by thinkinboutmendes


Shawn and I had been living together for a little over four months now. Since Shawn agreed to letting me crash for a week while looking for something new after being kicked out of my dorm, things we didn’t count on happened between us and suddenly, we were practically roommates and enjoyed each other’s company for hours a day. 

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A Hundred Lesser Faces: (Two)

Notes from Mod Bonnie 

  • This story stems from the premise: what if Voyager!Claire had gone first to Lallybroch instead of directly to the print shop in Edinburgh? 
  • Links to past installments:  (One

(Two)

“May I help you with that, Jenny?”

Jenny didn’t answer; she didn’t even bother to raise her eyes as she arranged the tea, bannocks, butter, and preserves between us on the study table.  I wasn’t surprised. She hadn’t said more than two words to me since we’d entered the house, nor had she allowed me any opportunity to walk about and reminisce. The sounds of whispers and laughter had echoed through the hall even from the first moment of entry, but my sister-in-law had left me no opportunity to investigate the other occupants of the house—would I know any of them, I wondered? She’d marched me into the study in a way that offered no room for protest and bade me sit while she went to fetch the tea (the best teapot, I noticed; not the one used for family). 

No, I wasn’t at all surprised, at this point, given my reception in the dooryard, not by any any of it  — only hurt. 

Talk to me, Jenny….just TALK to me… 

She didn’t speak, but I did catch her watching me with a laser-sharp focus as I lifted a bannock and took a small bite, not from hunger, just for something to do; and I could have sworn those eyes flared with — surprise? confirmation? 

Whatever it had been, the next moment, it was gone, hidden once more behind a mask of boiling control, intent upon this soulless hospitality. So intently, pointedly was Jenny focused, in fact, that she didn’t even notice when the study door opened behind her. 

She was younger than Bree, but not much; perhaps sixteen or seventeen. I certainly had never laid eyes on her, but I knew her at once. That dark, curly hair; those warm, honey-brown eyes! Even in that brief instant in which our eyes met, I felt such a strong rush of affection, the lump in my throat made it hard to smile at her; but smile I did. My niece. 

And to my astonishment — not to mention, relief that someone in this house might not despise me—she smiled back; warmly, not taking those bright, questioning eyes off me, even as she gave a cursory knock and said. “Mam? D’ye need–?”

Jenny bolted like a startled deer, that frigid calm vanished in a second. In one fluid motion, she turned to the door and lunged into my line of sight, barking, “Out, Janet!” No, not into my line of sight: into her daughter’s….to keep me from view. “Out,” she snapped again. 

A very unladylike curse from the daughter, a “NOW!” from the mother, and the thunk of the heavy door snapping closed, trapping me inside once more. Stunned, I managed a nervous laugh, to stammer in the direction of Jenny’s back that the girl was more than welcome to come in and share our tea. While eager to meet this young Janet Murray, I was still more desperate for another person’s presence, ANY person, to ease the tension in the room.

…and exactly one blink later, I realized in panic that Jenny had whirled to face me, that she had said something at the exact same moment, and that her EYES —

I should have been able to match her; Claire Beauchamp was not of the wilting violet genus; but Jesus H Roosevelt CHRIST, that look had me absolutely terrified as I asked her to repeat herself. 

“I said…” Each word was slow and distinct; a hammer blow nailing me to the pillory. “Where. have. you. been?”

My thoughts, my explanations, they turned to vapor under her gaze, and I could do little more than gape up at her from my seat. 

“You’re clearly no’ deid, as we were told.“ She was blazing, a snake coiled to strike.  “And you’re no’ a fetch.”

I didn’t know what a fetch was, but it didn’t seem like something one would want to be.“No,” I confirmed, carefully, waiting. “I’m not.”

“Then, where in God’s name have ye been these twenty years, Claire?”

“Abroad,” I answered at once, relieved, recovering my composure enough to scrabble at the story I’d rehearsed on my long ride from Inverness. “I’ve been abroad,” I said, more confidently. “Working as an apothecary in the Colonies.”

She gave a soft, vicious laugh and turned her eyes upward for a moment. Then, she struck. “Had a *pleasant* life, have ye?”

The bite was bad enough, those fangs; but they had poison in them, too, coursing through my body, a promise of slow, creeping pain. 

“Jenny,” I murmured gently, rallying myself into calm as I set down my teacup. This wouldn’t be easy. “I do understand how this must seem; but please, listen—

“No, you’ll listen to me.” She was absolutely lethal with quiet fury, and didn’t blink once as she spoke in a low, rapid hiss. “Many’s the thing that’s been whispered of ye, before and after the ‘45. That ye were a spy that brought the English down upon us—that ye caused the great famine—that ye were a filthy witch or a hoor or both — ” 

I tried to interrupt but she silenced me with a shaking finger and a basilisk glare. “But of all things, of ALL things, Claire, I would have gone to my grave swearing that ye loved my brother more than life itself.”

“I did.” RAGE had boiled instantly up in me and the accusation. “I DO.”

Love doesna do what ye did to Jamie,” she spat, disgust manifested in every pore. “LOVE doesna allow a man to think the very heart of him has died — doesna let him go on living as an empty shell for near twenty years.”

No, it bloody well doesn’t, Jenny. 

The strain of this tug-o-war of emotion was too much for my heart my physical, frantically-beating heart. From bewilderment to terror to fury, I felt exhaustion and stress in every muscle and bone, the fatigue in every pumping of that poisoned blood   and now, shame

If only I’d looked. If I’d looked sooner…not expecting to find him alive, but to honor his memory. Damn me to hell for it, I should have LOOKED.

I wanted to shrivel up and fade from existence, but Jenny would not have it. “Ye didna see him come back from Culloden, Claire,” she was saying, practically towering over me in my seat. “Ye werena here to drag him back from the brink.”

I couldn’t be—” 

“—But long after the wounds healed, the GRIEF kept Jamie near to death,” she seethed. “The pain ye caused him, Claire?—the agony of needing YOU, only you, and knowing ye gone forever? It was there on his face, in his bones—every day since—” she leveled a finger at me, “—since ye LEFT him.” 

“I did NOT leave him.” I was on my feet, wanting to wrap my hands around her throat. “Jamie was dead. For twenty years, I’ve thought him dead and in his grave, so you can shut your damned mouth about matters of which you don’t know one bloody 

“Oh, I think I ken the way of things just fine,” she sneered, not shrinking back one bit before me. “Ye kent well the disaster to come  dinna deny it, for ye told me to plant the damn potatoes, did ye not? You KNEW—and so ye arranged a better life, a life less destitute than the one we ” 

Jamie SENT me away, Jenny.”

 My teeth were gritted hard, the war between indignant rage and tearing guilt wracking through me. “I begged him to let me die with him that day — BEGGED him; but he wouldn’t allow it, said it was his duty to die, and that I had to go on without him, had to go far away. And it KILLED me, Jenny.”

I could smell my own sweat, could smell the salt and tang and fear in it as I tried to hold myself together, to say, “If Jamie’s been a shell for twenty years, well, so have I.” 

She said nothing, but faced me down with the same fury. 

“Every single day, I have grieved and I have wished — have cursed the Bonnie  fucking Prince Charlie and his fucking war that slaughtered my husband and left me to go on without him ”  

“Only he wasna slaughtered. Jamie survived, and his own WIFE didna even bother to come back to check if— “

“He MEANT to die,” I shouted, hoarse and desperate, hoping volume would drown out the shame screaming in my ears. “Jamie MEANT to let himself be killed! He didn’t leave me any room for doubt on that point; you know precisely how he is.” 

I was shaking uncontrollably. “I stayed away for twenty years because that was how I could bear it; the only way I could BEAR to keep on living. But as soon as I learned that he’d survived, I came. I gave up EVERYTHING to come find him, because Jamie was is everything to me.” I shook my head, seething. “And to have you stand here and accuse me—” 

“Did ye think I was dead, Claire?”

Her voice had gone suddenly light; conversational, as though she had merely asked if I’d like more jam. With a shock, I found that I recognized that practiced, calculated calm, those razor-sharp meanings cloaked so expertly in cordial tones. Colum MacKenzie, manifested here in the niece who had never met him; the spitting rage of the past minutes subsumed in something deeper; something far more lethal roiling beneath the skin. A wildcat prowling. 

At my silence, she smiled a cat-smile, shrugged, and looked around the room, her hands palm-up as if in mild curiosity. “And what of Ian? Did ye assume he’d died also? Along wi’ your wee nieces and nephews? Your wee Fergus? Remember them?” 

“Of course I do,” I whispered, that avalanche of shame continuing to crash all around me. 

She nodded, considering, almost amiably. “I dinna recall getting any letters or messages betwixt folk letting us know that ye might be thinking of us.” Her voice went hard with every word, each syllable distinct as her emotions started to break through that MacKenzie wall. “Nothing from ye, not even to ask had we yet starved to death in the famine you kent was coming.”

“Jenny…” My control broke and I was weeping before her. “Oh, Jenny…”

And as I stared pleadingly into her face, her own dam shattered, and I was utterly run through to find that the emotion pent up behind it was not merely rage it was grief, too. 

“Did ye think ye meant nothing to us, Claire? To me?”

Jesus…

There came a terrible, stricken sound in her throat as she tried to speak through the torrent, as she stared up at me with tears in her eyes as her face contorted. 

“Even if Jamie… had been gone—If the Lord had seen fit to—to take him on that accursed field…. “ She took a step toward me, not in threat, this time. “…did it truly never cross your mind that there would be joy in us knowing that you at least had lived?”

“Oh, Jenny.” I crossed the distance between us and clutched her tight, holding her so hard I thought she would snap; but she held me, too, her head pressed tight into my shoulder, the both of us falling apart together.  “Jenny…Jenny…I’m so sorry…”

God as my witness, I had mourned for her; for Ian, the children, for dear Fergus. They had been my family, and knowing the pain and hunger and grief they would face in the years after Culloden, without Jamie to watch over them — For Jamie, I’d had to live with only grief; for those remaining at Lallybroch, I’d borne twenty years of fear. 

I’m so sorry….I can’t— It’s—” I kissed and touched her hair as we swayed, as I grappled for how to explain—how to give some kind of acceptable reason for why I hadn’t been able to get word—  “It’s so much more complicated than you—”

I almost fell on my backside as I flew backward, my shoulders screaming with the sudden, violent assault as Jenny pushed me away with both hands, eyes once again wide with disbelieving fury as she repeated the word. “Complicated?” 

No, that’s not —” I silently cursed myself. “Please, just let me — ” 

“How dare you,” she whispered, shaking her head, the tenuous bridge that had sprung up between us now plummeting back down into the gorge below. “How. dare. you.” 

“Jenny,” I pleaded as she turned her back to me, her entire frame shaking. “Jenny, listen —” 

“I’ve heard enough.” 

I reached out a hand to touch her shoulder, to beg her; but then lowered it again, and squared my shoulders: face this, Beauchamp. 

“I love your brother with my entire heart, Jenny Murray. I left because he made me do so; and I came as soon as I learned he had survived.” A deep breath; a whiff of pine through the window giving me a sort of bracing strength. “There was a good reason that I couldn’t come — couldn’t write to you — and I will do anything, everything to explain why, in time. I swear it to you.”

Silence. 

“But first…please….I have to see Jamie.”

Silence.

“I know he’s been working as a printer, in Edinburgh. All I ask is for you to confirm that he’s still there, and —” 

“He’s marrit, Claire.”


My first week as an active-duty battlefield nurse, I was assigned overnight duty in the convalescent ward. 

There were still emergency surgeries and intensive cases from the recent battle going on, leaving me the only one that could be spared to watch over those who needed no urgent treatment; those who were still mortally wounded—but for whom nothing more needed to be, or could be done. Determined to perform my duties well, I’d walked between the columns of beds in that wretched, foul-smelling tent, changing bandages by lantern-light, giving water to those that could swallow, and comfort where I could. 

There was one man Robertson, his name had been….He’d received horrific burns over a vast percentage of his body, and his moans of pain and panic were the heartbeat of that long night. Nothing I did, nothing I offered, nothing I said could soothe him —he just kept moaning, groaning, crying and whimpering like an animal…and staring up at me with one wild eye through his bandages. I’d been so chilled by that sight, by that man—who became not a patient to me, but a haunting. 

I’d avoided him, eventually, stopped going to his bedside, even when his groans were at their most agonized—and the shame of that….It was like being pursued by wild dogs. I’d busied myself with other patients; busied myself with re-rolling bandages; busied myself with absolutely anything to keep from focusing on those anguished, pitiful moans; anything to keep out of that brown, pleading stare. 

And there came a time in the night when his moans tapered —and then ceased entirely, with one…final….whimper….and even then, I didn’t go to him. I spent more than an hour telling myself that Mr. Robertson had fallen asleep at last, and wasn’t it a relief that the poor man had found some solace in somnolence at last. 

I’d known —I’d KNOWN that he was dead—and yet I was too afraid to acknowledge it, to go to his bedside and confirm. 

I’d cowered, refusing to face the agonizing truth

knowing that once I learned it, the truth—

not my fantasy, not my coping mechanism, but the TRUTH—

I couldn’t ever be the same.

Nothing could ever be the same. 


“When?” My voice was a husk. A form.“To whom?”

“Does it matter?”

I was silent.

“He’s got a wife,” Jenny said, quiet, but slowly, carefully, so I wouldn’t miss a single word. “A home. A new life.” 

The fabric of my skirt was rough and comfortless in my grasping hands. 

“…And two wee lassies that love their Da.” 

Da. 

Something within me popped—a thread, maybe, one of many clumsy things that had been holding my heart together. I’d come back so blithely sure of myself; brimming with the anticipation of bringing Jamie news of that one child of his blood—To give him hope — to give him JOY. 

Not just two children….two daughters

What would news of another girl—one he’d never met—never would meet—even one conceived of the deepest love — mean in comparison to that? To having held his own little girls in his arms? 

It would mean something…but not enough. 

“Is he happy?” 

My words were a choked bark of a thing; hurt and anger and longing as I hauled on those threads, forcing them to hold. 

Jenny didn’t answer. 

I was standing. I needed to know. “Is. He. Happy?”

If somehow this new life of his wasn’t blessed —If even despite the girls, the marriage was damaged, maybe —

“Aye,” Jenny said at last, meeting my eye with frank hardness. “Happiest I’ve ever seen him.” 

Happier even than with you.

And just like that, the raw seams of my heart—so crude, so fragile, those threads—split open, the remnants fluttering into the shadows.

“You should be on your way,” Jenny was saying, “without delay, before you’re recognized and word travels.” She didn’t want me under her roof even for one night. It was written in every bone and muscle of her as she moved to the door.  “I’ll be off to have Mary pack up food for your journey.”

“Please, might I — ” started to beg, then shut my mouth. 

She turned, tight-lipped, impatient. “What is it ye need? A fresh horse?”

“Only paper. A quill.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Absolutely not.” 

I held out my hands in surrender. “I’ll go, Jenny,” I whispered. “I’m going, at once, as you say. I swear it. I’ll leave and I’ll never come back.” My entire body hunched before her, pleading. “But for mercy’s sake, let me leave him my last words.” 

She stared; but something stirred in her eyes. 

“He won’t know where I’m bound,” I swore, panting with the effort to hold back the tears. “I’ll be long gone before he reads it. Please. Please, Jenny.”


I stared at the blank parchment for a very long time.

I made plans I let my mind run rampant, schemes for how I would reach him, how I would FIND him in Edinburgh. Jenny didn’t bloody need to know. Jamie would WANT to see me! No matter what his sister  He had loved me first  He would want — he was 


Happier 

even than with you.


I wept

…letting all the heartbreak wash out of me onto that page, 

drop by drop, 

my fingers wrenching in my hair,

until the page was damp with grief.


No future here. 

Not for you. 

Not with him. 


And a long time after that, I wiped my eyes. 

I wrapped something tight and impenetrable around my heart

Then wrote what needed to be said, what I needed him to know. 


My hand did not shake. I did not let a single tear blur the ink.

I would be strong for Jamie. 

He had been strong for me. 

I would not take anything away from him.



About a week prior
EDINBURGH 

“Uncle, please, please, PLEASE can I stay?”

“Ian, for the last time,” he said over his shoulder, paying the tavernmaid for the stores and nodding his thanks, “your Mam will up and geld me if I harbor her wee fugitive; and fond as I undoubtedly am of ye, lad, I’m no’ yet willing to lose my parts over it.” 

“But we dinna have to keep it secret-like!” Young Ian insisted, bouncing on his toes like a toadling. “Ye can write to her! Tell her you’re taking me on as apprentice in the print shop! She’ll be fashed that I left, aye, right enough—but she canna object o’ermuch to me learning such a valuable trade, not wi’ her own brother watching over me!”

Not for the first time, that day, Jamie wavered.

Ian saw it and redoubled his pleading. “Come onnnnnn, Uncle Jamie, PLEASE?” 

There were two important reasons that his whole being screamed at him to grant Ian’s wish, to let the boy stay on….but both were selfish; deeply so; and if he truly loved this lad, the nephew who was like a son—the only son he’d know, henceforth— it was his duty to show him the ways of honorable men. 

…even as joyless as honor tended to be. 

He jerked his head toward the door. “Get out to the stableyard, Ian. It’s past time we were off.” 

“Uncllllllllle!” the boy groaned, running both hands through his hair, distraught. “Ye can tell Mam ye gave me a good beating for it before taking me on! Hell, ye can GIVE me the beating, and I willna make a yip!”

Jamie repressed the twitching corners of his mouth, keeping up his show of stern reproach. “On wi’ ye. It’s time to get ye home.”


10

goodbye glee meme [4/7 ships]: Sam Evans & Mercedes Jones
“Just know that whoever I’m with or whatever I’m doing, I’d rather be doing it with you.”