Decisions Decisions...

The gods were never wrong, but that doesn't mean they agree on everything.  Sybille knew that all too well.  She groaned, placing her face in her hands while the bickering beings continued their argument in the background.

"The sun was in the third house when she was born meaning she's in MY domain... Therefore she should pursue the art of flames forging items."  Vulcan the fire god roared. 

"But the MOON was in the sixth house which is MY domain so she should lead a life of study!"  shouted Minerva.

"Fuck the sun and moon.  The REAL domain is mine!  A life on the sea!!" Neptune roared.

 "Oh just because yours was the highest point in the sky?  PUH-LEASE!"  Little Mercury scoffed.  "MINE shone in the eastern edge and she clearly has my wit.... Perfect for a life of travel." 

The arguing continued as Sybille shook her head.  Any time she ended at a crossroads in her life this argument resumed all over again. She glanced out of her hands seeing Apollo rolling his eyes at the bickering gods.  Of course, she was under his house too.  Gifted with prophesy and a sweet singing voice.  She knew he was just waiting to chime in about her pursuing a life as a bard.

"Who says she belongs in ANY of YOUR domains?"  Boomed a voice.  Another flash of light and a being with six heads appeared.  "She's not even Italian!"

"Oh not THIS guy again!"  the gods roared.  "Tell your master to suck it!"

As a whole new argument erupted Sybille sighed, pushed herself up from her chair, and walked out to the balcony.  She let the cool evening breeze hit her face and stared off at the horizon where  the first stars were beginning to appear. Taking a deep breath she thought about all the arguments.  How she'd tried a bit of everything the gods had thrown at her.  Jewelry making was OK.  Traveling was expensive. The sea made her legs wobble to much.  Nothing seemed to speak to her.

She leaned forward and rested on the railing of the balcony looking down into the city streets where people who had no godly contact walked in happy oblivion. She then turned her gaze to the heavens, the reason for all the godly arguments in her life.  She then turned towards the balcony door, seeing the godly visages slam  their  fists on the tables and shout amongst themselves. 

 After a few moments of semi-quiet contemplation she took a deep breath and strode back into the room with her head held high.

"That's IT!  I'M deciding for MYSELF for once," she said, earning the silence of all the expectant participants. Maintaining her poise she took another deep breath. "And I've decided that you all need to get out of my apartment!"

The gods in all their shapes and sizes stared at her with blank confused gazes.  Vulcan opened his mouth to speak, Minerva coughed, and the six headed whatever just tilted its heads curiously.  They looked at each other with questioning gazes before Hermes stepped forward.

"So... what IS your decision?  You... didn't..." Hermes said tentatively. "It's for YOU to get OUT.  I can't make any decisions with you all fighting all the time!"  Sybille said.

The gods looked at each other again before sheepishly disappearing one by one.  When her apartment was cleared of heavenly beings she sighed and laid down on her sofa staring at the ceiling.  After a few moments she took a deep breath and turned onto her stomach.  Reaching a hand down she felt for the floor, and upon finding it she knocked twice.  A grimly looking being in funeral shrouds appeared from the shadows and tilted its head.

"You called?"  it said looking around wearily.

"Hey Hades!"  Sybille said.  "I've been thinking about what all the others said and.... I kind of don't want to do any of their stuff.... Is it cool if I go back to school to become a mortician?"’

________________________________________________________________

@zombie-lady : concept: a person is born under several kinds of gods and has to go trough their life while each is trying to pull them in different directions.

So my friend @zombie-lady shared this prompt on our discord server and after staring at it for a few days this is what I came up with. Don’t know if she intended it or not but I’m glad to have made her day.

I wasn’t trying to be accurate to the astrology behind the gods or anything.  This is more silly than anything else.

Of course while I can’t offer any books written by me, I can offer books ILLUSTRATED by me.  You can get yours here! Also have a store for t-shirts here!

Sexual abuse has been more prevalent in children than adult these days. Those demons do not display mercy even on kids.

Nikita became a victim of abuse when she was merely 7. Her father's colleague made her sit on his lap for the sake of drinking water. He forcefully kissed her and inappropriately felt her up. It happened again in a car ride for over half an hour. Nikita was too little to understand the gravity of the situation.

But this was not it. The horrifying incidents were yet to occur to Nikita. Another culprit who scarred her for life was her driver. The abuse was initiated in 2005 and went on till 2019. He groped her, kissed her, showed her porn, flashed himself, tried penetrating, and a lot more.

Nikita had been tormented mentally to the extent that she couldn't speak herself out. She was bruised completely and thought that there was no way out.

But she finally took the leap of faith and became a Child Rights Activist to save hundreds of kids falling prey to these beasts. When she interacted with so many people, she realised that the gravity of the situation at hand was deep.

She made it a point to educate every kid about bad touch. She wanted to save everyone from the plight that she faced. Nikita shares that every time she shares a story, she feels empowered. Interacting with other survivors, makes her stronger from within.

Her aim is to voice out every story that goes unheard and create a safe environment for children. She feels that sharing her story might help others to say it out aloud.

The only way those beasts can be punished is by voicing out the injustice and taking a stand for yourself.

Nikita looks forward to joining hands with everyone and making this world a better place to be.

Sexual abuse has the capacity to take toll on an individual. But having a shoulder to cry on, will ceryat make it a little comforting.

Salt weathered skin

Because I have been thinking about monsters and mythical creatures recently, have a story... [CN: allusions to coercive relationships, child birth, and gore.]

When David stole the selkie skin, it almost seemed too easy.

It had caught its eye as the salt breeze indifferently picked at its edges, making it flutter. But even the wind didn’t seem to care enough to pick it up, leaving it caught on a weather-worn rock like so much drift-trash.

A tang of kelp filled his nostrils as he got closer to it. Kelp and something else too, a rich musk like sweat or maybe cooking fat? He thought maybe it was wreckage, a pelt or coat that had belonged to some unlucky sailor. Maybe he could take it to the nearby village to sell?

But once he saw it up close, once he saw its soft spotted texture and its smooth lines, he knew it for what it was. It was clearly a garment, a coat made to be worn, but with no lines or stitching or buttons to fasten - simply fine seamless skin. It reminded him of the way moss grew over a stone, or the way fire smoke or song could be carried along on a gale.

He picked it up, folded it carefully, and carried it back to his cottage.

He left his door - a thick thing, made of many pieces of snugly joined driftwood - ajar. He thought for a moment and took down the horseshoe that hung above it and placed it in his pocket. Feeling a chill creep in from the sea, he set about making a fire to keep it at bay.

The hearth began to crackle. He took an old cast iron pot and put some water on to boil, adding some fragrant nettle and raspberry leaves. He let it stew for a while and set out two clay mugs on the table.

He placed the folded coat in the bottom of his sea chest.

When he heard the door open, he did not turn towards it. Instead, he ladled out two mugs of steaming tisane from the pot and set one in front of him and the other across from it, keeping his eyes on the task.

He heard the door close and felt the air shift as someone sat in his other chair - it did not creak. Only then did he look up at his guest.

The woman in front of him was heavy-set with short hair of the palest blonde that clung to her scalp. She looked at him with eyes like storms and he stared back. He felt air catch in his throat and he was breathless.

Despite her thick build, there was something about her - perhaps the way she held herself - that made her seem barely there. Her silhouette was out of contrast with the cosy surroundings of the cottage. Only her strong, calloused fingers seemed real, as she warmed them around the steaming mug.

They sat there in silence for a while. He was aware, amidst the thickness of that silence, that there was a question that was being answered. He knew, too, that it was not entirely a fair one.

Her eyes cast around David’s home, taking in the few pieces of worn but well-cared furniture, the nets hanging from one corner of the ceilings, the tools and rods on the walls, and the faint lines in the dust that marked the lack of horseshoe above the door. David looked only at her.

“Okay.” She said, eventually. “This will do.”

That night, he made a stew of fish and bladderwrack for the two of them, flavoured with plenty of fresh onions, wild garlic and rosemary.

She helped him prepare the fish, ignoring the knife he offered her and slicing them down the belly with a sharp nail. She licked the guts and juices from her fingers and smiled. He was entranced. He stared at a droplet of viscera on her thin worn lips and she tilted her head quizzically, then she kissed him. 

The blood of the sea mingled on their lips. He realised he had not been able to catch his breath since he’d first seen her.

The next day, he went about his business as usual and she went about hers. He did not expect her to help as he sat stitching the thick, coarse threads of his nets, and she did not care to. Instead, she wrapped herself in his thick woolen coat, took a couple of coins from the few in a pot by the door, and returned hours later wearing a shift of oilcloth.

She spent the rest of the day walking by the beach. As he set off to make the daily catch, he saw her picking at stones and skipping them across the waves, or taking limpets from rocks and sucking the flesh into her mouth;  the glint of her teeth was clear even through the sea mist.

At the end of the day, after they had eaten and talked softly about this and that, she looked at him earnestly and asked:

“What will my name be?”

He thought for a moment and then said:

“Doris.” Which means ‘gift of the ocean’.

In that moment, the lines around her eyes and face seemed to grow firmer, as she settled into the world a little. He felt a burning in his lungs.

Then they slept.

They spent their days like this. Him: doing his work amongst the waves, his skin growing ever more salt and windworn. Her: walking the shore, gathering thistles and herbs, collecting interesting rocks, and going to market to buy what things they needed and learn the workings of the creatures who walked on the dirt.

Some time later, Doris became with child.

The birth was surprisingly easy, the babe almost slipping out into the basin in a burst of blood and brine.

The child had a strange undulous nature to them. Their skin was thick, sheened with ichor and sea foam, their nose sleek and button-like. But their eyes were big and round and baby blue.

“What will they be?” David asked with wonder.

“They will be what they choose to be.” Doris replied, in a tired whisper. “And they will live between the waves and the shore until they decide.”

David stopped for a moment, something hard felt caught on the edge of his thoughts, pressing with sharp edges on his brow.

“They can’t go to school or learn a trade in the waves.” He said, eventually.

Doris sighed and leaned back, settling into the bed.

“Then you must decide for them.” And she nodded towards the knife that still sat on the counter where David had prepared their dinner the previous night.

David looked at his child and looked at the knife. He did not reach for it, but instead reached out for the child with one finger. He was surprised to find that his nail was sharp and the flickering cast a wicked, hooked shadow.

He put the tiny garment in his sea chest along with the one he’d found on the beach. Sometimes, as the child grew, he would open the chest and look inside. His chest felt tight when he did so, in a way he didn’t like to think about. And, as the child grew, so did their coat.

In the years that followed, David began to become ill. He had thought, at first, that the feeling of breathlessness whenever he looked at Doris was something wonderful: a sign that no matter how many years past, she still made him feel like the nervous young man who had hoped and prayed his selkie bride would stay. That this life just past the sea’s edge, with him, would be enough for her.

But as the feeling grew ever stronger, his breath ever harder to catch, his lungs burning even on short walks inland … he began to fear he was ill.

The village wisewoman examined him. She counted his breaths. She scrutinised the colour of his blood between two lenses of green sea glass. She gave him sweet tinctures of peppermint and thyme and goldenrod. But she could find nothing wrong, other than growing the feeling of never quite being able to trap a full catch of air in his chest.

It became so bad that it was difficult for him to take fish to market or even mend his boat and nets. Strangely, though, he always seemed to find the breath to take his boat out onto the water. He began spending longer and longer at sea...

Doris went to the wisewoman next. They spoke for a long time. When they both returned to the cottage, they brought no potions or balms or contraptions. Instead, Doris simply took David by one hand, and their child by the other, and led them all over to the sea chest.

Doris had never approached it before. Had never shown the inclination. But she did so now, leading the trio with careful steady steps. The wisewoman opened the latch and pulled out the linens, spare nets, trinkets and sailcloth - at the bottom, two sealskin coats.

Doris picked it up and looked at it fondly. But she did not put it on.

Neither Doris nor David moved. In the silence, they were both aware that a question was being answered. They were both aware that the answer was a fair one.

They kept not moving. They looked at each other and both saw that neither of their outlines seemed quite real amongst the cosy surroundings of the cottage.

Then the wisewoman patted their child on the shoulder, and the child reached out towards David with one finger. In the flicker of the fireplace and the oil lamps, that finger seemed to cast a hooked shadow.

David nodded, slowly. There were no more questions to ask.

The hooked shadow descended.

A few moments or perhaps an agonised lifetime later, David covered up his silvery fishlike blood with the selkie coat that he’d found all those years ago.

Doris, too, put on a new coat of faded pink skin, weathered by sea and salt.

David left the cottage and took to the sea. He left his boat behind. 

The wisewoman followed to see him off.

Doris and the child did not. They sat down and both went to work mending their nets; they would sell them tomorrow at market, along with the boat and the cottage, then begin a long comfortable walk inland. Their silhouettes, as they walked away, would seem perfectly at home in the bright light of the country morning.

When the surf struck David’s chest, he found he could breathe again.

Jojo Drabble - Trish

※ A story where Trish and you have a make up session.

-----

You were sitting at the living room table with Trish. You two had a very sisterly bond and had been talking about make up and hair ever since you first met and today, you both finally had the occasion to have a quiet moment to make yourselves up.

With make up, tools and accessories laid all upon the dining table, you pampered your very cute pink-haired friend. Bruno was here as well, deciding to stay with your positive and calm company as he did some paper work.

"Are you sure we won't distract you, Capo?" You asked him with concern and he just smiled.

"No it's fine. I don't want to isolate myself while I work. And people doing their make up is somehow very satisfying to watch." He commented as he sorted his papers, more than ready to get it done and over with.

After a little while of doing each other's hair, you eventually got to your most favourite part of the makeover.

"Okay, done with primer, now... Foundation." You softly spoke and proceeded to apply the product on her face under Bruno's occasional glances.

"What I do usually is, when I'm done blending the foundation, I take a clean damp sponge," You took a sponge that you prepared before hand, acting upon your own instructions. "And I dab it gently on the zones where I get cakey the most."

Just as you said, you gently patted her small and attentive face with the sponge. "Around the mouth, sides of the nose, between the eyebrows, under the eyes, just like this..." you mumbled softly. "That way the sponge drinks up the excess and you won't get patchy throughout the day. I love this technique."

"It kinda feels good. Pat pat pat pat pat~." Trish commented sweetly as you carefully dabbed her face, gently holding her chin for easier work.

You giggled at her cuteness and Bruno bit back a grin at your interraction. He loved to see how you girls acted behind closed doors and how you two were like the family you deserved but didn't have.

Neither Bruno nor Trish would tell you this, but they loved to hear your soft tutoring voice in the silence and to be fair, Bruno would love to be pampered as well some day.

He might ask you later.

The room was silent aside from your occasionnal talking and the sounds of you picking up and putting down tools and brushes on the table. It was very relaxing to Bruno, especially when you girls talked down very softly, airy voices reaching him as he filled his reports, commenting and joking around adorably.

Sometimes he couldn't even understand what you were talking about, or didn't even listen, but just hearing you sweeties was enough to put him at ease. He might just start doing paperwork around you two from now on. It felt much more motivating.

"Okay, now. Don't move..."

Trish stood still as you held her face and carefully traced her eyeliner. Bruno had stopped working to look up at you in anticipation, suddenly intrigued.

He didn't know much about girls' secrets and intimacy since he never grew up around a lot of women, or frequented many, so seeing this was fascinating to him and he couldn't help himself but ponder.

That must be terribly difficult, he thought. You were so incredibly precise and delicate for this fine task, it was like seeing a surgeon at work.

You hovered above Trish, tilting her head back against the seat for stability and your strokes were akin to a painter's. You looked as beautiful when focused as Trish was when closed-eyed.

Were average girls this talented and meticulous? Or were you just that amazing? He was impressed, to say the least.

"Oohhh I did it! I usually suck with eyeliner, I'm so happy. Okay, okay! Now uh... for the lashes... Oh~ this mascara will be great, this one has sparkles in it."

"Wait, what mascara is this?" The rose-head gasped at the beautiful golden and sparkling tube you held.

"It's the..." You took the tube and stared at the reference, squinting at the name. "Volume Million De Cils from L'Oréal. It does wonders."

"Wow! Also, nice accent!" She giggled at you as you striked a pose in pride.

"Merci beaucoup~ Even though you speak the best French of all the gang."

"I beg to differ." Bruno interjected, his eyes not leaving his papers as you two chuckled.

"Oh," You raised one eyebrow at his subtle bragging, "Well, excuuuse me sir. Did Mr. Polnareff praise your skills?"

"Absolutely." He confirmed confidently.

Trish covered her mouth with small hands as she laughed, Bruno smirking and pretending he was too busy writing reports to hear you mocking him and his attitude.

"What are you brats doing? What a mess." Abbachio came up from the kitchen with a cup of coffee in his hand and sat down at the table, joining the three of you.

"Make up." Trish mumbled, trying not to move and mess up your handiwork.

He only grunted in response and took a sip, decising to observe you make up the teenager and judge your skills.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He suddenly barked, startling you and Trish as you were about to paint her lips, "That's not how you do it, you dumbass!"

"Huh?" Your eyes twitched, "And how should I do it then, Mr. Make up artist?" You bit back arrogantly at the male.

"Can you please not start?" Bruno huffed, rubbing his temples to prevent the headache he was sure to get if you all started screaming. You and Abbachio muttered a quick apology before continuing.

"You're supposed to use a lip liner you dumb fuck. Here, move it." Abbachio got up and carefully chose a lip liner from the stash before harshly grabbing Trish's chin.

"Ow!" Complained the small girl as she was unnecessarily manhandled by this brute.

"Here. Like this." He traced the outlines of her lips with surprising expertise, as if he had done this his entire life, which he probably did. "See? It's not that hard. And only THEN, can you blend the liner with the actual lipstick. It's literally common sense."

"And who are you?! That's MY make up, I do whatever I want!" You slapped his arm and tried to push him away from your stash, all in vain as he remained still as a pillar.

"Shut up. Be grateful I'm giving you lessons. Thank me when your lipstick finally stays for more than an hour and doesn't make you look like you've sucked five dicks in a row or whatever."

"BRUNO, TELL HIM TO LEAVE US ALONE!!" You whined, personnally attacked, and Bruno sighed, his headache rightfully appointed by now.

"Leone, just... Let the girls play..."

And so he did. Thankfully.

A Hero’s Guide to Monsters

1.  Find a monster and give it a name.  Any name will do, people say that names have power, to be careful what to pick, but really, for this, any name.  To even hold a name is power enough.  Call it by that name until it begins to respond, only good things have names. Wait and it will become good.  

2.  Find a monster and bring it into your house.  Feed it at your table, make it eat with cutlery and crockery, sit up straight, elbows in.  Feed it so it is not restless, so it does not fall into monstrosity again.  Wait and it will become calm.  

3.  Find a monster and treat it gentle.  Show it goodness, calmness, kindness.  Never strike it, speak softly, make your way closer to it every night until you can sit beside it.  Women and tigers, old songs still sung by the fire, such an act has never been impossible. Wait and it will become soft.  

4.  Find a monster and sing it to sleep.  Ask it how its day went, how the people treated it.  Tell it that everything will be ok, that in the morning all its fears and sorrows will leave it and the birds will sing.  Tell it about the sun, about springtime and budding leaves.  Kiss its forehead every night and wake it up every morning.  Wait and it will become nothing more than a scared child.

5.  Find the person standing before you, a child wearing a monster’s face, trapped in a body all grown up and alone, and give it a hope, and give it a home. Let it leave knowing there’s a place for it to come back to. Let it return and curl up in front of the television with you and weep into your shoulder.  Make it popcorn and put chocolate on the popcorn and let it lick its fingers and fall asleep.  Cover it with a blanket.  Wait, and it will become nothing more than what it has always been.  All you did was peel back the darkness.  

6.  Find another monster, repeat.    

t-shirts

Only a month before he graduates and when he arrives home to his mother’s caring yet tired smile, just like how she is everyday, he has nothing but grumbles and scowls to share. He isn’t ugly but he isn’t good looking either, he is just your average guy living a somewhat average life. He is average in school, average at home, average with people, so remarkably average, and he averagely thinks it’s a mistake that his life is so average. He dreams big dreams, living in lavish luxury and surrounded by supermodels. He would gaze out his penthouse window to stare at his faint reflection cast upon a starling city below. But when he storms up the stairs and slams the door to his room the only thing left behind the opaque glass is a dirty brick wall half covered in moss. The expensive furnisher is replaced by a worn wobbly desk and a stiff mattress stained with sweat and all sorts of drinks. In the place of beautiful women only unwashed clothes and discarded snack packaging lie scattered like debris.

The door is always slammed, and because of that the lock is broken. Opening it from the outside is difficult and it is even harder from the inside. He slumps down in his chair and glances at the mounds of homework he was supposed to hand in last week, it barely yields a grunt. Strange, he often complains about his grades. He doesn't do much in class other than stare at girls or sleep. Then again he isn’t in class much either, spending school hours smoking or drinking with his “friends” while listening to music that tells him he’s real. Dreaming of a better life, yes all he does is dream and wait expecting his dreams to realize themselves.

There is this one girl in his chemistry class that he spends the most with his eyes on. She has beautiful long brown hair and almost always wears a yellow jacket. Cute and nice, she always tries to help others in class even when dealing with cruel parents and chaotic siblings at home. But he doesn’t know what she’s been through and he doesn’t really care, he thinks she’ll be happy with him but he doesn’t know what makes her laugh. All he does is stare and make all sorts of noises, he never actually confronts her. He almost asked her out this one time when he was drunk, but he started to puke and almost passed out. He didn’t talk to anyone for three days after that. He just shut the door to his room and watched dry paint crumble off the walls.

Back at the desk, he shifts around in an old chair knowing he won’t find a more comfortable position without getting up and sitting back down again, but still he continues to struggle against the immovable chair for several minutes before submitting and deciding he would just stay where he is. This isn’t the first time he’s done this. An old laptop with a cracked screen and a sticky keyboard is now open, and his reflection remains unchanged on the black mirror for another several minutes. His eyes are open but he’s not staring, no, a blank wall lies behind his eyes as he loses himself in memories. Back when he was in elementary school, when he was at a local swimming pool and his friends had pushed him to the top of the tallest diving board there. He was afraid but already on the diving board and there were people behind him so he couldn’t turn back. It is easy for him to remember the panic he felt, the dive terrified him. It seems silly to panic over something so small but it wasn’t silly then and it isn't silly now. It will never be silly, not to him at least. No matter how much he wants to say that it was nothing more than a joke that didn’t mean anything, no matter how many times he tells himself that, he will never be able to fully ignore the truth.

Back then when he was in elementary school and he was on the diving board at the point of no return he didn’t jump willing. He was about to be pushed off when he slipped. His right foot slipped on the wet diving board and he fell into the pool below. His mother called out his name “Michael!”, and there was no smile on her face when she saw that foot slip, but then again there was no frown either. She just wanted to be there for him. A second later he was in the water, again his eyes were open. The water was clear and the pool once full of people had become an endless sea of emptiness. Then he had realized what happened and scrambled out of the water failing his arms and legs as if he was a drowning rabbit. When he made it to the edge of the pool and realized it was just a pool he was met with his mother’s embrace.

“Oh Michael, are you all alright?” she said.

He grumbled but gave a small nod.

“I’m so proud of you! Being so brave! Jumping from so high up!”

Micheal blushed but turned his head away and quickly kicked out of the water.

Back at the desk he shakes his head like a wet dog but it’s not water he’s shaking off. The wall behind his eyes crumbled to dust as it was hobbled together in seconds, no other wall had sustained any damage. Micheal’s stained t-shirt sticks to his torso with who knows what, but it is not just the shirt he has on. The shirts on the floor and the shirts on the bed, even the shirts in the draws are stained, but not all with sweat. Some are stained with tears, some are stained with beer, one is stained with some of his puke from that time he tried to ask out that girl in his chemistry class, the rest are stained with more peculiar substances. It is an ugly sight, all those shirts, but they cover up the dust, they cover up the loose hairs and the toenail clippings, and the broken floorboards and the splinters. He takes small short breaths because the air reeks, but it doesn’t sting his nose. The air outside doesn’t seem much better, but that window doesn’t open easily anyway. He won’t let his mom inside to clean, no matter how many times she asks, and he won't do it himself.

She is a hard working mom she really is. Always keeping the house clean while working the rest of the day, cooking all the food and doing all the chores. She raised little Micheal all by herself because no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t find anyone who would stick around. She used to hold him when he cried, when fell and scratched his knee or banged his elbow on the table. She taught him how to read and write and never lost patience even when he threw his pencils that she worked so hard to buy across the room. But despite all that, he won’t even let inside his room. Maybe he is afraid, afraid and embarrassed to show her the mess. At least he can hide the mess, he can’t hide the smell. It seeps under the door and makes his mother’s head spin when she passes by. She doesn’t know why though, no that’s not it, she knows. Her nose stings or perhaps it doesn’t

It won’t matter when they acknowledge the smell, they will clean up too late. Her, she will always smile even when her face hurts. She will smile with her eyes forever shut. Him, he will never crack a window or open a door. He will never wash his t-shirts.

Coming Home

I think this is the longest story I put up on tumblr so far. It's Sarah x Krolock again. Sarah returns some time after the escape from the castle. Alfred is accopanying her. I hope you like it and have fun reading it. Warnings: None

A vigorous knock echoed through the halls of the castle, disrupting the eerie silence. A loud shout followed soon after. “Koukoooool!”

The servant appeared from a hallway to the left, hobbled to the tall door of the castle and opened it. He froze, scrunched his face and mumbled unintelligible. On the steps before the castle stood a woman he recognized all too well and he didn’t exactly know how to react. When he spotted the young man beside her he grunted and spit before his feet.

His master appeared behind him. “What’s the matter Kouk-“ He froze on his spot, his eyes trained on the woman. She looked up at him calmly, luggage in hand. She had a dark red cloak wrapped around her and it made him remember the last night he had seen her. Red still suited her exquisitely.

First try at a prompt:

Prompt 1:

The sound of the clattering chains reverberated throughout the enclosed, four walls of the cell as Villain paced back and forth. Not caring for her cell mates who lay on the freezing floor. Not dead. Just merely unconscious. Only one thought echoed in her mind.

Hero.

Still plotting her escape when others had given up so easily. Still figuring out what she would do when she gets her hands on him. Relishing the thought of him kneeling at her feet.

A chuckle escaped from her. What she wouldn’t give just to see him again. All bored and longing to fight another villain who was just as good as entertaining as her.

She paced her cell, lost in her thoughts. The suffocating silence immediately dissipated as the jingle of keys echoed throughout the corridor of the prison, stopping right in front of her cell. The door creaked open as she shielded herself from the blinding light from the guard’s torch.

“Get up Villain. Hero is here to see you.”

there was the first kiss, the one that sent her spiraling. the one she'd been waiting for. the one that was chaste and delicate and clumsy, the way first kisses usually are. the one underneath the stars in the cold weather with her shaky hands and his nervous smile. it was the way his eyes kept darting from hers to her lips, and back again, that made her head spin. he was taking his time, remembering every millisecond of that moment, so he wouldn't forget. her, eyes fluttering quickly as she bit down on her lip and him, careful not to scare her off while trying to steady the pounding of his heart. he'd gently wrapped his hand behind her neck, tangled his fingers in her hair, and pulled her close. it was quick and fleeting and pure and left them both wanting more. wanting one another. their nervous laughter echoed against the waves next to them.

and then on a warm springtime day, prancing through the streets, jumping from shop to shop, there was the kiss that stopped time when he realized he loved her. like he was willing time to stop, just to get as much of it as he could with her. the shops were buzzing, the streets filled with kids riding bicycles, friends taking photographs, couples celebrating or breaking from normal life, adults working and cleaning and helping others around them. and she tugged on his hand, her dress ruffling in the breeze, and she pointed to a storefront, asking him to go in, just for a moment. but he tugged her gently back, right in the middle of the street, wrapped his arms around her waist, and kissed her, unaware of the rest of the world around them. it was slow and soft, but one of those kisses that they knew would escalate if they let it. they pulled apart slowly, but didn't distance themselves from one another, interlocked in the middle of that busy street, while life went on around them. but to one another, time had seemingly stopped, and in that moment, he promised himself he'd marry that girl, no matter what.

then there were the early morning, rushing-to-work, have-to-leave-the-apartment-quickly kisses. the peck on the head or the cheek, the ones that were so quick, they wondered if they'd actually happened. the kisses that were familiar and complacent. a very quick "see you later" or "have a good day". the ones that started to not have much significance, because they happened so often, so regularly.

and on evenings where she cried, there were the soft kisses pressed onto her eyes to rid her of her tears. they were soft and meaningful, and they ached to heal her pain. he held her tightly, caressing her, gently pressing his lips into her hair, onto her neck, onto her tears. he wanted to get rid of her pain and he wanted her to know how much he loved her.

then there were days filled with anger and jealousy. there were heated arguments over silly things, stupid things, things that didn't matter, things that were pulling them apart. but they were too wrapped up in their own thoughts that they didn't allow themselves to understand one another. pride was getting in the way. stupid, silly pride was wedging its way in between them both, enough to create some type of rift. but then, he noticed the way that her face flushed when she got angry, the way that she'd pull at her hair and leave it looking askew, the way her eyes would glisten greener when she fought, and it made him want her more. and so he kissed her forcefully, as if to just shut her up and end it all, and then he melted into it, and so did she. and soon they were stumbling over one another and giggling quietly, not remembering their argument or pride but instead remembering how it felt to love one another.

and then families became involved. kisses became less frequent, distance more so. they were being pulled apart from one another because of people who didn't approve of their love, or that they'd chosen one another. they both weren't good enough. but how was that fair?

and they chose everyone else's happiness over their own, because they always put everyone before themselves. it's who they were. it's what made them fall in love with one another in the first place -- their selflessness. and they spent their final night together wrapped underneath a blanket in front of the roaring fire, staring into the blazing flames, wasting time, but wishing for more of it. aching for it to stop. dreaming of a different reality. because what reality was worth living when they couldn't be together?

they spent their final evening together before she went back home to a family who didn't approve of him, and he to his who declared they'd find him a better woman. but didn't they know that he'd already found her, and that they were taking him away from her?

outside, the rain mocked her emotions. it whipped fiercely and slammed open screens, it drenched the windowsills, it howled into the night, and soon her tears started again.

and so he did what he always did when overwhelming feels of love swept him up -- he just kissed her. he kissed her to forget of everything else, to make her pain stop, to remind her that he'd always love her, no matter what. he kissed her like he did all those other times -- with the tenderness of the first, the ferocity of the one when he'd fallen in love, the familiarity of the ones they shared every morning. he kissed her with the gentleness of the ones when she cried, and the heat of the ones when they were angry. he kissed her for all of the times that they had together, and for all of the times that they wouldn't. an engagement. a wedding. a family. a life growing old.

and she swore that no matter wherever she went or whoever she met, that she'd never forget it, any of it. him and the tenderness in his ocean blue eyes and the way it felt to be held by him, like he always yearned for just a few more minutes, and the way it felt to be loved by him, like he couldn't quite believe that she had hung the moon and stars in the sky.

she'd never forget, and neither would he -- all that they were, who they are, and who they'd never get to be.

together.