#I am going to be careful to keep discussions respectful etc. etc. so as not to cultivate a toxic workplace or whatever. prommy.
dreadthehalfhanded · 2 months
someone stop me from writing a 10-15 page essay mla format with citations about Aragorn's character arc in LotR. Yes yes yes we know frodo and Sam are the real heroes, smallest and strongest, etc.
But moment of appreciation for my guy Aragorn who is literally just some dude who would much rather lie in ditches and hang out with horses than be recognized for a single accomplishment ever... Who loses literally everything to become king.
Yeah, loses. You heard me.
It's been a minute since I read the books but I just finished watching the extended trilogy again, and idk why it's never stood out to me so plainly that this is a tragedy in many respects for Aragorn. He loses his anonymity, his ranger identity, and Eowyn. He has turned down the path to kingship over and over, and yet it continues to be thrust on him. He tries to sends Arwen to safety and immortality -- but she chooses to stay in middle earth for him anyway. (Yes, he loves her, and because of that, she will die.)
Part of this is I'm sure due to how Viggo played these scenes, but every moment Aragorn has on screen after accepting Anduriel is drenched in grief. He doesn't want this.
"I gave hope to men" "I keep no hope for myself." This isn't Aragorn saying he has no hope for the war, it's him saying that he chooses to serve the needs of the people over his own needs. Gondor needs a king. To do that thing, Aragorn the ranger must die. He cannot continue to have his own needs and desires and hopes. He chooses to serve.
"it is but a shadow and a dream that you love" this could be read as Aragorn telling Eowyn you don't really know me bitch... But Viggo is so heartbroken and so sincere in the delivery here, and he's spent so much time with her prior to this moment, voluntarily, that I read this as regretful. Aragorn the ranger would have loved Eowyn. Aragorn the king cannot.
Now you hardcore Aragorn x Arwen shippers may be going HOLD THE PHONE. But please bear with me. By marrying Arwen, Aragorn dooms her to a mortal life and death. He loves her. He doesn't want that for her, no matter how much he likes her. So that choice is tinged with sadness for him as much as her. It's hurt he causes the woman he loves. When he greets her at minas tirith in the coronation scene, it is with wonder and sadness as much as joy.
a lot of Aragorn's public "king" actions are cosplaying the kings of old. This isn't the ranger we know. Who is this guy? He introduces himself as heir of elendiel to Sauron in the palantir. His song at his coronation is quoting from the canonically famous lines of one of the first numenorian kings, and translates roughly to, "out of the great sea I am come and here I shall abide I and my heirs unto the ending of the world". (Or something like that). In the books he even takes up a different name: Elessar.
don't get me started on the costume design and how the amount of RED in his wardrobe directly correlates with how much leadership he is willing to accept!
Anyway this is all off the top of my head without checking a single source but yeah. My man is complex and devastatingly human and we don't talk about it enough.
side eyes a college professor who reduced Aragorn to "a Christ figure in the narrative" in favor of discussing the hobbits
ARAGORN THE RANGER HAS TO LOSE EVERYTHING HE'S EVER CARED ABOUT FOR ELESSAR TO TAKE THE THRONE AND THAT'S FUCKIN SAD. It's a choice he makes for the good of everyone else, when he wants the opposite.
screams into a paper bag
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resowrites · 5 months
Hitch - oneshot.
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Summary: Henry and his girlfriend hit a bump in the road…
Pairings: AU!Henry Cavill x Girlfriend!OC
Warnings: angst, fluff, relationship difficulties/argument, language, pet names, nondescript OC body type/appearance, brief allusion to smut, hastily written/lightly proofread.
WC: 1630
A/N: Hi folks, still not back in the writing groove but gave it a go and this was the result lol Sorry for deleting the last request, still having a crisis of confidence but I appreciate all interactions (especially as it helps me figure out blog direction). Not sure how often I’ll continue posting atm but feel free to send requests etc. - R x
My work must not be copied, reposted, or translated elsewhere. Likes, follows, reblogs and comments are thoroughly welcome and appreciated! Gifs/pics not my own. I hope you all enjoy and thanks for visiting!
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Hitch - oneshot.
"I just want you to tell me why."
"Henry, do you not think if there was another reason, I’d just say so? Especially if it meant not having this conversation again?"
"So you honestly expect me to believe that you won’t get married simply because don't want to?"
"Yes! I said as much not long after we got together, why did you think I’d change my mind?"
"I dunno, I thought maybe you were trying to protect yourself. I know being with someone like me will never be straightforward, but why is marriage an impossibility given how long we've now been together? I've never done anything to make you doubt me or my love for you." She sighed and placed her hands on her hips, struggling to comprehend how watching some dreadful reality show about matchmaking had led to their current discussion. 
"Henry, I really can’t have this conversation again. I've told you my reason why and won't keep repeating myself. Goodnight." Henry dashed between her and the living room door.
"Darling please, we need to talk about this. Surely you can appreciate why I’m confused? You won't attend premieres with me, you don’t often travel with me. I respect that you're your own person and want to be out of the spotlight at much as possible, but now I'm worried you don't feel the same way about me anymore."
"Henry, you already know that isn't true. For fuck's sake I take care of everything each and every day don't I? Your house, your personal affairs, even your dog! I live in the middle of nowhere for you, I get abused every day worldwide for you, and I can't even walk down the fucking street without the risk of being photographed - all for you! Why would I do any of that if I didn't love you? I've never wanted your money, connections, or anything else, and yet here you are questioning me!" But her anger only served to rile him up further. 
"Well, I wonder why! You sound pretty resentful even though this is our house, our dog, our fucking life! For God’s sake I thought we were past this, what else can I do to prove that you're my priority?"
"I'm not resentful, that's my point! And we didn't choose this house or other aspects of our life together but I'm still here, still dedicated to you. What else do I have to do, to prove that?"
"So that would help? If we moved, chose a house together?" She clasped her forehead, exasperated.
"Ugh, no! I love this house because you chose it, just like I love you. Now let me go to bed." Henry blocked her path once again.
"No, please… I'm just trying to understand. You forget that I know you were engaged before, so is it that? You love me but you were in love with him?"
"Or the experience just confirmed marriage isn't for me. If I'd lost the person I loved most, why would I settle? I'm hardly the type, am I?" He searched her eyes.
"But if it's inconsequential to you why can't we do it? I just want you to be my wife, you know fine well I'll never hurt or leave you!"
"Except I don't! No one can. I don't want marriage because I don’t believe it's a vow anyone can honestly make. You might wake up tomorrow and decide you don't love me anymore, or next week you could meet someone who makes you realise you never did. I'm sorry but having to get divorced just adds insult to injury and I won't do it to myself. I refuse to."
"Oh, darling." Henry tried to move in for a hug but she swiftly raised her hand.
"Stop it. Whether you accept it or not, I continue to be here because I love you, and I'm sorry you think I haven't done enough to make that clear."
"And I'm sorry you think I don't love you as much as you love me." A look flashed briefly across her face.
"When did I say that?!"
"Throughout this entire conversation! So I was right all along, you think I'm just a selfish prick who wants to have his cake and eat it. First it was your father, then your ex, and now me. I'm just the latest in a long line of disappointments, aren't I? What do you want me to do? Give up acting? Will that be a big enough improvement for you?" There was no mistaking the look on her face anymore.
"How dare you. I've always respected what you do--"
“She said sarcastically.”
"Oh whatever, all this really comes down to is you not being able to control me any further than you already do." He stepped back a moment, turning around only halfway when he was ready to speak again.
"You don't really believe that?"
"Either way, I'm never getting married or having children. If that's too much for you then, I suppose... our relationship is already over." Her eyes were distraught and Henry rushed forwards, gripping the sides of her arms.
"No, no. Please, don't say that. I'm not losing you over something like this. Having children is different and besides, I don’t want to share you with anyone else," she felt her heart pinch. "I'm sorry, Okay? I'm just hurt, but I'll get over it. Yes, I'm old-fashioned, I find it hard that you don't let me spoil you, or that we have to take turns paying for holidays. You even have to pay for the upkeep of this place!”
"Yes, because you bought it despite us both living here, why can't I at least contribute?" He finally let her go, sighing as his head dropped down.
"I just want to care of you."
"And you do! Which I'm grateful for and is the reason I do whatever I can to take care of you as well. Marriage gives me the ick, alright? I'm just not lovey-dovey, sue me."
"Bollocks. You spend ages cuddling Kal, cooking for me… do you know you even cuddle up to me at night after you've fallen asleep? I try and stay awake just so--" his voice caught in his throat, "I don't miss it. We don't have to have a wedding, though you seemed to enjoy Mark's and Claire's...”
"I'd enjoy myself at funerals if they had open bars." 
"Well, what if something happens to me? I need to make sure everything's taken care of."
"We can go to a solicitor for that." Henry rubbed his jaw.
"What if we make it just us? We don't have to invite anyone other than the witnesses." She pondered the suggestion for a moment. 
"How about we have a civil union?" He scowled.
"What, where you don't have to change your title, surname, or even be called my wife?"
"Henry that's my last offer, take it or leave it. For fuck's sake why can't I just be your partner? That's all I've ever wanted to be..." She swallowed back her tears but practically fled the room. Henry just stood with his head in his hands. Neither of them slept well that night.
The next couple of days passed uneasily, not that she didn't try her best to make things better. She still didn't want to give in to Henry though, no matter how bad it felt not to. She thought she’d sacrificed enough for them to be together. If she said yes to this, then what would be next? It was as she was curled up on the sofa, letting such thoughts churn over and over in her mind, that he came and sat down beside her. After a couple of minutes, he gently took her hand. "Listen, I've thought about what you said and I think I finally understand. With that in mind, I'd like you to accept these as a promise that we'll belong to each other for as long as possible and as best we can.” He looked at her knowingly while pulling two velvet boxes from his pocket. “I got you the same promise ring as mine as I know you don't like anything sparkly, mine's just wider cos I've got big hands and need it to last. You don't have to be a Mrs or take my surname either, though I know you don’t like yours so I thought maybe you could anyway?" His hopeful eyes were met with the mischief in hers.
"But your surname’s awful as well!" He snorted.
"Fair enough, I know it's a nightmare changing everything by deed poll anyway. We can wear the rings on our right hands if you want, so... what do you think?"
"I'll accept it on one condition," she teased, though the tears in her eyes were plain to see.
"Which is?"
"You get down on one knee." Henry stared at her for a moment in disbelief but soon hurled himself to the floor, grinning as she presented her right hand. He took his time, making sure to slide the band on carefully. Once that was done she grabbed his and as gently as her patience would allow, twisted it over his finger. They beamed at each other before he leaped to his feet, pulling her with him so they could kiss and embrace. His heart felt like it was about to burst. "You know, if I'm not your wife then what will you call me?"
"How about 'wagon?'" She giggled and swatted him on the arm. "What about me?"
"Hmm, let's see... what else begins with 'w?'" He roared with laughter, planted another kiss on her mouth, and swept her up into his arms. She knew they were headed for the stairs before he even turned round.
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cryptonature · 9 months
Seeking Peace while the Work is Unfinished
As I continue my lifelong work to understand my own mind, I've been thinking about the difference between constructive and destructive mindsets. The difference between fighting and building. Opposing and cultivating. Condemning and celebrating. It's no secret that we need our destructive mindsets to oppose injustice, fight those who do harm, and speak out against abusers, bigots, fascists, etc. We also know that social media uses our innate prioritization of threats to hold our attention and keep us scrolling. And yet... I think it's clear that what makes the world (and the inside of our skulls) a joyful, livable, sustainable place to dwell requires constructive mindsets. Building shelter. Building communities. Food. Art. Education. Childcare. Science. Medicine. Fun and leisure. For me, it seems that the default structure of our current media/cultural climate pulls toward a destructive mindset. This pull is very hard on my mental health. However, it's a nuanced thing to discuss because the forces I want to resist legitimately should be resisted. It feels complicated because both reason and a respect for my own sense of wellbeing tells me to intentionally turn toward a constructive mindset, but in doing so I must make an active choice to turn away from unaddressed threats/problems/injustices. Like many issues that feel complex, the problem arises from dichotomous thinking. The idea that we dedicate ourselves solely to one or the other, to constructive or destructive thinking. It's a false choice. We can't do two things at once and we need to make room for both. The balanced approach seems simple enough, but I think finding that balance requires me to acknowledge that there are vast, sophisticated tools/algorithms/financial interests pressing down on the 'destructive mindset' side of the scale. The problem is exacerbated by the abstract, placelessness we feel as citizens of the internet and people who have been cut off from our physical contexts by the pandemic (and other factors). We become inhabitants of social media. It becomes our environment. Threat as place. So, the deck is stacked against us when we seek ways to exercise constructive mindsets, to find hope and pleasure. But, here's the thing. I suffer from painful, chronic depression which, paradoxically, gives me some interesting tools to fight back against these forces. I am well acquainted with insidious pressures trying to steer me toward hopelessness. I am well acquainted with having to make a conscious effort of will to turn toward positivity, to go outside, to recognize when my dread stems from forces beyond my immediate control. Revolutions may need to fight, but they also need to feed people, to make life worth living, to present a vision of a world that feels worth inhabiting. Destructive mindsets have their place, but we miss the point when we let them define our identities completely. So, I seek out things that make me feel hopeful. I stubbornly allow for the idea that many of my fellow humans are good, are smart, are worthy, are interesting, are enriching the world. I recognize that social media isn't a trustworthy representation of our reality. I adopt the self-care stance that in this flawed, complicated, temporary world, the local trees and birds are also deserving of a portion of my undivided attention and that giving it to them is neither a surrender to evil nor an immoral act of self-indulgence. We are all different and we need different things. But I argue that, regardless of context, each of us deserves/needs rest and peace and pleasure. Sometimes, the portion of nature for which we are best positioned to care and preserve is ourselves. Yes, I think we should oppose evil. We should take action. We should do good works. But if you find yourself living in a state of constant dread or hopeless anger, I want to recommend that there is a healing balance to be found between destructive/constructive mindsets. We are all fundamentally worthy of seeking this balance. Of finding our hope. Of rediscovering our place and peace. Of forgiving ourselves for what we do not control. Of allowing ourselves to be simple, natural animals enjoying the beauty of this flawed, lovely world.
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jgoddesstarot · 1 year
Pick-A-Pile: What will Saturday mornings be like with your Future Spouse? 💋(18+ only!)
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👑Check out my masterlist to see all of my pick-a-card readings😊
🔮Disclaimer: This reading is for entertainment purposes only. Tarot readings are based upon my intuitive interpretation of the cards and about possibilities based on your current energy. Energy is forever changing and nothing is set in stone. Always remember, you have your own free will to make whatever decision you feel is best.
🔮How I read: I use a mix of tarot cards, oracle cards, along with my intuitive abilities of claircognizance, clairaudience, and clairsentience.
🔮How this works: Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths, pick the pile you are most drawn to. If you aren’t drawn to any pile then that’s okay, these messages aren’t for you. Also, it's ok if you're drawn to more than one pile! There might be messages in there that resonate with you as well.
Pile 1:
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Tarot Cards: 8 of Pentacles, 5 of Pentacles, 2 of Swords, 4 of Wands,
Oracle Cards: Bride, Recurring Thoughts, Forgiveness & Healing, Communication
Angel Numbers: 11 (I Am Intuitive), 111 (I Am Creative), 16 (I Am Perceptive)
Pile 1, Saturday mornings with your future spouse will be amazingly nourishing to your soul. Your fs is a strong emotional support for you (in a healthy not codependent way) and will talk you through your insecurities, fears, self-doubts, and indecisions on any matters you're dealing with at work, with friends, with family, etc. They CARE and they want to see you happy. You will be happy with them overall because on top of the physical attraction, I feel there's alot of emotional attraction and nurturing in this connection as well.
I'm also getting that your future spouse will be a bit older and more emotionally mature than you are. They can intuitively sense when something isn't right with your mood or demeanor though you try hard to keep things to yourself to not feel like a burden. They are perceptive about your moods and will address things even if you don't share them...and they do it in such a loving and supportive way! Not intrusive or judgmental at all! Saturday mornings is a special time of healing for you two to talk and communicate privately. Oh, and this definitely is a future spouse with the bride oracle card coming out.
Random words: lazy and warm, comfortable, soft cashmere, morning light, lattes and laughter, a happy family, thoughts and journaling
Pile 2:
Tarot Cards: King of Wands, Justice, The Star, 9 of Pentacles
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Angel Numbers: 15 (I Am Wise), 77 (I Am Brave), 1212 (I Am Focused)
Oracle Cards: Wisdom, Endings & Beginnings, Embrace, Pleasure
Saturday mornings are going to be all about strategy and "a meeting of the minds" my Pile 2! Your future spouse is extremely financially successful (I'm getting hedge fund manager, portfolio manager on Wall Street, etc.) and they are very good at making money. Not just that, but they truly understand how money works and are in love with the art of making it (this isn't a greedy energy, this is more about they understand the energy of money and how to play with it, attract it, etc.). You my Pile 2's do not have to work but you're very smart about money and/or very highly educated so Saturday mornings are like a power meeting between you and your fs!
And you two discussing things about the stock market, crypto, socio economic impacts on the world economy, etc. actually gets you both in the mood for sex! It's not that money turns you two on per se, it's the intelligence and spirited conversations and/or debate (you two know how to disagree in the most healthy and respectful way...other couples envy this about you!) that makes you attracted to one another all over again!
Oh, I'm getting that you and your future spouse are both health-conscious and are SUPER HOT! (If you're not the most health-conscious person now, you are currently doing shadow work and through this work are coming to a very healthy & balanced place in your relationship with food, exercise, your body, etc.)
So these Saturday morning discussions about money get you two all hot and bothered and lead to mind blowing sex!
Pile 2, I'm getting that your future spouse travels alot for work but your Saturday morning sessions are something that they can't wait to get home to tell you about their trip and have very stimulating conversation and hot sweaty sex afterwards.
Pile 3:
Random words: scotch and whiskey, coffee...black, Italian espresso, city nights, Tribeca loft, Upper East/West Side, all black everything, Gucci bags and Hermes rags
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Oracle Cards: Twin Flame, Confusion, Stability, Fertility
Tarot Cards: The Empress, The Hierophant, Queen of Pentacles, Knight of Cups
Angel Numbers: 1 (I Am Innovative), 10 (I Am Ingenious), 222 (I Am Balanced)
Pile 3 you are my spiritual pile! I see you and your future spouse spending time meditating together, then transitioning to naked yoga then Tantric sex!
For some of you, this is a twin flame connection, but I see it as a soul connection either way of two evolved individuals. This means by the time you're with your future spouse, Pile 3, you will have done the shadow work, self-work, etc. to be a health and balanced individual in and of yourself and so will your future spouse.
There's a lot of passion but coolness here (balance). This connection has a lot of stability to it and I can see that one of your Saturday morning "spiritual workout" sessions will likely (and fairly easily) result in pregnancy with the Fertility oracle card coming out. So if that's not what you want, wrap it up!
The feelings of emotional, material, financial, and romantic/love abundance is what I keep getting but they are all coming through in an equal measure which is making me feel, once again, that this relationship with your future spouse is very balanced. You two are very aligned spiritually and work with your own individual spirit guides, higher selves, etc.
I see one of you actually having a job or business in something spiritual, like a yoga or meditation teacher, and are very successful at it. Whomever this person is is very innovative and highly respected by their students or clients.
I'm also sensing that you two take time to give one another adequate space. The coolness that I'm feeling in this connection is not something negative or bad. It's something quite healthy and restorative to keep your connection strong and healthy.
Random words: iced coffee, breath in and exhale, mint herbal relief, breath of fresh air, snuggle but snow, cool eucalyptus
🌟 I hope this reading resonated with you! Please reblog & let me (and others know) what pile or piles resonated with you!🌟
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stormblessed95 · 4 months
Hello Storm. I love your blog and it has helped me many times when I needed to find sources of content and specific information. Thank you for maintaining this archive of Jikook and BTS-related content, as well as keeping up healthy fandom discussions.
This could be a strange topic but I'd like to talk about "shipper" vs "supporter". I've seen your discussion on the topic and believe most Jikookers share your opinion. I find myself in the minority, feeling that "supporter" is not a well-fitted self-description. "Supporter" to me seems odd since there is no 100% confirmed relationship to support, no matter how likely I think it is. On the other hand, if "supporter" simply means I support their relationships and life choices in general regardless of who they are with, then I am not specifically just a Jikook supporter. I would be also a Jimin supporter, Jungkook supporter, supporter of all members of BTS, etc. I wonder if it is just me being pedantic, or I am not understanding the real reasoning behind the choice of word.
If I absolutely have to choose, I feel like "a shipper who respects boundaries" could possibly describe me better. I do have a soft spot for their interactions, I just have no twisted desire to dictate the interpersonal relationships of other people. However, I have the feeling that deliberately choosing to call myself a "shipper" would almost guarantee misunderstandings whether within or outside Jikooker circles, so I end up avoiding either words entirely😂
Hi, thanks for the kind words. Here is my post on the topic for you/anyone else if they haven't seen it so that I'm not repeating myself
In all honestly, im so over the shipper community at this point, I'm just going to call myself a jikook lover at and leave it at that. Lmfao feel free to also call yourself the same if you want! I think a lot of people forget, as I've gotten quite a few angry jkkrs in my ask box as well these past few days along with just in general when I talk about other duos (specifically one) too, that I am an OT7 army first, a yoonmin biased army second, and a jikook lover or "supporter" third. This mini rant isn't directly at YOU anon, just an in general reminder. Lol
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As for me, when I do say supporter, it's what I described in the post above. "Jikook" is also just their duo name. It's supporting their possible/probable relationship, it's supporting their friendship, it's supporting them individually. It's support without expectations to be fulfilled. And honestly, I don't care how you chose to label yourself lol. It's just a label. I care about how you behave and your actions in relation to the guys. So if you have respectable boundaries and you have their best interest in heart and you aren't being shady to them or anyone else? Call yourself a shipper to your hearts content! And that goes for a shipper of any capacity. From taekookers to namgists, to jikookers and taejinnies, to ot7 poly truthers. Don't be hateful, don't be shady, respect everyone's boundaries. And then therefore I'm fine with whatever and it won't bother me.
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bookishfeylin · 3 months
I saw a post of a pro Rhysand and Feyre, it said that “people say that Feyre only gets respect because she is Rhysand’s mate and it’s not true.” I am like that is literally the truth. None cared to tell her of her being Rhysand’s mate nor her pregnancy risk. They don’t care for her. Their respect for her only goes so far. Mor having the power of truth is laughable because she didn’t tell Feyre the truth.
At this point in the series, it is correct to say that Feyre is respected solely because she's Rhysand's mate. That DOES NOT MEAN she doesn't have amazing accomplishments (breaking the curse and saving Prythian, fixing the Cauldron, etc.) but she is not respected for those. You can tell because her most popular title is High Lady (an empty title Rhysand gave her) rather than Cursebreaker or, idk, Cauldron-fixer or something (titles earned from her own actions). By the end of the trilogy, Feyre is viewed as merely an extension of Rhysand--merely as his "High Lady" and not as her own person.
This in part is due to Velaris being the main setting of ACOMAF and beyond--remember prior to coming to Velaris Feyre was tired of people worshipping her as Cursebreaker, and she loved that no one in Velaris treated her differently?--as Velaris was a secret city and no one was dragged UTM to suffer, so in the beginning they had no reason to worship and respect her like the people of the Spring Court and the rest of Prythian did, and had all the reason to respect Rhysand for ruling over them for centuries and protecting them from Amarantha.
But even after the trilogy, after gaining the title Defender of the Rainbow from her actions in Velaris, after saving the world... ACOSF still happened. Her own doctor consulted her husband about her health and allowed her husband to dictate health decisions about her body. So any "respect" she got from breaking the curse or defending Velaris or fixing the Cauldron only went so far, apparently. The people of the Night Court ultimately defaulted to respecting Rhysand more than her. Because RHYSAND is the High Lord. Rhysand is the one chosen by magic, Rhysand is the one with a deep psychic connection to the lands of the court itself and to every single member of his citizens, because RHYSAND ultimately is the highest authority in the Night Court. Not Rhysand and Feyre as equals. Just Rhysand.
And this is worse with the Inner Circle, though arguably more understandable. They've been friends for 500 years! No wonder they prioritize him. But even then... it's clear they aren't the perfectly happy little found family Sarah tries to sell them as, because Feyre's pregnancy aside, even in ACOMAF they all go along with keeping Rhysand's secret that Feyre's his mate (despite that being something Feyre SHOULD KNOW. She can't trust any of her experiences and feelings towards Rhysand, such as ultimately deciding to trust him, because they're all influenced by MAGIC. Everyone knowing magic is going to make you like someone regardless of their actual character but refusing to tell you that is a HUGE betrayal of trust, and I hate that its literally NEVER discussed) and in one ACOSF bonus chapter, Rhysand forbids Azriel from going after Elain. They heed his authority for everything, no matter how small... and no matter how large. Like dying in childbirth. If they truly respected Feyre, no secrets would've been kept from her, in ACOSF or ACOMAF. But they didn't because Rhysand asked them not to.
Feyre is only respected as an extension of Rhysand, as his mate, and the minute the "respect" being Rhysand's mate affords Feyre conflicts with Rhysand's interests, that "respect" miraculously disappears. It did so in ACOMAF with the mating bond, and it did so again in ACOSF with the pregnancy.
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standreamy · 1 year
The issue with Ladybug in regards of  LadyNoir’s partnership
Edit 24/04/2022
This post contains the infos about all the series released up until now, including season 4 finale and the first two episodes of season 5. The concept remains the same overall, being further deepened and strengthened by the new content. They only added more reasons to why the topic is messed up a lot. 
First of all, I apologize for the length of this post and I clap to anyone who will be willing to read it and consider what I wrote with open mind, without jumping to the conclusion this is made just to express hate. 
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I have this analysis I wanted to share about the Ladybug/Marinette discourse that went all over the fandom because of the new Kuro Neko trailer, and that then I kept continuing after it aired…
I wanted to write this post some time ago, but I waited to see how season 4 would progress overall. 
I’m aware that season 5 is still to be released and surely my opinion will grow and shift depending on what will happen, but we have enough material to talk about the situation NOW as this sub-plot was made to shape season 4 and part of season 3. Enough material is present to judge what was done in the progressing of the sub-plot in its dedicated seasons. 
I wanted to express what currently I think are the problems with the protagonist’s treatment towards Chat Noir.
As much as on one hand I understand the frustration of Ladybug’s fans, and how some takes and aggressive attitudes by some people are way exaggerated and I absolutely do not condone (Seriously lamenting to the author won’t fix the problem at this point and there is a line between expressing opinions in the right places with good manners and herassement), I can’t also blame who is genuinely but moderately expressing exasperation over the situation.
I am a very HUGE fan of angst, miscommunication tropes, etc... but if those are portrayed and written well. Without forcing characters to just become mean, or act unnaturally incoherent.
As I often say, I am not really into the fandom anymore. I watch the show, criticize it, draw for some headcanons and AUS I have, I read fanfictions and look at fanart, but I don’t engage in the fandom discussions and I’m not super invested in it (aside Marichat). I try to take everything that comes with a grain of salt and be neutral, but in this situation it’s really difficult to not lean on the current opinion that Marinette is acting wrongly.
After years of defending this show, I eventually gave up on the eventuality that its writing is very flawed and not in a light and okay-ish way. This doesn’t mean no one can like it or feel addicted to it, speaking for myself, I still try to always face episodes keeping a neutral critical eye.
But there are some lines I think should be drawn and one is how much we can really excuse Marinette/Ladybug’s behavior, as her character in the show in writing and enjoyment but also for ethical reasons regarding the viewers. 
What she is doing in the series to Chat, is entirely wrong. There’s no going around it, she is the one making the biggest mistakes and acting in a bad way and her actions shouldn't be justified so easily. 
Basic respect for someone in our life is fundamental, mostly who we care about and is supposed to be a closed one. Without respect we go nowhere and what Ladybug expressed towards Chat has serious lacks of it. 
I will go through this picking on the main “mistakes” she has made, from the very second season when all of this started (Yes, it’s not an issue born in season 4, it just exploded in such.) and expand on what’s wrong, plus proposing solutions that could have been taken.
Also, I’d like to remind that Chat has his own faults too and has big issues as character, but in regards of this subplot the problem lays more on Ladybug’s writing than him.
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Starting off with something small but important, she did not inform Chat Noir of a Guardian or explain to him how to reach him. If they talk regularly on patrols and are friends who relatively know each other, as the show pretends since they are supposed to do it enough to be “in love”, she would have been aware of Plagg’s not mentioning it to Chat (Which wasn’t told if it was a direct order from Fu), and the moment she started frequenting Fu she still should have made sure of it. 
If Plagg got sick and couldn’t guide Adrien, or something happened, he would have no way to reach Ladybug or get infos about how to find the Guardian, serious issues could have been raised. 
However, it’s true that before Syren, we weren’t aware that Fu apparently insisted on having Marinette not informing Chat about his existence, so we can blame part of this mostly to him. 
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She, at least, tried to talk to Fu about including Chat more. If anything, we could blame that we didn’t get to see Fu explicitly telling her to not speak during their first encounter.
Another big flaw that got carried into the current season, even if not coherently, is Ladybug not revealing the identities of the temporary heroes to Chat. 
On one hand, it’s normal to think that being their identity, it would be their right to decide, just like it’s normal to consider that Fu might have been a big reason why Ladybug didn’t think of informing Chat. But again, we were never shown Fu actively saying to Marinette to not tell Chat, at least not clearly when she started giving out the temporary miraculous to the holders. She assumed it, which is understandable, but if they are partners on the level of equals, he should be kept in loop as much as her. 
If it was urgent and needed for him to find them, if he got into a situation where Ladybug was unavailable and he needed a back-up, he wouldn’t have been able to get help. Maybe, knowing where Fu is, he would get informed on their identities, but that would be only an exception, and it’s not said that Chat would have time to find Fu. Maybe Ladybug already got the Miraculous to give out, but she was trapped and Chat took it. At that point he would have to improvise.
This is generally most of what was wrong in season 2 regarding Ladybug’s attitude. It may not be as big and extreme as season 4, but here the roots were planted and there were barely efforts to fix them or deepen them to create a coherent plot point.
Season 3 was more damaging as it seems under this perspective, because most of the plot holes that led to Chat being unfairly treated were introduced in this part of the show.
Let’s pick up again from Chat not knowing the temporary heroes. 
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Ladybug didn’t inform Chat that other members know each other. If one of them was akumatized, it’s an objective risk he should be aware about. Aside from the fact that the rules were broken of course. It’s not a problem that they knew, it’s a problem he wasn’t made aware of it.
Another big issue is how he wasn’t informed at the moment Hawk Moth/Papillon learnt the identities in Miracle Queen.
This could be more of a plot hole and it probably is, but it became a pretext to continue on the road of Chat being kept in the dark. 
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Maybe we can blame most of it on Fu again, but after Marinette became Guardian, even if trained by him, she still has to make her own choices and get responsibilities for them. She could have still realized that Chat needed to know these things.
Of course, there is a lack of good writing even on part of Chat. He isn’t stupid, he could have guessed once reached the battle ground and he could have easily questioned it to Ladybug. But still, Ladybug didn’t think of informing him and insisted on him not knowing (unless he was present already for other holders, but that’s a big incoherence). Either he shall know everyone’s or no one’s.
Shadow Moth knowing and not Chat, doesn’t hold logic or fairness. 
It’s an urgent matter. Chat should be informed about it so to draw his own conclusions and act if needed. 
And it’s also a morally wrong choice which Chat could have easily expressed if he wasn’t so forgiving and passive towards her (As I said, he has his own faults, but first and foremost he should be informed by her). If he was well written, he would have of course thought about how this would give the idea that Ladybug has a specifical worry against Chat in knowing ANY identity. Even more worried than HawkMoth knowing or putting at risk their working balance just to not let Chat know. 
In his shoes, he could even think, in a situation of self-doubts, that she trusted HawkMoth more, and saw Chat more as a danger.
Which seems extreme, but it’s a fair thought seeing how she acts.
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This is furthermore supported by Multimouse’s resolution. It’s understandable Ladybug needed to find an excuse, for obvious reasons, but also her excuses at this point could have raised a lot of doubts in Chat.
Aside that Marinette is his supposed dear and close friend and sadly he didn’t even question anything, after everyone’s being compromised to Hawk Moth, Ladybug didn’t really need to keep Marinette out of commission. Sure, it came out Chat didn’t find out the other heroes’ identities, but Marinette was the only one not compromised and substituting her with PolyMouse in season 4 on the basis that it was because of her revealing to Chat could as well make him think the whole problem wasn’t Hawk Moth or others knowing, but him in the specific.
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 Hawkmoth didn’t know her identity, only Chat, it made no sense for her to be replaced in Chat’s eyes. The minimum would have been to bring it up and have Ladybug find another excuse so to not let Chat think the worst about the situation. Perhaps taking advantage of her difficulty in justifying that Marinette cannot be called back, to make Chat understand that it is not a matter that depends on him, even if she insists not to tell him who the other members are. It would be a perfect trigger event.
One can say that since this didn’t happen, since the show (and Chat) didn’t bring it up, there’s no real reason to talk about it. But since we jump to assumptions on her care for Chat and justifications, even when they are not present in the show or not as they should, we can also add things that would surely count if the writing was good and coherent to the characters’ knowledge.
Couldn’t she come up with a better excuse? Like maybe the fact that since Marinette had to wear so many Miraculous together she had a magical overdose and was too drained of vital energy? So using a Miraculous again could affect her health? It would surely put at peace Chat Noir, it’s kind of realistic considering the rules and functioning of the jewels (ignoring that now characters wear 3 Miraculous together like nothing happens at all) and would have been perfect to either put the matter aside and not bring it up again or choose instead to work on it and make it a sub-plot, maybe giving chance also to develop more Marinette and Chat’s relationship or how he views her. 
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This is more a stretch in matters of how much it was shown, but apparently Chat is not informed on all the things about the Miraculous. If he was an ally like the others, it would be understandable, but he is Ladybug’s partner and equal. He should be informed on what is important. Like the Grimoire, why it was so important. Sure, it creates complications in how to not wrap the plot too quickly, but there are ways to still inform him enough but not to suspect, in a realistic way, about his father ahead of time.
Another stretch, but a topic we can link to her “caring” about Chat Noir the whole series and making him feel important at times… another big mistake was how the balance between her as LadyNoire and Mister Bug was handled. Her thinking that Chat’s role is easy to fill is okay at the start, it’s a common banter many shows used for their characters if working in teams. But the episode didn’t end with her learning he is important or has a difficult and valid role, it ended with her having some fun and having a very easy time with his Miraculous.
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If he learnt her role is difficult, she didn’t do the same, so if we take the show’s writing and how she easily substitutes him or forget about his feelings or presence, she didn’t learn from it and still thinks his role is easier and lighter. What was the point of that episode then?
Other small bits of elements we can take in consideration are also how in Desperada she wonders where Chat is and then talks about how they don’t need him in front of Adrien. We can argue that in the end she did need Chat and his cataclysm and admitted it, but more so the focus was on the fact that she needed the right Snake holder. And Adrien or no Adrien, even not considering that she should be developed at least enough by season 3 to not let something so small feelings wise to complicate a mission, since she is excused in her actions because she has to be “professional”, Chat is still an important member and friend. She doesn’t love him? He is still close enough not to talk about him like that, even if she is blinded by Adrien (Which again, by season 3 out of 5 for the main arc, shouldn’t be anymore the case).
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Now we go into the biggest point, the one that created most misconceptions in the fandom.
Chat Blanc.
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Let’s start with something clear. Chat should have been made aware of what happened if there is a fair partnership or a fair treatment at all of his role. It involves him, it’s about him, he should have known. 
Then, if we want to treat it as something that didn’t happen because Ladybug was traumatized from it, sure, it’s a possible road.
But if it was portrayed as such.
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A trauma is shown through the series in acts and proofs, periodically, constantly. Marinette should have shown it when she talked, spoke, and thought about Chat and their partnership, or even having this experience getting in the way of her daily life.
We didn’t see during season 4 any of the real consequences of her stress as guardian. Lila didn’t create many issues, she didn’t lose friends, she wasn’t seen having bad time with school and grades, we didn’t see her parents doubting her, or her disappointing people’s expectations. We saw only her not being able to date Luka, a person she claimed to love and broke up with only because of her duties (Which says a lot about how her growth personally and as romantic relationships is treated. And how she is supposed to fall for Chat or really get to know Adrien. But it was said in a interview that Luka was supposed to create a bit of a mess by being the perfect guy to fall for, and Adrien being more than once listed as “perfect” in Marinette’s eyes about his qualities), but that was it.  
And if THAT wasn’t well portrayed and didn’t solidify a reason to justify her during the season stress-wise, how could it be the trauma from Chat Blanc that received the same treatment?
Every single link from her being so snappy and unfair to trauma from Chat Blanc is suppositions made by the fans who want to excuse her actions as PTSD/Trauma. We could believe so, but she never showed real hints about it, clear and confirmed. She never really gave proof and acted accordingly.
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We never saw her having constant nightmares (only once and a unique hint of it all in Sentibubbler), we never saw her regretting her decisions and feeling conflict over her actions towards Chat or decisions concerning him. She never showed regret for leaving him in the dark or keeping him at arm’s length. If she was hit by trauma, she would be aware at least that she is doing it or want to keep a distance. And this is never portrayed.
She never expressed fear of falling in love with him even, she was always sure that she wasn’t in love with him and had no real concern about it. “She doesn’t realize she loves him deep inside”: no. 
This is just a supposition once again, it’s not a fact shown or stated. Her whole actions demonstrate the opposite. Someone who loves the other cares in every single action and act. Maybe they make mistakes but they care and suffer for them and for others and not just themselves (NY Special, which I’ll address later). 
Words speak louder with actions. So she can’t be excused about not informing him about Chat Blanc and leaving him in the dark about everything because she is afraid of him getting akumatized. She never showed it, she never acted traumatized, she never showed to depend on it to determine her actions.
Suppositions don’t really go far when the show doesn’t go accordingly, it will be always more fans trying to convince themselves.
You can’t base it on her trauma unless you show it. Show her hesitant and in fear that telling him would lead him to being akumatized. Otherwise, as being directly involved, it’s his RIGHT to know and there are no excuses. 
In real life Trauma can stay hidden and resurface later, but the signs are clear and surely there aren’t storytelling issues to take count of. If you’re writing a story, you have also some elements to portray to make the story flow with sense and coherence.
What kind of solution could have been found?
Remake Chat Blanc with other concepts in mind and other consequences.
Start from Glaciator, have Ladybug opening up bit by bit in what she can, have Marinette nurturing her friendship with Chat and eventually developing that surprise the heroine had into something more. Slowly getting more open minded and curious, she get also closer to him until, one day, she decides to give him the chance to try something together and she drops her transformation, hoping he still feels the same and perhaps he started liking her civilian self. 
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That, makes her big and first mistake, dropping a bomb on him who, even if happy, start feeling a lot of pressure to keep her secure. They are in a relationship, he may or not reveal, but still HawkMoth notices his stress and starts targeting Ladybug specifically. Or even, he could discover Chat sees Marinette. And eventually things escalate and Chat is akumatized for despair but he doesn’t give infos to the villain, and destroys him like in the canon episode. Same consequences, different progression and turning point. Then, Bunnix goes back in time and takes Marinette before she decides to drop her transformation and brings her into the future, with the same events happening. 
When everything is fixed and she goes back to her own time, Marinette is even more hurt by the eventuality of being the cause of that, so even if she still has feelings for Chat, she needs to keep distance from him, even if suffering for it and blaming herself. She keeps doing so, substituting him, avoiding him, hurting him without really getting the consequences of her actions, keeps acting stressed, having nightmares, seeing Chat Blanc everywhere and having difficulties staying by her partner’s side, but faking to be okay. That all is okay.
At that point, it slowly goes down to her lashing out a bit (Not drastically, but still hurting him without meaning to) and the fracture is created in their partnership. 
It could even use an eventual Sandboy 2.0 as a possible increment of their division or to use it to help them fix the partnership.
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Or, another options to stay closer to canon’s events: 
Adrien finds out exactly like in canon her identity, he decided to get to know Marinette better instead of jumping in a relationship and so he gets more and more enamored by her. To the point that Gabriel notices something has changed in his son, that he wants to spend more time out as a civilian, that he sneaks out to stay with Mari. Even Lila could inform Gabriel.
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So he starts having someone spying on Adrien and eventually he finds out about Chat Noir and indirectly either he spies on Marinette and discovers her or he follows Chat Noir visiting her as hero (Implying Marinette could also get to know Chat and get closer to him) and uses her to akumatize him out of guilt and using other cards like his mother or his amok (It’s confirmed by now).
All this, permits to then give even the reason why the two shouldn’t get too close under any sense, instead of just not developing them but pretending they are.
The most important thing is also to focus on the real dangers of them knowing and getting in a relationship. Aka, not being ready emotionally or facing the dangers that are most concrete, not forcing Gabriel to find out with silly mistakes Adrien wouldn’t commit.
Their relationship and identities being discovered with their reveal to each other, it’s not a natural consequence. It’s a risk, but both in Chat Blanc and Ephemeral it was treated as something bound to happen if they shared their secret, which it isn’t. 
It’s more risky one of them being controlled, but if they were careful as they always were the chances of HawkMoth discovering something changed between them is very very low. 
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 The ones I offered are just a couple of the plenty options, but of course, it wouldn’t be enough to just change this episode, but still taking the development and smear it way earlier since season 2 and keeping doing it after Chat Blanc too.
That’s why consistency is very important in a show to have actual characters’ development and in this show it lacks a lot.
This season takes most of the previous mistakes and acts upon them to give the situation an explosion.
This choice is not itself a bad decision for the show. Creating a conflict between LadyNoir based on Marinette’s mistakes because of stress and guardianship is a valid choice that can give angst and interesting developments.
The problem lies in how everything is treated and that there is no actual development, nor bases to take this road with coherence.
There is much to address but we will start from the very start and try to go over everything.
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She reveals to Alya and doesn’t inform him. 
Of course, Marinette’s identity is hers to do as she wishes. We didn’t really have a promise between the two that they would be each other’s first choice. Maybe it could have been implied but it wasn’t made a point of importance. 
The problem is not much that she vented and revealed to Alya, if anything it should have been made way earlier in the show for writing reasons. The real issue is that she didn’t inform her partner of what happened. And she didn’t then tell him about Rena Furtive or Alya keeping her miraculous permanently. 
It wouldn’t be a huge problem if he was a sidekick or general ally, but they are supposed to be equals and solid rules were established for them both to maintain. 
The show didn’t address it, so we don’t have proof unfortunately to say that they cared about revealing (at least, not on Marinette’s side.) or felt the urge to do it, even after taking down their enemy. Chat surely did, but Ladybug never and they never made a promise between them. And she never has shown fear in him not liking her behind the mask and disappointing his expectations, even if I find it a very valid take fanon-wise to give her more character.
The rules spoke clearly, no reveals. But it’s a general rule. “No one has to know”, so if something happened, the problem is not really that Alya discovered before Chat. It would be if CN and LB promised each other something, or we can even suppose it would have been fairer towards Chat. 
The problem is that her identity was compromised in the first place and he is to be informed to act as consequence and take precautions, or problems can rise like in Hack-San.
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Marinette never had any intention to inform Chat about having told someone. She never showed regret about it aside in Hack-San when she was found out and Alya pushed her and Sentibubbler but more because of a sudden and casual fear of Alya betraying her. So, this isn’t about Chat being informed, she really didn’t think about it, if she did she gave no weight to it. 
It was Alya telling her to talk to Chat in Hack-san, if she didn’t Ladybug wouldn’t have done anything. Alya, who was his partner only for a day, could see more how he was affected and consider his position.
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And still regarding this episode, she left and didn’t inform him. Surely he made the same mistake in the NY Special and he paid for it, showing remorse and being nervous about not having informed her.
Marinette may have left him with a substitute, but she was able to. Chat wouldn’t have left his miraculous to someone else, since apparently he is the only one not spilling secrets around ironically. 
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Yet, when she made the same mistake she didn’t get the blame he did, he didn’t lash out on her like she did, even after how he had to find out such a thing. 
And she didn’t feel sorry of not warning him, unlike he did all along.
A simple call would have been enough. A quick bathroom break to leave him a message and then tell him she would explain once she was back. Still wrong not telling him before about revealing to someone, but at least she would have shown consideration and efforts in fixing her mistake.
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Marinette may have done a long list for Alya (Very scrupulous in this, but not in taking a minute to give him heads-up) and added to laugh at his jokes cause they make him happy, but if in the same episode she fails over and over again to consider really the impact of her actions, the most important and fundamental ones, how really can that be relevant?
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In the end of the episode, she promised to never abandon him, but did she really take into account his fears? 
Worrying about seeing someone important disappear without knowing what happened is terrifying. It happens in real life, on the internet… and if you care about said person it eats you alive. 
Chat may be too forgiving, but he expressed a serious fear that should have been faced by Ladybug with consideration that goes beyond an empty promise she will break even.
She can promise that, of course, and break it as a plot point, but this is furthermore proof of how superficial the whole thing is and how difficult it is to excuse her. 
How can you promise that you won’t end up in an accident? That something won’t happen? You fall sick? You can’t promise that will never happen. It’s cruel to do so, even if she doesn’t know that many people abandoned him in his life. 
You may say that with optimism, but you need to also give some back-up to show you really got seriously his fear and share it.
Doesn’t Ladybug worry about seeing him vanish suddenly one day? Maybe learning something happened and he died without her never seeing him again, saying goodbye or revealing?
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Did she offer a solution or compromise? Some sort of realistic element to make him feel better? Leaving a clue, a letter or something for her relatives, where she would ask to inform him if something happened. Write something to give him in case she wouldn’t be there anymore so he would know who she was and she cared even if she didn’t have the chance to tell him in person. 
Encouraging that once all was over with Shadow Moth they could reveal, so to pump his spirits a bit, show she wanted to know as much as him, since she never showed fears about him being disappointed in Marinette.
None of this was made. How much can we say then that his worries really are taken into account?
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Or even, why didn’t she think of giving him a chance to find someone to reveal too? As much as she doesn’t know about his home life (Which is more because she doesn’t let them open up, or the writers not giving space to know really how much they know each other personally without compromising infos in the way), on contrary to her beliefs and the show’s writing, his romance with her isn’t his only concern. He still is the bearer of the cat miraculous and it’s an objective weight.
Again, plot-wise it’s okay it passed from her mind, only if Chat showed to be bothered of having no one to open up to. This way, it only seems to lack her considerations or thinking.
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This is small, but still important if we want to take everything into account: you tell your colleagues if you are not showing up for patrols. One thing is not showing up if the meeting is casual and more Chat hoping for her to appear and getting his hopes up. Another thing is having set patrols to which, even if you have other important duties, you didn’t stand up professionally. It’s important to inform you won’t show up, even more so if those patrols also hold the scope of spending time with someone important that you can’t frequent outside the mask. 
She forgot? it’s okay, just think about it later, realize and feel a bit sorry! You made a mistake, you were careless and forgetful but at least you show you cared about it.
Chat isn’t seeked or waited most of the time, she doesn’t actively seek him anymore unless she needs at all costs his power. He is her last thought and need, she easily replaces him. Which of course, if case calls should be something to be ready to do, but not so often without worrying. Not so easily.
She makes plans for “two people” but doesn’t give him heads-up. It shouldn’t be something so easy to brush off. He may be very loyal and would back her up, she may trust him to adapt, but for now we don’t know if it’s that or just her not considering it.
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So even her “joke” or sarcasm about not knowing each other or she would have seeked him out, it’s really uncalled for. A joke should be ironic at least, even if it doesn’t make you laugh. (Optigami)
She insists on not revealing while people, including herself, are breaking the rules all over… aside him.
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Now, I know this is something people discussed plenty on, but I want to try addressing it anyway.
Glaciator 2 for me was one of the episodes with most potential, maybe it showed the deepest part of Marinette and Chat, when they interacted.
Sure, Marinette confessed something to him in the cinema that doesn’t really stand to how she actually acts, but it was a try to put a patch on her character mess. Their interactions in the episode were both funny and endearing (This is what happens when you make two characters actually act as friends and make them get to know each other truly). 
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But, Ladybug’s reaction was way over the top. 
Gossip is a thing that exists, as a public figure it’s understandable that it can be pressuring, but it’s also something to get used to. She may be stressed, but lashing out like that remains exaggerated. She acted almost repulsively towards him. 
Chat surely was wrong in pushing just a few lines, we could even pretend he needed to give her more space and lay down with the flirting etc…
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It was a lesson for him, but in the same episode she acted as badly towards Adrien, if not worse. She cared about cheering him up so he could fall for her, again fell in her obsession and acted superficial (The gifts weren’t even all handmade like everyone thought). It was shallow, the meanings behind an action count and her acting so furious and exaggerated with Chat was even more out of place with how she acted after. 
But only Chat was the one who had to learn all the lessons of the episode.
I would also like to note that Ladybug never outright said to Chat she will never like him romantically or what he can’t or not do in her regards. She said there was another boy. So she could have fallen for Chat, she just didn’t in the show (Which makes Luka’s presence a bit more pointless romance-wise. She never showed thoughts of giving Chat a chance, even if it meant giving up on it for Chat Blanc. And she didn’t learn from her relationship with Luka on how to treat Adrien).
Yet she flirted back and acted in ways that can make a person still get hopes up. So, again, she holds part of blame if he insisted on it. You put the boundaries? Be clear on your intention, that you being affectionate and flirting back doesn’t mean anything. Otherwise, don’t react as harshly.  
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It’s okay getting mad for the timing, but aside that, there’s no reason to throw him in a trashcan. It’s not fun, it’s not a gag or a joke. You portray the scene differently if it was, not with “serious” implications and pressure for him to be wrong about his attitude. Not with how she was even freaking out in stopping the media, almost obsessed to stop the rumors. Is she frantic? It’s okay to do so, but again, show valid reasons. Show that she has flashbacks of Chat Blanc and freaks out because her viewing Chat romantically is possible and she is scared that it will lead to that event happening. Show her having fear, not seeming crazily obsessed with her anger. Otherwise, it just proves that she isn’t unaware of loving Chat, she just doesn’t for real and is almost repulsed to the idea.
And yes, it was a cute thing her asking him for practice, but this if their visits as Marichat friendos were regular and she didn’t just approach the whole situation with him as Ladybug like that. 
Okay, he doesn’t know yet, but if she had the minimal intention to reveal someday she should worry that he would be hurt to know that in a day she pushed him away like that and also asked him to get her with someone else without him knowing. While he suffered over his feelings.
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Now, onto Sentibubbler and Rocketear. 
I mentioned before that Sentibubbler holds the only true hint of Ladybug having trauma due to Chat Blanc, but it happens only once and it’s due to her choice to trust someone who would betray her, not because of the fear of losing Chat directly. 
This episode also introduces some of the signs of Chat’s feeling left out and how him not being aware of some fundamental infos can get in the way of the mission or lead to him being captured. 
He should have been informed of Rena Furtive, if he was really still considered Ladybug’s equal.  
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The problem of his lack of knowledge re-presents in Rocketear, where he suddenly finds out that Rena and Carapace are Alya and Nino (and dealing with Nino’s lashing and more doubts for his self-confidence). Aside the fact that, as mentioned ahead, he should know the temporary heroes’ identities, at least he should have known that they are still called in case even if they were compromised. 
This not only is a problem for his involvement in the team, but also can naturally find another link to the Multimouse case and the dangers of him knowing. 
The holders who were compromised by HawkMoth, their villain, are still called in action, however the only one who didn’t, and was found only by Chat himself, is left out. Isn’t it normal to have doubts on everything? Where trust is really held about his regards?
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Ladybug in the same episode says she trust him about not hitting on Alya knowing she is taken, but she also acts exasperated when she explains her why Chat was on her balcony. Does it take an akuma caused by the situation and Chat being beaten up for her to think he isn’t a playboy? She is supposed to know him by now. He jokes but his feelings are genuine.
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Moving on to Ephemeral…
This episode was kind of a mess. Both in the rhythm, both is the fact that Ladybug says she loves Adrien and not Chat, ruining every small bit of possibility she would like Chat deep inside and developed a bit in 4 seasons.
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 Let’s not call it just her being unaware, she gave support to what she said the whole series. The only time she showed possible hints of starting to think about Chat differently was Glaciator in season 2 after seeing him in a new light and considering the whole picture… and a possible foreshadowing in Kagami’s quote about the manga ending up with the two people practicing falling for each other.
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But this is never supported in the series, she was serious about not loving Chat. This shows how behind she is in her development as character and as relationships. She could have these doubts if Ephemeral happened in season 1, not in the second last. 
Was it really necessary to wait until the end of season 4 to have her realizing that Adrien is not perfect, he is a normal person with flaws and that they never speak enough or properly, so to consider themselves close friends? If friends at all?
True is that he hides a lot of his feelings and natural attitudes as Adrien, but if that love she feels has at least some bases, has some genuinity, shouldn’t it be represented differently? With her maybe seeing through the attitude? Seeing he is not perfect and she likes him also for it?
By season 4, it’s like there was no progress at all between the two. 
Then again, all I said about her feelings for him now is more to note how we can’t say for sure she likes him and acts badly because she cares. She didn’t show it.
Still in Ephemeral we have 2 more problems. 
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The first is how she brushed off Chat after insisting on talking to him, like if the matter wasn’t important. But this is the lesser grave between the two.
The other is about her plan to let SuHan know Chat’s identity.
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I didn’t see many people talk about it, maybe because it didn’t seem a bit deal, but for me this is something extremely concerning. 
Her being willing to find out Chat Noir’s identity with a trick and making him reveal it to other people without his consent or knowledge. Guardian or not, trying to have him revealing to someone else by using his trust for her is a very unfair and dishonest thing. Aside from forgetting herself, she wanted someone else to discover it and without him being aware. It’s his identity and he has the right to decide who to reveal to, even more than the temporary heroes, unless it’s a direct guardian order (then again, if they are also partners who are supposed to be equal, this is questionable). 
Luka knowing already or not doesn’t matter (even if he did a mistake in agreeing and not confessing that he knows), the problem is the intentions Ladybug had. If he wasn’t Adrien, how would it have ended? Would the plan work? Couldn’t she just be honest with Chat? He surely would have helped find a solution.
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Ladybug knew exactly where to hit to get Chat to give her his identity. She knew about how much he cares for her, she knew she had to use that to convince him, even knowing which words, addressing very valid points that support why they should know. Points he thinks and agrees on. She manipulated (let’s try to think it not maliciously, as much as possible) the situation, his feelings, his ideas, to her own advantage. This is a typical villain attitude, not one of a superheroine who is supposed to care about her partner and dear friend. 
One thing would be if she showed remorse about it, another is not. Using someone’s deep feelings and vulnerability, a friend, against them without even considering to come off as honest... doesn’t seem a nice action. 
They had Viperion resetting her attempts... why not coming clear in one and asking him directly explaining the situation? If you want to show that she really knows him well, that she was right about him not revealing unless she used a tricky tactic to hit the right spot of his heart and brain, why not just... prove it? 
Now, let’s move to one of the biggest problems of this season.
Kuro Neko.
You can be stressed, traumatized, but that is NOT an excuse to lash out on people when they are not doing anything wrong. This is a basic point. 
For no reason you should treat or lash out on someone like that. 
Then, Chat in Glaciator 2 learnt to not push and even if the pun may wasn’t on spot as timing, he was genuine about his concern to help and was clear about it. She saw it even. 
She was losing time, yes, but she had no reason to be so harsh because the situation wasn’t urgent. If she trusts the other heroes to do their job then she knows there is the possibility of needing to recharge before going to pick all the miraculouses back. She said it herself, she knew where they were, she could go to them a few minutes later after filling Chat in. 
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We can’t say she wasn’t pissed for him being late, say that she was aware he needed a break and that her words later to Plagg implied she was okay and understanding with him for not being present because her actions don’t go accordingly. She never showed genuine concern towards him for the matter, the few times she approached him in past was when it was clearly visible he was upset and one of the two it was Alya pressing her to do so. She didn’t even notice, as said earlier, that he needed to talk, in a situation where it’s only normal even if you don’t know the other’s feelings. Something so objectively plain and important to talk about, she didn’t consider.
That harshness is out of question, angry or not, understandable or less, you don’t lash out like that, if you do at least after realizing you apologize. Since he showed up she seemed pissed, at being so at the first occasion she sees him it's not really something that proves her “understanding” of his mental health. 
And her reasons for feeling rushed to begin with were easy to fix.
She could have no idea of how long the fight would last, detransforming before picking back all the jewels is possible and I don’t think she wouldn’t trust the others to wait up a few minutes more. Some of them were still transformed, Chat could easily track down the miraculouses with his own baton and pick them up, or wait for her to recharge and explain to him the location of them as civilians. Or, if for Rena it was too complicated to watch out for both Ladybug and Chat, he still could have gone with her.
Rena Fortive was probably out looking and Ladybug could easily give the other heroes heads-up to wait a tiny bit more. Mylene even said she could feed her kwami herself.
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Her phrase during the interview is another concerning fact. 
You can be pissed but there is a basic respect for people, even more partners and friends. Not only she went against her own words and contradicted her bond with him, but also gravely treated him. 
Under a certain perspective, calling him a “partner like any other” could be seen as defending him for his absence, but it’s clear this is not the case.
Let’s remember that Chat Noir is not like any other hero. He was chosen alongside Ladybug to be a permanent member, to work with her as other half and his presence is not optional. He is not like the others who can be called in, whether he is needed or not. 
Cataclysm or not, he has to be there and be present because that is his asset, he is fundamental for the team and necessary alongside Ladybug. They are the team that fixes the problem. Master Fu chose both of them and their roles are still the same, bonus heroes or not. He was chosen to be THERE. Always.
And the people, civilians and viewers, know this very well. The journalist had a right to be worried and ask about Chat Noir’s absence cause he is the root of the team with Ladybug, he is fundamental even when he isn’t needed in terms of powers. He is supposed to be there and the civilians are no tdumb, they understand there was a shift. Downgrading Chat Noir to a partner like the others just reflects what Ladybug thinks about him.
Author, the show, the premises, keep telling that they are equal, a duo. But Ladybug doesn’t think so anymore. She said it in Ephemeral, how they are not anymore a duo and a team, she said it in Risk, that he is now just another holder (with the consolation of being her favourite) and now too. She doesn’t see him anymore as her equal or specific partner, she sees him like the other temporary heroes, just with a more powerful miraculous.
There’s a difference between her unknowingly sidelining Chat and being mean because of her trauma, but still caring about him like no one else and knowing he is impossible to replace... to her not thinking so anymore. It’s two opposite things that clash. 
It would be okay if she made those mistakes with a solid background behind that proves she really thinks he is impossible to replace, they are a duo and she suffers from the distance between them, even if maybe she doesn’t realize her actions are putting him in a corner alone. But she isn’t doing it for this. 
Her words need to be accompanied by actions and for her, he is a hero she can substitute anytime.
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“Your friendship is the most important thing for me”. Chat said it clearly, for him Ladybug is important as friend and partner and she said previously she sees him as friend too, not just a partner. 
And she jumped into blaming his romantic feelings without trying to understand that Chat cares about her fully as a friend and important person and not just for those (Even if aside from Glaciator and other few times maybe he wasn’t so skilled in showing it. Sometimes it’s indeed made it seem like he cares only for that, but it was done the same for Marinette in regards to Adrien, so it’s a problem in the portrayal of their feelings).
Marinette, the whole time, blamed his problems on his feelings and acted upon it, without fully considering his position. Plagg surely shouldn’t have remarked again that Chat loves her romantically, this is a very huge mistake from the writing. Pushing everytime only the romantical side of the situation when most of it isn’t related to the romance but to their partnership, friendship and Adrien’s family situation, is very damaging for this topic. And of course, Ladybug takes it as it’s only about romance. This again is a big mistake from Plagg but at this point of the series I’d like to think that Ladybug knows that Chat cares for her regardless of romantic feelings, as he told her more than once and as I think she would know not to make assumptions on someone’s private life. He, romance or not, cares about Ladybug as friend and partner, enjoys her company and would gladly do anything for her even if he wasn’t in love with her. Chat even told her in Hack-San, he is scared to lose her, he cares a whole lot even when she didn’t show to reciprocate the same worry.
Why did she assume he would be okay, without knowing his situation and without considering that he is still her main partner and friend. She was ready to just blame his feelings, be ready to give up on him with the excuse of not hurting him, but not even showing the will of keeping him in her life. She needed a Chat Noir, not her Chat Noir, and the episode never explains why it should be otherwise.
I’d like to note that I understand in this case, the general dialogues were not appropriately chosen and that Ladybug has more the fault of rushing into her decision and not thinking more about Chat’s reasons, rather than the assumption itself that romance in involved. It’s more a writing issue.
However, going on, we still face issues.
We assume Marinette cares because of seeing her stressed, but to have proof of it we need to see her feelings. 
There was no focus on his absence as a person, but only as a holder. No tears, no panic, no pain, it was totally different than New York.  Where was the desperation? Where were the doubts?
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A first moment of anger is understandable, it’s also very understandable that she has a role so she needs to look out for what she has to do and not just what she wants. But there was no portrayal of her leaking feelings of pain. 
It would have surely worked better to show her sorrow, her feelings in conflict, between wanting her Kitty back and needing to pick a new Cat holder as soon as possible. 
Saying it was implied it’s not as addressing it. We can’t say her stress and “depression” were due to her missing Chat because so far, no feelings were shown about it clearly. And it wasn’t even addressed. If it’s not shown we can as well say it wasn’t there.
The only thing she showed was urgency in finding someone as substitute and her state of exhaustion didn’t portray desperation in the lack of her dear partner, but in the lack of a solution for her duty. She didn’t spend any second of the episode missing her partner specifically and wanting him back. 
There was no thought about needing to seek him out as a civilian to know him outside her life, almost if she didn’t give importance to meeting him ever again at all. Doesn’t she want Chat in her life in future after all is over? Wouldn’t she want him as a friend in her normal life? Is she okay with just seeing him disappear forever? Was then his fear in Hack-San a one-sided feeling?
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She didn’t see her mistakes, she didn’t consider her actions wrong until one single moment in which she thought she drove him to be akumatized.
(Which proved she is not traumatized of him being akumatized or fears for it as much it seems, not really showing any panic for the situation or remembering Chat Blanc. Her confusion while battling was the surprise of the situation, not about him being akumatized at all. Otherwise there would be more pressure over the fact that something she tried to “avoid”, she ended up doing anyway.)
But the first time she felt kind of guilty, she blamed it on him regretting leaving his miraculous and not on how she treated him.  And even remarked how she knows him well, contradicting all her actions and beliefs the whole season. 
She tried to “apologize” for not seeing how sad he was, commenting how he was probably pissed to see a substitute, but again not taking into account her actions or how she treated him until later, where however, she cares more about how she failed as “guardian” and not as “partner” or “friend”.
Once more, she proved she has a different view of their relationship and roles in the team. She didn’t see her actions as in her failing towards a special partner and friend, but only towards a simple asset to the team, no more than how she should treat any other hero. 
But Chat isn’t. 
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And the worst problem is how she is excused and her doubts right away washed away by HIM. 
The episode tries to focus on the moral that he should just accept the situation, that it was all about him and to shove down his feelings, in saying it’s okay as long as he self-appreciate.
“His feelings for you don’t mean you need to treat him differently” it’s a cute and right message if it was only about her unrequited feelings, but here we are talking about how she acted towards him all the season as friend and partner. Not just about a not reciprocated crush. 
He was left out, treated differently and felt bad about it and as a partner, friend and human-being, it’s only natural and fair to think about it. To care. Because Chat is not a hero like the others, romance or not.
“You take care of everyone the same way”, it’s only proving that when she spoke about him being a partner as any other she meant exactly that and the episode, the writing, supports exactly that.
He is like the others and shouldn’t be treated as more, with more regard, as in his role isn’t anymore the one of before, as in now his importance is reduced. 
Now even Chat is accepting it. But Chat was the one who convinced her to stay a hero, who supported her, who was there since the start and is supposed to be her best friend with the mask and main partner. Having more heroes doesn't imply his role is lowered down if she takes more instead. His treatment should be the same as before. He should be treated with the same amount of consideration, respect and care as before. 
So his feeling left out does matter. She should treat him differently, or at least the same as the start. Because he has a different role professionally and emotionally wise than the others.
Let’s make an example, a bit stretched but that could make it more relatable:
You and another person are taken to work for a failing company and made the heads. You two become friends and partners, have the same importance, balances roles and work with the same goal and power. You are the one who gave courage to your partner to keep working with you and your partnership both emotionally and professionally is stronger than ever. This brings the company to be stable and improve. 
The head then starts bringing in more of your partner into the higher department until they leave the ownership to them. Since then, you are no longer treated with the same regard, you don’t hold the same aspects of the partnership anymore and are shoved at the same level of the other workers, not being able to do the job you once did, to be consulted on the things you once were consulted for...
You are downgraded to a lower level and not told, you have to get it by yourself. Even if you are part of the reason the company survived, even if you worked very well, now you are not anymore in the same position as before and both professionally and relationship-wise you are treated as any other. 
Your ex-partner says they care but they don’t treat you for the role you had and are supposed to hold.
And then, eventually, even if you feel like it’s unfair, you need to accept that you deserve to be included less, to have less recognition and take the same role of the others because as long as you know you are a good worker it’s alright.
It’s okay to shove all away as long as you know your work has value (maybe metaphorically even underpaid), to settle for less and discard what you’ve done in past and let people treat you less than what they did. 
Why make the episode about Adrien’s self-worth when he acts totally opposite of it in the episode and one of the messages is exactly this? Why should Chat downgrade his feelings and role when the episode speaks about self-acceptance?
Isn’t it pretty similar to Adrien’s homelife situation? Settling for what his father wants? I’m not saying we shall hate Marinette, but we hate Gabriel and call his parenting abusive. Doesn’t then the writing of this situation hit too close? Doesn’t it give some weird messages?
Because the episode uses Chat understanding to treat himself fairly, to accept a situation where he is not treated fairly.
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Another big problem is how the episode is not clear about its intentions in the meaning and how Ladybug reaches the conclusion about Chat Noir being better than Cat Walker. 
Because literally, we have no explanation for it. Why is Chat Noir better? Why Imperfection is better than perfection? Does she want Chat Noir back because she feels like it’s the best thing to do for the job or because of her feelings? Why does she prefer Chat?
If at the end of the episode Ladybug says to him that even if he isn’t always needed he is needed (to her), it implies she already knows and it’s a lesson for him to learn. Then why during the episode it’s her learning it? And why is it not explained how she learns it? 
What did she learn?
All we saw was that she was surprised by the new member, but she found him perfect all along, she was attracted to him and never once showed preference to Chat Noir. She said it herself, she “tried everything” to make the Lucky Charm work with Catwalker, because she genuinely wanted him as a partner. She wanted the perfection alongside her, someone who acts and doesn’t question, someone who doesn’t feel excluded. She wanted the perfect partner and tried anything to make it work. 
And not only she did so, but she thought the Lucky Charm told her that the partner didn’t fit, she didn’t do it because she realized herself that it wasn’t meant to be. Let’s remember that the Lucky Charm is just an object and that it’s Ladybug figuring out how to use it, sometimes it has multiple ways to work and many of them she didn’t need the Cat power to make it work. Many times she did it by herself, so this case too she probably could have done it by herself (which she did), simply she wanted to include at all costs CatWalker, as much as possible, because she liked him and wanted to be right about having a better partner now. She wanted the thing to work.
So, does she prefer someone perfect or imperfect? And why the imperfect? Because the Lucky Charm pointed it out?
Was there a real reason portrayed as to why he was “too perfect”? On why the “imperfect” Chat Noir was better? Professionally and emotionally?
On a side her phrase to him a bit after “Do you feel upset? Don’t you feel sad and excluded?” when she says she doesn’t need him but the other Chat could imply she got that her ex-partner wasn’t to leave aside, but taking everything into account, it implies more how she worries about having someone who doesn’t lament on feeling excluded.
If she got Chat was indeed excluded why didn’t she apologize still at the end? Wasn’t it her mistake since she treated him differently and left him in the dark? So which mistakes was she supposed to realize or realized to work better?
Ladybug blushed (And we leave out the values of her romantical tastes) and appreciated how CatWalker was okay with her choosing to not use him in her plan and when she was reassured he wasn’t feeling left out. Then what is really important for her? The feelings of her partner or not having issues with a partner feeling unsettled and giving her troubles?
It doesn’t make her seem someone who cares, if it was the intention, but someone who is shallow and uncaring.
She didn’t choose Chat because she wanted it or because she felt like her feelings asked for it. Nor because she worked better with him. She chose him because he is someone who does his job, who does everything she says and trusts her enough to follow her around and agree with her always with no buts. Her only problem with him is that he felt excluded, which was an issue for her habits in working. 
Catwalker was too perfect because he may was even more professional than her and didn’t listen when she told him to trust her that the villain was akumatized Chat. Chat would have just gone with her convictions. 
She wanted Catwalker as a partner and was ready to substitute Chat with him, and did everything to prove she could but eventually failed.
This is a very easy interpretation to take.
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And this leads to the main problem of the episode. The ending.
She didn’t apologize in the end for anything. Not for how she treated him the whole season, not for what happened in the episode. HE apologized for having feelings, for not being treated fairly. He just settled with the situation as he always does. 
He surely had part of blame for not speaking up more decisively to her, and is half of why they have miscommunication problems, but was it all on him? Most of this was on her.
We could try to say she regretted it, that she realizes needs him specifically, but if we can’t see the real motives on why, if we don’t even see an apology, if she doesn’t realize her mistakes… then what’s the point?
What is the point of saying “Only because sometimes I don’t need you it doesn’t mean I don’t need YOU”, if again it all comes down to him exaggerating and her not seeing what she has done all the season? If she doesn’t even say a simple sorry?
Aside that her words don't really fit the construction of the episode, how she implies that it was for him the lesson to learn when in the episode it was more up on her as demonstration. In the fight, it’s CatWalker opening up her eyes. So where does the final phrase come from? Why is it made once again about him?
Aside we don’t know what she learnt, it was about her learning too. In the end, all that Chat learnt was to adapt to the situation.
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What was the point of the sub-plot again? If it was again all minimized? Then wasn’t it fair for people to worry that she wouldn’t work to fix her mistakes and issues? That she wouldn’t work hard for it?
Words are cute but they need actions to be proved, once again it was all pushed on him as if she didn’t commit anything.
A parallel of Hack-San where she went to him to apologize (pushed by Alya and not on her own, and not for all she has done), but with him apologizing for having fair feelings. The first time where he was understanding, while she acted like waiting for his apology and rubbed again her words of him being irreplaceable but with no explanation, proof or actions from her so far to confirm it. 
“No one will, ever, replace you”
Someone was going to, she was ready to and was almost okay with it, even with the perspective of never seeing him again. And she didn’t show otherwise the whole season.
The episode just showed that if Chat didn’t have feelings for her, he could reach perfection even as a superhero and can be on par with Ladybug. Under all senses, even strategic wise.
This episode is the top of the messed up moralism and one of the most problematic and confusing as writing, which characters acting in conflicting ways and eventually, doesn’t wrap at all a big and full sub-plot of the season. 
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The problem isn’t only that she lashed out on him so excessively. It’s that we lack the development to it. And it concluded with nothing.
Marinette isn’t traumatized, she never showed in the series to be so affected. While her reaching this point of rocture with Chat, once again I think, is natural as a possible outcome, it’s not justified writing wise. She had no real big reasons shown to act like that. She showed no remorse the whole season in her actions or actual difficulty in approaching her partner. So this is objectively out of nowhere. 
This repetitive attitude she had was never faced by her side with remorse. 
You can’t, as stressed as you may be, treat someone like that more than once. If it was a few times with fair background supporting those mistakes, it would be okay. But not like this.
And in the end, this being portrayed as the episode that would resolve the sub-plot, everything was wrapped wrongly. 
And even more confusing it gets if we look into the season finale...
Risk - Strike Back
The season finale brought up again the sub-plot even after it was “wrapped up” somehow, maybe not with the best message. 
Let’s start with something fundamental we see at the start of the episode “Risk”, after Ladybug’s team defeats the newest victim, Chat Noir asks if he can come with her to take all the Miraculous and once again she has to deny (not by words, but her silence speaks enough to give him the answer). Since Chat already knows some of the identities and he is supposed to be Ladybug’s equal and partner, it’s only natural to think he could help out with this and know more about the temporary holders, because if needed he should know infos to act accordingly. It’s understandable that it’s risky now and Rena has to look out from distance for enemies, but wouldn’t Chat be only a bonus security?
But that aside, when he expresses his resignation, he confirms what was already suspected, to then be confirmed again by Ladybug who agrees. “Now I’m just a holder like any other” 
“Yep, but you’ll always be my favourite”. 
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They just confirmed that they are not equal anymore, that they never were treated so and that when Ladybug spoke in Kuro Neko about Chat being a partner like any other, she was meaning exactly that, not defending him. 
Chat was degraded all along without knowing, he had to face it himself by growing more and more disappointed, until he exploded. To then be told again he was exaggerating, it was all about his love and him not accepting himself. 
This is already a big problem, because while on a side it’s understandable as angsty sub-plot, to drag on the dispute between the two heroes, it wasn’t treated as something wrong, or something unfair. And it wasn’t either something she was shown to feel guilty about, if not a little when he complained at the start of this episode. 
But moving on...
With Chat affected by Risk’s powers (Which doesn’t help in the writing of any of the two characters. Is basic conversation a risk? Opening your heart a little? After so much time of apparently getting to know each other? This is for both Adrien and Marinette finally talking like normal and him sharing his worries, and also Chat and Ladybug facing the situation they are in. I think in this case the use of an akuma was greatly wrong, since they’re supposed to be close characters), he lets his anger and dissatisfaction speak aloud more and so he starts arguing with Ladybug. 
We are shown, finally, her remembering about Chat Blanc, but this is only provoked by him addressing directly the topic of them being akumatized. It’s not brought up by her own fears, trauma or by the debate between the two, by the whole “keeping him at distance”. It’s once again related to the identities. 
And once again, Chat reminds her that of course he can’t know, since she doesn’t speak to him about anything at all. 
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We can skip forward through Chat feeling left aside because she wants to protect his power, or him feeling excluded when he sees her so happy around Felix (don’t make me spell his hero name pls), but then we reach the most important point, that addresses the whole menaging of this sub-plot. It doesn’t resolve it, it doesn’t wrap it up, it just confuses more on the true intentions in handling it. 
“I wanted to control everything. I didn’t listen to you, I lied to you, I kept you at distance”.
First note about her admitting her mistakes at the end of the episode, after being partially defeated; she isn’t apologising. This isn’t an apology, there are no words implying it and surely she isn’t saying it out loud. This is an admission of mistakes. Perhaps we can say it wasn’t the best situation, but if this was meant to wrap up the whole thing, then surely something big is lacking. Her apology is fundamental since she just admitted all along it was her own actions and mistakes the problem and that they were a willing choice. 
But then we turn back and face Kuro Neko. That episode and this admission of the finale, contradict each other.
What was the point of Kuro Neko? The premise was that with Chat blowing up and giving up his Miraculous, it was set up to resolve or reach the highest moment of tension of the sub-plot... but it didn't. We didn’t get Ladybug realising her mistakes, we didn’t get an apology from her. We got one from him, who wasn’t in the wrong in the first place. The whole episode, aside focusing again on the point of his romantic feelings, which weren’t really supposed to be one of the focuses, gives the final message that she wasn’t in the wrong. He was. 
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Plagg accused her openly, even if again addressing the romantical feelings which aren’t even that important in the whole sub-plot and scheme of things. He said that she mistreated Chat, but she didn’t come off as guilty, as aware of her actions. “I’m sorry but I’m just doing my best to be a Guardian” She seemed surprised about it all, not even realising before she was making him feel excluded and vulnerable. Ladybug even admits to thinking it was a good break for him and it only seems natural overall for her to think he is now a member like any others, aside owning the Black Cat miraculous. 
But if she wasn’t aware, how come in the finale she admits to keeping him at arm’s length? Surely, she could have realised later on, but we didn’t see her realising it, thinking about it, feeling guilty. She knows Chat, she also can put herself in his shoes, it would be so natural to know that he must be feeling bad about the situation. Then why we never saw her addressing it? Isn’t it a willing choice due to her “trauma”?
She used so easily his trust in her in Ephemeral, without even consulting him and never feeling a doubt until he revealed and surely because he was Adrien, not because of her actions, so why in all this she never showed regret or guilt or sadness in keeping him at distance?
If it was a willing choice as implied by this phrase, then what was the point of Kuro Neko? An episode that tells us the exact opposite? And treats it as the right answer? Where we are said she wasn’t aware of her actions and she wasn’t in the wrong in the first place?
It brings back to the main problem, she wasn’t shows being vulnerable or in difficulty because of her choices. Because it wasn’t even decided if she was willingly putting him at distance or if it was spontaneous. 
Either she willingly sidelined him, or she just treated him badly naturally and in both cases, she wasn’t shown caring about it until she made an horrible mistake. and even then, she didn’t apologise for it. 
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Yes, this is very important, because apologizing is NOT the same of admitting mistakes. You could say “Oh yeah I made your birthday cake fall” or “Yes, I did that and I’m sorry”.  Admitting you did something and showing sadness over it, it’s still not the act of apologizing. One could say you’re just sorry for youself or don’t even care really about doing what you did, or regret it.
And from the finale of season 4 and the first two episodes “Evolution” and “Moltiplication” of season 5, she still didn’t. 
Here is why it’s all a problem.
She never apologized in New York for lashing out on him unfairly about not trusting him. She felt destroyed when he left, which at least is better than Kuro Neko’s situation, but she felt more sorry because she didn’t imagine herself as Ladybug without her Chat, not because she worried about him and how he felt after her lashing out. “He made his choice”. There wasn’t guilt, there was more so blame on him for leaving suddenly once again. He was the only one who apologized. As Kuro Neko once again…
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(Note that New York being a cause of stress for her newer reaction to him giving up is to be taken with a grain of salt since so far even if it’s said to be canon, the show doesn’t give any single proof or evidence that the specials had influence on the series and happened).
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Her actions, when it comes to her relationship with Chat Noir, never were taken accountable for real in the series. Aside from some sadness, guilt for exposing Master Fu at most, she never faced her mistakes when it regarded treating her partner unfairly or acting in a morally wrong way.
Yes, she did make apologies in various cases and tried to fix her mistakes after realising she was wrong, but they often don’t stick for the following episodes and in the first place, these things don’t apply when it comes to her relationship with Chat.
This is the same reason why Marinette never grows as a character for that regard, may it comes to Adrien and her crush on him or to Chat. All her attitudes and mistakes are more often than not excused or ignored, and treated as normal or not wrong, when there is plenty of alarming signals about how she acts. 
Of course, many characters in the show have this problem. Chat/Adrien does surely, Alya does, Master Fu does, most does… but Marinette is the protagonist and the only one that is so excused.
A character being flawed and making mistakes is absolutely normal, yes teens make weird decisions and they have to make mistakes over and over again like adults to really learn at times, but they must be brought up as such and have the character working on them, not having them passed as nothing much because of this idea of girl-power and feminism the show has. And should show some work done in development at the end of the second last season.
Chat may have acted by impulse giving up, or maybe even he should have talked with her directly, but how would it have worked with her acting like that on a regular basis?
He had many reasons to act like he did, even more justified than her for her own actions. 
Will the show really approach the situation by having her working hard to apologize and fix her attitude? Are we really sure they will when the show never has done it? Even with small moments and actions?
This is the real issue. 
It's a thing that has been going on way before season 4. It just went all over the top now because it’s a choice the writers picked plot-wise, but it’s not written properly and with genuinity. 
The problem is that this time too it was all minimized when the problems are far greater. With Chat taking part of blame in a situation he has almost none. Her actions don't show remorse in the trailers or previous episodes. She doesn’t realize things that are blatant. And it may be understandable if we had clear context and proof of her trauma. But she never showed to care in a healthy and deep way. The actions written for her to prove she cares about Chat can be easily considered superficial or forced to make minimal treatment, which would be only worse if she really did care a lot for him. She once used to care much more, in season 1, maybe even the second, even if she made mistakes there too. She once used to want to fix her mistakes, to improve herself. It’s been a long while since she threw that away in regards to Chat.Sure she may laugh at some jokes, play along, hug him, say she won’t abandon him, ask Alya to laugh at his puns, but how much does it count when there are other genuine and basic rules about respect and care she totally ignores? The basic things we have to show to everyone. A stranger, a friend, a partner…
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How much does it count if she told Alya to play with Chat if in the same episode she didn’t even consider his feelings on her identity being compromised and her not telling him she had a substitute?
How much does it count if she acted stressed in Kuro Neko if it was barely about missing him?
How much does it count she chose Chat over Catwalker, imperfection over perfection, where there is no reason explained to why and it’s clear what she prefers?
How much does it count she told him once again he is irreplaceable when in the episode meant to show that it’s showed totally the opposite and never told why it’s otherwise? 
How much does it count she may realized she did something wrong if she shows no remorse for his sake and doesn’t apologize?
How much does it count that she told him she wouldn’t abandon him if she wasn’t even going to address the situation if Alya didn’t remind her? If she didn’t even seriously consider those fears or share them?
How much can we base everything on suppositions? Supposedly she is hurt inside, she loves him, she is traumatized, but when the show barely acts to prove them and explain why the character’s act in a certain way? 
How much can we suppose Ladybug cares right now so deeply when nothing supports it aside our own hopes and thoughts? Our own work of headcanons and fiction?
The important things are shown in how a person takes account of the other and Ladybug, even if Fu is heavily responsible, she is even more by herself. 
Sure, he shares a big part of blame. He was the one who we can, in a very debatable way, say “trained” her. He was surely part of why Marinette got so strict with rules and such. But she is an independent person and she is the one who acted badly with Chat. She still holds most of the blame for her actions.
She's 14, but age works as an excuse up to a point. Of course, Thomas was the first to say that precise age doesn't matter, and I certainly disagree with that. It is very important, if you want to use age as an excuse, specify. (And it’s always important if your show has a structure that requires a linear storytelling and doesn’t fit entirely the filler writing). However, in these cases her age is abused to explain exaggerated behavior which, however, should be gradually corrected.
A character, regardless of the age they have and the target the show aims to, must be written with consistency, care and the desire to improve. 
She needs to make mistakes.
But this does not mean that she can misbehave, not be held responsible and always get away with it, apart from a little sadness etc ...
She needs to pay, learn, be aware of her mistakes and be willing to apologize and work to fix them. Feeling inner conflict over time. Being seen as the one that is wrong at times despite being the protagonist and a supposed strong female representation.
Not to seem the one who doesn't matter what, will be in the right and fair light. Excusing her behavior constantly is what also supports the main problem of this show and why it was barely fixed.
Having a flawed character that acts by making mistakes and works to fix them is okay if it's written and built well. And with valid and shown explanations. 
Miscommunication must be well written and supported by rights and wrongs in the character’s actions. Coherent ones.
Marinette is not a monster, I am sure she is a character supposed to make mistakes but cares. The problem, is that right now, everything written shows the exact opposite and no matter how much she might work later, how much she might feel guilty and really realise what she did wrong, it’s still too late.  (And as of Kuro Neko, she didn’t do it).  She hasn’t proven to do so since season 3. She is thought to care, but not written to do so properly.
We lack the whole road to this development, the proof of a trauma, showing her suffering but still caring. Marinette facing choices and doubts over how to act towards Chat. Her speaking and thinking about what to tell him or not. Her doubting.  And mostly we lack her fixing her attitude.
Show her caring so much that she becomes cold and keep him at arm’s length because it’s the only way to protect him. Show her thinking genuinely about that, and suffering for it. Then, you can say she really has a trauma going on.
You have to show she cares with bigger acts, with consideration and care, even if in the end she makes the wrong choices. 
This is not a character who is suffering trauma. Sure, there are many ways a person can react, but writing wise Marinette doesn’t show the real signs. She is just being mean and stressed, but overall, trauma or not, you don’t treat someone like that more than once. And surely, show’s blame, you don’t act like it’s fine or no big deal.
In the 5 seasons arc, we are at the fourth with no improvement in the matter.
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The only hint was Glaciator but everything that episode made and introduced was then discarded for the worst.
There, Ladybug and Chat Noir had miscommunication, made assumptions, and saw they were wrong. There Ladybug apologized and explained, there she seemed to be open to change her attitude or open at the chance to get to know him more so to treat him not superficially.
Why was it all used for the wrong reasons then?
Age is a matter until we remember she is a character with a story arc that is supposed to have growth, constantly even in her fallouts and mistakes. There are way younger characters but they have a growth and development. 
But ignoring, excusing her actions right now, making it seem like it's not something grave when there are millions of children following this series and taking example, is the worst thing of all.
Chat Noir has many writing problems himself, he is far from the perfect character and he too has had similar problems. He is resilient, he doesn’t react often to unfair things, he rearely loses his temper or show disappoint towards his situation, he let everyone decide for himself and lacked a “spine” for most part of the series. One can say that it’s the sentimonster thing, but it should apply only to his father. And if we go towards the topic of abuse, the effects in such a long series should have been reduced as he interacted more with his friends. We should have seen him more open to his feelings with his friends and at least see him trying more to rebel his father, only failing at the very end because of his amok. He should have improved a lot more and sooner.
But, as big as this problem is, he’s been far less the problem in the duos’ interactions, in every side of the square.
I agree that excessive hate is not the right way to go. For any character. Nor for Chat, not for Ladybug. But feeling anger and concern over the situation? Genuine ones? Criticizing her and the writing without blowing up? Seems fair enough to me.
We can’t really blame people for being angry over how she is acting and is written. Of course taking it to extremes is wrong. 
Liking the show with its flaws, liking Marinette, it’s okay, it’s fair. Tastes exist and we are different because we have them.
But the genuine concern is more than understandable. People have the right to feel pissed and annoyed at this point.
Because how she acts is there to see, and ignoring it, excusing it, may be the problem why the authors kept making Marinette the character she is and will ever be in the main series.
I am not even saying all of this to defend Chat Noir because I’m an hardcore fan (I try to be neutral, it just happens right now I think he is less in the wrong. Besides, Plagg is my fav, despite his sometimes wrong choice of speech. It used to be Alya but I didn’t like her much in season 3) and I’m not saying this to defend Ladynoir rights. I couldn’t care right now about shipping what we see in canon, right now I wouldn’t see any of the love square working, aside maybe Marichat, but if they pick this road, it will be wayyy too late. My favorite ship is Marichat, I think it has the most potential, but it’s late to use it now and surely with the context of the series, my likes lays more on the fanon Marichat (which is natural, there’s almost no content even for the canon one).
I said it already also, but I LOVE Angst. This choice of the drama in the ship, of Chat Noir feeling left out, of Ladybug unknowingly OR willingly (picking one clear) sidelining him? It’s VERY good. Excellent twist. People may lament it because many don’t deal good with angst, but I adore the idea, I adore the potential. 
But the problem is how it was executed. It’s not well developed, well structured. It will stay just potential used in the wrong way, like... most of the show’s best elements. People shouldn’t lament about the angst, but about the angst not being well portrayed. 
Season 4 is probably the best season as ideas, better in structure than the third, but the worst still with the third as writing. Yes, there is still left material to judge and I will carefully analyze it, but it won’t change what we already got and how it was portrayed.
She didn’t work to fix her mistake, a whole plot-line was just left like that and yes, as I said, there is still season 5 to see that, but Kuro Neko and the finale only added a good bunch of problems and right now, so far into the series and in their partnership, seeing Ladybug not even realising she is hurting him, seems a bit stretched.
And definitely, waiting for the fourth season to face this kind of plot is too late.
This content fits season 2 or 3, now it’s way too late.
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razorblade180 · 1 year
The agreement
(I’ve thought way to much about this.)
Multiple people chattering
Aether:*peeks into kitchen* Pssst!
Aether:I’m going to take Kokomi on a date. Is that okay?
Amber:Sure. Thanks for letting me know.
Aether:*kisses cheek* Love you!
Xingqui:Wait…Are you two together?
Xingqui:But…I thought you and Keqing.
Keqing:Yeah we are.
Beidou:!? I could’ve sworn I saw-
Aether:Me with Yanfei? Ahem, Yanfei, could you please bring the agreement?
Yanfei:*pulls out paper* Aether’s self imposed and agreed upon guide lines for having a relationship. Rule number one, the max is two people per country.
Kaeya:*kicks open door* Hello!?
Venti:When did this development happen and why wasn’t I in the room!?
Amber:Realistically speaking, Aether is going around the world and many places none of us can follow without abandoning obligations. So one of the things he and I did near the beginning of our relationship when he started leaving more was set up a system.
Keqing:Are we gonna talk about how those two were listening in or-
Xingqui:But why two per country.
Venti:*strums lyre* The people of Mondstadt are no stranger to…sharing love a little more generously than some other places. After all, people have two hands.
Yanfei:Rule number two, if Aether pursues a new partner, he must notify them about the system. Even if there’s slim chances of them meeting another partner. This keeps Aether honest and allows the person to know what they’re getting into.
Aether:I am not a hoe.
Aether:You’re debatably dating a hoe then.
Keqing:I’m aware.
Kaeya:At least the morality is maintained.
Yanfei:Rule number three, If Aether chooses to approach a second partner in the same country as another, then the first must agree. This decreases the chance of fighting and team discourse.
Beidou:I am shocked you had this in writing before you met Yanfei.
Aether:It was a long process and discussion.
Yanfei:I was very impressed by it. I did rewrite it myself though because his penmanship was shaky. A few more rules to go. Rule number 4, inform all preexisting partners when another has joined. No particular reason other than remaining honest and open.
Xingqui:I respect that.
Yanfei:Rule number 5, all partners are allowed to have a relationship outside of this system. Nothing states they have to follow the second rule, but it is highly recommend to prevent unnecessary consequences. Aether doesn’t even have to approve of them.
Kaeya:You all are free to date?
Keqing:It wouldn’t be fair if he was the only one. Remaining home being lonely while he finds a date would be critically unfair.
Venti:That is true.
Amber:I’m dating Eula and she knows about the rules. Things are just easier when everyone is on the same page.
Aether:I don’t expect anyone to be waiting for my return in solitude. (Especially if I leave Teyvat one day.)
Yanfei:Final rule, be kind to one another. Socializing between one another is optional and any problems should be brought to Aether. Also this last part goes without saying but don’t butt in on dates, steal him away, etc. Like if Aether comes to Liyue odds are he’s going to visit me and Keqing. I don’t care who he visits first. We’re all busy anyways.
Xingqui:How does that work here though.
Keqing:I’m here to relax! Have at him!
Aether:Ouch. You wound me. *smiles*
Beidou:Quite the system you got going on. I like it! I also see you like legs haha! I’m surprised you didn’t try wooing Ningguang.
Aether:I don’t even want to think about her learning all of this. Besides I’m not into everyone and I already have both of my hands held in Liyue.
Yanfei:I was shocked how open Keqing was to the idea.
Keqing:*red* I…trust his judgment. Besides I can break up with him at anytime.
Aether:That would heartbreaking. I wouldn’t date you if I didn’t love you. All of you are unique and great.
Venti:That’s right, you work this room Aether. Though now I’m curious on who’s partner number two in Mondstadt is?
Amber:It’s just me. *proud*
Kaeya:Did you say no to Lisa?
Amber:I’m confident in myself and trust Aether but there are times you don’t even entertain ideas. She might actually shake his entire world.
Keqing:Understandable. I would’ve said no to Beidou if he asked.
Beidou:What’s wrong with me!?
Yanfei:Nothing. Absolutely nothing and that’s the worry. Look at you, gorgeous.
Xingqui:So if Keqing decides to date Ganyu, and then invites Aether to hang out as well…
Aether:Ganyu isn’t my girlfriend. I just have a good day. Same with anything involving Amber and Eula.
Kaeya:I’m so proud of you. *hugs him*
Aether:I have mixed feelings about that.
Yanfei:I was wondering when someone overseas would catch your eye. Showing restraint these days?
Keqing:No, he’s plotting.
Paimon:*floats in* Aether likes Kokomi and Ayaka, but isn’t sure if Ayaka would be okay with another person from Inazuma, so Aether decided to talk to Kokomi first; since she appears more open to the idea.
Aether:*inhales* Paimon you get cooked tonight.
Venti:*smirks* Proud of you.
Aether:That makes me feel worse!
Amber:I still love you. ❤️
Aether:*hugs Amber* You are just…my entire supply of grade A emotional support. Never change.
Amber:Hell yeah! *hugs him*
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miss-kittyy · 2 years
Rewriting Briarlight and Longtail’s Deaths
So I am disabled, like very disabled, I am %50 of the teenagers ever diagnosed with my special combination of pain disorders, and I also unfortunately hyper fixated on warrior cats, which is bad news for me because warrior cats is super ableist, and to add insult to injury, the fandom can also be pretty ableist.
My biggest problem with the majority of “anti-ableist” AUs is that they “fix” the ableism stemming from the narrative and able bodied characters by making the disabled character less disabled, this so bad for many reasons. I’ve talked more about in other posts. The justification that real life disabled cats are less doesn’t make it not ableist, since when was warrior cats meant to be realistic? If you’re making an au where the disabled cats function like actual disabled cats you also have to make all the cats genetically accurate, and retcon Lionblaze lifting a tree.
My problem with warrior cats is not that the disabled characters cannot become full conventional warriors, I’d like it if they got to choose what duties the perform instead of being crammed into the medicine den, but I don’t care about Cinderpelt not being able to complete a marathon. Most of the fandom seems to think the issue is that the disabled character are not useful enough, instead of the way that able bodied characters deny of them agency and make remarks like “you wouldn’t want to return to a life like her’s would you?”. Disabled people do not need to be “useful” to be worthy and empowering.
It’s very obvious that most of the fandom just wants the disabled cats to be more palatable to abled bodied people, so I’ve decided to make my own rewrite instead to hopefully make myself feel better. A lot of these things are inspired by my own experiences and not every disabled person is looking for the same things in representation, this is totally self indulgent.
The goal of this AU is to highlight the many unique and valuable aspects disability and how being disabled does not infringe upon anyone’s worth, ever.
- Longtail doesn’t die in the storm, Briarpaw is still injured, but he’s found besides her, trying his best to help her cling to life.
- after Briarpaw begins to recover he stands up to Millie and other cats insulting her quality of life, he says her journey will be hard, but it is one worth taking.
- She asks him why he’s an elder, and he decides to request to have his warrior ship restored as Briarpaw is dreading the life of an elder.
- On his first patrol the cats accompanying him insist on speaking to him in an incredibly infantilism tone, and whispering amongst themselves over what he can or can’t do, without consulting him,
- He initially gives up on patrolling after that insufferable experience.
- Briarlight begins to create marks and blobs on the wall of the medicine den using crushed up dead herbs she asks him to retrieve some berries for her, and he complies.
- Jayfeather shows him how he navigates the territory with the help of some of the sighted cats, and Mousefur is quick to volunteer as his guide. He finds her company surprisingly empowering. He realizes that it was not his blindness which was limiting his abilities, but the other cats attitudes.
- Mousefur and Longtail return with mouthful of berries and herbs, Briarlight describes to him what she’s drawing on the side of the den and he helps he mound the materials into paint.
- The cats begin to pop into the medicine den to see Briarlights painting and soon Jayfeather has to kick her out occasionally so they’d stop crowding him, she’s given the walls of camp to decorate instead.
- She begins to illustrate Longtails stories of the old territory and Bloodclan, and this new form of storytelling becomes a tradition amongst Thunderclan.
- because more young cats are aware of the clans history it becomes harder for the dark forest to recruit them, unfortunately, Blossomfall’s resentment towards her sister means she never cared to listen.
- Ivypool is still recruited and trained like in canon, given her relationship with the dark forest was much more emotionally charged and manipulative than just plain lies.
- at a gathering Longtail meets Grasspelt who inquires about Briarlight, Longtail is surprised about how little he knows as the she-cat had mentioned how well they got along as apprentices. Despite Millie nagging him not to tell him the truth about her daughter he does anyways, but puts much more emphasis on how well she’s doing than Millie expected. Grasspelt thinks this sounds really cool and decides that he is going to see her and her paintings, and that nobody can stop him. Longtail makes sure to put any opposing cat in their place, but Briarlight is a very respected Clanmate, so most warriors don’t say anything.
- Briarlight is nervous and doesn’t want to come out of the medicine den at first, but when Grassheart darts into the den holding berries and flowers for her to paint with she quickly warms up to her visitor.
- Grassheart is happy to tell Briarlight that he’s never been able to be a “functioning” warrior, and that he has always imagined that his spirit is shaped different, the medicine cat says his body is normal, but he’s never been able to keep focus in a fight or react as quickly as he should be able to while hunting. (He’s autistic because I say so)
- As dusk nears he’s visually hesitant to return to Riverclan and when Longtail inquires on why he says that he hasn’t felt so “here” for a long time. On the way back he wanders off and comes back with a chipmunk, when returning to Riverclan territory his father, Mintfur, is shocked to see his catch. After talking with his family a bit he realizes that it was the noise from the river that was making him so tense and dissociated, Brackenfur, who was escorting him, notices that he keeps rubbing himself on the ground and wincing.
- For the next couple moons Grasspelt returned to Thunderclan to bring Briarlight plants that only grow in Riverclan territory, he begins trying to fish from the quite lazy stream in their territory and soon both him and Briarlight have got it down.
- Longtail notices the sadness present whenever Grasspelt left and exclaims that it’s rather stupid that he’s living somewhere so unsuited for him just because of words long repeated.
- Grasspelt confesses that he feels the same, but knew he wasn’t supposed to say anything. Briarlight tells Longtail that her and the Riverclan warrior had been thinking of each other as mates for moons.
- Longtail accompanies Jayfeather to the next half moon meeting where he proposes his addition to the warrior code, “no cat should be confined to laws which harm them due to an inherent physical or spiritual difference.” (Cats don’t really know how brains work, so they see mental disabilities as a difference within a cats spirit)
- A moon later the leaders meet to discuss this proposition, it is accepted and Grasspelt makes the journey to Thunderclan for the final time.
- Grasspelt is renamed Grassspirit when becoming a Thunderclan warrior, unlike prior renaming of disabled cats this is a celebration.
- Grassspirit spends most of his time taking care of the elders and kits, he’s incredibly compassionate especially with kits and is able to solve many problems within the nursery.
- When twigkit and Violetkit arrive in Thunderclan Briarlight and Grassspirit help raise them, after Violetkit is taken Briarlight and Twigkit paint her on the side of Thunderclan camp.
- Briarlight still gets sick and her illness progresses without any treatment, Grassspirit notices her trying to hide it and when Longtail finds out he’s very upset. Jayfeather frantically treats her, expressing his frustration that she didn’t tell them sooner, the second Millie steps out she breaks down and explains that she just wanted to deal with it herself, and perhaps if she were successful Millie would finally treat her like an adult.
- Longtail gives Millie a stern talking to, he tells her that Briarlight is a warrior of Thunderclan and as her clanmate she should show her some respect.
- Millie is inherently very reactionary, as she had not realized the full extent of her suffocation, but eventually after a couple moons her and Briarlight begin to rekindle their relationship, like adults.
- Blossomfall sees how Brairlight wasn’t basking in their mother’s attention like she imagined, and feels the urge to seek out an actual sisterhood after ignoring Briarlight for moons and moons.
- Briarlight isn’t really mad at her sister, and understands why she felt the way she did. Jayfeather suggests that Blossomfall help Briarlight with her painting, Blossomfall seems put off with the suggestion of being her sister’s assistant.
- The interactions that follow are less than ideal, Blossomfall commends Briarlight’s able friends (Thornclaw, Poppyfrost, Alderheart, etc) for being so nice to her, as if that’s not what friends do. She seems very sad the entire time, sighing when her sister dragged her legs around with her mouth to sit more comfortably, even though she was completely fine. When watching her paint she comments that it’s good she has “something to keep her busy”, and finally she expresses her view, of Briarlight’s injury and her (Blossomfall’s) suffering being all worth it because of her talents, as if her life was not worth living to begin with.
- Briarlight tells her that if that’s truly what she wants she’s going to have to put more effort into understanding and respecting her way of life, and that she won’t apologize for their mother’s actions.
- When Blossomfall has her kits they take a liking to Auntie Briarlight, and Blossomfall seems to have reflected on their past interactions, trusting her sister to watch her kits. Briarlight teases a bit, a subtle way of telling her not to rush things, but they do begin to feel like something close to sisters.
- Right before Briarlight’s Nieces and Nephews are made warriors Longtail dies of Greencough. Throughout the entirety of his sickness he kept his sense of humour, his mean streak, and his immense love for what he had made of his clan.
- At his vigil Grassspirit began whaling like a bird in new-leaf, he insists that the vigil is too sad, and that Longtail wouldn’t want everyone moping around, for Starclan’s sake, his life was good. Standing amongst them, Longtail’s spirit can feel every cat in Thunderclan standing around him, singing the song of a life well lived.
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Why for MCU are you team not Steve? (I guess that would make you team iron man by default)
Ugh, Steve.
The MCU and the Muffin
First, to start, I'm so burnt out of the MCU I don't think I qualify for any team. I am done. Simply done. Disney keeps throwing new shows at my face? Don't care. The Black Widow Movie came out? I aggressively do not care. I haven't been invested in the MCU since... well, ever, really. I never wrote substantial fics for it and that's telling.
But really I'd say The Avengers was the last time I was anywhere near anticipatory. Now I'm just occasionally pleasantly surprised. But usually not.
As a result, it makes even discussing it hard. As I just see the term "MCU" and "Steve" and my brain says, "You can stay, but I'm leaving."
So, I'll try, anon, I'll try.
Mostly, Steve just rubs me the wrong way. Certain directors in the MCU adore Steve, it's all about Steve, and me being as contrary as I am I dislike that. I despise being pandered to and this alone has seen me hating shows, ships, you name it.
Steve is one giant pandering to me by the MCU.
He's also just boring. There's no substance to him. None. Period. I can't even find anything to comment on. There is nothing interesting going on about him. Ever.
Watching him is akin to eating cardboard. It takes a lot of effort and I'm just left with this bland, vaguely unpleasant, taste in my mouth.
Tony, at least, is interesting. He has a lot of character development throughout his different films, has very large character flaws, and is just generally engaging.
Alright, Fine, Some More Depth
I find Steve a disturbingly righteous and naive character, filled with hubris, except the MCU is too boring to ever do anything with this.
What do I mean?
We start with Steve as a strappy young lad who wants to go to war. Why? He doesn't like bullies. No, really, this is what he says to the German expatriate who ends up making him a super soldier. He's going to Nazi Germany because he doesn't like bullies.
Granted, Steve is very young, patriotic, and idealistic. But in the war murder is in his future. Steve, should he get what he wishes, won't just be putting the Nazis in timeout. He is going to kill them or be killed himself: that is war, that is what he wishes to do.
However, instead of pointing this out to Steve, the doctor is instead impressed (and increasingly desperate as the American government is insisting he pick a test subject out of people who will become monsters with this serum).
Steve is injected with the serum, the good doctor dies, and Steve... never really realizes what he's gotten himself into. He spends much of the war putting on performances, feeling very under used, until he heroically goes in and singlehandedly brings down a HYDRA base. And then he gets to play super serial soldier, leading an elite force of trained men that... never really feels like war.
My point being, yes Steve has leadership experience here, but he also doesn't. He instead has this persona, this Captain America ideal painted through propaganda, that everyone respects because it's Captain America.
This HOWLING MONKEY period of his life is so untried that we skip almost all of it (except Bucky falling off a train, sorry Bucky, see you in fifty years).
There's no hint Steve learns anything. He still thinks war is about fighting bullies, that he's better than others because he understands what "true strength is", and over time seems to come to believe he's deserving of this immense strength.
He flies into an ice cube, many decades later is opened back up, and everyone assumes he has a lot more experience than he has. He's put in charge of the Avengers squad, because of course he is, he's Captain America!
Steve, of course, doesn't question this because that's right, he is Captain America! And he proceeds to use the authority he barely has to talk down to all of his teammates (but especially Tony, god does he not like Tony's attitude).
This is all well and good but then we get to Civil War. Steve's argument is utterly ridiculous. He refuses to hold vigilante superheroes accountable because... America and Bucky? That's pretty much it. And I would understand if it was solely Ross/the American government, but this is the United Nations. And the Avengers, frankly, should have oversight. Tony might be driven by fear in the movie but he's not wrong, these guys shouldn't be running around with missiles doing whatever they please. That's a recipe for disaster and not stable.
Steve then convinces half the people to his side, not because he's right, but because he's Steve. These other people have no idea what's up with Bucky (Steve doesn't either for that matter), but they go to his side because "Steve" and "Not Tony Stark". That's it, that's his selling point, and it works because he's Captain America.
And Steven never realizes this about himself, about Tony, or about the position he's in.
But... Isn't That an Interesting Character?
That would make Steve a fantastic character. The trouble is, the MCU isn't aware that's what they wrote. They adore Steve, so when he does, well, all of the above, the story makes him out to be right. Of course Steve is the leader, of course Steve was right to bail on the Avengers and get his friends put in a floating prison, of course Steve is right to sacrifice the country of Wakanda for Vision, etc.
And because the MCU completely refuses to deal with Steve's very blatant, wonderful, character flaws: I get cardboard. Chewy, chewy, cardboard.
It's delicious.
Team Iron Man Because?
9 times out of 10 I side with Tony in those films.
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Shinso Hitoshi: Victim of Discrimination? Part 1
Shinso Hitoshi. The most popular teen character in MHA who isn’t part of 1-A or the League of Villains. There are numerous fics and stories that have him as a main character or as a major supporting character, especially considering how little he’s actually in MHA itself. Of the 347 chapters of My Hero Academia published at the time of writing, Shinso directly appears (not counting flashbacks, mentions, etc.) in only thirty-one chapters. That is 8.9% of the MHA manga. Furthermore, he is only really important to two arcs, the Sports Festival Arc and the Joint Training Arc. He is, for all intents and purposes, a minor character.
Despite his lack of appearances, though he is quite popular. In the official Japanese popularity polls, he ranked, respectively: 12th, 14th, 10th, 23rd, 17th, 24th, 10th. On Archive of Our Own, one of the largest fanfiction archives in western fandom, especially English-language fandom, Shinso’s tag, as of March 15, 2022, has been used on 31,154 fics, making it the ninth most popular character tag.
Given the popularity of the character, combined with a lack of material in MHA about him, it is no surprise that a whole spate of fanon has grown up around Shinso. However, a lot of this fanon is not based on what we actually see in MHA itself. There is one specific point I wish to focus on in this post, that of Shinso being bullied by his peers and discriminated against by wider quirk society. I especially wish to focus on this given how often Shinso’s bullying is compared with Izuku’s treatment, either saying Izuku is the same as Shinso or was not treated as badly as Shinso was for the sake of woobification of Shinso. I intend to show that this is far from the case. There is another common fanon trope I would like to look at, that Shinso was raised in foster care, but I shall save that for another post. This one is going to be long enough as it is.
Before we begin, I should note a few things. First, I want to make it expressly clear that I am not shaming people for their writing choices. I love a lot of fics with these tropes for Shinso. They’re fun and provide great drama. There is nothing wrong with using these tropes. I’m just explaining how I interpret what we see in canon in contrast to the common fanon tropes, nothing more. If you go and send this post to writers, screaming about how they are terrible for writing Shinso in a way different from how this post interprets him, you are a terrible person and I want nothing to do with you. Do not use this to harass authors just trying to have a good time.
Furthermore, I will be relying exclusively on the manga’s version of events here. I have not seen the anime myself, so I cannot judge how it changes things with regards to Shinso. I will also be relying exclusively on the official VIZ Media localization of the manga, not on any fan translations.
Finally, I must give a huge shout-out and thank you to Samcalibur, my co-author on Little Owl. I had let fanon Shinso completely eclipse canon Shinso in my mind until she pointed it out when discussing how to write him in Little Owl. This post would not exist without her. Thanks for this, Sam! With all that said, let’s get started.
The most common fanon trope for Shinso, in my experience, has been to highlight him as an outcast from his peers. This includes him having zero friends before UA, him being specifically bullied for his quirk being “villainous,” teachers refusing to talk to him because of his quirk, and, in some fics, even having his middle school put a muzzle or gag on him during class to keep him from speaking and using his quirk.
A lot of fics that go to these extremes with Shinso often will paint an equivalence between how he was treated and how Izuku was treated by his classmates and society for being quirkless. However, when we actually see flashbacks to Shinso’s past during the Sports Festival, when he is explaining himself to Izuku during their match in true battle shonen fashion, how does Horikoshi depict him?
Shinso and Izuku fight in chapters 32 through 34 of the manga, during the Sports Festival Arc. These two chapters are where the bulk of the fanon that Shinso was bullied and discriminated against come from. Do the chapters bear this out? In a word, no.
So, in chapter 33, Shinso is goading Izuku to try and get him to respond again after Izuku breaks the brainwashing. He says that Izuku is lucky to have a quirk that lets him “enter the Golden Gates” that Shinso is not allowed through.
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However, nowhere in Chapter 33 does he bring up the idea of him being bullied for his quirk, just that Izuku, due to having a physical quirk, has a leg up with regard to the hero course that lets him follow his dreams (the second panel comes from chapter 34, but is part of the same conversation).
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So, he does not talk about his supposed bullying here. Instead, his bitterness is about how those with physical quirks are able to “follow all their dreams.” Shinso's resentment is about how the UA entrance exam is structured, not over how society is treating him or how his peers treated him. That begs the question, where did the bullying aspect come from? Given how prevalent it is in fandom, the answer is quite underwhelming. It’s a single page in Chapter 34:
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It is worth noting that, by all indications, this is an entirely internal flashback. Izuku himself is never actually told about this. Only Shinso and the audience are privy to this information.
This page is at the heart of the entire fanon about Shinso’s bullying, and it is incredibly underwhelming. To me, this does not read as someone who was horrifically bullied. This is standard First Day of School talk. I can see how Shinso would find this being constantly brought up annoying, but it is not bullying. This is the equivalent of having a odd name and having every joke about it memorized by fourth grade. Speaking from experience, yes, that is annoying, but it was not bullying. Hell, one of the students even flat out says they are jealous of Shinso’s quirk.
There is also a common point in fanon where Shinso is an outcast in 1-C for his quirk. However, this point is not just unsupported by canon, it is actively contradicted by it. We see some members of 1-C after Shinso’s loss to Izuku. Here’s what they have to say to him:
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Far from viewing him as an outcast, they’re proud of him! They call him the “shining star” of General Education. They think he is “awesome!” and they’re elated that he went so far. This is not what you say to an outcast you are afraid of, this is what you say to a classmate you respect and think highly of! Quite simply, there is little to no evidence that Shinso was bullied for his quirk, and certainly not for the fanon concepts of him being a complete outcast due to it. There is no chance that the Shinso of canon was muzzled to keep other students safe from him as some fics claim. By all indications, Shinso was accepted by his peers, both in middle school and in Gen Ed at UA.
For contrast, let us look at Izuku’s experiences, to which Shinso is often compared.
We see Izuku’s middle school days mainly in two places, Chapter 1 of MHA and the bonus two-part story Deku and Bakugo Rising, which is included in Volume 2 of My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions. Let’s first look at Chapter 1 of MHA itself.
So, when does Izuku being bullied for being quirkless start? Page 1.
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Let’s make note of two specific things on this page. First, what Bakugo says to Izuku. “So Deku, the quirkless wonder, thinks he can play hero, huh?” Let me draw your attention to two pieces of information here. First, even at this early stage, Bakugo has already coined the nickname of Deku, likening him to a wooden doll that cannot do anything. He is already calling Izuku useless, worthless, and incapable of doing anything. Second, he is calling out Izuku’s quirklessness and him for “playing hero.” This shows that the bullying is both because of Izuku being quirkless and for him having the try to stand up to people with quirks, to "play hero," against his betters, those with quirks. Then he punches Izuku in the face while his long haired friend holds Izuku's head in place, both of them using their quirks. The use of their quirks is likely intentional, highlighting what they have that Izuku lacks. However, that’s just Bakugo and his cronies. Bakugo Katsuki, as shown throughout MHA but especially in recent, has a specific complex vis a vis Izuku. What about Izuku's other classmates later on? Did they also lightly tease him the way Shinso’s classmates did?
Well, here’s how they responded to the idea of Izuku applying for UA’s heroics program:
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The entire class laughs at him, mocking him for the entire idea of someone like him, someone quirkless, could be a hero. It gets even worse a couple panels later:
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There’s a lot to go into here with this panel, because there is some very striking visual storytelling going on here. First, the entire class is framed as a single mass, distinguishable only by their various quirks. This contrasts them specifically with the quirkless Izuku, whom they menacingly loom over. Izuku is on the ground beneath them, showing how he feels below them, framing them as villainous and him as small and weak. The only light spots in their silhouettes is the repeated word “heh,” showing they are still laughing at him. Finally, the word balloon. It is not tied to any specific person, not even Bakugo. Instead, it’s presented as the unanimous words of the entire class. They’re specifically asking him, mocking him, “what can you even do?!” with the word “do” specifically bolded. They are telling Izuku that he is completely useless, that he can’t do anything. This is bullying and discrimination. This is not the light teasing Shinso received.
We see this bullying on an individual level in Deku and Bakugo Rising with Bakugo’s two unnamed friends. In that story, set in Izuku and Bakugo’s second year of middle school, the two friends of Bakugo steal Izuku’s hero magazine and mock him for reading it (thanks to Ernand for the proper scans):
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They specifically mock him for wanting to be a hero when he is quirkless. Bakugo himself underlines this point a panel later, saying “since he’s quirkless, dreams’re all he’s got.”
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I have reached the image post limit for Tumblr, so I will have to split this post here. Next time, we will deal with how society treated Izuku and Shinso and close out this very long meta!
Until then, ἐρρῶσθαι!
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if-confessions · 3 months
frankly as a white author I find it hard to include diverse cultures in my story. The risk of offending someone is way too high no matter what, and I'm not looking forward to being involved in some drama
Prefacing that I am a not a minority author, so my perspective will probably be flawed. If a diverse author wants to add stuff on the subject, I'll reblog/add your comments! :)
That's understandable. There are many damaging tropes and stereotypes out there, and sometimes it can be easy to fall into them, even unconsciously (because of internalised bias/the culture you are raised in/etc...). And not wanting to add to that damaging representation is more than fair.
Lack experience/knowledge to have those diverse groups represented properly is something I am sure many authors struggle with. And there are essentially three ways to go forward from there:
Not caring about whether a character is a bad representation of a culture or not caring about the potential fallout (don't condone or advice this one, obv)
Not including diverse cultures in your project (the Stick to what you know adage).
Strive to include diverse culture in a respectful manner by doing research about those cultures, discussing with people from those cultures, joining writing groups and ask other authors about their experience, have sensitivity readers, etc...
If you do want to look into including diverse representation, there are quite a bit of resources out there that can help avoid damaging characterisation. On Tumblr specifically, you might want to check out blogs like Writing with Colors or Crippled Characters or browse the more broad/unorganised reblogs of Interact-IF.
Addition from @shai-manahan who wrote about this topic a few weeks ago here. To the anon, no one's forbidding you to write what you want to write. You just have to keep being mindful, and be respectful when mistakes and criticisms are pointed out.
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separatist-apologist · 3 months
You review ": From Blood And Ash + the other books. Look. When are we going to discuss the absolute antisemitism that ribbons through these books? I guess its fine since Casteel is so hot, but lets not pretend the whole shadow elite drinking the blood of innocents for eternal youth/power isn't just repackaged blood libel because it absolutely is. Ignoring that, JLA is a bad writer with no editor pumping out book after book to bleed her fandom dry. How many 500 page books of no plot are people willing to read before they move on?
Gurl, i-. i was onep of the people kinda follow the booktok book reco back inthe day. When ut was hyoe and love all across the booktok fandom. But gurl. I WANNA BE MAD AT HOW BORING THE BOOK AND HOW I WANA SLAP BOTH ML AND FL. I was so mad by how hype the book is. I feel betray by the booktok community.
Then i give chances to the Kingdom of wicked. Like hellooo?? This book is dar below kingdom of ash. AT LEAST, i remember that cassteel is the ML,pretwnded to be a guard, climb a tree wuth the maiden FL and black hair. But this ML in KoW?? I remember nothing of the guy. He so bland,no spice at all,all salt and thats is that. But I did remember he had a good body. The rest? Wth am I reading? Is this a fever or what? I dont even remember whathappen in that book. But i know the FL hs twin and FL grandma sounded fun to have in holiday and her cook can solve world hunger
How the hell tiktok love this book. Half of the booktok reco is a scam. Now, the only reco i take from booktok is non fic or anything not YA,fantasy and romance
I think my issues fall into two categories: is it bad technically (craft/pacing/writing/etc etc) but not harmful
Or is it bad (all the same) AND harmful. I have a rant, I'll put it under the cut
So like- who cares really if someone likes garbage? I like garbage too, we all rummage through the trash and pick our faves and while it's not for me and I don't like a lot of it, I don't begrudge people who do. Kingdom of the Wicked is here. It's boring, it's got a plot that never made sense and it's clear the author didn't have a plan when she went in. Whether she wanted to write her books as quickly as she did or was pressured, I think the constant pumping out books for consumption like it's television seasons diminishes the quality. I would guess publishers are riding author's hard to write faster in order to captialize on hype because it makes them money.
I also think the way a LOT of self-published author's write like they're publishing to AO3 is part of the problem. So like- leaving me a rude review is mean because I'm doing this for free and it's a hobby but author's ask you to consume their work, often for money and its disrespectful when they don't, for example, hire an editor to catch their mistakes and then turn around and make people feel bad for leaving poor reviews or send their followings after reviewers for pointing out the lack of quality and consistency.
Those things are, in my opinion, bad and I dislike it's usually white mediocrity being put on this pedestal over and over when there are very well written, GOOD stories by poc author's that are ignored in favor of another mid story of a dark haired abuser and a spineless sassy LI.
But then there are bad books that are also harmful and that's where I don't feel so nice and I AM judging people like. Very hard. ESPECIALLY when it comes to the blood libel because Jesus goddamn Christ it's like every 4 months it's another author saying "oopsie I accidentally put antisemitism in my book" like look at the Haunting Adeline author. At least she's sorry but it's really exhausting AND highlights what a good editor could catch if they had any respect for their readers.
JLA is offensive in my opinion because she doesn't care so long as people keep buying her padded books. She'll keep churning out books and if you say "you know maybe it's okay to be critical of what you consume, even if it's just for fun" you get railroaded with people saying you have internalized misogyny and can't stand to see women enjoy themselves. I personally support women's wrongs EXCEPT when they're perpetuating hateful centuries old conspiracy theories that have gotten people killed and are still spewed on Twitter by, for example, Kanye West.
And the fact that so many of these author's rush to write whats in their heart and what's in their heart too often is racism is a conversation I feel like booktok isn't interested in having and so people still uphold Haunting Adeline when it never deserved the hype (but at least the author said sorry I guess, and reworked her issues) and will say they don't notice the antisemitism in FBAA (lucky them) and they're just trying to have fun without ever considering whose expense they're having fun at or like. How the self-publishing model COULD disrupt who we make popular if people could move away from the same four tropes strung together by shreddable plot and a dark haired man with tattoos.
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Could you do some headcanons about Kaeya and Diluc with an s/o who really wants to dance with them (whether it be at a festival, party, at home, etc.) Also? I seriously respect the hell out of you for writing while working an 8-5 as someone who has to work a 9-5 and feels like i doesn’t even have time to shower at night. 。゚(゚´ω`゚)゚。 I hope you’re doing well! Please continue to grace us with your lovely presence!
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I finished it!! Thank you for waiting for me! I hope you like it :D 
^ expanded the request a bit --- I also don’t know how Kaeya’s got to be so long - so an extra special gift from me to you 
warnings -> sfw, reader is pestered by some ppl, jealous characters :) 
Character X GN Reader | Anthology
Includes: Kaeya, Diluc, Childe, Albedo
When Kaeya asked you to be his partner to one of the largest events in all of Mondstadt, you were beyond excited - this was an opportunity you had been waiting for - you’d always wanted to dance with him, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so 
You did your best to get ready, not knowing if this or that outfit would be better to wear, and the anxiety of having to meet him at the event hall was weighing on you 
“Y/N!” You turned your head for the thousandth time, so many voices had called out to you the moment you descended the stairs, their eyes as powerfully overwhelming as their voices. Luckily, this voice was someone you were relieved to see. Amber gripped onto your hands and pushed herself between you and the many bodies standing just a bit too close. “You look incredible! I’ve only ever seen you in your adventure clothes.” 
“Haha, I couldn’t come to a ball dressed like that, could I?” You glanced down at your attire, it had taken you a long time to decide what to wear and even though you settled on this, and were getting compliment after complement, you only cared about one person's opinion. Where was he? 
“Well, you look incredible!” She gripped your wrist and pulled you along, shouting at people who refused to get out of the way, her peppy voice breaking through all the many others calling for your attention. It was strange to be the center of attention. You’d seen so many of these faces around town and they didn’t seem to notice you then, so why all the affection now? It made you feel self-conscious. 
When you were finally away from the sea of eager eyes, you took a deep breath. The new, less crowded space letting in relief to ease your nerves. 
You looked at Amber and smiled at her, she always seemed to know how to bring you just what you needed, her kindness knew no bounds and you were we happy to have a friend like her. “Have you been here long?” You asked her.
“Pretty much, I’ve been helping plan this event for a while. I’m happy for it to be over honestly, who knew planning something like this was so exhausting.” 
“Ha, maybe that’s why Diluc always has a sour expression on his face. Too many events.” 
“You’re probably right! Ah, can you imagine stern Diluc planning a party? I’d die.” She laughed and the cheery vibrations seeped into your weary skin, your nerves made it easier for you to have an emotional reaction and with her disposition you found yourself laughing with her. 
“So,” you looked out over the dance floor, noticing the tables full of food and drink, people standing in small circles chatting and laughing away. “Who else made it tonight?” 
“Oh, are you looking for someone in particular?” She tilted her head and smiled at your flustered state. 
“N-no … what … shut-up.” You frowned and looked away from her. 
“I think you’ll see him soon, he had something to do but it won’t take him all night.” She must have noticed your disappointment because in an instant she made the decision to get you something to eat and stuck to your side until you had a more natural smile on your face. 
Any excuse to be close to you he is all for, it doesn’t matter what the occasion is, he will find a way to hold you, touch you - he just cannot get enough of you 
When he invited you to the Favonious ball, he knew you’d quickly take up his offer and join him, there wasn’t a question in his mind that you would deny it 
He had several things to prepare for and was frustrated that he couldn’t bring you to the event himself, but he knew you’d show up and once you did he’d have all night to spend with you - that was if he could make his way through the barrage of people who were flocking to you as soon as you stepped through the door 
He stepped through the hallway, his footsteps echoing off the walls as he made his way toward the ballroom. Lisa had given him a few ‘last minute’ wardrobe adjustments, and while she cooed over how handsome he looked, he hated how tight the suit was around his neck. He pushed his finger between the collar of his dress shirt and pulled at it. 
As he turned the corner, he could already hear the sounds of the party drifting up toward him. He hoped it wasn’t too late, his work had kept him longer than he wished and it was well past the time that you said you’d be there. He was frustrated and eager to see your face. 
The light from the ballroom washed over him as he stepped onto the balcony. There were still plenty of people enjoying themselves below but he only cared about one. His eyes scanned the crowd, heart filling with dread as he failed again and again at finding you among them. Then he saw you, your back leaning against one of the pillars, your arms crossed around your chest, eyes looking at the outrider who seemed to be holding you in a lively conversation. 
He smiled and quickly made his way down the steps, his hands slipping into his pockets as he did so. 
People were engaged in discussions, which normally he would be interested in as these were great opportunities to gather information, but his focus was on something much more important. 
“I’m going to ask them…” A voice caught his attention so he slowed his pace. 
“Don’t even bother, they haven’t danced with anyone the whole night. They’ve just been talking with that brunette for hours.” 
“I’m pretty persistent; I know how to win someone over.” Kaeya looked at them, his gaze lingering for a moment before catching you in the same place you had been. He watched as they made their way toward you and the stab in his chest pulled at the back of his mind. Quickly, he unbuttoned the collar of his shirt, the freedom of it spurring him on as he pushed his way toward you. 
“Hey, I couldn’t help but notice you haven’t danced with anyone here. I know, you’ve just been waiting for me to ask you all night.” The man smiled at you, but there was something unsettling about the way he did it. 
“No thank you, I’m not interested.” 
“Come on, it’ll be fun. You won’t regret it.” You were getting irritated at this point, not only had he interrupted your conversation with Amber, but he wasn’t the only person to ignore your first no. 
“Again, I’m not interested.” You turned away from him hoping that if you didn’t look he’d just walk away. 
He placed his hand against the pillar and leaned in closer to you and you were about to show him how strong your disinterest was when you heard a familiar voice.
“How rude of me to keep you waiting for so long, I came as soon as I could.” You looked behind the man and saw Kaeya standing there in formal attire, his beauty seemed to know no limits - frustrating. 
“Kaeya!” You stood, disregarding everything and flashing him the brightest smile you could. 
“Am I too late for a dance?” He held out his hand to you and without hesitation you took it. He led you to the dance floor leaving behind a confused, dejected suitor and excited Amber in your wake. 
He spun you around as soon as you reached the dance floor, a hand resting on your hip and the other holding your hand. “You look stunning, did you get dressed up all for my sake?” He looked down at you and his smile made your legs weak. 
“Maybe … don’t let it go to your head.” 
“Too late.” He laughed and you forgot how much you missed him. It didn’t matter how long you waited, for him, you would wait an eternity. 
“I heard a rumor about you.” 
“What rumor?” You looked up at him and caught the mischief in his eyes. 
“That you haven’t danced with a single person here, is that true?” 
“... It is … I only …” You looked down at his chest before continuing. “I only wanted to dance with you.” 
His hands squeezed around your hip and you felt him pull you closer, “How lucky am I. Sorry I made you wait.” 
“No! You don’t have to apologize.” Your head shoots up to meet him, your voice a bit louder than you planned, but he doesn’t seem to mind. 
“Well let’s give them all a show, shall we? I mean, I have to make sure they know they’ll never stand a chance.” The two of you spend the rest of the night together, the jealousy of all those who wished they were Kaeya apparent as they started to fade away the longer the two of you held one another. Kaeya couldn’t be happier, he was completely fine with them dropping all hope of being yours - that space was for him and him alone. 
You were having a great time enjoying the festivities. Practically everyone had been invited to the winery to celebrate the coming of the new season, it was one of the most popular events that could happen 
The two of you had been catching each other here and there, but with how busy he was taking care of everything, and how popular you were becoming as a dance partner or at least an interested dance partner, the two of you continued to drift past the other
Diluc was getting more and more irritated as the evening went on. There were so many things distracting him from where he desperately wanted to be. Instead of being at your side, he was busy hosting conversation after conversation with potential business partners, dealing with the drunkards who couldn’t seem to keep a responsible handle on their booze, and drifting between staff to make sure they had what they needed. 
Reasons like these were why he typically avoided hosting events, but it was always fruitful and he needed to keep old connections and build new ones. Still, when he had a second and his eyes drifted through the crowd to find you, he felt the heat rise in his chest as he watched you dancing in the arms of someone other than him. He wasn’t mad at you of course, he was frustrated with himself that he allowed others to touch you, you were just too kind - a trait he loved, but one that also pulled at his heart. 
“They are incredible.” He heard someone share with their friend. Glancing up from his work he saw just who they were in discussion about. 
“I wonder if they are seeing anyone?”
“I haven’t heard anything …Hey, If you don’t go for it, I will!” They laughed and while he couldn’t tell if their intentions held any weight, he hated that the idea was even present in their minds. Again, it was on him that people didn’t know you were seeing one another. The two of you looked like good friends with the way you respected his boundaries, and his reservation at being expressive with his affections for you. He clenched his jaw before walking away. 
Your legs were starting to ache from the amount of activity you were requesting of them. So many people had asked you to dance, and you didn’t want to be rude, as a guest of Diluc’s you wanted to make sure to be as kind and thoughtful as you could. However, with the amount of energy you were expending on everyone else you were starting to feel the effects of it all. So when several more, slightly persistent, patrons came to ask you to dance, you found yourself leaning to decline. 
“Excuse me,” they began, “If you would be so kind, I’d love to have the next dance with you.” You looked up at them and saw their nervous smile. It hurt to reject them, but you desperately wanted a break. 
“Thank you, but I’m going to have to respectfully decline.” You nodded your head and noticed there were other eager dance partners standing behind them. “I need to rest a bit, everyone has been so lively, and I’m running out of stamina.” You laugh in an attempt to make your rejection more lighthearted. 
“If you don’t want to dance, we can do something else!” They sat down next to you, their arms perched on the table, body leaning in way to close. They began to ask you questions, which was fine until they started to get more and more personal. You did your best to answer them, but when they asked the next question it was a challenge to get them to accept your response. 
“Everyone is dying to know,” another asked, you turned your head to them and waited, “are you seeing anyone?” 
You averted your gaze before responding, “Yes. I am.” 
“What!?” | “There is no way?” Their voices hit you at once and the loudness of their shouting drew eyes from other party-goers. They badgered you for a bit, all asking different questions at the same time, making it hard to hear them all. One stuck out and when they spoke the group got quiet. 
“I’ve never seen you with anyone.” You looked at them, their arms crossed and lips turned into a frown. “You’re pulling our legs.” 
“No, I really am seeing someone.” 
“I don’t believe it, you're just using that as an excuse.” Their words made you angry. You didn’t own them anything and you were being plenty kind, and, that kindness, was starting to grow thin. “Tell us who it is and then we will believe you.” They placed their hand on the table and looked directly into your eyes. You were about to answer them when you were interrupted by the person himself. 
“Y/N.” He spoke and the voices around the table died down, you looked at him and felt unbelievable relief. 
“Diluc.” You stood and walked toward him, his hand open for you, a gesture you were surprised by. Carefully, you placed your hand in his and scratched the side of your head. 
He looked at you, his eyes heavy on your skin. “Sorry I’ve been so busy.” 
“It’s okay, I don’t mind waiting.” His thumb rubbed the back of your hand, there was no way people couldn’t notice how much that affected you. 
“Hey! What’s going on … are the two of you …?” The person stood up and placed their hands on their hips. Their shouting drew the eyes of others again and everyone at the table stilled as they waited for a response. 
“Yes, and I ask that you don’t cause them any trouble; I won’t tolerate it.” His tone had a hint of a threat and it made your chest tight. There was a shockwave of disbelief that ran through the crowd, and the whispering made your ears burn. Diluc looked at you and you looked back, “Shall we?” 
You followed after him, his broad shoulders a sight you never got tired of seeing and when the two of you held each other in movement to the music, you knew there would be no secret to your relationship now. Diluc made that clear from his words to his actions, and as the music began to fade and the sun dipped below the cliffs, he bravely showed his feelings for you as his lips touched your cheek. 
He’d be all about showing you off to others - he wants to make it clear that you and he are an item no matter where you were
You went with him back to his home-town. It was a long trip, but so worth it to be with him, to see where he grew up. It took a while to get used to the chilly weather, and in fact you had to layer up extra carefully in order to bear the cold
His family had prepared for him a welcome party and had practically invited everyone they could to celebrate his return. Even if they knew it was only temporary, as his membership with the Fatui often kept him on the move, still, it was nice to feel so loved and welcomed with such a joyous event. 
They also knew he would be bringing someone special back with him. It was a demand which plastered every letter he received from his siblings. He knew if he didn’t bring you along there would be a reception colder than the snow that never melted. 
Of course, the two of you arrived hours before the start of the celebration. This gave his siblings and other family plenty of time to introduce themselves to you. They asked you question after question and when it was finally time to get ready for the party, you noticed how rough your voice had become. You definitely knew that Childe was a member of this family, he too knew how to wear out your voice. 
Childe changed clothes quickly, it had been so long since he wore those clothes from this region. As he looked in the mirror, the way the outfit rested snuggly against him, it made him even more nostalgic than he already was. He was waiting out in the large living room, his mind playing out memories of his childhood in this house when a sound caught his attention. 
His younger siblings giggled and shouted in excitement and as he turned to see what was all the fuss he felt the air in his lungs leave him. You were dressed in a traditional style outfit, your hair styled to fit your attire, hands fussing with the clothes you weren’t used to wearing. When you looked up at him and smiled shyly he felt an incredible urge to lock you behind closed doors and not let anyone lay their eyes on you. 
You walked toward him, ignoring the loudness of his siblings, “They said this would be okay … Do I … look alright?” 
“You look incredible.” 
“Thank you.” You drop your head, looking at your hands and he desperately wants to pull your face back to him, but is interrupted before he gets the chance. 
“Let’s go already, big brother!” Teucer shouts, already standing at the door. 
“Shall we?” Childe extends his elbow to you and you take it. 
He had been watching you dance with the members of his family for a while, and while it moved his heart to see you laughing and doing your best to learn the moves, he wanted to hold you in his arms himself. He wanted you, to have you experience his traditions first hand through him. So, when he couldn’t handle it any longer, he finally asked you to dance. 
“You all have been keeping them so busy … I’m going to steal them back now.” He exclaimed, barging into the game you had been playing with his younger siblings. 
“That’s not fair! You’ve been able to keep them to yourself for so long. We want to play more.” 
“You can after I’ve had my fun, let’s go.” He pulled you away and their cries sounded as you drifted further from them. 
“I was winning!” You exclaimed, laughing as he pulled you behind him.
“It’s my turn to have your attention.” He turned and pulled you close to him. You could feel his energy through his fingertips, it was familiar, like the time he saw you talking to that stranger in one of the bars of Liyue. 
“Childe, you can’t seriously be jealous of your family.” 
“You don’t know me at all, do you.” He spun you around and when you realized you were out on the dance floor you knew you were in trouble. 
“I’m not very good at this yet.” You try to explain to him but it falls on deaf ears. 
“I’ll teach you, just follow my lead.” He nodded to the musicians and they began to warm up, their music drowning out the chatter. Quickly, he leaned down and kissed your forehead before offering some last minute encouragement, “Let me show them all how spectacular you are.” 
He loved every second of this. The way your feet stumbled over his as he moved with you across the dance floor, the way your face flashed through different expressions: joy, concern, embarrassment, confidence. He couldn’t get enough of you, there was never enough of you. How was he ever going to be satiated with you around, especially when you were embracing his home, his family with such unbound acceptance. 
He wanted to swallow you up, he wanted to lock you to him for the rest of time, and the more you let him take, the stronger his desire became. 
As the music drifted into its final crescendo he lifted you in his arms and spun you around. There were countless couples surrounding you, all shouting and cheering on the excitement that rippled from the center of the dance floor. When he stopped and you slid a bit down his chest, your shoulders at the height of his chin, hands gripping tightly on his shoulders and face dipping down to him with a smile that told him everything he ever needed to know about you, he let the words fall from his mouth, finally being as honest as he ever had been. 
“I love you.” 
Albedo wasn’t too fond of parties and get-togethers, it was a lot of energy to expend on the discussions or interactions which he’d much prefer to stay clear of, at least if he can get away with it. Still, he had promised to make an appearance, and when he saw you he was much more inclined to stay
He loved to watch you have a great time, you were so independent, doing things whenever you felt like it and experiencing life as it happened. Unless it was explicitly told to others, most wouldn’t have any idea that the two of you were seeing each other. Most of the time that wasn’t a problem, as your busy schedules kept you distracted, but as he watched you mingle with the citizens and partake in the festivities, and how you drew the attention of interested eyes, he was starting to get jealous
These sorts of festivals drew in travelers from all over Teyvat. Most of them only blew in with the wind while others stayed longer after the final banner was removed. It was something that almost everyone in Mondstadt took part in, even those who often didn’t get out much -- and he was one of them. 
Albedo made his way through the streets greeting citizens as he passed by, a quick nod or hello here and there. It was Sucrose who had encouraged him to take a break, reminding him that he was likely to see you down in the festivities. So, he put away his work for the day and headed out of the research labs toward the cheering below. 
When he saw it was like the sun shined on his face for the first time in days. He felt so warm and was eager to reach you. As he got closer, he couldn’t help but notice the many faces that were turned to you. It was strange but he tried not to let that oddity hender him in any way. That’s when he started to hear the conversation you were having with someone, the closeness of them to you, and the way they didn’t seem to leave you alone.
It wasn’t like him, either, to let his emotions get the better of him, but having to listen and watch others take notice of you, something inside of him grew and he wanted to make sure they knew their hands would never reach yours.
“Hey.” A man walked up to you and injected himself in the conversation you were having. You stopped what you were doing and glanced at him, curious. “Would you be interested in dancing with me?” 
“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not much of a dancer.” You smiled at him and tried to let him down easy. In fact you’d love to dance, but only if it was with a particular person, and he didn’t seem to be around at the moment.
“It’s okay if you aren’t, I’m happy to teach you some moves.” He took a step closer and his first impression of friendliness was slipping into pushiness. 
You started to tap your fingers against your leg, the motion becoming more intense the closer he got. “Really, I’m not a good dancer, you’ll find more luck with someone else.” 
“Come on, it’ll be fun.” He reached for your hand but was blocked by another. When you looked at the owner and saw it was Albedo, your stomach flipped. 
“Albedo?” You turned to him, a smile on your face and relief in your voice. 
“Excuse me, but I believe they said they weren’t interested?” 
“... ha, what are you their boyfriend?” They laughed and continued talking, “Listen, why don’t you let …” 
“Yes, I am.” Albedo interjected, cutting the person off. 
“We are together.” They looked confused, their eyes moving back between yours and Albedo’s. Albedo looked down at you and noticed the expression on your face, “Is that not the right way to describe our relationship?”
“No! I mean, yes, that’s right.” You looked at the person and gestured to Albedo, “This is my boyfriend, I’m his … we’re together, yes.” You nodded your head way too many times, but the point seemed to get across to them anyway. They left in a huff and you watched them leave before standing and turning to Albedo. 
It was the first time the two of you had ever really said those words out loud - of course you knew in your minds that you were a couple … but to say the term which let the outside world know of your relationship, well it was so exciting 
You felt your face get hot as you remembered how factually he had spoken, how quickly he answered their question. You couldn’t help but pat your face and pinch your cheeks 
After that, the two of you wandered through the festival, eating delicious food, participating in the activities, laughing and having interesting discussions, as you always did 
When night started to drift over the event and only a few people remind in the city center, you found yourself back in the place where your time together started, music drifting through the air 
You had such an incredible day. There were times the two of you were so busy that you would go days without seeing one another, so to spend an entire afternoon together was like a gift. 
“Today was incredible.” You express, the excitement and joy from the day making you click your tongue against the roof of your mouth. 
“I can tell you had a good day.” Albedo replies, smiling at you. 
“Oh, really?” 
“Yeah, you click your tongue like that when you’re happy … sometimes when you’re focused.” 
“Ah, really! I’ve never noticed.” 
“I think it’s cute.” He stepped closer and grabbed your hand, his grip soft and gentle. “So I know you don’t like to … I was wondering … would you like to dance with me?” 
“Yes!” You answered much quicker than he expected, your voice startling him a little. You covered your mouth and laughed, your eyes squinting. 
“Let’s go.” You took his hand and walked until the space felt right. Albedo let go of you before turning to look at you. With an elegant bow he requested your hand once again, you returned the gesture, not wanting to be rude and also trying your best to not scream with excitement. The music swelled and your bodies moved closer, his hands wrapping around your back while yours draped over his shoulders. You rested your head against his chest and let the wonderful day drift into a wonderful night, you and Albedo sharing in a moment with one another. No worries, no interruptions, just one another swaying to the sweet mixture of music and distant conversations. 
“I’m glad you could make it today.” 
“Me too.”
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beskar-candy · 11 months
soft around you (x 2)
i keep seeing plus-sized reader fics that dive into body image issues, internalised fatphobia, etc, and i completely respect the significance of those for other people but it’s just not for me. i wanted to offer something more body neutral, or at least try to. i am a beginner writer so pls be gentle! no beta, we die like death watch mandalorians.
relationship: din djarin x gender neutral reader x twi'lek female OC
rating: E, yes this gets spicy so 18+ only or ELSE.
words: 6.6k. oops
contains: plus-sized gender neutral reader described as little as possible other than having more surface area to love and also joint pain and hands smaller than din’s (man’s got big ass hands), polyamory but make it beginners' edition, accidental acquaintances to lovers, bisexual besties only half joking about wanting to date each other, developing big feelings very fast, minimal foreplay and saliva as makeshift lube, protected penetrative intercourse in vague and hopefully gender neutral terms, strong violence and wounding, some angst, din gets harmed by a culturally significant weapon but it’s discussed in detail, warning for discussion of the Great Purge of Mandalore which was essentially colonialism and genocide so please do not read if that doesn’t support your mental health journey
When you first laid eyes on Din, the first thing that struck you was how strong he is. Not chiselled and lean in the way dehydrated holo-vid stars are, but actually strong – beneath his well-fed belly is the strength of a warrior. You hadn’t meant to look, of course. You’ve met Mandalorians before – unavoidable, really, in your line of work. You would never actively try to get a peek under the beskar without consent, as some had definitely seemed to care more than others about remaining covered at all times. Plenty of cultures in the galaxy have similar customs. But it was your responsibility as a weapons smith and shop co-owner to tend to injured customers, wasn’t it? Especially if the injury was inflicted with one of your weapons, and the injured customer got beaten halfway to Mustafar before deciding to simply hurl his assailant’s entire body into your merchandise and earn his reward in under a minute. Such misunderstandings are common on Nevarro, affectionately known across the system as the bounty hunter's haven. Yes, you were only being a decent and sensible person. It had nothing at all to do with how that mirror-like helmet had held your gaze for several seconds longer than socially necessary. How the visor seemed to sweep every hill and valley of your generously shaped body. Or how his gloved hands seem to completely engulf yours. Or... well. You were just being a good person.
One hour before
You huff out a breath of exhaustion and wipe your sweat-dampened face with the backs of your hands. The dim light of the workshop isn’t helping your tired eyes, and there seems to always be smudges of blaster oil on every surface despite your constant cleaning. You stretch towards the ceiling slowly, having made your peace with the ache in your back and neck a long time ago. “Nyx?” you croak. The Twi’lek bookkeeper and co-owner pops her head around the doorway with eyebrows raised. “I’m going to snap at the next customer who asks me to repair thirteen pre-Imperial blaster pistols in a standard day. I might just snap at the next customer, period,” you groan pitifully, pressing your forehead flat against your workbench. Nyx gives you a sympathetic smile, and you turn to watch her tilt her head in amusement, her long blue lekku swaying gracefully with her movement. “Drinks at the Guild cantina?” she asks knowingly, more of a statement than a question. You shoot up rapidly to meet her gaze, light having returned to your eyes. Her laughter rings out through the stagnant air as she wraps her arms around your strong neck from behind. “Thought so,” she murmurs into your ear, pressing a soft kiss against your oil-smudged cheek.
“Yes, my love?”
You plop your ample chin into your hands, elbows propped against the workbench for support. “Date me,” you suggest half-earnestly. She grins, all pearly teeth and twinkling eyes as she steps backwards as if to check you out for the first time. You ignore your heart as it flip-flops under her mirthful gaze.
“I’m a hot commodity. You’ll have to make an appointment first.”
She wiggles her eyebrows as you gasp in faux offence, but can’t quite keep yourself from matching her grin. It is at that moment that blaster fire echoes outside, ricochets pinging off your front windows.
Nyx grabs your hand reflexively and you both scurry towards the source of the noise. Excitement seems to vibrate in the air – an overconfident quarry about to have their shit rocked no doubt – when a towering, broad man covered in head to toe beskar stumbles through your doorway. It has to be the most of the metal you’ve ever seen on one person. His breastplate heaves from exertion as he presses his back to the wall by the door, withdrawing a well-loved but otherwise pristine blaster from its holster. “Armorer, I need you to stay there,” he rumbles through his helmet’s vocoder, eyes never leaving the doorway. His deep rasp strikes your nerves like lightning, wavering somewhere between anxiety and arousal. Ordinarily you would say something snarky about being able to defend yourself, but somehow it didn’t come across as patronising – more that he just didn’t want to be interrupted. Besides, that much pure beskar only means your day is about to get more interesting. And nobody had ever addressed you as an ‘armorer’ before. Certainly not in such a... pleasing voice. Nyx side-eyes you curiously, but you just shrug and squeeze her hand reassuringly as you both remain in place by the credits register.
As if on cue, a young humanoid man in tattered and bloodstained clothes runs in, noticeably favouring his left leg. You muster a polite customer service smile and nod in his direction as the hulking shadow of the armoured man silently approaches him from behind.
“Pardon me, esteemed weapons smith, did you happen to see a certain bounty hunter that-”
The Mandalorian strikes him sharply in the back of the head before the man can finish his sentence. The young man crumples halfway to the floor onto his injured knee. His wince echoes through the room. A small smile grows on your face as the Mandalorian silently retreats a step, an apex predator winding back in preparation to pounce. Surprisingly, the bedraggled man manages to block the beskar vambrace as it comes crashing down on him. He staggers to his feet and lands a well-aimed jab at the Mandalorian’s unprotected side, before landing several other shots to the gaps in the beskar. Nyx’s grip on your hand tightens almost painfully. The Mandalorian takes a few steps backwards, seemingly surprised but relatively unaffected by the blows, before lunging and landing several of his own. The two go back and forth until the young man draws a nasty-looking dagger from his boot, and they struggle for a moment until he manages to sink it into the larger man’s thigh. The Mandalorian lets out a grunt and clasps his injured leg for a moment. The quarry takes the opportunity to slide across the floor beneath him and smash his captor’s helmet against the ground hard, the deafening clang making you jolt in shock. It’s messy and inelegant, but the smaller man continues to land blow after blow, managing to inflict a couple more cuts to areas unprotected by beskar.
A chill flows down your spine as you recognise the blade in his unrelenting grip. Just two standard weeks ago, a slightly dodgy local antique dealer had sold you a small chunk of unrefined beskar alloy. Having assessed it to be genuine with your magnifying lens, you’d bought it at a bargain, gleeful at his ignorance of its true value. You had relished being able to practice the highly technical smithing techniques you’d learned over the years from a kind, older Mandalorian lady who had frequented your shop before she'd moved away. You had relished the opportunity to make something for the sheer enjoyment of it instead of credits. You’d then gifted it to a Mandalorian customer passing through from off-world and promptly gotten on with your day. It clearly had not remained with them.
You freeze in place, horror and regret boiling inside you as the Mandalorian’s blood begins to seep through his armorweave onto the concrete floor. You have sometimes had the misfortune of seeing people wounded or killed by weapons you made or handled, but this was different. This was much worse, knowing what beskar meant to his people. Adrenaline thrums through your veins as you watch the beskar-clad man stoically attempt to block the onslaught of blows, the young man clearly invigorated by what he thinks is an imminent victory over his hunter. Just when you are starting to think it’s over for the Mandalorian, he rolls clear of the quarry and rises from the ground to throw his attacker’s body clear across the room. The young man unceremoniously crashes into your ammunition display and knocks over several catalogue stands. He rolls halfway onto his back and groans, but before he can regain his composure, the hunter elbows him in the nose hard enough that the crack of his head against the floor echoes off the walls. The man on the floor goes motionless. Seemingly unsatisfied, the Mandalorian slowly and carefully pulls a beskar spear from where it was tied to his back, before shoving it clean through the man’s leg for good measure. The hunter, holding one gloved hand to the worst of the wounds in his side, manages to clasp the binders shut with the other. Once the quarry is restrained, he removes the spear in one practiced movement, then bends down to collect the beskar dagger that had spilled so much of his blood.
You instantly tug your hand free and run to him on pure instinct. “I’ve got a med kit here for situations like this. Stay still,” you order him. Panting, the beskar mountain of a man collapses heavily to the floor as you flip the door sign to ‘closed’. Nyx quickly hands you the kit and medical scanner, with which you immediately run a helmet-to-toe scan to assess his injuries. Once you establish that the wounds are from the abdomen down, you find your eyes glued to the movement of a small strip of visible belly with each breath. His armorweave tunic must have ridden up in the struggle, revealing light golden skin dusted with brown hair. Shaking yourself out of your distraction, you move to lift his shirt further and he snatches your wrist before you can, but doesn’t push you away. He then apparently thinks better of it and loosens his grip on you a little. “I’m not going to touch your helmet,” you promise, bringing your gaze to meet his as sincerely as possible, “I just need to stop you from dying on my floor.” That seems to appease him and he gently releases your wrist, giving a small nod of consent. You go into a kind of trance, gesturing at each piece of armour before you pull it off, only removing the necessary parts for you to treat his wounds. As if on autopilot, you start cleaning and stitching them shut, ignoring the heat rising in your chest as deep grunts slip out through his helmet occasionally. Before long you’re soaking gauze in bacta and meticulously dressing each laceration. You finish in a matter of minutes. He wasn’t the first customer to get injured in or near your shop, and he would hardly be the last.
Only when you are done do you allow yourself to really look at him. How stupidly broad his shoulders are. How his soft belly rises and falls under your hand, now laid still against his pleasantly warm skin. How his pants cling a little tight to the thickness of his thighs and... other areas. After putting his armour back on, he clears his throat and slowly gets to his feet, offering you a hand up as well. “Name’s Din,” he murmurs quietly, as if it were for your ears only.
“Huh? Oh. Okay,” you acknowledge dimly, all thoughts having vacated your brain. Your voice sounds far away in your ears as you introduce yourself in return.
“Thanks,” he adds, then immediately turns on his heel, cape swishing behind him, and begins moving for the door.
“Wait!” you call after him. He halts mid-stride, then turns to face you.
“You – I should take a look at your spear. Free of charge, of course. Least I can do after... all that,” you babble nervously, wiping your palms on your coveralls.
After a contemplative pause, he nods his gratitude and reaches out to politely present you with the spear. Your heart beats hard in your chest as his large, weather-roughened gloves completely wrap around your hands. You look up and inhale sharply as his helmet slowly moves down and then back up your body, seemingly taking in every centimetre of you for the first time. Your widened eyes remain glued to where you’re pretty sure his are behind the dark T of the helmet, not even noticing as blood continues to drip off the point of the spear onto the floor.
“Yuck. Spotchka anyone?” Nyx interjects cheerfully from behind the register, already scuttling towards the break room before anyone can reply. “Uh... yeah,” you call out absent-mindedly, eyes still locked onto Din’s.
You both immediately look away as she returns, placing cups on the little caf table in the waiting area and filling them with a gratuitous amount of the bright blue liquid. “So, Mando,” Nyx begins warmly, “do you always get your behind handed to you?” You choke a little on your drink and shoot her an amused look. Din sinks into his chair with relaxed posture and gloved hands clasped between his spread thighs, seemingly taking the comment in good humour. “Only when my quarry is carrying a Mandalorian weapon,” he responds after a beat. Your nose wrinkles in discomfort.
“It’s not actually – I would never claim to... I made it,” you manage finally. His helmet snaps to face you. “It’s nowhere near the quality of the things my mentor would make, I was just so excited to have the opportunity to work with beskar and use the techniques she taught me. I know I’ll never have the depth of knowledge a Mandalorian armorer has-“
“Could’ve fooled me,” he interrupts, surprisingly good-natured. You can’t help but smile bashfully. A glowing compliment indeed from someone who seems to be a very reserved man. He goes completely still for a moment, a thought crossing his mind. “Was it made with Imperial-forged beskar?”
You shake your head vehemently. “We work hard to keep the lights on around here, but I would never knowingly accept something stolen by Imperials,” you tell him seriously. “It was unrefined beskar alloy, not totally pure, not an ingot. No engravings or anything.” He visibly relaxes again and your little smile returns.
Nyx observes the two of you with a raised brow as you drain the last of the spotchka in your cup and get to cleaning and repairing tiny dents in the spear.
“You know, we’ll have owned this place for three years next week,” Nyx tells him with no small amount of pride. Din turns his helmet to face her with interest. “She does the calculations and handles the business side of things, I work with the weapons,” you explain further, continuing to meticulously manipulate the barely noticeable dips and ridges in the metal.
“And... how long have you been together?” he asks in a semblance of small talk, taking great pains to sound casual.
“Oh well, we’re not exactly-“ you begin as Nyx also replies, “We’re just really close. People being pals you might say.”
“I see.” The Mandalorian shifts almost imperceptibly in his seat. “And what about you?” he continues, that dark T of his helmet locked onto her face. Nyx’s eyes widen. “Oh, well, you know. Not really looking, but not ruling anything out either.” You steal a side glance at her, wondering if that means what you think it means. You suddenly find yourself concentrating very hard on polishing the spear like your life depends on it. Minutes pass between the three of you in silence. “Here you are, sir,” you fluster, thrusting the cleaned and repaired spear away from you like it burned you. Din rises to his full height sinfully slow, stride no longer affected thanks to the bacta and care you gave him, and his hands completely cover yours once again as he takes it from you. You try to stop yourself from hyperventilating as he steps even closer to you while testing the spear’s balance in his hands. “Looks good,” he comments finally, sweeping his gaze down and back up your body again. You are too overcome by his attention to see Nyx bristle slightly beside you. His cape flows around him again as he turns and leaves your establishment.
You and Nyx both burst into incredulous laughter at what had just happened once his footsteps fade from earshot. “He probably thought he was being subtle,” she giggles, kicking her feet up onto the caf table. “Oh Armorer, how long have you been dating this radiant bookkeeper? ‘Cause if you aren't I would just love to press you against this wall,” she imitates in a humorously deep voice. You snort at her impression of him. “Me? ‘And what about you?’ Like you wouldn’t also climb him like a tree,” you shoot back playfully. Nyx hums, twirling a lekku in mock contemplation.
“I don’t know, that cute girl at the nuna roll stand seems like she’s about to ask me out-“
“Just admit it!”
“Okay, so he’s got the whole big warrior man thing going for him. It’s not... not attractive,” she replies with a grin. Nyx then pulls her feet off the table and sits up straight. “Are you thinking of making a move the next time he visits?”
You chew your lip in thought. “Maybe? Could be worth a shot,” you consider. “Do you think he’d treat you right?” the Twi’lek asks, suddenly serious. “Like I would treat you?” Something clicks in the back of your mind, but you brush it off. Nyx has always been a flirty person.
“He seemed....” you trail off thoughtfully. “I don’t know. He seemed gentle, I guess. Considering how he absolutely obliterated that poor bounty.”
She nods in acknowledgement, eyes fixed on the floor. “Anyway,” you add as casually as possible, “who knows if he’ll be back?”
A week later
Minutes before closing time, the Mandalorian enters your workplace carrying no fewer than five duffel bags stuffed with weapons. “I told my – I told a covert on Glavis about you,” he begins somewhat hesitantly. “They had a lot to say about the knife. And my spear.” You do a little jog of excitement to the door and flip the sign to ‘closed’, as you had a week ago. “And?” you reply expectantly, practically bouncing on your toes with anticipation of the contents of the bags. It was a shame Nyx had already called it a day – you find yourself wanting her to see all of it. To be sharing this moment with you. Din sighs under his helmet, a frustrated, almost embarrassed sound. “I think we should sit down,” he suggests, sounding unsure in a way you weren’t expecting. Both of you take the same seats in the waiting area as you had the week previously, a frown burrowing into your forehead. You begin nervously playing with the waistband of your pants which have become tighter since sitting down.
“Is something wrong? Did I damage something?” you ask anxiously. He shakes his head. “I’ve learned something about Mandalorian culture I didn’t know before. Something I thought you would want to know too,” he tells you through what sounds like gritted teeth. He has already spoken more words to you since entering than in his entire last visit. “The spear, the dagger, they believed they shouldn’t exist.”
You tilt your head in confusion. “Shouldn’t exist?” you repeat, shocked. He sighs again, his discomfort with talking so much and so vulnerably apparent. His voice sounds tight when he explains further. “There are some of us who believe beskar should not be forged into weapons, only armour. The Armorer of the covert told me of a young Mandalorian girl who once thought to build a weapon capable of bypassing beskar. The Empire stole her design and used it to murder hundreds of us.” You instinctively cover your mouth with a hand to suppress a sound that never comes.
Din has gone completely still, shoulders tense as a boulder. “The Armorer believed my spear, the dagger, that their very existence threatened us. Beskar pierces beskar.”
You shrink further into your chair, thighs pooling beneath you as your press yourself into it. You want to sink into the lava flats of this Maker-forsaken planet and quietly pass away from shame. “I didn’t know,” you confess in a small voice. “If I had known, I wouldn’t have-“
“It doesn’t matter. The alloy you were given was not pure enough to pierce my armour. But she did melt them down and forge them into armour for foundlings – for young ones who need their help in the future,” he informs you with surprising softness. You can only close your eyes and nod in solemn agreement.
“Maker, I’m so sorry. My mentor, she never spoke of this. Only of how much she loved that the art of forging beskar had been cultivated and kept over centuries. She was so excited to share it with me.”
He nods slowly, deep in thought. “It was drawn to my attention some time ago that the Way I was raised with is not the only way to be a Mandalorian,” he tells you, gloved hands clasped tightly between his thigh guards. “There are many who craft blades from beskar. Your mentor probably one of them. I was raised in a specific sect, with its own beliefs and customs about how things should be. Children of the Watch must never remove their helmets in front of others. Yet I have met warriors who remove them constantly. But I... am not welcome in that covert any longer.” Pain enters his voice in the last sentence like a stone sitting in his throat. Your heart breaks for him. This stoic, gentle warrior who had been cast aside by his own people like so much waste, however justified they felt in their reasoning. Tentatively, you reach out and take his hand into yours. His stiff posture seems to instantly melt under your touch. “Din – can I call you Din?” you begin gently, running your thumb over the back of his glove. After a moment of consideration, he nods. “I’m really sorry they turned you away. I don’t know much about the nuances of Mandalorian culture, but I do know you must have had a good reason to remove your helmet. And it doesn’t make you a bad person, Din. It just means you’re different now.” His inhale shudders in response to your words. The hunter before you tilts his helmet to the floor. You wonder if he has ever been told he is enough before. If he knows that every being in the galaxy makes choices that others don’t understand, and are still worthy of being loved. If he knows that includes him.
When he raises his head again to meet your gaze, something clicks into place inside him and he tightens his grip on your hand, lifting it to press the back of your hand against the forehead of his helmet. It feels so tender that you’re not sure how to respond other than simply savouring the gesture. “So these weapons aren’t from them, for you to fix. They’re mine,” Din admits, gently placing your hand back in your lap. “I brought them because I want to ask you something.” A hopeful feeling shoots up your spine. “If you say no, I will simply pay you for your time, collect all of this and be on my way. But I was wondering... if you might come with me when I leave in a month.” Your eyes go wide as a loth cat’s.
“Come with you? Where?”
“Where I'm needed. You’re skilled with weapons and first aid.”
Oh. Din was inviting you to join him because it made practical sense. A booked and busy bounty hunter like him could obviously use in-house weapons maintenance and the occasional patch-up. You try to squash down the excitement you had felt at the prospect of him having any other intentions. A breath whooshes out of your lungs, and all of your good sense with it. “Okay,” you blurt after barely a moment. The bounty hunter nods and reclines in his chair, legs spread, his posture radiating an energy of quiet confidence that makes your pelvis grow warm. “But... what about Nyx? She’s better at piloting than me,” you add. Din considers this for a moment. “She didn’t seem interested.”
You don’t think that’s strictly true, but then she also hadn’t expressed any intention to get to know him better. “You should come back tomorrow,” you suggest, “and leave your weapons. I’ll service them for you and when you pick them up at the end of the day we can... talk more.” He stands up from his seat and gives you another nod of acknowledgement before heading for the door. The poor man had probably overshot his conversation quota for the day. “And Din?” you call out to his back. He turns a little so the side of his helmet faces you. “Thank you for sharing all of that with me. You didn’t have to,” you tell him, trying to squeeze every gram of tenderness you feel into your voice. The Mandalorian gives you another small nod, before facing forwards again and leaving your shop.
The next day, you put a makeshift sign out the front claiming something or other about being closed for fumigation. You had already made enough from the thirteen blaster pistols client to justify the peace and quiet. Nyx had decided to take the day off, leaving you to work your way through the cleaning and maintenance of Din’s weapons with your favourite holonet podcasts playing softly from the workshop speakers. You find yourself missing the light bell of her voice ringing through the air. The smell of her perfume clinging to your clothes. Something inside you aches without her here. The vibrant enthusiasm of a host’s voice fades into the background as your thoughts then drift to the man in beskar. Despite having only met Din days ago, you feel like maybe he is a small part of you now, after he let himself be so vulnerable with you. You feel like maybe you are a small part of him, and now you carry each other around because of the moment you shared. You recall the way the he had pressed his helmet gently into the back of your hand like a kiss, and a smile breaks across your face. Despite dispensing with his bounty with the incredible violence of a storm, he had been so open with you. You had agreed to leave with him impulsively, but you don’t regret it. Something about the way he had chased a quarry into your doorway, out of every little shopfront on Nevarro, feels cosmic. The glances you shared, his hands overwhelming yours, the electricity crackling between you every moment you were together, it all feels like something much bigger than mere coincidence. It feels like the loving design of some long-forgotten god, waiting centuries just to bring people together.
Your mind turns to Nyx again. In your mind’s eye you see the curve of her smile when she says something cheeky, remember the plush softness of her lips against your cheek. The woman who had been by your side for years, unknowingly being all you ever wanted simply by existing. A moon blessing you with her orbit. Years of late nights walking the tightrope between companionship and something more, chaste kisses in the workshop followed by laughter and more kisses, all swirled together like milk and caf in your mind. You think of her lipstick in your bathroom, and then of Din’s bags on your floor, and then more of her. You wonder how your heart can hold so much love. You wonder if what you feel is love or just infatuation with the concept of both of them. You think... maybe it doesn’t really matter. As you finish up the final piece, you make a decision to ask her something before you leave.
The door swings open and Din’s broad silhouette appears. You grin and run up to meet him, deciding on a whim to wrap your arms around him. He goes still for a moment in surprise, but slowly wraps his arms around you in return and squeezes you against him. One of his gloved hands finds its way into your hair, where he begins to stroke it gently. You look up at him with a beaming smile, unable to contain your affection for this man. You inhale sharply as his hands find your waist and ever so slightly squeeze. The air suddenly grows warm between you as you hold his gaze through the helmet. You blink up at him, suddenly unsure what to do with your hands. You settle for placing your palms on his breastplate and drawing little circles with your fingertips, waiting for his next move. Din sighs, but this time it’s a sound of relief, like taking off your shoes when you get home. You fill so his arms so perfectly, you think you could stay there forever. You’re savouring the warmth of his enormous hands around your waist when he presses his helmet to your forehead, another echo of a kiss. Your breath quickens as he slowly reaches up to stroke your cheek with his thumb, separated from your skin only by the time-smoothed material of his glove. No words are spoken between you but you can feel what he’s trying to say – it’s in the way he holds you close, squeezing at the softness of your curves and dips with the hand that’s not cradling your face. The connection between you is so tangible you think you could reach out and touch it. You keep touching him instead, your hands slipping ever so slowly down to the belt of his pants. “Tell me what you want, Din,” you whisper to him encouragingly. He presses his helmet to your forehead again. “Whatever you’ll give me,” the man behind the armour replies. “Anything. Everything.”
Another smile breaks like the dawn across your lips as you untuck the hem of his tunic and run your hands up the little swell of his glorious abdomen to his chest, rising and falling rapidly under your touch. You squeal unintentionally as he lifts you with ease, gently placing you back down on the edge of your workbench. You hear him inhale sharply as he presses his helmet into the little junction between your neck and shoulder, flings aside his gloves and runs his burning hands over every roll and stretchmark of you greedily. “You’ll be my undoing,” he confesses as he slips the straps of your coveralls down your arms. You tear yourself away from him to shed the remaining layers of fabric between you. “I want to do you first,” you laugh breathlessly, pulling him into the space between your thighs. His hand slips beneath his helmet and into his mouth, coming away slick with spit. You cry out involuntarily as he plunges a finger inside you, filling you the way you’d been craving since he first entered your store. “Maker,” you whimper as he pushes and withdraws, pushes and withdraws like the tides on Naboo. Your eyes roll back as the world narrows to where he adds another finger, then another, your whole sensory universe made up of the pleasure he’s giving you. “Din, I’m gonna-“ He pulls back his hand just as something swells deep in your belly, leaving you to whimper at the empty feeling where he had just been. “Shh, I’m gonna take care of you,” he whispers soothingly, stroking little circles right over your most sensitive area with his thumb. You just know he’s smirking under that helmet as you squirm in overwhelming ecstasy under his heated touch.
The warrior in front of you pulls out his stiff cock with a hiss, hurriedly patting down the pockets now bunched up by his ankles before retrieving a condom. He presses his helmet back into your neck and inhales heavily as he rolls it down with impressive efficiency. “Tell me what you want,” he repeats your earlier words. “Fuck me,” you plead breathily. Your hand claps over your mouth as he pushes the tip of himself inside you, the stretch almost unbearably delicious. It feels like a lot, as prepared as you are for him. He grabs your wrist again, just as tightly as the day you met him, only this time to drag it away from your face. “I want to hear you,” he growls into your ear. “I want to hear everything.” You cry out loudly as he suddenly fills you fully the way you had been waiting for. “Din, more,” you demand, your voice sounding strangely far away beneath the ringing of your blood in your ears. He grunts with effort as he begins thrusting into you harder, deeper, further, hitting a spot that makes your thighs tremble. His low moans spark a fire inside you that rages and feeds off of the roughness of his thrusts. The pressure inside you keeps building as he hits that heavenly spot over and over, with what sounds like curses tumbling from under his helmet in languages you haven’t heard before. “Come for me,” you ask him huskily, and barely seconds later you feel the warmth of him burst into the condom buried within you. He groans loudly and shudders, thrusting weakly and slowly until he’s given you all he has. “Kriff,” Din curses under his breath. You can only nod breathlessly in agreement. The two of you take your time redressing, stealing glances and smiles between each article of clothing. He stills for a moment, hesitating before allowing you help him slot his armour back into place. “I’ll be back once I get this bounty,” the hunter promises, briefly illuminating the hologram on the puck in his pocket. A baby-faced Nikto with a hint of the devil in his eyes flashes up. “Go be good at your job,” you encourage him with a little smile. He presses his helmet into your forehead briefly before slinging his bags onto a stick pressed horizontally against the top of his shoulders, and hauls his belongings out the door.
The following evening
“So, how was yesterday?” Nyx calls out to you from her bedroom with great amusement, kicking her feet and twirling a lekku with her finger. “I’m assuming you sealed the deal?” You can’t stop the smile spreading across your face as you emerge from her shower. “It was... exactly how I thought it would be. Passionate, rough, but somehow still really sweet,” you tell her. Her eyes flash in a challenge as you collapse down next to her in the bed. Something about the thought of you with him lit a fire in her. It had felt like jealousy at first, but now...
“You wanna make out?” she asks you mischievously. "Always," you reply with a grin. Then the clouds of her lips collide with yours, and a rush of desire fills your body. You lean into her as your tongue searches for entry. She opens her mouth and moans quietly as your hand comes up to the back of her neck to pull her closer. You roll on top of her in bed, pressing her hands into the pillow. You tear your mouth away from hers breathlessly. “Good?” you ask, unable to suppress a cocky smirk. Nyx laughs and throws a pillow at you before leaning back in to suck love bites into your neck. Your eyes flutter closed as you try to remember what you were going to say to her. “Wait, wait,” you begin, and she immediately ceases her affections. “What’s wrong?” she asks with concern. “Well, I was wondering...” you trail off, unsure how one is meant to ask their current (sort of) flame about a new one. “What do you think of Din?”
Nyx sits back on her elbows, lekku swishing as she tilts her head in contemplation. “I’ve actually been thinking about it a bit the past few days. I think I like him too,” she admits eventually, wringing her hands in her lap. “I think... I like you with him. You seem happy. And it makes me happy.” Your heart feels like it could flutter right out of you like a porg on its way to a warm fire. You snuggle your face into the silky softness of her chest. “How would that even work?” you wonder aloud. “I don’t know, honeycake,” she replies with a little sigh. “But maybe we could find out. The three of us. Together.” You meet her eyes and nod before settling back down into her arms. “Besides,” she muses, “we would hardly be the first group of beings to feel this way.” The bookkeeper was, of course, correct. Your neighbours growing up had lived together in wedded bliss, the four of them filling your corner of the block with laughter and playful banter. It just hadn’t occured to you that maybe that was an option for you, too. You’d had relationships before, just always one at a time. Not necessarily on purpose, things had just turned out that way. Now, you wonder if things could be different. The two of you would just have to ask Din.
Then you remember what you’d agreed to with him. Specifically, what you’d agreed to without her. “He invited me to go with him,” you blurt suddenly, eyes locking onto hers anxiously. Nyx pulls back from you in surprise. “Well, I think he wanted to invite you too, but then when he blatantly asked you if you’re single you kind of didn’t really respond as enthusiastically as maybe he thought you would, and then you didn’t say anything about liking him after-” She takes your hand tightly in hers. “I would go anywhere with you. Including hitchhiking across the galaxy with a tall beefcake Mandalorian man,” she laughs, pressing a kiss to your intertwined fingers. “Besides, we’ll always have the shop if things don’t work out.” You nod, overwhelmed by the prospect of a new adventure with the two of them.
When he enters your store the next day, he skids to a halt as you both greet him holding hands. “Uh, congratulations,” the hunter tells you awkwardly. You chuckle, and Nyx fails to hide her smile. “We have something to talk to you about,” the Twi’lek woman addresses him firmly, taking his hand in her other one. Din goes very still, but doesn’t let go of her hand. You notice as his breastplate begins to quicken in its rising and falling, just as it had when he first entered your store. His helmet remains angled towards her face, as if glued to examine her stunning features. “I...” his voice cracks a little, and he clears it before continuing. “I was hoping I might talk to you both as well. But you go first.” Din gestures towards the two of you with his and Nyx’s hands clasped tightly. “If you’ll have me,” she begins furtively, eyes darting back and forth across his helmet as if it might give her the right words, “I want to come with you. We both want to come with you. If you’ll have us.” You hear him inhale sharply. He still hasn’t let go of her hand. A moment passes as he thinks it over. “I’d like that,” he replies, voice so soft you almost didn’t catch it through his helmet vocoder. You take his other hand with the one not holding onto Nyx. The three of you are linked together like worshippers at an altar, basking in the light of something new. “Where to first?” you ask him in a whisper, afraid to break the reverie of the moment. He tilts his helmet in a way that makes you wonder if he’s smiling under there, and squeezes both of your hands.
“I gotta pay a visit to a little friend.”
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