#and thus the cycle of violence continues ... ... ...
retquits · 23 days
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me when i GET YOU
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comradekatara · 1 month
Your atla analysis is the best so I wanted to ask your opinion on something I've found the fandom fairly divided on - what did you think of Azula's ending within the show proper? Unnecessarily cruel or a necessary tragedy? Would you say that her mental breakdown was too conveniently brought about in order to 'nerf' her for the final agni kai? Also, do you think it was 'right' for Zuko to have fought with his sister at all or would it have been better for him to seek a more humane way to end the cycle of violence?
okay so im saying this as someone who loves azula to death like she has always been one of my absolute favorite characters ever since i was a kid and i’ve always vastly preferred her to zuko and found her to be extremely compelling and eminently sympathetic. i am saying this now before the azula stans come for me. i believe in their beliefs. but i also think her downfall is perfectly executed, and putting aside all the bullshit with the comics and whatever else, it’s a really powerful conclusion to her arc. obviously that isn’t to say that she wouldn’t continue to grow and develop in a postcanon scenario (i have a whole recovery arc for her mapped out in my head, like i do believe in her Healing Journey) but from a narrative perspective, her telos is in fact very thematically satisfying.
no, she wasn’t nerfed so that they could beat her in a fight. the fact that she falls apart is what makes them feel that they can confidently take her on (although i do think in a fair fight katara could win anyway), but the whole point is that it’s not about winning or losing in combat. the whole point is that zuko and azula being pitted against each other in this gratuitous ritual of violence as the culmination of their arcs is fundamentally tragic. yes it’s a bad decision to fight her, and zuko should have chosen another path, but the whole point is that he’s flawed and can only subscribe to the logic he has spent his whole life internalizing through violence and abuse.
that’s why aang’s fight against ozai, while tragic in its own way, is also a triumph for the way in which his ideals prevail in the face of genocide, while zuko and azula’s fight is very patently tragic. there is no moment of victory or triumph. even as zuko sacrifices himself in a beautiful mirroring of “the crossroads of destiny” and as katara uses the element of her people combined with techniques across other cultures to use azula’s hubris and ideology of domination against her, it’s presented as moments of personal growth occurring within a very tragic yet inevitable situation. it was inevitable because azula had always been positioned as an extension of her father, and thus to disempower ozai also means disempowering azula, his favorite site of projection, his favorite weapon.
yeah, it does rub me the wrong way when zuko asks katara whether she’d like to help him “put azula in her place.” it’s not a kind way to talk about your abused younger sister. but it’s also important to understand that zuko doesn’t really recognize his sister’s pain, despite the fact that they obviously share a father, because he’s always assumed that she was untouchable as their perfect golden child and thus never a victim. and he’s wrong. zuko and katara expect a battle of triumph and glory, noble heroes fighting valiantly so that good may prevail over evil. but as they discover here, even more so than their previous discovery two episodes prior, a battle is not a legendary event filled with bombast and beauty until after it has been historicized. often a war is simply fought between pathetic, desperate people who see no other option but to fight.
aang’s ultimate refusal to fight despite having all the power in the world is what makes him so important as the protagonist. but katara and zuko both share a more simplistic view of morality and what it means to be good. and zuko assumes that by fighting azula, he can only be punching up, because she has always been positioned as his superior, and she (in her own words!) is a “monster.” and then azula loses, and his entire worldview shatters. joking about putting her in her place makes way for the realization that behind all her posturing and lying (to herself more than anyone) and performance and cognitive dissonance, azula has always been broken, perhaps even more than he is.
azula says “im sorry it has to end this way, brother,” to which zuko replies “no you’re not.” but i think azula is truly sorry, because in her ideal world, she wouldn’t be fighting zuko. she doesn’t actually want to kill him, as much as she claims to. she’s already reached the conclusion that zuko will only truly reach once their fight is over. she lacks a support system, and she needs one, desperately. if she could somehow get her family back, do everything differently, less afraid of the consequences, she would. she’s smirking, she sounds almost facetious, but really, she is sorry. as of this moment, she really doesn’t want it to end this way. but zuko cannot accept that, because in his mind, azula is evil. azula has no soul nor feeling. azula always lies.
her breakdown doesn’t come out of nowhere, either. it’s precipitated by everyone she has ever cared about betraying her. first zuko betrays her, then mai, then ty lee, and then ozai — the person she has staked her entire identity to and to whom she has pledged her undying loyalty and obedience, become nothing more than a vessel for his whims — discards her because she had the audacity to care about someone other than him. what i don’t think zuko realizes, and perhaps will never realize, is that azula betrayed ozai by bringing zuko back home. he was not supposed to be brought back with honor and with glory. azula specifically orchestrated the fight in the catacombs to motivate him to join her, and it’s not because she’s some cruel sadistic monster who wanted to separate a poor innocent soft uwu bean from his loving uncle, it’s because she genuinely believes that she’s doing what’s best for him. she believes that their uncle is a traitor and a bad influence, and she believes that bringing zuko home with his honor “restored” is an act of love. to her it is.
yes, she claims that she was actually just manipulating him so that she wouldn’t have to take the fall if the avatar was actually alive, but also, she’s clearly just covering her own ass. she didn’t know about the spirit water, and only started improvising when zuko started showing hesitation. but even if she was only using zuko, then that was an insane risk to take, because either way she was lying directly to ozai’s face. and zuko admits it to ozai while simultaneously committing treason, so of course ozai would blame azula, his perfect golden child who tried to violate his decree by bringing zuko back home a prisoner at best and dead at worst, and instead found a way to restore his princehood with glory.
we only see ozai dismissing and discarding azula in the finale, but it’s clearly a tension that’s been bubbling since the day of black sun. and we know this because we do see azula falling apart before the finale. in “the boiling rock” she is betrayed by her only friends. in “the southern raiders” we see that this has taken a toll on her, that she is already somewhat unhinged. she and zuko tie in a one on one fight for the first time. and she takes down her hair as she uses her hairpin to secure herself against the edge of a cliff. unlike zuko, who is helped by his friends and allies, who has a support system. it’s a very precarious position; she’s literally on a cliff’s edge, alone, her hair down signifying her unraveling mental state. azula having her hair down signals to us an audience that she is in a position of vulnerability. she is able to mask this terrifying moment wherein she nearly plummets to her death with a triumphant smirk, but it should be evident to us all that her security is fragile here.
and the thing is, even though she’s always masked it with a smirk and perfect poise, her security has always been fragile. azula has never been safe. azula’s breakdown is simply the culmination of her realization that no matter how hard she tries, she will never be ozai’s perfect weapon, because she is a human being. she is a child, no less. and there is no one in her entire life who loves her for nothing. zuko has iroh, who affirms to him that he could never be angry with zuko, that all he wants is simply what is best for zuko. but azula doesn’t have unconditional support in her life. she doesn’t even have support.
everyone she ever thought she could trust has betrayed her, and so she yells that trust is for fools. because she feels like a fool. of course fear is the only way; it’s what kept her in line all these years. azula is someone who is ruled by fear, and who is broken by the recognition that fear isn’t enough. her downfall is necessarily tragic because her worldview is wrong. the imperialist logic of terror as a tool for domination is her own undoing, just as ozai’s undoing is losing the weapon he has staked his national identity to. it’s a battle of ideals. aang v ozai: pacifism v imperialism. katara and zuko v azula: love and support v fear and isolation.
zuko is unfair to azula, it’s true. he tries to fight her even as he can clearly recognize that “she’s slipping.” instead of trying to help his little sister, he uses that weakness to his advantage, tries to exploit her pain so that he can finally, for the first time ever, beat her in a fight. it’s cruel, but it’s also how siblings act. especially considering the conditions under which they were raised, and how zuko has always viewed her. and in zuko’s defense, she has tried to kill him multiple times lately, both in “the boiling rock” and in “the southern raiders.” zuko is someone who gets fixated on a goal and blocks out everything else, including recognition of his surroundings or empathy for others. so of course when he’s promised to put azula in her place he’s going to exploit her weaknesses to do so. after all, isn’t exploiting his weaknesses exactly what azula does best? so he allows himself to stoop to her level, and in fact only redeems himself through his sacrifice for katara. but it is when azula is chained to the grate and zuko and katara, leaning on each other, look down and observe the sheer extent on her pain, that zuko realizes that “putting azula in her place” isn’t actually a victory. it feels really, really bad, actually.
they’re in a similar position as they were when they faced yon rha. and now it is zuko’s turn to understand that he is not a storybook hero triumphing over evil, but rather a human being, facing another human being, in a conflict that is larger than themselves. to “put someone in their place” is to imply a logic of domination, of inherent superiority, that someone has stepped out of line and must be reordered neatly into the hierarchy. but aang disputes the notion, ozai’s notion, that humanity can be classified along these lines, that there exists an ontological superiority among some and not others. so operation: putting azula in her place was always going to be flawed, even if she was performing competency the way she always does, because they’re nonetheless subscribing to her logic.
of course they should be helping azula, of course they should be reaching out to abuse victims through support instead of more violence. but first they must recognize her victimhood. first they must come to understand that they didn’t get lucky, and they didn’t dominate her because they are more “powerful,” that they weren’t “putting her in her place.” they must understand that they are not heroes fighting villains in a glorious trial by combat. that the logic of the agni kai is flawed. that they are all victims. that they are all just scared, hurt children who are still grieving their mothers.
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ossifer-bones · 6 months
the paul poll compelled me to just quickly write up my little opinion piece on paul and necromancy in the tlt verse bcs tags are a pain in the ass to elaborate on my opinion in: paul horrifies me. i think that a lot of people read palamedes' interpretation of lyctorhood as being some sort of objective truth and that there is a right way to do lyctorhood and paul is it, but i just don't agree with that; i think in a series rife with unreliable narrators, palamedes' views on lyctorhood should be considered as subjective as any other person's.
“Can one person even be two people? I feel like I’ve only got enough room inside for me, and sometimes like that room’s not even enough.” “Lyctors can,” said Palamedes, “or at least—they thought they could; in fact all they became were half-dead cannibals. I think a true Lyctorhood is a mutual death … a gravitational singularity creating something new. A true Grand Lysis, rather than the Petty Lysis of the megatheorem [...]
what he says here about lysis is in response to nona asking if one person can be two people, and thus it is a very loaded statement when coming from someone heralding from a society where the extreme co-dependence of the fundamentally unequal necro/cav bond is encouraged, especially considering camilla and palamedes are called out by others from that same society as being an exemplary case of co-dependence in that department!
camilla and palamedes are arguably more equal than any other cav/necro pair in series, in part due to that co-dependence, but we even see in NtN that cam does stuff that undercuts that equality (telling pyrrha to lie to palamedes, 'don't tell him i was weak'). and that equality, that love, is shown to be thought of as coming at the cost of freedom: when palamedes says, “I cannot bear the thought of using you.”—camilla responds, “Love and freedom don’t coexist, Warden.”
in the end, every permutation of the necro and cav pairing is irrevocably descended from john + alecto's example and while i think beauty can be found in some of them, they all suffer from the same fundamental imbalance that bond hinges on; nonconformity abates it, but abolishment is required for real freedom from it. the so-called indelible sin of lyctorhood is just an echo of the original sin john committed.
If there was one thing Gideon knew about necromancers, it was that they needed power. Thanergy—death juice—was abundant wherever things had died or were dying. Deep space was a necro’s nightmare, because nothing had ever been alive out there, so there were no big puddles of death lying around for Harrow and her ilk to suck up with a straw.
necromancy necessitates consumption, taking by its very nature: death, especially violent death, is what fuels it—infants producing more thanergy on death is literally a noted phenomena! paul's birth, while it could be seen as triumphant in the sense of it being an act of creation, is literally identified by palamedes himself as a mutual death, death being required to fuel it the same as any other necromantic working. i don't want to say 'necromancy is fundamentally evil' but uh... it is irrevocably tied into john's conception of human nature: "This is the problem, the incorporation, this is the hardest part … It’s the human instinct, to take."
something i always point out about camilla and palamedes' grand lysis is theparallel with gideon and harrow's incomplete petty lysis: both come about as a result of a fully-realised lyctor (ianthe, cytherea) having cornered the pair, resulting in both being threatened with imminent death (camilla critically injured and palamedes facing expulsion from naberius when ianthe re-emerges; harrow necromantically spent and gideon having suffered multiple injuries, both going to die when cytherea breaks through the bone dome). paul's birth only happened as a direct result of the continuation of the lyctoral cycle of violence, with ianthe in cytherea's position; per palamedes, “I am not saying this was our inevitable end … I am saying we have found the best and truest and kindest thing we can do in this moment.”
paul may be the best and truest and kindest thing cam and pal could've done in that moment, but that moment should've never came to pass: the codependency instilled into them through their society, the violence that put them in that position, and the consumptive necromancy that made paul possible. paul is horrifying because they are the most hopeful and kind thing, and they are the product of two people, one sans his own body, undergoing mutual death to fuel their birth.
they're the truest response to one flesh, one end: an oath purportedly coined by cristabel and alfred, who compelled their necromancers to ascend via a suicide pact.
valancy says one flesh one end sounds like instructions for a sex toy. can’t stop thinking about that so can someone stop cris and alfred before the sex toy phrase catches on, thanks.
did the sex toy phrase really need a response?
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foreverdolly · 2 years
wanna play house | protective austin!elvis x reader
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this is a continuation of 'my bestest girl', but you do not have to read it first in order to read this one. . . however i implore you to do so.
summary: elvis's mother has been worried sick about your safety during your time on the road with her son. you and elvis brush it off as her just being paranoid, but danger always manages to rear it's ugly head at the worst of times. elvis, seeing you scared and slightly injured, absolutely loses it.
pairings: protective austin!elvis x reader
word count: 7,471
warnings/notes: SMUT! ,violence, elvis beats the shit out of someone for you and it's hot, oral (f receiving), elvis literally worships you as though you are a goddess and i love that for you, you both cry while he eats you out because emotions are high and he's obsessed with you.
masterlist | requests are currently closed !
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It had been a pain in the ass to talk the Colonel into letting you come along with him and the band as they performed with Hank Snow for the fair, but Elvis had made it happen. The two of you had only been going out officially for the last couple of weeks, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes that the two of you were disgustingly in love with one another. If you were within eyesight then Elvis was looking at you. If you were in the other room, he was bound to follow after you like a lost dog. If you weren’t around at all, then he was surely thinking about you. It was a never ending cycle, really. You were just as bad off as Elvis was. You always had to be touching him, whether it be your hand in his, your shoulder pressed against him, or even your legs thrown up into his lap. The bandmates were positive that eventual drama would arise, but the two of you always seemed to be in high spirits. 
The screaming fans didn’t bother you, not when Elvis went out of his way to let you know that you were the only girl that he truly cared about. Everyone had fallen into a comfortable pattern, you included. “Yes ma’am. I’m makin’ sure he’s eatin’ well.” You twirled the wire of the hotel landline around your finger, watching the ebony haired boy getting dressed out of the corner of your eye. He was buttoning up his white slacks and caught your heady gaze in the mirror. With a wide smile he wordlessly made his way over to you, chuckling under his breath as you quickly reached out, running your free hand over his chest and giving his nipple a teasing squeeze. He playfully swatted your hand away, reaching down to grab his lace shirt off of the queen sized bed the two of you were sharing that night. “I’m just worried to death about the two of you, baby. I don’t want any of those girls hurtin’ him. . . and I know how horrible some boys can be.” Gladys’s love knew no bounds, and you appreciated her for it. You couldn’t help but roll your eyes a little though, leaning your hip up against the desk that had been squeezed into the small room. 
“I’m keepin’ a very close eye on him, darlin’. You know I wouldn’t ever let anythin’ happen to our boy, right? Besides, we’re out in the country. I’m sure nothin’ bad will happen all the way out here. The scariest thing we’ve seen these last four days have been a couple of drunks.” Elvis chuckled from the bathroom, the sink turning on as he began slicking back his hair. You could already smell his Brylcreem pomade from where you stood across the suite. “Now is he keepin’ a close eye on you? At the end of the day, I know Elvis can hold his own. You’re a different story.” You couldn’t remember a single time that you had felt unsafe thus far on the trip. Really, you knew that she had the propensity to overreact, but she had been going on for the better part of half an hour at this point. You were trying to be patient with her, but you could only take so much. Gladys was worse than your own mother, and you weren’t sure how that feat was even possible. “Mama, I don’t need any sort of protection. I can hold my own! Cross my heart and hope to die.” You could hear her scoff, but Vernon’s low voice whispered on the other end. “Stop holding our youngins hostage. Elvis has got a show to put on.” You had already started walking in the direction of the bathroom, stretching the phone cord as far as it would let you. “Do you want to talk to Elvis before we have to leave?” “Would you put him on? Thank ya, baby.” Elvis held up his wax coated hands to show you that he needed some help, so you pressed the phone against his ear for him. 
“Hey, Satnin.” He purred to her, shooting you a small smile before letting his eyes fall down to the counter. You couldn’t hear Gladys’s voice from where you stood, but judging by the way he was nodding his head up and down dully, you were sure that he was getting an earful. “Uh-huh. . . No, I’ve been lookin’ out for her. She stands at the front of all of my shows, mama. I’d die if somethin’ were to happen to her.” You smiled down at the floor, biting at the inside of your cheeks in the hopes of getting your heart back under control- it was fluttering at a maddening pace. “She’s with me every second of the day. She never leaves my sight, I promise ya- He what? Daddy wants to talk to me? Put him on.” Elvis placed his comb down on the side of the sink, licking his lips before looking at himself in the mirror. He must not have liked what he saw because he grimaced, shooting your reflection a goofy look as he waited for his father to get to the phone. “Hello?” A couple of seconds passed before he was rolling his eyes, shaking his head back and forth. “I’d kill em’. Simple as that. I promise you both that I won’t ever let anythin’ happen to her. . . Yeah- Yeah, she is our girl, so imma take good care of her.” He was running the comb back through his hair, tucking a few strands into place absentmindedly. After a few more seconds passed he turned his cheek, pressing his lips up against the receiver and mumbling a quick “love ya too” before giving you a look. You walked back into the hotel room, hanging up the phone before turning to face the bathroom. 
“What are they goin’ on about?” You asked, hurriedly getting out your own suitcase so that you could get dressed. You had been on the phone so long with Gladys that you hadn’t had any time to get ready for the concert. Elvis was particular about certain things, and he liked the idea of you guys matching when he performed. If he wore a baby blue shirt, then you wore a baby blue dress. If he was dressed in all black and white- like tonight- then you did as well. You didn’t mind much. It looked wonderful in pictures, and it made you feel even more connected to him. It warmed your heart that he liked not only being a couple, but looking like a couple too. He had always been very particular about the clothes that he wore. Despite the fact that you also came from a working class family, things had never gotten as financially troublesome as it had for the Presleys. Elvis had grown up poor, but he always made a point not to look it. His mother always made sure his clothes were freshly ironed and pressed and that his shoes were always shined. 
Elvis had always been a rather particular fellow, and he hadn’t always been celebrated for it. People calling him a “fairy” or “squirrel” didn’t get to him though. Not anymore, at least. He was above the name calling, coming to the conclusion that it said far more about their own character than it did his. He always handled it relatively well back in high school, though he knew that most of the name calling and trash talk stemmed from the fact that the other boys his age were probably just jealous. 
“Mama said she’s been havin’ a bad feelin’ about somethin’ lately. They’re both worried about ya, is all.” Elvis had always been over cautious with you, even throughout your friendship. If he didn’t seem worried about it, then you wouldn’t be either. “She’s been a nervous wreck ever since you told her about the Louisiana Hayride. She’s probably just feelin’ a bit anxious.” He hummed his agreeance, a comfortable silence befalling the two of you as you began getting changed. Your dress was a rather scandalous little diddy, what with the rather low cut heart-shaped neckline and the way the hem was just above your knees, showing off your legs. It was something you had purchased for yourself months ago but had been unable to wear due to your parents' rather conservative ways. You pushed your way into the bathroom at the same time that Elvis was finishing up with his hair, his eyes instantly locking on your reflection in the mirror. “Good god almighty.” He mumbled, dropping the comb back onto the counter so that he could turn around and face you. His blue eyes trailed over your smaller frame, his lips parted as he took in the sight of you. Elvis had made it a point to explore every inch of you over the last few weeks. He took his time committing every mole and freckle to memory. He was certain that he could draw you with his eyes closed, and the man could barely sketch a stick figure. 
Despite that, every time he made love to you, or even got a glimpse of you, it still felt like the first time. His stomach would fill with butterflies, his palms would start to sweat, and his pants would grow impossibly tight. In all the years that he had known you, never had he seen you in a dress like this. The sweet little babydoll nighties you’d prance around his room in were a completely different story. This was a masterpiece. You were a masterpiece. “You’ve got me sweatin’ worse than a whore in church. God damn it, my girl is so beautiful.” He lifted his hand up to his face, biting down on his knuckle with a small grin. You couldn’t help but blush at the sudden onslaught of compliments, shyly waving him off with a small flick of your wrist. There wasn’t much room in the tiny motel bathroom, so you couldn’t duck away from his arms even if you wanted to. He was quick to pull you towards him, his hands moving over the cinched waistline of the dress, slowly brushing down to run his fingers along the hip. You shivered as you felt his touch against the skin of your thighs. 
“How ‘bout we just stay in, hmm? I could tell the Colonel that I got food poisonin’ or somethin’.” It was nearly possible to deny him of anything he wanted, especially when he looked at you like that. Ever so slowly he began backing you up, smiling smugly as you let out a small yelp whenever your back hit the wall behind you. “Let me make love to you, yeah? I’ll make it quick. I promise-” A knock at the door made the both of you jump, but he soon threw his head back with an exasperated groan, his eyes screwed shut. “What is it?” He called, popping his head out of the bathroom door so that the intruder might hear him better. “We’re startin’ to pack the cars up, EP. You two dressed and ready yet?” You bit your lip as you pressed your back tighter against the wall, hoping that the added space between you and your beau might calm the growing heat between your legs. “Shit.” Elvis cursed, giving you an apologetic look before taking a step back from you. He looked down at the front of his trousers, wincing as he noticed that he was visibly hard. He took a couple of seconds to try and adjust himself in a way that wouldn’t make it so obvious, but gave up after a while. “I’m comin’. Give me one second Scotty.” He brushed past you on his way to the door, giving you one last suggestive look before prying his gaze away. He opened the door just a sliver, hiding his bottom half the best he could.
 “You don’t even have your shoes on yet. What the hell have you been doin’ this whole time?” Scotty asked exasperatedly, his eyebrows furrowing in slight annoyance. Elvis looked behind him at the cars, wincing as he noticed people were already climbing into their seats or pulling out of the parking lot completely. “We’ve been busy.” He said simply. Scotty looked over Elvis’s shoulder, his eyes widening slightly as he noticed your flushed cheeks. “Doin’ what, exactly?” The dark haired boy didn’t take kindly to the fact that someone else was seeing his girl in such a state, so he was quick to grab the edge of the door, closing it enough so that only his face and a small sliver of the room inside could be visible. “We were busy, alright? I’ll come out in a second. Let me just get my things together.” Scotty threw his hands up in surrender after noticing the look on Elvis’s face, taking two steps back from the door. “Be quick about it. We go on after Snow, and I’m tired of hearin’ the square complain.” Elvis was quick to shut the door, jogging over towards his suitcase so that he could find his shoes. “Baby? Do you mind doin’ my eyes like you have em?” He motioned to his eyes with his finger, flashing you a small smile. 
You weren’t about to give your boyfriend a smoky eye, but you hoped he’d be alright with just some eyeliner and mascara. Not that his long lashes needed them anyway. “If we’ve got time, hun.” Your legs still felt a bit weak, what with the heavy petting from earlier, but you managed to walk to your purse so that you could grab your small makeup pouch. Elvis buttoned up his black lace shirt as you gently dragged some dark liner over his upper and bottom lashline, being careful to smear it a little after you were done so that it wouldn’t be too stark against his complexion. “Here, now close your eyes.” You ran the mascara wand through his lashes, cooing softly to him as you realized just how blue it made his eyes look. “And open em.” He obeyed, his hands moving up to grab you softly by your hips as you finished up. “Am I pretty?” He asked with a teasing smile, tilting his chin upwards, which was his way of silently asking for a kiss. You complied, giving him a quick peck before pulling away to nod. “Gorgeous.” 
Elvis was the only boy that you had ever met that preferred to be called pretty rather than handsome. He was putty in your hands any time you referred to him as ‘your pretty boy’. Well, who was he kidding? He was always putty in your hands. He would be a liar if he said that he wasn’t used to female attention. He’d say ‘thank you’ with that signature side smile of his- but the grin- it was reserved only for you. The corners of his eyes would crinkle and his nose would scrunch up. It made him look so childlike. So vulnerable, and it was only something that you were allowed to see. You knew good and well that there were certain aspects of Elvis that you would have to share with his fans, but he made sure to reserve the most sacred parts only for you. 
“Thank ya, baby.” He mumbled, tucking a lock of hair behind your ear before he stood up and off of the bed. 
The drive to the fairgrounds was awkward, but Elvis seemed to be the only one that didn’t get the memo. He had one of his hands in your lap, playing subconsciously with the fabric of your dress while he spoke under his breath to you. It was mostly hushed compliments, but the second that the bright lights of the fair became visible he started whispering gentle instructions. “I don’t want ya gettin’ lost in the crowd, alright now? Make your way to the front, just like we practiced. I want to be able to keep my eye on ya the entire time.” The ebony haired man had talked a big game back in the motel room, but you could tell that whatever his mother and father had said to him carried some weight. He seemed a little bit more antsy than he did the previous night. Despite the fact that nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary, you still nodded, allowing him to pull you along through crowds. The closer you two got to the stage, the quicker people began to take notice of him. Girl’s turned their heads, some even going as far as to drop their date’s hand as he passed. He didn’t pay any mind, instead he kept his eyes locked on the stage, trying to find a good place for you to go. “Here, push your way right there.” He leaned in close so that you could hear him over Hank’s singing, pointing with his pinky, his newly purchased ring shining in the bright artificial light. You nodded, smiling against his lips as he gave you one last kiss before jogging to catch up with his band. You were quick to follow instruction, easily maneuvering through the crowd, muttering apologies as men and women turned to glare in your direction. 
You weren’t quite sure why, but you were starting to become nervous yourself. It felt like someone was watching you, and had been since you and Elvis passed the admission gates. You anxiously looked over your shoulders, trying to see if there might be anyone you recognized, but alas- nothing. You tried to swallow back the strange sense of dread that was beginning to bubble up in your throat, instead focusing on the stage in front of you. Hank Snow was a talent, but surely wasn’t your cup of tea. His ballads were too slow and shallow for your liking. Too safe. Elvis had been the one to get you hooked on good music way back in high school. You still clapped for Snow whenever he took a bow, flashing him a small smile. You and Elvis had been playing nice with the man. You two had a strong feeling that he didn’t take too kindly to the two of you and the flamboyant way you both decided to live your lives. He was never outwardly rude to you at least. Elvis wasn’t so lucky though. 
The second that the forest green suited country singer had stepped off the stage, it was almost as though the entire crowd took a collective breath to steady themselves. You bit the inside of your cheek as a few girls started pushing against your back, your chest and hips pressing uncomfortably against the wooden stage. In a single millisecond the aura had completely shifted. A few older patrons began to walk away from the stage, but it did nothing to lessen the crowd. People began running across the fairgrounds to make it to the stage in time. 
Scotty and Bill stepped on stage, dragging their instruments along with them. Girls began gasping, whispering amongst themselves as they waited for Elvis to join them. “Have you seen his picture in the paper? He’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen!” “My friend lives in Shreveport and saw him at the Louisiana Hayride. She said she’s never seen anything like it.” You couldn’t keep the knowing smirk off of your lips. If they thought he was beautiful from a grainy picture alone, just wait until they saw the way that the music moved him. You pressed your hands against the top of the stage, Scotty and Bill flashing you a quick smile just before the crowd erupted with loud screams. It made your ears ring. Elvis jogged up on stage, guitar in hand. His bare arms flexed as he gently strummed the chords, stepping up to the mic. “It’s an honor to be able to play here for you all tonight.” He called over the loud screams and cries. There was something perversly satisfying about seeing the hold that he had over everyone, knowing good and well that you were the only person that has ever and will ever touch him. Not even in the girl’s wildest fantasies would they ever know what he was truly like behind closed doors. The eyeliner that had the girls swooning? You had put that on him yourself. The soft sheen to his lips? That was the lipstick that had transferred onto him from your mouth. 
The girls could hoot and holler all they wanted. You didn’t blame them one bit. You didn’t feel even a little jealous as they began calling his name, begging for even a shred of his attention, because you knew that he was yours. He knew it too. His eyes instantly scanned the crowd, his shoulders visibly relaxing when he finally found your form. After Elvis and the boys had given the crowd a few moments to quiet down, they began playing their first song. The sound of Elvis’s voice and the quick, near violent way he strummed his guitar was unlike anything that you had ever heard before. It had changed something inside of you. You could tell that the crowd was having the exact same reaction as they watched him, swaying to the sound of the music. Some girls looked like they might pass out, their faces going pale and their eyes growing glassy. This was the kind of music that concerned mothers and fathers warned their children about. Rock and roll. 
Elvis was rock and roll. It wasn’t just a type of music or a way of dressing for him. It was the way that he lived his life. It was a state of mind. It was a state of being. His hips and feet moved as though he was possessed by God himself. He may as well have been. You could feel the standup bass in your chest, and Elvis’s guitar in your throat. Your blood fizzled like champagne as you watched him, his eyes bluer than a summer sky, his bubblegum pink lips pulled taught against bright white teeth as he screamed into the mic. His eyes moved over the crowd, and suddenly he was on his knees, leaning back to look up at the night sky as his fingers flew over the neck of the guitar. 
You couldn’t help yourself as you reached out, no better than the screaming fans as you brushed your fingers over his thigh, needing to touch him. You didn’t know how, but he instantly looked at you, as if he could feel that you were the one touching him. His eyes burned as he took in the expression on your face, his lips curling back into a snarl. Girls distantly screamed behind you as they took in his expression. 
Something like this wouldn’t be romantic to some, but you melted against the stage, your torso leaning further against the hardwood. You were sure to have bruises tonight, but you couldn’t find it in yourself to care. You needed to be closer closer closer. Your body ached for him. You could feel his guitar vibrating through you, his heavenly voice bringing back memories of last night. Of how he loved to press his lips against your ear to purr and moan. He wanted you to hear every heavy breath, every gasp, every preen- and as he practically laid himself out on that stage, girls trying to grab at whatever they could, he had never felt more yours. He grabbed your face in his hands for a split second before he was standing back up, moving over to the mic so that he could finish up the song. 
By the second song there were at least three pairs of panties on the stage, which both you and Elvis regarded with wide, humor filled smiles. 
Elvis sang with a violence that he never let shine through in his everyday life. He got up on that stage and sang for his mama, his daddy, you and God. He belted up to the heavens for the angels to hear. You could feel the damn near desperation as he swayed his body, his hair falling into his eyes, dripping with sweat. 
After the third song you felt as though you might faint yourself. You could barely breathe as girls continued to press against you- crushing your ribs against the stage. You were never the type of girl to follow instruction very well, so despite Elvis and even Gladys’s worries, you found yourself slipping through the crowd, breathing hard as you tore your way through the writhing bodies. Your eyes swept over the grounds, and you were quick to make your way over towards a refreshment tent. “Can I just get a cup of water?” The carnie recognized you as Elvis’s girl instantly, smiling as he saw your pink cheeks and shaky hands. You sat down on a nearby picnic table as you greedily gulped down the water. You could hear his voice from across the grounds, tapping your foot along to the beat as you tried to enjoy the last of his performance. 
“Whatcha doin’ over here alone?” You jumped as you heard a deep voice sound from right beside you. You had been so wrapped up in the music that you hadn’t even noticed someone approaching you. You blinked, turning around just to make sure that there wasn’t someone else behind you that the man must have been talking to. Alas, you were the only person in the vicinity. “I’m waiting for my boyfriend to get done performing.” You pointed to the stage, slowly placing the cup down on the table just in case you needed to quickly excuse yourself. He sat down beside you anyway, nodding his head slowly. The refreshment tent was a hundred feet away, and you were in an area with barely any lighting. You were beginning to become more aware of the precarious situation that you had somehow put yourself in. “Ah, right. I saw you walkin’ hand in hand with that scrawny musician.” Your eyes quickly narrowed as you stood up and off of the table. “I don’t take kindly to people bad mouthin’ my loved ones, ya understand? If a conversation was what you were lookin’ for, then find it elsewhere.” You spat, pointing over to another populated area. He blinked, seemingly taken aback by your bold nature. 
“Woah. . . you sure are loud for a tiny lil thing,” You took a step back as he stood up and off of the table himself, shoving his hands into his pockets as he gave you a once over. “Maybe you shouldn’t go ‘round dressin’ like that if ya don’t want strangers approachin’.” You could have socked the man right in the face. You began shaking with anger, clenching your fists at your sides. “What does my outfit have anythin’ to do with you unnecessarily runnin’ your mouth? Did ya think you insultin’ my boyfriend would make me interested in you? Hah!” You let out a loud, humorless laugh. “Like I said earlier; move along.” You shooed him off, reaching out for your water cup. You let out a scream as he grabbed you roughly by the wrist, your shoulder cracking as he roughly yanked you forward. “Watch yer mouth, girlie.” He spoke to you through clenched teeth, his eyes wide and wild. You swallowed thickly, fear hitting you like a freight train. You could distantly hear your boyfriend working the crowd, your stomach flipping anxiously as you realized he was about to get off stage and realize you weren’t there to greet him. 
“Let go of me. Rough housin’ with a lady out in public like this isn’t very gentlemanly.” You tried to yank your sore arm back to your side, but he didn’t let go. He added even more pressure, and you cried out in pain as you realized that he was damn near close to breaking it. “I don’t let women boss me ‘round.” His free hand moved up to your hair, his fingers gripping roughly as he jerked your head back. Was he about to kiss you? Touch you? 
You were unable to run now, and so you knew that the only option you had was to get someone’s attention. Anyone’s. “Help!” You screamed, your eyes prickling with tears as you tried to move your head in the man’s hold, hoping to avoid whatever he was planning to do with you. A beat passed before you finally sucked in another breath, screaming again. “Elvis!” Your boyfriend had been speaking into the microphone, but the second that you had called his name he went silent. You could distantly hear a loud clatter and a few females calling out his name, but you were too focused on the older man’s face to pay attention to much else. He was dragging you further into the darkness by your hair, and you stumbled blindly forward, reaching your arms out to push as hard as you could against his chest, even going as far as to bang your fist against his shoulders in the hopes of somehow fighting him off. 
It all happened so fast, you didn’t even have time to blink. You stumbled backwards, the breath being knocked from your lungs as you hit the grass. Hard. You could hear a tussle behind you, and you blinked back tears as you slowly sat up. It was like everything was happening in slow motion. The red faced stranger had been pushed back against the picnic table, pinned there, and your boyfriend stood above him, muscles bulging as he gripped him by the front of his shirt, wailing on him with his right arm. Again and again he connected his fist with the man’s face, his teeth clenched, the veins in his arms bulging as he let out a deep, guttural scream. Elvis had somehow, by the grace of god, heard your voice over a hundred screaming girls and came running to your rescue. A loud sob escaped your throat as both relief and pain overcame you. The pitiful sound only spurred him on. 
“I’ll fuckin’ kill you. Ya hear me? You’re dead!” Elvis’s deep voice called, a small crowd already beginning to form. You tried to stand up on shaky legs, embarrassment flooding your veins as you realized what kind of a state you were in. “E-Elvis. . . He’s had enough, baby!” 
Elvis had been pushed around and beat on his entire life for looking and being the way that he was. Over the years he had learned how to fight. How to win. He might have been smaller than the brute, but it wasn’t the size that mattered in this case. No- it was the skill and ferocity that your boyfriend possessed. That and the white hot rage. Elvis’s eyes were wild as he stared down at him, not letting up even for a second. The man had tried to push back against the ebony haired musician, but the blows to the head had kept him in a dazed state. Elvis’s gaudy golden ring made contact with the man’s temple again and again. The crowd began to part as a few men broke through, moving to try and pull your man off of the assailant. “You’re killin’ him, Elvis! Stop! Please, for the love of God!” At the sound of your distress he was quick to let go, shrugging the men’s hands off of him as he quickly made his way over to you. “Hey, hey. Talk to me darlin’. What happened.” His eyes flickered over your face wildly as he panicked. He stopped himself from reaching out for you when he realized his knuckles were caked in blood, wiping them off on his white pants. He brushed your hair off of your sweaty forehead, pressing his own forehead against your cheek, desperate to have you against him. To hear your breath and feel your heart beating against his chest. You could hear people trying to disperse the crowd, but you paid no mind to them. You kept your eyes locked on Elvis's shoulder as you fought off the urge to cry. “Talk to me, baby. You’re shakin’ like a leaf.” You gulped down deep breaths, finally moving your hands to grip onto his shirt. You rubbed your fingers against the lace, feeling his warm skin beneath. It soothed you. Helped you to stop your panicking. 
“EP. You take the car back to the motel. We’ll just ride with Jimmie and Hank back.” You heard Scotty’s voice beside you. Elvis slowly untangled one of his arms from your form, shoving the keys in his now ruined pants. “Let’s get to the car. Can you do that? Can you walk, sweet heart?” He purred, pulling away to look at your face. He cupped your cheeks in his hands, sucking in a hard breath as he noticed your tear caked face and wide teary eyes. His chest began to rise and fall quickly as he took deep breath after deep breath. “I should have gutted him.” You were quick to shake your head, stumbling back as you pulled him with you by his shirt. “L-Let’s just go okay? I wanna go.” You needed to get the hell out of there as fast as you could. Even if someone else had already come by and picked the stranger up. Even if you knew you were now well protected- it didn’t matter. You needed to go back to the motel room so that you could break down without having everybody’s eyes on you. You were sure that this fight would only add to Elvis’s sordid reputation as well. You were. . . you were just mortified. Elvis kept his arm tightly around you as he walked you through the fairgrounds, allowing you to tuck your head into his throat. He continued to mumble sweet words into your ear as the two of you made your way out into the car lot. Elvis helped you into the bright yellow car, going as far as to make sure you were well situated before moving on over to the drivers side. 
The car ride was silent. He didn’t even turn on the radio, which was rare for him. You rolled down the window, letting the wind whip your hair back and cool your hot face. By the time the two of you had made it back to the room you had already started to calm down. With the panic and adrenaline now out of your system, you could feel how badly your arm hurt. You kept your mouth shut about it, knowing that Elvis would probably tear the room apart in his haste to find the man responsible. He was being so sweet and tentative towards you, but you could tell that he was barely hanging on to his sanity. He’d always gone out of his way to watch over you. This wasn’t the first guy he’d gotten in a fight with over you. . . but never had it been this bad. Never. 
After you had told Elvis the entire story, save for the part where you were sure that you’d torn a muscle in your shoulder, he just sat there on the bed in silence. For a second you were sure that he was going to react with more anger, but you would have been wrong. Your lips parted as you watched his blue eyes fill with tears. After a few seconds he let out a loud sob, his body shaking as he practically caved in on himself. Never in your entire life had you ever seen him so upset. He began rubbing his own arms with his hands, as if to comfort himself, to get himself to stop crying. Not even your own loving hands and soothing words could stop him. His body was wracked with sobs as he pulled his knees up to his chest, pressing his forehead against the tops of his thighs. “Baby? Baby what’s wrong?” You gripped him by the chin, gently leaning his head back so that you could look at him. The mascara had begun running down his cheeks, his eyelashes clumping together. His lip quivered as he tried to get the words out because another loud hiccup shook his shoulders. “I don’t deserve you. I-I can’t live with myself after a-all of that happened.” He wiped at his eyes, only smearing the makeup even more. 
If you thought his eyes had looked blue before, now they looked like sapphires. 
Burning bright. Burning sad. 
“It’s not your fault, hun. None of that was your fault. I-I. . . I moved away from the crowd. I’m the one to blame.” He shook his head, his jaw going slack. 
“Are you insane, y/n? You’re my girl. My baby,” He dropped his legs so that he could bang his hand against his chest to emphasize the words. “It’s my job to keep you safe. Keep you takin’ care of. I was up there singin’ like a fool while you were havin’ your hair ripped out of your little head. I promised your daddy. . . your mama that I was goin’ to look after you until the day that i died, and look what happened under my watch.” You could have started crying yourself. He was shakin’, his eyes wide, cheeks stained and streaked with mascara and eyeliner.
If you had thought that he looked like a God up on that stage, now he looked like a fallen angel. 
“You couldn’t have known any of that was gonna happen. You did the best that you cou-” “Well my best isn’t damn good enough!” You jerked back as he screamed, watching as his hands moved up to his head, gripping- yanking- at his hair. In front of you sat a man who had spent his whole life doing for others. He financially provided for his parents, even during high school. He worked three jobs just to put food on the table and gas in his daddy’s car, all while counting pennies to buy himself a coke from the corner store. He felt like he had to watch over everyone he loved. That their happiness and safety relied on him. 
“You’re perfect and you’re mine.” You reached out, holding him against yourself so tightly that you were sure one of your rib cages were sure to break. ‘Fuck it’, you thought. ‘Let it shatter’. “There isn’t anything you could have done to prevent it, baby. All I can say is that imma be careful from now on. I won’t leave your side. Not ever again.” He was pulling on your clothes, pulling on your hair, clutching you to him like he was scared that you might dissipate into thin air. You let him claw at you- dig his calloused fingers into your soft skin. “Please. Please never leave me. I-I can’t take it.” 
If you had ever questioned whether or not Elvis truly loved you, you sure as hell never would again. The man was practically destroying himself over a situation that he had no control over, all because you had gotten hurt. “Never. I’m not goin’ anywhere, darlin’.” That was all he needed to hear. In the blink of an eye he had you pinned down to the bed, his hands clumsily fumbling with the bottom of your dirt stained dress. “E-Elvis! What are you doin’?” You tried grabbing his hands to stop him, but he was a man on a mission. “Let me make it up to you.” Your eyes widened, lips parting slightly as his fingers found your panties. He was tearing them off of you in a second. “T-There’s nothing to make up for! Let me love on you, for Christ’s sake. You need to calm down.” His eyes flickered back up to meet yours, and he sniffled softly, his jaw clenching and unclenching. His eyes were hard, but no longer teary. “I am calm. I just. . . I feel like I can’t breathe if I’m not touchin’ you right now. So let me. . . let me touch you.” Your eyes fluttered as you looked up at him, his gaze hard, bordering on animalistic. It was as if you had been transported back to his show. His hand gripping your face, eyes boring into your own as he moved just for you. You worshiped him just as he worshiped you. Elvis Presley was one of a kind. No one had ever been born like him before, and nobody ever would be even after he was gone. You were sure of it. 
He pushed your skirt up and over your hips, kissing down your body as though he could absorb the fear that you had felt earlier. He usually liked to tease you in order to get you worked up, but he didn’t tonight. No- His lips and tongue lapped you up like you were made of honey, and when his eyes flickered up to meet yours from between your legs, he beheld you as if you were some glittery, golden thing. His fingers brushed up your body, cupping your breast through your dress, working your already hardening nipples with his fingers. You cried out, back arching as the pleasure steadily began to build. 
He pulled at the neckline of your stained dress, his tongue running all the way up from your entrance to your clit- slow slow slow. His eyebrows furrowed, humming as he tasted you. He cupped your now freed breasts, pinching the nipple between his thumb and pointer finger. 
You were panting so hard you were sure that you might pass out. Your hand gripped hard at the sheets as he continued to work your clit over with his tongue, his eyes falling shut as he savored you. His thick, long lashes casted shadows on his cheeks. Every once and a while they would flutter, like the beating of a butterfly's wings. In the dull lamp light of the dingy motel room, covered in dirt and grass stains, you felt your heart swell to the point of bursting. Your eyes filled with tears as you stared up at the ceiling, your plush lips parting as a sob ripped from your throat. 
You were wracked with both pleasure and a crippling sense of hope. You loved this man more than anything else. You’d love him in this life, in the next life, and into whatever came next. 
He was everything. 
And on cue the man’s free hand found yours, which had been tangled up in the sheets. He intertwined his fingers, gripping you tight. You weren’t sure why- but that was what pushed you over the edge. You dug the back of your head into the mattress as you climaxed, eyes squeezing shut. His hand moved from your breasts to your thigh, holding it to the side so that he could continue his attack, riding you through your orgasm. He didn’t stop there. Your free hand tangled into his hair, chanting his name as though it was some ancient spell. Your body quivered against him, thighs naturally trying hard to squeeze together, to stop him from continuing to push you over the edge. He didn’t stop, his tongue focusing on your bundle of nerves. Before you knew it you were building up all over again, your cunt dripping with slick and spit, and quite possibly tears. You didn’t know. You didn’t care. 
You weren’t even sure if you were speaking coherently when you climaxed for the second time. You thought that you were praising him, telling him how pretty he was and how good, but you couldn’t be sure. His tongue slowly slid down to your entrance, lazily lapping up your cum before he sat up on shaky knees, pupils blown out, cheeks pink. 
His lips were shining in the low light, and he was quick to lick them, as if he needed to swallow every last drop of you, like it was some precious nectar. The kind that someone only got to taste once in a lifetime. After he had finally caught his breath he laid down next to you, hanging one of his arms over the side of the bed as he stared at your face. His eyes were impossibly soft, his face still wet with tears. “I love seein’ you like this.” His voice was gruff, thick with lust and something else. Something even more beautiful. “What? All sweaty and quiverin’?” You attempted to tease, but you were still breathing too hard for the joke to really land. “No. . . no-” he raised a hand up, pushing your hair off of your forehead. 
“I love seeing you in love with me.” 
check out the third chapter of this story !
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You turned me into a whore thus I must turn others into a whore the cycle of violence continues
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anamericangirl · 28 days
So your argument is that the person chose sex and thus chose the responsibility of a possible pregnancy…but what about rape??? You can get pregnant from that too, and it’s not a choice.
Less than 1% of abortions are due to rape so yeah in almost 100% of abortion cases the woman chose to have sex.
However, in cases of rape I still don't think getting an abortion is a good thing to do. You have to understand that the foundation of my pro-life position is that the unborn child is a living human being from the moment of conception. I hold a very firm view that killing children is a bad thing to do. I'm not ok with it under any circumstances. I am against killing children even if they were conceived through rape. If you wouldn't kill a three year old for being conceived through rape you shouldn't be ok with killing that same girl just because she's still in her mother's womb.
Killing a child is not ok. Period.
Rape is a very serious crime that needs to be dealt with but you don't deal with crime by killing an innocent child. We don't need to continue the cycle of violence. The baby is just as innocent as the mother. We don't even kill the rapist, but you want to give the death penalty to the baby?
No, the woman did not choose to have sex in this situation and she has been the victim of a brutal crime and she needs a lot of help and support. She needs counseling, medical care, emotional and even financial support. All of those things help rape victims more than abortion does.
Abortion doesn't help rape victims at all, honestly. It doesn't erase the trauma of rape and in many cases it just adds more. It's not safe for women and it doesn't become safe just because a woman was raped.
There is no benefit to a rape victim getting an abortion other than the emotional appeal.
But for the sake of argument, I'm ok with abortion being legal for rape victims if we can agree all other abortions should be illegal.
So is the rape victim really your concern here or are you just using them to argue for all abortions?
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elbiotipo · 1 year
The thing is, Latin American identity is not something that began a couple years ago because we all think El Chavo del 8 is cool. It is born out of struggle. Conquest, genocide and slavery were the inheritance of the Iberian empires. The independent states had, and still have, to deal with neocolonialism and the remains of the racist elitist structures reinforced by eurocentrism, which are just getting dismantled at a great cost, with many setbacks. The history of Latinoamérica is not pretty. There is racism, there is genocide, slavery, oppression, and imperialism that still continues to this day.
Cinco siglos igual.
This is why the Latin American identity is based not only in shared culture, but a shared historical struggle against oppression. It's not only fiesta and carnaval and stuff, it's not all cultural exchange and utopian harmonious communities living in peace, it's also a shared consciousness of our place in the world, among the oppressed nations, the Third World. This is why people of so many different backgrounds consider themselves, and thus are, Latin American, which is a concept hard to grasp for Usamericans used to separate communities in discrete units, while our main identity as members of our many nations is this, Latin American. Some people identify more strongly with it, others don't, and everybody has different ideas on how to deal with this, but it is a pervasive "ghost" that hangs over our heads. The pain of the open veins, if you want to get all poetic.
So here we stand then, with our common identity shaped by a cycle of violence that continues to this day. The question that remains is: do we choose to continue it out of greed and negligence, or do we choose to join together in struggle to create a fair, just and free society for all of us? Se los dejo como tarea para la casa.
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roseofcards90 · 4 months
no like seriously I am actually manifesting her becoming a monster (aka the wolf) so she can chase down her childhood self who’s dressed up like red riding hood and thus, show the audience how she has continued the cycle of cruelty and violence and has forsaken her ideals and in this essay I will—
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◇ 𝓐 𝓑𝓵𝓮𝓼𝓼𝓮𝓭 𝓘𝓶𝓹𝓮𝓻𝓯𝓮𝓬𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷 ◇ [2]
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Many consider your disability as a burden, but he finds a way to make it a blessing in disguise. What makes us flawed is what makes us unique, and that is what he considers the most beautiful thing about you—an imperfection he dearly adores. Nevertheless, he knows of your lingering sorrows and seeks a way to support you in the best way he could.
ENTRY TYPE: Submission, F!Reader
WARNING(S): slightly suggestive scenes, symptoms of chronic/terminal illness, implications of mental instability, mentions of past trauma resulting to severe injury, scenes of past abuse/violence, possible triggers, panic attacks, sleep paralysis, visual/auditory hallucinations, etc...
Baizhu, Xiao/Alatus, Zhongli / Rex Lapis / Morax, Kaedehara Kazuha, Kamisato Ayato, Thoma
BAIZHU is a doctor that advocates for the healing of all those in need even at his own expense. In the city of Liyue where everything is bound by contracts, he is the successor to the ancient arts imparted by Changsheng. To nurture the light of souls in danger of being extinguished, the green-haired healer must sacrifice the years bestowed upon him. However, his predecessors—particularly his late master—left him a conundrum: were their lives not just as precious, and thus deserving of preservation? On the other hand, Changsheng would perish if left without a host. Under such facts, how can one continue the contract without paying the price of either the host's or Changsheng's life?
The concepts of life and death have come hand in hand since the olden days. Whether in literature or science, life and death are two sides of the same coin. True immortality is gifted to non-humans for the nature of humans is to remain mortal and ever so fleeting—as there is beauty in its evanescence.
To pursue otherwise is considered an atrocity, perhaps even, a forbidden knowledge.
Baizhu has long been disillusioned by all sides to such lectures. A medicine can easily be used as a poison via overdose, just as a poison can be used as a remedy to eliminate a harmful virus. Power is neither good nor evil, for it is the wielder's intention that shall define its purpose. The supposedly heretic pursuit of immortality is only ever catastrophic when a soul becomes seduced by dark temptations. He is not so arrogant as to proclaim being above it since he is only human as much as any ordinary person. He just knows what to expect of himself.
The green-haired doctor has always been selfish in a way that he just wants to save lives—simple.
"Is it because you loathe death?"
That was a question Changsheng once asked him when he was but a young apprentice.
Death is a natural part of a cycle. It is the mortality that defines the end of every season so it can begin anew; as when one falls, another grows. As a doctor, he merely considers it his job—maybe even a calling—to deter death so his patients could appreciate life.
If Changsheng's contract is the answer, then why should he hesitate? Of course, if said contract shall be considered a plight, then he is determined to let it end with him.
On the gravesite of his predecessors, a chartreuse lantern innocently rested on the tombstone of the first doctor. It sways precariously yet does not tip even against the breeze. Its lit flame was slowly dimming, and it is then that they—he, Changsheng, and Qiqi—finally noticed a peculiar symbol on it.
An ouroboros with silver eyes is drawn in sparkling viridian ink, as if covered in real scales.
"Show yourself, wàishengnǚ."
Upon Changsheng's demand, the lantern shimmered a vibrant green. In its place, a woman was resting on the grave like a grieving widow. Contrastingly, your serene countenance displayed a sweeter image and amplified the otherworldly beauty that can only belong to an adeptus. A silk hanfu in various shades of green covered your figure, and a lone jade comb pinned your hair back in a waterfall braid. There was also a ghostly silver yǔyī draped over you.
"That," her tail points at you, "is the petulant daughter of my late sister. You may call her [Name]."
Thus, his new life with you began.
Baizhu found you to be pleasant company if not a bit eccentric due to your outdated manners. Most of the time, you were always hibernating. Changsheng had clarified that it is not always by choice. They are the side-effects of your abilities—resembling symptoms of narcolepsy, given how he sometimes finds you paralyzed. A part of him felt protective over you because of that. His responsibility now is to provide you treatment in regaining the movement of your muscles, whether through acupuncture or massage.
You trusted no other hands to handle you too.
Speaking of which, you and his adorable assistant have been inseparable. Whenever you are in snake form, you are found either wrapped around Qiqi's neck or nesting on/under her big hat. Whenever you are in human form, she is cuddled in your cold yet welcoming embrace. It came as a bit of a shock when Qiqi claimed her body never suffers rigor mortis in your presence.
"Qiqi loves [Name]." She proclaims.
From what Baizhu observed, you love her just as much...even if you refuse to admit it.
According to Changsheng, you have been asleep since the death of her first contractor—which left you at odds with each other. He did not pry despite his curiosity. He could deduce the facts based on your behavior. On the rare times Qiqi left you behind in Bubu Pharmacy, you sneak into the sleeves of his coat as if to find solace in it.
While Changsheng was asleep, Baizhu took the rare chance to converse with you.
"Why did you choose to wake up now?" He asked.
You deadpanned at him, staring into his eyes as if the answer should have been obvious.
"You were being too loud." You replied.
Baizhu raised a brow confusedly, making you sigh in a mix of boredom and agitation.
"You kept calling me and it woke me up. Really annoying, to be honest..."
He frowned, "I...don't understand. I never knew about you until Changsheng introduced us."
You laughed, and Baizhu swore it sounded like the whispering soft waves by the seashore.
"Your soul sure did~!" You chimed, "It kept nagging about immortality and all that stuff."
His eyes widened in realization.
"Wait, does that mean you—"
"—know about the secret you so desperately seek?"
You gave a sultry smile, walking towards him with a very subtle swing to your hips.
"You must wonder why yímā said nothing about it."
Baizhu looks up yet the gleam remains on his lenses as he stared at you. The golden hour bathed you in flaxen glaze, and his breath hitches when it seems to make your eyes glower. It left him frozen as your lips grazed his ear and the warmth of your breath made him shiver.
"It's quite simple." You whispered, "The method I practice can only be done by me."
You pull back just enough for your eyes to meet.
"It would have been worthless for her to tell you when she was under the assumption I plan to sleep for the rest of eternity."
You glared as your smile sharpened. For a second, the man in your arms felt the familiar constriction of a snake around his body—less friendly, and more threatening. He looked down to see your silver yǔyī tightly wound around his waist like a vise made of plumage. It pulls him closer to you.
"I would have done exactly that if not for your soul's incessant whining." You snarked.
A soft sound resembling a melodic hiss echoes in the room as you turn away. The cloak tickles his skin as it slides away from his exposed stomach. It can almost be seen as a taunt to "come hither" while the eldritch cloth fluttered around you.
You behave more serpentine than Changsheng, yet he still finds it difficult to fear you.
"I suppose," you mumble, "you did present me the perfect opportunity with your ambition."
Rustic golden eyes narrowed at you, flickering into red for a split second. You thought it was a much lovelier shade on him, and you desired to see it more often.
"An opportunity for you to what...?"
You look back over your shoulder. At that precise timing, your grin was childlike and delicate. It was an extreme juxtaposition to your next words.
"An opportunity to die, of course~!"
Baizhu stares in dumbfounded shock, yet he could not inquire more as you slumped. The bout of high emotions seem to have put your muscles at its limit as you slurred. He rushes forward, catching you in his arms and was surprised. Usually, you turn back into your snake form in defense if anyone other than Qiqi touched you in human form; but not this time.
Watching your elegant features, your foreboding words haunt him.
In a moment of weakness, his hand caressed your cheek. His knuckles traced your lips as his eyes are left mesmerized—besotted by you alone.
Flustered, he then pulls away.
Since that day, Baizhu subconsciously begins to treat you more gently and warmly. It did not perturb you but there was trepidation in your gaze, as well as a hint of hope. A mutual understanding grew between you and this persistent fool.
He is a greedy man advocating for life.
You are a pitiful woman yearning for death.
That parallelism is what enabled his soul to awaken yours back to reality. As days pass and nights wane, you grew infatuated by this premise. In the fleeting bliss of domesticity, an ardent affection for living has returned to your nihilistic heart. A part of you still wishes it remained forgotten with the broken pieces that the first doctor left abandoned.
Changsheng sees right through you.
Someday, your feelings for Baizhu will far surpass whatever fascinations you held for Xu Xian.
"I always found it odd." You said.
Baizhu hums as he stargazes beside you. Qiqi had taken Changsheng inside to give you both some needed privacy.
"You and your predecessors," you scoffed, "are always so determined to defy the clutches that death has over your patients; yet in your attempts, you become the most eager to greet it on your doorstep."
You glared into his bespectacled honey gaze, sweet as much as it is infuriating. Your heart swells when he dropped his fallacious smile, proving he is taking your words seriously.
"It is hypocrisy at its finest." You spat.
Your limbs flailed in irritation but you swiftly calmed yourself. The last thing you needed is for your words to slur in anger and then faint.
"What about you?" Baizhu confronts, "Why are you so fixated to die?"
You smile resentfully, "I want to spite him."
It took no guesses whom you meant.
"The audacity of that man," you grumble, "pleading for me to live and find happiness again—in another, as if my heart was so fickle—while he laid dying due to his own foolishness. Since he was so unrepentant for his choice, I want to know why."
Your hand reaches out to the moon. For those brief seconds, beguiled golden eyes watched the scales on your skin shine.
"What does being human feel like? What does it mean to die?" You ask rhetorically.
Baizhu looks at you and is awed to finally see you in whole view. Your regrets, your woes, your pride, your vulnerabilities...
...and your love—he witnesses.
He wants them all.
"Your powers," he said, "what would they entail if I take your contract as well?"
A delicate tenderness softens your smile, pushing a surge of pride in him.
"Simple," you respond idly, "all the energy I have accumulated will be transferred to you."
Baizhu blinked, "So...a reverse of Changsheng's own healing arts?"
You shrug, "My mother had said that the green and white snakes were always meant to be united. One is responsible for refining chi to immortalize the host, while the other will heal by absorbing illnesses."
"That is why you always end up hibernating," he alas concludes, "to gather chi around you."
You smirk, "My endearment for Qiqi is not entirely innocent in that notion. As an undead, the adeptal energy which surrounds her is my ideal reservoir. Similar to dual cultivation, I keep her bodily functions in circulation even when at rest."
In a blink, you levitated before Baizhu with feet just barely touching the ground to be on equal eye level with him. Your hands cradled his face and a solemn glint made your eyes shimmer, as if in tears.
"The green snake is an ouroboros," you murmur, "a serpent that eats itself to gain power."
Your arms slide around his shoulders as your body slumped against him.
"The white snake is a shapeshifter," you continue, "a serpent that endlessly sheds its skin to live."
Your lips kissed his neck and he felt your fangs graze the skin all too tantalizingly.
"Ironically," you chuckle darkly, "the powers are set in reverse. With both contracts, you get to fulfill that ambition of yours: an immortal doctor that can cure any ailment."
"To accomplish it," Baizhu intercepts, "I must take the identity of the green snake."
He understands it now.
The two snakes are bound because they are the only ones capable of undertaking each other's contract without paying a steep price. Your mother perished to save you, leaving Changsheng vulnerable. The first doctor took her contract and then met you. His death could have been prevented if he took yours too, but he chose otherwise.
You did not spite the doctor for choosing death.
You hated how he chose death for your sake. He failed to understand your heart by heeding the calls of his own...and you blamed yourself for it, not Changsheng.
"I accept."
His declaration was not unexpected but you did not anticipate the weight behind it. While Xu Xian acted callous with his life, Baizhu was just as flippant by the burdens of immortality.
However, the way he looks at you says otherwise.
The way he smiles at you while his arms embraced your figure in turn proved it.
"Acceptance is a point of no return." You warn one last time, "Nothing of you will remain—only the green ouroboros. I will go to sleep more and more for every time you wake with vitality. Someday, I will not wake up beside you anymore at all."
Baizhu tightens his hold as if spooked by the idea yet he smiles angelically at you. His hand rose to tuck a strand of hair behind your ear while yours tilted his glasses down teasingly in jest.
"I will relieve you of your burden." He proclaims, "I only ask that you live the remainders of this life with joy and no regrets..."
Audaciously, he leans forward until your lips were centimeters away from each other.
"...by my side."
Tears escape yet your laughter is most sincere.
"Then, the contract is sealed."
With your words, a kiss is exchanged.
Baizhu will have to live the rest of eternity knowing that he chose to let his beloved go to death. He will spend that same eternity persuading others to keep choosing life in exchange. His sole comfort is that it shall be a mutual choice—a mortal yet bountiful life together—between you and him.
You are destined to become his first grievance when he turns immortal.
That is the proof of love he can give you in return for your blessings, your heart, and—
"My dearest, for whom I embrace eternal damnation so you may rest."
XIAO is a yaksha whose purpose lies within his many names under one mask. As General Alatus, he fought alongside his fellow yaksha brothers and sisters in the perilous era of the Archon War. As the Golden Winged King, he is respected amongst the adepti that serve Rex Lapis. As the Winged Nemesis, the stars acknowledged him enough to bestow the power of anemo. As the Conqueror of Demons, he works tirelessly against the undying darkness. As the Vigilant Yaksha, he became the last of his kind and a phantom that lingers within the Wangshu Inn.
All of these identities are united under one mask and one name: Adeptus Xiao.
It is both his shield and his bond.
Xiao can vividly hear the ringing of his real name being called in reverence by his comrades. He will sometimes linger from the hilltops at night to reply morosely. The sound is similar to a bird call from a distance, a mimicry of his true form. If he felt more sentimental in his solitude, he would even play a whole piece with the dizi flute.
In one such night, the last yaksha smelled the potent odor of hysterical panic and fear. It clashed against the putrid taste of hateful rage and sadism.
One soul is hunting for the blood of another.
By raw instinct, his mask took form upon his face as he dashed towards the origin of the scent. He was led towards Qingyun Peak. For a moment, he paused at the sight of burning qingxin flowers by his feet—a peculiar hint to what awaits him. The wind whipped against his hair and exposed arms, chilling his skin in a familiar brush. It pushed him to go even faster to save the victim of such malice.
A swirl of anemo green and inky black blur together as he finally arrived with spear in hand.
That was when Xiao first saw you.
A man twice your size had been choking you. Now, he was dead by your feet with a piece of broken glass stabbed into his jugular. However, you were clearly bleeding out as the rag you call a dress had been painted red. On the other hand, your flesh was in shades of black and blue. In some twisted sense, your face was left in pristine condition—churning Xiao's stomach, for he could guess the intention of your abuser. Your hair was matted due to sweat and grime, a splatter of dirt on your cheeks.
The imagery struck too much familiarity.
The Conqueror of Demons then gasped as he is forced out of reverie. You are losing consciousness while standing dangerously close to the edge of a steep cliff. Your chapped lips move as the wind carried your message to his ears.
Three words.
A plea for help. A desperation to live.
Then, you fell back.
For Xiao, it felt like a surreal dream as he threw his body forward. His hand released his weapon and reached out towards you. A raw cry reverberated in his ears, distantly recognizing it to be his own. The yaksha willed his Vision to let him fall faster as his fingers grazed yours, until he managed to take hold of your hand.
With a strong pull, Xiao engulfs you in a tight yet gentle embrace—mindful of your fragility. In another swirl of green and black, he swiftly teleports to the Wangshu Inn.
That was the start of his life's chapter with you.
It actually took you three days to awaken, and an entire month to fully recover. Verr Goldet concluded that irreparable damage was done to your throat, rendering you indefinitely voiceless. Talking causes you pain, and straining yourself causes you to cough out blood. The yaksha has never met someone who can scream so loud in silence.
Alatus understood the feeling.
Although you never officially met your savior, Verr had told you everything you needed to know. While working through your physical rehabilitation, you made a habit of leaving almond tofu in a certain room. It is accompanied by a single honeyed qingxin flower, a pain-killing remedy that you learned as a child. Whenever you collect the plate in the morning, it is always empty. After three days, you grew bold and thus began to also leave a small note under the plate—just messages of goodwill or brief greetings to the Vigilant Yaksha.
"What a foolish mortal." Xiao murmured.
You never received a reply but you were far from disheartened by it.
After a month of this routine, the first sign of your savior's reciprocation was a freshly picked qingxin flower beside the empty plate.
That was the first time Xiao saw a genuine smile from you as he watched at a distance.
"Truly foolish indeed." He mumbled.
Everyone was pleasantly surprised by your hidden Pyro Vision. You can conjure different colors of wisp flames. Each served a purpose which the inn found very useful when you learned to control it.
Red is the most natural color, and enables the wisps to interact without burning anything. They can be touched in this state unless infused with anemo to cause Swirl.
Orange is the defensive color that produces barriers of all kinds. They serve as warning to anyone that provokes any harm or malice. Yellow/Gold is its secondary phase which makes the shield or wisps combust. It is also the color that engulfs your sword with your elemental skill and burst.
Xiao could not explain it but he is aware whenever you call out his name in your mind. There is always something tugging at his core ever since he began to reciprocate your small acts of affectionate goodwill. Whenever he follows it, he finds you—whether it is because you were praying to him, or because you were in danger.
He then consulted his fellow adepti but received no concrete answers. He would be lying if he claims to not be curious about this odd phenomenon, even if he just accepted in stride.
As time passed, the yaksha viewed you as a sort of companion for every silent call. It is an unspoken camaraderie, one he could not deny.
On the first anniversary of your meeting, Xiao gifted you the Primordial Jade Cutter.
On the second anniversary, you saw him vulnerable for the first time. Reduced to his knees, he gasped in pain as tendrils of black surrounded him—his karmic debt, as he called it. This was the price he had to pay for eons of slaughter. He warned you to back off in a raised voice, yet you persisted as your immaculate pyro swirled with his tainted anemo.
White is the color of healing, shining above the rest and burning hottest. It was your natural affinity, and he found it fitting on you—a soul most endearing and most loving. Alas, as the two elements danced and your flames purged the karmic debt within him, he had an epiphany. The bond you both nurtured over mutual exchanges of qingxin, the reason why he can hear a voice you can never use—they all point back towards her.
You stared at him in concern as you kneeled, joining him on the floor. Slowly to not spook him, your hand touches his cheek ever so tenderly. For all his strong abstinence, Xiao indulged your touch as he leaned into your palm. Your white flames dissolve the black miasma and the pain receded, if only for now.
However, as soon as he regained clarity, there was a spark of anxiety and disbelief in his catlike eyes.
Then, he vanished.
Xiao avoided you for weeks. A part of you felt a bit saddened by that but you ignored it. As long as he was taking care of himself, you had no reason to complain.
The next time you heard anything about him was from a gentleman named Zhongli.
You met the funeral consultant at the balcony of Wangshu Inn, which Xiao frequented whenever he is on standby. The older man smiled knowingly at you, inviting you for some tea. Then, he relays the news of the yaksha undertaking a perilous mission in The Chasm.
"Worry not," he told at the face of your concern, "I promise that he shall return to you."
For some reason, his tone made you blush like a girl exposed by the father of the boy she adores.
However, true to his word, Xiao returned safely.
Then, the yaksha told you to meet him at Qingyun Peak—the place of your first meeting.
You walked the familiar path in a strangely relaxed pace despite the bad memories. In fact, you felt overjoyed to see qingxin growing on formerly ashen grasslands. Rays of sunshine gold peek through the gaps of trees and their branches. You look up to see Xiao sitting alone by the cliff, staring ahead to oversee all of Liyue.
Xiao heard you coming and closed his eyes just as you sat beside him. He can feel your gaze analyzing him from head to toe. The warmth of your flames caressed his skin, likely seeking injuries in need of healing. His sore muscles are thus soothed but, to his curiosity, the flames linger on his arm.
Golden eyes open to see you dazedly observing his tattoo. Amidst the trance, your hand traced its shape and lingered when it pulsed aglow. He shivered at the sensation, making you pull back.
A silent apology was made by your lovely eyes.
Xiao said nothing to that, gazing at the setting sun once again.
"Indarias." He said.
You tilted your head in confusion.
The adeptus sighs somberly, eyes growing misty in recollections of old memories.
"The predecessor of your Vision," he clarified gently, "her name was Indarias."
That was the day Xiao bore his heart and soul open to you. He told you about his brothers and sisters, encouraged by his trials in The Chasm. He explains how they once swore blood oaths to each other. It carried to their Visions, and that is how he can hear you say his name even without a voice. After being confronted by remnants of Bosacius, he recalls what made him cower from you—the revelation that you inherited the power of Indarias. When he had been falling to his death, he recalls how his mind was only filled with thoughts of you.
Then, when that golden light saved him once again, all he could think was—
"I wanted to come home to you."
Xiao confessed as his eyes softened upon meeting yours. He raises a hand to your cheek, smiling as a blush coated your skin. Leaning forward, your lips met his for the first of many times. Your arms held him close, and it will be your shared secret how he shed tears upon this sacred act.
To embrace his future, Xiao had made peace with the fact he must let go of the past. He will carry the memories of the fallen and honor them; but he will now live for himself, and for you.
However, all things—good or bad—eventually must come to an end.
The karmic debt bore down more harshly than it has ever done. By instinct, Xiao sought your existence yet also wished to stay far from it. The result was teleporting to Qingyun Peak. He remained unaware to the flow of time, leaving you and those who knew of his plight to search for him. All he could think is how unfair everything felt. Just as he found the will to genuinely live his life, he was being taken away to the arms of death. In the past, all he wanted was to take flight with the birds in the sky—yet chose to remain grounded by contract with his lord.
Now, he has you.
He laments how he still wants to spend more time, to make more memories, with you...
...yet there is no time left for memories anymore.
Your echoing voice pierced through the excruciating haze of black. His mask was cracking. All he can do is lean on his spear. The Primordial Jade grew dull with each passing second.
"Stay back!" He yelled hoarsely.
You took a step, white flames lashing out.
"I mean it!" He shouted more frantically.
In an effort to get away and protect you, the yaksha backed himself to the edge. With wide eyes, he finds himself falling back in stumbling steps as his mask fully crumbled. The pupils of his eyes thinned into alarming slits before dilating into clarity as he saw you reaching for him. In practiced ease, his own hand moved to welcome yours yet he was getting pulled farther back. The image of the past overlaps with the present, the roles reversing—
—yet the wind still carried three words.
A promise by heart. A resignation to die.
Xiao smiled as his golden eyes softened, gleaming with tears of farewell.
"I love you."
His world is then consumed by black smoke, and you watched in horror. A glance at his fading Anemo Vision made you jump after him, reaching out like he did long ago.
You refuse to let it end like this.
Red embers swirled to chase after Xiao like dancing silk ribbons. They surround you in a vermillion shield, carmine transitioning into rustic amber. Your white flames burn brighter than ever. It fought against the dark karma which threaten to devour you.
Unabashed, you cried out even as you bled.
His real name. Not his adeptus name.
Time seems to slow into a stop for Alatus, whose eyes fluttered open. He felt the nostalgic comfort of heat amidst the coldest breeze. Mustering the last of his strength, he returns your embrace—a picture of bittersweet bliss. His left hand cradles your head and his free arm wraps around your waist.
"[Name], my foolish mortal..."
Alatus remembers the words of Indarias from long ago. She told him that only the wind can save a fire from dying and empower it. He had failed to do that when she burned herself to ashes in madness. The memory made him hold you tighter, beseeching.
He refuses to let that happen to you.
A tinkling sound of two Visions meeting echoes for all adepti to hear. By the breath of his anemo, your final flame awakens.
Blue is the color of rebirth. It allows the union of souls, merging ambitions to begin anew. This azure light symbolizes radiance of a newborn star, perhaps even the miracle of resurrection.
A majestic golden bird shrouded in cerulean flames rose above Liyue. It shrieked an ancient hymn while flying across the sky, free at last. Darkness is purged as if night turned into day, and the Fourth Descender bore witness. A pair of amber eyes watched from afar as their owner gave a meaningful smile.
This undying bond is a new contract signed by the Vigilant Yaksha and his mortal lover—
"As thou hath been promised to me, I offer mine whole self to thee."
ZHONGLI is a god who has lived for eons, and has yet to begin his life at the same time. After his six millennia of existence, he has been known by many names and bestowed countless titles. Some are hearsay and some are legitimate—all are bonded through his contracts. As the Prime Adeptus, he is the warrior god named Morax whom subdued the rage of oceans and monsters by rain of spears. To the people of Liyue, he is the almighty Rex Lapis whom stood as the overseer of contracts, history, and commerce. By the word of Celestia, he is the Geo Archon whom holds dominion over the Rook Gnosis; and in the eyes of Teyvat, that made him god amongst gods even if he felt otherwise under the divine gaze.
When he finally stepped down from the throne and pedestal of glory, his words to the Traveler omitted a particular truth from them—
—that is, his reason of retirement.
Zhongli spoke of erosion, and even the merchant whom made him realize that his job was done.
However, he did not speak of you.
Of course, with two Harbingers present, his secrecy is understandably sound judgment. Nevertheless, even when he attained privacy to speak personally, he finds it hard to disclose about you. Perhaps, it is a draconic instinct to hoard and protect what he has claimed to be his.
The only other individual just as protective over any knowledge of your existence is Ningguang.
After all, the Tianquan of the Liyue Qixing is also known as your dear older sister.
Ningguang raised you since the beginning, even if she had been a mere child herself. Your parents are never spoken, and you never asked. Even when you find yourself in comparison to other children with mothers and fathers, your older sister was always all you needed and wanted. Tirelessly, she carried you on her back while her arms were occupied by a basket of wares to be sold. Barefoot, she journeyed from the sands of Yaoguang Shoal to the main capital of Liyue Harbor to make ends meet. Every weekend, you will both scavenge anything that can be sold.
The first gift she ever bought you was an intricate erhu of the best craftsmanship.
It had been your smiles that told her everything will be worth the effort. It had been your songs that soothed the ache of muscles and the weariness of mind. It had been your words that invigorated her ambition to become something more.
"I love you, jiejie!"
"...I love you too, meimei."
Nothing would stop Ningguang from rising to the top and giving you the life you deserve.
Time is cruel to mortals and always issues a test of faith to see them thrive. In one such incident, it has been proven that you and Ningguang are true sisters in every sense of the word. Her determination can only be rivalled by yours, and the resolve which shine like stars in your eyes is unconquerable.
Your older sister had once fallen to sickness. She refused to tell you where she kept the money, not wanting to waste it to buy medicine. You furiously argued with her about it but nothing could change her mind. Thus, at the dark of night, you treaded the path towards Jueyun Karst. The entire map of Liyue has been engraved in your mind since you could walk. Even when nothing but black greets your blank eyes, it would have been child's play to travel into the abode of adepti.
That is, of course, if not for the adepti's indignant anger at your trespassing.
Fortunately, you stole a Sigil of Permission.
"My sister is ill," you told them, "and I require your aid to concoct a medicine."
You will never know that what eventually convinced them is how gold illuminated your form. It channels your soul, and then solidifies into a circlet. At its center, a Geo Vision proudly sparkled.
Mountain Shaper thus led you to collect herbs that you would need. Moon Carver carried you on his back while Cloud Retainer flew towards Yaoguang Shoal with Ganyu on hers to check on your sister. In the distance, the Conqueror of Demons obliterated all other threats that may come your way.
By morning, Ningguang was on a road to recovery and you thanked the adepti by playing your erhu for them every day.
Amongst these private performances, you ended up in Guili Plains alone.
A melody has been haunting your dreams. It is very melancholic yet profoundly moving, like a promise between lovers. The composition began to write itself in the abyssal void of your sight. Then, it played smoothly by your delicate hands on the strings. Your voice echoed across the plains, bequeathing a sense of serenity that mortals rarely have talent to supply.
The Lord of Geo has been enchanted as he listened to your lullaby.
"Milord, to what do I owe this pleasure?"
Your inquiry was met with silence, but you can still feel his piercing eyes on you. Thankfully, you are patient as you are resilient.
The sound of footsteps made your ears perk up. You could not stop yourself from tilting your head to the direction of its origin. The omnipotence of adeptal energy dominated the air, making you dazed for a few seconds. However, there was a charming scent that you recognize. It belongs to a wild glaze lily, one especially helped to bloom by music.
Morax paused before where you sat, staring into your curious gaze looking up at him. The blindness clouded them yet your earnest intrigue made them shimmer glamorously. Autumn ginkgo leaves rain upon you whom sat beneath the shade of its tree, and he whom loomed over your mortal form. He lifts the glaze lily in his hand to bless its petals with a chaste kiss. Then, he slowly presents it to you.
A steady hand tucks a strand of hair behind your ear, planting the flower as an ornament. Your sensitive skin felt the callouses that must be from a lifetime of conquests. Alas, your cheeks only flush brightly at their tender caress. His fingertips glide through your tresses very subtly, giving you agency to pull away from his touch.
Morax pulls a lock of hair towards his lips, giving it the same attention as he did the glaze lily.
Then, with a promising smile, he lets go—
—and then vanishes in a blink.
That encounter was the first of many secrets you kept from your older sister.
A week later, a gentleman named Zhongli introduces himself to you. You narrow your eyes in suspicion and confusion. His presence, the aura of Rex Lapis, is unmistakable to you. Nevertheless, you respond with quiet acceptance while listening to his pulse settle down in relief.
It was not your place to question an archon anyway, nor is it your responsibility.
Aside from music, you always held fascination for botany. After refusing your sister's offer to live with her in the Jade Chamber, she built you an estate with a large garden and a quaint greenhouse. From here, you have invented a unique art known as Geo Crystalline Preservation. You use the flowers in your garden to crystallize them with your Vision, but retain their scent like a real flower. By this method, you manage to pluck wild glaze lilies and preserve their natural fragrance after cultivation.
Your first specimen was the glaze lily gifted by your archon, now a part of your circlet.
Suddenly, wild glaze lilies were being revived to its former vast numbers in your garden.
Your artform can be applied to anything too. It can become a stained glass decor, a clothing design, an unwilting bouquet, and even a way to preserve food ingredients. For this reason, your fresh business had immediately made connections with all sorts of exchange across Liyue Harbor. In turn, you have developed a very reliable information network that answers to nobody but yourself. Twice, a visit from Yelan made your heart swell with pride to know you have information that eludes her.
Zhongli was more of a consultant or an advisor who directs you to the most beneficial proposals. It can be most helpful whenever you felt lost in making critical decisions that require more tact. He even made it possible for you to create a strong alliance with the Feiyun Commerce Guild. A part of you is still uncertain if it was worth the hassle that the esteemed Young Master Xingqiu tends to bring to your doorstep.
By the words of Rex Lapis, the core foundation of contracts is fairness. Thus, you asked Zhongli what he wants in exchange for his hard work.
"I only wish for your company," Zhongli replied, "and—if you would allow it—a chance to court you."
A gentle kiss lands upon your forehead. It brought back flashes of your first meeting under the ginkgo tree, when he was a god rather than a mortal. You used names to keep them separate, yet this moment has proven that Zhongli is Rex Lapis and Morax.
A cor lapis by any other name would nonetheless be as resplendent.
Then, two years later, he proposed and you said yes.
That resulted to an interesting private discussion between Zhongli and Ningguang. Neither of them disclosed any details other than the fact your sister gave her sincere blessings for the marriage. The wedding was reserved yet was also nothing short of extravagant. The collaboration of your sister and fiancé had you expecting nothing less if you were being honest.
Another year later, the final Rite of Descension turns into a Rite of Parting.
You knew of Zhongli's plan. He had to confide the details to you, excluding the Tsaritsa's contract. It was the only way to persuade you into staying in Wangshu Inn for a few weeks, to make sure you do not get caught in the crossfire. He promises his intervention if all goes awry, if it endangers your sister as well as the rest of Liyue Harbor.
Then, it was all over.
Zhongli came home to kiss you with fervor you have never felt from him since your wedding night.
Later, the geo lines on his arms pulse with luminous glow in your marital bedroom. It reflected upon his amber eyes, pupils alternating between slits and dilation as his instincts purred. He closed his eyes with an inaudible sigh before projecting himself into your dreamscape.
As a blind person, you have an odd way of dreaming.
You only hear amidst the abyss and a composition always reverberates. When visited by him, everything gets reconstructed to a meadow of glaze lilies. At its heart is his Statue of the Seven. He had learnt that the imagery of stars twinkling above your heads is a sign that his own dreamscape had begun to merge with yours. A golden aurora borealis emanated pure geo energy, representing elemental resonance.
Always, the Geo Archon finds himself replacing his own self on the statue when he visits. He opens his eyes to the perspective of the statue. The illusionary Memory of Dust remains afloat beside him with a few geo crystalflies. He shall always find you fast asleep, wearing a hanfu composed of his colors. At times, your head is only resting on the armrest or his lap; and other times you are already in his arms. Then, he cradles you closely while he listens to the tunes you dream. He has grown familiar with most of them through your erhu. A few would baffle him, and he would then realize they are your unfinished compositions.
There was also one other reason he strictly kept you far from the events in the harbor.
You are with child.
Zhongli recalls the time you discussed the concept of illumination with him. It is the method of possibly enlightening a mortal to become an adeptus. The topic of you becoming immortal was only broached once and never again. Your own perspective in the matter was irrelevant, mostly because you were incompatible for the procedure. Although far from being an invalid, your constitution is not necessarily ideal for such arduous illumination.
The Lord of Geo was overjoyed when you relayed the news of your pregnancy the first time. Alas, when the celebratory mood had gone, the slap of reality finally registered.
This will be a difficult ordeal for you, carrying a child that is half-adeptus.
Yanfei was conceived and born by a human mother, delivered through a complicated pregnancy. The health concerns never seemed to end, and her mother's miraculous survival was only thanks to her tenacity according to her father. Even then, she is a mortal woman in perfectly good health.
If you were not capable of undergoing illumination, can you even survive this pregnancy?
No matter the answer though, Zhongli knows you are determined to persevere. For the sake of the life within your womb, you will endure all the hardships that will be thrown your way.
That fact is why he fell in love with you.
Perhaps, there was one thing he could do to help you even if it was not a full illumination.
As he once did for Azhdaha, the Lord of Geo can bless you the gift of sight.
You can see your child when they are born.
Zhongli lifts his head from where it rested on your crown. He tilts your chin up to gaze upon your visage and feel your breath against his skin. His fingertips grazed your eyelids, and the golden light of his geo energy engulfs the dreamscape. As everything fades into white, he leans down so his lips meet yours...
...and then, you both awaken.
However, for the first time, the haunting darkness that usually welcomed you has been replaced with color.
You saw a man hovering over you, lips millimeters apart from yours. Dark brown hair is embellished with honey gold, long strands gliding over his toned shoulders. Sharp amber eyes glared into yours, an unreadable sheen making them glow. Your hand reaches up to touch his fair cheek, thumb tracing the red outlining his gaze.
You realize. This is your husband.
"Zhongli...!" You gasped, tears in your eyes.
He smiles like a breathtaking work of art, a godly beauty that blessed you to be his wife.
"Hello, tian xin."
Your arms wrapped around his neck to pull him into an ecstatic embrace and blissful kiss. He obliges, taking all you have and giving you all that is his.
Someday, you will no longer stay by his side.
Nevertheless, the proof of your existence will live through your child—and so will the love, the miracle that conceived them, which you shared with him. As such, you will continue to shine like gold in his memories forevermore.
This is not a mere contract, but a solemn promise that even Celestia can never break—
"My memories of you are treasures not even erosion can steal away."
KAEDEHARA KAZUHA is a free spirit undeterred by the might of the eternal lightning's glow. At the face of loss and grief, he continued to pursue the calling that has been delivered by nature's winds. Days are spent searching for truth with an old friend's legacy, a masterless Vision to accompany him across the unconquered seas. Nights are spent in mourning a home that disowned him, a moment to digress from the disgrace he was bestowed. His family name has always been a burden that weighed heavily on his heart, but his sword cuts down all obstacles by will of wind and cloud. The Archon who represented the element he wields preached the ideal of freedom, yet nobody ever spoke of its steep price. In contrast, the Archon of his homeland follows an eternity that rejects change and henceforth decrees to prohibit ambitions that yearn for it.
When a bird who wishes to fly is born in a nation that wants it caged, which path is seen as right to abide?
When a dream is not enough to conquer divine sovereignty, what sort of reality is left to live?
They say when the gods give you a blessing, you do not ask why it was sent. Alas, if that same gift has condemned you to a tormenting fate, what else can be done but question the reason behind it all?
Wings clipped yet uncaged,
The price of freedom is steep
Yet the bird still sings.
That was the answer Kazuha realized.
If nothing in hindsight can tell him what he wishes to know, then he must listen to the unseen. If neither god nor mortal can be persuaded with words, then perhaps he must find a better use for his voice.
Thus, the lost ronin let the wind lead...
...and he was saved by the lonely desert flower that thrived amidst the City of Contracts.
You were a fresh graduate from Sumeru, a brilliant scholar disillusioned by the leaking discrepancies of the Akademiya. They would have forced you to stay with threats thinly veiled as pleasant requests to promote the growth of wisdom. However, you knew the potential they see in you is naught but another way to cultivate the poison spreading deeper than the withering of the rainforests. It was only by aid of the former General Mahamatra that you managed to destroy all research the sages desperately wanted, and then narrowly escaped. Your freedom cost his position, but he reassures you that it gained him a friend—one he hopes can still find heart to return.
You promised him as much, the sincerest gratitude pulsing in your soul.
It was a little difficult to start from scratch, yet Liyue certainly helped as a city of commerce.
The only possessions you have left are the clothes you wear, the bow strapped to the quiver of arrows on your back, and whatever is stored as luggage on your shoulder bag. However, you hold an unyielding confidence in two things: your intelligence, and your Dendro Vision.
That is what eventually led you to apply for the recent job opening in Bubu Pharmacy.
Baizhu is a fair employer and an overall good person as company. He does feel a little suspicious with his odd remarks, especially in regards to his fragile state due to some unknown illness. He gives the vibe of someone who smiles politely yet always schemes something nefarious. Perhaps, it was your time with the corrupted sages that made you wary.
Nonetheless, he treats you well.
Moreover, he never once criticized your disability as a nuisance nor made you seem inferior for it.
Qiqi, on the other hand, is a very lovely and adorable girl with the occasional eccentricities. A knitted finch plush for her birthday was the deciding factor for her to proclaim you as her older sister. She keeps a particular notebook for every detail she discovers about you. Her free time is now spent cuddling with you for a nap, if not to help make your remedies.
Your cheeky boss commented that you both share the same eyes. He laughs when you glared at him for the implication that you look like an airheaded zombie. As an intellectual, it is not appreciated.
After a year of relishing your new life in Liyue, the heavens decided to throw another curveball.
As a renowned healer in Bubu Pharmacy, there have been many patrons that come to you for any sort of emergency. It is the real term of employment that makes Baizhu pay you heftily, at least compared to his other employees. It is also why your colleagues and some citizens in the harbor consider you the pharmacy's second doctor. Your affinity for dendro has greatly progressed any medicinal research. Your accompaniment of Qiqi allowed the forgetful zombie to discover new herbs—not much use alone, but vital ingredients in brewing affordable remedies.
Thus, one stormy night, a woman named Beidou came barging on your door.
"Lady Doc," she called out boisterously, "I need a little help here!"
A young man, bloodied and bruised, was on her back and worryingly limp. The famous captain of the Crux Fleet had a strained smirk on her face, and the rest of her was roughed up. Whatever ordeal they had to endure, it must have been truly dangerous.
Without further questioning, you provided treatment to these unexpected patients. Being informed that the man is a foreign fugitive made no difference to you. From his clothes, you have easily deduced that he is from Inazuma—which allowed your mind to fill in all the blanks on why he was condemned. After all, news had traveled fast across nations about the Sakoku Decree and the closing of Inazuma's borders. You take pride in your oath as a healer to treat anyone in need of care indiscriminately. If they end up doing harm to others afterwards, then you deal with it just as accordingly.
However, the lady captain is a woman of integrity and so you chose to trust her judgment.
What did annoy you was how Beidou decided to just leave a wanted ronin in your care. All she left was a note to take care of him—Kazuha, she says—and a winky face signed at the bottom. She also snatched a bottle of rum from your liquor stash.
Pirates can really sniff out any hidden treasure in a matter of seconds.
Qiqi visits you that afternoon. This is the routine if you are ever tardy or absent during working hours. It was part of your contract since Baizhu is well aware that being an accomplished doctor can attract the wrong sort of crowd. Not to mention, he has been informed of your situation with the Akademiya. The zombie's visits are to ensure your well-being. She will report to the Millelith directly, per Baizhu's instruction, if she thinks anything feels off.
You gave Qiqi a notice to deliver to Baizhu, a request for a short leave. It was the usual for whenever you become busy in treating personal patients. A small bottle of coconut milk was also given as reward for the little zombie's troubles. Her lips twitch up to a small smile as her eyes gain an affectionate haze.
"Thank you, jiejie." She says.
After receiving a headpat from you, she skips away adorably and giddily.
You closed the door with a sigh, turning to go back and tend to your patient. However, you were met with a glistening blade to your face and a pair of dazed yet still menacing red eyes. They glare at you defensively behind silver white fringes.
"Where am I? Who are you?" Kazuha demands.
To your chagrin, you fainted from shock.
Kazuha finds the note from Beidou which clarified the situation to him. He apologized profusely as his pale cheeks blushed from embarrassment.
A year later, that not-so-pleasant first impression has paved the way to an unlikely romance.
You stand by the docks of Liyue Harbor, anxiously waiting for the return of the Alcor. The last time you heard from your lover, he has informed you via letter that the Vision Hunt Decree was no more—thanks to the Traveler. However, he did not immediately return to your side for personal reasons. You did not pry, a touching act of understanding that deepened his affections for you. Kazuha promised that once he has tied the last loose ends of his past, he will never allow himself to part from you.
A part of you wondered if you are willing to do the same. There is a significant difference between the both of you that had caused conflict in the past.
Kaedehara Kazuha is a free spirit, always following wherever the wind leads him.
You are a person who thrives by staying in one place, like a blossom in fertile soil.
If given the choice, will he allow himself to stay tied down to you? Similarly, are you capable of uprooting yourself just to be with him?
The scent of maple leaves carried by the salty ocean breeze snaps you out of reverie. A delighted smile brightens your lovely features, knowing this aroma can only belong to one person.
Kazuha stands meters away with a heartfelt smile and a smitten look in his crimson eyes. He holds his arms open, and that was your cue to run towards his direction. The momentum caused you both to spin as he caught you, yet your lover only laughed at your enthusiasm. A mild tremble in his arms allowed you to know that he has missed you just as much.
"I'm back." He murmurs.
You tighten the embrace while he plants a lingering kiss upon your crown. His bandaged hand combs through your hair, smiling as petals were swept by his fingertips. A couple of yellow roses and pink carnations blossom from your intricate braids.
"Welcome back." You mumbled raspily.
Kazuha effortlessly hears your words that tend to go unspoken. You kept seeds in your hair ornaments as easy access for herbs by making them bloom with your Vision. At times, he plucks a leaf or two from them to play a tune for you. Even if you cannot hear it, you always present him a jubilant smile and an appreciative applause.
"Come with me." He signed to you.
Taking you by the hand, the humble samurai leads you to a secret meadow in a cove. It is a rendezvous spot known only to you and him, a fortress of respite and solitude from the world. A single oak tree stood at the center, where it is rooted firmly upon the patch of land surrounded by water. The lake and running streams glimmer, a hint of salt permeating the air to connote their origins. The rocky ceilings are sturdy yet possess fissures that allowed light to shine upon the clear waters. The many luminous corals provide illumination deep in the darkness, as sea creatures have made themselves at home. Various beds of flowers engulf the soil with vines crawling along the wooden trunk, showing age lines on its bark.
Kazuha gently sweeps you into his arms and uses his Vision to float over the bodies of water. He puts you on the flowerbeds, promptly lying down with his head on your lap.
You blink at him confusedly for a moment while he only smiled innocently. A giggle escapes your lips, indulging him as your fingers languidly ran through his hair. Your eyes are entirely on him, either reading his lips or paying attention to his signs as he led the conversation. He told you of his visit to his friend's grave, and how he wishes to take you there someday to introduce you.
The idea made you pause only for a split second, but your ever attentive lover notices anyway.
His crimson eyes open, catching your own forlorn gaze. His hand reaches up to your face, caressing to comfort.
"I also went to a special place afterwards with the Traveler, a unique archipelago that reflects one's heart." He said slowly, "The experience made me realize a few things about myself..."
His words trail off as his free hand takes yours to pull it towards his lips. Your knuckles are grazed by his tokens of affection, and heat covers your cheeks in response to his adoration. Kazuha kept his eyes on you, fondness swirling within their depths.
"...and it also gave me an epiphany about you."
At his words, he gradually sits up yet your hands are still entwined. Fair strands of silver-white glide along his movements, framing his youthful features.
Kazuha is always most enchanting to you whenever he lets his hair loose.
"I want to marry you, [Name]."
To emphasize his words, Kazuha procures a ring of sterling silver. Small rubies decorate its exterior to form the design of red maple leaves. A single name is engraved along the interior side using traditional Inazuman letters. You have seen it so many times that you knew how to read it even if you were not as fluent in the language.
楓原. Kaedehara.
A flicker of fear seeped into your wide eyes, but the steady hold of your lover's hand kept you anchored to reality. You know what he is asking of you and what he is offering in return. This ronin is willing to bind himself to you, boldly and fearlessly.
"On my next voyage," Kazuha says, "come with me to Inazuma. I wish to marry you in my homeland. There is little left to my noble name, but it would be my greatest joy to share it with you—"
He smiles wistfully, "—if you would have me."
Once again, the question confronts you.
Are you willing to do the same for him?
Kazuha receives your answer in the form of a vine wrapping around your entwined hands. It gravitates to his wrist like a corsage, and then blossoms.
His own eyes widen in glee as red and white freesias decorated the vine. The flower of ultimate trust coated in the color of passion and purity.
You are saying—
Kazuha almost sobs in relief as his hands shook but manages to slide the ring onto your finger. Suddenly, you tackle him in happiness to plant your lips upon his own vigorously. He returns your fervor, cupping your face to deepen the passionate kiss.
A soft zephyr blew within the cove, rippling the water and fluttering the leaves alongside the petals. It is a dance that unites two hearts as one, consummating a bond as everlasting as lightning.
Nobody could ever know your heart the way Kazuha does, and so it shall be his right to claim it. Similarly, no soul other than yours can encourage his spirit yet still enrapture it with the ties that bind.
Henceforth, this pair of soulmates will prosper with or without a divine blessing—
Soulbound, windsong bloom Amidst strife of unheard voice Love called me to you.
KAMISATO AYATO is a man whose heart seeks an equally capable partner. The idea of one day having to choose another half is something to consider as part of his duty. After all, the head of a noble clan is responsible for ensuring that its bloodline continues to prosper. To sire an heir, he must someday select a bride. His choice will lead to the rise of a matriarch within the Kamisato Clan. It must be a woman with the caliber to lead as the gentle hand of the Yashiro Commission to his iron fist. A fierce yet kind soul is necessary to command the Shuumatsuban in his place should the need ever arise. Furthermore, if he must eventually settle for a loveless marriage, his desire is to at least gain a lifelong friend. They must have the same depth of loyalty to his family, and the same headstrong resolve to uphold their principles.
Otherwise, he is very certain any other whom wishes to stand by his side will only break. With how he acts and carries himself, the people of Inazuma are more inclined to agree. Indeed, a wife less than up to par would be nothing short of disappointing.
Be that as it may, the Yashiro Commissioner can be a complicated man to love.
Ayato is a man who lives his life wearing a thousand masks, with little to no distinction between his true self and facades. At the early deaths of his parents, he was a young boy that had been forced into the lethal grind of political battles. To protect his little sister, he took up the blade to eliminate those who threaten them amidst the power struggle.
Just like that, his heart became a closely guarded vault privy to a trusted few.
Loving Ayato is likened to water, the same element he wields as weapon and shield. In calm days, he is transparent and clear to see. In chaotic nights, his own motives are harder to understand. There are times he can be as volatile as rapids, and others be as nurturing as a cool spring.
The most dangerous thing about loving Ayato is if you allow yourself to drown in him.
Alas, all of Inazuma is left dumbfounded when he abruptly announces his marriage to you.
The Yashiro Commissioner had gone missing for a week. A note with his penmanship claims he has a personal errand to run. Then, he returns to the estate—holding your hand while another clenches a scroll, sealed by the wax insignia of the Narukami Shrine and the Raiden Shogun. A glance at your respective hands reveal the glint of silver wedding bands, with camellia flower engravements filled by white jade.
Kamisato Ayato eloped with you.
"From here onwards," Ayato declared, "[Name] shall be living in the Kamisato Estate as my wife. Please treat her with the same respect you do for me."
The idea seems to intimidate you, a frown tugging your lips. Your husband, however, squeezed your hand in reassurance. Pacified, you end up snuggling your cheek onto his arm. The action is successful in grounding your senses, focusing on Ayato's scent and body heat. He obliges this by gently pulling you closer, practically trapping your own arm to his side.
Ayaka hid a smile of amusement behind her fan, as her eyes softened in endearment.
"Of course, brother." She replied.
Thoma nodded, beaming in welcome as you peeked at him and the young miss. Despite their slightest reservation upon this rushed turn of events, they trust Ayato.
Although, the Shirasagi Himegimi cannot help but feel you looked somewhat familiar.
You are a very peculiar woman, especially in a nation as conservative and traditional as Inazuma. In fact, some believe you seem more like an antithesis to your husband. Whereas he is always poised and very composed, there is always an untamed ferocity in you that refuses to comply to social norms. You can nonetheless dress as elegantly as any other noble aristocrat, speak as eloquently as any well-educated lady. If not for your infamous eccentricities, nobody would have doubted why Ayato chose you. It is quite renowned by gossipers that you shamelessly stroll Inazuma City in a commoner's yukata—a messy bun for a hairstyle, and sometimes going barefoot. You despise social events and acted more elusive than your husband.
The servants were initially wary yet none of them can deny your positive influence. The household has never been so efficient and organized until you took on managing its affairs. Thoma was astonished to realize that he ended up with more free time under your authority. The meticulous way you stick to a form of schedule and your quick wit to adapt have enabled the Kamisato Estate to operate smoothly, with or without the siblings present. In fact, some unique tasks you assign to Thoma aided him into securing businesses in Ritou. As equal exchange for your patronage, you have flawlessly expanded the Shuumatsuban's spy network.
Ayaka also found respite in her endeavors as face of the clan. She initially had a difficult time with being your mentor of sorts in the life of nobility. However, your creativity in problem solving and innovative thinking has been great in helping balance her own matters.
Thoma began to understand your ways when he has become in charge of all your meals. There is a set routine for every day of the week, and then a specific assortment of snacks with tea expected at certain hours. Each ingredient is meticulously picked and every dish is carefully prepared. If even one thing is out of place, you will notice with a single bite/sip and you would refuse to eat—which results to a very moody mistress for the rest of the estate.
It was only thanks to how well Ayato knew you that everyone else was able to keep up. He is aware of all factors to your behavior and how to aptly respond to them. His stern yet precise instructions left no room for mistakes if it meant taking care of you properly in his absence. It was as if he grew up with you due to the sheer amount of experience he has in how to deal with your odd patterns.
As months passed, Ayaka finally realized.
That is because her brother did grow up with you.
Ayato met you long ago when he was a mere lonely boy, burdened with the title of clan heir. He found you digging around the beach near his estate, an Electro Vision on your waist. A line of seashells were set on a flat rock beside you, all arranged by type as rows and by size as columns.
You glanced up at him. Your Vision flickers, making him tense—
—and then lightning struck the sands.
As a boy, Ayato watched in awe as the grains turned into glass. You manipulated the temperature of the element, heating the sand in quick seconds to create multiple pieces. He ended up getting closer, and it was enough to spook you. After you were finished, you hastily stood up and collected your things before sprinting away.
"Wait...!" Ayato exclaimed.
You did not listen.
The young master pouted, thinking he would never see you again. It was a shame since he found you so fascinating. He looked down and saw some strange hollow tubes in the shores, resembling coral.
That day, he went home a little despondent.
Ayato was pleasantly surprised to see you again the next day—same place, same hour. You are polishing the shells this time, and occasionally refining them to the shape you want. Small pots of paint surround you, and the Electro Vision is pulsing to be used at any given notice.
This time, you did not run when he got close.
He flinches as you suddenly spoke. Your eyes were focused on the glass tubes he picked up. They hung from the string of his obi now, which got odd looks from his parents a while ago.
You nodded, "They are fulgurites. You can use them to make jewelry. Want to see?"
That was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Ayato figures out your schedule and how you like sticking to it, so he never misses out on visiting you. It was actually something you never minded as long as he remained consistent. The times when he did not get the memo, you got annoyed and told him harshly to stop showing up. At first, he felt hurt since he misunderstood. Thankfully, he was mature enough to clarify it with you. Since then, he promised his arrival only on particular days wherein he can assure his free time. At his words, you acted less bothered by his presence and worked on your craft.
The two of you grew up together in those constant stolen moments. He finds out you have a younger brother, and he tells you he has a younger sister. On weekends, you are not on the beach. That is the only time your brother is able to spend time with you instead of honing his swordsmanship.
In stormy days, he had to struggle pulling you into the estate. Every time, he braced himself for your ire but patiently coaxes you over it. The most effective method is to occupy your mind with something else, and let your hands be busy crafting. Once you are fixated, Ayato can be allowed into your safe space again and he is able to take care of you. Henceforth, rainy days are spent in his estate and that became the new norm for your daily routine. Ayato adapts by creating amendments to your unhealthy habits.
You still persistently argue that storms are perfect for making petrified lightning glass.
Nevertheless, you express gratitude for his sincere care and affection. No one has ever been so doting on you aside from your brother. In turn, Ayato felt touched that you treat him as one of the only two people you explicitly trust. You even adjust yourself to be considerate of his own needs, despite the clear discomfort it sometimes caused you.
When his parents died, you were his greatest pillar of support.
Ayato has always known to never underestimate you in any way. What made you different did not make you dumb. In fact, it is revealed in that dark period that you were more brilliant than your peers. It was only thanks to your guidance that he found direction how to proceed. It was due to your judgment that he knew who to trust, which ties needed to be severed for safety. Every critical decision was consulted by you, and he was awed when the results you predict come to fruition. When his demons made him lose sleep, you provided relief by playing with his hair.
When he finally triumphed in the succession, you gave him a precious gift.
You smiled. Of utmost sincerity, you smiled ever so sweetly and so warmly.
That is the day Ayato knew you were the one.
Unfortunately, he had taken too long to confess that to you. Too many years slipped past his fingers due to his obligations.
Then, the Vision Hunt Decree happened—
—and you went missing.
A young man named Kaedehara Kazuha barged into his estate, panicked and distressed. He called for Ayato, kneeling as he pleaded for help in finding his older sister—you. The wind has gone silent regarding your whereabouts, and he feared the worst due to the recent decree.
Of course, the Yashiro Commissioner wasted no time in utilizing his power to be of aid.
It was for naught.
Soon, he could not even protect your brother when the young man was branded as a wanted criminal.
Kazuha witnessed the love Ayato holds for you—a passion he deems worthy of his kin. He knew of the bond you shared with him, which is why he came to the man for help. Meeting the man personally, the winds crooned in approval—to which the ronin only smiled, a little resigned yet mostly relieved.
Someone else can take care of you now.
"Aneue spoke of you fondly." He said, "If anyone can find her, it's you."
The younger male presents him a box.
"She called it a tassel chime," Kazuha explained, "and referred to that piece as Rainmaker."
It contains a small windchime in the size and design of a tassel, thus the name. A pair of clamshells tie the knot for the noose. Camellias on rippling waters is carved onto the blue glass, painted with glittering golden lacquer. Instead of a striker, a ball of glowing white jade is inside the spherical glass with a cowrie shell at its base. The tail is a familiar indigo satin ribbon, his gift to you on the last Irodori Festival. His name is embroidered in your favorite fulgurite threads, and yours on the other side:
Kaedehara [Name].
Ayato knew this is the equivalent of a blessing. He ties it to his sword, aware by use of elemental sight that the energy within it will prevent the glass from breaking even in a skirmish. He makes a promise to your brother that he will stop at nothing to find you, and ask for your hand in marriage.
Eventually, he did.
You stood in an abandoned temple amidst the call of summer. The crystalflies illuminated your form, and the water shimmered like liquid diamonds. Tinkling sounds echoed in Chinju Forest, as the sails of windchimes blew with the nightly breeze.
At the call of your name, you turned to face him and Ayato embraces you immediately.
"I want to go home." You murmur.
The broken tone of your voice devastated him, and he nods while tightening his arms. You hugged him back, hiding your face on his chest while his nuzzled your shoulder.
"Yes, let's go home now." He whispered.
The Yashiro Commissioner spared nothing at your expense. He used the name of Kamisato to protect you. As his wife, you are now an integral part of the Tri-Commission and one with the Raiden Shogun's faction. You cannot be touched by the decree like your brother feared. Although you desire no riches, Ayato sought to provide something that will soothe your unease at the drastic changes in your life.
Thus, in an isolated wing of the estate, there was your personal workshop.
A safe haven. All for you.
Ayato leaned back with you in his arms, cuddling by the veranda. You were sorting through your brother's letters, worried, and missing him dearly. Looking up at your husband, he smiles and kisses you fervently.
"I'm here." He reassures.
You wrap your arms around his neck in response, snuggling his chest to nap. He adjusts you on his lap and rewraps the blanket around you. His long fingers comb through your hair, humming contently.
Heartbound lullabies in hiraeth, ever so mellifluous—
"You are my clarity amidst sullied waters, a wish to forever keep."
THOMA is an ordinary ember within a hearth filled by unfathamoble wonders. He was born from a marital union between a woman of Mondstadt and a man of Inazuma. Amidst these contrasting cultures, he grew up fitting into the crevices resembling lacquer filling the cracks of porcelain. As a young man, he became quite a jack-of-all-trades that can help practically anyone in need—no matter the odd job presented to his capable hands. On his free time, he shares small treats with homeless animals. He fights off the urge to adopt every single one, and remains content to supply them a sanctuary. Perhaps, a part of him feels a kinship as he sometimes fancies seeing his own image to be that of a stray. Having two origins can often lead to confusion of where a person truly belongs.
Alas, this blond fixer-upper carries a beaming smile every time he greets the sun. For him, bridging gaps presents a hidden beauty that can only be found in imperfections, fixing the broken yet appreciating its flaws. While he does not always have a solution for everything, it never stopped him from trying.
Nevertheless, there have been times wherein Thoma also seeks some respite.
The Sakoku Decree added to it.
What terrifies him the most is having something to lose, more than just his Vision—
"Thoma, darling, where are you?"
"Ah!" He yelps as he stumbles towards the direction of your voice, "Over here, [Name]!"
—and that is someone to protect.
Bright green eyes see you turn up at the entrance of Komore Teahouse. You sat daintily and elegantly on your wheelchair, a carefully wrapped bento resting upon your lap. Despite being a mere commoner, you carried yourself with a dignity that can rival even the most affluent nobles of Inazuma. Being dependent on a metal seat never deterred people from feeling the promise of recompense should you be slighted.
Thoma smiles tenderly as he meets your gaze, to which you respond heartily.
The bout of excitement caused you to unwittingly freeze the ground beneath you. Swiftly, your lover discreetly melts it away by going near you before any guards notice your small demonstration. His eyes glanced around the perimeter to double-check, sighing in relief when he deems it safe.
"Ah," you gasped, "I'm sorry."
He chuckles nervously, "It's fine."
You and Thoma are childhood sweethearts. You were a very lonely orphan raised by the nuns. That played a part to your distinguished mannerisms. The Church of Favonius had instilled the etiquettes of a proper lady upon you at a young age. It probably made them all the more protective due to how you were paralyzed from the waist down. This made you bond with a girl named Glory, whom also lives with a disability that left her world dark since her birth. Of course, that did not halt you from sneaking out to play in the streets and getting your dresses dirty. A short adventure is what led you to meet the young blond boy whom quickly became your world. He, who offered a hand, took you to many other such adventures rather than persuading you to stay at home like an invalid.
"Life is short," he said, "you ought to relish it the best way you can rather than obsessing over what you can't do. I'll be your friend to help!"
Thoma showed you how to seize the day and claim the world as your own. He spent each Windblume proving it by giving you mismatched flower crowns, trying his best with clumsy fingers. You were invited into his home countless times as if it was yours too, with warm family dinners and cozy sleepovers. All that he could share with you, he did so with utter delight as if it was a privilege to be your friend—even if you felt it should be the other way.
Can anyone really blame you for being so smitten even as a young girl?
When he decided to set off for Inazuma, you did not hesitate to go with him.
The nuns were sad to see you leave, but the will of Barbatos clearly blessed you for it. The thousand winds have spoken, and they wish to lead you to the boy that has won your heart.
Life in Inazuma did not start as smoothly as you both had wanted. Your boat got wrecked in the storm but, for that one time, it became your turn to protect Thoma—to be the knight. Fear came first like a coiling serpent around your heart, and then you felt the warmth of his arms covering you. They stayed determined even as they shook, and your soul was inspired to take action. Heat turned into blistering coldness that froze every drop of rain, turning them into icicles in the shape of sakura petals. Together, they converged as fractals that carried you and your beau to safety within a dome of ice.
At the face of the eternal lightning, a blizzard defied the gods and earned their favor in turn.
The eye of storm was you.
From then onwards, the Kamisato Clan provided you both a home and way of sustenance. In gratitude, Thoma did everything he could as proper repayment; and whomever wins his favor shall have yours. At some point, you found a stable job for yourself in the Yae Publishing House as a minor editor. However, the keen amethyst gaze that focused upon you saw something else—a hidden gem brimming with the potential to move hearts via the quill.
Apparently, your calling is to be a writer.
Guuji Yae herself had mentored you after growing fond of your little snippets she caught in drafts. It got lost amongst the transcripts you were editing and ended up in her hands. A part of you suspected she blatantly stole it like the cunning vixen she truly is, no matter how nicely she treats you. Nonetheless, you were grateful for her direction since the kitsune remained sincere in her platonic affections for you—especially when you dedicated your second novella to her. The first was obviously for Thoma, featuring Mondstadt and then the Kamisato Clan.
Both were shocking bestsellers immediately, and Yae Miko sought to reward you.
"Would you like me to personally officiate your wedding someday?" She teased.
You blushed heavily at the sheer thought of marrying Thoma, excited yet flustered. Your words stuttered and the pink vixen only laughed at how adorable you looked. She was so tempted to pinch those soft and rosy cheeks but practiced her restraint.
You fiddled with your fingers as you turned away to watch the cherry blossom rain.
"Maybe someday..."
A pair of pink fox ears twitched upon hearing your gentle whisper. It sounded every bit like a woman in love, passionate and unconditional. A genuine smile shows itself on the Guuji's lovely face, feeling her own heart swell at the face of true romance. It may not be her favorite genre, but it was still dazzling to see in real life—especially amidst treacherous times.
"Then," Yae chuckled, "just set a date and I shall ensure to keep my schedule free...like tomorrow~!"
You blush again and whined for her to stop teasing just once. This time, she did not resist pinching you while she fawned over your pathetically whimpering self.
Perhaps, marriage can be in your future with Thoma if fate shall someday allow it. He was really the only one you can really see beside you until death do you part. In that perspective, you can comprehend a bit of the eternity that the Raiden Shogun so earnestly preaches and imposes.
For now, you were content to just let things naturally take its course—and that means indulging a lunch date with your boyfriend.
Thoma noticed that you have grown busier since that lunch date. He shrugged it off since you did mention your new tedious tasks in the publishing house. A part of him worried for your health but he also trusted the fact you would tell him anything amiss. In the meantime, he focused on the odd jobs he had to do in Ritou as well as housekeeping for the Kamisatos as per usual. It was a little challenging sometimes to even manage to share a meal or a bed together nowadays.
You have missed each other dearly.
Therefore, he felt his world crumble when he finally unveiled your secret.
Yae Miko sent a missive to the Kamisato Clan, in which she asked for a private audience. She insisted for Thoma and Ayaka to visit the Narukami Shrine, to which they obliged curiously. They surely did not expect Shikanoin Heizou to also be seated in the Guuji's secluded waiting room.
"A propaganda...?" Thoma said in disbelief.
A series of light novels have been distributed to the masses. It featured a story that referenced the tales of allogenes whose Visions have been confiscated, and the gruesome confrontations with Watatsumi Island as a result of the ongoing civil war. The plot is a very clever camouflage. On hindsight, the premise was written in such an ingenious way that none of the novels can really be used as legitimate proof of treason. They were inconspicuously clean enough to be dismissed as fiction. Alas, rumors have spread about the rebels gaining more manpower by the day since the publication of the novels. Thus, Kujou Sara suspected that the supposedly innocent pieces of literature were being used as tools of espionage and communication.
It was enough to warrant an investigation.
The detective nodded gravely, "Their identity has not been revealed since they use a pen name. We did deduce a pattern of sorts but nothing conclusive."
"By that," Yae interjects smoothly, "nothing that the Tenryou Commission can use to gain an official arrest warrant."
Ayaka opens her fan to shield the lower half of her face, retaining composure.
"You have a suspect?" She inquired.
"It's quite elementary." Heizou smirked wryly, "The culprit simply needs three things to accomplish this impressively troublesome feat."
He held up an index finger, "They hold power in the media—specifically journalism—which means they are associated with a prestigious publishing house that enables them to release works anonymously."
His light olive green eyes glanced at the kitsune, whom was sipping her tea calmly.
"Next, they work with an organization that functions as a stealth protection service. This is what has kept them safe in the shadows, while eluding the pursuit of the Tenryou Commission."
He then glances at Ayaka, particularly alluding to the Shuumatsuban of the Yashiro Commission.
"Finally," he then meets Thoma's eyes, "they have an extensively developed information network. This can be achieved if they make social connections daily, or simply just by being a figure trusted by the civilians."
Heizou smiled blithely, "There is also the fact I have noticed a pretty dove looking into the Visions that have been confiscated by the recent decree..."
An almost remorseful sigh escapes his lips.
"...and I may have shared a thing or two about the names of these Visions' owners."
"So this is your fault~?" Yae sang mockingly.
It was perfectly clear to everyone in the room.
You are the prime suspect that Heizou is targeting.
Thoma should have seen this coming. He was not blind to how you so deeply empathize with those affected by the recent decrees. There have been nights wherein he saw you staring balefully at your Vision—not for having it, but for being unable to proudly wield it.
"What is to be done?" He asked.
Heizou frowned sympathetically, "I am partly at fault which is why I sought to lead the investigation. I will not arrest her since, as mentioned, there is truly no sufficient evidence for a warrant."
A wave of relief for everyone, yet Thoma froze at the cold glare from the detective.
"However," he said, "we do need to close the case if only to get Sara off our backs. Investigations have found traces of elemental energy—cryo, to be precise—in the books to keep it preserved from aging or being destroyed. I can use that to push for the closing of the case."
Ayaka grimaced behind her fan, "You mean to say that she—"
"—needs to surrender her Vision." Heizou nods, "It will be my proof to Kujou Sara that the suspect has been apprehended and no longer a threat."
"Of course," he looked at Yae, "this also means you will have to suspend Miss [Name] from making any more of those controversial novels."
The priestess sighs morosely, "How dull."
In the end, Thoma's shield could not protect your own ambitions.
You made no fuss in handing over your Vision to the young detective. In fact, you seem almost at peace if not for the flicker of resentment in your eyes as they look upon Tenshukaku. When Heizou left, Yae and the Kamisato siblings have asked why you put up no fight despite your avid rebellion so far.
"I have done my part in this battle," you said, "and the rest is up to those who will face Baal."
The fact you so boldly used the Shogun's god name showed your obstinate courage.
Yae, in particular, grinned slyly as she has proven herself once again to have an eye for talent.
Ayato and Ayaka remarked how Thoma is truly lucky to have someone like you.
Regardless, some things cannot be defeated by will alone. The loss of your Vision gradually took a toll on you like the rest. You grew physically weaker, at times unable to leave bedrest. You became mentally absent, missing portions of your day often. Soon, Yae did not even need to suspend you whom already struggled to write anything of worth now.
Thoma has lost count how many sleepless nights he had woken up to your shaking form, and then having to comfort you in his embrace. The entire Kamisato Estate can hear your raw and mournful wails as they also felt your loss from afar. Your personal study has been ransacked due to frustrated anger—with inkwells spilled, parchments either left crumpled or torn, and splinters of broken brushes scattered on the floor. All your lover could do was put back the pieces of your broken heart in a frail effort to keep it from being bled dry. Pain and sorrow meant that you have not gone empty, meaning you still fight even while hopeless.
The Traveler steps into the docks of Inazuma from aboard the Alcor.
"Ahoy there!" Thoma greeted.
He could not salvage your dreams yet he does not falter in carrying your heart. Unfortunately, the storm was still ruthlessly devouring you. There may not be anything left of you in the end if this continues.
Nevertheless, he refuses to bow down and just give up on you now.
Regimes can be toppled, kings overthrown, and he would conquer all because—
"I am the shield of fire to her lance of ice, steadfast as we are defiant."
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peachymilkandcream · 3 months
My Husband, My Monster|Part 10|William Afton x Wife!Reader
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(A/N: Wow Part 10! Our silly little serial killer is clearly a big hit with you guys. This one is going to have a major major timeskip so woohoo. So glad you're enjoying it and please comment to be added to the taglist!)
WARNINGS: noncon, dubcon, manipulation, domestic abuse, yandere themes, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, stockholm syndrome, violence, mind breaking, misogyny, etc.
The killings just escalated, he couldn't stop. Wouldn't stop. He had to do more and more. It started with just the girl and then it grew. More and more kids lured in to the back rooms which then disappeared without a trace, leaving their parents to worry what had become of their sweet children.
Police swarmed the restaurant, invading their privacy and ripping apart the place to find any trace of the children. Bags appeared under Henry's eyes as the stress mounted. Money was draining from the business fast as more and more people refused to come in after all the allegations of missing children and unsafe environments. At this rate the business would close, which normally would have frightened William half to death, but at this point he wanted that.
Freddy's was behind him now, he had his own plan in mind. Behind the scenes, spending years in Henry's shadow learning his craft and how to perfect it. He was going to make his own Freddy's, inspired by his newest child Elizabeth. She had been such a perfect child thus far he would make this one for her. When she was old enough to appreciate it then he would show it to her. This would be his new legacy void of Henry. He would come out on top.
It was complete, his jewel, his baby. Finally it was open. People were still hesitant to visit an animatronic themed restaurant especially when Funtime Freddy had his name attached to the group of robots. But fortunately enough they slowly began to come, in small groups at first since it was just beginning.
When Freddy's closed and Henry kicked William out of the business he had taken to hiding away from the light of the day. They had completely parted ways, choosing to pretend the other one didn't exist. Although William had gotten some dirty looks when he saw his old partner in public after his new venture launched.
The new animatronics would help with his insatiable bloodlust, trapping children and holding them until he could find his perfect way of disposing of them. Everything was cleaner now, it wouldn't be shutting down like the way the others had because of his stupidity. This time things would go according to plan.
It hadn't gone according to plan.
It was supposed to be different. Some random kid was supposed to be caught and killed, not his own daughter. His darling Elizabeth, deceased in the capsule of the that robot. The machine of his own making. The thing created by his own hands, destroyed his favorite child. How could he live with himself?
He shut it down, immediately. The entire place, he couldn't bear to look at it again. It had to all go, every wire and scraps. The animatronics coming to find a permanent home in that shut up workshop, surrounded by the other hollow shells of his creations. Doomed to rot like he did.
He couldn't face his wife. After all that he had done and put her through he couldn't face the grief on her face. When he told her he expected sobbing and agony, but was surprisingly met with slight sadness before she continued with her day caring for her remaining children. As if nothing had happened.
Michael had left in his later teens, vowing to never come back because of the memories of his brother tied with this house and his father's neglect. And Vanessa remained content hiding from the busy lives of her parents. Children were fleeting creatures.
All they did was die, and leave, a vicious cycle of pain inflicted on their parents. All this pain wasn't worth it to him. William came to realize that the only ones that mattered were him and his spouse, they were the only ones that would last at the end of the day. He had to put his wife first above his machines. Do everything for her benefit, make her whole again.
He was stewing on these thoughts until the slight green glow came from Circus Baby which he thought was out of power. Funny, he remembered putting purple eyes in the machine. Why were they that same green as his sweet daughter? Something wasn't right here. It was all too....familiar.
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@fandomreader @n3r0-1417 @2pacl0ve
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Pro-Life Rescue & Direct Action: The Importance of Invading Abortion Clinics
Non-Violent Direct Action is Proven Effective
From Ghandi’s Indian Independence Movement to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Civil Rights Movement, to Serbia’s student-led resistance Otpor! and more, two things are consistently linked with the success of movements: a commitment to non-violence and the necessity of risking arrest. That’s because only when people are willing to take risks and make sacrifices, can the institutional power of an oppressor be challenged and delegitimized. Seeing other people getting directly involved in a movement motivates participation. There is a science to non-violent struggle and social revolution that has been documented by political researchers such as Gene Sharpe. From privileged people interposing their bodies between Black protesters and the police who brutalize them during the Black Lives Matter movement, to tenant networks mobilizing to blockade around the homes of vulnerable neighbors at risk of eviction by their landlords, leftists have proven these tactics save lives and advance change. If we want to see success in the anti-abortion movement, then we must follow proven social science.
Rescue is Necessary to Dismantle Big Abortion
Because we will never outspend the abortion industrial complex, the only way we can win is with people power. Abortion rescue disrupts the progress of abortion violence and applies pressure to those complicit. It viscerally agitates the public to reckon with abortion's violence. It reduces violence on the fringes of the pro-life movement by providing a non-violent outlet of expression for frustrated individuals. Non-violent abortion rescue interrupts injustice against prenatal people without unjust action and disarms the abortion providers without harming them. Parents seeking abortion as a solution to an unwanted or crisis pregnancy have bought into the lies of Big Abortion, and rescue unsettles that narrative. Rescuers hope to save not only the child, but also their mothers, families, and communities. Rescue is intervention intended to free even the abortion workers from the cycle of abortion violence. During the era of the late 80’s and early 90’s, it’s estimated that 60% of mothers with appointments for abortions on the day of a rescue never rescheduled.
Rescues Challenge Unjust Laws
We can’t let the reality that the law is on the side of the oppressors dictate what we ought to do. Our goal is to change that reality, not to live with it! Opposition to rescue implicitly affirms that the choice to kill is permissible. We have no ethical obligation to follow unjust laws; in fact, we may challenge unjust laws with civil disobedience. We must use our bodies as shields to stop the main aggressors of abortion from hurting the babies because law enforcement upholds the violent status quo of the state. When a rescuer is sentenced to jail, it is an opportunity for non-rescuers to hold the entire legal system accountable each day for the murder it protects until it is as safe and legal to protect children as it is now safe and legal to kill them.
Rescuers Save Lives in Prisons
If you are pregnant and incarcerated, you are the forgotten of the forgotten. Pregnant prisoners are either pressured into abortion, mistreated into a miscarriage, or forced to suffer a dehumanizing birthing experience, and predatory adoption agencies lie in wait to take and profit from their babies. Pro-Life activists imprisoned for rescue are presented the unique opportunity to advocate for better conditions for pregnant prisoners, to defend the lives of their unborn children, to organize support for their families from the outside world, and to serve grieving post-abortive women behind bars. Even incarcerated women deserve better than abortion. Thus abortion rescuers continue to rescue even while in prison.
Rescues Affirm the Equality of the Preborn
By taking the risk to rescue, you practice solidarity with the preborn and parents who believe abortion is their only option. You have the power as a privileged born person to put your body between the powerless and their oppressors, between an abortion provider and a helpless child. How do we show the world that fetuses are the same as us when we are nothing like them? The answer is simple: we make ourselves more like them. When rescuers stand in solidarity with the preborn, they become as vulnerable as the preborn are. If we say that a woman needs to sacrifice her lifestyle, relationship, body, and future for her unborn child, then we are hypocrites if we’re not willing to do the same. When we rescue, we are willing to sacrifice the same to prison for her child, ergo rescue is solidarity with moms too. Some people will never affirm the humanity of the preborn. It’s our job to do so by being physically intolerant of abortion through rescue.
Rescue is a Direct Act of Love
The preborn deserve to have someone show up for them. An attempt to rescue a preborn child may be the only act of love they ever receive before they are murdered. They have no one else as they are taken legally to their deaths. The success of a rescue is not determined by how many babies were saved that day; it's determined by how many babies were loved. If you were facing death, wouldn’t you want someone who loves you to stand physically with you to the last possible second as well? Your presence in their moment of suffering matters. The preborn deserve to have someone witness them as full people at least once in their life.
If Abortion is Murder, then Act Like It
Do your actions reflect the reality that the preborn are people equal to ourselves? Rescue fully expresses what it means to understand that the preborn have the same humanity as us. Our sacrifice forces others to see the humanity of the preborn, because if they aren’t people, why would we risk jail and potentially worse for them? If the preborn have the right to life, then we have a responsibility to make sure their right is respected. Rescue offers a final tangible act of love to a child as they are being taken away to be exterminated. If you KNOW the preborn are people and abortion is murder, then ACT LIKE IT!
How to Support Rescue
Not every pro-life person can be an abortion rescuer. Factors like finances, family, disability, and racialized police brutality prevent many folks who support rescue from feeling confident in participating. Luckily, there are many ways the pro-life community as a whole can participate in rescue without being a rescuer!
Sponsor a rescuer financially. If you can't rescue, donate to a rescuer who will do it for you! As rescuer Herb Geraghty said, "let us be your hands and feet". Offer monetary and emotional support to the families of rescuers.
Do jail support. Demonstrate in front of police stations, courts, jails, and prisons that are holding rescuers. Write to the rescuers frequently. If you are on a legal team, offer your local rescuers pro-bono defense.
Share rescue stories on your social media in a positive light. Comment on news stories that frame rescue badly. Make videos about rescue and why you support it.
Do culture jamming around clinics frequented by rescuers. Make posters and wheatpaste them to sidewalks, sharpie pro-life messages to the backs of signs, put rescue stickers on the alley walls around the clinic.
Help organize the rescues. Do research about the clinics for the rescuers. Keep the rescuers updated about police scanners while they perform a rescue. Coordinate supplies, donations, first-aid, and legal defense. Be there with food before and after rescue.
Learn More
Quotes About Abortion Rescues Rescue and Police Violence The Rescue Movement (Documentary) The Brutal Truth Dragonslayers Defenders of the Unborn Wrath of Angels Shattering the Darkness All the Rescues Essential Roles in Social Movements Types of Abortion Rescue Historic Abortion Rescues Media Bias Against Abortion Rescue Joan Andrews
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uponfieldsofglass · 8 months
Here's a theory: Abuse us a running theme in Murder Drones. In this essay, Imma rant about this, so, uh Spoilers.
Still here? Great! I've already glued your hands to your phone, so get comfy.
Almost everyone is a victim of since sort of abuse, Uzi is neglected by Khan, J's treatment of N, everything that Tessa's parents do...
The first point of this theory is that the crazyass violence is an allegory for abuse, or at least. That's just about it, the Deconstructors were made into Deconstructors and sent to kill everyone in Copper-9. Their abusers actively tried to turn then into abusers. Uzi abd Doll's infection represents the abusive behaviors they've learned bubbling up.
The reason the main three kill people a lot less is because they have each other to act as a support network. Episode 5 is basically Uzi giving N abd V robotherapy. (They literally went back to their childhood! I'm not reaching, YOU'RE REACHING!)
Second, the main cast have abuse coping mechanisms as a large part of their personality. There are several recognized forms of abuse and Murder Drones has explotlred four of them as of episode six, which was the best when I wrote this. Interestingly, each member if the main cast is also an example of one
Uzi represents Escapism, the act of pretending one's circumstances are different than their awful reality. This is usually depicted as indulging in delusion or substance abuse, but Uzi's escape is a more healthy variety. When we first see her, she's talking about how she's going to kill the Deconstructors and free the Workers. She's escaping to a reality where she's a hero who has saved everyone from the threat that has defined their entire existence. Where her ostracization has ended, everyone loves her, and Khan's doors have become pointless.
N is obsessive people-pleasing, wherein one tries to satisfy everyone, since they've internalized the idea that their abusers act the way they do because the victim has displeased them in some way, and thus us best to simply please everyone and ignore their own wants, needs, and desires. The pilot had plenty of examples: He started killing because the humans tools him to. He almost betrayed and killed Uzi because J tells him to. He would have let himself get killed by J because she wanted to, had Uzi nor intervened. Throughout the series he still lets others walk all over him. It took until episode 4 for him to offer any resistance and in both episodes 5 and 6, he was nothing but friendly and helpful to people that wanted to vivisect him
V is apathy. Push everyone away and never care. She cared about N but never showed it. She never stood up for him in episode 1, dismissed his depression at the end of episode 2, and whenever she actually did act in his best interests, she refused to actually tell him, just like how she knew their past. But she always witheld why, because disappointing N was easier having thlse uncomfortable conversations
Doll represents continuing the cycle of abuse. She's defined herself off of V killing her family, and now all she cares about is revenge. Now, she's infected by the Solver, just like V. She has to eat people, just like V. She's completely lost all sympathy for others and all qualms about killing. Just. Like. V. She literally has all the afforestsif her abuser that caused Doll to hate her in the first place
All antagonistic characters are abusive.
JCJenson refused the Worker Drones to live without it. (Maybe. Maybe the real reason it sent in the murderhobos was to prevent the Absolute Solver from manifesting)
Deconstructors? This theory depends on three idea that the murder and mayhem that they were made for is alleglrical abuse
J was an enabler. She enabled JCJenson's practice of robocide by practicing robocude for them. Even if the real reason she was there was to stop the Absolute Solver, she was acting on the assumption that she was carrying out the will of a jilted magacorporation
Khan? Emotionally neglects Uzi in favor of his replacement family: Doors and walls
Doll? See above
Tessa's parents? A microcosm of their issues is that they wouldn't let her talk to anyone that they couldn't legally murder
Alice and Beau. I mean, they torture people to death with the intention of using them as food, limbs, and antlers because JCJension sicced a bunch of velocirapters on them. I just don't feel like they fit into this theme. Maybe that's why I felt like they weren't very compelling villains
The sentinels? Same as Antlers and the baby. Just not very compelling
Cyn/Absolute Solver? Okay hear me out!
A separate theory I have is that the reason Cyn/AS smacktalked Tessa's mom was to get her "grounded" keeping her separated from everyone else in the house, do she wouldn't get caught in the crossfire when it killed them all, because Tessa bothered taking it in and not immediately redestroying it, even after it became clear that it was NOT right!
Now its master plan is to eliminate humanity, because humans have always gotten in the way of its "family."
The abusive part comes in because it's a narcissist with a textbook "I'm doing this for you" complex. It didn't care that Tessa didn't want mass murder to be done in her name, it knew better! Anytime N finds out what's in the basement, just get rid if him and get a new one. Tessa won't be able to tell the difference! The billions of unrelated lives lost whenever it destroys a word are an acceptable side effect of getting rid if anything that would try to get between them.
And when J died? I think it was trying to rebuild her in some capacity? If that's right, then tell me who's worth more alive: Tessa's favorite toy, or a bunch a faceless nobodies that she didn't even know are alive, and probably won't ever find out about.
Alright, I think that's everything.
Let me know if I'm wrong, you have any additional observations, or if my formatting sucks
Or if I glorified a harmful practice
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heybiji · 2 months
hi!!! i just wanted to say i really love all of your MASKS stuff. i'm something of a newbie when it comes to the TTRPG community, but MASKS seems to be not very well-known and i think that's a real shame. i'm a huge fan of old-school superhero-adjacent stuff, especially the silver- and bronze-age ones!
by the way, i was wondering if you'd be willing to share some tips for a first-time GM? you don't have to if you'd rather not! i just figured i'd try asking since i was planning on GMing a MASKS campaign for some of my friends later, but despite my decade's worth of roleplaying experience i've never been in a TTRPG campaign nor a GM (or similar) role before
Thank you so much!! I was just lamenting about how I felt bad for the MASKS tag because it is now flooded with all my npc nonsense hahah so this is really nice to hear.
It's awesome you're planning on running a MASKS game for your friends!! There is an indispensable post on twitter I saw that has a LOT of great tips for running MASKS that I recommend checking out. But for my own personal tips that are just me things, here's what I got. Sorry it's gonna be extremely long-winded, it may take a few months to read through it.
(Note: I am also hugely into RP and probably put more into it than what is necessary, especially with MASKS which is meant to be able to be played out of the box. It was definitely not played out of the box in our case because I require a lot out of myself and everyone else to feel good about running something. if anyone else wants to continue seeing me as a normal human being please don't click the Keep Reading)
Since you're running it, make the world interesting to you. If the world runs around themes you're personally interested in then you'll have a much easier time coming up with answers on the fly. For me, themes I'm interested in that lend themselves well to a superhero world: money, power, family, celebrity, media, the 24 hour news cycle and the desensitization of violence. Because I'm interested in this stuff anyway, wrapping a world around them makes it much simpler for me to figure out how the world ticks and thus how the characters fit into it and how the world reacts to them, and I am DESPERATE to find out how the characters react to all the questions and expectations the world is imposing upon them.
Make sure your players have a good grasp of the tone of story so they can make characters that gel well within it. For me the tone is a lil more adult because I'm not personally into younger morality tale stories in tone, it's pretty grounded, and I think comedy and tragedy work hand in hand so I lean into them.
Talk. A lot. Talk about the characters, talk about the world. MASKS is fun because it's a LOT of talking and figuring out the narrative together. It's not a lot of crunchy mechanics, it's all around seeing how the characters react to the world narratively, all hurt and comfort and emotions which (for me) requires people to have a good grasp on their characters and the world. I like to give my players "homework" where I ask them a question involving their characters in some way like "what hero did your character look up to as a child?" so they get to come up with past heroes, or "How does your character feel about _____?" etc etc. The only fans are gonna be your table and fans love to talk so be the biggest fans of the PCs!!
Figure out your framing. I know in MASKS they suggest framing it like a comic book, and basically talking about the frames on screen. For me, because I'm more into movies and tv than comics, I frame it like that. So I have an active "camera" in play during sessions and will ask things like "would anyone like to grab the camera?" to encourage the players to put the character into a scene or "what does the audience see as the camera focuses in on your character in this emotional moment?" There is a LOT of playing up to the camera and framing the sessions as episodes of a show, so it's like, okay, you have several options but what is going to be interesting for the audience to see? I find this encourages the players to have their characters take bigger swings and feel comfortable letting us into how their character is feeling because it all looks GREAT on camera. The camera loves it. The PCs are the story after all.
Because I frame it a show, I also like to play individual ending songs over the "credits" at the end of each episode. So I asked my players to make playlists for their characters so if I feel an episode had a lot of emotional focus on one character in particular, I can play one of their songs at the end of the episode! I also made a general MASKS playlist with a bunch of songs from the era we set it in (2004) to pull from. It's a fun little addition that I really enjoy and that I hope makes it all feel more special.
The Dino Donut Effect: create landmarks in your world. (OK THIS IS GONNA BE LONG BUT WORK WITH ME HERE) They don't have to be locations, more solid landmarks of the story that the characters can refer back to and lean on to make the world feel more "real." I call it the Dino Donut Effect because in our world the thing that made everything click into place was talking out the backstory of one of the PC's figuring out they had the power negation ability. We were talking one night trying to figure it out; we wanted the character to fall out of a building and be caught by a flying superhero and accidentally turn off their powers, so they toss the kid to another flying supe whose powers also get turned off. But we were like... holy shit what is the height of a building needed that can handle this much action in the air without them hitting the ground in 3 seconds. So after a long night of talking about terminal velocity and looking at Splat Calculators we figured out the height of the building, and we needed them to crash into something that wouldn't fuckin kill them. The first suggestion was a truck full of bananas. Nah. We landed on a giant balloon that could take the impact. And the balloon became a giant T-Rex holding a donut that was the mascot of the city's beloved decades old donut shop Dino Donut. And so we decided that one of the two flying supes grabbed onto the kid and the other and flew into the giant balloon to try and keep them all alive, which destroyed the balloon, which was a city institution, and there was a crowd of children there that day that saw their friend Dino Donut die. Killed by a superhero. The balloon deflated loudly so it sounded like Dino Donut was screaming in agony. All the kids were traumatized (screaming crying throwing up), the city was furious because everyone loved Dino Donut, it was constantly in the news cycle, and it ruined the career of the supe that "killed Dino Donut." AND THEN THEY REPLACED THE DINO DONUT BALLOON WITH A LAME "UPDATED DESIGN" DINO DONUT STATUE which everyone hates and people consider to be a memorial to the old Dino Donut. ANYWAY, the Dino Donut effect is that now all the PCs have one single incident to refer back to that they all have feelings about. A couple of them were there that day and heard Dino Donut scream, one is now the protege of the disgraced superhero that killed Dino Donut so she feels uncomfortable talking about it, there's the kid that was saved that day but was sworn to secrecy by the supe so no one would find out about his power negation ability, and then there's the kid that wasn't there because she's an alien that just arrived to earth and now the kids have to explain the incident to her with all their varying opinions. Now the PCs' meeting spot is at a Dino Donut. Having this one solid incident that is both funny and kind of goes into the themes of the world has been an absolute treat. Creating "landmarks" like that in the world has done so much and now I'm like okay I'm gonna try to do this moving forward with any other thing I run.
anyway these are my extremely specific to me tips. my RP standards are kind of high which makes me a bit of a terror but also when the flowers bloom from it it feels GREAT. i'm not sure if this will help but hopefully there is something there that can be useful!
MASKS is fun and simple once you get the hang of it, though, so I'm sure whatever you do you and your players will have a lot of fun! especially if you're someone who is into RP which is the background I'm coming from too; MASKS is extremely narrative! i'll be looking in the tag for your game hehe
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(The Day Dino Donut Died art by JD)
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me-uglypretty · 1 year
a tutor and a kiss
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Pairing: Natasha Romanoff x F!Reader
Summary: A suspicious tutor for the Barton’s children results in Natasha taking caution steps, while trying to enjoy Christmas and discovering something better.
Warning: (18+) fluff, minor violence, use of dagger | 4k words
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The bonfire crackles, gleaming in tinge of amber, and gleamed wondrously on gleeful faces. Conversations buzzes around, whirring together with the cold wind, and sounds of tree brunches rustling in response.
“We’re putting up the tree tomorrow,” a voice exclaimed, buried by another trying to pass through in fumbles of heavy breaths. “And Miss Tu— to, toto, is helping!”
Natasha amusedly observed the children energetically exchanging their opinion on said wrong name and perceived her friend’s tried sigh. Clint waves his hand at her, a silent plead, please distract them, and she shrugs her shoulder.
“Kids, why don’t we hear some stories from your dad?” Natasha perched her elbows at the edge of her knees.
A glare settled on Clint’s face till his children’s attention was drawn to him. Cooper was profusely wishing to hear more about his father’s action filled stories. Nathaniel squealed excitedly, not entirely understanding, but simply sharing his excitement.
While Clint struggled to prepare a story that wasn’t gory from his past, Natasha tentatively surveys their surroundings. A habit picked up, and never forgotten in the name of ensuring those around her were safe. Although, they were very safe in Clint’s farmhouse.
Sound of footsteps peaks her attention as she stared ahead. Familiar reflective shade of pink and the distinct voices draws a smile on her face. Lila waves animatedly at her, and she pats the space beside her as the young girl takes the seat there.
“Dad, you forgot the marshmallow.”
The enthusiastic children, frowns gloomily, and the youngest was at the edge of crying. Natasha shakes her head, noting down her friend’s offended look, then the flash of reminder and he’s meeting her eyes, another pleading look.
He had inadequately forgotten his children’s request of marshmallow for their family’s weekly bonfire. Thus, his escape was in the name of his friends’ distraction because his children adored their Auntie Nat.
Laura, his lovely wife, shares a knowing look with Natasha, then diverted her attention to her guilty husband. “I’m sure, daddy would happily get some tomorrow. Now, who wants hot chocolate?”
Thrill cheers erupt, and Natasha giddily admires the sight. The absent innocence of her childhood wounds her heart, but she devotes her heart into these special moments together. The innocence smiles and kindness, it gradually heals her inner child.
“Is Auntie Yelena coming tomorrow? I want to show her my new ninja move,” Nathaniel tugged the ridges of Natasha’s sleeve.
A smile appears on her face, spreading wide to the glint in her eyes. “Yes, she’s bringing Kate along too.”
The conversation continues energetically. Natasha reminisces the minimal period when she was allowed to pretend that life was that—purely living as any other kid around her, freely cycling around her neighbourhood as she pleased, free to lay on the grass and play at the playground with her young sister, and so naïve of what was actually real, but still, she immersed herself happily in those precious years.
Reuniting with Yelena after all those years, missed adolescence years, the conversation between sisters—which does happen now, just not entirely icky as Yelena would whine about, and more them, two former assassins and their stolen childhood—and experiencing life that wasn’t crafted for them.
It wasn’t easy, but that bond shared from years ago, still flutters at every soft smile and the seconds before danger collides upon them.
They were still kids, simply older and bearing years of trauma.
“Miss Tutor promised to teach us how to make snow globes! I hope she does that cool magic trick…”
Natasha’s furrowed her eyebrows, entertained by the recurrent mention of someone unknown and curious at the sheer eagerness on the children faces, even the oldest ones were excited.
Laura noticed her expression, and reached her hand forward, tapping Natasha’s thigh. “Clint hired a tutor for them. She’s great, but I think they might love her, a little too much,” she explained, “Don’t worry. She’s clean.”
Clean, and yet, curiosity surges in her chest. She wouldn’t find said person utterly clean or safe, till herself had interrogate the person thoroughly.
“Hmm, we’ll see,” Natasha nodded her head, gaze falling on the flickering fire and particles of ash drifting in the air.
Clint grunted after his youngest son playfully punches him in attempt of showcasing his ninja move. “She’s a good one, Nat.”
Natasha doesn’t question them, but hears the conversation hovering over the same person, and remained as that, someone who’s good and loved by the children.
They giddily huddled around the bonfire, drinking hot chocolate and munching on cookies. Natasha’s hand always being held by her own cup of hot chocolate and the other by one of Barton’s children, all appearing as her favourite, even little Nathaniel who was meant to be little Natasha.
The evening gave them relief, especially Natasha. A beautiful family tradition, sounds emitting of joy and gleaming eyes. Just lovely for hearts pulsing during a festive month.
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Natasha couldn’t find herself among stranger without questioning their sinister creature. In the company of those known widely by their broad smile and wealth or those simply offering drink to her with their failed flirtatious tricks, her mind doesn’t permit rest till she was aware that danger wasn’t lingering around.
Thus, she was agitated by the lateness of her God children’s tutor.
“Oh god, Natasha, please relax, okay? Chill,” said her sister, briskly downing her cup of hot chocolate then eyeing Natasha’s untouched cup. “You don’t want?” Yelena gestured to the cup, hands already clasping the handle.
Natasha shakes her head. A small smile curves on her lips as she gentle push the cup towards Yelena. “You’re going to get a stomach ache.”
Yelena waves her hand, disregarding her sister’s advice as she hungrily bites another cookie and dunking the half-eaten cooking into the cup. “It’s very good. You should learn, sestra. We can finally have good home cook meal.”
Take-out has been their surviving nutrition since the sisters’ rented out an apartment together. Natasha has always been excellent at her presented task, but cooking wasn’t the one.
Take down an entire operation? Give her a week or less, and she’d have their entire history data too. Battle aliens without any sort of extra energy? Watch her jump on an alien vehicle without a worry. But ask her to cook a decent meal that wasn’t boxed and instant? Expect something burnt, spoilt or tasteless, or extremely bitter for some bizarre reason.
However, Yelena pride herself on preparing the best macaroni and cheese. At some point, both sisters became progressively tired of the same food which lead them to ordering take-outs. Every single day.
“You can’t survive on sugar, Yelena,” Laura’s voice quipped. “But I can teach you how to bake cookies and cook, you know, so you don’t expect your sister to do everything.”
The offended gasp from the youngest of them, received hefty laughter in return.
“Natasha don’t think you got out of this. You need to learn too,” Laura added, which made the latter glare at her, because it was enough for her younger sister to laugh and point accusingly at her sister.
“Hah! I’m telling Kate Bishop.”
They watch amusedly as golden head of hair bops excitedly, hands waving in the air, mouth wide and happy. The opposite, taller with messy brunette hair, Kate, mirrors her excitement.
“It’s so nice to see her like this,” Natasha muttered, and exchanging an understanding smile with Laura. “And for your information, I’m not a bad cook. I’m simply not good at it.”
Laura laughs as her hand rest firmly on Natasha’s shoulder. “Sure, if it makes you happy. But I’m still ready to teach you how to cook.”
“Who’s learning to cook? Can I join? I’m good with heat!” a loud voice rings, inciting optimism greetings from the Barton children.
“Miss Tutor!” Nathaniel exclaimed, pushing pass his siblings. “Did you learn a new trick yet?”
From the kitchen, Natasha witness the scene unfold. Heavy coat hanging on sturdy arm, along with several Christmas themed paper bags. You weren’t aware of her wary eyes on you, but simply allowing the young boy to drag you away.
“That’s Miss Y/n, she’s the new tutor,” Laura explained. “Don’t scare her off,” she pointed, eyebrows raised and waiting for a tolerable answer.
Natasha shrugs her shoulder indifferently. “We’ll see.”
An elbow on the table, her cheek comfortably resting on the palm of her hand, she observes you from afar. The warm air of the Barton’s house calmed her scorching curiosity and aid her into watching than instantly falling into her customary interrogation routine.
You were a young woman, painfully donned in simple attire, flashing a bright smile that triggered waves of grins in return, and a noticeable flair in your movement. Seemingly accustomed to your environment, hand extending precisely when one of the snow globes rolls off the table, then another guiding young Nathaniel’s paint brush.
“Go join them.”
Natasha doesn’t meet her friend’s gaze. “Where did you find Miss Tutor?”
Clint huffed. “You do know that I don’t allow just anyone here, right?
There’s a hint of offence and tease in his tone. Natasha spiritedly slaps his arm, “I know, old man. There’s just something about her.”
“She seems to really know herself around here, uh? And she’s pretty too…” he added the last part hastily, and smile victoriously as his friend nods, gaze captivated on you.
Natasha became lost in contemplation of your modest state. Perhaps, a part of her mind could agree, you were indeed pretty, and whereas the other, solicits to obtain your motive. Someone that kind, attractive, good with children, eyes glimmering beneath fairy lights so enchantingly—
I don’t trust her, said in disdain groan, and more when she’s dragged into the hall room, compelled into joining their yearly tradition of decorating the Christmas tree.
“Natasha, meet Miss Y/n,” Clint introduced, persuasively nudging his friend’s shoulder towards your direction.
A friendly smile curves on your lips. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you,” the greeting fell gentlely from your mouth. The brush left deserted on the table as your hand extend to shake hers.
Natasha gawked at your hand. Red paint was smeared on your hand, the tips of your fingers shimmered with silver glitters, and the sight mirrors those of the children around. Her stern gaze must had caught your attention when you bashfully recoiled.
“Sorry, I get carried away sometimes,” you excused, trying to remove the stained colours on the an equally stained rag. “Okay. This isn’t working out. Yelena, please take over?” you presumedly stood, “Do not go overboard.”
Yelena scoffed. “I will never. Tell that to Kate Bishop.”
The exchange appeared habitual which vexes her. Why were you familiar with her younger sister? How dare you straightforwardly have things in order? Who allowed you to signal her into following you? And why was she soundlessly trailing behind you towards the kitchen?
“I’m sorry for not introducing myself earlier,” you glanced at her, a nervous smile on your face before diverting your attention to the sink. “Hmm, the water’s pretty cold.”
She attentively watches the movement of your hands beneath the tap, scrubbing as though you were removing something far worse than paint, then turning the tap off and lathering your hands with soap. The fragrance of lavender reaches her nostril. You carefully clean the crook and corners of your hands, even beneath your nails.
Most don’t do that—it must mean something awful.
“Who are you?”
The question halted your movement. “Didn’t think you’d start so soon.”
Natasha frowned. “Excuse me—”
“Let’s go for a walk and you can ask me everything,” you continued washing your hands. “Clint warned me so, I’m prepared,” and you turned around, crossing your arms as you lean back on the counter.
She doesn’t like it. The utmost confidence in your stance. A delight glint in your round eyes. Where the faux white light in the kitchen, cast a mysterious glow upon your head.
“Should we go?” you thumb pointed towards the door, and she nodded her head.
Natasha was astonished to find your good-mannered act of pushing the door open, and gesturing for her to walk forward first, then closing the door behind. The cold wind dispirits herself from what’s bound to ensue after questioning you, because she rather engulf herself in a warm blanket and watch her sister’s tantrum with children much younger than her.
But she demands to know your intentions.
As the distance expands, the Christmas melody and murmurs of conversation fades. Natasha contemplate each step you took beside her. The twitch of your fingers, as if you were reaching for something, then the subtle glance towards her, like you needed to know if she was still there.
“In there,” Natasha pointed towards the barn and you undoubtedly obeyed.
The barn tracks an earthy scent. Inside, it’s almost dark, if not for the moon’s soft obscured glow through the windows. An eerie silent emits from lack of voices and more so, the buzzes of insects. Several pieces of Christmas ornaments were chaotically thrown around. Tinsels hanging awkwardly from the window to the length of an extensive timber. Miniature reindeers hanging from fish strings that gives off an illusion of flying reindeers. It was absolutely the work of her God children.
Natasha stealthily admired the decoration and doesn’t utter a word. She looked at the dirty ground, walked around the barn, frowned at the disheartened look on your face as you shivered.
“Okay, I’m ready, hit me,” you professed, taking a seat on the nicely kept hay. “Not literally though. This is my favourite top.”
She casted a vague wandering look upon your supposed favourite top which was, expectedly, smeared with paint. Then, a playful smile widespread on your face, because you were joking, and she didn’t catch on.
Your eyebrows furrowed. “No?”
Natasha crossed her arms, standing straight and robust, with a strict complexion and an unspoken warning that blaze dangerously in her eyes. One wrong move and there would be consequences.
“Clint never had help around here. So, suddenly, you’re here? Come on, cut the shit. Who are you working for?” Natasha voiced sternly, and takes a taunting step forward, while you gulped, appearing afraid.
“Clint did not— sorry— whoa, you’re really into this and—” a shaky voice resonates in your throat, and it’s different than your lively voice she had heard before.
You averted your gaze from Natasha, and it troubled her, who, nevertheless, still viewed your characteristic as suspicious. When you ceased speaking and meeting her gaze with those eyes gleaming in excitement, she warily takes a step forward, at arm length from you.
A deep intake of breath, then it’s soft, but it’s clear, the chuckles that came from you.
“That’s what you expected me to say? Wallow in fear before the great Black Widow?”
Natasha doesn’t bother to hear more as she acted on reflex. The swift grasps of a dagger hidden in her black boots, and she lurched forward, her arm pushes your down from between your neck and chest. More pressure and your breathing circulation would had be disturbed, or a heavy ache would tremble in your chest. While her right hand readily held the danger close to your cheek, despite its petite size, the glint of sharpness makes you shudder.
“Okay! I give in! Clint bet me that I wouldn’t dare— why does this knife look so cute and dangerous— he said I wouldn’t dare challenge you!”
She paused, challenging eyes scrutinise every single reaction on your face to where your eyes flickers to her then the dagger and how your body struggled pathetically beneath her hold.
In the distance, she perfectly distinguishes the song of Silent Night plucking at her brain. It’s Christmas and I’m doing this, where’s the fucking break?
“Who sent you? What’s your name?”
You coughed, trying to ease the pressure brought upon your throat at her assault. But she was relentless and entirely too strong.
“What does Tutor stand for Miss Tutor? I would not hesitate to end you. Answers me!”
What she had expected—wasn’t the flutter of laughter or her heart’s sudden interest to hear more of that unique sound, and the way your smile seems ample to submerge her mind into that sound. It’s unconventional. Natasha expected to prod into your mind, gather needed information, and detent your further danger on the Barton family.
But you were bursting in surprises when you swiftly pushed her backwards, then tackled her on the hay that was once uncomfortably scratching your clothed back. The dagger fell from her hand at the sudden attack. Russian curses spew from her mouth while your eyes widened curiously, then a gentle smile curves on your lips.
“You don’t speak Russian much,” you noted with interested. “Angry or whatever, really, it’s nice to hear you speaking your mother tongue.”
Natasha’s eyebrows furrowed. “You speak Russian?”
“Among other languages. I am a tutor as in Miss Tutor. Tutoring…someone who tutors people.”
Embarrassment flushed her cheeks. Natasha doesn’t like that—the indifferent in your voice, like she wasn’t holding you down before and expecting answers than be held down in return and carelessly at that, because she could easily switch her position.
But she wanted to know.
“Clint did really bet me though. I’m sorry for not being more exciting and cooler, but just really reckless,” you humoured, “But I’m kind of liking this position. It feels like I’m all powerful. Yelena’s not wrong about the whole superhero thing.”
Natasha lifted her head, “Yelena? How do you know her?” she pushes you off her, “Why do you know my sister?”
You raised your hands as she takes threatening steps towards you. “We met when she came over with Kate and I was tutoring the kids.”
“Who are you?”
The question spat angrily from her mouth, and yours wide, unable to utter an answer back that would avoid any sort of violence. Natasha arched her eyebrow, still giving you a final chance. One second passed then two, three, and the fourth befell upon you with her harsh shove and your back pressed on brittle wood.
However, you refused submitting to her brutality. The abrupt shove of your hands emits a warmth, a scarlet tint canvassing your skin and cheeks, vast different from the tone of your skin. It leaves her shocked, gasping as her hands smoothens over her clothed collarbone.
“What the hell,” she glared, while you snickered.
“Oh come, it’s Christmas! Let’s toast some marshmallow and not ourselves,” you jested, “Burned human flesh…isn’t really appealing.”
Natasha’s jaw clenched. Anger flairs dangerously in her eyes, heart blazing with passion to eliminate a supposed threat, and she rose, readily staggering towards you.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop! That’s enough! Cool down kid!”
Amber flame flickers through the width of your hands, reflecting hauntingly in your eyes, and your rigid stance. But a coy smile was smeared teasingly over your lips, and she’s angrily glaring at you.
“Ha! You owe me Kate Bishop.”
Natasha glance to where several bodies were huddled together by the barn’s door. Yelena was contentedly taking cash from Kate, while Clint shakes his head and pushed them aside as he stepped entirely into the barn.
“Natasha, Miss Tutor is not lying. She’s a good kid. We put her up to it. Please, stop, everyone,” the latter part pointed accusingly at the two friends arguing in the back. “Y/n isn’t bad news. Just trying to have a second chance in life, like you, like Yelena, and she’s not bad,” he breathed out.
“What?” Natasha was baffled. “You pranked me. You fucking pranked me? Thing one and thing two was in it too?”
Bunch of heys resonates in response, and Clint nods his head.
Natasha takes a deep breath, fingers pinching the bridge of her nose. Then, she meets your gaze. “You’re cool?”
The flames in your hands extinguishes swiftly and you waved them with a jovial smile. “Very cool.”
“Ugh, their dropping puns now. Let’s go,” Yelena assured her friend, and gave a pointed look at Clint. “Old man, your children are waiting for you.”
Clint huffed. “Don’t burn anything down.”
As the group walked away, Natasha relaxed the tense in her muscles and you watched her with that aggravating glint in your eyes.
“If it makes you feel better, Kate was sure that you would had attacked me the second I walked in,” you pursed your lips, the next words seeming complicated for you to utter. “But I’m fifty dollar richer cause I said you wouldn’t, and we’ll do this in private, which Clint disagree— they just assume you’d find target and hit.”
Natasha restrained the smile on her face as she watches your commitment on proving them wrong. The motion of your hands, eyes widening when your speech stretches to different part, and maybe, for a fleeting second, she was admiring the spark within you which seems to spread warmth.
Not just the abrupt flairs of fire, but the person that you were—not exactly bad, just someone she doesn’t know.
At that moment, she overhears the melodious voices of her family and the tunes of Christmas dispersed delight in her chest. And you, seemingly standing there, staring at her, waiting for something else to be said or happen.
“It’s cold,” you murmured.
Natasha smiles—her famous lopsided smile blooming gleefully on her face, and you were shocked, then you’re smiling just as wide. She remained there, few minutes of facing each other, and without a word, she takes steps towards the exit.
“Hey, you dropped this,” you hastily reached her side. The dagger held softly in your hand and she takes it, the feeble graze of skins made you shiver, and she hasn’t stop smiling.
You were warm, and she was cold, and it felt as though, this puzzle was meant to unite like this.
“Oh look,” you lifted your gaze upwards, a shy smile adorning on your lips as she follows your gaze.
A mistletoe dangles above heads, brilliant green and red, so lively and teasing those who falls beneath.
Natasha couldn’t ignored it, the thumping in her chest, your warmth body close to hers, the anger that was reduce to something—it’s different, and she wouldn’t dare admit, but she likes the feeling spreading through her chest and where her fingers twitches.
And you appeared the same, bashful smile, the secretive look in your eyes that she understood. Why does she understand you?
It takes her one deep breath, your curious look, the dagger thoughtlessly kept in her pocket, and her hands grasps your face. She contemplated the idea of a silly tradition, then, in one sudden move, she pressed her body into yours and crushes her lips over yours.
You made a noise, giving into her touch. Words weren’t exchanged, just the knowing touch and a needed silence. Your hands rest firmly on her waist, gripping her clothed flesh as you allow your body to slack into hers, and she’s holding you close.
Natasha leans away first, while you hazily chased after her—wanting to feel her more, a hunger that erupts in your chest for her, and she finds it funny that you were readily giving into her.
“You are really warm,” she whispered, her thumb pressed at the edge of your lip, and trails her thumb to where your chin ends. “You got my attention,” she pats your chest softly, then removes herself entirely.
The ardent glow of night casted an attractive gleam over your face, and hers, each other admiring the sight adoringly. Natasha doesn’t wish to risk ruining a truly, joyful moment, so she extended her hand for you take and hummed when you easily accepted.
Beside her, you were giddily smiling, fingers firmly enclosing around hers. “I love Christmas.”
The cold evening propels chills on skin, while smiles spread and hearts pulses happily. Natasha glances at you, once, twice, and each time overcomes her with a certain joy, perhaps, this was the so-called Christmas magic that flutters in her chest.
The smiles on those she loves, her sister already waiting by the door with a cheeky expression, the children that she swore to love and protect, and you—a stranger she finds herself completely drawn to.
And when the next year arrives in its merry cheers, Natasha gleefully introduced you as her wife, and kissed you as though, life was bursting colourfully at every second her lips met yours.
And that—a mistletoe that was securely kept in her pocket for the years after.
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queer-ragnelle · 5 months
i’m just astonished there are people out there hating on gawain for violence against other knights and lancelot for committing adultery with guinevere when geraint/erec is right there abusing his wife and killing women on purpose.
characters are narrative tools and in a time when these knights were used to express opinions about the world the author lived in, it made sense gawain would be engineered to enact mindless cruelty against his fellows to comment on the cycle of violence or for lancelot’s role as the queen’s lover to indicate how unfaithfulness (ie going against the king and church/sanctity of marriage) has the power to corrupt entire kingdoms. it’s not about agreeing or disagreeing with their actions, it’s not about condoning anything. it’s a narrative constructed to illustrate the author’s viewpoint.
to what end is geraint’s verbal assault against his wife and physically driving her into dangerous situations and murdering his sister on a double dog dare conveying anything at all? like we can plainly see that gawain’s vendetta against pellinore and sons in the blood feud stems from toxic loyalty and the patriarchal societal expectation of masculinity expressed through violence. the narrative surrounding this does not condone gawain’s behavior. he “gets away with it” in his lack of punishment, but that in and of itself is commentary on arthur’s short comings in his sentimental treatment of his nephew. but the author’s omnipresent voice favors the victims and gawain’s reputation is ruined by this behavior. other knights know him for what he is, dinadan dies simply bc he won’t stop talking about lamorak’s murder and is thus murdered himself. lancelot suffers greatly for his affair with guinevere, if not only driven to madness by desperation and guilt, then by his continuous trial along the grail quest resulting in failure and the eventual loss of his son. he loved his king and is devastated when the kingdom crumbles as a result of his actions, whether that be the affair itself or killing to survive in the aftermath of that discovery, nobody can say he ends up happy with the situation. he lost galehaut, guinevere, galahad, arthur, and even had to kill gawain with his own hands. nothing in the narrative favors him.
geraint….is not punished. not narratively nor subtextually. even if we assume he never again forces enid to ride around while exposed to bandits while he forces her into silence and yells at her when she disobeys, that still happened, and his sister is still dead. but in the end he isn’t reprimanded for any of that and continues his marriage to enid in the end. she forgives him. did he atone? can he atone for something like that well enough to deserve keeping all his privileges? he is not stripped of titles or rights or anything. even the narrative frames the event as if love triumphed, the strength of their marriage carried them through a hard time. a hard time! as if abuse can turn off at the drop of a hat.
anyway this is a gawain and lancelot apologist blog that hates geraint and thinks he should explode and die.
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averygayplant · 1 year
You ever think about how, like,
themes of abandonment and found family and breaking cycles and loss and grief and realizing that having emotions is okay and that bettering yourself as a person upon realizing than you're more than your generational trauma and just overall that learning and growing from past mistakes is normal just...
Run rampant, in Ninjago?
Cuz like,
I sure fucking do-
Lloyd is the obvious example, right? He tried to continue Garmadon's legacy as an evil and deeply feared dark prince of pure evil and it just didn't work out. Instead, he broke that cycle. He created a place for himself in a dysfunctional family of other runaways and orphans and ambitious children who set out to be more than they were told they could be, found a strange team of people who all cared in their own unique ways, and ended up being exactly the opposite of everything he thought he was destined to be
Which comes with it's own problems. Cut to later, closer to the end of the series, and by then you've gotten to a point where most, if not all of Lloyd's traumas are from misdirected anger and violence, actions based in blind rage and seeking vengeance as closure. Lloyd's worst fear is being just like his dad, but... that's not quite it, is it? He's afraid of anger and how it consumes people, afraid of how easily it blinds others. He's afraid of allowing himself to feel anger because he doesn't want to be like everyone he's ever been forced to deal with on that level, and it ties into how seasons 9 and 16 both resolved.
But that.
That's just Lloyd briefly summarized.
It continues.
Zane is another good example. He had no idea who he was for a good long time, and yet he too found a new home for himself among others who seemed just as aimless, had Wu not come along and offered them his training. Even when he did find out, the others just suddenly had a lot of context to the weird things he would do and moved the fuck on, like, that fast. So fucking fast. It wasn't an issue.
But let me stop you right there.
It was usually used in gags, but it's emphasis repeatedly that Zane's primary objective is and always has been to protect others.
Translation: He was built and programmed to have a savoir complex UNRIVALED, and that makes itself PRETTY DAMN APPARENT, PRETTY DAMN FAST. Like, do I even need to give you examples? Zane actively puts himself in harms way SO OFTEN that he literally, no shit, HAS A REOCCURRING THEME THAT SIGNALS GREAT HARM HAS BEFALLEN HIM.
It's never said directly, but Zane puts himself into a lot of dangerous situations under the logic that it's better him than anyone else, his skin is made of metal and thus he's harmed the least. Which is. So bad. Like, I really hope I don't have to explain how bad that is, because wow.
This never really goes away, but he does get a lot better at thinking about the risk certain actions pose to himself. Just based on his actions during early crystallized, he now prioritizes the well being of his family above all else- even with his emotions turned so low that he's effectively only capable of taking the most logical of approaches. Breaking into the high security cell to release one of the highest priority villains of the city? That has no rhyme or reason, nor does it ensure the safety of the city- it actively endangers it.
And yet.
He does it anyway. Because of Nya.
Zane is fucking built different bro. Literally.
Oh, I'm sorry, did you think I was done?
...I mean, I am done, I'm tired and it's late and I have shit to do in the morning, but I could go on. I could. Cole and Harumi and Kai and pretty much everyone are sweating in their fucking boots right now.
I probably will.
...Later, when I have more time.
Basically, Ninjago is a fucking masterpiece and should really sacrifice their PG rating to explore some of these topics a touch better because DAMN THERE'S POTENTIAL HERE
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