#ch 5 gang beloved
broh3m3 · 1 year
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V! D! C!
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moeitsu · 4 months
The Tie Which Linked My Soul To Thee
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Hi everyone! I have a new Arthur x female!OC fic I've been working on that's posted up on Ao3, so I figured I would share it here as well. Please let me know what you think! This story is currently still on-going :)
Ao3  Wattpad Masterlist - All Chapters Ch.2 Ch.3 Ch.4 Ch.5 Ch.6 Ch.7 Ch.8 Ch.9 Ch.10
Summary: Kate McCanon, a young widow from the north, meets outlaw Arthur Morgan. When the two cross paths she discovers a complex man wrestling with his own sense of right and wrong. As their unlikely bond deepens, Kate becomes determined to guide Arthur towards a brighter path, even as tensions rise within his gang led by the enigmatic Dutch van der Linde. With danger lurking at every turn, Kate must navigate treacherous territory to protect those she holds dear, all while finding love in the most unexpected of places. Tags: Arthur Morgan/Original Female Character, Widowed, Original Character, Mutual Pining, Slow Build, Eventual Smut, Eventual Romance, Fluff and Angst, Hurt/Comfort, High Honor Arthur Morgan, Friends to Lovers, Child Loss, Trauma, Canon-Typical Violence, Arthur Morgan Does Not Have Tuberculosis, Arthur Morgan Deserves Happiness, Chubby Arthur Morgan, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence
Chapter 1 - The Frost Gleams Where The Flowers Have Been
Kate had never fancied herself a skilled woodworker. While she had lent a hand to her husband in constructing a barn, her role mostly entailed passing him tools and bringing him his lunch. But as she stood amidst the sawdust, tears streaking down her cheeks, she grappled with the daunting task ahead. She lacked both the sufficient wood and the patience to craft two coffins. Thus, the inevitable decision emerged: they would be laid to rest together.
The Reverend's suggestion to cremate the bodies, emphasizing the need to eradicate the disease completely, fell upon deaf ears. The mere thought of reducing her beloved husband and precious baby girl to ashes felt abhorrent to Kate. Instead, she harbored a tender hope that one day, perhaps, they would blossom into a magnificent Willow tree.
Amidst the melancholy chore, the vibrant symphony of birdsong provided a bittersweet backdrop, reminiscent of the lullabies she once crooned to her infant daughter. With a sorrowful melody humming in her heart, Kate toiled diligently, her hands blackened with grime, each wipe across her tear-stained cheeks a testament to her grief. As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting their modest farm in a golden hue, Kate's work pressed on.
Night descended swiftly, cloaking the world in shadows that seemed to stretch for an eternity. Kate, perched upon her porch swing, found no solace in slumber. Her vigil was solemn, her gaze never wavering from the rough-hewn coffins that cradled her entire world within their confines.
With the break of dawn, the Reverend returned, his disapproval evident, yet tempered by resignation. Together, in a somber silence, they labored to fashion a final resting place. By mid-afternoon, the grave stood ready, a solemn abyss awaiting its occupants. With the Reverend's assistance, Kate tenderly lowered her cherished husband and daughter into the earth's cold embrace.
As dusk settled, the Reverend offered prayers and parting words before taking his leave. Left alone in her sorrow, Kate felt the weight of despair bearing down upon her. In a world forged by men and seemingly devoid of solace for a solitary widow, she found herself with no recourse but to depart.
Beneath the twilight sky, the epitaph etched upon their shared gravestone bore silent witness to her profound loss:
Here Lies My Beloved Noah, And Our Beautiful Daughter, Lorena.
May God Keep Their Souls.
As the sun rose over the horizon, casting its golden rays across the sprawling expanse of Emerald Ranch, Kate found herself amidst the ebb and flow of another day's labor. Nine years had slipped by since the tragic loss of her husband and daughter, a span of time marked by wandering footsteps and the pursuit of odd jobs on her journey westward. 
She had once heard her father say they had family in California, he had many sisters but only kept in touch with one. Kate wrote to her after the death of her husband, seeking asylum with a relative with nowhere else to go. Her Aunt wrote her back and gave her condolences, she said Kate would be welcome with open arms. 
However, the last she heard of her Aunt was 7 years ago. But still, she continued west. She had come too far and been through too much to stop now. What she hoped to find in the valleys of California, she did not know anymore. Over the years she became more cowboy and less of a woman, her once soft hands now calloused by years of labor. The untamed plains and cold hard ground had become both her refuge and her bed. 
She came to Emerald Ranch only a week ago, her boss; Seamus, was reluctant to hire a stranger, let alone a woman, to help on the ranch. Kate assured him she was cheap labor and was only looking for shelter and a place to rest until she was on the move again. Kate was no stranger to odd jobs, she took any work she could get and saved as much as she could. But she was no criminal. 
She heard Seamus talking to two men as she filled the troughs with clean water. The gentlemen said they were new in town and looking for a partnership, one in which they could both make money. 
“Look I ain't no idiot, and I don't trust folks outta the blue. If you want to work together then you're gonna have to prove to me you’re worth my time.” Her boss's voice raised above the usual noise of the barn animals. 
“Of course! We’re only interested in a partnership, just looking to make a little extra money.” Carried the voice of an older gentleman. 
“No doubt. I do interesting very well. It's trusting that I don't do so well.” her boss answered, still not convinced by the two strangers.
“Look at us, we’re honest as the day is long,” said the other man with cheer. 
“You really want us to prove ourselves to this clown Hosea?” said the other voice, sounding much younger than his partner. 
Seamus scoffed, “good day to you, Hosea.” 
“N-now wait a minute Seamus. Arthur can be rough, and quick with his tongue, but I swear you can trust him, you can trust me.” Hosea pleaded, following Seamus to the side of the barn. Kate now had a clear view of the new “business partners”. 
Kate didn't know Seamus very well, but she could tell he was an honest enough man. Wise for his years, and liked to keep his nose out of trouble. “I’m an old man Hosea,” he began, “and you know why I ain’t dead yet?” 
“Because you don't trust idiots,” Hosea finished.
“We’re not idiots, Seamus. Let us prove it to you.” Hosea had an air of confidence, he wasn't some runaway bum looking to make a quick buck. He was serious about a partnership. Although Kate wouldn't say the same for his partner, who loomed behind them like a panther ready to pounce. 
“Okay…I’ll tell you what, old Bob Crawford and his boys just bought a beautiful stolen stagecoach from up north. It’s in their barn. Now you go get that,” he looked around for anyone who might be listening to his scheming, “then we can work together.” He said quietly, placing a hand on Hosea’s shoulder. 
“Who’s Old Bob Crawford?” inquired Hosea.
“An acquaintance of mine…well, not just an acquaintance. He’s my cousin, by marriage.” Seamus explained. 
“Oh so now we’re meddlin’ in your family business?” Arthur boasted with skepticism. 
Hosea waved him off and continued speaking, “Where is he located?”
“Now hang on a moment, you boys could very easily take this coach and sell it yourselves for a pretty penny,” Seamus began. 
“So you comin’ with us? I thought you didn't want to be involved in shady business?” Arthur spoke up again. 
“Heavens no, if my cousin saw me it would be my death. I'm sending someone with you, as collateral.” Seamus turned around and saw Kate already watching them, he waved her over. 
Arthur shook his head disapprovingly, “nah, I don't do babysitters Seamus.” 
Kate was just as skeptical about her part in this, she told Seamus she was looking for honest work, and robbing his cousin certainly falls out of that line. 
“She’s not babysitting . She’ll take you to my cousin's farm and let you do the robbing. Kate has been working for me for a few days now and she’s tougher than she looks.” Seamus said turning to Kate, “I want you to make sure that stage coach gets back to me. You don't need to take part in the robbery.” 
“You’re fine with them robbing your cousin?” She spoke in a hushed tone so only Seamus could hear.
“By marriage,” he added, “and yes, I would love it. The man’s been a thorn in my ass for years.” He said amused.
She nodded in acknowledgement and turned to get a good look at the two strangers. One was indeed much older than the other, with cropped white hair peeking out from under his hat. The other gentleman was tall and burly, and he hid his eyes under the brim of his hat. He seemed wary of strangers and kept both hands resting on his gun belt. 
“Let me get my horse saddled and I’ll meet you boys at the intersection leading out of town.” She spoke, Hosea nodded and was already making his way to his horse. Arthur stood for a moment eyeing the woman, no doubt playing the intimidation tactic. But Kate had seen far scarier men than him in her days. “Y'know the quicker we get this done the quicker you fellas get paid.” She noted.
Arthur scoffed and finally followed Hosea to his horse, “don't need no damn babysitter,” he grumbled kicking dust.
Kate made quick work of saddling her black Hungarian roan, she calls Lorena. After her infant daughter. In a moments pass she was on the dirt road leading out of Emerald Ranch and toward Carmody Dell. She waved for the two men to follow her, they stayed behind her a short distance and made no effort for small conversation.
However, she overheard snippets of their own conversation as they went, “I thought you wanted me to be the strong arm? That's usually how it goes,” Arthur spoke.
“Yes but..” Hosea hesitated, lowering his tone a little, “you know how this works.”
“Cmon Hosea that fellers a joke, he don't even trust us enough to handle it ourselves. Now we got a chaperone.” Arthur complained loudly, at least he’s not calling me a babysitter , Kate thought. 
“All the better, he won't cause us any problems. And I cant blame the guy for sending the girl. Two strangers looking for quick money? Hell, I’d want assurance too.” Hosea answered, “besides, if he’s sending protection that means there’s big money to be made. Seamus wants his cut.” 
Kate came to the same conclusion, up until now Seamus had given her the usual ranch-hand tasks. Feeding and cleaning mostly. This was very different, there must be good money for this stage coach. 
“I guess you’re right,” Arthur muttered.
Hosea mumbled something back to Arthur about “hanging up their hats” if they couldn't finish a job as easy as this. They laughed and began chatting about their travels in Emerald ranch, Kate tuned them out and began humming a song to her horse. 
Her singing always pleased her horse and calmed the girl’s nerves. She was a strong and fierce steed, but jumpy and needy like a baby sometimes. Kate thought naming her horse after her daughter would bring her closure, instead, she was almost convinced that her daughter's spirit lived on in Lorena somehow. In all ways except biological, her horse was her baby.
Carmody Dell was a short distance north past the train tracks and Fort Wallace, Kate had passed it once before. They rode at a steady pace, the men behind her never coming too close. She wondered for a moment what their story was, and why they needed money so bad. Perhaps they were travelers like her, maybe they even had a caravan. She entertained the thought of traveling with a group again, but shuddered at the memories. Her previous caravan adventures had not ended well. 
Once the ranch was in view she slowed and allowed the boys to catch up on either side of her. She led them to a grassy clearing off the road. 
“You should continue on foot from here, I’ll stay behind with your horses.” She said dismounting. The two of them nodded and dismounted their horses, Kate was almost surprised to hear no objections from Arthur. 
“C'mon son, let's see what we’re dealing with here.” Hosea commented walking towards a large rock in front of the house. 
“Son”, so they are family . She mentally noted. Arthur gave his horse a pat, “be a good girl for the lady” he said, tipping his hat towards Kate. She was slightly taken aback by the sudden politeness.
She busied herself with the horses for a bit while the men laid out their plan, she gave Hosea and Arthurs horse a treat and was about to start brushing his horse when he approached her again. Startled, she backed away from his mare, she didn't want him to think she was snooping in his saddle bags. 
“You can keep brushin’ her, she loves attention,” he half smiled reaching up and petting her snout. “I just came to tell ya’ we’re gonna wait till it gets dark. Less chance of getting caught that way.” 
“Smart,” she replied, for whatever reason she suddenly felt very shy in his presence. 
He stood a few feet away from her and she could see more of his features. He was around her age. He had short dirty blond hair under his leather hat, and bright blue/green eyes. Her eyes lingered over his body. He was big too, more than a foot taller than her and well fed and muscular. His bicep had to be the size of her head alone, and she could tell by the fabric of his button down he had a bit of a belly hidden behind his gun belt. 
“What’s her name?” His voice broke through her awkward silence. 
“Who?” She asked and looked back at him. 
He chortled, “the black beauty you got over there,” he nodded to her horse. 
Oh, duh! “Her name is Lorena, she also loves attention but she’s nervous around new people.” Kate answered, still a bit lost in her thoughts. 
Arthur made a clicking sound with his tongue, reaching out a hand and slowly walking toward her horse. “It’s alright girl,” he cooed while she sniffed his palm. He pulled out a peppermint and gave it to her, which Lorena happily accepted. 
Kate smiled at the interaction, “you introduce yourself to my horse before me?” she teased. 
“My apologies ma’am,” he turned to face her, “names Arthur Morgan.”
“Nice to meet you Mr. Morgan, I’m Kate McCanon.” She reached out her hand and he shook it. His grip was firm but polite. 
“Likewise, Miss.McCanon. That’s Belle your brushin’, and that’s Silver Dollar.” He pointed at Hosea’s horse. “I saw this beauty when we first rode into Emerald ranch, had no idea she was yours tho.” He was talking about her horse again, “told myself I’d inquire about buying her if she was available.” 
Kate smiled at the affection he was showing for her horse, she knew Lorena was a beautiful mare. She often received compliments on the road, and many have offered to pay for her purebred. 
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but she’s not for sale.” 
“Well I can certainly see that,” he laughed, “she seems happy though. You must take real good care of her.” He said, his attention still on her mare as he scratched under her chin. 
“You some kind of horse breeder Mr. Morgan?” Kate asked. 
Arthur laughed, “no no. Nothing like that, though sometimes I wish I was.” He smiled as he said it but Kate noticed there was a sadness in his tone. “I just think they’re neat is all.” 
They had only just met, and while Arthur was not initially the most pleasant, she found it incredibly cute how enraptured he was by her horse. 
“I should probably also apologize for my rudeness earlier, it’s been a rough couple weeks for us and we uh- don’t always take too kindly to strangers.” Arthur took off his hat as he spoke and held it to his chest, a sincere gesture. 
Kate was shocked, the man she met at Emerald ranch not even an hour ago seemed like a completely different person than the man before her. His cold demeanor was gone, or at least reined in at the moment. 
“No apology needed Mr. Morgan. I understand,” She answered. “Although I wouldn’t call it rude, you were just skeptical. Rightfully so, can I ask what brings you to Emerald Ranch?” 
Arthur looked away from her as he spoke, choosing to focus on her horse. “We’re just stayin’ in the area for a few weeks. Passin’ through and tryna make money.” 
“By robbing stagecoaches?” Kate said in an amused tone, “you a bunch of outlaws or something?” She continued, half-joking. 
Arthur looked at her with surprise, “What? No, we uh- got laid off from the railway. Up-north. Just looking for money so we can find a place to settle down again. That’s all.” He looked away again, avoiding her gaze. 
“I’ll say it again, by robbing stagecoaches?” She kept her tone playful, but wasn’t entirely convinced by his story. But it felt good to be the intimidator.
“Wasn’t our idea, Seamus asked us to rob his cousin!” His voice rose slightly with anger. 
“By marriage,” Kate retorted. 
Arthur was about to speak again but only stared at her. 
“I’m just pulling your leg Mr. Morgan.” Kate laughed. “It’s no business of mine. I’m only passing through here, same as you. What you do here and how you earn your money is your business. As is mine.” 
Arthur scoffed, suddenly amused, did this woman just tease me?
He went to speak again before another voice interrupted them, “Arthur! Get over here!” Called Hosea. He pointed a finger at Kate as to say this isn’t over and walked away. 
Amused with herself, Kate grabbed an apple and sat down against a tree. Watching the sun set as she waited for the cover of night so the two men could pull off their heist. 
Kate woke suddenly to the sound of horses moving. She quickly got up and looked in the direction of the ranch. Sure enough the stage coach was steadily moving down the path away from its place in the barn. She quickly mounted her horse and trotted over to them. 
“Nice work! Follow me back to Emerald Ranch and try to keep it in one piece.” She called up to Hosea who was driving the coach. With that she clicked her tongue and took off ahead of the coach at a steady but quick pace. Not wanting to get themselves caught. 
Before Hosea could crack the reins he looked to Arthur as he was about to get in the coach, “you ride ahead with her. I got this.” 
Arthur looked confused, “why wouldn’t I ride with you? The horses will follow.” 
Now Hosea was giving him an amused look, “I heard you with her earlier.” 
“And?” The cowboy replied slightly annoyed. 
“You’ve never fumbled our cover story so bad!” He quipped, “it was like listening to a child tell it!” 
Arthur shook his head, “now you’re playin’ match maker old man?” He teased, trying to hide his smile.   
“I’m just saying it wouldn’t kill you to go talk to her son."
Without another word Arthur nodded and dismounted the coach, getting into the saddle and riding off to catch up to Kate.
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sunnydaleherald · 1 year
The Sunnydale Herald Newsletter, Wednesday, February 8
BUFFY: "Unconfirmed reports of severe trauma to the throats of one or more of the victims." (lowers the paper) Survey says ... vampire.
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Role Reversal by badly_knitted (Buffy, Giles, Joyce, PG)
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tilbageidanmark · 3 days
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Movies I watched this week (#184):
2 by French director Christian Vincent:
🍿 Haute Cuisine is a charming drama about a female chef who was appointed as the personal 'cuisinier' to the president of the Republic. Supposedly it is based on the real-live story of François Mitterrand's private cook.
Like many other 'Food Porn' movies, this is a mouth-watering, touristy story where lushly-photographed meals being prepared with love and emotions. I don't understand is why this film is never mentioned with other fancy and feel-good morsels (Like 'Babette's Feast', 'Tampopo', 'Big night', 'Chef', 'Eat drink man woman', 'Jiro dreams of sushi', and dozen others). Maybe because it's not egalitarian enough?
9/10 from me [But then I actually cooked for Mitterrand myself in 1982, when he came to Denmark for a state visit, and I worked as a cook at the restaurant of the Danish Parliament. Nothing as sumptuous though!].
🍿 "You were on morphine. That's why you thought I was beautiful..."
Courted is a light courtroom drama, starring my serious Danish crush Sidse Babett Knudsen in an lovely French role. It tells of a strict and dour judge, ruling over a murder trial, who falls for a woman juror, whom he had met years ago. It's surprisingly endearing, and I don't blame him for being enchanted with her.
My first 5 films from British poet Terence Davies:
🍿 Children, his sad debut film from 1976, a haunting auto-biographical retelling of (his own) wretched childhood. A lonely, unloved boy, severely bullied at his Catholic school, and suffering quietly at home with a silent mother and an abusive father. All the disclosures are offered piecewise and delicately, that he's gay, that his father is dying, that he never got over any of the abuses. Best discovery of the week!
🍿 "Pray, Father, give me your blessing.."
Madonna and Child (1980) is slow, contemplative and dark painting of a depressed middle age Catholic, deeply religious closeted gay man, who works in the city, takes care of his elderly mother, and cruised at night for sex. Lonely and conflicted, melancholic and unhappy, he goes to mass regularly, and confesses of all his sins, except that he's attempting to get his dick tattooed. The dark night of the soul, indeed. 9/10.
🍿 Death and Transfiguration is the 3rd part of his alter-ego Robert Tucker trilogy. Even though it was made in 1983, the young man is now on his death bed, old, speechless, alone and again in the care of the nuns. It's a devastating conclusion to a life of this unhappy, gentle boy who lived his whole life in pain and concealment, between the church and the flesh. It opens with Doris Day singing 'It all depends on you' as he buries his beloved mother, and it only grows sadder from there. 10/10.
🍿 "...And then the journey home, tired. Cocoa and toast... And happiness unlimited..."
Of Time and the City felt like watching a movie of Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day', like a James Joyce moving poem but for Liverpool, not Dublin. This is Terence Davies only documentary, about the city of his birth during the 20th century. It opened with a moving recitation of 'The land of lost content', and it combined a magnificent collection of archival clips with glorious choices of musical scores. Together they created a very personal and highly emotional masterpiece, one of the best nostalgic documentaries I ever saw. For people who only knew of Liverpool as the home of The Beatles, it was a eye-opener: Their impact and music were featured for a brief moment only. 10/10!
🍿 Passing Time was the last film he completed before his death in 2023. A short poem he wrote and read, a single image of a rural countryside, and a piece of music composed for the occasion.
The Wild Goose Lake (2019), my first intense neo-noir thriller by Chinese auteur Diao Yinan. Caught in a turf war between gangs of motorcycle thieves, a gangster is running for his life, and has to use an abused "bathing beauty", a hooker who looks similar to Faye Wong from Chungking Express. It's a fresh look at the genre, full of rain-soaked dingy alleys, gritty and un-glamorized parts of Wuhan, slow-burning suspense and nocturnal aesthetics. 8/10.
How I miss wondering aimlessly in those night markets and street dances where hundreds of people are gathered as their Saturday entertainment!
Swept Away X 2:
🍿 Lina Wertmüller's controversial Swept away, (which obviously was a major inspiration to Ruben Östlund's 'Triangle of Sadness'.)
A political & sexual fantasy of a man and a woman stranded on a Mediterranean desert island. She's rich, spoiled and entitled, he's a simple Sicilian communist. She treats him contemptuously when he's just a deckhand on her yacht, and he turns the tables and abuses her in any way he can, once they find themselves alone in the wilderness. It started raw and didactic, with motifs of class warfare between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and then it turned into a whirlwind of sexual violence and misogyny. But it ended tenderly romantic, as they eventually come to love each other in a deep sadomasochistic way. 8/10. [*Female Director*]
🍿 Generally I don't watch re-makes, but the 2002 Madonna/Guy Ritchie remake got 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes, so that was intriguing. It is considered to be 'one of the worst films ever made', and maybe it wasn't exactly that, but like most all remakes, I still couldn't see the point in making it. They flattened the power dynamics, nullified the politics of the original, and drained the sexual heat, so it remained as boring as a music video. The only interesting angle was using Giancarlo Giannini's actual son to play the wild fisherman. But as much as he looked like his father, he wasn't such a captivating actor. 2/10.
My 5th film by Nicole Holofcener, Friends with Money. Four long-time friends, Catherine Keener (of course), Jennifer Aniston, Joan Cusack and Frances McDormand deal with Santa Monica's lifestyle issues. All are well-to-do except of Jennifer Aniston, who makes poor life choices, and so she has to work as a cleaning lady. But all have marital and upper-middle-class problems. And none of the men in this story are appealing. I watched it because of this screenshot. A pleasant 7/10. [*Female Director*]
Pee Wee Herman X 2:
🍿 Paul Reubens, The Man Behind the Bowtie is a new mini documentary about Pee Wee Herman (but not the expected Disney job). A thin, adoring 31-min. bio, which is better than no bio.
🍿 "Pete. Take a look at these breasts."
School, Girls and You! is a ridiculous satire of 1950's Public Service Announcements about puritanical sex education. Pre-Pee Wee Paul Reubens plays Bad Boy Pete. It ends with a cartoon penis singing about jerking of.
The Vulture article with a photo of this beautiful woman, caused me to watch the original Twister for the first time in 30 years. Yes, it had excitable young Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tár director Todd Field, and the Original 'Got Milk' guy [Still the best Michael Bay's film] as storm-chasers. It also re-played Morricone's beautiful 'Love Affair' theme at a crucial moment. But boy! I simply can't stand 'Hollywood blockbusters', spectacularly loud, dumb and over-zealously fast. "Mass" entertainment with lots of action, fake scientific explanations, and dialogue lines like "Watch out! It’s coming straight at us! C’mon! Lets go!" Etc. 2/10. ♻️.
Another batch of shorts:
🍿 The phone call won the Oscars in 2013. It retold the story of Sydney Pollack's 'The Slender Thread'. A suicide hot line worker is recieving a phone call from a man who had taken a bunch of pills and she tries to talk him into disclosing his address so that he can be saved. Sally Hawkins plays the Sidney Poitier's role, and Jim Broadbent's voice plays the despondent Anne Bancroft. It was perfectly emotional and well done (until the very disappointing final scene!) 7/10.
🍿 The silent child is another British Oscar winner (from 2017). It tells a quietly tragic little story about a 4-year old deaf girl whose well-to-do and busy parents ignore her special needs. (Screenshot Above). Heartbreaking.
🍿 "...Have you not seen 'The city of God', for Christ's sake?!..."
The crush is a cute Irish short, nominated in 2009, about a 8-year-old boy who's infatuated with his teacher, and challenges her fiance to a duel.
🍿 Pentecost, another Irish nomination about a boy, from 2012. He is an alter boy and he's obsessed with football.
🍿 First time that I heard of Gale Henry, a female silent film slapstick comedian of the Chaplin-Keaton mold. She starred in over 230 gag-filled films, but directed only one: The detectress. This "Big trouble in Chinatown" from 1919 involved a search for a secret formula for eyeglasses that will "allow chop suey eaters to see what they're eating". All the racist Chinese stereotypes you can imagine: Opium dens, cat dishes, derogatory names and characters, long braids. Not great. [*Female Director*]
🍿 Olla is a young Eastern European mail-order "bride" who moves to live with a middle age French dude in his boring suburban house, after meeting online. Debut work by a Greek-French woman, it's unexpectedly perplexing. Contains some unusual sexual scenes. 5/10. [*Female Director*]
🍿 Noah, an interesting disjointed short, made by some Canadian students as a class project in 2013. An early entry in the growing 'Screenlife' genre, where the events of the story unfold entirely on screens. Teenagers with short attention span seek love in today's heartless desert. Too young for me to really enjoy, but very well made.
🍿 My first Star Trek node, William Shatner Lent Me His Hairpiece (1996). A cheap fan fiction "un-true" story about Kirk's Love Rug, "baldly" going where no one has gone before. This is exactly how I imagine the real franchise plays, only with much bigger budgets.
Simone de Beauvoir X 3:
🍿 Slow down (לאט יותר) was an important Israeli short, Based on a short story by Simone de Beauvoir and winner of the 1967 Venice Festival. An old woman argues with her husband, and after a day or two of anger, they reconciles. The whole movie is told in voice-over, as she meditates about their life together, about aging and love.
(It perfectly captured the sounds and looks of my own childhood.)
🍿 Simone de Beauvoir rarely gave interviews, but in 1975 she talked at length in Why I'm a feminist, a terrific conversation with a young journalist, who's as sharp and curious as she was. Highly recommended for people interested in genre issues.
🍿 I didn't realize that while living with J-P Sartre, de Beauvoir had both Claude Lanzmann and Nelson Algren as long-term partners. The man with the golden arm is based on a novel by Algren. My 7th by Otto Preminger, it was the most disappointing of the lot. It was bold of him to tackle the serious and un-cool topic of substance abuse in 1955, but his treatment was as serious as the amateur drummer Frank Sinatra in this role, which means not very good. Best part was Saul Bass's jazzy title sequence. 2/10.
(My complete movie list is here).
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avaritia-apotheosis · 3 years
Phantom Children Ch. 6
Hi guys! I'm back <3 (also, I'm currently looking for alpha/beta readers for Phantom Children, so if you're interested, feel free to shoot me a message!)
In Which: Danny Attempts to get Answers, Bruce Learns, and Dick Finally Learns What's Inside the Door that Doesn't Exist
AO3 | Prologue | 5 | [ 6 ] | 7
DANNY IS KNOCKED DOWN three, four, eight times on the ice. Each time made his back ache, his bones bruised and tired, and his mind burning with embarrassment and a drive to lash out. But each time he gets back up. Each time he lasts a little bit longer against Talia.
The ice still shifts, cracks and rumbles with every wrong move. Danny learned to roll with it. Move on light feet but attack with a firm stance, gauge which parts of the ice are stable and which should be avoided. Multi-tasking has never been Danny’s strong suit, but he’s good at learning and learning quickly.
Talia corrected his form as much as she beat him down. Exploited every one of his openings until he learned to defend them and praised him whenever he managed to pull one over her. The League’s martial arts was the holy amalgamation between almost every single fighting style there is, mashed and refined to perfection to become almost unpredictable to the untrained. A vast improvement to Danny’s previous ‘fuck around and see what works’ brawling and had the added benefit of meshing together with his spontaneity.
“You are doing well, Daniel,” Talia said as she sheathed her sword, hand resting just above her hip. “You have improved greatly in such a short time, as I have expected.”
It takes every ounce of Danny’s superhuman energy to not collapse to his knees, his every breath a ragged shudder as he tries to get his breathing under control. “Still can’t beat you, though.”
“Very few can boast that feat.”
“I’m not exactly sure if that’s supposed to make me feel any better or not. Do I get my prize at least?”
Tahlia tossed her braid over one shoulder with a laugh. “Come, then, let us rest in the caves. The sun is to set soon and we must make camp before we freeze to death.”
“Hypothermia is so last season. I’m way too cool for that.”
He didn’t know whether to be disappointed that Tahlia didn’t react to his pun. It was pretty clever, in his opinion.
('Puns are the lowest form of comedy,' said mind-Jazz.
Says the one who named the Box Ghost the ‘Crate Creep.’
'That’s alliteration, not a pun.')
It was kind of pathetic that even his mind-version of Jazz was smarter than him.
“What would you like to know first?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Sarcasm dripped from Danny’s voice. He sheathed his sword and let it hang loose at his side. “Maybe how old this mysterious brother of mine is?” Ancients, his life was weird enough already, it wasn’t supposed to sound like the B-plot to a bad soap opera.
“Damian is younger than you by a little over four years. He will turn eleven this year.”
“Huh. Never been an older brother before.”
“Perhaps you might have been, if circumstances had been different.”
Cryptic. Great. Danny stepped over a particularly large crack in the ice and scampered over to solid ground. “You gotta give me more than that. What’s he like?”
“Prideful,” she said. “But skilled enough to warrant it. He was raised like a prince—as how you should have been.”
“And he lives with…our dad?”
“Yes. In America.” The cave was deep enough to shield them from the worst of the eventual mountain winds. Tahlia had already started building a campfire with equipment from her knapsack, embers eating away and growing into a steady flame. He sat down, legs crossed, beside the fire, hands tucked beneath his armpits.
He bit his lip, a question forming in his mind. “Do…do we have the same dad?”
Tahlia looked up at him. “Of course. Only your father has had the privilege of being called my beloved, and only he is worthy enough to have sired my children.”
Once night fell, it fell quickly. Blanketing as far as Danny could see from the mouth of the cave in a thick darkness. Snow fell from the skies in thick tufts and covered their footsteps.
“Does he—do they know about me?”
“No, they do not.”
“And you probably aren’t going to tell them anything about me, if you could help it.”
“That is very perceptive of you, habeebi.”
“You won’t tell me anything more about them, will you?”
“In due time, I will.”
Danny blew part of his fringe away from his face. Figures.
Despite the ever-present niggling at the back of his mind, Bruce had yet to see what was in the flash drive. The weeks since his strange meeting with Vlad Masters suddenly exploded with criminal activity with the recent breakout in Arkham and the brewings of another gang war in the shadows of Gotham’s paved streets. It was all hands-on deck. And Bruce, whether as Batman or Wayne, had always prioritized Gotham and its citizens over anything else.
The flash drive remained on his person despite the crisis, tucked away in one of the sturdier compartments of his utility belt to prevent the data inside from becoming damaged. Sometimes he found his hands gravitating towards it, fingers brushing against the button that would release the mystery from its confines before he realized what he was doing and steeled himself. Hands fisted to his side and attention forcibly directed elsewhere.
Eventually, the rogues were placed back into Arkham, and Gotham let out a shuddered breath of relief as it remained standing for another day.
Most of the family were out on a light patrol, cleaning up the remains of the breakout and helping where they can. Jason and Dick bickering over the comms whilst Barbara laughed in her clocktower.
(“It’s not that bad.”
"‘It’s not that bad’—shut the fuck up.” Jason spat. Bruce could hear him revving his bike. “You’re a fucking idiot, you know that? Certified Grade A idiot. B’s gonna kill you.”
He could hear Dick roll his eyes. “Sure, pile it all on, Jaybird. Blame the victim.”
"It was your fault.”
“It’s not my fault I didn’t see it there!”
"You tripped and got a concussion. From a stick. A. Stick.”
“Can we please just leave that out of the report?” Dick groaned. Barbara laughed. “Oh god.”
“Richard motherfucking John Grayson. I swear if you vomit on me then—”
“I’m not gonna vomit on you! You just turned the corner a little too fast. It’s nice to see you care though.”
"Fuck no, I just don’t wanna smell like regurgitated cereal.”)
Damian was benched from a patrol. Their last conflict with Poison Ivy ended with Damian sticking a bad landing and twisting his ankle. He dealt with it with as much grace as can be expected. Meaning that he spent the last few days sulking as he caught up on his missed schoolwork and shooting daggers at everyone else who came back from patrol.
Bruce flicked the flash drive open and plugged it into the computer. The flash drive contained only a single folder dated six months ago.
He clicked it, and a news headline popped up.
Beneath it, a picture. Blue eyes. Black hair. A familiar face.
Blood pounded in Bruce’s ears. He could hear nothing except a sharp gasp from Damian behind him.
When Dick and Jason arrived at the batcave, it was to an eerie silence. Not that it was usually loud, only that Bruce spent most of his free time down in the cave and Dick had come to expect hearing some signs of him around. Typing on keys, the clicking of a mouse, the heavy thuds of a fist meeting a punching bag or a training dummy, etcetera, etcetera. Or maybe even Alfred cleaning up around the cave, feeding the bats, or restocking their med bay.
(Dick, it turned out, didn’t have a concussion. Probably. Not a severe one anyway. What mattered most was that he managed to convince Jason to have dinner at the Manor. Alfred was making a tarte tatin for dessert tonight and those were absolutely to die for. )
One of Tim’s cases took him to the other side of Gotham. The only person in the cave was Damian, who was staring agape at the batcomputer.
“Why the hell is the demon spawn looking at old pictures of Bruce? We get it. They look alike.
“Uh, Dami? What’s up?”
Damian snapped his mouth shut. “I believe it might be best if you asked father that, Grayson.” Despite his clipped tone, there seemed to be little anger in his voice. His proud shoulders were hunched over on the chair, eyes trained on his lap.
He looked so small.
Damian clucked his tongue. “He’s upstairs, if you need him. So is Pennyworth.”
Dick shot a glance at Jason who raised his hands in mock surrender. “You’re up golden boy. Whatever the fuck the old man’s problem is this time, I’m not dealing with it.”
Dick sighed. “Fine.”
There was a door in Wayne Manor that didn’t exist.
When Dick was a child and recently adopted by Bruce Wayne, one of the first things he did was explore the manor. It’s the prerogative of every child that somehow found themselves in a large mansion—even more so given the castle-like exteriors of Wayne Manor. All castles have secret passages, and if the Batcave lay in the subterranean depths below, then surely the manor proper must have its own secrets.
Dick would tumble and cartwheel along the hallways, opening any and every single door he came across. A lot of them were just empty bedrooms or unused parlors and sitting rooms; the furniture covered by white sheets to keep the dust away. Alfred was probably magic, but even he can’t keep the entirety of the manor dust free.
The majority of the unused rooms were unlocked.
Except for one.
It was a room in the west wing, on the second floor. A couple doors down from where Bruce’s and Dick’s were. Why it was locked, Dick never found out. But he was curious since it was the only room on that floor that remained shut.
When he asked Alfred about it, the old butler only said that it was an unused storage room they preferred to keep locked just in case. When he asked Bruce about it, he’d be quick to change the subject. Usually something Batman related. Which, well, always worked, because it was Batman related. And Dick, young and spry and itching to fly under Batman’s wings, would quickly forget about that curious little mystery in favor of punching bad guys in the face and flipping over rooftops.
At some point that locked door quietly disappeared, leaving a blank expanse of wallpaper and a decorative vase where it once stood. It was never brought up again. And Dick slowly forgot that it was ever there in the first place.
Until now.
The wooden table and vase were shoved off to the side. Wallpaper sliced away to reveal the lines of a doorway. The door, covered in its faint damask wallpaper, was kicked open, the wood around the bolt splintered and cracked. He could hear voices—Alfred’s and Bruce’s—speaking softly on the other side.
He pressed his back against the wall and kept his breathing quiet.
“Three times, Alfred.” Bruce’s voice was hoarse, barely above a whisper. “Three times she’s done this to me.”
“Master Bruce…”
“I don’t—I don’t understand why—” Bruce choked, swallowing a shuddered breath. “Damian, I can understand. Jason, I can too. But…This? I—” Bruce suddenly quieted. Dick knew the jig was up.
He unlatched himself from the wall and slowly slid through the once-hidden-door, a hand kept on the frame. “Um. Hi, Bruce? Alfred?” The words fell flat, stilted. Dick winced as he said them. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but, uh…” He trailed off the second he registered what was in the room.
It was large, as so many rooms in the manor were. The room was covered in peeling green wallpaper with faded pictures of baby deer and owls and other woodland creatures prancing about. There was a dresser on one wall. A shelf filled with little picture books and stuffed animals on the other. A brown teddy bear had fallen on its face on one of the shelves.
In the middle—where Bruce was hunched over—was a crib. The wood streaked and aged with time, the beddings within pristine and untouched, if not dusty. Hanging overhead was a mobile with little animals dangling on a string.
“Worry not Master Dick. It is good that you are here since it will inevitably involve the rest of the family at some point.”
Dick nodded absentmindedly, trying to lock eyes with his guardian. “B? What’s—what’s going on?” Dick took one step deeper into the room. “The pictures in the cave. I thought they were you since they were too old to be Damian—” Bruce’s hands on the crib’s railing flinched.
Dick’s breath hitched.
“They’re…not your photos, are they.”
Bruce took a deep breath in, the lines of his shoulders tense. “No. They’re not.”
In their line of work, the answer could have been anything. Clones, magical doppelgangers, alternate universe counterparts, hell, even just someone’s genetic code being coincidentally similar to another person. But…this room, this nursery, pointed towards only one conclusion.
“Who is he, Bruce?”
Bruce angled his head towards Dick, unshed tears glimmering in his eyes. “He’s my son, Dick.
“He’s my son.”
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sapphire374 · 3 years
Soy Sol: Chapter 10 (Hopeful Curiosity)
Wattpad Link
Ch.1 / Ch.2 / Ch.3 / Ch.4 / Ch.5 / Ch.6 / Ch.7 / Ch.8 / Ch.9 / Ch.11 / Ch.12 / Ch.13 / Ch.14 / Ch.15 / Ch.16 / Ch.17
The gang is huddled around each other at the Jam and Roller rink. Ámbar proceeds to glance over her clipboard that carries the original sign-up sheet. “So, Ámbar, do we have enough members to make up a team for the competition.” Ámbar quickly looks Luna in the eyes and decides to call out the list of names. “The official Jam and Roller team members are Luna, Simon, Matteo, Gaston, Ramiro, Jim, Delfi, Pedro and Jazmin.” Everyone starts counting with their fingers but before anyone gets the chance to start counting, Gaston and Nina both yell out “that’s nine members, we’re missing one.” Luna rollers towards Ámbar. “Ámbar you’re not on the list. Are you going to join us? Please, pretty please join us. Whether you would like to admit it or not, you’re one of the best roller skaters out there and we need you.”
Ámbar takes a big gulp of air, processing everything that’s going on. Luna’s pout with her watery eyes has made Ámbar reconsider her decision. Before she always wanted the worst for Luna, but the past few years has made them become inseparable. She now views Luna as her younger sister plus being the manager of the gang’s favorite place has made her feel as everyone’s bigger sister, being the mature one. Ambar gives in. “Fine, I’ll do it. Especially since you guys need me so much. You guys aren’t wrong though, I am the best,” Ámbar jokes. The whole gang cheers, everyone jumps up and down and excitement enters the room.
Everyone is huddled as they all set their hands out and chant, “ready! One, two, three Jam and Roller!” Juliana enters through the chaos of excitement. “Opa opa! Seems like the group has never separated and feels closer than ever.” The gang all turn around facing her, their faces show signs of shock. No one was expecting this except one certain person in the room. “Juliana! You’re back! Wait how did you know we got the team back together for a competition?” Simón asks. “A little birdy called me and said that a certain team needed my help so I came as quick as I can.” The whole gang starts whispering, wondering who was it that reached out to her. Luna gives Ámbar and Simón a little smirk.
“So have you guys chosen which song you all are going to skate to?” Juliana questions. “Nope,” Ámbar answers. That’s when the idea hits Simón. “I have an idea! Maybe not only the team gets back together for this competition, but also the band? What do you guys say, Nico, Pedro?” Simón suggests. Nico and Pedro look at each other in disbelief and with a loss of words. “Uhh yes of course! You have no idea how long I’ve missed playing on the drums,” Pedro states. “And you guys have no idea how long I’ve missed collaborating the three of us together again,” Nico chimes in. “I guess that settles it. The band is back!!” Simón announces. The room is filled with so many emotions as everyone is so excited about what’s to come next. True nostalgia and memories really do start coming back to them since working together and competing to save their beloved place truly brings them back to old times. Just like how Matteo and Luna wouldn’t stop stealing glances at each other through the midst of it all.
This competition will be fierce including what’s called two stages. The first stage is the basic entry in which they record a video of their performance, the second stage is where they have the official competition. They first though have to make it through the first stage. For the next few days, Juliana tries to prepare them with some exercises since it has been years some of them roller skated. Then they gradually learned again how to do some simple routines as pairs then as groups. Before the gang knew it, in a week they have mastered all the skills and are ready to practice the actual choreography for the performance. Luna and Matteo still haven’t talked much though, yet they’re constant staring proves to show that they still miss and love each other.
Monday Evening at the Jam and Roller (after about a week and a half)
Juliana tells the gang that they can rest, and training has just finished. The group has finally mastered the double turns alignment but are struggling with air spins. Matteo heads over to Luna like old times, while she’s drinking water near the rails. “What’s the matter Chica Delivery? Has all the training finally tired you out?” Matteo flirtatiously says. Luna tries to hide her blushed cheeks and smirks at his comment. “Chico fresa you know that can never happen. My internal adrenaline is endless.” Luna and Matteo begin to laugh. Luna stops once she remembers why she was trying to avoid him for the longest. “Matteo don’t think I forgot everything that has happened.” She begins to stare at the floor, holding back a tear. “I’ve already apologized, what more do you want?” Matteo begs.
“You know that’s not the issue. I just feel like I can’t trust you anymore. You promised me you wouldn’t lie to me anymore and that’s exactly what you did. I don’t want our relationship to be built out of lies. I’d rather stay single instead of having someone stab me in the back unaware.” Matteo widely opens his eyes, it feels like someone has sucker punched him in the gut. For a long time, Matteo has tried to prove to Luna he has changed and does truly care about her, how can one little lie bring all the pain back. “Luna, you know I would never want to break your heart or ‘stab you in the back.’ I just lied about this because I knew you would get jealous of me hanging out with Viviana.” Luna gasps in astonishment. “Jealous! Now that’s a joke right there. For me to be jealous of her, that would mean I would want to be like her or want something she has but that’s not the case at all. I’m happy with the life I live and don’t want to change it. I just don’t like how close she’s been with you. You know I’m okay with you having female friends, but not when one tries to kiss you when I’m not around and constantly wrapping her arms around you. Even the news outlets think you broke up with me and dating her because of how much ‘quality time’ you guys spend together.”
Matteo responds with, “You know how much I miss it when you call me Chico Fresa and miss these fun bantering moments. I would never fall for her because you’re my one true love. You may not be jealous of her but you’re jealous of her getting to spend time with me. Is that it? You want to hang out more with me? How do I make it up to you?” Luna shakes her head and says, “You just don’t get it and it’s okay. I don’t feel like arguing today.” Luna rollers away and Matteo covers his face as he lays his elbows on the silver polished rails. Gastón heads to him and pats his shoulder. “She still hasn’t forgiven you?” Matteo shakes his head in response. His phone begins to ring in the pocket of his jeans. He lifts himself up and pulls it out. “Hello…. yes……. Already in a week? ..... ah I see, okay that seems appropriate I guess…...tomorrow okay, I’ll see you then.” Matteo hangs up and places his phone in his pocket again. “Who was that?” Gastón questions. “It’s my manager. They’re planning to release my music video with Viviana at the end of this week. Usually, we don’t release music videos this early but apparently she demanded for it since it would look good and perfect for this summer. Well to prepare for the release, they want me to perform with her in a live concert.” Matteo’s expression shows his stress and frustration. “But what about the Jam and Roller training?” Gastón asks him. “I’ll try to practice for the concert before the Jam and Roller training starts every day and the concert is on Saturday so that day I guess I’ll just miss training for that one day. I have no other choice.”
Gastón keeps thinking and doesn’t say a word till an amazing idea slips in his head. “I just got it! I just thought of the perfect plan that’ll get Luna to forgive you and get back together with her.” Matteo starts smiling as Gastón whispers the plan into his left ear. “Hermano, you’re a genius.”
The Benson Mansion
Ámbar doesn’t stop glaring at the letter in front of her. It was the original copy that was locked up in Sharon’s vault. This was what her biological mom wrote to her before she gave her away, it includes her phone number. She wants to call that number, desperately wants to but what if this number doesn’t work anymore? Or what if it does? She feels so confused. The closer the wedding gets, the scarier it feels for her. She wants to invite her biological mom and maybe even Sharon, she’s just undecided. It’s more than just complicated for her.
She sucks up every bit of courage left in her, grabs her phone and types in the numbers smeared at the bottom of the letter. It’s…. ringing. The longer she has to wait, the faster her heart beats. The phone stops ringing. “Hello,” the person on the other end answers. Ámbar’s voice begins to crack, “Uh… yes is this Sylvana Ariel?” Ámbar takes a big gulp of air. The person on the other end responds, “yes this is she. Who do I have the pleasure speaking to?” When Ambar hears that it’s her, she decides to move forward with the plan of meeting her. Maybe it was destiny for her to still have this phone number for so many years? “Yes, this is Ámbar, Ámbar Smith. We need to talk. Are you available today?” Ámbar takes control of the situation showing no signs of hesitation, even though her heart says otherwise. “Oh Ámbar? Yes, I’m available today.” Ámbar takes one good look at the letter and answers back, “Good. Meet me at Pachani’s restaurant today at 7 p.m.” The lady answers with an okay before Ámbar hangs up the phone.
She didn’t know this day would come so soon. Getting to meet her birth mother. What should she say? What should she do? Maybe this would help her understand her whole story and discover more who she really is before she gets married. Simón walks into the living room. “There you are. I thought you would be at the Jam and Roller; you never miss an afternoon of work?” Ámbar quickly folds the letter and slips it into her purse. “Oh yeah I just came home to… find another bridal magazine. I thought I left one of my favorite ones here in the living room.” Simón scrunches up his face, “here? In the living room of the Benson Mansion? But you always look at them at our apartment?” Ámbar clasps her purse and places the strap around her arm. “Oh well I sometimes look at them here whenever I visit the Valentes and have a cup of coffee, by mistake one of these days I left my bridal magazine.” Simón nods showing how he understands. “So how are bridal things going?”
“Pretty smooth. Luna and Nina agreed to go order the sets of flowers and decorations at the boutique right across town,” Ámbar states. “Oh, that’s nice. Luna and Nina were so kind to offer their help. What would we do without them?”
“Yes, I agree. We’re very lucky to have them indeed. Um there is one thing I forgot to tell you. At around 7 p.m I won’t be at home yet, I have a meeting with some other law school students for this project we have going on, so I won’t be home.”
Simón’s smile fades away. “Aww I’ll miss you, but I do wish you good luck on the project. I know you’ll do great on it.” Ámbar smiles from thinking how lucky she is to have a caring, understanding partner by her side. They hug each other and head out of the mansion.
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*Gif not made by me. Owner of gif's name is at the bottom right hand corner :) *
Lacey’s Boutique
Luna and Nina wait at the front desk holding a slip of paper that carries a list of things they need to purchase for Ámbar’s wedding. “He said that?” Nina whispers. “Yep, I can’t believe he called me jealous when he was the one who lied and created this whole mess in the first place. When we got back together, we agreed on no secrets and to always communicate. That’s the only way a relationship can go well, just look at Ámbar and Simón?”
“I absolutely agree. I felt awful when Gaston spied on me that day, so I understand what you mean. Luckily everything is fixed now,” Nina cheers. “I’m happy for you Nina, sadly in between Matteo and I is a person who doesn’t stop flirting and hanging out with him. Plus, it’s so obvious too, even Simón thought he was dating Viviana and broke up with me. I can’t believe Matteo doesn’t believe me and instead calls me jealous. After everything we’ve been through.” The cashier heads to the counter and Luna and Nina’s conversation ends. “So, is this the list for everything?” Luna nods in approval. “Okay great, everything will be prepared in time and the delivery will be sent to the place on the date of the card.” Luna picks up the card and puts it away in her tiny backpack.
“Thank you,” she begins to head out before the cashier stops her. “Wait, I have something to give you.” He pulls out another card from his pocket. “Here’s my phone number, maybe we can have a cup of coffee together someday if you’d like?” Luna is speechless and turns to Nina for a choice of words. Nina shrugs and seems to be just as confused as her. “Um... well the thing is I’m in a relationship… well right at this moment I’m not sure…. Honestly I don’t know it’s complicated me and my boyfriend well after what he did, I don’t think he’s still my boyfriend but I don’t know…” Luna stops talking when the cashier extremely perplexed expression shows vividly. “Um… well once you get all that resorted and decide not to be with this… complicated person feel free to give me a call.” He leaves and heads to the back of the store. “Luna, I’m shocked he’s still into you after everything you blurted out. I think you even fried his brain.” Nina and Luna giggle their way out.
Jim and Yam’s Apartment
Ramiro adjusts the collar of his nicely firm long sleeve button up shirt. He’s holding a bouquet of sunflowers and is trying to collect the right words to say to Yam. He knocks on the door and waits for a response. “I’m coming,” she says. For Ramiro, hearing Yam’s voice is like a breath of fresh air.
She opens the door and is surprised to see Ramiro’s well put together fit. “Before you say anything I want to do this right. Yam, I know our relationship has been like an ongoing rollercoaster, we’ve been through the ups and the downs but the one thing that has always stayed constant is my love for you. After everything that has happened, I always knew I love you and my path ends up meeting yours. Yam would you like to go on a date with me?” Yam covers her mouth in amusement. She’s appalled from the beautiful surprise he’s presented her, and with a speech too. Usually, Ramiro is too cool for all of this but seeing what he has done has proven enough to Yam that he’s committed. “Ramiro of course, I would love to. In fact, I was always thinking what took you so long?” Yam begins to chuckle. “I guess fear from this not working out, but you can’t always live in fear for the rest of your life.”
Yam jumps into Ramiro’s arms and kisses him on the cheek.
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Hi! I recently re-read all of us beloved manhwa. So I thought about chapters 205 and 206. Question: Where did A Qiu come from? How did Mo get to the hospital? (was it an ambulance and did HC do it?) He Tian is in debt to his brother because he set Qiu Ge on a gang of bandits? If the morning is soon, then the dial should be 3-5 hours (night-morning???), that is, He Chen came for Tian at this time? Where was HK and Qiu all this time? R. s I have bad English, sorry Thanks!
Hello, dear anon!
I’m sorry it took me a while to get to your ask. Thank you for your patience!
I’ve sometimes wondered some of those things myself, too. I mean, it’s not unusual for stories to have these kinds of gaps in the narrative. It’s not always necessary to spell every detail out to the readers. And I suppose not being super specific about things all the time also allows the author some leeway and breathing room.
In this case, I feel like certain vagueness added to Qiu and HC’s overall control and “omnipotence”. They’re always there even if you can’t see them and they have the strength and resources to put an end to things if needed. They always seem to be on top of things and know a lot more than us (or the boys, for that matter).
“Where did A Qiu come from?”
Qiu certainly showed up suspiciously conveniently (ch. 244):
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I’m assuming he was keeping an eye on JY while he was shopping with ZZX? “Watch him but don’t show yourself” type of deal? ZZX and JY were close to where HT and MGS were fighting, so maybe Qiu caught sight of them being in trouble, too? That would somewhat explain his very convenient timing. And I’m assuming Qiu’s objective is to always protect HT no matter what. So, he kind of changed assignments on the fly.
“How did Mo get to the hospital? (was it an ambulance and did HC do it?)”
There was a gap in the narrative between these two panels (ch. 244 and 245):
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Again, I’m assuming Qiu helped them after he was done with the group that had chased HT and MGS? Maybe HT ran into him while carrying MGS and told him to take them to the hospital? I imagine their locations were kind of close to each other in the streets? Maybe HT called HC and/or Qiu because he needed to do something fast and HC’s help could find them faster than an ambulance or a taxi? It’s all pretty much question marks, but I think Qiu drove them to the hospital.
“He Tian is in debt to his brother because he set Qiu Ge on a gang of bandits?”
Yes. At the least. HT might not have asked for Qiu/HC’s help, but HC had ended up saving them big time. In addition to that, HT asked HC to take care of “those people” so they won’t “bother his friend’s family in the future”. It’s a bit unclear how HC ended up doing that - if he did at all, the story hasn’t really gone back to that since then. Did he pay the group whatever MGS’s family was owing to them? Or did he threaten them to leave the family alone, perhaps to give them more time time to pay back or HC would pay them another visit? I could see both scenarios happen. HC doesn’t strike me as someone who would be looking to stir things up if it could be avoided, especially for some kid/family he doesn’t even know.
Either way, HT owed him. For what it’s worth, HC didn’t seem thrilled about having to twist HT’s arm like that and take advantage of his situation.
“If the morning is soon, then the dial should be 3-5 hours (night-morning???), that is, He Chen came for Tian at this time?”
Well, I’m not really surprised. I imagine being in HC’s line of work requires you to be able to get ready and out the door on a moment’s notice. It can’t matter even if it’s at dawn. Also, it was about HT, so I can’t picture HC prioritizing getting his 8 hours of sleep or consider putting someone else on it.
Thank you for questions, dear anon! And again, thank you for your patience!
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whatwashernameagain · 5 years
Keep him safe - Chapter 28
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You can read the previous Chapters here: Ch 1, Ch 5, Ch 10, Ch 15, Ch 20, Ch 25, Previous Chapter, Ao3 Link, Lo’s, Pat’s and Virgil’s aesthetics, Fantasy AU You are Magical, I’m dying to be with you
Pairings: Logan/Patton, Roman/Virgil
Words: 11.720
Warnings: memories of abuse, getting startled, mild panic, touching feet, food/baking, mentioned alcoholism. Let me know if I missed any.
Summary: Detective Logan Sanders and his best friend and dorky partner Roman Prince have made a dear friend in the lovely pattisier Patton. Logan however feels a lot more than friendship for the sweet man, even though he knows he cannot possibly have him. Their routine is broken abruptly when Logan finds bruises on Patton’s fair skin and slender wrists he could hardly have received from his costumary clumsiness. Meanwhile his partner Roman has his own demon to fight, which comes in the form of a little delinquent who seemed to have been pulled into a street gang quite against his will. Roman is determined to help the strange young man. It would be so much easier though if he just stopped hissing at him!
Notes: Sooooo I realized I’ve been criminally neglecting my Tag list and I am SO sorry! Please forgive me, I swear to do better. This Chapter was originally supposed to feature Remus already, but I realized it was too soon, Patton needed some more time. A special thanks again to my beloved betas @ultimate-queen-of-fandoms2 and @hanramz-the-fander, you are both simply incredible!
Chapter 28
Patton felt like his whole body was cut and bruised as he woke up after The Fight. This was not entirely unusual – he’d gotten used to bearing the sharp needle stabs of pain every movement caused in silence, yet this time, he did not have to get up painfully and treat quietly on the tips of his toes in a desperate attempt not to draw attention to himself and to somehow make up for his mistakes before Trevor got out of bed. Usually, he’d try to make breakfast, clean up the effects of last night, make himself pretty or at least presentable and fearfully hope the anger from before had vanished when his boyfriend woke up. He’d hardly dare to make a sound for days and try to smile and soothe whenever he could. He knew how badly Trevor handled those episodes when he lost control and would not want things to slip out of control again or have him falling into one of his depressive episodes over it.
This morning however, he woke to the quiet sound of voices whispering over his head. He smelled tea and laundry detergent and that green smell of a lot of verdant plants and damp earth. A large body was wrapped around him that rumbled against his back very softly, while a thin figure was still curled up in his arms, taking up little space. On instinct, the patissier remained small as a mouse, unnoticed and silent. As he blinked his eyes open carefully, he found that Cat had no such reservations. She and the kitten had spread themselves out in the night and taken up a large portion of the bed displaying soft belly fur while he, Roman and Virgil had shuffled away from sharp little paws and tails in their faces and had now settled at the corner of the mattress in a tangled pile.
Logan was awake already, as he usually was. Bathed in the warm, early morning light and dressed in a handsome, form fitting shirt in pale blue with the sleeves rolled up and top button undone, he looked soft in a way that suggested he hadn’t come online entirely yet. His raven hair was still slightly damp from the shower, curling at the ends. He wasn’t wearing a tie. While he carefully placed three mismatched mugs of tea on the bedside table, he quietly filled Roman in on their work schedule for the week and about how their application for a part-time home office had been granted.
Patton, used to carefully observing men’s moods especially when he was bruised to the bone, noticed dark, tired shadows under his eyes as well as bluish bruises on the knuckles of his right hand. Yet his shoulders and neck seemed to have lost some of the tension the patissier had become used to as they hugged, before the taller man’s muscles had relaxed as he’d wrapped his arms around Patton’s narrow waist. His next breath came more easily.
No one actively mentioned what had been done to him as they sleepily untangled from each other. As soon as he noticed Patton had woken up, Roman distracted him with anecdotes about sleeping with his animal friends (less glamorous than in the Disney stories!). He moved slowly as not to startle the younger man again. Virgil, still unusually quiet, helped settle Patton in the bed and slunk off to make breakfast.
“He’ll be okay, don’t worry, my dearest.” Roman assured him as he noticed the baker’s concerned look. Patton had huddled against the pillows stacked against the headboard and wrapped his arms around himself like a child, tiny and half buried under clean, if fur covered blankets. His honey-brown eyes were wide and wet.
“I’m sorry.” He blurted out. Guilt was creeping into the space behind his collar-bone, coalescing and rising up his throat bitterly. He tried very hard to keep his thoughts centered in this room, but even here, Virgil was suffering when Patton had only ever wanted to shield him from this. He’d spilled his problems into this safe space and now the air was thick with unaddressed emotion. Anger and blame and humiliating questions. Why did you let him do this? He’d been asked by everyone who found out. Shame threatened to drown him in a red hot wave, making him sweat and tremble.
A gust of cool morning-air ruffled his light-brown curls against his forehead. Logan had opened a window and was pushing a lightly furred, colorful plant around its already perfect spot on the windowsill. Its leaves were colored a deep burgundy red with pink in the middle and a light green border around the edges. It looked lovely between his pale, long fingers.
“Roman is right.” The detective muttered, keeping his gaze focused on the pot he was turning this way and that so the light caught it just right. He felt too shaken still to look Patton in the eyes and expose all of his feelings rattling loose and unprotected around his head. The sensation of the fragile cellular structure under his fingertips grounded him and he tried to focus on it entirely instead of the thrumming images of Patton hurt Patton bleeding Patton shying away from him in terror. He was afraid to meet his eyes lest he’d see the same fear again.
“You have no cause for worry anymore, Patton. I hope you understand that we will aid you as you deserve from now on and therefore solve any issue together. Neither you nor Virgil will be without support anymore, just as Roman and I surely will profit from your care. I am certain that no problem can be so insurmountable as not to be fixed by a group of such diverse talents and inclinations as this.” He uttered, trying to keep his voice low and soothing, hyper aware of the wide eyes focused on him.
The weight of the small patissier’s attention felt heavy suddenly. He swallowed hard, trying to chase away his insecurity. He had Patton here, finally, safe in his hands and Roman’s arms and Logan was petrified. He longed to touch Patton, to run his hands all over his body where blues and reds had been spilled under his skin and take the memories of violence and humiliation away. He wanted to replace his fear with trust, he wanted to make Patton smile, he hurt with how much he wanted his happiness.
The memory of his anguish as he’d been beaten to the ground made the detective understand what people referred to when they used overly poetic phrases like ‘gutted’. He could relate to the sensation of having a sharp metal hook driven into the space behind one’s throat, tear deep into the soft tissue of one’s neck and rip out all of the structures that gave stability. His whole nervous system felt torn from his body, impossible as it may be, and he was left with a feeling of being ripped open – tender and vulnerable.
The soft, burgundy colored leaf ripped in his shaking hand.
He took a deep breath, centering himself. Shutting it all away. Patton didn’t need his unreliable urges and needs right now. His features were smooth as he turned to the tangled little family on the bed.
“I believe it would be beneficial to orient our efforts on your needs directly, instead of attempting to presume the best course of action on your behalf. How may we assist you, Patton? What do you need?” He inquired politely, folding his hands in front of himself. Keeping them from where they might not be wanted.
Patton, now curled up against a mountain of pillows against the headboard with a not really awake kitten snoring in his lap, looked frightened at the offer.
Logan’s breath caught on the hook tearing at his neck. Had he demanded too much of Patton already? Had he frightened him with his clinical tone?
“It’s alright, dearest Patton.” Roman soothed. He settled the kitten comfortably in his little friend’s arms and gave him a soft smile.
“Whatever you need is alright. We won’t be mad and we don’t need to understand it to accept that you need it.”
The baker tried to believe his friend’s kind words, but the thing he knew he’d have to do as soon as Logan had offered would make them angry, he knew it. He was frustrating and hurting them and they did not deserve any of it.
He was too scared to ask.
“It’s about him, isn’t it?”
Virgil’s voice was quiet and hard to read. The young man was half hiding behind the door, burrowing his hands deep in his pocket. He sighed, his whole, thin body appearing to become heavier with it. After a long moment, he pulled himself together to face his frightened friend. He wouldn’t fail him again with his anger and prejudice.
“It’s okay, Patton. I get that you worry. You don’t just stop caring about people who hurt you, even if they’re bastards. Even when you should. So, what do you need?”
Oh fuck.
Tears started streaming down Patton’s pale, bruised face. He swallowed a sob, still utterly silent, small and undemanding.
Both Logan and Virgil had frozen, fearful of getting too close, of doing the wrong thing, of having caused -
Roman gave the barista a subtle nudge and Virgil went, offering his arms awkwardly.
Patton burrowed into the embrace gratefully. He loved Virgil so, so much. When he felt safe enough to raise his head, he found Logan crouching in front of him, quiet and patient.
“Please don’t put him in prison.”
The words had been spoken almost too quiet to hear. Patton was clearly frightened to make his request. He knew it would hurt Logan. And it did. The detective looked devastated. Patton still felt threatened by him, even if it wasn’t for his own sake.
Logan’s silence was painful to bear, thought it was not reproachful. Finally, he nodded.
“I will not do anything without your consent, Patton. I promised.”
“Oh. Thank you, Logan.” The slight patissier mumbled.
“There is no need for gratitude, Patton.”
“Yes there is! I know this is normal for you, because you are amazing and smart and kind and so nice to me all the time, to everyone really, but it means so much to me when you say that. You have no idea how important the things you say are. I’m so grateful to you. You’re my hero.” Patton exclaimed, suddenly finding it very important that the older man understood just how marvelous he found him.
Logan flushed brightly.
The group tried their best to understand that Patton wasn’t able to just ignore what happened to Trevor and move on. He at least had to find out if he was badly hurt, so they agreed to find out if he was still in the hospital and how to contact him after they fed him and made sure he was comfortable. Everyone was wound up so tightly, the time to breathe would help them calm down.
Breakfast was marvelous. Patton was better able to enjoy being taken care of now that he found that no one was angry at him for needing to check up on Trevor’s health. He knew they were disappointed that he could not make a clean cut, though. He understood them, too. Patton wished he were able to just close this chapter of his life and walk away. He didn’t know what he still needed to hear to make it happen. Maybe he was just too stupid to know when to stop.
As if sensing his heavy thoughts, Roman made sure to distract Patton. Making sure to keep any weight off his injured ankle, he carried him to the kitchen Virgil had taken over and kept him entertained while they ate the lovely food the barista had prepared. Then, they settled him on the comfortable couch with the kitten and cleaned up the kitchen together to give Patton some privacy to find out how the man that had injured him so badly was faring.
Though he had been feeling much better during breakfast, now that he stared at the number Logan had written down in his tidy handwriting in dark blue ink, he felt afraid once again. Yesterday had been the worst fight he’d had to live though in a long time and perhaps the most disappointed he’d ever been. Just thinking about it made him barely able to hold back his tears. He covered his face with his hands and tried to think of something other than his feral expression, so betrayed, so hateful. He was hit hard by how much he loathed the thought of hearing his voice. How badly he never wanted to see him again. He feared this man, no matter how much he’d loved him. Still, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t even find out how badly he was hurt. What kind of person would that make him? He was here, cared for so well and Trevor was all alone. No one would ask him how he was but Patton. He had no choice. With shaking hands, he picked up the phone – a land-line – of course Logan would still have one, dialed the number and was connected with Trevor’s room.
Even though he’d called him, hearing Trevor’s voice was a shock to Patton’s system. It made him freeze for a long moment, heart racing with terror.
“Hello, what is it?” He repeated. Then, more quietly, “Is that you, babe?”
“Um, yes.” Patton muttered. He couldn’t get out more than a whisper. He was tiny and afraid again, guilty and helpless once more.
A shocked flinch almost made him drop the phone altogether. The kitten he’d been left with had pounced on the hand lying in his lap and tried to wrestle with it. It’s tiny tail was sticking straight like a little flag. Patton remembered an expression he’d learned from an Austrian student when he’d studied for his patissier-training in Germany for a few months. ‘Autodromkatzer’ they called the really little kittens, because they’re tails would stick up like the flag-poles at the back those funny bumper cars. He’d always wanted to have one. Turning his hand a little he let the kitten gnaw at his finger with its tiny teeth. It looked proud to have caught him. He tried to focus on the warm baby animal to get through the conversation.
“Uh, yes. Sorry. Yes, it’s me. I’m sorry.” He stammered. Trevor couldn’t hurt him here, he reminded himself, only the feelings Patton just couldn’t control could. Trevor’s next sentence was enough to send him spiraling with guilt.
“You’re not here.” He sounded shaken. Alone. Patton struggled to find words through the tears gathering in his throat.
“I’m sorry you woke up alone. Are you hurt very badly?”
“Don’t pretend you care!” Trevor screeched suddenly, his voice almost breaking. “You did this to me! You brought him into our lives! How could you do this to us? I wasn’t enough and you went looking for someone better! Is that it? Did you want a better man?!”
“NO, Trevor, I never tried to-”
“Did you sleep with him?” Trevor interrupted. He sounded close to tears now. Patton clutched a hand over his mouth to hold himself together, breathing through the upset emotions for a moment.
“Never.” He whispered miserably. Nothing could eat away at his insides quite like his boyfriend’s suffering. His narrow chest ached so badly he had to wrap a bandaged arm around himself. “I never wanted to replace you, I swear. I love you. I only wanted you to be happy.”
Like a switch had been flipped, Trevor’s tone changed from broken to pleading, manipulating. Patton had never noticed it this clearly before.
“I want you to be happy too, babe. Don’t you see what that man is doing to us? He’s trying to steal you to keep you for himself where he can isolate you. He’s a psycho, you have no idea what he could do to you. Babe, he’s a cop, he can get away with doing whatever he wants with you and there’s nothing you could do about it.”
“Trevor, no-” Frustrated and worried for him, Patton tried to find the right words. He didn’t want him to work himself into a paranoid breakdown and he hated hearing him to upset, yet he couldn’t quite accept what he’d said.
“Logan isn’t like that, he would never hurt me.”
Patton flinched hard, almost dropping the phone. Shaking with sudden terror, he pressed himself against the cushions. Despite being half a city away, he expected to feel the consequences of this explosive anger for a terrible moment.
A movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention.
Logan stood in the doorway to the kitchen, framed by the colored glass and wood. He was clutching a dish towel in bruised hands, looking helpless. His dark eyes were large and worried, telling Patton he wanted to do nothing more than protect him somehow. Roman and Virgil were hovering behind him, frozen in their futile attempt to keep a wiggling Cat from climbing Roman’s back with sharp claws to get to the upper shelves and hover there in wait for unsuspecting victims. None of them looked anything like the abusive, controlling men Trevor was making them out to be. Patton had never seen the irony of his claims more clearly. He gave them a shaky smile.
Scooping the kitten up to his chest and holding it close, he braced himself.
“Trevor, please calm down. I’m so sorry you got hurt, but Logan was only trying to protect me. You left him no other choice. It wasn’t his fault.”
The unexpected reprimand was delivered softly, but it didn’t fail to have an effect. Trevor sounded taken aback. Once again, his tone changed seamlessly.
“You’re right, of course. I’m so sorry, babe. I- I deserve to get the shit kicked out of me, I shouldn’t have hurt you, you’re right, you’re always right. I don’t deserve you and I hate myself for what I did, please, I’m so sorry, I just want you to be happy. I’m so sorry I’m such a failure.” He rambled, his voice thick with tears and desperation. Horrified and a little disoriented at the sudden change, Patton rushed to reassure him.
“You’re not a failure! I’m so proud of you for how you wanted to try to fix things! You wanted to work on yourself and that is so good of you! I believe in you, you can get better! Please don’t say those things!”
Trevor’s response became soft as butter. He sounded so helpless, harmless.
“I can’t do it without you, though! Babe, I’m nothing without you! When I woke up alone I didn’t know how to go on. I love you so much, you’re the most important thing I have, you’re my babe. My love. I’ll try to be what you deserve, I’ll give you everything, I’ll listen to you, whatever you want, just please come home, don’t stay with that psycho. I don’t know what he told you, but he doesn’t love you like I do. He doesn’t need you.”
Patton froze. Yes, he was right. Logan didn’t need him.
His gaze fell on the clean floor at his feet, swept over the healthy plants, over Virgil whose cheeks were gaining color and Roman who was wrestling a confident stray, to Logan who was trying – and failing – to look like he was not watching Patton to see if he needed any help. Nicodemus sat on his shoulder nibbling a nut with both paws. The little animal had been adopted into a flat that was tidy and clean. There was no screaming here, no violent episodes, no broken glass in corners no matter how much Patton cleaned, no odd jobs that were barely legal and that forced Patton to pay the rent for both of them, no accusing looks and threatening, thick silences. Logan had his life under control. He didn’t need Patton in it.
Nothing could have prepared him for the relief he felt. Logan didn’t need Patton to make him eat or shower, to compensate for his unpredictable moods or to satisfy his emotional or physical needs. Logan didn’t need him to survive.
Patton had never truly felt the pressure he had been living with until this moment.
His narrow shoulders fell with an exhaustion that came with finally unwinding. Finally letting go. The thought of not being needed had always terrified him, until he had learned what it meant to be wanted, instead of needed.
“You’re right.” He muttered softly.
Trevor pounced on the change of heart with the desperation of a drowning man, modifying his tone to what he believed would make Patton so what he wanted, as the baker noticed.
“I know, babe. But it’s okay. You made a mistake with that man and you got in too deep with him, but I forgive you. I’ll always be there for you, I’d never leave you. Now everything can be different. Now you’ll come home and we’ll figure everything out.”
A long, startled pause stretched on the other line.
“I’m not coming home. I’m sorry. I really tried to give you what you need, but I’ll never be able to make things right for you. Only you can do that. Please get help.” He pleaded, making things quick before he lost his courage entirely. And softly, he added. “I love you.”
Patton hung up.
Astonished silence flooded the apartment. Though they had definitely tried not to listen, all three men were watching the patissier from the doorway of the kitchen, baffled at the abrupt cut the gentle baker had made.
The phone slipped from numb fingers and landed on the turquoise cushion with a dull thud. Patton was crying before any of them had the chance to process that he had just effectively evicted Trevor from his life.
His tears were hot on his cheeks and seemed to leave burning lines behind. Yet as he looked up through the haze he found not only endless patience and affection on the faces of the men he’d chosen over his boyfriend, but also awed pride.
They were proud of him.
Though he was crying, he felt nothing but relief.
During the next two days, Patton’s overwhelmed body and mind simply shut down. He was tired and drained to the bone by his injuries and the emotional stress his decision had caused him to the point of simply sleeping most of the time. Whenever he woke up, someone was there to fuss over him or at least he had a pet to cuddle. He was fed and cared for and finally, on the third day, he woke up and felt like he finally had the strength to face the world again. It felt like a new day.
That day was a Saturday and from what he could tell from the sounds of the apartment, the others were already awake. The shower was running next door and he could hear Logan’s annoyed voice grumbling and cursing from the bathroom over the running water. A moment later, Roman wailed his complaints about his ignored hygienic needs. Poor Logan really wasn’t safe anywhere.
Through the crack in the bedroom door, Patton saw the younger detective shuffle out of the bathroom in his silk night-gown with the large, smooth fabric adorned by a crimson flowery pattern threatening to slip over one shoulder, arms laden with the beauty products he had apparently not been able to wait for. There were little pieces of cotton stuck between the painted toes to protect the fresh coat of ruby polish. It made him waddle like a fancy duck. Surprised by his own feelings, Patton giggled. The moment the unexpected sound left his lips he knew he’d found his mission for the day. He’d make sure no one would have to worry about him anymore. The most important thing for him had always been to make his family happy and he had not been doing a very good job of it recently. He knew they’d worried and especially Logan seemed to have dealt badly with the knowledge that Patton had been with a troubled man and had refused the offered support. He must have felt very helpless.
He wouldn’t be the cause of any more worry. No Sir. Today, he’d smile and start making himself useful. It was hard to imagine how much they had to care for him in, well, the last few months, really. He’d been such a burden. The memories of Logan’s restrained, worried glances kept piling up in his head the more he thought about it. He’d asked so much of the poor man, how would he ever make up for it? The fact that he had slept away the days in the detective’s bed after literally having to be carried in his arms to safety felt impossible to wrap his silly little head around.
But now Patton felt some new hope. Yes, he was still hurting and yes, he was lost. More lost than he’d even been in fact. During all of his adult life, he’d been with Trevor. He’d always had him to focus on and structure his life around. Now, he was gone, along with the flat and the relationship that had given him stability and purpose. But the end of their life together had not ended Patton’s world as he’d been sure it would. He’d fallen and been caught in the most gentle embrace. This time, his laugh did not have to be forced. Especially considering his lovely Roman was the most exasperatingly adorable thing in the whole wide world for sure!
Having already passed the room, upon hearing the little giggle, Roman retraced his steps and stuck his ruffled head into the room. With the side cut and his uncombed hair standing up in a curled mess, Patton amended that an awkwardly strutting peacock might be more fitting than a waddling duck.
A happy peacock at that, since he brightened like sunshine as his attentive examination revealed his friend’s cheerful expression.
“Dearest Patton, the sight of your lovely face makes my heart soar! How are you faring this fine morning?”
“Morning, RoRo! I’m feeling like a new person!” Patton cheered with his sweetest smile, spreading his arms wide. His cheek was still tender and must have turned to a bluish purple, he knew, and his split lip protested when he smiled, but he didn’t bleed again, which was great.
The look of affectionate relief on his friends face was enough to melt Patton and make him feel so soft. How he adored Roman. He loved the way he looked so cute this morning, caught in the middle of his grooming, or the obnoxious need for attention that had probably made him sneak into the bathroom just as much as the desire for his rose-scented lotion. Sometimes, Patton thought he liked to annoy Logan just to enjoy the fact that his partner would scold him but still so obviously love him. Just to wake up and get to witness Roman harassing Logan during his shower (and most importantly get away with such a thing Patton would have been terrified to do) made him feel blessed and soothed his heavy heart. It was the atmosphere of this place – the sounds in all corners of the flat speaking of people comfortably going about their business. Not to mention the personal touches of everyone who lived here. One of Roman’s pictures hung above this very bed. Patton had looked at it a lot when he had woken up at night. The room was never really dark due to the timers on the planet-shaped lights spread around the room. He’d known about them from Logan’s confession of course, yet during his second night here, he’d noticed another endearing detail. The large image of a black, blue and purple cosmic nebula appeared to wake up in the near-darkness and became awash with a thousand glowing stars spread over the canvass. It was so beautiful and so thoughtful of Roman.
The next day, he’d found a book about renewable energy sources tidily filled with lavender and purple post-it notes in the chair next to the bed. And of course, he saw Logan’s presence everywhere. Though he’d been too tired to stay awake long, he’d examined the collectibles and self-built models of spaceships that had been strung from the ceiling or crammed between the books. Logan would not love to hear them called toys, but Patton still did, in the privacy of his mind. The more he cautiously snooped around, the more he found traces of the kid the serious detective tried hard to hide. There were a lot of detective novels with lovingly touch-softened pages and even quite a few comic books in the very bottom of the shelf. One was missing, probably swiped by Virgil to read half-hidden under the covers of his bed. Patton had wondered, tentatively, in his silly, hopeful moments, if he would be allowed to spread out his roots this way as well. The light gray hair floating through the sunlit patches of air in the bedroom suggested that maybe he already had.
Roman was more than happy to exchange him for his lotion and whatnot and sweep him into his arms, despite the dangerous wobble the cottoned toes caused him. Both he and Logan still insisted on carrying him everywhere, due to his ankle. He had a crutch, Logan had made sure to have everything he might need on hand, but he had never had the chance to use it.
The sleeping ball of fur was simply placed in his lap. It made a soft “Whrm?” noise upon being grabbed by a large hand and continued to sleep.
The living-room was filled with a delightful smell that wafted in from the kitchen like warm fog blanketing every surface. Virgil was humming to the quiet music Patton would describe as adorably punky be-bop. The edgy lyrics always made him think those kiddos needed a hug.
Roman settled Patton on a comfy chair at the long, wooden table in the kitchen where he could easily watch Virgil and wobbled to retrieve his lotions. Virgil stilled as he spotted them, spatula laden with an unflipped pancake in hand and pale feet bare on the clean floors. Pulling his sleep-messy curls back from his face, Patton grinned at him, genuinely happy to see his kiddo so at home and doing something he enjoyed. He had never had such an easy time summoning his smile and covering his aches and fears. And he would do just that! Virgil had been terribly silent and hurt the other day and Patton would make extra sure nothing reminded him of the things that had happened to him. He would not bring his failures and issues into this home anymore!
“Good morning, Virgil! What an eggsquisite day! I’ve never slept butter!” He chirped with perhaps a touch too much cheer, intending to make very sure his friend lost the concerned frown marring his pretty features.
Still, Virgil huffed a quiet laugh, shoulders sagging with relief.
“Morning Pat. Want some tea?” He mumbled.
“Sure! Let me help you, sweetie!” Patton offered, feeling perfectly capable of making his way around the kitchen with his minor injuries. He barely felt the cuts on his hand and arm anymore after Logan had diligently cleaned and checked them every day.
“Nah, it’s fine. I got this.” Virgil waved off his offer, worriedly waving the spatula in his direction to shoo him back into his seat. He looked like he would use it to coral Patton back into a sitting position if he had to. It was an endearing thought. Though he didn’t do well being catered to, Patton could see how comfortable Virgil was with the pancakes baking, the pretty, colorful fruits diced in a bowl behind him on the counter and the eggs bubbling in another pan. He’d claimed this space for himself and was ruling it confidently. The atmosphere was contagious. Patton couldn’t remember feeling so light and calm before breakfast in a long time. He was so proud of Virgil.
Instead of following his ever present urge to work to make the people around him happy and anticipate and fulfill their needs, Patton allowed himself to settle down and watch the fattening raccoon noisily demolish the fruit peels left for it on the counter. A moment later, a thick walled ceramic mug was placed before him, steaming with sweetened tea.
“Thanks a brunch!” He exclaimed, smiling in a way he hoped conveyed just how well he thought the former gang member was doing. He knew his praise made him shy, so he tried to convey his love and pride non-verbally as much as he could. Even so, Virgil flushed and ducked his head.
The sound of a closing door announced Logan’s immediate arrival and caused the barista to grab a grumbling raccoon under the belly and settle it on the floor with its bowl. After a quick wipe of the counter he was back to innocently flipping pancakes by the time the detective entered the room.
A quick burst of white hot fear shot through Patton. Had the raccoon not been allowed on the counter? Would Logan get angry? He’d been feeling very well a second ago, but now he could not help remembering how intimidating the tall detective could be in his rare, intense fits of anger.
The disgruntled glance Logan examined the counter with showed that he was not fooled about the whereabouts of the raccoon, but he said nothing about it. A little smile lit up Virgil’s face as he found that he was allowed to get away with his transgression. Neither man seemed inclined to pay more attention to the situation.
Patton hid a trembling sigh behind his cup, quickly recovering from his brief moment of shock. It was like missing a step and feeling like falling – frightening, but only for a moment. His little heart would slow down eventually.
“Good morning Patton, Virgil.” Logan nodded to the both, trying, and failing, to subtly examine Patton. The patissier smiled brightly at the taller man.
“Heyja Logan! Don’tcha worry, there is muffing wrong with me! Roman carried me here and Virgil wouldn’t let me help at all. I couldn’t hurt myself if I fried!” He joked, pleased with the way the sound of the sizzling pan underlined his puns.
A small twitch of his lip told Patton that the return of the puns was appreciated. He was so glad to see the man’s shoulders loosening. He refused to allow any dark thoughts to enter this flat today. The guilty dreams he’d battled during his tired days and nights had been more than enough. It was time to start over and make his friends smile as much as he possibly could. The mission invigorated him and filled him with a purpose he’d been so terrified to live without. He focused on it completely, finally managing to not feel torn by conflicting loyalties anymore. He’d managed to make a decision that was final and that allowed him to start a new chapter.
Roman joined them just in time to be fed, briefly having to squabble about his chair with Cat who liked to steal his spots in particular to place her paws on the table and creepily stare at everyone.
It occurred to Patton that this was the first time he got to experience a normal day at the flat.
Breakfast in Logan’s household was something Patton had imagined a lot while he’d brewed black coffee before the sun rose and tidily set the table in the hopes of making Trevor eat. He’d wondered what it would be like to see them all sitting together in the morning ever since Virgil had mentioned they ate together.
Very domestic, as it turned out. Whenever Roman wasn’t chatting, Logan and Virgil had short, quiet conversations, like they needed very little space next to the loud young man to understand each other. They all made sure to involve Patton and entertain him, while still trying not to demand too much. He must still feel very fragile to them. Or perhaps they did not trust his sudden good mood. Patton had the feeling he would have to deal with some issues sooner or later, as he always did when he pushed away his dark feelings during happier times at work, but for now he felt freed. There was no going back and for once, he felt too good to beat himself up. There was more than enough to distract him after all.
As the day continued he found that the members of Logan’s household tended to drift apart doing various things on their own without really being alone. Roman read magazines on the couch, occasionally showing the pictures to Patton or gossiping with him and later settled on a cushion on the floor to paint.
Logan would scowl at him and berate him about the growing radius of supplies scattered around him like debris after a colorful meteorite strike after he nearly brained himself from stepping on a paintbrush on his way to the kitchen. He buzzed around the flat with various cleaning supplies before he got busy with his books or laptop in his room or occasionally at his desk in the living-room, though he made his rounds through the flat like a clockwork, harassing people to drink water like a mother-hen. Even the pets were carried to their bowls whether they wanted to or not. Trying to scoot backwards between his feet to escape was pointless. Being a good pet lead to tasty rewards, though. Nicodemus clearly had it figured out long ago and was gazing at the poor, dumb beasts trying to evade the clumsy love and care with aloof pity.
Virgil snuck out of the flat for two hours with a gym bag once but otherwise he drifted through the rooms silently like a pale ghost, making snacks, working in his room or curling up with Patton in the very corner of the sofa to read quietly.
The patissier himself had been settled on the couch with a nest of pillows, surrounded by an odd collection of things his friends thought he might enjoy. Books and magazines, the remote control for Netflix kids, cookies and a tablet for scrolling through Pinterest, and set aside for when his hand was healed more, an adult coloring book and even knitting needles and a ball of rainbow-colored wool, both still packed together in plastic. Logan had left it for him like a reverse thief in the night, blushing bashfully.
Patton awoke from his nap as the shadows lengthened from the mid-afternoon sun. Before they’d all fallen into a food induced coma, Virgil had cooked lunch for them while Logan had diced the vegetables into very tidy squares. The creamy pumpkin soup with garlic-herb baguettes had made everyone sleepy and caused the comfortable silence that was still heavy in the air as Patton rubbed his eyes. He’d slept more than enough during the last few days. Freeing himself from the tangle of Roman’s long limbs, he quietly got up and headed for the kitchen. Though he’d been very well entertained, he couldn’t help the familiar urge that drew him to the workspace. Creating something lovely and tasty was the best way for him to put his mind at ease and he knew very well that too much time to think would hardly be a good idea. It would undoubtedly leave him spiraling with thoughts of who he’d left behind and allow him to remember of all of the threats Trevor had made about what he’d do if Patton ever decided to leave him in vivid detail. With Roman’s cheerful help, he’d already knitted a fair length of a quite uneven scarf in order to keep his mind pleasantly blank, making the kitten fall asleep after exhausting itself chasing after Patton’s wool. Yet, nothing soothed him quite like baking.
Logan had left the crutch within his reach so he now used it to get around. It was no trouble for Patton, since he knew the pain of walking on injured limbs would become ignorable with enough distractions after a while. After quietly easing the lovely doors shut so not to wake Roman snoring noisily on the sofa, Patton dared to roam around the beautiful, brightly lit kitchen like he’d dreamed for so long. The white, classy cabinets and the warm, wooden floor made the space so comfortable and inviting to him. He’d secretly dreamed a lot about what he’d do here given half the chance, and baking was only a part of those daydreams. He wasn’t serious of course. Daring to suggest redecorations in a flat where he actually had no business spreading his issues would be unbelievably rude and he did feel a bit ashamed of his thoughts, but it was just a harmless hobby, he told himself. No one needed to know.
First, he opened the balcony doors to let in the fresh air. There were a few sensible, evergreen plants placed around the sunny space, but otherwise Logan hadn’t done too much with it yet. Patton had so many nice ideas. Colorful cushions and low benches and maybe a pretty fabric pulled over the balcony to shield them from the brightness. And lots of cheerful flowers to go along with the useful herbs Logan or Virgil had planted there. And fairy lights for the evening. Also a few flowers on the table in the kitchen and perhaps some candles in varying shades of blue would made the space feel even more like a home. He could clearly imagine how well his professional, turquoise Kitchen-aid would fit in with the matching colors of the living-room.
He shook his head at his silly ideas. Best not to let a jumbled mind like his run wild, he’d only say something dumb and insult somebody.
Now, what could he bake to make himself useful? Logan had repeatedly said he could, (“‘Make yourself at home’, is, I believe, the correct figure of speech”), yet he was still a little shy about looking around. Would Logan even have baking supplies? He’d never heard him mention it before and he knew Virgil preferred to cook. Best have a look around and find out. Making extra sure to remember the way things were stored so not to make the tidy man mad at him, Patton started searching the cabinets like a slightly nervous kid during Easter. Bending and walking hurt and he got dizzy standing up to the point of almost toppling over, but he could handle that. While he found some useful baking pans and even a muffin-tray, as well as an old set of cookie cutter shapes he was quite intrigued by, the real prize awaited him in the little pantry whose door was discreetly placed in the far corner.
All of the wooden shelves along the walls were neatly labeled and most of the ingredients and supplies were stored in mason jars to protect against moths or stacked in pretty, weaved baskets. There was enough stuff to feed the whole household for weeks. Logan seemed to be a little on the paranoid side, which surprised – precisely - no one.
Curiosity awakened, Patton limped into the little room, examining the sections – rice, grain, soy, lentils, nuts, jams (lots), canned vegetables, oh – baking. Next to large mason jars filled with three different types of flour he found a whole section of the shelves near the back filled with baskets whose contents he was quite familiar with. He found one labeled ‘sugars’ filled not only with brown, powdered and white sugar, but also with an array of sugar-based decorations like sprinkles and a colorful selection of candies. Another box contained various little packages of baking soda, yeast, citrus-, rum- and butter-aroma, several spices like cinnamon, lavender, ginger, nutmeg and other little helpers. There even was a basket containing different kinds of chocolates, chocolate-chips and pure cocoa powder. Everything was still sealed in its original package.
Patton stood for a long moment, hands clasped over his mouth to stifle any sound, and just cried.
Why were they doing this?
He tried to grope for an explanation that did not make him look like a hopeful, deluded idiot. Had Logan or Virgil planned to learn how to bake? Patton didn’t think so. Before his mind’s eye, the image of Logan diligently researching baking supplies was clear as day. He’d gone shopping with Roman – the candies were far too elaborate and playful for the serious man, and perhaps Virgil had come too. Lavender and ginger were hardly part of the basic set. His clever barista had an eye for flavors though.
His lip hurt like a flash of white hot lightning as he bit it to stifle his gasps as he cried, alone in this tiny little room where Logan and his family had created a space for him. He didn’t even know why his tears had come this time, he just felt so overwhelmed. He should be laughing, but all he did was cry. All he ever did was cry. Virgil had had it much harder than him, he bet, but he was sure he’d never been this ridiculous.
Trying to pull himself together only made him gasp harder for a moment. He had to lean heavily on the sturdy shelves, making the glass jars filled with peaches and cherries clink together softly. Yet with the passing minutes, he calmed. Settling his gaze firmly on the supplies bought for him, Patton manage to ignore his dizziness and focus. To his own shock, a wheezing laugh escaped him. His chest felt jumbled and untidy with its storm of emotions, but a few were starting to gain the upper hand. Love, for one. He felt loved and he just loved these men so much in return. They’d made a group effort to give Patton what he wanted so much – what he’d always wanted in life. A place to belong. He was jittery with joy suddenly, and realized he was crying with happiness.
This was what he’d always looked for but had never gotten in his life with Trevor. A home where he was seen with all of his needs and wishes. A place where he was wanted and where he was allowed to just be. Knowing he wouldn’t dare to do it himself, Logan invited him to take space for himself instead of making him reduce his bothersome needs to the bare minimum. Sometimes he’d felt like Trevor’s mental illness had pushed everything else out and had not left enough space in their lives for more than one person, so Patton had to be less than that. Less emotional, less needy, less… himself.
He allowed another laugh, finding the feeling just so nice. He hadn’t indulged in the pleasure of laughing in so long. Grief and elation were so close together right now, he didn’t know how to tell them apart sometimes. His mood swings scared him a little, but then again, he’d always been a little all over the place. Messy.
His hands were salty with tears because he’d brushed them over his tear-damp cheeks, mindful of the purplish bruise. He’d have to wash them extra carefully. Now, time to bake and be well. He was determined to heal.
As he examined the ingredients, he realized that his bandaged hand wouldn’t make things easy for him, but again, what was new? He’d leave the crutch and just hobble around a bit. Like a rabbit. It would be fun.
But what would he bake?
As he rifled through the things he loved so much, the tastes and smells appeared in his mind, combining vividly with everything his fingers touched. The aromas of vanilla, cinnamon, citrus, butter and chocolate were as clear to him as if he were working with them right now. He tidied around himself a little as he thought, putting the packets back in order and turning to rearrange the jars with the various fruits nicely. The glass of cherries landed in his hands again and he thought of the German curse Logan had thrown Roman’s way this morning in the shower. Patton knew some German from his unfortunately brief time learning there. It had been the biggest adventure of his life! He hadn’t thought he’d be brave enough to go through with it, all alone on another continent. But the scholarship had been paid for and he’d just been so curious. Even Trevor, who had been doing better than he had in the last few years, had seen how much he wanted to go. And it had been so worth the apprehension. He’d found the place so quaint with its colorful half-timber houses, old shutters and geraniums at the windows and the people hadn’t been as strict as he’d feared at all. Actually, many had been just as confused as him. And he’d learned most of the popular curses from a colleague. That was something he couldn’t tell anyone of course.
Logan’s dad had been German, if Patton remembered correctly. He wondered if he would appreciate something from home, sort of. He didn’t even know if the detective had ever been there, but considering how well educated he was, he’d probably seen much more of the world than little Patton.
Mind made up and looking forward to getting dirty, Patton started gathering supplies and piling them on the counter – mercifully without dropping any of them because of his injured hand. The German Black Forest Cake was a favorite of Patton’s, even though he sometimes thought it could do with more cheerful colors. The only concession he would make would be to leave out the Kirschwasser, and not only because there was none to be found. Though he sometimes used alcohol to bake in his Pat-isserie, he’d never included any in the recipes he made at home. He’d grown up with the horrors of an alcoholic father and had lived in constant fear of losing Trevor to the same addiction. It was one of the only things he’d ever put his foot down in the relationship. He would have only little alcohol in the flat, if at all.
It was something he’d guiltily looked for in the pantry as well. He hadn’t really gotten to know Logan and Roman properly in their private space yet and he knew how men could show a different picture in public before revealing their struggles in the comfort of home. He tried hard to ignore that some part of him waited for the other shoe to drop. He hadn’t found any hint of a terrible secret yet, though. There was some white wine in the pantry that looked cheap enough to cook with as well as a bottle each of sparkling-wine, Rosè and bourbon pushed into a corner with the gift-cards still attached. The wine was still in its paper bag and the carton of the bourbon was unopened. Well, Patton had had his own fair share of impersonal gifts to deal with, so he could understand the reaction of just sticking them somewhere out of sight.
Reassured, Patton decided to simply heat some cherry jam with water to spread over the chocolate cakes for the added moisture and mix it with almond extract to make some of the bitterness balance the sugar and replicate the sharpness of the alcohol.
After turning on the oven so the batter would have a warm and toasty home, he leaned against the counter to take the weight off his ankle and started measuring flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder for the chocolatey note and sifting them into a large bowl. The smell of the cocoa filled the room immediately and rose in the air like a powder soft cloud. Holding his tools carefully so not to have them slip because of his cottony bandage, Patton held his uninjured hand under the sieve as he shook the dry mixture into the bowl and sighed at the silk-like texture on his pale skin. The contact to soft, pleasant materials like yielding flour you could make satisfyingly smooth imprints in with your spoon, cool, brightly-colored sprinkles, or melting chocolate had always created a contrast to his life at home that could pull him out of his head and into the moment entirely. The darkened flour flowed down between his fingers like water, soft as flower-petals.
Pushing the mixture aside, Patton prepared the pan so the cake would come out without breaking into sad little pieces before preparing to separate the eggs. Beating the egg white into a solid cloudy mass and carefully mixing it with the rest of the batter would make the whole thing delightfully light and fluffy. Also, Patton loved the smooth and pure look of egg white clouds growing solid in flowing swirls in the bowl.
Knowing he’d need a little more space to work, the patissier pushed aside the pans quietly while grabbing another bowl for the egg-shells. In his mind, he was already a few steps ahead, which caused him to forget about his precarious grip on the smooth glass caused by his bandaged fingers. The pristine bowl slipped from his hand before he’d really noticed and shattered with a shockingly loud crash, exploding crystal-clear shards all over the ground.
Patton jumped in shock, terror stabbing through his insides like an ice-cold knife. His heart was racing instantly, cold sweat breaking out on his pasty skin. He stumbled backwards, instinctively wanting to hide, as a solid form appeared behind him.
The little patissier flinched hard, barely repressing a shriek as he was grabbed.
“Patton, please don’t be alarmed. I did not intend to startle you.” A calm voice rumbled in his ear.
For a long moment, Patton heard nothing but the deep baritone close to him and knew that he would be hurt with absolute certainty. His whole body trembled as his lungs struggled to work, adding dizziness to panic. He felt terrifyingly helpless.
Yet, the moment of being shaken, being beaten and tossed to the ground passed.
The smaller man’s rabbit-fast heart seemed to miss a beat from sheer relief as he was slowly released from his all encompassing terror. Logan hadn’t grabbed him, he’d wrapped his arms around him and pulled him back so his vulnerable, sock-clad feet had ended up standing on his running shoes, safely away from the sharp glass glinting in the mid-day sun.
Looking down at the image of himself standing on Logan’s feet like a child, Patton had to laugh despite his breathlessness. He was still reeling from his sudden fear, but the way he was being held was just too funny to keep his amusement at bay. Feeling him relax in his arms, the detective helped Patton turn around in his embrace so he could hold on to his shoulders and stand a little safer. Tension seeped out of him as Patton breathed out a sigh that seemed to release all of the tightness in his muscles. He held him closer carefully with his arms around his narrow waist. Despite neither having intended it, the hold turned into a comforting hug as Patton’s forehead fell against the cotton of the navy-blue t-shirt covering Logan’s shoulder.
The taller man had dressed for a run before he had been lured into the kitchen by tasty smells. He hadn’t meant to sneak up on Patton. The way he’d been so relaxed and competent with a soft smile on his lovely lips had just drawn him in. Now there was nothing separating them but two t-shirts warmed by their bodies. Getting lost in the moment, Patton turned his head to lay his cheek on the worn material, finally sinking against Logan’s chest like he should have days ago. They had both been so shy to touch for different reasons. He hadn’t realized how badly he had wanted this contact until now. His friend was so alive and reliable against his body. His chest expanded with quiet breaths Patton could feel warm against his neck and his heart beat a little too quickly against his own. Trustingly, he pushed himself close, liking the way he could feel so much more of the other man’s chest without the layers of pressed fabric between them. Every muscle in his back seemed to respond to the way Patton’s hands ran over them and he was getting absolutely lost in it. He even caused a little shiver in the stoic man that was just so adorably in character for him. He enjoyed that he knew that the detective was blushing even more hotly right now, despite how different the embrace was in some ways. For one, he was taller than usually, standing on the other man’s feet.
Logan ran a soothing, careful hand over the slender back without breaking the secure hold around the waist in his grip. With a little shifting, he managed to take the pressure off of the injured leg. The baker shouldn’t be standing up in the first place. Regrettably, he knew he’d better get him off his feet. He allowed himself a last breath of the pale curls though, smelling vanilla and cocoa and a warmth that came from Patton as much as from his own insides when he pressed him against his body. He was filled with protectiveness and affection so powerful it seemed to seep into every crevice of his being.
“We should avoid aggravating your sprained ankle. May I set you down on the counter?” He asked softly, mindful of how close his lips were to Patton’s ear so not to startle the relaxed creature in his embrace. He was gratified to notice how long the other appeared to need to respond, as if he was too relaxed to process the words. Indeed he could feel the small form grow pliant and heavy in his arms, trusting him to press him closer to hold him up.
“Hmn?” Blinking his eyes open, Patton lifted his face towards his friend, bringing them very close. Despite his bruised face, he was achingly pretty.
“Your ankle.” Logan reminded him gently, his deep voice resonating between them. “I would like to lift you onto the counter in order to avoid pressure on the pulled ligaments.”
“Oh, right.”
Growing more aware of his surroundings, Patton pulled back self-consciously and looked down at the broken glass, instantly pulling his limbs closer to his body to make himself smaller. Guilt coalesced in this chest.
“I’m so sorry I broke your bowl. I didn’t mean to make a mess. If you didn’t want me to clutter your kitchen I-”
“No!” Logan hastened to reassure him, uncharacteristically falling over his worlds in his fear for losing the pleasant atmosphere that had finally made Patton relax. “No, I am happy you are making yourself at home. Please utilize whatever you like. I enjoy seeing you and Virgil use the kitchen. And… I apologize for interrupting you.” He added self-consciously, already feeling a flush climb his cheeks. How could he be so rude?
Patton huffed a little laugh at how sweet Logan was to him. The last of his fear seemed to drain from him like sand running through the cracks of old stone. The more vulnerability the other showed him, the more confident in his wish to put him at ease Patton grew.
“Okay. Thank you.”
With a shy smile, Logan ducked his head. Shifting his grip, he gently wrapped his strong hands around the narrow hips and lifted the patissier up with barely an effort. Patton yelped despite having been warned and held on to the ever shifting muscle of Logan’s shoulders as they flexed under his hands. With a little giggle, he found himself safely deposited on the counter between the ingredients, a flushed, bashful detective standing before him. This time, they were pretty much of equal height. It was almost impossible to avoid eye contact this way, since his usual strategy of looking over Patton’s shoulder when embarrassed failed to work this way. Logan gazed at the tender, hazel eyes for a long moment before he couldn’t handle his shyness anymore. Ducking his head, he mumbled something about checking his ankle if he did not mind and suddenly he was gone.
Having swept the glass aside unceremoniously, he had crouched down and started brushing leftover glass dust from the cheerfully colored socks. Shocked at the sudden, ticklish sensations, Patton laughed in delight and pulled his feet up protectively, hugging his legs to his chest. Logan pulled his hands back abruptly.
“I apologize. May I examine your ankle for additional injuries?” He asked patiently, looking up from the ground at Patton far above him. The little patissier’s breath caught as the humbleness of the gesture sunk in. Logan was literally kneeling before him, keeping his hands loosely folded in his lap as if in prayer. The moment suddenly felt terribly intimate.
Feeling his breath catch in his throat, Patton lowered his feet slowly, wanting the attention the man before him was offering yet feeling oddly bashful. He looked vulnerable like that, settled at his feet as if waiting for a benediction, hopeful and undemanding. Even after Patton had uncurled, he waited for his nod before taking hold of his foot with the utmost care. First, he made sure no glass had caught in the material of his sock before carefully pulling the material down. The air felt cool on his foot in comparison to the warmth of Logan’s hand as he cradled his ankle to avoid moving it after slowly unraveling the bandage that gave him stability. Patton’s breath caught as those long fingers softly brushed over the swollen area.
“I’m sorry. I did not intend to hurt you.” The detective offered immediately, stopping his explorations.
“It’s fine. You’re really- um- really nice about it. Toetally sweet. I am head over heels with how you take care of me!” Patton joked, softly kicking his now neglected feet. He felt good. Fluttery, somehow.
He saw Logan bite back a small smile and allowed himself to enjoy the bright happiness heating his insides. The loving attention seemed to warm his limbs with an exciting sensation washing through him. His friend’s slightly calloused hands closed around his calf to hold him still as he examined his foot, before carefully brushing the back of his fingers over his sole to make sure no glass had cut him or was still stuck to his skin. A shiver ran down Patton’s body that was only partially due to ticklishness. The room had become intimately silent while Logan re-wrapped the still slightly swollen joint.
“You are healing adequately.” He muttered, sounding satisfied. Yet he did not appear to be ready to release Patton. Gently insistent, he made sure to check the other foot for cuts and glass before replacing both socks and even rubbing some warmth into the now a little cool toes tenderly. Patton felt soft.
Logan demanded Patton stay on the counter while he cleaned up the glass, so he kicked his feet softly and watched the unfamiliar scene of having somebody contently clean up for him. Once he was done, he asked for his hand to examine it with a critical glance.
“You should allow your injuries sufficient time to heal to ensure optimal flexibility. Some of your cuts were deep enough to damage the muscle tissue underneath the skin.” The detective complained softly. Despite his criticism, he cradled the smaller hand gently between his own while brushing his thumb over the back soothingly. Patton hunched his shoulders guiltily.
“You’re right, of course. I’m really sorry, Logan. I just get so antsy and then I need to do something, you know? I should have known better, but I have to work whenever you’re not around to take care of me too, so I thought… never mind. I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad.” He asked in a small voice.
“There is no need to apologize, Patton. I have no right to dictate your actions and I did not intend to lecture you.” He appeared to puzzled over a problem for a moment while he gently rubbed the hand in his grasp.
“I would like to help you fulfill your need for productivity. Do you suppose you would still be satisfied if I acted on your behalf? I am not a proficient baker, but I should be able to follow your instructions with reasonable accuracy.”
Patton brightened instantly, immediately taken by the idea.
“You would bake with me? Really? I thought you wanted to go out. You’re dressed for a run...”
“It is of no consequence. Allow me a moment to put my trainers away and wash my hands, then we may proceed according to your wishes.”
Oh, the patissier was awed by the idea. He loved baking with friends, it was such a comfortable thing to do! He just hoped Logan really wouldn’t mind following his instructions or grow bored or irritable. He was such a patient and skillful man, though. What could possibly go wrong?
As it turned out, baking didn’t come as naturally to Logan as it did to Patton. The detective listened respectfully and attentively, but even though he did as the baker asked, somehow, even the most simple things went differently for him than for Patton. Even during his first task, the egg yolks threatened to break and fall into the egg whites as he tried to separate them, which would ruin any chance of creating a solid structure when beating them. They’d only cracked one egg and already three pasty pieces of calcium-white shells were floating in the bowl. Of course Patton would never dare to interrupt Logan’s efforts. He didn’t want to make him feel bad or risk the anger hurt pride so often brought about, yet he itched with the wish to take a hold of his hands and guide them.
Depositing the shells in their bowl, the detective huffed a frustrated sigh and turned to the patissier.
“Patton, would you please help me improve?”
The smaller man brightened like a flower opening in the sunshine. He hadn’t expected Logan to allow him to show him how to do something, much less ask for support. He instantly felt at ease and appreciated. Once again, he was awed by how confident and composed this man was. It was wonderful not to have to fear aggression caused by a feeling of inferiority.
Once Patton knew his aid was appreciated, they worked together so well. Often, he would reach across the counter he was sitting on and direct the older man’s hands to show him the motions he needed or guide his hands so the cherries would be spread uniformly or the cakes would be cut into even layers by turning the plate as he moved the knife through it. Though Logan blushed and was clearly embarrassed at not performing to perfection, he never snapped at Patton or held his interference against him. After a few hours of companionable baking, Logan had proven himself to be grateful for his advice and guidance and had even made him flush with pleasure a few times by complimenting his skills.
The patissier had been floored by the admiration and respect he’d seen in the detective’s eyes as he’d spoken about skills Patton had perfected or the amount of information he could provide about the process of creating textures and flavors. Logan spoke about temperature, chemistry and components reacting to each other but to Patton, it was just experience and feeling and fun. Baking wasn’t hard, was it? Anybody could to it. Yet, as he scooted close to the man he thought could do everything perfectly and gently guided his motions as he evenly spread the cream around the layers of chocolate cake, cream and cherries, he thought perhaps he could be a little more proud of his abilities.
Their eyes met over the cake, causing them both to still. They were very close.
“I learned a lot from you, Patton. Thank you for your patient instructions.” Logan muttered softly, as if he feared disturbing the quiet that had comfortably settled between them.
The smaller man grinned, his face bright with joy. “Aww thank you! I really enjoyed baking with you, you did such a good job! I’m really proud of how well you did and we worked so well together, I really felt we have a confection!”
Both felt warm with affection and appreciation for the other, smiling softly. The silence between them felt comfortable as Patton showed Logan how to place the chocolate shavings at the side of the cake with practiced ease. His flour-dusted curls brushed along the taller man’s chin. The detective slowly reached up, showing his movements clearly, and brushed them back behind the patissier’s ear with deliberate tenderness. Patton’s breath caught. He’d hardly noticed how close they’d become. His thigh was a warm line of contact with Logan’s hip where he leaned against the counter. He felt very warm, suddenly.
His little heart fluttered excitedly as Logan’s dark eyes held contact with his. He was reminded abruptly of how handsome he was with his dark lashes usually half hidden by black-framed glasses and raven hair contrasting sharply with his pale skin. Despite wearing only a t-shirt and close fitting workout pants instead of a suit and tie, his even features made him look distinguished.
Patton shivered with a sudden burst of pleasure as he realized that his pale brown locks were still woven around the others fingers, causing a lovely, lightning-bright sensation when he moved. The detective let the cool strands slip through his hands with a look of wonder on his face, his touch so soft it felt like nothing more than a caress.
After a long moment, Logan smiled. The expression seemed to light up his whole face and soften his eyes. The usually so serious man looked deeply content in a way he hadn’t seen till today. Patton’s heart seemed to miss a beat and a sensation quite like falling made his whole body feel light and giddy.
Please reblog my work, my darlings!
Have a disheveled Patton in an oversized sweater to make your day better!!!
Keep him safe is now a Meme together with To build a home which is too cool! Thank you @lemon-the-ups-man
And how adorable and surprisingly deep is this image of Patton with a little smile (and a bruise on his cheek, oh no) by @not-safeforsanders
Look at this cool concept for a cover up for Virgil’s tattoo made by @lissaslifestory! Lots of others helped with tips as well. Its really well thought out and there’s even a drawing!
And there is a picture drawn of it that I just found!!! @doctorwhooian made it and it’s lovely!
@broadwaytheanimatedseries  did some work on the amazing first chapter of Keep her safe and made it even better!
I loved this idea about Roman’s father and his reaction to Ro and the issues he and Virgil could face in high society so much, especially because a lot of people pitched in. Have a look if you like!
Next Chapter
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stillthewordgirl · 7 years
LOT/CC fic: To Make It Possible, ch. 5 (of 12)
When Sara Lance wakes up in a timeline she doesn't remember, with a man she can't let herself care for, she's desperate to return to the world she knows. But the longer she's here, the more she wonders... And wants.
A short chapter. Still...Mick!
Thanks to @larielromeniel​ for the beta. Can also be read here at AO3 and here at FF.net.
The usual Central City parking spot for the Waverider isn't as she remembers it, which is cause for a momentarily flash of oddly mixed triumph and disappointment until Leonard informs her that too many "incidents" there had led to a regular congregation of conspiracy theorists hoping to spot something. Now, the ship has a rotating list of stops, none of which are the original.
This one is near a derelict industrial site near the north side, the sort of spot beloved of villains and gangs. They park in the shadow of a crumbling building and head farther into the complex, which looks a bit sinister even in the late morning sun. (Lily checks her car's lock about six times and then sticks close behind them, looking determined if somewhat intimidated.)
Leonard slows as they approach a clearing, what might have been a large central lot when the site was active. He taps at his phone one more time and Sara watches as the Waverider shimmers into view ahead of them.
The hatch lowers and, after a moment, Mick Rory comes strolling out.
Sara can tell immediately that it's not the Mick she knows, not quite. Oh, this man physically looks the same, more or less. The change is all in how he carries himself. Mick's always had a sense of easy mayhem about him, but here it's carried with a sense of...of...
It's confidence, she thinks, suddenly, the sort born of being respected and listened to, of having something to contribute and knowing it. Co-captain, Leonard had said. A position of trust.
This Mick, she thinks with guilt, wouldn't have given up the spear. He never would have considered it. This Mick had grown into the team. Or the team had grown into him?
He fit here. Had been allowed to fit here. Was it all because he'd never lost his friend and partner? Or was there more to it than that? More that she, as captain and especially friend, should have seen?
The thoughts bring on a wave of regret so strong she bites her lip and glances away from him. She feels Len's eyes on her, but he doesn't say anything, and after a moment she looks back at this Mick, who has apparently picked up on something.
"Blondie?" he says, studying her with a look of concern. "What's up? You don't look quite..." Abruptly, he stops mid-sentence and lifts his head to glare at Leonard. "What, did you knock her up or something? On the ship? Because you know Gideon said..."
Leonard blinks, a blank look overtaking his features, while Sara's mouth drops open.
"Excuse me?" she finally says. "Gideon..."
"No," Leonard cuts in, tone curt. "Jesus, Mick."
"Not that, then, huh?" The lighter tone falls away and Mick crosses his arms, frowning. "What's going on?"
Sara can feel more than see Leonard's sigh from where he stands next to her.
"She doesn't remember, not the same," he says, voice empty of any emotion. "She woke up and tried to knife me this morning..."
"Been expecting that for a while..."
Leonard glares at him but continues. "She says this isn't her timeline. She's not... not the Sara we know." He holds up a hand as Mick drags in a surprised breath. "You guys make any stops? Anything strange happen?"
"No. Nothing. Had just started on the way back to the Vanishing Point for the repairs. Jax is complaining steadily about how we treat his ship, but..." He takes a step closer, studying Sara, who sighs and finally meets his eyes.
He considers her for a moment, and while she usually finds Mick easy to read, Sara can't parse out all the pieces of this man's complicated expression. There's compassion there, though, and she tells herself sternly not to bend because of it.
She can’t forget this isn’t home.
"Damn," he says finally. "Sorry, Blondie." He glances at Leonard, who still looks stony, then sighs and looks back at her. "Not your timeline? Gideon didn't say anything about an aberration. What's changed? I mean, we've had blips before, but nothing like..."
"Blips?" It's the second time someone's used that word. "What do you mean, blips? Is that why..." Sara can't help looking at Lily, who's looking upset but determined again.
Mick notices, and frowns at the other woman. But when he speaks, his voice is gentle.
"And what's up with you, kiddo? Where's Haircut? Normally you two are joined at the hip during shore leave."
Lily looks like she's going to cry. "He... it was another of those, Mick. Just... poof. I remember him, we all seem to, he hasn't been erased." She touches her bracelet again. "He’s just gone."
"Damn," Mick repeats. "OK. Yeah. I think we need to take this to the 'experts.'" (Sara can't help a small smile at the air quotes he sketches.)
"Gideon... and the 'Time Master' himself." Some things never change; sarcasm is arch in Leonard's tone at the title, although it's almost fond in a way. "Nothing from Rip either, I take it?"
"Nope." Mick regards him. "You know you're not supposed to go back there."
"Tough." Leonard meets his old friend's eyes and Sara, watching, can see a pain shining in them that's a kick in the stomach. "I need to fix this, Mick. She... I..."
His voice trails off, and Mick glances at Sara before looking back at Leonard, then giving him a rough slap on the shoulder and a nod.
"Hey, man," he says. "I get it. We'll fix it. And we’ll get Haircut back, too. Now..." He steps back and waves at the Waverider. "Come on. All aboard."
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SiriusXM 2018 holiday music lineup: 16 commercial-free channels with Christmas carols, festive favorites & more
This year, SiriusXM’s extensive holiday music lineup features 16 commercial-free channels, including five available exclusively on SiriusXM’s streaming platforms. To kick off the festive season, several of the holiday channels start broadcasting Thursday, November 1.
New to the holiday lineup this year: the exclusive Mannheim Steamroller Channel, featuring music by the band which is known for its blend of symphonic music and modern recordings of Christmas music. SiriusXM will also launch four new holiday music channels, including 70s/80s Christmas, Rockin’ Xmas, Holiday Chill-Out and Jazz Holidays, which subscribers are able to listen to online, on the SiriusXM app, and at home on connected devices, such as smart TVs, Amazon Alexa devices, Apple TV, PlayStation, Roku, Sonos speakers, and more.
❄️ SiriusXM’s Holiday Channel Lineup ❄️
Holly (Ch. 4)
Will feature contemporary holiday hits including songs by Michael Bublé, Ariana Grande, Josh Groban, Pentatonix and Mariah Carey.
Thursday, November 1 – Friday, December 28 at 3 am ET
Holiday Traditions (Ch. 3)
Will feature traditional holiday music from the ‘40s through the ‘60s and beyond by artists such as Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Burl Ives, Carpenters, Glenn Miller, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé and Elvis Presley.
Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET. (Available year-long on channel 782)
Voiced by one of the network’s most beloved stars, Candace Cameron-Bure, SiriusXM’s Hallmark Channel Radio will keep listeners in the holiday mood all day and all night with timeless Christmas carols and music introduced by top network talent including LeAnn Rimes, Holly Robinson Peete, Lacey Chabert, Danica McKellar, Kellie Pickler, and more. Hallmark Channel stars will also open up about their personal yuletide traditions, share their own favorite songs from the season, and take listeners behind the scenes of their new “Countdown to Christmas” movies.
Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, December 30 at 3 am ET
Will feature traditional holiday favorites and original sounds of the season from classic country artists like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard to contemporary country stars like Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. You’ll also hear artists such as Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, LeAnn Rimes, Brett Eldredge, Lady Antebellum and Reba McEntire.
Thursday, November 1 at 3am ET – Monday, December 3 at 3am ET on streaming-only channel 778
Monday, December 3 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET on Prime Country (Ch. 58)
Holiday Soul (Ch. 49)
Will feature R&B Christmas classics from The Temptations, Charles Brown, The Jackson 5, New Edition, Whitney Houston, The O’Jays, Aretha Franklin, TLC, Kool & the Gang, as well as newer tracks by Fantasia, Babyface, and Toni Braxton.
Thursday, November 1 at 3am ET – Monday, December 3 at 3am ET on streaming-only channel 777
Monday, December 3 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET on Soul Town (Ch. 49)
Will feature classical Christmas carols and other holiday favorites performed by the world’s most popular classical performers, including the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti, The King’s Singers, Chanticleer, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Sir James Galway.
Thursday, November 1 at 3am ET – Monday, December 24 at 3am ET on streaming-only channel 782
Monday, December 24 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET on Symphony Hall (Ch. 76)
Will feature acoustic holiday classics from well-known singers and songwriters such as Jack Johnson, George Ezra, Norah Jones, Maroon 5, The Lumineers, Jewel and Jason Mraz.
Thursday, November 1 at 3am ET – Friday, December 14 at 3am ET on streaming-only channel 779
Friday, December 14 – Wednesday December 26 at 3am ET on The Coffee House (ch. 14)
Will feature Christmas music and holiday favorites from contemporary Christian artists, including Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, MercyMe, for KING & COUNTRY, Matthew West, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, and Lauren Daigle.
Thursday, November 1 at 3am ET – Friday, December 21 at 3am ET on streaming-only channel 785
Friday, December 21 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET on The Message (Ch. 63)
Will feature Mannheim Steamroller, who are known for their blend of symphonic music with elements of new age and rock, and modern recordings of Christmas music.
Monday, December 17 – Tuesday, December 25 3am ET
Will feature an extensive collection of Hanukkah-themed music, including contemporary, traditional and children’s selections as well as daily reflections and prayers related to the holiday.
Friday, November 30 at 3am ET  – Tuesday, December 11 at 3am ET
The ultimate soundtrack to New Year’s Eve parties around the country will feature the biggest, upbeat party hits from genres across SiriusXM’s music platform. Artists include Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, The Chainsmokers, Pitbull, Drake, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Cardi B, Imagine Dragons, and Justin Bieber.
Friday, December 28 – Wednesday, January 2 at 3am ET
Will feature the biggest and most familiar Christmas and holiday hits from the 70s and 80s, featuring artists Elton John, Carpenters, Paul McCartney, The Jackson 5, Bruce Springsteen, Wham!, Madonna and Hall & Oates.
Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET
Will feature classic Christmas songs that rock, including hits, rarities, and live tracks from AC/DC, Bon Jovi, U2, Twisted Sister, REO Speedwagon, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET
Will feature downtempo electronic holiday music from artists like Kaskade, Lost Frequencies, DJ Style, and more.
Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET
Will feature Christmas favorites from classic legends and contemporary jazz stars, including Ella Fitzgerald, Vince Guaraldi, Diana Krall, Joey DeFrancesco, David Benoit, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves and Dave Koz.
Thursday, November 1 – Wednesday, December 26 at 3am ET
Will feature a festive blend of contemporary and traditional classic favorites, including El Gran Combo, Héctor Lavoe, Laura Pausini, Ricky Martin, Tito El Bambino, Gloria Estefan, José Feliciano, Marco Antonio Solís, Celia Cruz, and Juanes.
Thursday, November 1 – Monday, January 7 at 3am ET
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kikippe · 7 years
July 2017 (4) 🌻🌻🌻🌻
lets roll not drool (keep repeating this kiki. you lame human being)
July 16th: A letter to someone else
Wait whattttt? honestly like honestly I’ve never ever ever ever made a letter to someone else like?? (yeah you count a word or two or two thousands in postcards as letter? no) but ANYWAY. lies. hahah. ok. oh no. ok, here we go. don’t hate me. don’t. pls have mercy. don’t yell, don’t. don’t judge. DON’T. Ok. here we go tea time. *sipping tea coolly trying not to choke* just exactly one year ago, i might or might not make a letter for kuki after the epilogue and i’m gonna regret this my whole life and i’m gonna laugh and cry if i read the letter all over again it’s a top secret nobody except me ofc knows what it is not even kuki himself ok? ok. i’ve just spilled the beans here maybe i’ll regret this seconds later. and OH FUCKMYLIFE. FIN.
July 17th: I always….
Drink milk everyday since forever! except that one time after I was on exchange program for 1 year where I gained 7kgs++ because I drank milk like I drank water SUP!! but anyway after I went back to my initial weigh (mostly because one hella exam I BARELY WENT THROUGH) I’m back to my lovely lovely routine again. Milk is life milk is love. It makes you healthy yeh. fight me. 
July 18th: A list of things you like
Define things like umm or else i’ll have indefinite list of things I like. lmao nope jkjk ok here we go. 
1. Sunny days. (I hate rain and I’m one of those ppl who don’t find rainy days as comforting days for a perfect contemplating mood with a cupppa tea and blahblah blah. no offense but rainy days make me feel cranky, not in the mood, sorrow associated day, etc etc etc deffo not likey)
2. my family, my close friends
3. my friends, and ppl in general (but shuh shtty people)
4. kuki <3 and bangtan hahah (I wrote hahah)
5. story abt shenanigans and cracks bc crack is love crack is life
6. everything dusty pink
7. my entire itunes library 
8. my messy room here bc this is the only place that feels like home in this entire nation (OOOOU CH)
9. summer music fest!
11. meaningful and cracky ff with as rational as possible characterization
12. intelligent ppl with angel like personality YOU ARE GEMS.
13. chicken, tofu, CIKI, kerupuk
14. godiva milk choco esgrim
15. kuki’s voice in entire bangtan’s songs
16. kuki’s voice in all of his covers
17. kuki’s outfits. kuki’s hair. kuki’s nose. kuki’s bunny teeth. (I HAVE TO STOP I AM A CREEP)
18. f.r.i.e.n.d.s
19. ripped jeans
20. Malory Towers (entire series are gold)
21. karaoke even though my voice is MEH kayak komeng katanya lmao
22. tbbt bc now it relates as fak
23. intriguing issues in science (there it is nerd kiki)
25. sunrise & sunset (my fav time of the day is during golden hour!)
I SHOULD STOP, and the list goes on hehe
July 19th: A question that needs to be asked
TBVH I have PLENTY. can it be questionS instead? ok just like top 5?
1. How much longing has to fall like snow for a better days to come? 
(I might or might not just recite the spring days lyrics with modification FORGIVE ME LMAO)
ok seriously
2. hello soulpartner where you at??? (as yoongi said we’re not australians so, soulpartner it is)
3. why do jpnse like to suffer in everything? (waaay too risky question)
4. when will i have a clear skin, appropriate weigh, be able to meet kuki in person, be able to meet my future+1, have a good experimental data, and able to publish my works on notable journal like em lets say NATURE?
haha ok seriously though this is the real question
5. what is the underlying mechanism behind the voltagedependency of P2Xreceptor? (BAMMMMM)
(forgive me)
July 20th: What do you need?
Love in whatever form that it takes
(clouds playing in bgm)
July 21st: your summer playlist?
1. Lightning in a bottle - the summer set
2. Pizza (Kai Takahashi remix) - oohyo
3. Heart Break - Lady Antebellum
4. Afterglow - all time low
5. Teenage dirtbag - wheatus
6. Purple teeth - LANY
7. I’m the one - dj khaled and the gang 
8. All my friends - snakeships
9. Soldier - before you exit
10. I’ll be there for you - cheeze
11. Home - michael buble
12. entire library of my all time fav bts songs just bc. (around 10 in total i guess?) HEHE <3
July 22nd: What inspires you?
Basically many things but I’m gonna focus on one particular thing here. The story of successful and NICE people esp in science / academia / research industry. success could mean anything from having work and life balance between academia and having a family (it’s fooking hard!), finish your study, getting through whatever obstacles we’ll have during the research that is in the end it could get you publish your hard work in the place you want to! I might not be able to put this as I wanted to, but by going to an academic conference and meet a lot of incredible people having a cool project in science inspires me a lot to finish what I’ve started. yup. nuff said. bc there was this time a friend asked me what makes me want to finish my study while other people (from my major back in uni) are already got tired from studying. well basically it’s two things in general, I wanna become as great as people I meet in conferences and two, my beloved country’s condition rn (SNORTED). 
July 23rd: What do you want less of?
Less complaining, less asking why am I suffering here (passed through this already but sometimes just sometimes it hits me back lmao), and less worrying so much about stuff. 
Weeeee almost finish for July! <3 
(and my experiment is no good nowadays WHYYYYYYYYYY ON EARTH WHY)
(additional suffering)
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whatwashernameagain · 5 years
Keep him safe - Chapter 27
Tumblr media
You can read the previous Chapters here: Ch 1, Ch 5, Ch 10, Ch 15, Ch 20, Ch 25, Previous Chapter, Ao3 Link, Lo’s, Pat’s and Virgil’s aesthetics, Fantasy AU You are Magical, I’m dying to be with you
Pairings: Logan/Patton, Roman/Virgil
Words: 5.708
Warnings: wrestling and restraining, knifes, mild violence
Summary: Detective Logan Sanders and his best friend and dorky partner Roman Prince have made a dear friend in the lovely pattisier Patton. Logan however feels a lot more than friendship for the sweet man, even though he knows he cannot possibly have him. Their routine is broken abruptly when Logan finds bruises on Patton’s fair skin and slender wrists he could hardly have received from his costumary clumsiness. Meanwhile his partner Roman has his own demon to fight, which comes in the form of a little delinquent who seemed to have been pulled into a street gang quite against his will. Roman is determined to help the strange young man. It would be so much easier though if he just stopped hissing at him!
Notes: This is just a little feelsy chapter to show how Ro and Virgil handled Patton’s situation. More will follow soon.
Special thanks to @poisonedapples for helping with the idea of this chapter and to all of you who had suggestions or wishes. I love hearing your opinions. And of course, my betas have helped me every step of the way! @ultimate-queen-of-fandoms2 and @hanramz-the-fander you two are my heroes.
Chapter 27
The day Patton had been brought home to them had been a difficult one. Even if his arrival in itself had been a joyous occasion, his state had not been.
Virgil recalled having had a bad feeling from the moment first Patton and then Logan had shortly after hurriedly left the cafe. He knew he worried too much and that on one liked to be controlled or followed around by an overly attached, needy ex-gang member, especially not Patton who needed their respect now more than anyone. Trying to be helpful and to trust Logan, he’d locked the cafe up with his colleagues and taken the pets home. He had also called Roman to see if his partner had returned.
Unable to provide more information or reach Logan, Roman had given Virgil and the animals a lift to the flat. His deep voice had been reassuring while his big hands had closed around the steering wheel firmly, safely taking them home. The youngest member of their household had tried to listen. Logan had gone after Patton, so how bad could things really be? He’d never let the patissier down. Clinging to the feeling Logan’s calm protection still gave Virgil, he hoisted the fat raccoon clutching and grooming a chirping kitten higher in his arms and pressed his cheek to the cool rat riding on his shoulder. It nuzzled him.
“Voice-mail.” Roman muttered upon trying his partner’s phone after hanging up his fashionable wine-colored coat, going for an unconcerned tone and missing narrowly. He was a good actor, marvelous even with his brave smiles and honey-smooth voice, but Virgil’s dark eyes, used to watching men’s smiles for hidden agendas, watched closely and missed nothing. Though it caused him to juggle the too many pets in his arms a bit and hold a hissing Cat upside down for a few seconds, he managed to extract the kitten and settle it against the broad chest with a hopefully indifferent look. Roman’s expression was as warm as sunshine on dark wood as he closed his hands over the small animal. It kneaded his nice shirt with a rumpled purr. The tall detective mourned the loss of his lovely dark blue silk shirt with the tiny red rose pattern and resigned himself to adding another article of clothing to the growing pile in the wicker basket between the sofa and the desk. Logan’s indigo cashmere sweater as well as his oxford-blue dress pants had already found an undignified ending in there. Cat, insulted by being held upside down, made its way there now and buried itself in several hundred dollars worth of high thread count.
“How about this dashing prince puts on some water to make us a delightful chocolate chai-latte? Us hard working all-American men deserve sugar!” He exclaimed, hoping to tempt a smile out of Virgil. He knew the young barista was worried and might need some space, but sometimes he just didn’t deal well with the oppressive silence creeping into the nooks and crannies of the flat when no one interacted with him. He needed people to pay attention to him, to smile at him. Not because he thought he deserved to be looked at by everybody all the time, but because the familiar, heavy feeling that had followed on his heels as an inadequate, ignored child tiptoeing though echoing, too large rooms made itself known the moment Virgil turned away from him. He knew he wasn’t trying to hurt him, he was just anxious and probably suffering, but Roman couldn’t help feeling pushed away and lonely, like a child that just wasn’t enough once again. It was his fault. He had failed at cheering Virgil up because he wasn’t finding the right words, doing the right things. He felt unloved and lost suddenly.
Shaking his head, he squared his broad shoulders and put on a beaming smile. The kitten stretched up on wobbly hind-legs to lick his chin. It would be alright, a prince would not dwell on gloomy thoughts, he had water to boil and sunshine to spread.
Both stilled as the sound of a key being slotted in the front door announced the return of Logan. Neither voiced their hope, but both men wished for Patton’s smiling presence to follow the detective into the corridor, ready to beam at them and spend a cheerful and comforting evening on the couch or the now sun-bathed balcony, throwing furtive, pining looks at Logan when he looked away while receiving the same looks in return.  
The image of a bright, smiling Patton clashed so hard with reality, it left both men frozen with uncomprehending expressions for a long moment. Logan was cradling a small, crumbled body in his arms, hiding him almost entirely in a pale blanket. There was blood in his hair, crusted on the side of his face which was swelling from the impact of a truly terribly anger.
The look on Logan’s face as he spotted them, lost and hurting and fearful, told them all they needed to know. Before either of them could force their feet to move, the door fell closed behind the detective with an audible click. Patton flinched hard in the arms that held him so safely, utterly silent despite his shock. He blinked his tearful eyes open and spotted Roman and Virgil on the other side of the room, two of the people that loved him more than anything. With a strangled, shameful whimper, he hid his face in Logan’s neck, wordlessly pleading with him to hide his bruised face. The detective looked as if he’d been slapped.
Virgil and Roman were left behind in the silence of the living-room that felt so loud, it seemed to press on them from all sides.
Tears filled Roman’s pretty, green eyes. He clasped a hand over his mouth, trying to stifle the sounds that wanted to escape. His beloved, sweet, innocent Patton. The young detective squeezes his eyes shut and tried to breathe through the pain. Allowing the bedroom door to close quietly behind Logan and separate them from his sweetest friend felt like it cut him off from everyone he wanted to be close to.
A movement, nothing more than a misplaced current of air touched by a silent creature, made him open his eyes. Virgil hat slunk into the kitchen like a shadow. Fearing his poor wildcat’s reaction, Roman settled the kitten in the basket on top of gray fur peeking out, turning just in time to see the younger man reach the counter on the opposite wall.
Virgil’s mind had filled with loudly rushing, deafening static, drowning out all other thoughts, all rational inhibitions. He prowled into the kitchen, vision red with rage, trembling with it, and grabbed a knife. He was back in his worst days, filled with feral, uncontrolled anger.
They took and hurt and destroyed everything pure and he wanted to cut through their restraining hands and free Patton from his selfish, groping hands forever. He would not allow him to use his friend again, to beat and choke and degrade him and leave nothing but a cold, worthless hull of a person.
Not Patton.
The metal was cold in his hands, lifeless just like he would be when Virgil was done.
Roman gasped in shock upon seeing his expression. It, more than the long blade in his pale hand, drove home what Virgil was about to do. Throwing himself in his way, he grasped for words.
“Virgil, please wait! I know you are angry and hurting-”
“He’s fucking hurt and I’m done!” The delinquent snarled at him, nimbly slipping past his larger form like water through Roman’s clumsy fingers.
Panicked, the detective tried to reach for him, succeeding only in having his hand nearly injured by shining metal cutting though the air between them.
“Virgil, you can’t- you can’t just- just kill him! It’s not right, please, you’d be thrown in jail and-”
Roman’s pleading was cut off by a truly arctic voice. Remorseless. He’d never spoken to the gentle man like that.
“You think I’ll let you find the body?” He hissed, wild. Dangerous. His hands were perfectly steady. A primal, old fear settled in Roman’s body. Virgil looked nothing like the elfin creature he’d fallen so naively for the moment he’d laid eyes on him. He looked inhuman, sleek like a beast that was build from flexing muscle wrapped in tar-black fur that stalks through high grass in the twilight. Eyes cold and claws ready to tear into soft flesh.
“Try to arrest me or stay out of my way.” He growled, half turned away from Roman already, who barely managed to find his voice, grasping for words – for the right words.
“You can’t do that to Patton, he wouldn’t want that! Virgil please, he’s here now, he left-”
“He’s never going to get away from him!” The delinquent spat the words at him with cold, harsh certainty, pushing against Roman’s chest so hard the force of the shove and the words knocked the wind out of him.
“Don’t you get it, you naive moron? He’ll always want to protect that fucking piece of shit, he’ll pull him back with his pathetic whimpering and Patton will fall for it because he’s a kind, selfless fool and he will die there and I won’t let that happen.”
The words were spoken with the finality of a sniper steadying his rifle to shoot. Even the slightest tremor of nerves, the smallest hitch in ones breath, the tiniest hint of a merciful heart could mess up the shot, and Virgil displayed none of those weaknesses.
Roman froze in horror.
The moment’s hesitation was enough for the slim form of the deadly little thing that was Virgil to eat through the distance between him and the door with hungry strides.
“You’ll break him.”
The young man paused in the door, leaving nothing but his inky shadow in the apartment while his body was turned outwards, towards a steep descend into revenge and violence, barely hearing the last, desperate effort Roman had to make.
“You know I’m right.” He spoke softly, approaching the armed young man slowly, like a small creature would a predator, knowing about the sharpness of its claws and the fragility of its patience.
“He can survive insults and pain, even abuse, but what you’re about to do with the wish to protect him...”
He was close now, just on the other side of the slim opening in the door Virgil had slipped through like a fox in the night.
“…it will shatter him for good.” He promised with soft voiced certainty.
Finally rounding the wooden, steel enforced door, he spotted the other, his thin form that had all of its former softness beaten and starved out of it, leaving nothing but a toughened body of a young man pushed to his limits, pushed too far by the suffering of what he had loved with the last innocence he had left.
The detective’s hand shot out, closing around the slender wrist and twisting it around, yanking him back inside with unexpected force. Virgil was fast, and feral, but Roman was ready to suffer, he was ready to fight. Shoving the door closed with click of heavy metal interlocking that sounded final, he roughly cornered the angry beast he’d captured against the wood with his body and forced his arm behind his back, the knife glistening cold and metallic between them. Virgil snarled, too angry to scream, pushed too far for words. He clawed against the door Roman pushed his front against, writhing like an electric eel. It was as if the detective felt the shocks bite at his body, painful whips of agony.
He twisted the knife free. It landed on the floor with a quiet clatter.
Roman felt Virgil’s arm protest against the way it was twisted, felt his shoulder blades like sharp-boned wings where he pushed his back against the taller man’s chest, trying to writhe his way out of the firm grip. His arm wrapped around a heaving torso. He buried his face in the pale neck and held on, in more pain from the brutal way the limb between them was forced up at an unnatural angle by the attempts to escape than Virgil.
The former gang member shook and jerked in his grip, a desperate predator choking in a net. His sob was an animal-like sound, like the pain had overwhelmed all humanity and left only a thing running on instinct alone. Roman released the wrist in his grip and turned the restraining hold into a hug, sinking to the floor and folding around the mangled little body.
His chest hurt with regret.
Crumbled on the ground and too tired to fight anymore, the knowledge of the mistake he had been about to make dawned on Virgil with cold, sudden clarity.
Roman was right. He was right. Patton would be shattered by that monster’s death. Virgil knew he was still trapped by him, by his lies, his demands, the things he had him believe – they were spun around Patton like an invisible spider’s web. Inescapable. And still, what he had been about to do would have damned the man he cared so much about more than anything Trevor could have selfishly done to him. He would blame himself and he would- he would-
Virgil could hardly imagine the suffering he would have caused. He could not believe how far he’d sunk.
He folded into himself on the shiny hardwood floor, staring at the hands he hardly recognized.
“I didn’t used to be like this.” He muttered tonelessly.
“Tell me about him, then. About the old Virgil.” Roman asked gently, daring to run a hand over his slender arm.
How was he supposed to answer this request, when he could barely remember him?
Closing his tired eyes, he held on to Roman’s question, following his wishes lest his traitorous, broken mind came up with more destructive ideas. He could not trust himself anymore.
Young Virgil Rain.
“He… he used to care about everything. So many things interested him, he needed to… to find out how things worked, I guess. It was all so fascinating to him, so full of potential. He had so many things to build, to fix. He thought he could fix the whole fucking world. He was naive. Had no idea about how dark it is out there. How little he could do. How fucking powerless he would become.” Virgil muttered, half there and half far away.
“Hey, none of that, my dear.” Roman chided him softly, brushing a tentative hand over his cheek.
“Tell me more about his character. About what made him laugh and what he dreamed of.”
Virgil turned his face away from the hand that offered tenderness and forgiveness.
“He was...” He sighed, running a shaking hand over his face. So tired, suddenly. So tired of himself.
“He was passionate about shit. When he wanted something, to perfect a new floor routine for his gymnastic training, start a science project or to learn about quantum mechanics or renewable energy systems he emerged himself until he drowned in it. He was methodical about it, and patient. A fucking idealist. And he was kind. He cared.”
“He sounds lovely.” Roman commented gently. “What would he do now?”
Virgil tried to think about it. His head hurt with the effort it took to cast his mind back so impossibly far, into another person.
“He’d find out what went wrong, locate the problem and make a plan, step by step, to get to the root of the issue. He’d start with the most pressing one and work his way down the list.”
“Then that’s what we’re going to do, you and me, alright?” Roman asked kindly, offering his hand.
“We’ll get your notebook and write down everything we know, everything we need, and every way we and others can help until Logan lets us know what we can do. Are you with me?”
Virgil stared at him for a long moment, his mind utterly blank. Then, slowly, the process Roman suggested began to form in his mind. They’d need a new notebook with plenty of subsections for mental and physical health, documentation for the police, support networks to contact and legal steps and requirements Patton might have in order to stay with them. The cafe needed to be taken care of and he had to call Remy and Emile and get them to help with a therapy plan. And his finances needed sorting. He’d be damned if any financial pressure or demands made him dependent of this piece of shit. Who knew how deeply he’d entangled himself in the organisation of the Pat-isserie? If he had part-ownership or if he’d used it as surety for his fucking business ideas or made Patton stand in for his losses. All of his experiences from doing the paperwork and dealing with the banks for the Scorpions gave him a clear picture of what needed to be done.
He took Roman’s hand.
They made a mind-map of things they needed to deal with - health, therapy, paperwork, housing, long and short term goals. Then they took care of Patton’s immediate needs – cooked tea for Logan to take to him and called his co-workers to close the cafe until further notice and sorted out clothes for him. Virgil called Remy who had him do a breathing exercise over the phone the moment he’d heard him utter the first words and ordered him to drink some water. He and Emile would work something out to support their friend.
The planning calmed Virgil. He got lost in the possibility of doing something good. He felt useful. Now, with some distance between himself and his own actions, he was baffled and ashamed at himself. There was so much Patton needed now, how could he have believed it wouldn’t matter if he got himself locked away for fucking murder? How could he have overlooked that protecting him from harmful influences was not the same as helping him? Especially he, who’d depended so much on the approval of a monster himself, should have known better. It was as if, after all the violence he’d endured, it had become his first response to any problem and he hated it. He hated what he’d become. A stupid, ruthless, dangerous thing. When he’d gotten so utterly lost in helpless rage, there was only one man that had dared to bring back traces of a person he used to be proud of being. Someone who had believed in him.
He looked up from writing down a list of things they’d need to purchase to gaze at Roman. He had settled on the ground next to the desk in his room, surrounded by notes and art supplies and was marking pages in the notebook with colorful washi-tape so they’d find them easily.
His chest felt full as he gazed at the shining, caramel hair pulled up in a messy bun, some of the locks escaping to fall into his face. Roman had saved his life from his own, brutally learned impulses. What did one say to express how much his intervention meant to them?
He stayed silent, intimidated by the depth of his emotions.
Roman looked up, feeling eyes on him, and smiled. Virgil’s breath caught on his thankfulness, his awe, on the sudden tenderness he felt for his selfless, gentle man, for his patience, his forgiveness, his strong hands that had restrained him when he’d needed it and soothed him when he hadn’t deserve it.
He slipped to the floor next to him without consciously choosing to do so, transfixed by the green eyes that still, impossibly, looked at him - after he’d literally tried to murder a man in front of a cop, as if he were innocent.
“You’re the most obnoxiously naive moron I’ve ever met.”
The words escaped him quite without his consent and mortified him the moment he’d said them, especially because he’d spoken them not harshly but with such wonder, such softness. He hid his face in his hands, half expecting Roman to snap at him or finally grow angry at his ungrateful, terrible behavior - or laugh at him.
Instead, he complained in an apparently scandalized tone that was a little too dramatic to be real.
“How dare you, you little… fiend!”
Virgil shrieked in surprise as his side was suddenly tickled. He was a little shocked at the sudden contact but had grown comfortable enough with being touched not to freak out, especially since Roman kept his large body a respectful distance from Virgil’s. Until the barista growled and tackled him.
All of the nervous electricity still thrumming through him, harmless remains of his murderous anger, made him itch for a way to use all that youthful energy vibrating in his veins. His young, lean muscles had hardly exhausted themselves in his brief fight with the detective, leaving him with the primal need to pounce, to roll around and wrestle and burn it all in a way that did not draw blood.
Roman yelped in surprise at suddenly finding himself on his back with the shy creature he’d barely dared touch without ample warning suddenly on top of him. Seeing the wild, playful glint in his dark eyes, he took a deep breath and a leap of faith and pushed back, carefully flipping him over. He was not sure about this decision at all and half expected to be bitten right there and have to live with the shame of having frightened his poor kitten again, however he’d hardly turned them around before Virgil squirmed like a snake and twisted out from under him, delivering a mean little poke to his ribs.
He gasped in surprise, whirling around – and promptly getting the arm supporting his torso pulled out from under him by nimble, mischievous hands. Landing on the fluffy rug with an ‘oof’, he found Virgil climbing on top of him, fluid and graceful like water and looking far too smug.
With a playful growl the young man could feel all the way to his bones, Roman reached around the narrow waist and grabbed him. His smile was so bright it blinded Virgil for a crucial moment, distracting him with how handsome the detective was when he was disheveled and happy and trusting, costing him the moment he needed to slip away.
He was on his back again. Despite the sudden rush of light and giddy feelings, he would not stand for this proud grin above him for even a second! This moron clearly needed reminding who used to be a prized gymnast.
Pulling his legs up between them nimbly, he wrapped his tights around the unsuspecting detective’s neck and pushed him back, making him yelp like a startled puppy and flail like a duck out of water.
Having him trapped between his legs and interlocked ankles was a heady feeling. Virgil was very aware of how powerful Roman was, taller and stronger than him in every way with his broad shoulders, long limbs and his firm built. He allowed himself to look more often now, despite having been caught a few times. Never had his interest been followed by a degrading comment, groping hands or a gaze that undressed him though. Instead, Roman had smiled and preened, even blushed sometimes, and always innocently enjoyed the attention. He’d never seen it as permission to take anything from Virgil. Even now, his hands weren’t rough and careful to be respectful as he tried to wriggle free, with little success. The former delinquent smirked at him gleefully.
He, in turn, seemed to need reminding that Roman regularly trained with Logan.
Flipping his legs over his body and rolling backwards, the detective twisted out of the firm hold of those strong, lithe limbs. His hair was helplessly disheveled and escaping from its bun, yet he was proud to have freed himself from his clever lynx. However, he was rudely denied the chance to gloat as he was tackled again with a fierce war-cry. Laughing joyfully he was helplessly swept up in the much needed distraction, rolling around the floor with Virgil like overexcited children. His thundercloud’s chucking was like music filling up the space between them that had been soaked in mournful silence.
Upon being tickled in retaliation for starting their match, Roman screeched helplessly and flailed to get a hold of those dangerous fingers. He ended up pinning Virgil under his body quite in self defense, panting from laughing so hard.
The younger man stilled for a moment, drawing in deep lungfuls of air, finally exhausted from pushing against this man that might as well be an excited golden retriever happily yapping at him. His wrists were pinned by the man-child straddling his hips to keep them away from his apparently vulnerable sides.
Lying there under a man larger and stronger than him, finally trapped securely, the urge to bite and scratch arose in his chest from sheer habit alone. He wasn’t because he was afraid – he wasn’t. Not while he was seeing Roman above him, awed and careful with green eyes bright with joy. Instead of curling his fingers to draw blood on the large hands restraining his wrists, he relaxed them, knowing he could escape if he choose to. Not only because he was well used to being in this position on his back and knew it was a simple matter of bringing his knee up in a very painful manner, but also because he realized that he had never been in this position quite like this before. He wouldn’t need to fight his way out. A word would suffice.
Despite being towered over, overpowered, Virgil didn’t want Roman to leave just yet. He had gotten beaten because he’d allowed it instead of resorting to the violence he’d hurt the other with so carelessly in many small ways before. He hadn’t hurt him this time though, even if it had caused him to loose their little wresting match and end up restrained by gentle hands he trusted. The defeat he’d accepted readily felt like a victory of the youth he used to be over the man he’d become.
Roman seemed to read some of his feelings on his face, stilling his body to wait for what Virgil wanted from him. He was warm over him, close enough that the tips of his escaped locks brushed Virgil’s cheek. Noticing how little space he’d left him, the detective pushed himself higher, fearful of frightening the usually so distanced creature willingly trapped between his knees. He was amazed at how close he got to be. For Virgil’s sake, he tried to ignore how much he liked this position. He got to keep the lovely being where he could hold and protect him and he wanted to spoil him with all of his tenderness, here in his grasp where nothing bad could touch him.
The movement drew Virgil’s attention to the way his body shifted, strong and attractive and built in a way young, flustered Virgil Raine would have fallen all over himself for in helpless awe. No one his hot had ever played a role in his life back then. This once feeling grateful for not being as innocent as he used to be, the former gang member managed to remain fairly calm despite the warmth and excitement rising in his body, coaxed out by the weight over his hips and the well cared for hands closed around his wrist, pinning them next to his head. He used to have such a weakness for men with strong arms and shoulders broad enough to easily throw him over. The fact that he was beginning to enjoy those qualities again was still a surprise to him, considering just a few months ago he had scrubbed his skin till it bled and had wished to never be toughed by a man ever again.
An uplifting thought came to him. He might not be the person he used to be, but at least got to enjoy having this handsome, overgrown puppy in his life.
Only a slight shift of his thin wrists was enough to make Roman pull his hands back and clamber off of him respectfully.
Virgil accepted the help and let himself be pulled up. Feeling a little unsteady from the sudden momentum, he staggered a bit. It had been a long day. Roman wrapped an arm around him securely, bringing him against his side with the pale hand still clasped in his. Running a soothing thumb over the back, Roman gazed at him patiently, searching his face. His look was oddly intimate.
In the renewed quiet of the flat, the severity of the situation crept back into the forefront of their mind, demanding attention with the sinking feeling it brought with it. Patton had probably been crying and in pain while they’d been rolling around like fucking imbeciles. Shame crawled up Virgil’s neck hotly. He turned his face away.
Roman took a loose hold of his chin before he could escape under his hoody and worry about his mistakes until he felt physically sick. Tilting his head up, he promised gently, “There is nothing wrong with sharing a moment of happiness when the suffering becomes too great to handle, my dear.”
Virgil scoffed at him and poked him in the ribs for good measure (and for calling him ‘my dear’, what the fuck). Roman’s yip made him feel slightly better though.
They returned to the living-room so they could easily be found. The larger room offered less distractions, less safety from the pressing misery and fear though. Patton was just next door, yet he felt a world away. The knowledge that he was too ashamed to allow them to help hurt even more acutely from how very clearly Virgil understood the feeling. Both men were helpless to stop the dark thoughts from creeping in. What had they done wrong to be kept away now? Had they hurt Patton?
Noticing their uneasy, Cat warbled in displeasure and turned her sharp teeth on the leg of the desk next to her basket to alleviate the stress that spread through the tense room. The nice, dark wood bruised immediately under the sharp little teeth. Swearing, Virgil rushed forward and extracted the raccoon with gentle hands. The cool rat sent a disapproving glare in her direction from where it was curled up in its cage.
The marks on the furniture made the barista guilty immediately. Even after all the care the detective had invested, damage done by him or his pet still made him nervous and a little frightened. Keeping his voice soft, he briefly spoke to Cat in the way he only ever addressed his anxious pet. It seemed to sigh in his arms, deflating into a heavy, furry form folding in his embrace.
The silence seemed to fold around everything like a heavy, cottony fog, yet it cut Roman like a knife. Silence was the sound of his childhood and he handled it badly. On bad days it left him sad and lonely even when surrounded by people. He thought it wasn’t doing Virgil any favors either to get lost in his head now, so he looked for a suitable distraction. Anything to fill the quiet distance between them and lighten his poor raven’s broken heart.
His gaze fell on the coffee table where he’d left another island over ever expanding beauty products slowly colonizing Logan’s flat. Yes, that would do nicely.
A few minutes later found the two with the raccoon settled on its back in Virgil’s lap, getting its pointy claws filed and painted in the fetching burgundy Roman had used for his toes. It rumbled contently, ignoring the kitten’s attempt to make it play while getting nail-polish all over its fur. Virgil was unwinding a bit but still found it hard to form words with the memory of his terrible behavior still so fresh in his mind. Roman tried his best to fill the silence with idle chatter, light and pleasant. He wondered where the detective found the strength to try to create such a calm atmosphere when Virgil himself felt ready to crawl under his covers and cry until everything went away.
Roman did not look as calm as he sounded though. His brow was furrowed in worry, his shoulders tense. Even his smooth voice seemed to have lost some of its confidence. Worriedly, Virgil gathered the strength to scoot closer. He had no capacity for speech left in his suddenly tired limbs. Everything felt heavy. He was drained to the bone. Instead, he hesitantly brought their sides together on the sofa and leaned his head on the detective’s shoulder.
Roman’s stream of words died down slowly. The silence that followed seemed to feel less lonely, as if the points of contact to the slender body by his side tethered him to the present, far away from large marble-floored halls he dared only cross on his tiptoes to avoid any unnecessary sounds.
They’d ended the night in the master-bedroom, curled around Patton who smiled at them so bravely. He’d been so strong, so selfless even as he’d flinched away from Roman. The fear on his bruised face had nearly brought the large man to tears. He’d hated himself in that moment, himself and his useless, inadequate body. All he’d wanted was to protect his smallest friend, and he’d only succeeded in hurting him. Irrationally, he’d felt rejected.
Patton had radiated love though, and pulled him in, his body tiny in his arms – and trusting.
Virgil too had silently suffered through his own thoughts. Patton had wrapped him in his arms like he wanted to keep him safe from any pain, yet he had no idea how terribly Virgil had been about to harm him. He didn’t deserve this fatherly kindness. They all wanted to help him, yet he could to nothing for them in return. He should leave. Clearly Logan, who’d wrestled with his temper so often, had the situation under control much better than he did.
Roman’s arm settled around Patton, drawing both the patissier and the ex-criminal against his chest. He was strong and safe and held on to Virgil as if he needed him.  
More exciting things than this will happen next chapter. As always, I’d be happy to hear from you!
Check out this lovely idea about the way Roman’s story might continue. A lot of smart people had wonderful additions to it!
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