speaking of devastatingly handsome, the way my eyes went straight to misha in this op — https://x.com/shandataber/status/1726796135304683535?s=46 👀🔥
◐ PART VIII of THE ALPHA ◐
◐ Series Masterlist ◐
◐ Part I ◐ Part II ◐ Part III ◐ Part IV ◐ Part V ◐ Part VI ◐ Part VII ◐
Pairing: Alpha Werewolf Jimin x Omega Reader
Rating: Hard Mature 18+ (for this installment)
Warnings: this one is a little darker, descriptions of violence, ABO sexual dynamics including discussion of scenting, marking, mating, and claiming, strong sexual innuendo, discussion of violence relating to ritual combat, possessive behavior, injuries and discussion of injuries, lots of people have, use and are threatened by knives, kidnapping and drugging, its not as bad as it sounds, but it is definitely a bit darker…
Word Count: 4250
Author’s Note: I said it before but it bears repeating...You have no idea what your support has meant to me. Truly your asks and your messages and comments…they made me so happy. You made me believe that people wouldn’t forget about this story. I am so grateful you were able to wait. As many of you know I faced a medical emergency recently and you were all so lovely. The best followers on this site and I MEAN that. As always, my angels @ppersonna @xjoonchildx and @untaemedqueen were (and continue to be) the best betas and the best friends anyone could ask for. My thanks to ALL of you for helping me bring this story to life! I don’t know what I would do without your daily encouragement and your daily support. You guys are the heartbeat of this story. It wouldn’t be here without you.
Two Years Ago
Centuries ago the moon goddess stumbled across her human soulmate while he was sleeping. Struck by his beauty, but reluctant to reveal her identity, the goddess began to visit him in his dreams where she could hide her true form and appear before him as a mortal woman.
In the world of dreams their love flourished and from that blessed union the packs were born…
The wolf nations celebrated this sacred romance every ten years during the Festival of the Lover’s Moon…
The day of the festival was spent eating and drinking and dancing at large parties, but when the sun went down… well—
That’s when things got really interesting.
On the night of Lover’s Moon the young unmated wolves of the pack were permitted to commemorate this legendary love story in a decidedly scandalous manner.
The unmated men assumed the role of the goddess’s sleeping lover—they were blindfolded (to represent slumber) and led into a large sectioned off area of the dark forest to ‘wait and dream.’
Unmated she-wolves over the age of maturity (eighteen) took herbal scent suppressors and ventured out into that very same forest in order to anonymously ‘visit’ the young men ‘in their dreams’...
The rules for what exactly that meant were pretty fast and loose which was why Min Yoongi was thanking the goddess and every other deity he could think of that Yunli was still seventeen.
“But I will be eighteen in two days! Please can’t I just—“
“No. Absolutely not under any circumstances ever.”
“But Yoonji is going!”
“Ji-ah is nearly nineteen and has never been interested in any of the snotty little man-pups of our pack.” He snorted. “She’s probably going out just so she can shove a bunch of them in the lake.”
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Yunli mumbled irritably.
Kim Taehyung yawned idly and snuggled into the cozy little pallet he prepared at the base of his favorite tree. The blindfold he and all the other unmated ‘lovers’ wore was made from witchcloth and could not be removed while the sun was down—so he had snuck into the forest earlier to set everything up.
Now all he had to do was wait until—
Taehyung didn’t recognize the owner of that voice, but he knew for sure who it wasn’t.
“I was hoping to find you tonight.”
This is not good.
“Well I’m—I’m flattered… naturally but—”
She touched his hand and he squeaked.
“I was thinking you and I might get to know each other a little bet—eep!”
The sharp point of a custom blade pressed directly into the unfortunate young beta girl’s pulse point.
“Are you lost, puppy?”
A heavy cloak obscured the newcomer’s features, but there was no mistaking her meaning.
Taehyung bit his lip to keep from snorting as the poor she-wolf scrambled away.
“Ji-ah,” he tsked with feigned disapproval, “that wasn’t very nice.”
Min Yoonji grinned as she sheathed her wicked looking dagger and slid languidly into his arms.
“You don’t like nice girls, Kim Taehyung.”
“I like you,” he whispered breathlessly against her lips. “Nice or not—it doesn't matter to me…” His hands slid greedily over her soft curves—pulling her closer till he felt the beat of her heart against his own. “I’ll like anything as long as it’s you.”
This was the stupidest idea in the history of stupid ideas.
Jimin huffed as he struggled to find a comfortable position against the giant boulder he’d chosen as his perch.
Why did I let Taehyung talk me into this?
He could be at home—in bed—comfortably sleeping off the all-day feast he’d indulged in.
Instead he was out in the middle of the forest sitting blindfolded on a rock in the off chance that one of the she-wolves was out looking for him.
Not bloody likely.
Not when prime targets like Namjoon, Hoseok, Jungkook—and countless others—were scattered throughout the woods.
Every hair on Jimin’s body stood on end.
It was a soft whisper—the speaker clearly didn’t want her voice to be recognized, yet something about the sound sent a curious frisson of interest down his spine.
“Yes… that’s me. But if you’re looking for Hoseok he’s just a little deeper in. You probably caught his scent downwind so—”
“I’m not looking for Hoseok.”
Jimin licked his lips and the sight of it sparked a odd curl of heat in the pit of your belly.
“I don’t know where anyone else is…”
“That’s quite alright.” A muted shuffle of movement reached his ears as you settled down beside him. “I was looking for you.”
“Oh…” He rubbed the back of his neck idly. “Are you sure?”
Laughter like fairy bells whispered through the air and Jimin felt his heart clench.
Don’t get your hopes up.
“Who are you?”
You were silent for a long time and then—
“I am someone who owes you a debt. One I have never been able to repay.”
Jimin’s head tilted curiously as he considered your words.
“I’m sorry, miss… you must be mistaken. There isn’t—“
“You don’t remember.”
It was a statement—not a question. Your voice was nearer now. He could feel the warmth of your body close to his—though not quite touching. “It was your wolf that saved me. But you had not gone through the Change yet.”
Familiar shame spiked sharply in his chest.
“I’m seven years past the Change...Why have you never mentioned this before?”
“Circumstances prevented me from doing so.”
There was a cold finality to your pronouncement—which of course did nothing but further inflame his curiosity.
“Then why come to me now?”
“I’ve come to repay you.”
Jimin’s mouth dropped open.
Were you trying to—?!
“Oh—no please that-that’s not necessary—I could never take advantage of—”
You giggled again.
“I am not offering my body, Park Jimin.”
Jimin breathed a heavy sigh of relief then shook his head with a wry chuckle.
“Well considering the circumstances I can hardly be blamed for assuming you might be. And honestly most men would jump at the chance to—”
“You...are not most men.”
Jimin’s eyes narrowed beneath his blindfold.
“Little she-wolf—I may not be wrestling bears for fun or bare knuckle boxing in the town square, but I am still an alpha.”
The weight of his command poured over your body as he spoke the last word. There was no order or intent—he had simply given you a taste of his power.
Aside from your direct blood relatives, no alpha had ever dared unleash their compel in your presence—therefore you were utterly unprepared for the effect it had on you—
Utterly unprepared for the strange surge of want so potent and profound that it stole the breath from your body.
It was primal—invigorating—
You and your wolf may not have been entirely connected yet, but she was suddenly quite vocal about her desire to fully bask in Park Jimin’s attention.
A wicked grin played over his lips as he leaned in closer and you could almost feel the soft brush of his lips against your cheek.
“Did you think I would not desire the touch of a beautiful woman in the moonlight?” he whispered.
Please touch me, Alpha.
Your eyes widened.
Dear goddess. Your inner wolf was turning out to be a shameless hussy.
“You might desire it, but you are far too honorable to accept it as payment for a debt.”
Jimin drew back warily.
You were correct of course. After all he had refused you when he believed that was your intent but—
“How could you know that?”
Evade. Evade now.
“Well... how could you know I was beautiful? You’re blindfolded.”
He shrugged and your wolf took careful note of the way it made all the pretty muscles in his back and shoulders ripple.
He will give us such strong—
He will do no such thing. Please calm down.
“Not everything must be seen with your eyes.”
Is that how you found me? All those years ago...
Questions churned chaotically beneath your consciousness but you dared not give voice to them.
“I must repay this debt. Ask for what you want and—if it is in my power—I swear it will be yours.”
Jimin smiled again, but this time it was somehow softer. For a moment he looked almost…
“I’m afraid that the only thing I have ever wanted is not within your power to give...and I dare not ask you or anyone else for it.”
He sighed and drew even farther away from you—in fact it seemed like he was preparing to leave.
Your hand reached out almost of it's its own accord and wrapped tightly around his wrist. The contact sent a shock of searing heat through his veins and he froze.
“Please alpha. It is not acceptable for someone like me—” a leader, a Luna, “—to owe another my life and offer nothing in return. You must let me pay my debt.”
Omega, his wolf growled, sweet perfect omega.
Suppressors may have hidden your scent, but the siren song of an omega pleading prettily in his ear was unmistakable—irresistible…
“What if all I want is your name?”
You sighed deeply.
“I cannot give you that. My name is… not mine to offer.”
“A woman I cannot remember with a name I cannot know and whose face I cannot see.” He shook his head. “Perhaps you are just a figment of my imagination.”
It was hard to explain what happened next...For whatever reason his words cut you deeply and you were overcome with the desire—no need—to refute them somehow.
“I’m real enough,” you whispered, bringing his hand to your cheek.
Jimin was genuinely beginning to wonder if you were a witch as well as a she-wolf. Being close to you was intoxicating and the urge to draw you in was steadily overpowering every other thought.
“Could I ask you for a kiss, then?”
“You—...You saved my life and all you want... is a kiss?”
The air grew heavier as the strange magnetic pull between you swelled to a silent inescapable crescendo.
“In Seoul I often searched for someone who could ease my loneliness, yet each time I walked away emptier than before.” His thumb brushed gently over your lips and your eyes fluttered shut. “I have never had a kiss that meant anything to me.”
But yours might.
It was unclear who moved first, whether he pulled you to him or you surged forward but when your bodies aligned and your lips met his for the first time it was as if you had never been separate from one another.
As if you had always been deeply—intimately —together.
The indescribable feel of him lit over your senses like a struck match. It was an ignition in the purest sense of the word— a fiery visceral awakening fueled by a consuming flood of desire.
He might never see your face or hear your name, but Jimin knew he would remember the taste of you for the rest of his life. It was hot and bright like liquid sunshine— a pure relentless light flowing through him where there was once only darkness.
A soft needy moan rose up from your chest and he growled in primal satisfaction as you melted against him.
Your fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt of their own accord, desperately trying to bring him closer until he wrapped his arms around you in a heated embrace.
“Please,” he begged breathlessly against your mouth. “Please tell me who you are.”
The words crashed over you like a bucket of ice —dousing the hazy pleasure of his kiss with a cold bite of reality. Suddenly you were wrenching yourself away from him and your wolf whimpered in misery at the loss of his touch.
“I can’t,” you whispered.
And then you were gone.
“Did someone hurt you?”
You looked up to find Jin taking in your tears with cold fury.
Twin knives were already gleaming dangerously in his hands and he appeared ready to filet whichever bastard was foolish enough to make you cry.
“No,” you sniffed—well aware of how pitiful you were at the moment—crying in the corner of your cousin’s kitchen. “I got myself into this mess without any help—as usual.”
Jin sighed and slid down next to you.
“Something happened that I…I didn’t intend.”
“Oh I knew that already. The Luna isn’t supposed to be running around on the night of Lover’s Moon in a forest full of blind horny wolves—“
You snorted and shook your head.
“You’re absolutely right. I should have stayed away.”
Jin’s eyes narrowed and he wondered if perhaps you had caught Kim Namjoon with another omega. Nothing would be official until after the Change of course, but your bond with him was basically a foregone conclusion at this point.
“You went looking for someone...didn’t you.”
You nodded miserably—all but confirming his fears. He made a mental note to push Namjoon in the swamp at the next available opportunity.
“You know... the stories say that a Luna is powerfully drawn to her mate under the Lover’s Moon—that her wolf can sense him even before the Change.” He reached over and gently began to brush the tears from your eyes. “So it’s not surprising that you sought him out, but it’s not really fair to hold whatever it is you saw against him. There is no relationship between you yet and…” he chuckled, “kisses beneath festival moonlight don’t really mean anything anyways.”
It was clear that Jin had somehow gotten the entirely wrong impression, but perhaps that was for the best.
No one knew of your connection to Jimin and no one had seen what passed between you.
Something about his assessment stung you.
“You really believe that? ...That a kiss exchanged tonight means nothing?”
“I do.” Jin spoke with conviction. “There’s ancient magic at play in those woods. You can’t always trust what you see—or what you feel.”
“Oh I...I didn’t know…”
After a moment you laid your head against his shoulder and let the last of your tears run silently down your cheek.
“Jin-ah have you ever wanted something you knew you couldn’t have?”
“Yes.” He sighed heavily and pulled you in to snuggle a bit closer. “When I was younger I dreamed of having a mate just like everyone else…”
The words were so softly spoken—almost wistful. Your heart splintered just hearing them.
“But… she could be out there—your mate.”
Jin shook his head.
“When is the last time you heard of a female alpha?”
Fresh tears welled up in your eyes.
“Hey,” he whispered, “don’t waste your crying on me. I’ve long since come to terms with who and what I am.”
“You’re not sad anymore?”
“Well… maybe sometimes I am… but I had to accept that people like us are not like everyone else. Our destinies were written long before we were born.”
“And you believe you’re destined to be alone?”
“Wolves in a pack are never really alone.”
“Yes...but they can be lonely,” you whispered thinking back to Jimin’s words.
For a moment Jin’s eyes were the saddest you had ever seen them.
“Well...I suppose they can.” Then he chuckled and gave your nose an affectionate little tap. “But you don’t need to worry about that. When the time comes Namjoon will take his place at your side and the two of you will build a wonderful life together... Isn’t that what you want?”
Your treacherous thoughts drifted back to the boy in the moonlight—to the way your body sang when he touched you and the strange insatiable desire to know him and be known by him in return.
“Please...Tell me who you are.”
A heavy ache settled in your heart.
You were the Luna of the mountain nations. A true born moon princess.
You could never be the woman who kissed Park Jimin underneath the stars.
You were not like everybody else.
“...Yes. That is what I want.”
Jimin’s heart pounded as he tore through the dark paths of the wood with Taehyung, Yoongi, and Jungkook close behind.
He had never led an attack—had never been trained to command wolves in battle.
It was his first true test of leadership and he hadn’t even been a leader for twenty-four hours.
Yet the fears and anxieties that might have normally clouded his mind were notably absent.
There was only you.
Ironically Jimin owed Namjoon yet another debt—this time for explaining what exactly someone like him was capable of.
The alpha Jin captured had given up their plan and position after being exposed to Jimin’s unique gifting, so he had a concrete target in his mind… He suspected however, that your captors had taken precautions after leaving some of their men behind. They had shifted their camp.
But it wouldn’t be enough to save them.
Jimin didn’t need your location to find you.
He spent years refusing to look at you, and even then he always knew exactly where you were. He could sense you in any crowd—hear your voice in a thousand.
Once it had tormented him cruelly to be so aware of you.
Now it was the only thing keeping him sane.
He followed the connection between his heart and yours like a lifeline and it guided him as surely as the stars.
The alphas followed him without question.
If any of them harbored lingering doubts before, they were firmly laid to rest after what they saw at the cottage. No ordinary wolf could do what he had done.
The Alpha would bring back their Luna and retribution would be swift indeed.
The drugs in your system kept swinging you in and out of lucidity like a nightmarish pendulum. You tried to shift after the initial nausea faded, but whatever they gave you kept your wolf caged beneath your skin.
The longing you felt for your mate was the only thing tethering you to reality. You could almost hear him echoing in the far corners of your mind—
I’m coming Omega—hold on.
I’ll find you.
Part of you recognized that his voice was likely nothing more than the wistful creation of your drug-addled mind, still you clung to it like the last shred of hope while the minutes (or hours) flew past.
Chaos clouded your thoughts even in clearer moments as many unavoidable concerns forced their way through the haze.
Jin was at the house with you when they broke in. You had no way of knowing if he survived.
The men who took you were crass and irreverent. Their eyes followed your form with too much interest and too little respect.
It was starting to get cold and (due to you nearly dismembering a high council member and needing to be compelled unconscious) you were still wearing a thin white ceremonial dress which offered very little protection from the elements.
You wondered idly if your idiot captors would let you freeze to death before they accomplished whatever it was they took you for. They clearly needed you for something or you would have been long dead by now.
None of them struck you as particularly brilliant planners so the mastermind must be somewhere else...
Frankly the entire situation was as puzzling as it was troubling. Iron Claw had always gotten along well with your pack.
Technically they were (almost) what the human governments called a vassal state. The presence of a Luna determined the dominant pack in a region and the Luna of the mountain nations had been born into Silver Fang—your pack—for the last thousand years or so.
Why would they challenge us now?
The birth of a Luna indicated that the goddess had chosen that pack to lead. Their willingness—not only to kidnap you—but to go against the dominant pack by doing so was alarming to say the least.
A sudden explosion of movement and sound interrupted your contemplation. Motion erupted all around you—boots pounding on the ground, men falling into their wolf forms, knives being drawn…
You lifted your head—straining forward to see the source of the commotion—and nearly collapsed in relief when you finally did.
Your mate stood at the edge of the camp flanked by two enormous black wolves.
A deadly looking jingum sword gleamed dangerously in his right hand. You recognized it immediately as your great-grandfather’s combat blade—the thousand year-old weapon of the Silver Fang Alphas.
Relief flooded your chest all over again at the sight of it. Only Jin could have given him that sword—which meant he was still alive.
The black wolves—Yoongi and Jungkook—snarled viciously but made no move to attack.
Your captors were still scrambling into some sort of combat formation when Jimin finally spoke.
“You have violated our sacred laws, trespassed in sovereign pack lands, kidnapped a Luna under the protection of our goddess, abducted the mate of the Silver Fang Alpha, and risked open war between our peoples.” He took a single step forward. “Surrender now and I will be merciful.”
The biggest of your captors—a man you recognized as the de facto leader—spat viciously on the ground.
“You are not my Alpha,” he growled.
A cold—almost cruel—smile twisted over Jimin’s lips.
Then he dropped to one knee and a massive grey wolf—Taehyung—leapt over his head and tore out the defiant leader’s throat before he even hit the ground.
Your mouth dropped open.
Yoongi and Jungkook lunged forward in opposite directions, tackling their targets to the forest floor in a bloody clash of teeth and claws.
One of the larger Iron Claw alphas half-shifted and charged Jimin but his arm shot out lightning fast, catching his attacker by the throat to send him flying through the air into a tree.
The next several minutes could only be described as terrifyingly beautiful.
It was immediately clear that Jimin had been holding back when he fought Namjoon.
He dispatched his opponents with such elegant savagery it was almost art.
You were so mesmerized watching Jimin sensually sword dance his way through a dozen alphas nearly twice his size that you almost missed Taehyung’s wolf rushing over with a dagger clenched between his teeth.
Luna are you okay?
You grinned and held up your rope-bound wrists.
“I’ll be better once you pass me that knife.”
Taehyung nodded once and dropped the blade at your feet before tackling another wolf that was tearing towards the two of you.
You sawed through the ties around your ankle first then twisted your arms to try and slice through the restraints on your wrist.
The Iron Claw wolves were clearly no match for Jimin and his alphas.
Jungkook and Yoongi chased after the few who were trying to run while Taehyung half-shifted to subdue the handful of wolves left alive as prisoners. Only Jimin continued to fight as the last three of your captors still standing took turns being slammed into the dirt by his strikes.
He was clearly capable of dispatching them, but you were fairly convinced that you would die if you had to stay away from him for another second. The ropes, however, were surprisingly thick and the angle you were cutting them at wasn’t the best. If only—
You were almost free when you saw it.
One of your captors had pulled a hunting javelin from their supply wagon. He must have hid himself at the onset of the fight, but now he was comfortably concealed by the shadows—and taking aim at Jimin.
Your heart dropped into your stomach.
The attacker appeared to handle the weapon with familiarity. He was too far back—too well hidden—Jimin would never see him in time—
The last cord around your wrist snapped and you were on your feet, pushing through the combined haze of fury and sedatives to charge the wolf who dared attack your mate.
By the time he saw you it was far too late.
Under the effects of the drug your aim was a little skewed but you weren’t Kim Seokjin’s cousin for nothing.
One clean flick of your wrist and the dagger shot through the air, burying itself between the brute’s shoulder blades—all the way to the hilt.
His body fell to the ground just as Jimin sent the last of your captors careening into a pile of previously defeated foes.
For a moment all was quiet.
Then your eyes locked across the distance and everything around you sharpened to a single whispered word.
He had run non-stop for miles and torn apart a dozen wolves to get to your side—no amount of space between you now was tolerable.
The sword clattered to the forest floor as he moved toward you—desperate to feel you—to wrap himself around you and know that you were safe.
What happened next was as natural as breathing.
You opened to him and he lifted you into his arms, taking your lips in a hot unrepentant kiss.
Fire exploded across your senses, burning away everything but the touch and taste of him. Every part of you was at once fiercely and gloriously alive. Desperate moans passed between you as he licked into your mouth—a dark primal promise of the pleasure he would take between your thighs.
“Alpha,” you whimpered, too delirious with want to manage anything else.
Suddenly Jimin’s eyes shot open. His hands flew to cup your face, searching it with a mixture of realization and disbelief.
“You… It was you.”
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Frustrated- Wonho ft. Shownu (M)
Pairings: Wonho (ft. Shownu) x Female Reader
Description: Basically you just really wanted Hoseok to pin you down and fuck your brains out.
You always knew when Hoseok was frustrated. Your boyfriend was always in the gym, but when he started going excessively, you knew something was wrong. The man was predictable, and that was something you loved about him. However, you wished he would turn to you more during his times of upset. Your sweet, caring boyfriend was very vanilla. You loved his kind heart and sweet nature, but sometimes you wanted just a little spice. Hoseok treated you like a glass doll, as if you could break at any second.
You had a plan up your sleeve though, you just needed to wait for the opportune moment.
It wasn’t that you felt Hoseok wasn’t open with you. Truly, your irritation stemmed purely from a physical need. You had a strong, sexy boyfriend and you wanted to open up your sex life.
Basically you just really wanted Hoseok to pin you down and fuck your brains out.
You needed to convince him that you weren’t going to break, and the only way to do that was to take advantage of his annoyed state of mind. Give him just a little nudge into that primal instinct you wanted to unleash.
You waited a full hour after he’d gotten to the gym, knowing he’d be right in the middle of his workout. It was a private gym in his building, you needed a key to get in which worked in your favor. You’d be able to hear anyone coming in, even though it was unlikely someone would show up this late.
You walked in, spotting your boyfriend immediately lifting in the far corner. He saw you in the mirror, a look of surprise crossing his face at the sight of you. You were wearing a long jacket and a pair of black strappy heels. Unbeknownst to him, that was all you were wearing.
“Did we have plans?” Hoseok placed the bar of weights back down to the floor, turning his attention to you in concern.
You shook your head softly, “No plans. You just sounded really stressed out on the phone earlier. I wanted to come help.”
He looked you over and tilted his head in confusion. “I don’t think you can workout with me wearing that…”
You grinned knowingly at him, “Oh, you’d be surprised.” You unbuttoned your jacket slowly, letting it reveal your naked body to him little by little.
Hoseok’s mouth fell open and realization took over his features. “Babe...you could have just…” He swallowed hard, “We can’t do that here…”
You let the jacket hang open and walked over to him. Your hands slid up his muscular arms and around his neck. “Baby…” You spoke quietly, batting your eyes up at him. “I want you to press me against that mirror and fuck all your stress out on me.”
His jaw clenched, and Hoseok closed his eyes and sighed. “We’ve talked about this, love. I don’t want--”
“--to hurt me. I know, but you won’t. We can have a safe word if it makes you feel more comfortable. I’m not asking you to choke me out, just...be a little more rough with me.”
He frowned, and you let out a slow breath. “Look. I’m never going to force you into any situation, ever. I love you so much. I am open to exploring some different sexual situations with you. The idea of having sex in the gym excites me, the idea of you being a little extra rough during it makes me hot. I think you’d like it too, but if not that’s okay. Really it is.”
Hoseok was quiet for a few seconds and embarrassment began to coarse through your veins. Maybe he really was turned off by the idea.
Feeling as if time was moving too slowly you dropped your hands from your boyfriend’s neck and closed the jacket around yourself. “I’m sorry. I’ll just go home and we can talk later…” You took one step away from him before his hand reached out and grabbed your wrist.
You were surprised by the action, but even more surprised by the look in Hoseok’s eyes. A dark glimmer sparked through, sending a shiver down your spine. Hoseok narrowed his gaze before grabbing you by the neck and backing you against the mirror.
“Is this what you wanted?” He asked darkly. “You want me to be rough with you?” The pressure on your neck increased slightly and you couldn’t stop the sound of pleasure that slipped past your lips.
Hoseok looked at you for a long moment, his gaze unreadable before he spun you around and pressed your bare chest to the cold glass. “You want to watch yourself as I finally give you what you want?” He asked, his voice low and deep.
You whimpered and nodded your head, “As long as you want to too.” You whispered, still feeling unsure from his quiet lack of response.
Hoseok smiled and pressed his lips to your shoulder. “I want to make you feel good,” He murmured, his fingers slid between your legs and teased at your folds. “And judging by how wet you are, I’d say it’s working.”
“It is,” You moaned, arching your back to try to chase his fingers as they left.
“Good.” The dark voice was back and your eyes snapped up to Hoseok’s reflection. “Take the jacket off and get on your knees, princess.”
You did as you were told, scrambling down to the soft mats beneath you while Hoseok slid his gym shorts down his legs and kicked them aside. He stroked his growing erection as he looked down at you, you felt your insides turn in excitement.
Your mouth fell open and you couldn’t contain your noises when you felt the velvety soft flesh of his cock sit on your tongue. You took him in, letting him slide into your mouth as far as you could take him comfortably. You massaged the underside of his cock with your tongue and slowly backed your mouth off of him. Your eyes stayed up to his as you began to lick and suck at the tip.
He watched you with a calm gaze, but the way his fingers curled into fists at his side told you he was enjoying every second. You took him in deep again, letting him hit the back of your throat. You breathed deeply through your nose to keep your throat relaxed.
Hoseok bit his bottom lip, stifling a groan as you began to pump him in and out of your mouth. He reached forward, grabbing your head to hold you still. He began to thrust his hips gently, watching as he disappeared into your mouth. You moaned in encouragement, keeping your jaw slacked as saliva began to slide down your chin and neck.
He jutted his hips a bit harder, causing you to gag. He pulled his dick out of your mouth and pulled you to your feet in one swift motion. He pressed his lips to yours, licking into your mouth with a groan. He pulled away and spun you around, pressing you into the mirror.
Your breath fogged the glass in front of you as you panted against it. Before you could wrap your head around everything happening, Hoseok’s cockhead was rubbing against your entrance. He slid it up and down your clit and you moaned his name loudly.
“Are you ready, baby? Ready for this cock to pound you into the mirror?”
You felt your body cover in goosebumps, not used to this side of your boyfriend. You were ridiculously turned on and you nodded fervently and pushed your ass out eagerly.
Hoseok put his hand around your chest, pulling you up straight against him. “Dead lift.” He murmured lowly into your ear.
“What’s that?” You asked him breathlessly.
“Your safe word.” He spoke firmly before pushing you forward and slamming his cock inside of you.
You gasped, grabbing at the mirror desperately to try to catch your balance. Hseok pistoned into you relentlessly, the sound of skin against skin illing the gym.
“Fuck,” he grunted, “you’re so fucking wet.”
“For you,” you whimpered. You looked up to his reflection, catching his eye.
He paused only for a moment, “Only for me.” He pistoned into you again, and you gripped haplessly at the mirror you were pressed against.
You were shameless in your cries of pleasure, and that was something you hadn’t taken into consideration. Otherwise you would have heard the key in the door and it open. And Hyunwoo wouldn’t have had the shock of his life.
“Jesus,” he muttered at the sight of you and Hoseok.
Hoseok barely lost his rhythm, a devilish smirk sat on his lips as he continued fucking you in front of his friend. “Decided to work out a different way tonight.”
Hyunwoo couldn’t help but chuckle at that comment, “I see, but some of us still use this equipment you know.”
Hoseok stopped at that, and the look on his face made you tense. “Who’s to say you can’t use the equipment?”
Hyunwoo rolled his eyes, already ready to clear out of the gym.
“I’m being serious.” Hoseok turned to face his friend and smiled.
Hyunwoo stilled and eyed you before looking back at Hoseok.
Hoseok gave you lazy thrusts, running his hand up your back, “What do you think, princess? Do you want to help Hyunwoo with his stress like you’re helping me?”
You knew Hoseok wouldn’t ask unless he was into the idea, which frankly surprised the hell out of you. You gave a hesitant nod, looking back at Hoseok to meet his gaze.
He physically twitched inside of you and you knew he was more turned on then he was ever letting on. You had a brief thought that perhaps you’d unleashed something inside of him you’d regret later; but you doubted it.
Hoseok’s attention was back to Hyunwoo, “You heard the lady, she’s here for you.”
Hyunwoo rubbed the back of his neck before checking behind his back, confirming the door was closed. He stalked over to you and Hoseok, his eyes gliding over both of your bodies.
Hoseok gave you a particularly firm thrust, releasing a surprised moan from your throat. You adjusted your grip onto the mirror as Hyunwoo made his way in front of you. You were practically eye level with his crotch, his erection prominent in his loose gym shorts. You looked up at him, waiting for direction.
Hyunwoo made a noise of approval before lowering his shorts and underwear to release his swollen cock. You immediately opened your mouth and accepted the warm, thick tip as he pressed it past your lips.
You moaned as he pushed his cock into your mouth. Hoseok had remained still inside of you, enjoying the view of you pleasuring one of his best friends. The moment didn’t last long, as Hyunwoo pulled back, Hoseok slammed his cock inside of you, causing you to take Hyunwoo back down your throat.
You caught yourself on Hyunwoo’s thighs, his strong muscles held you still and kept you from outright choking (not that you would mind). The two men found a rhythm, both swaying their hips in a way that kept you full. They used your body for their own pleasure and you were enjoying every second of it.
Hoseok slid a hand between your bodies and began to tease at your clit, causing you to moan around Hyunwoo’s cock. Hyunwoo rested a hand gently along your head holding it still as he fucked your mouth.
You took the chance and glanced at the mirror, catching your reflection. You were bent over, so full and fucked out and your entire body shook with desire.
“God, she’s loving this.” Hoseok murmured in awe. His hand on your waist tightened. “Are you going to cum for us sweetheart? Are you going to show Hyunwoo how pretty you are when you cum all over my cock?”
Hyunwoo pulled his dick out of your mouth and cupped your face gently. He smiled down at you sweetly, “Show me.” He whispered.
With a few sharp thrusts from Hoseok you came undone. You cried out in pleasure as your body seized in euphoria.
You had barely caught your breath when Hoseok pulled out of you and gave you a firm shove. “On your knees.”
You obeyed the command without another thought. Both men stood in front of you, stroking their gorgeous cocks.
“Open up.” Hoseok said with a wicked grin.
You did as you were told, mouth open and tongue out. Hoseok was the first to cum, his hot seed hitting your cheek and lips. You grinned happily up at him and Hyunwoo.
Hyunwoo let out a low grunt and you dived forward, taking his cock into your mouth once more and swallowing up every bit of what he gave you.
When you were done you sat back, licking your lips lewdly up at your boyfriend. You felt a hand on your cheek as Hyunwoo turned your face towards him, surprising you by licking at Hoseok’s cum on your cheek before pushing his tongue in your mouth.
You let out a surprised moan, not expecting that from Hyunwoo. When he pulled away he nipped at your lips softly and smiled. “Thanks for the help.” He told you before standing straight and patting Hoseok on the shoulder. “I guess leg day can wait.”
Hoseok let out a snort and you both watched Hyunwoo adjust his pants and head out of the gym.
Your boyfriend turned to you and helped you stand before sweeping you into his embrace. “My little minx,” he cooed into your ear before kissing your lips. “Was that what you were hoping for?” He asked as he pulled away just enough to see your face.
You felt your face heat up, “yes, was it…” You paused trying to form your thoughts. “Was that good for you? I don’t want to do those things if I’m the only one who gets off on it.”
Hoseok smiled, “I admit, I do prefer to keep things a bit...romantic. Just you and me in our room so I can watch you come undone with even the smallest touch.” He ran a hand down your back and ass, “But I forget how fun it is to step outside of the box every now and then. Thank you for reminding me.” He lifted his hand and you yelped when it came down roughly again. “But if you risk anyone else seeing you like this in public again you’re not going to like the punishment I create for you, little one. Got it?”
You looked up at your boyfriend in shock, still surprised he not only enjoyed this new role he could play with you; but that he slid into it with such ease. You nodded fervently, “Understood.”
He grinned again, pulling you in for a deeper kiss. “Now, let’s get cleaned up and head home, hm?”
You were more than happy to oblige, because the smile he gave you was one of a man you knew and loved. You wouldn’t say it out loud, but your plan worked. Hoseok was relaxed, happy, and completely stress free.
I for once am in a mood for quindo fluff. Some playful bickering perhaps?
Given that you’ve asked me for this twice, Percy, I would have felt very bad not giving it to you.😂😂😂😂 Here’s the Quindo bickering content of your dreams, but from Remy’s POV! Set during junior year, and briefly featuring two more fictional hockey players of my creation.
Also on ao3, in the ficlet collection. (Ask/send me anything about the crickets!)
junior year | october
The commotion in the kitchen wakes Remy up from the best nap he’s had in awhile, and that in and of itself is a sin.
Naps are not only a spiritually enriching experience, they’re also essential. Remy is slowly learning to use them as a remedy for the fact that he only gets so many hours of sleep per night. Ben keeps telling him that he should look into taking melatonin or something for the insomnia, but it always feels like a problem for another day. The other day it’s a problem for has yet to come.
So today, after he wakes up at five AM and does not fall back asleep, he spends the better half of the morning in the library busting out his entire upcoming paper for HI 387 (British Empire). When he finishes formatting his bibliography, he feels his primal nap instinct coming on, and the sky outside looks gray, which just helps the urge along. He gathers up his stuff, walks back to the house on Beech Street, changes into sweats, and flops into his bed with his feet on the pillow and head on the pile of stuffed animals at the end of the mattress.
Only God and Ben Shaley can judge him for his stuffed animal collection.
Some indeterminate time later, he wakes to the noise downstairs. He can’t make out exactly what’s being said, but he’d know Quinn’s shrill voice anywhere, piercing the stairwell and creeping right up into Remy’s room.
There’s a steady rain drumming on the window, and he lifts his head off of his arm. He feels like he accidentally imprinted the sleeve of his sweatshirt onto his cheek, if the weird bumpy sensation when he runs his fingers over his face is any indication. This is a sign of a good nap. Unfortunately, it’s been interrupted.
Downstairs, Quinn is still talking. He has one volume, and it’s loud.
Remy buries his face in between his stuffed snake and his duck, and sighs.
He lays in bed for a minute more, weighing the merits of attempting Naptime Part Two versus going downstairs to see what the fuss is about. In reality, he knows that there’s probably no fuss at all, and that Quinn is just on another of his random rants which must double as practicing onstage projection based on how loud and animated he can get. Remy fishes through his plush pile until he finds his phone, where he checks the time— it’s 3:02, which means he slept for at least two and a half hours. If he tries to go back to sleep now , there’s no way he’ll ever be able to get to sleep at the normal time to go to sleep.
So he rolls over, sits up in bed, and rubs his eyes. He feels a mighty yawn coming on, but it doesn’t actually hit him until he fixes his shirt— somehow, under his hoodie, it bunched all the way up to his chest in his sleep. And the ankle seam on one of his joggers is up to his knee.
Wow. It really was a good nap.
The yawn hits him when he stands up and out of bed. He kind of feels like a zombie, walking after such a deep sleep. He guesses it isn’t such a bad thing to be so well-rested. It’s been awhile.
Downstairs, Quinn’s voice persists. When he opens his bedroom door and steps out into the hallway, another factor comes into play— somebody is cooking down there, and, well, okay, he can say ‘somebody’ but the smell tells him without a doubt it’s Nando. It smells like that spicy chicken soup recipe he loves making on rainy, crappy days, and Remy had no idea he was hungry, but all of a sudden his stomach growls like a feral cat.
As he heads down the stairs, slow but steady, he can gradually start to make out Quinn’s words. “... do not understand even in the slightest how you can work like this—”
“Baby,” he hears Nando laugh, which puts a temporary stop to Quinn’s tirade. “I swear, there’s a method to my madness!”
“Oh, it’s madness, alright,” Quinn replies. “I mean, goodness , Sebastián—” There’s a clatter of dishware, like someone has put something in the sink. “You’re building an entire tower over here!”
Remy rounds the corner into the kitchen just in time for Nando to protest, “But I’m gonna clean it… promise!”
Quinn is the first thing he sees, orange-haired and pint-sized in a baggy (obviously stolen) sweatshirt and gesturing snappily. He stands next to the counter. “The issue isn’t that you’ll clean it eventually,” he’s saying to Nando, who leans against the stove with a goofy grin on his face and a ladle in his hand. The huge pot on the burner behind him, Remy wagers, must be the source of the smell. “The issue ,” Quinn adds, “is the mess.”
Which, okay, yeah. There’s a mess.
Nando has stacked the sink full of obviously relevant dishes, and both counters are laid with evidence that he was there, from cutting boards to empty cans to knives. Nando being a disaster cook isn’t new news, not to Remy or to Quinn or anyone else in this house— but he must have struck a nerve with Quinn today, by the looks of it.
Quinn looks ready to gear up for another rant, and Remy’s half-asleep brain doesn’t really love the thought of that, so he cuts in before he can. “ Crisse , Q,” he says, rubbing his eye as he stands in the kitchen doorway. “Is there a national emergency?”
Quinn folds his arms and lets off a sigh, leaning his hip against the counter. “There may as well be.”
Nando is grinning at him, like he’s trying not to laugh. “ Baby .”
They’re not alone in the kitchen, though— Ben is at the table by the window, sketching by the looks of it, based on his huge spreads of paper and the pencil stuck into his bun. Jordy and Sam are playing cards at the same tabletop Quinn is leaning against, and X is next to them, on his phone. “Stay out of it, Rem,” Ben remarks, turning in his seat to face him, with a half-grin on his face. “He is on the warpath .”
Quinn snaps his head over to Ben. “I am not on the warpath,” he says. “I am maintaining a sense of order.”
Nando puts his hand over his face and makes a noise like he’s trying not to laugh. Quinn whips back to him and jabs his finger at him menacingly, which is really hard to do when you’re 5’6 but your boyfriend is 6’4. Quinn does it anyway. “ Sebastián Hernandez , you are going to get it—”
Remy suppresses a laugh of his own, and slumps into the chair across the table from Ben. “How long has this been going?” he asks, in a low voice.
Ben is still grinning. “Like ten minutes?” he replies. “He got in from his drama thing and unleashed holy terror.”
Remy sighs. “Great.”
“I hear you talking about me, Ben,” Quinn calls across the room, despite the fact that calling is completely unnecessary given the size of the kitchen.
Ben shields his face with one hand. “White flag! I surrender. I’m sorry, your majesty, for my great offense—”
“ Benjamin .”
Ben winces, and pulls the pencil out of his hair. “Message received,” he remarks, and goes back to his spread of papers. It is drawing stuff. Remy doesn’t understand architecture homework, but Ben is great at it.
Remy watches as Quinn walks back to the sink. He turns the faucet on, as if to conquer the stack of Nando’s cooking collateral. “How do you people live like this?”
“How are you surprised?” X asks, not looking up from his phone but grinning like crazy. “You were in here all last year.”
Which is true. Although Remy just moved into Beech for his first year this preseason, Nando lived here last year, too. Quinn is well familiar with the disasters he makes in kitchens, particularly the Beech kitchen. At least freshman year, he was relegated to the shitty student kitchen in the basement of Wilson Hall, the freshman boys’ dorm. Beech Street gives him a space of his own. Which is good because the whole team gets to eat his food. But bad in the process of making said food.
“I’m not surprised, Xander,” Quinn says, turning to X, in a slightly less homicidal tone. He holds a soapy blue sponge in his left hand. “I merely wish that a certain boyfriend of mine would learn to clean up his messes—”
“I told you, baby,” Nando replies, stirring his soup with the ladle, “I’m gonna clean, when I’m all finished. What’s the use of cleaning during the process, when I’m just gonna make a mess again on the same surface?”
Quinn turns off the sink, presses his fingers to his own temple, takes a long breath, and replies, “What’s the use of keeping your empty bean cans on the counter?” He points the sponge to the counter, where there are, in fact, empty bean cans everywhere. His point makes a flicking motion and sends a stray sud flying into the air. It lands on the floor. “ Empty bean cans , Sebastián.”
“They’re just cans,” Nando replies.
Quinn bristles, puts the sponge in the sink, and dries his hands on a kitchen towel. “And the rubbish barrel,” he replies, pacing to the counter, “is right there.”
Quinn scoops the cans off the counter, opens the top of the nearby trash, and drops them into the bag beneath. With a hmph , he turns his pointy, freckled nose up at Nando, like he’s saying so there.
Nando blows him a kiss, which intensifies Quinn’s rage. “Thanks, mi amor .”
Across the table, Ben is still grinning even as he draws, like he wants to laugh, and Remy can’t blame him. This is not at all an unfamiliar dynamic— since their earliest days dating, Nando and Quinn’s relationship has been characterized by bickering like they’re an old, married couple.
Well, okay. In actuality, their ‘bickering’ looks more like Quinn bitching at Nando and getting nothing but heart eyes in return. Nando is a simp, and Quinn is an irritable priss, and they’re in love.
Remy doesn’t get romance, but he knows it works for them.
Ben looks up from his sketching, and catches Remy’s eye across the table. He wears the unmistakable smile of someone who is going to cause problems on purpose. “Duck,” he murmurs, in a mischievous voice with volume only for him. “Watch this.”
“Oh, God,” Remy mutters, but it’s too late.
Ben leans over the back of his chair and remarks, “Y’know, Quinny, you talk mad shit for someone who can’t cook to save his life.”
Remy snorts into the neckline of his sweatshirt. “ Ben .” At the stove, Nando guffaws. Jordy and Sam, who, as wise, observant bystanders, have chosen to remain quiet right up until now, both start heckling like their brains are connected. (They’re a D-pair, so they probably are, come to think of it.) “ Yoooo ,” Sam mumbles, and Jordy lets out a quiet, “Oh, shit.”
Flushed pink in the face, Quinn whirls on his heel to face Ben and Remy’s table. He has the energy of a tea kettle that’s ready to start screeching. “ Benjamin Shaley .”
Ben grins, owning his chirp. “What, so you can dish it, but you can’t take it?”
“You’ve gotta get used to that,” Jordy cuts in. “Being manager comes with the responsibility to get chirped…”
“Oh, trust me, Jordan.” Of all the people in the kitchen, Jordy seems to have irritated Quinn the least. “I am well accustomed to the chirping.”
“Yeah, Jordy,” Nando adds, with a big grin as he pulls up a steaming ladle of his soup. “He’s been dating me for two years.”
“Oh, please ,” Ben replies, because he is clearly not done. “I’ve never heard you chirp him in your life , Nanny. All you do is kiss his ass.”
Remy snorts again. “ Yoooooo !” Sam cries.
Nando drops his ladle into the pot. “ Rho ! I do too chirp him!”
Ben laughs wildly. “You do not ,” he says. “You don’t dare chirp him. You’re too busy simping twenty-four-seven.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you chirp Quinn,” X offers, still grinning at his phone.
Remy jumps on the bandwagon. “They kinda have a point, Nanny,” he says, and waits for the reign of terror to descend upon him.
But Quinn has apparently tuned out. Rather than participate, he has chosen the duration of this exchange to tidy up Nando’s counter mess. He throws away trash— the fragments of a poblano pepper, the remaining bean cans, a bag that held frozen corn. Then he deposits the cutting board into the sink with the knife Nando was using.
“There we go.” He wipes his hands on the dish towel, then turns around to face their side table again, and Remy thinks for a second that he’s going to take another shot at Ben. Instead, Quinn looks to him , which is terrifying until he says, very evenly, “Hello, Remy. I heard you had a nap.”
“Uh.” Remy isn’t sure if Quinn would kill him if he laughed. He can turn on a dime. It’s terrifying. But also beneficial, for managerial purposes. “Yeah,” he tells Quinn. “It was a good nap.”
“Well, good.” Quinn dusts off the front of his sweatshirt. It says Hernandez on the sleeve, as if its sheer size on him wasn’t proof enough that it’s stolen property. “I hope we didn’t disturb you too much.”
“Oh—” Now Remy does let out his laugh. He doesn’t dare tell Quinn that yes, actually, he did wake him up. He really did need to get up for the afternoon, so it doesn’t matter. “Uh, no. It’s fine.”
“Good.” Quinn smiles, then turns back around, walking to Nando by the giant soup pot. He rises on his tiptoes and kisses his cheek. “Isn’t that better?” he asks him, gesturing to the clear countertop.
Nando is still grinning, like the huge simp he is, and smiles sideways at Quinn as he stirs the soup. “Much better, baby.” He wraps him up sideways in his arm. Quinn gets swallowed by the sheer size of him, as usual. “Thank you,” Nando adds, and gives him an actual kiss.
Quinn is still flushed in the face, but now it’s that cheesy blush Remy has watched Nando give him so many times. Just like that, Quinn has cooled off, and the noise level in the kitchen is better for it. Remy looks away, because watching them together always feels like an invasion of privacy, even when they’re engaging in mild PDA. He thinks it’s just a him thing.
Nando keeps cooking. Quinn keeps him company. Ben gets back to drawing, and X to scrolling, and Jordy and Sam to their cards. The rain keeps pattering at the windows, and conversation returns to a normal level, and it’s a perfectly normal Sunday afternoon.
Yeah. Remy doesn’t get romance. And he definitely never will. But he loves this team, and he loves this house, and he really loves his friends.
ACITW AU one-shot “Together Apart” (Rated M)
Summary: With Kurt in New York, performing in New Year's Rockin' Eve, and Sebastian partying with his brother in Westerville like old times, it looks like Kurt and Sebastian will be spending this holiday apart ... and Kurt is not okay with that. (2515 words)
Notes: I always liked this one because it showed that just because Sebastian is rich and could easily take care of Kurt for the rest of his life, Kurt never gave up his dreams. He went to NYADA and is now performing on Broadway. Besides, I'm a sap for stories that manage to pull it all together at the buzzer, so to speak. Fluff and romance with plenty of throwbacks to the original story.
Read on AO3.
“Stupid … frickin’ … useless … WiFi …” Kurt mutters, slapping his phone against the palm of his hand with each word, as if battering the thing will jostle the electronics and force it to work. “Overpriced … piece … of garbage …”
“Still can’t get FaceTime to connect?”
“No,” Kurt growls. “I’ve deleted it and downloaded it about a dozen times and it keeps freezing up on me. Instagram, too. Dammit! Why do we let AT&T soak us for Broadband if it’s not going to work during the important times, like bank holidays and inclement weather?”
“That’s my bad,” Sebastian says. “I forgot to select the Defy Act of God add-on when I renewed our service.”
“Bastard. Always letting me down.” Kurt spins on his his heel and flops down on his back on the bed. “I guess we’re going to have to talk into the phone … like cavemen.”
“Ooo … cavemen,” Sebastian purrs. “We haven’t roleplayed that before. Sounds primal. Now that’s a concept I can get behind.”
“It’d be easier for you to get behind it if you were actually here.”
“I know, babe, I know. But on the bright side, phone sex is a viable option.”
Kurt closes his eyes and sighs, deflating into his pillowcase and his down duvet. The fingers of his free hand find his forehead and massage, attempting to knead away the pounding in his sleep deprived brain. “Are we really going to do this over the phone?”
“Yes. Hence the mention of phone sex.”
“No, I mean celebrate New Year’s. The way things stand, we’re better off calling it a night, wait till you get here tomorrow to celebrate. I really want to take off my clothes, hop in a hot shower, and boil the skin off my bones.”
“Again, you’re not here …”
“Exactly! We’ve never missed a New Year’s together! Even when we were separated, you were my New Year’s kiss! Now I know you’ve spent yet another taxing evening as a winged marmoset but I’m sorry. You’re going to have to wait one more hour to turn yourself into human stew because I am not spending New Year’s Eve without my kiss!”
Kurt bites his lower lip, holding back a laugh. He doesn’t want to encourage Sebastian. But he ends up snorting which, in terms of laughter, is much worse. Sometimes Kurt thinks Sebastian should have attended NYADA and been the musical theater major since he’s the real drama queen in their relationship. “And how do you intend on getting a kiss from me from over five hundred miles away when we can’t even FaceTime?”
“May I bring your attention back to the topic of phone sex? It’s something I know you’re exceedingly familiar with.”
“Ha … ha …”
From somewhere in the distance, a wave of laughter erupts, as if half the population of Westerville has been listening to Sebastian ply his adolescent wit. Kurt rolls his eyes, grimacing at his phone so hard, his head goes from dull pang to steady throb.
“Why bother?” he sniffs. “From the sounds of it, you’re having the time of your life at your folks’. What? Did Julian and Cooper rope you into one of your famous parties while your parents are away? Trying to recapture the good old days?”
Sebastian makes a non-committal noise. “It’s not a party without you. Besides, I’m not about that life anymore.” He huffs. “Even when I was about that life, I wasn’t about that life.”
“Fine. Let’s say I wasn’t about that life after I fell head over heels in love with you.”
“And when was that?”
“Earlier than you’re willing to believe.”
“Sure,” Kurt grumbles, proving Sebastian right. It’s not that he doesn’t believe Sebastian. He’s too bitter at the moment to think favorably about anything. He sighs again, debating between climbing underneath the covers fully clothed or trundling off to the kitchen for a bottle of water and a couple aspirin.
“So what is going on where you are right now?” he asks, his insides roaring with jealousy before he even gets an answer.
“Where I am right now?” Sebastian repeats, singling those words out - the lynchpin to a loophole. Because the party of the century could very well be bumping in the house around him, but if Sebastian has holed himself up in a bathroom, or his old bedroom, then technically he’s not partaking in the festivities. But from the constant static of music and laughter behind him, Kurt doesn’t think that’s the case. “Not much. Hanging with a bunch of drunk randos I don’t know, listening to music that makes me want to puke in my shoes.”
“There’s an image.” Kurt chuckles, not for long but loud enough to regret it. “Can I assume then that you’re a bit sloshed yourself?”
“Not at all. I’ve had the sum total of one Seagram’s.”
Kurt makes a face. If that’s what Julian is supplying their guests, he’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or did they run out of the good stuff early on and have to make a 7-11 run? Or, more to the point, have some poor schlub from DoorDash make a 7-11 run? “Would that be vodka or gin?”
“Uh … no.” Sebastian clears his throat uncomfortably. “More like … uh …”
Amusement and confusion burn a slow smile across Kurt’s tired mouth. What in the world could it be that it’s taking Sebastian this long to answer? “Come on, Smythe! Cough it up! What was this mystery drink?”
“It was … an … ahem … Orange Sassy Swirl.”
The last three words tumble out of Sebastian’s mouth like a skydiver without a parachute.
“Oh, Sebastian. No,” Kurt commiserates earnestly, wondering at what level of desperation Sebastian would actively submit to imbibing anything that goes by the name Orange Sassy Swirl when he had once balked at ordering Kurt a much more respectable apple-tini. “Say it ain’t so.”
“What about you?” Sebastian side-steps swiftly, obviously unwilling to divulge what led him to pick a beverage with such a ludicrous name. “Hit up any noteworthy shindigs?”
“Nope. I took off my makeup after we recorded our part for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and headed straight back to our place.”
“None of your theater buddies had anything planned? You guys have some heavy hitters in your cast of Wicked. Not a one of them is throwing a party?”
“It’s not that. Idina and Kristin both had prior engagements, of course, but most of the cast had somewhere to go. A few invitations made it my way, I won’t lie. Being a Flying Monkey has its perks after all. But that’s not the point.”
“And what is the point, monkey man?”
“The point is that even though I’m living the dream, I’d much rather be with you, drinking your brother’s wacky alcoholic concoctions in his never ending quest to get me as drunk as possible. We’d stumble upstairs to slow dance in your old bedroom till midnight then, right when the ball drops …”
Sebastian barks a laugh the way Kurt had hoped. God, he misses that laugh, the smile that accompanies it, the way both light up Sebastian’s face. With his eyes shut and Sebastian’s voice in his ear, Kurt can see his face so clearly it makes his heart hurt.
“There’s my hopeless romantic,” Sebastian says when he catches his breath.
“And even though New Year’s is a completely made up holiday …”
“Kurt! They’re all made up!”
“I mean the whole concept of a holiday that celebrates the passage of time without the inclusion of some sort of harvest because time itself is a man-made construct …”
“Here we go again …” Sebastian mumbles under his breath. Oddly, he sounds like he’s out of breath and racing through traffic. Most likely multitasking, Kurt thinks. Playing a video game while talking on the phone. Kurt remembers way back when when he, Sebastian, Julian, Finn, and Puck would spend the bulk of Julian and Sebastian’s annual New Year’s Eve blowout kicking each others’ asses at GTA - much to the dismay of their hornier guests, who’d been banking on some kind of show from the Smythes. They eventually did get one since their friendly game turned into strip GTA once Julian, Finn, and Puck got decently buzzed. Any fans of Sebastian’s went away disappointed though since that was around the time he’d squirrel Kurt upstairs so they could ring in the New Year in private.
“There was a time when the calendar didn’t have twelve months. If it wasn’t for the tremendous egos of the Caesar bros …”
“Otherwise known as the salad mavens of ancient Rome …”
“There’d only be ten months!”
“Not to put a wrench in your tirade,” a suddenly winded Sebastian interrupts, “but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate ...”
“I’d be 56 years old!” Kurt rails, uncaring.
“On the up side,” Sebastian says, abandoning his point, “you’d look magnificent for your age. As would I.”
A comfortable but tense silence settles between them, Kurt straining to hear more of what’s going on on Sebastian’s end of the phone while picturing what sort of bedlam Julian has unleashed. But the murmurs of celebration Sebastian is caught up in sound fuzzy and disjointed, shifting and changing as Sebastian (presumably) walks through the house in search of a quiet place to converse.
“Come on, babe,” he says finally. “Tell me what’s on your mind. What’s got you so down on this joyous non-holiday? You usually don’t wax historical unless you can tie it back to the moral of a Sondheim musical.”
“I …” Kurt struggles to come up with a lighthearted, funny response to complement Sebastian’s jab, maybe some mention of his obsession with Indie rock, but he can’t come up with anything. He’s crashing, physically and emotionally, but it’s the emotionally that’s threatening to dismember him on impact. He suddenly can’t help himself his feelings. They’re too overwhelming to control. He knows that the long hours he spent practicing over the past few days set him up for this; the fact that he skipped out on dinner and then completely bypassed the craft services table in his eagerness to get home didn’t help. But it’s the prospect of starting this New Year off alone, for some reason, that’s become too soul shattering to bear. They’re not in high school anymore, where every emotion becomes ratcheted beyond its limits, every moment feels do or die. This shouldn’t be as big a deal as it is. “I miss you. I know we’ve only been apart three days and I know I’m going to see you tomorrow - like, eight short hours from now but … I really miss you. I learned a long time ago that I don’t like being away from you for too long, especially on nights like tonight when pretty much every person in the world is paired up with someone, preparing to share a kiss come midnight, real holiday or no.”
“I feel you …”
Kurt frowns as the sound of a car horn drowns out the end of Sebastian’s sentence. If he’s not actually out in traffic, Kurt has to say the sound effects in GTA 5 are incredible. With that in mind, he wonders if the makers of GTA 5 included a slurring crowd counting down the seconds till midnight as some kind of too-on-the-nose Easter Egg.
“And so it begins.” Sebastian exhales long and deep, and for the first time that night, he doesn’t sound anywhere near festive. He sounds defeated. “How about you count it off for us, babe?”
“Yeah, all right,” Kurt agrees, clearing a sharp-cornered sob from his throat. “10 … 9 … 8 …” He counts by rote, not really listening to himself but to Sebastian’s breathing over the phone, waiting for Kurt to reach one so he can make some ridiculous ‘Mwah!’ noise and go back to his game. Behind closed eyelids, Kurt imagines being at the Smythe house with him, arms wrapped around his waist, lips ghosting his neck as he tries his best to distract him.
He’d succeed, but Sebastian would still win his game. He’s that good.
“... 5 …” Kurt’s voice wavers, his eyes beginning to burn “… 4 … 3 … 2 …”
“... 1 …”
A familiar voice and the press of warm lips against Kurt’s mouth make his eyelids spring open. Moss-green eyes peer into his, steeped in the same level of exhaustion, but even more so, the same level of longing. With his eyes shut, Kurt didn’t see Sebastian come in; didn’t hear him unlock the front door or open the bedroom door over the revelry going on outside, echoing from the TV that he’d put on for white noise and forgotten all about. Besides, Sebastian could walk as quietly as the dead when he wanted to - a talent garnered from years of sneaking out of his house, climbing down trellises and jumping off rooftops in the middle of the night with his parents none the wiser.
“You’re here,” Kurt whispers in a hoarse, relieved voice.
“I am,” Sebastian replies with the addition of another kiss … then another as he climbs onto the bed and straddles his boyfriend.
“You … you didn’t tell me you were coming. You didn’t even hint that you were in the city.”
“I didn’t know if I would make it in time. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
“How did you get here?”
“Train. Then an Uber. Until the roads became blocked by pedestrians and I had to get out and hoof it.”
Kurt nods slowly. That explains the incongruous sounds of people interspersed with cars and traffic on his end of the phone. “You’re an asshole.”
“True. But I’m your ...” Sebastian’s face pinches, stuck somewhere between a laugh and scowl when he thinks about the way his comment is about to come across out loud. “You know what? Let’s just say jerk.”
“It would have been nice to have something to look forward to,” Kurt says, shaky arms creeping up around Sebastian’s neck.
“I know.” Sebastian runs the tip of his nose lightly against Kurt’s. “But on the off chance things didn’t work out, I didn’t want to let you down.”
“Makes sense, I guess,” Kurt says with the slightest of shrugs.
“Are you happy I’m here?”
“I’ll be happier in five minutes.”
Puzzled, Sebastian’s brows pull together while he fights not to yawn. But he’s so comfortable here in his own bed, with Kurt’s body underneath him, miles away from the mounds of people vying for his attention back in Ohio. “Why? What’s happening in five minutes?”
Kurt’s sad, tired expression grows into a smile that’s positively devious. “You’ll be ready for round two.”
Sebastian grins, reaching over Kurt for the remote to turn off the lights, willing to admit that he walked straight into that burn with his eyes wide open. But an entire morning spent entwined in the arms of the man he loves? That’s worth a little sizzle. “Ouch.”
Vegeta was more than aware of the eyes burning into his forehead as he was in the middle of shoveling dinner. It wasn't difficult to ignore the spoiled heiress of Capsule Corp, but he did enjoy drawing it out as long as possible. When she still hadn't spoken to him after half an hour of awkward silence, he begrudgingly, and through a full mouth of food asked,
"What the hell is your problem?"
Bulma's lips pursed, irises as blue as the ocean becoming narrowed by full, black lashes, "How long?"
One of Vegeta's brows rose, "How long what?" his short wick of patience was burning quickly.
"Oh puh-lease," Bulma huffed sitting back in her dinner chair, arms crossing over her chest, "you may be an alien, but you aren't that dense. How long? Or have you ever?"
Vegeta stared. Was this some sort of stupid Earth riddle? If so, it was obviously beneath him, so he continued to fill his fork and stuff his face, "I have no idea what you're referring to," he mumbled around a purposefully large bite. The earth was going to be taken over by androids and THIS, whatever THIS was is what she wanted to talk about?
For some reason, she looked triumphant, "I knew it!"
The irritation began tickling the back of his neck, the hot tingle of ki wanting to be unleashed, "Either spit it out or go away," he hissed, "why are you bothering me? Don't you have something to tinker with?"
"You're a virgin!" She grinned.
Virgin. What the fuck did that mean? It sounded insulting whether it was true or not. The Prince decided to bluff; maybe he could get her to leave already, "So what if I am?" He smirked, "Does that intimidate you?"
The surprise on Bulma's face had his sadistic nature cackling. Oh yes. He'd stumped her. Perfect. Take that annoying earthling. Vegeta "the virgin" had finally shut her up.
"Wow," she finally said, looking ashamedly at the table, "I-I'm sorry. I was honestly not expecting that answer. It's definitely not a bad thing; you just seem..."
Vegeta pushed his empty plate away from his, still smirking, "Yes, people always underestimate me. But, as you can see I am full of surprises."
"That is very true," Bulma conceded, "so, was that, like, a thing on your home planet? Are you a virgin until marriage?"
"Even after," Vegeta didn't know why he was still talking, but he was enjoying this, "viginitry is very regarded on our planet."
Bulma stared, "Viginitry?"
Without warning Bulma erupted into laughter, holding her sides as she wheezed for air.
Vegeta's eyes widened in alarm. There were tears streaming down Bulma's face as she continued hysterically giggling. What had he said?!
"Oh-"she was practically falling out of her chair now, clinging to the table for dear life, "oh my God, Vegeta... VIGINITRY!" She squealed, finally falling onto the floor.
Sirens began blaring in Vegeta's brain; she was onto him. Cheeks blazing, he pushed away from the table, "How-how dare you laugh at the Prince of all Saiyans! I don't know why I even lowered myself to speaking to a pathetic, weak-"
"Ohhhh..." Bulma was dragging herself back into her chair, wiping tears from her face, "Oh Vegeta, I'm sorry. If you didn't know what a virgin was, you should have just said something," she coughed out another laugh and smiled at him, "silly. I was asking when the last time you had sex was. I forget you're not from this planet sometimes. A virgin means you've never had sex, well, you know...intercourse before."
"And?" Vegeta crossed his arms.
Bulma's mouth fell open, "WHA-"
"As a Prince and a warrior I have had no time for such... primal things," he sneered, " I can surmise what intercourse is. I just have better things to worry about."
"You mean you've never done anything?!" Bulma squeaked.
He scoffed, then leaned over the table, forearms flexing as he gripped the wooden surface. Almost instinctively Bulma started to shrink into her chair before catching herself and sitting back up defiantly. A strange smile lifted the corner of Vegeta's lips, "I never said that." He murmured, breath blowing across her lips. Bulma shivered, eyes suddenly fixated on his mouth.
"I'm going to train," he said, though it seemed like he was drawing closer to her.
"Oh," Bulma didn't move, "don't break anything-"
His lips, softer than she imagined they would be pressed against the side of her mouth.
Heart pounding, Bulma didn't dare move. Vegeta dragged the kiss leisurely from her mouth, across her check up to her ear. Breath hot he whispered, "I may have never fully taken a woman, but don't think for one, pitiful moment that I can't have you pleading to have you beneath me." Suppressing a shiver, Bulma struggled to maintain a coherent thought. The blood rushed from her head to her lower abdomen, pooling and molten. Oh sweet holy Kami when had his hand wandered there? His strong fingertips grazed across her knee, then her inner thigh traveling higher still...
"I can feel your heat from here Bulma." He growled against her earlobe, "tell me, how is your virgin doing now?"
Bulma's breath hitched as his knuckle grazed her nether lips through her leggings, then pressed. Her hips rocked forward on their own accord, and Vegeta chuckled, "You're practically soaking already. Tell me heiress, can I taste you?"
His voice was so low it practically vibrated through her entire being; this was obscene in the best way possible. Unable to do much else, Bulma nodded. The dark eyed Prince pulled away from her, locked on like a predator. He settled himself between her knees and reached for the waistband of her leggings. A shudder traveled through her body as the material was dragged slowly down her legs, all the while Vegeta watching as her most intimate of places was revealed. Heart thudding, Bulma watched the Prince with trepidation. He threw the leggings off to the side, then took hold of her knees and pushed them apart. Vegeta's lips parted, and finally he looked up at her, “You smell...good.” He whispered, leaning in-
In the distance there was something, a siren? No, an alarm?
Bulma's eyes opened to sunshine streaming in through the window in her bedroom, the hazy fog of sleep lifting slowly. She groaned and muttered, "Damnit." It was all a dream. Her sexy, virginal prince was just a figment of her imagination. The wetness between her legs however informed her just how real she wished he was. It took her longer than normal to get ready, but as she finally entered the kitchen she nearly choked on her own tongue.
Vegeta was sitting at the table, shoveling pancakes and eggs. He paused a moment to watch her and raised a brow, "What's the matter with you?"
"Nothing!" She said too quickly, busying herself in the kitchen with gathering breakfast. It could have been her imagination, but she could swear he was watching her. Even as she tried desperately to push away the sensation, there was no escaping it when she suddenly realized he was standing next to her.
Vegeta was looking more irritated with her than he normally was and said, "Why are you pretending to ignore me?"
Bulma blinked, cheeks flushed, "I-I'm not! Just, have a lot on my mind." She gathered her plate and coffee mug, but he stood in her way,
"That's a lie. Why do you smell different?"
"What are you insinuating?! That I stink?!"
"No," Vegeta cocked his head to one side. Had this been under different circumstances, Bulma would have found it cute, but what he said next caused her to drop her food, "You smell... good.”
Plate and coffee mug both fell and crashed to the floor, and Vegeta watched with uncharacteristically wide eyes as Bulma took off fleeing down the hallway, screaming something about going back to bed.
Was it something he said?
A Flame For A Cabbage (Part 6)
“Oh, Spirits, not again.” Sie looks down at the script handed to him. “Another lengthy monologue.” He groans and turns to the Dailluminati agents. With a deep sigh he beings, “] The Earth King and the Council of Five do not trust the Dai Li. They imprisoned your leader, Long Feng. Soon they will turn on all of you and eliminate you. Seizing power today is a matter of life and death. This coup must be swift and decisive. The Earth King and each of the five generals must be taken out simultaneously.” He pauses to catch his breath. “Long Feng has placed you in my command while we overthrow the government...oh forget this!” He tosses the script aside. “I’m your leader now, we have to overthrow the government, please don’t do anything backstabby.” He gives them all fingerguns. All of them return the gesture.
All of them save for a man with a small vertical scar on his cheek.
He knows who the group fuck up is.
“Good talk, good talk.” TyLee nods. “Pretty and poetic and with great improv.”
“Yeah. That one guy was shitting bricks.” Mai remarks.
“There are still a few loose ends.” Sie says. “The Avatar, and my brother and uncle. And that Agni damned bear.” They all shudder.
Except for the man with the vertical scar.
Sie’s suspicions of him double. Could it be that the bear has taken over the man’s mind?
“So how did it go with the guru? Did you master the Deus Ex Machina State?” toph asks.
“Uh …” He begins.
Pathik If you leave now, you won't be able to go into the Avatar State at all!
It is as though the man is speaking right into his ear. “Pathik, go back to your mountain, please, you’re not supposed to be in this scene.”
The guru coughs, “sorry, sorry I just think that I should have a little more screentime!” He declares. “Do you think that if I partner up with that cabbage merchant that I will get more screentime?”
“I don’t know, master Pathik…”
“I think that onion and banana juice would go well with cabbage.”
“Yeah sure, mater Pathik but I really think that I should…”
“I can make onion and strawberry banana juice too.” He says.
“Sounds great but I…”
“Or onion and orange juice….”
“Onion, orange and toothpaste juice!”
“I think that it is time that you reveal your *~really cool~* part of our deal.” Long Feng declares.
Azula shakes her head. “Not yet, I need my cabbage business to flourish first. After I see some gold pieces I’ll give you my *~really cool~* surprise.”
“Look, merchant, I have no time for your games.”
“Oh, you think that this is a game.” Azula’s eyes narrow. “I will have you know that I take my cabbages very seriously…”
“That’s true.” Jet remarks. “Did you know that she has never done an activity that didn’t involve cabbages until last night.”
“Jet!” Azula hisses.
He holds up his hands in surrender. “Sorry!”
Long Fang pinches the bridge of his nose. “Alright, fine. You can borrow our mind control devices, just don’t go completely ham.”
“Can we go pork?” Jet asks.
“Oh so this mind control device is for vegans only?” Jet nods.
Azula blinks. “What does that even mean?”
“It means that it is the perfect device to begin making people enjoy cabbages.” Long Fang declares. “Now get to it before my Dailluminati agents need to use it again.”
“Where are they now?” She asks.
“With my other business partner.”
Azula’s eyes narrow. “Your other business partner?” She folds her arms across her chest. “Well that person better not get in my way or you won’t be getting your *~really cool~* prize.”
“What's taking so long?” Zuko grumbles. “I have to go to the bathroom.” He adds through gritted teeth.
“Nephew, why didn’t you go before you left?” He asks. “I journed once knew a courageous and powerful man. He was intelligent and valiant. He rode into all of his battles with his head held high but with a humbleness. He had seen many great victories. He fought at Ba Sing Se, that was the first battle he had ever lost. And do you know why that is, nephew?”
“Why is that, uncle?”
“It is because he did not go to the bathroom before he set out to battle. And so instead of preforming his firebending forms, he did the pee dance.”
“Oh.” Zuko replies. “That isn’t good.”
“No. It is not.” Iroh agrees with downcast eyes. “That man, Zuko, was me. It was not a proud moment. If you are going to ride into battle do it with a humble and merciful heart and an empty bladder. And then you will see conquest.”
No sooner does he finish speaking does the Basco show up.
“Something's not right.” Zuko notes.
The bear looks him directly in the eyes and he goes rigid. Something primal takes over, an instinct to perhaps play dead and hope that, that thing falls for it.
Princess Sie comes to stand before them, Dailluminati agents in tow. “Quick, catch it!” The princess points at the bear, contorting into a full body cringe. “It’s disgusting in a way that I can’t explain.”
The Dailluminati exchange glances before cautiously approaching Bosco. With the Dailluminati agents after the creature, Sei gives an awkward cough. “They were supposed to arrest you but that thing is a bit more pressing.”
For once Zuko agrees with his sister.
“Did I ever tell you how I got the nickname ‘the Dragon of the West’?”
Sei frowns, “I'm not interested in a lengthy anecdote, Uncle.”
“It's more of a demonstration, really.” He replies. Zuko flashes him a smile as he drinks his tea. He then clears his throat and unleashes a hideously loud pterodactyl screech. “They meant to say dinosaur, not dragon!” He calls as he dashes into the hallway. Unfortunately his absurdly obnoxious noise had distracted Zuko too. But the prince tries to play it off with a manly, “no! I'm tired of running! It's time I faced Sei!”
Iroh lets out another pterodactyl screech, but this one is made not as a power move but rather an expression of both dismay and disappointment. Knowing he can do nothing more for his stubborn nephew he makes his escape.
“You're so dramatic. What? Are you going to challenge me to an Agni Kai?” Sie taunts.
“I was actually hoping for a rap battle.”
“No thanks.” Sei says, he much prefers rock, paper, scissors.
“I think you’re supposed to move it counter clockwise.” Jet suggests.
“Less talking more abs.” Azula mutters.
“You’re gorgeous and I think that we are perhaps in some sort of relationship which means that I...love you?” She pauses. “Not more than my cabbages, but I believe that I have some degree of affection for you…”
“Is it just because you like my abs?”
Azula ponders the question. Truth be told, she isn’t sure. She thinks that this might be the first time that she has had love for anything that wasn’t a cabbage. And for that, she cannot quite place the origins of the feeling. She clears her throat. “You’re gorgeous and I love you, but you should remain quite because you don’t know what you are talking about. I am, in fact, operating the brainwashing device correctly.”
“Okay, I just...well I’m not sure if that was what was supposed to happen.”
“He’ll be fine, it’s just a little blood. I’m pretty sure that’s normal. I sometimes bleed from the ears.”
“When?” Jet asks.
“Well my other business partner, the man who runs the Jasmine Dragon, he sometimes does this really loud shriek when someone tries to dine and dash…”
She nods back, she needs to stop letting him distract her. The avatar and the fire prince can only keep Sei and the Dailluminati distracted for so long. “Pull the lever, Jet.”
He gives pulls it up and a lantern begins moving around the track. “You like cabbages.” She states in a soothing coo. “And you want to buy my cabbages.”
bones, hearts, and other broken things
The Lady of Whitestone’s scream echoes through the foyer as Sylas sinks his fangs into her neck. Her blood warms his throat as he feeds, temporarily sating his ever present thirst. She cries out in pain as she struggles against him ineffectually, her shoulder wrenching out of socket, the bones of her wrist snapping in his iron grasp.
Good he thinks, snarling with satisfaction. Let her suffer. Let her suffer as Delilah was made to suffer.
“Please,” she whimpers, voice already weak. It’s pathetic. She’s pathetic. Weak. It is the greatest injustice that Whitestone is being ruled by this mewling kitten instead of his strong, proud Delilah. His Delilah, who never once lowered herself to beg for anything, not even her life.
He removes his mouth from her to growl in her ear. “Please what?” he snaps. “Are you asking me for mercy?” He tightens his grip on her and she shrieks. “I will grant you the same measure of mercy that you granted my wife when you murdered her.”
He sinks his teeth back into her flesh, drinking more slowly this time. “If you’re going to kill me, fucking do it already,” she says, struggling to break his grip.
Sylas laughs at that. “I don’t think so,” he says, bringing a hand up to caress her cheek. I think I’ll wait for your darling husband to arrive home, so he can watch me tear your throat out. That way he’ll know how it feels to watch the love of his life be slaughtered in front of him and be powerless to stop it.” He laughs again, softer this time, as he kisses her neck, fangs scraping her jugular. “I suppose I am granting you a small bit of mercy, killing you first. You’ll never know how it feels to live without him.”
She’s trembling against him, her heartbeat sounding quick and panicked in his ears. There’s something more there, too. Twin flutters. Soft and impossibly fast. His booming laugh echoes through the hall when the answer dawns on him. His free hand slips from her neck to rest on her abdomen. She stiffens against him, whispers a soft, “No.”
He strokes his hand over her stomach gently. “So, this is why they left you behind. Why they left you alone and unprotected. They thought you’d be safer at home.” He laughs. “They were wrong.”
He pauses to drink from her again. “Perhaps this changes things,” he muses. “Maybe I won’t wait to kill you after all. Maybe he’ll come home to find you in your bed. Pale. Lifeless. Belly torn open and your innards strewn across the sheets.” He hums thoughtfully. “Or perhaps he’ll find you laid out on the altar of your brother’s temple.” He kisses her neck again. “Did you know you taste like him?” he whispers before sinking his fangs in and drinking deep.
The cry she lets out is feral, primal, anger replacing the fear and the pain. She whispers something, and he’s suddenly blinded, reeling back from her, his mouth burning as if he’d drunk acid.
When his eyes adjust, she’s standing before him, emitting brilliant, divine light. Her eyes burn white with the intensity of the sun. She smirks. “Champion of Pelor, bitch,” she says, lunging at him.
She manages to jump onto his back, wrapping arms and legs around his neck and torso. He howls in agony at her touch as he tries and fails to wrest her off of him.
A voice rings out across the foyer, and he turns to find Cassandra de Rolo, in her dressing gown, rapier in hand. She charges him, and he just barely manages to draw his own sword in time to parry her first strike.
Even with a radiant half-elf clinging to his back, Sylas is stronger than Cassandra, and he disarms the girl quickly. He strikes hard with his sword, cleaving open her chest, and Vex’ahlia’s grip on him slackens as she screams Cassandra’s name.
He gets a grip on her bad shoulder and tears her off of him, hurling her across the room. Her skull hits the wall with a sickening crack, and she falls limp, the glow dimming but not fully extinguished. He’s looming over Cassandra, raising his sword to strike her down, when an explosion sounds behind him and something impacts his hand, nearly causing him to drop his sword.
He spins around to see Percival standing in the open doorway, gun trained on him, black smoke rolling off of him in waves. He smirks, eyes burning with cold hatred as the rest of Vox Machina steps into view behind him. “Hello, Sylas.”
The pup foolishly puts his gun away and pulls out a sword, charging Sylas with a roar echoed by the goliath that bounds in after him. Sylas parries the goliath’s axe, and swings at Percival, almost catching him across the ribs. He roars in frustration and goes to strike again, but he’s caught off guard by a voice ringing out from behind him.
“Oi, your mama’s so ugly, even Vecna wouldn’t take her on a date!”
The goliath’s axe sinks into his shoulder, and then again into the left side of his chest. He manages to land two hits on Percival, slicing open his cheek and slashing across his thigh. Thunder booms above him, producing a bolt of lightning that nearly forces him to his knees.
A radiant blast hits him square in the chest, and he should run, but Percival is right in front of him, bleeding. He lunges for the pup, intending to rip out his throat, but something strikes him in the back. An arrow, he realizes as thorny brambles erupt around him, and he falls to the floor prone.
He catches a glimpse of Vex’ahlia, propped against her bear, a bow clattering to the ground beside her. A shadow falls over him, and he looks up to meet Percival’s eyes.
The pup has his gun out again, and he’s contemplating Sylas. “Would you like to do the honors, Cass?” he asks as his sister steps into view, her rapier in hand.
She ponders for a moment. “Together, I think, brother.”
Percival nods, cocking his gun as Cassandra rests her rapier at his neck. “Give our best to Delilah,” he says, and pulls the trigger.
Percy doesn’t even bother to watch Keyleth and Pike unleash their Holy Bag of Dicks on the dust that was Sylas Briarwood. He’s dropping his gun and racing to Vex’s side as soon as the trigger’s pulled. She’s conscious, but just barely, the radiant glow emanating from her flickering like a dying candle.
He pulls her into his lap, apologizing profusely when she cries out in pain. “I’m sorry, my love. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He peppers her face with gentle kisses, and he can see the deep brown of her eyes through the blinding white that overtakes them when she invokes Pelor’s blessing. She’s deathly pale, her breath shallow, throat torn open with multiple bite wounds. “Pike!”
He hears the clank of armor as the gnome rushes to them. “Okay, okay,” she says, laying her hands on Vex. “It’s gonna be okay, Percy. She’ll be okay.” Golden white light bursts from her hands, washing over Vex and Percy. He feels his own wounds seal up as he watches the healing magic work over his wife. Her breath evens out, color returning to her cheeks, the marks on her neck now barely visible scars.
She stares up at him, gives him a weak smile. “Hi.”
Percy stares at her for a moment before he crushes her to his chest, sobs overtaking him. “I’m sorry.” He repeats it like a mantra. “I’m so sorry, darling. I’m sorry I left. I should have been here to protect you.”
She clutches him just as tight, hushing him gently. “How could you have known?” she murmurs. “None of us had any idea he was watching us. We all thought I’d be safest here.” She takes his face in her hands, forces him to look at her. “This wasn’t your fault.”
“Say it enough, and I might actually start to believe you,” he mutters, pressing his forehead against hers.
She sighs, and he closes his eyes against her scowl. “That’s the best I’m getting for a while, isn’t it?”
“Probably,” he says, starts combing his fingers through her hair. “How are you feeling?” he asks, catching her wince when she shrugs. He only has to glance at Pike and she’s quietly pouring more healing into Vex. He swallows hard, preparing for the question he doesn’t want to ask. “Is the...is the baby...”
He sees tears start to well up in her eyes. “I don’t know,” she says, her voice catching. “Percy, I don’t...”
He hugs her close again. “It’s alright,” he murmurs, pressing a kiss to her temple. “It’ll be alright.”
Pike clears her throat softly. “I think I can help,” she offers.
Vex turns to her hopefully. “You can?”
“I know a spell,” she says, shuffling closer. “It should only take a couple of minutes.”
They wait as patiently as they can as Pike casts the spell, but they’re both fidgeting by the time the two minute, and then the five minute mark passes. After ten minutes have gone by, Pike beams up at them. “Well, do you guys want the good news first, or the better news?”
Vex sags against Percy, and he can feel tears starting to soak his shirt. Percy lets out the breath he’s been holding. “The baby’s fine then?” he confirms.
Pike grins. “Yeah. They’re both a-okay.”
Percy’s heart skips a beat, and Vex’s grip tightens on his arm. “Both?” they ask in unison.
“Yeah,” Pike nods. “Congratulations, it’s twins.”
Vex’s hands go to her belly, and she’s smiling through tears when she finally looks at Percy. “We’re having twins,” she says, disbelieving.
“Apparently so,” he says with a laugh that’s only slightly maniacal.
Their delighted laughter echoes through Whitestone Castle as the first rays of sunlight peek over the mountains.
genre/warnings: angst, violence, canonical character death
summary: what if Loki had been in the Endgame battle
note: I have been having this idea for a while now and I finally got around to write it down, so enjoy. Also, I wanted to create a Loki that can match the comics Loki with his powers, so this Loki is not MCU canon.
a/n: it’s 2am where I live right now and I had to finish this so sorry this isn’t proof-read
“Was that all?” Doctor Strange asked.
“What you wanted more?” Wong replied to the sorcerer.
As all the portals closed and a silence wavered over the battlefield, the enemies ready to attack, another portal opened before the huge group.
It was a green portal, raw power surging through the air, unlike the golden portals of the Sorcerers Supreme. Everybody watched the portal, it revealed a void and then a figure. Two golden horns emerged first, then the God of Mischief appeared.
As the portal closed everybody could see the green-clad god. His gold and green Asgardian Armor was almost glowing in the little light the sky provided, his eyes practically glowing green with the amount of power the god had surging through his veins. His facial expression was dark, murderous, the god was out for blood and they may pray for the one whose blood he craved.
Thor, also ready in battle Armor, axe in hand, almost broke down at the sight of his brother. Loki was already walking towards him when the God of Thunder finally came to his senses and was enveloped in a much needed hug.
“I am here, brother.” Was all he said to his brother before releasing him and giving a nod to Captain America, who returned the nod and summoned Mjölnir.
The war started, it was as if Hel broke open and released it’s fury on earth.
Loki didn’t need to hear those words twice as he also yelled out a battle cry and flew towards the enemy, clashing with the creatures Thanos liked to call an army.
He called upon his powers, centering them and pushing outwards, creating a powerful blast that killed multiple monsters instantly. The beasts had no chance when the green energy hit them, pulverizing them within the blink of an eye.
As the god moved to another Chitauri soldier he summoned a sword and fought it. The creature was strong, but Loki was fast and agile. He ducked a few blows to the head and blocked an incoming sword with his own. He kicked the enemy in the stomach and after taking the upper hand, killed it.
Another beast ran towards him on all fours, Loki quickly teleported away, the creature following him in his portal. As he emerged the green portal closed as the creature was only half-way through, thus getting killed by the force of the closing portal.
After a quick scan of his surroundings his eyes landed on a large boulder. He focused on it, lifting it in the air with nothing but his magic and mind and moved it along the battlefield, knocking a few creatures down and crushing the ones still attached to the boulder as he smashed it into a larger piece of rock.
In those mere seconds he was distracted one creature jumped on him from the side, pinning him down. It clawed at his face and arms as Loki was caught off guard by the heavy thing. Suddenly the creature flew off of him as Mjölnir smashed into it, leaving it a few feet away for Loki to incinerate it with a powerful blast of green energy.
“Your welcome,” came the sound of Captain America’s voice as he summoned Mjölnir again to swing it at another row of creatures.
“I had that under control, but thank you.” He remarked back and sprung back into battle, summoning another two swords and using his agility and speed to fight off some more of Thanos’ soldiers.
After a while he got a glimpse of the man that ended his life and sent him to Hel. A new fury blazed in his very core and his swords disappeared again, leaving only his bare hands when green energy flowed around them like an angry fire. His eyes shone a greater green and a burst of energy left his body, it moved across the ground and incinerated every Chitauri soldier within his reach.
He walked towards Thanos, who was fighting with a woman, with red energy not unlike his own, he did not know. The creatures in his path burned with the green energy fueled by his rage for the man that was in his sight, leaving only their ashes for him to walk over towards the Mad Titan.
The woman held her ground against Thanos, throwing boulders at the Titan and harming her with her powers. No, Loki thought, this was his kill.
Something primal surged through him, it was faint but made his body grow cold. His emotions were drained from him, leaving nothing but rage and blood lust.
It took not long for Thanos to notice him too, Loki saw the face of the Titan twist into that of confusion then realization before Loki saw a slight flicker of fear in his eyes. The Titan gained his posture again quick enough and continued fighting the Witch.
When both Thanos and the woman were in his powers’ reach Loki flicked her away with the move of his hand and moved further towards Thanos, who was looking rather uneasy.
“Know whose side you are on, boy,” he said harshly.
“I don’t choose sides, I just need to kill the one who killed me and condemned me to Hel.” Loki sneered at the Mad Titan and before Thanos could say another thing Loki unleashed his power.
Pulsing energy escaped Loki’s body in waves, lashing out at Thanos and disarming him. Loki’s magic curled around the Titan, lifting him up and crushing him. The Titan grunted as the green wisps of energy penetrated his Armor and burned his skin.
Loki didn’t hear Thanos shouting to his first in command, as he only heard a faint ringing in his ears as he used all his power to destroy the monster that hurt his brother, slaughtered his people and used him for his own purposes. When the huge battleships started firing it took Loki by surprise, and he lost his hold on Thanos when he got hit by a blast from the ship.
His vision was blurry when he looked up, it was a chaos around him. He saw a blur of what looked like a shooting star flying by but with a human form and thought he must be dreaming. All he heard were muffled screams, screeches and explosions from all around him. His ears hurt.
After a few moments Loki tried to come to his senses again. He felt drained from his usage of power on Thanos, and knowing the bastard still walked around on the battlefield didn’t calm him down.
It didn’t take long for the Chitauri soldiers to attack Loki again, so he quickly put up a force-field to ward them off, it only lasted for a short period of time because Loki started to weaken even more. He shot a few daggers towards the incoming soldiers and teleported away.
He didn’t get far since his powers were struggling to keep up with him. Instead of fighting he made sure to make an illusion of himself before heading towards the unsuspecting Chitauri soldier and within a blink of an eye Loki had pinned the creature down and clamping both his hands on the side of its head, using his knees to pin it down. He began searching for that soft hum of energy under its skin and pulled on it, absorbing it. Before he knew it the Chitauri warrior was drained of its life force and Loki felt power coursing through his veins again. He hated what he could do sometimes, what he has become.
He had no time to catch his breath as the enemy kept advancing in on him. First it were three of them, he could handle that. He stood, swords ready, teeth bared and a new spark of life coursing through him, ready to lash out when needed.
When there came two more soldiers and another of those creatures Loki began to struggle for dominance in the fight. He quickly gathered his energy again, just enough for a powerful burst that can hold off most of them, and released. The green energy shot towards three of the Chitauri soldiers before they could move out of the way and they died where they stood.
Loki was caught off guard by the remaining Chitauri attacking him, now with another one added to their group. He was struggling to keep them at a safe distance when he saw Thor fighting the Mad Titan. He felt as if his powers came back to him at the sight of his brother in such a dangerous situation. He saw Thor and Captain America now both struggling to defeat the Titan.
He lifted his swords higher, sliced through flesh, firing bolts of energy and using shields of his remaining energy to fend off the Chitauri soldiers. As he killed one, another took its place, Loki fought, built up the remaining energy he had in his body and released it when the Chitauri advanced on him. The release of energy left him drained. He saw the soldiers were dead and saw Thor laying in the rubble.
He fell to his knees the moment he tried to take a step. He tried to stand, his legs wobbled and he had to brace himself on a piece of rubble to steady himself. His vision became blurry again, his eyes watery and his head was pounding. After all these years he saw his brother again and he didn’t even have the strength to walk towards him, to embrace him, to tell him he’s back.
He didn’t know if or how many of the Chitauri soldiers and Avengers were left, he didn’t care. He wanted to go to his brother, to hold him, tell him he isn’t leaving him again.
Loki pulled himself up on the rock, he tried to open a portal, but it was no luck, his powers were drained. He felt tired, very tired.
He saw more creatures and Chitauri warriors in the corner of his eye, he had to get away. He pushed himself away from the rock, towards his brother. He wasn’t going to make it, the Chitauri were advancing on them and Thor was just out of reach.
When he finally stumbled towards Thor and knelt down next to him, expecting to be killed at the hands of the warriors. At least he would be with his brother once again and maybe his brother would die too. Maybe he would go to Valhalla, like Thor, and he would see him there.
The Chitauri were ready to strike when the impact of swords never came.
Confused Loki looked up and saw the Chitauri vanish. They reduced to ashes and faded away. He knew this wasn’t his magic, so what was it? He glanced around the battlefield and saw all Chitauri fade away like the rest of them.
Loki looked down and saw Thor coming to his senses, slowly sitting up and rubbing at his eyes.
“Did we win?” Came the voice of Captain America.
“I hope so.” Loki replied.
It was the Man of Iron that had sacrificed himself. He was declared dead before Loki had appeared on the scene. He stopped the war and he saved the Universe.
The Avengers were gathered around Stark and his family. Loki caught a glimpse of the archer, Barton was it?, drop to one knee. And one by one Loki saw them all kneeling down for the fallen Avenger, paying their respect to the hero he was and what he had done to save them all.
He laid a hand on Thor’s shoulder for support as he, too, went down on his knee.
Supernova (Sonic fanfic): Chapter 5: What's He Building In There?
Well…shoot. I can't really say anything here, other than I'm sorry. This is where you'd usually find me giving an excuse for slacking off (busy schedule, hectic family life, kidnapped by Bowser, etc.), but I honestly don't have one. There is no explanation for the delay other than a combination of writer's block, a horrific lack of inspiration, and flat-out laziness on my part.
In fact, the chapter you're reading here is somewhat unfinished, making up about 75-80% of the chapter I wanted to write. I'm only posting it for the sake of posting something, and just to see if anyone is still interested.
Don't be surprised if it takes another year for the next chapter to come out, although reviews may shorten the wait ever so slightly.
He exhaled, forgetting his place for a moment, and slumped in defeat. Disconnected chunks of black plastic sliced through the lining of his gloves, cutting into his hands. This was all that was left of Tails' communicator. The damned thing had burst open from the casing, revealing a veritable Escher painting of disconnected wiring and snapped capacitors. Through the wreckage of what used to be a working radio, Sonic swore he could hear voices reaching out to him…the same ones he knew might be calling his name this very second, seeking a connection which had been rudely cut.
For a moment, time froze in the fierce stare between Sonic and his metallic duplicate, which isolated the two from the carnage formed in their struggle. A curtain of smoke enveloped the two combatants, as hardly a square inch of the once-pristine area remained untouched by Metal Sonic's explosive arsenal. But at last, there was a moment to breathe, free of the steady stream of fire, shrapnel, and near-death. The orchestra of battle went into intermission, its echoes still ringing in Sonic's eardrum. Still, it was nice to be able to hear his own thoughts for a change. Then again, that didn't mean very much when those thoughts mostly consisted of the words "too late" playing on a continuous loop.
Which quickly shifted to "get him".
Still very much compromised by the high-speed collision with solid ground, Sonic's mind continued to send mixed signals, playing a sick game with his sense of direction. He was twisting, spiraling, traveling at a million miles a minute, yet at the same time, going nowhere, for he knew his hands and feet were tethered to the floor. Even the slightest impulse to his eyes sliced and stabbed at his cranium, which with each passing second felt more and more like an overripe cantaloupe which had some things done to it by a sledgehammer, but by now he'd kept them closed for so long he didn't realize the multi-colored morass of noise in front of him was only an illusion. Regardless – once he worked out which way was up - he contracted his left leg and used it along with his right arm to push himself off the ground.
No sooner had he raised his body off the canvas than it slammed back down again, weighed down by a heavy, steel boot.
Urghhh…feels like someone dropped an anvil on me!
Second by second, keeping his body above the floor became more of a struggle. The weight on his back only seemed to grow heavier the more he fought against it. One forearm could only quiver at the sheer effort it took, so he moved his other down for extra support. But it did no good. The shaky foundation looked ready to crumble at any moment.
No…no, come on, you're better than that! Fight through it, Sonic! Fight through it!
But his puny arms could not take the strain, and his tenuous grip gave way. As he collapsed chest-first to the floor, repressed physical torment was unleashed in a firestorm that exploded from his aching calf muscle and raced up his backside, forcing a bone-chilling wail out of his mouth before he even realized the noise had come from him. That did it. No longer could he bottle everything up. He had been sent over the threshold where the deepest of primal urges finally surpassed overcame his will to fight them off.
There was something weighing him down. Metal Sonic stood over the pathetic sight…staring at him…judging him...his titanium foot firmly nailing the hedgehog to the floor.
"So…this is what the self-proclaimed hero of the universe, slayer of gods, savior of time and space, has been reduced to? Hmmph," he said, afterwards doing his best to synthesize the sound of a disapproving sigh. "I must say, I can't help but feel disappointed."
"Urgh...I've gotten out of bigger jams than this!" The words choked, sputtered out of his mouth as he fought and clawed to escape Metal's hold. He had to keep to short, stilted sentences, a sensible balance for getting his burning thoughts out.
Suddenly, a breakthrough. Sonic's glove managed to catch on a random spot on the floor, and saw his chance to propel to it and break free. He gradually swung his one free arm out, too gradually, and that's as far as he got. Metal Sonic swooped on the maneuver and crushed it with the other foot. With the hedgehog back under control, Metal leaned over to face Sonic's ear, in the process driving just a few more pounds worth of pressure into his back.
"You are nothing more than a horsefly who thinks himself capable of slaying a lion," said Metal. "As I see it, you have two choices; surrender to the Eggman Empire or face the inevitable."
Sonic's teeth clenched, as he channeled his own physical torment into seething rage, glaring with such fury that he could almost feel his eyes changing to match Metal Sonic's blazing red. 'Surrender'. 'Inevitable'. Those words tended to have that effect on him...now, of all times.
A subconscious impulse glued him to the floor, sending him on a mental journey to the other side of the ESS-1, and a picture emerged in front of him where there was none before, a picture of Tails and Knuckles' battered and broken forms lying before him, bearing the scars and bruises forced upon him by some unknown attacker.
But that's all it was. A picture. An apparition. They may have been on a distant planet for all he knew. The radio transmission was the only link the three had left to share, and it was gone.
Guys…I don't know if I'm gonna make it out of this one…
He scooped the cluster of metal and wiring from the floor and balled it tight into a trembling fist. As if to block out the voices, he thrust that same trembling fist into the floor, creating a shockwave that tremendous enough to resonate across the ESS-1 and command Metal Sonic's attention.
…but so help me, we're gonna finish this thing no matter what!
The next words passed from brain to mouth like a whisper, but with the ferocity and impact of a knife in the dark:
"You really don't know me at all, do ya?"
If he had a fighting chance, he had to make something happen now. Just as Metal Sonic put his entire stock of energy into this finishing blow, Sonic shoved himself in a roll toward his left, holding in a scream as Metal - in a last-ditch effort to hold him back - dug his claw-like toes into Sonic's chest, tearing into exposed flesh.
The gamble paid off. He'd forced the mecha-deity into an undignified pratfall.
With momentum on his side, Sonic rolled into a somersault and bounded back onto his feet. Every step he took widened the ever-growing cracks in the foundation that was his body, but he either didn't know or simply didn't care. The weight was now off his back, and it almost felt like he could leap into the air, swing his arms out, and fly. Sweet, sweet mobility, how he missed it so.
A plasma shot flew across his radar, forcing him into a slide that saved his face from extinction...yet plunged his lower body back into a maelstrom of grinding pain. If that was the price he had to pay for mobility, then so be it.
The world flew by in a blur, or at least this cold, gray prison of a world - man, Eggman really needed to vary the color pallette a bit here - and out of the corner of his eye he managed to catch the doppelganger in his moment of weakness. In the nick of time, he transitioned into a twirling handstand, his legs unfolding and spinning like the blades of a ceiling fan, aiming straight for Metal's head.
He struck Metal's left hand instead, which did not flinch, but grabbed hold of Sonic's ankle. A flick of the robot's wrist, and Sonic was cast across the room like dirty laundry.
Hmph...not playing games anymore, Metal? Well, neither am I!
With one flick of his leg, Sonic went from tumbling uncontrollably to tumbling with perfect control, recovering with a short, impromptu breakdance routine and finishing with a devastating kick to Metal Sonic's head.
Too devastating. It actually seemed to connect.
At first, Sonic wondered if he'd missed Metal altogether and actually hit a nearby pipe. But after he got to his feet and noticed the fresh, new shoe scuff he'd added to Metal Sonic's shiny gold paint scheme, it all seemed to come together. The aura surrounding Metal Sonic had dimmed, fading out whenever he did anything more energy-intensive.
Just then, the room was set alight in a red glow so intense it forced Sonic to shield his eyes to look up.
When Sonic finally gathered the strength to gaze into the blinding gleam, he noticed Metal just…standing there, bent over, letting the energy channel into his body. A pair of miniature turbines spun in opposite directions, generating light from pure nothingness and storing it as pure energy, until the mechanism burst into life, ready to unleash it all on the hedgehog. When he noticed that the source was the engine contained in Metal Sonic's chest cavity, he engaged his defenses, expecting another pounding.
But something was off.
He stood perfectly still, both feet planted...never leaving the ground, not floating. That couldn't be right, unless...unless he simply couldn't.
Yes! I knew if I ran him ragged, he'd lose his strength!
"What's the matter, pal?" asked Sonic. "Gettin' tired?"
As if jolted with a cattle prod, Metal jerked his head toward Sonic, who realized that was probably the only answer he would receive. The glow intensified, and along with it came a high-pitched hum.
A very familiar hum.
One engine sputtered, throwing Metal Sonic off balance for just a moment. An auto-gyroscopic correction system boosted power to the other to compensate, and order was restored…until the other engine blew fumes. The problem spread across his body, as his internal processes couldn't figure out whether to stay on or not. Finally, all four rockets expired completely, forcing Metal Sonic to drop.
That laser. Sonic could recognize that whining hum anywhere.
I guess he's tryin' to go out with a bang!
A single sentence played on a continuous loop in Tails' mind – This wasn't supposed to happen.
The halogen spotlights practically seared into his fur. This was a play he'd never rehearsed for, and yet he'd practically been thrust onto the stage to perform to a packed house. And everyone in the packed house was itching to mow him down if he slipped up. They'd left him nothing. An entire battalion of Egg Gunners closed in on all sides – some forming an orderly division on the ground, others lining the catwalks above, a few even scaling the walls to get a good shot at the hapless fox.
The companionship of his radio earpiece was cold and dispassionate, providing no comfort or answers, only non-stop static. Static bombarded his left eardrum for so long that the sensations of dizziness he felt when taking a step were the only reminder he was wearing the stupid thing at all.
It all seemed so simple before. A race against time, and nothing more. Just find the nerve center of the ship, get inside, and raise hell. No questions, just do it. He knew he might run into some resistance along the way, but he hadn't counted on the possibility of this much resistance. There was no telling how much time he'd have to make up…how much time he'd already lost…how much time Sonic had to spare…
His head tilted toward the sky…more specifically, toward the impossibly-high ceiling that covered it. It was the only place that looked to be bot-free…at least he assumed it was. After all, the logic was airtight. Even if a Gunner was somehow stationed up there, how could it see him from so far away, much less keep a steady enough aim to shoot him down?
It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing. With one massive burst of energy to his tails, he took off, with the resulting wake force knocking a few Egg Gunners to the ground.
He curled his body into a corkscrew loop, rolling himself over to get a better look at his position. A veritable city of lights took shape behind him, hundreds of little specks of light forming one by one, like fireflies dancing in the autumn breeze. Well, except for that one little speck of light rising toward him. Rather quickly, in fact. Uncomfortably so. Enough for him to see the bolts of electricity jutting from it.
Crud. Make that a dozen big specks of light.
Suddenly, Tails knew how his mono-tailed, ground-bound brethren felt during the hunting season. He was all alone, and that made him the perfect target. There was, quite literally nowhere to go but up.
His lungs were fit to blow at any moment, each twist of his tails seeming like it could be the last his system could take, but damn it, he'd just have to outdo his usual best today. If these baddies were packing anything like what Metal Sonic had, he couldn't be a millisecond off. He sliced through the air like a knife through butter, pushing straight upward against gravity with every ounce of energy he had, because if his calculations were accurate—
A balcony railing passed by his field of vision.
In one massive effort, he flung his tails into reverse and brought them to a gradual stop, curtailing his ascent. With nothing propelling him, he curled into a sudden dive, and not a second too soon. His face scrunched into itself – he couldn't dare look. He could only pray he made the right call. The world around him flashed once…twice.
Then a thunderous smack. Then another, heralding an ear-splitting chorus of metallic clanging above. Tails' heart went up his throat. Was he hit? Was he hit? No…he wasn't.
The sight of the searing, magma-like red stain dripping from the ceiling, still sizzling from the heat of the combined laser blasts, was a stark reminder of what would have become of him had he not been so fortunate. It eventually dawned on him that this was all that remained of a steel beam that once suspended from above.
At the last moment, he revved up his tails again, seamlessly transferring the momentum from his dive into a near-vertical climb, toward the only open space . Great, he thought. You survived that. Now what?
As if in answer, from a shot rang out.
He couldn't see it, couldn't track it, until it was too late. He suddenly fell into a sharp, uncontrollable dive...and as the laser's searing kiss finally started to settle in his tail, he realized why. He'd taken a hit.
He managed to keep his convalescence to a brief yelp before the adrenaline of the moment kicked in. Powered by little more than panic, he reached into his draining reserves for one massive boost from his one remaining tail. Unfortunately, he'd generated more problems than lift. In his compromised state, all he managed to do was send himself careening upside-down, sideways, every direction other than the correct one. If anyone were to ask him how it felt to be trapped inside a juice mixer…yeah, this was probably it.
If this was the Tornado, the alarm would have been blaring already. PULL UP! PULL UP! But by then, it was too late. He'd fallen too far, too fast. He couldn't put in any more power, but maybe if—
Then the floor came out of nowhere and knocked the wind out of him.
Knuckles' face dripped with sweat, flushed by equal parts exertion and rage.
One door. One lousy, infernal steel door stood between him and the closest thing he'd ever have to a child. It sapped his strength, it took his breath, it took every pounding he could give it and practically mocked him.
He practically threw himself back onto his feet, throwing aside some flotsam from the pile of deceased Egg Pawns gathered around his feet. That situation went to hell in a handbasket real fast. At least he learned two things from the experience. 1: Entering the wrong password on the keypad will trigger a sneak attack by specially-placed Egg Pawns and gun emplacements. 2: The password is not "password".
Still, that was all he had in the idea bag until Tails got him through the door.
Where was he, anyway? He really should have called in by now.
Knuckles pulled out his earpiece just to check whether he hadn't accidentally deactivated it. Nope…the light was green. Still on.
He scoffed. "Typical. Of all the times to go radio silent…"
Deep down, he was thankful no one could hear him. He knew that they could've heard straight through the mask he tried to project. The irony was as unavoidable as it was painful. He found himself truly alone for the first time since he boarded the ship. In a way, he'd gotten what he'd wanted.
But at what cost?
Screw it. Being a guardian meant having to make difficult…even borderline illogical choices. It said in the old mantra that Chaos is power…power enriched by the heart. He could recite that mantra from memory, but now was the time to act on it. What the Master Emerald truly needed was an act of selflessness.
It felt wrong to turn away from the Master Emerald's glow when it was so close…separated from him by no more than a thick steel door and a line of encrypted code. But eventually, he wrenched himself away and headed down the corridor.
Hold on, guys, I'm coming!
Then it happened again.
Knuckles stumbled, barely regaining himself. Everything went dark in a hurry, and the room spun out of control, becoming little more than a featureless vortex. The faint echoes of machinery and radio static faded out, giving way to the sound of the rustling wind – a vague, nothing sound which signaled that his mind knew to process something, but not exactly what. Both sides of his head throbbed in almost rhythmic fashion, seemingly ready to explode any second.
These pulses…they were worse than ever. The Master Emerald was in pain, and he could feel it. Not only feel it…see it. His eyes were drawn back toward the other side, where a blazing green light shone through the gloom, in tune with the pounding inside Knuckles' skull. Even from behind the thick steel door, the Master Emerald beckoned to its guardian. He tried to take a step, but when took his next one with his leading foot hanging over thin air, he nearly tripped.
This wasn't real. This was only in his head, he'd told himself. He'd been through this very situation time and time again. And yet, he had to ask. What the hell was real anymore?
Ugh…now he could hardly hear himself think.
Real or not…if the concept of pain could be distilled into a single sound, this was it. This…he didn't even know what to call it, this…throbbing in his head that wouldn't go away. It was there one moment, gone the next, then back again, and like clockwork the pattern repeated. Each step was a furious struggle, his better judgement knowing where to turn, but his senses pulling him in different directions. As he edged closer to the gleam, the flux between "searing pain" and "just fine" faded to nothing, and the pounding only intensified, latching onto him, chipping away at his senses like a mad gremlin crawling inside his cranium.
Nope. Not real. Only in his head. Keep moving.
The more he told himself that, the more he was convinced otherwise.
He pulled closer to the noise – if nothing else, to confirm his skepticism. But with each second, it came into focus, and he noted its location on his right. Some kind of impact…could those be gunshots? Punches landing on someone? No…more like metal clanking against metal. Best guess…someone's footsteps. Knuckles got as close as he reasonably could, and tracked the location of the sound. It didn't stay in one place, it was slithering like a snake…tunneling beneath his feet. It had to be on the next floor down.
There it was again. Tap. Tap. Tap.
Yep…those definitely were footsteps. Slow, consistent footsteps. Whoever this was, it didn't sound like they were in any hurry.
That makes one of us…
Sensing Eggman's presence, every light fixture in the room burst into life, bringing into focus the sheer scale of what he had created. The walls were covered in an intricate series of pipes and cables, every single one of them vital to the operation of the ship. They gave off a faint, green glow, normally too faint to have been visible to the naked eye were it not for the ever-present smog giving it something to bounce off. Soon, the majesty of the cosmos would come streaming through the panoramic viewscreen...though for now, he'd have to settle for a view of the sea and the occasional shipping vessel that passed by.
Strange. Somehow this space seemed almost too expansive to fit on a ship this size...and yet still too cramped. Perhaps the tubes were the culprit. They had arrived just last week, after all, and this was the only safe place on the ship where he could store row upon row of cryogenic-stasis tubes.
Speaking of which...
Dr. Eggman paused and turned toward the lines of tubes. There was one more thing he needed to check on.
"Hello? Sonny boy?" he said. "Daddy's home!"
He walked over the capsule marked with the Roman numeral 'I', the only one in operation. Yet more tubes jutted out the sides of each, meant to hyper-accelerate growth by supplying oxygen and water at high enough doses at the proper times. For all his studies and labors, this was his reward.
A shriveled mass of a lifeform grew inside, flaccid tentacles jutting out of the bulbous mass of a body trying desperately to form limbs, its color as pale as cigarette ashes. Eggman's head slumped to his chin, unimpressed with the results. It was just as he'd left it that morning...and the morning before that, and the night after that. He'd hoped he would see some positive growth after a hectic day apart from its master. But one look dashed those hopes.
He tapped on the tube vigorously, waiting for something, anything. Nothing changed...not even so much as a ripple in the standing water.
From a nearby table, he picked up a pen and clipboard and set about marking off all of the project targets that he hadn't come within a country mile of reaching. As he made his way through the list, marking off failure after failure, his nerves frayed.
Grandfather never had it this rough...
"Sir?" asked a muffled voice from afar. Dr. Eggman turned to find his trusty Egg Flapper occupying the space where he'd directed him to go, the glass tube at the very heart of the room. "Shall we begin the experiment?"
Oh! Of course! The...um..."experiment".
In one smooth motion, he tore the sheet off the clipboard, crumpled it, and threw it toward the closest trash can. Turning away, not even taking care to note that his impromptu sky-hook had undershot the basket by twenty feet, he entered the radiation-proof observation chamber. By the time he settled into his seat, he had already lapsed into another episode of "Dr. Eggman's Thinking Out Loud".
"Bah! No matter! After I'm through with the hedgehog and his friend, I'll have all the time in the world to perfect the procedure!"
"Sir, may I politely remind you that Project Beacon is still in an untested state?" asked Flapper.
"Hmm? Oh…yes," muttered Eggman, as he tapped on a touchscreen, cycling through a rather rudimentary menu. Sprawling bulleted lists of flora and fauna from all over the planet were, for the moment, rendered in little more than a white background and the default system font. He was planning to mold it into a sleek and shiny interface worthy of the Eggman name, but Sonic and his annoying friends just had to butt in and ruin his schedule.
If there was going to be a guinea pig for this test, Flapper was the ideal candidate. One of the few remaining holdovers from the Legacy Series, which all drew power from an "organic battery", it was effectively rendered obsolete for battle duty once Dr. Eggman had found a self-sustaining power source. In one stroke, this opened the possibilities for larger and more destructive Badniks...although Sonic and Tails' little jaunt through the middle decks of his ship should have indicated how successful he was on that front.
But Dr. Eggman kept many of the Legacy Series mechs around – or at least the few that hadn't been felled by the hedgehog's foot. Perhaps it was out of a perverse sense of loyalty. Maybe it was his sick version of 'survival of the fittest'. Either way, he bided his time, waiting for the right moment to use them in the field once again. That time had finally come.
"Ah!" He'd finally reached the right selection in the menu.
Theoretically, there was a checklist with scores of other safety procedures both before and after this part, but they'd all become unreadable by this point, obscured by months worth of coffee stains. Throwing caution to the wind, he flipped open a glass box and pressed the silver button encased inside.
The moment his finger pushed down, all electric light in the room dimmed, sprang back into life for a nanosecond, then went out altogether.
Flapper turned upward to watch the spectacle of light above it. Tiny, green bolts of lightning crackled from an orb at the center of the tube, intermittently at first, but becoming more and more frequent...even persistent. As more energy fired through the tube, the bolts connected with each other, forming a consistent pattern which settled in the miniature vaccuum-chamber at the top. The energy only intensified, and chaos collided with chaos to create more chaos. With nowhere else to go, it grew into an unstable vortex looking for an outlet.
This was an inconvenient time for Flapper to notice that the outlet was pointed directly at it.
"Sir?" Flapper asked. "Requesting information on the nature of this experimen-"
Eggman didn't even wait for his loyal servant to finish before pressing the button a second time. The time for questions had long since passed. Had Eggman given Flapper X-ray vision, perhaps it would have been able to see what Eggman saw on his touchscreen.
The target species he'd selected: FLICKY - Flapper's container animal.
Then again, there wasn't anything Flapper could have done about it.
One blast of Chaos Energy from the top of the tube phased through its skin, tearing through every atom of its being. One second passed. There was no movement, no signs of resistance. Two seconds.
The weapon depowered, and one by one, lights returned to the room to revealing Flapper unmoving at the bottom of the tube, reduced to little more than a non-functioning shell - a shell which the Chaos energy had left almost as pristine and new as the moment it left the factory.
But only a shell, with no power. And no power source.
The word, stuck to the tip of the doctor's tongue, fell out with a soft, almost awed whisper.
Knuckles fell to his knees. Never before, not during any of the crises he'd dealt with before, had Chaos cried out to him like this.
The Legend of Hilda, Chapter 30
The Captain looked over his knights in the training yard as they sparred amongst themselves. Morale was higher than the captain had ever envisioned for his men. They all seemed to be preparing for a great battle - and he knew why. From where he stood he could see Ravio and the Princess in the courtyard. Neither of them was smiling, but seemed to be conversing earnestly as Ravio tossed grains to Yuga's prized peacocks; that had gone neglected since his disappearance. The Captain gave a bittersweet smile.
"I'm glad to see that more and more knights are returning every day. I believe we'll be well prepared should Yuga show himself… Which I fear may come to pass very soon…"
Ravio turned to her, looking apprehensive. "What makes you say that?" Ravio shifted his gaze back to Sheerow who had joined the peacocks, fighting for bits of grain among the larger birds.
Hilda grimaced. "I feel as though I sleep fitfully with harrowing visions I can not recall when I awake." She felt like she was losing her mind. She dared not tell him how she'd found herself in Yuga's chambers among his bedding smelling of incense and her perfume. She'd torn at the sheets and sobbed before swearing to seal his chambers or better yet have everything inside destroyed, although she hadn't quite got around to it yet.
One of the peacocks caught her eye. It moved towards the fountain to dip it's beak in for a drink. Something in Hilda shifted, a memory threatening to resurface. Her expression relaxed, becoming dreamy.
"Were they about Yuga?" Ravio asked, drawing her attention back to him.
For a moment she felt light. Hilda looked at Ravio with nervous intrigue, almost smiling.
"Your Highness… Please don't think me strange for asking, but… what made you go to Yuga's chambers last night to sleep?"
Hilda became visibly flustered, grasping to respond, and then her expression transformed into a look of hate. "I can feel him drawing me in," she said tightly. It was the only conclusion she could reach. Of course, this must be Yuga using some sort of enchantment to sway her trust back to his favor, or perhaps, just to torment her.
Her eyes focused on the bulky gold bracelet on his wrist, which didn't go unnoticed by the young man. He slipped it off over his hand and handed it to her.
"Here, perhaps you'd like to hold onto this," he offered, with a smile.
Hilda hesitated. "But what about you? You are the hero destined to fight the demon king incarnate."
"I'm not afraid…. Not anymore. But I pray it will help assuage any doubts you may be feeling right now and help you regain your hope."
Hilda gave him a confused look, but relented, finally accepting the bracelet. "Thank you, Hero of Lorule." She placed it on her own wrist in an almost self-conscious manner. "You know… It is said he created this bracelet in his first mortal life. I don't exactly feel right wearing it, but knowing it's a gift from you gives me some peace."
Ravio smiled at her warmly. "I can't think of a better reason."
"And know this Ravio... When Yuga shows his painted face in my presence I won't just stand by idly as you meet him in battle. I will do my part as well."
Yuga moved the ore through murky waters; no easy task on account of the thick, gnarled trees that grew from deep under the water's surface. There wasn't much sunlight able to penetrate their canopy. One could scarcely tell it was nearly noon and not daybreak or dusk. He looked to Fayre who appeared contemplative.
He could no longer hold back questions that had been nagging at him since they'd set off. "Why did you tell me to take this route? Why won't you use your magic to return me to the castle as you brought me to Misery Mire? The matriarchs will surely target Her Grace. They could be at Lorule castle as we speak!"
Fayre's shoulders slumped and she dropped her gaze." I know, Yuga… I'm sorry. I do not have the strength…."
Yuga held back a heavy sigh. Koume's attack must have broken Fayre's spirit and sapped her power. Although she'd been in high spirits when they left, it appeared now as though it was finally sinking in what had transpired.
"So…. What are you going to do? About the princess. You know you won't be able to reverse what has been done." Fayre said, repeating what she'd revealed earlier. Yuga feared that this would soon become the sad refrain of everything Fayre would say from then on.
"Well first, I pray to the goddesses that bunny brat bastard didn't rent out Her Grace in my absence."
Fayre silently regarded him for a long moment, clearly taken aback, but not knowing how to respond. "So... You mean to say you don't have a plan?"
"Precisely…. For once…" Yuga went silent. He looked out over the swamp. "Although I do have a theory… I believe it was their brainwashing which led to Hilda's Triforce of Hope vanishing. That makes her useless to them. I can't imagine how enraged the twins must be…This doesn't bode well. I admit I am… concerned about what the twins will do now." Yuga clenched his jaw, turning his face from Fayre.
I couldn't even mislead two crazy old hags to believe I was committed to their cause. I have unwittingly doomed Hilda.
If only Fayre had been forthright from the beginning, perhaps he could have been better prepared.
"What about the boy? He's a knight and the hero. Surely he will defend the princess if the twins come for her." Fayre offered, hopeful.
Yuga clenched his fist. He was formulating a withering insult against the young merchant when something jostled the canoe violently. Something big.
Fayre gasped and grabbed on the edges of the canoe on either side of her. "The twins! Their servants come in many forms! They infest every corner of Lorule. Always watching. They are the matriarch's hands."
Yuga quickly materialized his staff and stood up, preparing to fight whatever it was, a wild octorok perhaps.
He peered over the edge to see a faint shadow passing under the canoe. He opened his mouth to direct Fayre to take the ores, but before he could, the unknown creature slammed into the canoe once more, this time with a force that was tenfold. They were thrown into the air and the last thing Yuga saw was the water's murky surface rushing toward him.
The sensation of moss under his fingers and the sound of birds chirping roused him. Yuga lifted his head to see an imposing statue of the goddess, Lorelle. Not a very flattering depiction of her, Yuga thought, still in a haze.
He realized he was still underwater from the waist down and recalling the shape of the creature he'd seen passing under the canoe, he scrambled out of the murk, coughing to rid himself of the taste of swamp water.
Whatever it was, it had been no mere octorok, Yuga thought. Worse, his staff was missing. He was certain he'd been holding it just before he fell into the swamp. He gave an aggravated huff. There was no way he'd find it out there, probably tangled up at the deepest most remote point of the mire with leeches, snapping turtles, and goddess knows what else. No one would ever find it. Maybe Hilda was just as lost to him. Just as Fayre said.
He looked around, seeing her nowhere.
"Fayre!" He shouted into the swamp. The birds got spooked and flew away. And then silence….
"Where are you? You vowed you'd help me fix what you did to Hilda!" Yuga unleashed a primal scream; his frustration, rage, and despair manifest.
Hilda turning against him... Fayre's unknown but probable horrific fate... His prized staff at the bottom of the swamp…Everything had gone so fantastically awry… Perhaps even the goddess herself, watching from the edges of time, was corrupted just like her mortal incarnation.
He wasn't sure how long he was there, sitting in silence, but at last, he stood and passed the spring with the goddess statue. The water within appeared much too clean to be in the middle of a swamp as if purified by Lorelle herself. Lily pads floated on the surface. A small oasis in that miserable swamp. He could almost picture Hilda rising out of the waters in her pure white dress and smiling at him as she had so many thousands of years ago when he'd led her to the springs to reawaken the soul of the goddess within.
He turned away knowing he had no time to waste. Hilda was very well in harm's way. He divined the direction of the castle and made his way out of the swamp.
He cut through town, thankful to be in an area he was somewhat familiar with. He wasn't that far from Lorule castle now. His clothes and hair had dried, although he was sure he still smelled of the Mire; like the late queen used to say. The taste of swamp water lingered in his mouth.
He soon neared the milk bar; A place he'd heard much about, but had never imagined he'd be so tempted to enter because of intense thirst. If there was any former castle staff present, he just didn't care.
Stepping inside, the few bar patrons turned to look, but none of them gave the impression they knew who he was, but taking in his tunic bearing the crest of the royal family they seemed curious, or perhaps even put off. After a beat, they returned to their conversations.
A young woman with a pleasant face came to greet him. She wore a long skirt with an apron over it. Over her linen blouse, she wore a scarf that was held together with a strange broach. "Hi there. You're looking quite parched, Sir. What can I get for you? Name's Airalon." She was studying him, perhaps trying to figure out who he was.
Yuga gave a small curse. "Of course, I don't have any rupees when I need them most!" Yuga realized aloud, turning to excuse himself.
"Think nothing of it. I'll get you some water." Airalon said, reassuringly.
Yuga was speechless, not expecting such kindness from the average Lorulean. Surely, she'd treat him poorly if she knew who he was.
"Airalon. Don't give that liar anything without pay! He clearly serves the royal family." The skinny mustached man behind the bar huffed.
"Oh hush, Uncle Ingo. You never know who might become a steady customer if you'd just show some human decency."
Ingo grumbled, and Airalon went behind the bar to fetch the water herself.
In any other circumstance Yuga would loudly proclaim his connection to Her Grace and mock the bar owner's sloppy appearance, but instead, Yuga remained silent. As he waited he took in the bar's atmosphere. Towards the back of the bar was the biggest bird Yuga had ever seen; seven or eight feet tall perhaps, sitting on a stool and playing an accordion. The bird musician started to sing.
"Hero of Lorule, the hero of Reason.
Came to warn the turbulent princess of her advisor's treason.
He perceived the leech came to pervert the hopes of the goddess, Lorelle reborn.
And couldn't bear to see her forlorn.
For how could the golden three ever gift a leech the golden power of Beauty?
That man's intentions were not pure, knew we.
And by the hero's words, the Princess's eyes were opened.
Now that Reason guides Hope, a new era of prosperity for this land can be woven."
Yuga felt a dark shadow descend upon him. He rolled up his sleeves and swiftly made his way to the back of the bar without anyone noticing, not even the Rito minstrel who was so wrapped up in his song.
But then everyone in the bar snapped to attention when they heard the accordion come to an abrupt and shrill, off-key wail. Yuga jerked back his curled fist and released a swift punch to the oversized bird's beak. The Rito fell to the floor, looking at his attacker aghast. Yuga took several shallow breaths before picking up the fallen accordion and tossing it over his shoulder, causing it to give another short burst of a compressing tune, and then he continued his assault on the bird musician. Some of the patrons started to cheer while others shouted for help.
After a few tense moments and a simultaneously horrified and entertained onlooking crowd, Yuga stepped back. He covertly wiped the moisture from his eyes and sniffed.
"Who… Who are you?" The Rito managed, shaken.
"The leech." Yuga huffed. He took a few steps back and noticed the entire bar was staring at him. He took in their expressions. Some looked at him with contempt, others with awe.
"I hate birds…." Yuga said simply.
"Yeah, I don't trust anything that shits all over the place while it's in the air either!" A man with a bag over his head chimed in.
Yuga looked over his shoulder slowly, giving the strange man with his odd outburst a pitying look, wrinkling his nose. But it was no use, as the man with the bag on his head wasn't even looking in his direction, probably too drunk to notice or care.
"What in the name of Lorule is this commotion?" A knight came strolling into the bar, and upon seeing Yuga and the scene before him, his expression completely changed. He called for more knights just outside and drew his sword coming towards Yuga.
"Hold it!" Another knight called. "Are you forgetting what he did before?"
"No, look! He is powerless without his staff, and he can't fight all of us. We'll take him back to the castle. Let Her Highness decide his fate. Finally, she has come around. It only took everyone walking out on her."
Yuga didn't resist, smiling inside. Fools. This is exactly what I need.
In seconds the knights descended upon him.
"Wipe that smirk off your face!" Said one of the knights as he delivered a swift knee to Yuga's ribs, causing the sorcerer to cry out and double over in pain. And with that, he was forcefully led out.
"Her Highness will be pleased." One of the knights scoffed.
"Not as pleased as me." Said another. "But oh Goddesses... He stinks."
Fayre stirred at the sound of muffled footsteps. She breathed in the mossy scent of the deep swamp and sensed a shadowy figure hovering over her. Praying to the goddesses it was Yuga, she opened her eyes, only to be severely disappointed.
It was an older looking man with greying hair and an unkempt beard. He squinted at Fayre, as if not believing his eyes or perhaps appraising her.
Fayre's heart jumped into her throat. Where was Yuga? She stood up fast, which she instantly regretted as the ground beneath her was now spinning. She started to scream Yuga's name into the swamp. She didn't care if she looked like a complete lunatic to the man studying her.
He didn't drown or get eaten, Fayre repeated to herself again and again. The creature that attacked us was surely some vile servant of the twins. They sent it out to capture him, not to kill him…. I'm alive, so he has to be alive, too….
"Fayre…." the man behind her said, sending a chill through her. "Still searching for your son in vain after all these years?" The man laughed.
Fayre turned slowly, recognizing the man's voice, although it had a gruff intonation to it now. His lustrous orange hair she'd once admired had dulled and turned grey with age. No wonder she hadn't recognized him.
"Killian," She spat. "What are you doing here?"
"I was searching for the fabled spring of the goddess. Thought I'd try to salvage something to sell at a high price in town. But instead, I find you…. You're still as beautiful as back then." He said as his eyes moved over her. "And that staff…It looks quite valuable."
Fayre followed Killian's gaze to see Yuga's staff lying not far from where she'd washed up. She huffed, grabbing up the staff in an instant.
"That son of yours wasn't worth very much. Little old ladies don't have a lot of money to give for apprentices, but you on the other hand… You could make me a lot of rupees…" He said, leering.
"I'm not interested!"
"I wasn't offering you a business opportunity."
A simultaneous look of fear and disgust crossed Fayre's features. She held out the staff and without wasting a moment gave it a swing as she'd seen Yuga do in visions, but nothing happened.
Killian laughed at her. "What are you trying to do?" He came at her quickly, ripping the staff out of her grip.
"I won't let you take that! It belongs to the royal family." She said, grabbing for the staff, but Killian held his grip on it.
"An heirloom of the royal family, you say? I really can't miss the opportunity to turn a profit off it then."
"The princess herself gifted Yuga that staff. There's nothing you could do to me. I'd sooner die than let you take it!"
"Die? Oh, certainly not! Not when you're going to make me a fortune." He lifted her into his arms before Fayre could protest and held her mock bridal style. "I'm not sure what will be worth more… You or that staff…." He said gleefully, spinning around as he held her. Fayre struggled but found she couldn't get out of his grip. She was weak, yet she resolved to protect the staff no matter the cost. She glared up at Killian, beginning to grow dizzy. He was beginning to hum in a giddy way and she was reeling with hate, but they somehow managed to see her at the same time... The statuesque woman stepping out from behind a tree and setting her sights on them.
Killian dropped Fayre in fear, knocking the breath from the white-haired sorceress as she hit the ground. Fayre, seeing the flash of bloodlust in Twinrova's gaze, gasped and used what little strength she had to dive out of the way as Killian was turned to ice.
Champion // Thor x Reader AU
Pairing: Thor x WOC Reader
Word Count: 500+
Warning: Violence, Death, Blood mention
Summary: The Infinity War is upon us all. What will you do?
A/N: Wow, my first fic of the new year and it’s for a writing challenge :D I’m so pleased. (Sorry I’m late Caro <3 @ughjoekeery)
You were little more than simply human.
You were mortal, fragile, temporary. You were breakable. Despite the delicacy of your strength, you stood steadfastly with widespread arms over the Mighty Thor’s unconscious body. Your chest heaved as you fought to catch your breath, adrenaline coursed through your veins; you would not be moved. Blood and sweat dripped into your eyes. You would not falter. Every muscle in your body screamed in agony. You. Would. Not. Break. The lives of worlds depended on your courageous brawn. The life of Thor depended on you.
Thanos regarded the feeble mortal that stood between him and his prey with amusement. You had to know that a simple smack of his hand would crush you to nothing. You were so tiny yet so fierce. It was rather impressive that you would even deign to stand up to he, Thanos: the Mad Titan, the Leader of the Black Order, the Conqueror. You: nothing more than a useless human. He chuckled humorlessly, it’s been a long time since something so futile, so inconsequential, so...puny, dared to stand in his way. He honestly didn’t understand why he was wasting time entertaining you.
“Thanos!” you screamed. He simply raised an eyebrow in response.
“Haven’t you had enough? Look around you! The Avengers lay beaten at your feet! You have the Infinity Gauntlet! The Earth in pieces. Everyone is dead! Haven’t you had enough?!” Your heartbeat roared in your ears. You just back talked Thanos, the being who single handedly defeated the Avengers. Thanos cackled loudly as tears streamed down your face. He took such pleasure in watching you weep over the dead and dying bodies of your friends.
“You’re still breathing, are you?” he teased.
“Why are you doing this?” you wheezed.
“Because I can.”
Thanos cackled gleefully and raised the Infinity Gauntlet, the stones glowed ominously. A sonic shriek of protest escaped your throat. Thanos went flying across the decimated field. A massive boom echoed as he collided with the ground. Impossible.
“Wha--what are you??” he asked in utter shock. You battered body began to levitate. Thanos watched as your once dark skin glowed with a light brighter than a thousand suns. The wind whipped at his skin viciously, the surface of what was once Earth rumbled. For once in his very long life, Thanos felt true fear.
“...no…” he gasped, “...that’s impossible. We wiped you all out. You were just a human.”
“No, Titan...” your distorted voice echoed around him, “...I am Champion.” With a primal scream, you unleashed your power and decimated everything around you.
It was finally over.
A bright light flashed in front of your eyes, nearly blinding you. Collapsing breathlessly to the ground, you looked up to see the worried faces of your friends standing over you. Thor extended his hand to help you up. With a firm grip, you pulled yourself upright.
“Champion, are you alright?” he asked. You sighed heavily and nodded your head.
“Thanos is coming,” Captain America interrupted, “Are you ready?”
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I Too, Am Human
Long ago, in the most ancient of times, an individual of clay, shaped by the gods, befriended the King of Kings. Facing each other in battle, they as true equals beyond compare, became the closest of friends.
After defeating the Bull of Heaven sent by Ishtar from her unleashed rage, Enkidu, the individual of clay, spoke to his friend about humanity. Was he considered to be human, even if he had a soul?
It was a moonlit night, stars sprinkling across the sky, bringing it alight with their gentle radiance. Sitting in a luxurious lounge chair, within the confines of the palace made of white stone, were two individuals.
One had a cascade of forest green hair flowing down its back, matching the color of its eyes. It was difficult to tell whether that individual was male or female; wearing a simply robe of white cotton that reached its ankles, with features that resembled that of a woman, in sheer beauty that rivaled the most beautiful of goddesses. Its skin was pearly smooth, its fingers thin and delicate with legs peeking out of its robe, muscular yet elegant. Cotton pants covered most of its legs, stopping at the ankles. Using both hands, it sipped a glass of the best of blood red wine, taken straight from its friend’s treasury. For it was the friend of the King of Kings, also known as Gilgamesh, or Gil for short.
Lounging beside it was the golden haired king, lying down while cradling a glass of wine in his right hand. Wearing an open shirt, exposing his muscled chest, a gold necklace circling his neck, gold covering his wrists, crossing his legs. Yet, while gazing at his friend, rather than the normal arrogant smirk that covered his face, it was far more gentle. It was as if the person who sat before him was his most precious treasure.
”Gil, do you think that I can be considered to be human?” asked Enkidu, turning to face its friend, curiosity filling its eyes, like emeralds laced with flecks of gold. There was a hint of sadness.
“I believe so Enkidu.” A smile covered his face. “As humans have only a few distinguishing features from those of animals, or even of apes. First, they have independent thought, enough to have the possibility of resisting their primal instincts. Otherwise, humans are simply beasts. I wouldn’t want to rule such filthy creatures.” Gilgamesh’s face darkened at the very thought.
“I too was a beast. And really hairy too! But because I met Shamat, I changed.” Enkidu closed its eyes. “Being with her during those days and nights were incomparable. Even now, I still can feel the softness of her skin, remember her radiant smile. So I wanted to become like her, and I did. She was my first love.” Enkidu put down its glass and then looked at its hands. Soft and delicate like those of a woman. “So, would it be love or the ability to have emotions what truly defines humans or being human?”
Gilgamesh thought for a bit, swirling his glass, placing his free hand under his chin. “That is surely a part of being human. As if you don’t have that inherent selfishness, that need for conflict, all you would be is an empty vessel. It is that capability for emotions, to feel sadness, loneliness, grief, bliss, joy, and more that allows humans to remain the creatures they are.” He smirked for a moment. “I believe that I am above those mongrels, but I do not denying my human heritage. After all, I am a bridge between the gods and humanity. But why, Enkidu? Why are you asking me those questions? Do you doubt who you are?” Worry filled his gaze. For something must be very wrong. Enough for his friend’s eyes to be filled with such grief.
“I do.” Tears streamed down its face. “I feel a sense of foreboding, anger from the heavens from us killing a divine beast. Their wrath plagues my body, and I hear their roars. I know of my original purpose, for I have always been yours as your chains. But, not only as your friend, but to me, you mean so much more, Gil.” Enkidu touched the side of Gil’s face, as if it wanted to find some form of comfort. “My clay shakes. I dream of crumbling apart. What should I do?!” Enkidu covered its face, trying to stop the flow of tears. “I am a doll, a weapon. So, can I be human enough to stop their wrath? Or is it not enough?”
Quickly setting aside his glass. Gilgamesh wrapped his arms around his friend. “I will protect you. Even if it costs me my life.”
Yet, even when surrounded by his warmth, Enkidu already knew its fate has been sealed. In its dreams, he heard the Earth and Sky cursing him, Ishtar screaming at it for taking away her lover.
”I’m sorry Gil. There is nothing you can do.”
On a bed of flowers lay Enkidu. It’s face already started to crumble, its eyes starting to fade, turning to earthy brown.
Gilgamesh knelt by the side of his friend, who was cursed for being a creation of the gods. His ruby red eyes continued to only gaze at those who started to fade, trying to hold back tears, his face distraught.
With the last of its strength, Enkidu touched the side of Gil’s face. It too cried, not for itself, but for the fate of its friend.
“Who else would understand you after I die? My friend, when I think that you will live alone all afterwards, I can’t help but shed tears. But, you will find many more treasures, more so than me. I am only one within your treasury. That will happen in time.”
“No, you are more than just a treasure, Enkidu. You do have worth. You alone have this worth. In this world, you will be the only human who shall be my friend and for eternity, your worth will never change.” Closing his eyes, the King of Kings allowed himself to cry, his sobs even heard from the heavens. And then, he looked at Enkidu’s final moments.
Before the light faded from Enkidu’s eyes, it said, with a whisper, “thank you, Gil. I wanted to keep seeing the world together with you.” And its body crumpled, returning back to its former state, that of clay. All that remained was a set of golden chains connected to a spear and a few strands of emerald hair. The flowers waved in the wind; dark, stormy rain clouds covering the horizon.
And thus, Gilgamesh mourned his only friend, his despair heard across his kingdom. A shadow fell across his heart that never left until his death.
So, I was driving home today, and this wouldn’t get out of my head.
It’s in a canon-ish context, kinda? This is raw, unedited and shorter than what I try to upload, but I hope you’ll still enjoy reading it!
Bags in her trembling hands, and keys gripped tightly with a finger, Caroline determinately walked to her car. She felt his presence in her back, strong, angry and sad.
Her heart was breaking in a shatter of million pieces, and it resonated with his own.
And, as she closed the trunk, stood still with a war in her, she sensed him approach from behind. His hand took slowly hers, with a softness that contradicted everything that one might think defined him. The fingers that lovingly brushed hers, even through the pain and anger, made her decision even more difficult to uphold.
But she had to, for both their sakes.
Her voice was shaky and strained with unreleased tears as she spoke.
“Klaus, please, you know just as well as I do, now isn't right for us.”
“No, don't interrupt, I beg you. A part of me loves you and always will. And I believe some part of you loves me too just the same. But… it is not right this time.”
“Caroline.” his tone was dark and warning her of the storm waiting to be unleashed.
“Klaus! Let me speak. Please?”
She saw the way his utter most primal instincts and centuries of shaping urged him to cut in, make her stop saying words that will cut through both of them. That will tear them apart and grind them to dust.
“I am not ready and neither are you.”
She hesitated, not sure for a moment that she was strong enough to do what must be done. But, she knew, he never would. So, she turned around, faced his anguished expression and stoic stance, and to save them, she tore their hearts out.
“Klaus, I am just not prepared for you, for us. I haven't seen anything of the world. I have not lived through enough, no matter how many bad people came through our town and made our lives hell with murders, spells, curses and torture, you included. Klaus, for us to be, we have to be equals in our relationship. I will never make up for the thousands of years you have on me, nor will I ever not feel envious of the things you have witnessed and experienced. We will never be equals on that. And we need to be equals, otherwise it wouldn't ever work. But all those things made you, shaped you into the person you are now. You're a polished sword, with billions of hours of work on it, and I … am the raw metal, that still needs to be molded by time.”
She saw how her words hurt him, because she knew he realized what her words meant. And as he was about to say something, something she feared would talk her out of her courage, she interrupted, needed to get everything of her chest.
“If we do this now, if we try as things stands now, we wouldn't be giving ourselves a chance, but a curse. However much your love for me might fight it, you would resent me. Not because you wouldn't understand or tolerate my youth, but because my insecurity would drive you nuts. And I would resent you, too. No matter how irrational I would know it to be, I'll feel stilted, incomplete. I need time, to learn, see and grow. I need to feel and witness things of my own so that I wouldn't be jealous of yours. I need to experience pain of all kinds to truly get how this world works. I need to evolve even further from the seventeen years old girl I was when my world shattered around me. And, no matter how much I want to stay next to you, I could never do this with you, it must be on my own.”
His hand softly embraced hers, with understanding and love. And she knew her words resonated as the truth in his mind too, even if it opened a giant void in his heart.
“Also not to be mean or anything, but you seriously need to work on your emotion management, I'm far superior in that register.”
Her teasing had the desired effect, his low voice vibrated with an unfamiliar chuckle she knew was reserved for her.
Silence engulfed them for a few moments, permeating the air with the momentary finality of the instant. Hands touched with the softness and grace of a falling feather. Eyes riveted to their counterparts, affection and heat shared in their privacy.
“Caroline, love, I'm sorry.”
She knew those words were special and unfamiliar to him. She also heard everything that was unsaid in them: “sorry for not being what you deserve”, “sorry you feel this way”, “sorry that I know you are right”, and mostly, “sorry that love isn't enough right now”. So, she responded with a soft smile and warmth in her eyes, assured him she understood him.
“I have already told you, Caroline: in a day or in a century, however long it takes. When you are ready, and I will be as well, know that this will be right, and that time isn't our master, for We are eternal.”
a fox hux fic for @heyitsemeraldorbs, i hope you like it! ✨ (also on AO3 here).
If Kylo weren’t so used to being followed around by a fox, he would’ve made more of an effort to turn around and look at the one that’s currently trailing a few steps behind him rather than thinking it’s Hux and carrying on with his walk home.
It’s only when he gets to his apartment building and turns to allow Hux to trot in first that he finds that the fox has disappeared, but having had a rough day in the office, Kylo merely shrugs, guessing that his mystical lover has some kitsune business to deal with. With Hux now on his mind, Kylo makes his way up to his top floor apartment, absently wishing that Hux would be at home and not wherever he’s ran off to.
Key in the door and a sigh on his lips, Kylo enters his apartment, only to be met with a fierce hug as soon as he’s over the threshold.
“I missed you,” Hux whispers, his bushy tail wagging back and forth quickly, his breath warm against Kylo’s cheek before he kisses it.
“Weren’t you just following me home?” Kylo asks, enamoured by Hux’s affections but confused nonetheless.
“I haven’t left the den all day,” Hux frowns. And by the mess in the living room, kitchen and bedroom, Kylo knows Hux is telling the truth. “Why?”
“There was a fox following me home. I just presumed it’d be you.”
Hux’s demeanour changes suddenly, eyes flashing with something darker and more primal. His ears flick and twitch for a moment before darting to the window in their bedroom to where there’s a stunning view of the city skyline but the fox’s sharp gaze darts to the street below, growling lowly when he obviously spots something he dislikes.
“Hux,” Kylo calls out, following him. “What’s gotten into you? It’s just another fox. It could probably just smell you all over me and wanted to know why.”
Kylo reaches out and rubs Hux’s back before kissing his cheek, ushering him away from the window and towards the bed.
“Mm. Yes. Another fox,” Hux says in a trance-like tone, eyes locked on the window despite Kylo’s efforts to get his mate’s attention.
But Kylo doesn’t give it a second thought, too busy wanting to delve into the deepest throes of passion with his precious fox and forget about the stresses of his day. But even three days later, Hux is still distant, distracted, never focussing on what Kylo is saying to him but rather looking to the window or to the door, always alert. The other fox continues to follow Kylo around; to and from work, to the grocery store, even to a restaurant down the street where he takes Hux on a date.
When Kylo settles down in bed on the fourth night of the new fox’s appearance, Hux kisses him on the cheek softly, keeping their foreheads pressed together before Hux leaves the apartment, telling Kylo that he’s merely going out to feel the night air on his fur, but the same fierceness is in Hux’s eyes; a fire, blazing with an intense hatred that Kylo doesn’t understand.
Kicking off the blankets, Kylo dresses and grabs his bag, running downstairs and out of the door just in time to see Hux—in his animal form—disappearing around the corner, catching only a glimpse of his busy tail fade. Kylo runs to catch up with him, following him as stealthily as he can manage, wondering what his little fox is up to, seeing as the new fox is nowhere to be found.
But Kylo suddenly gets a glimpse of something bright sitting across the street from him, it’s beady eyes locked onto him.
It’s the other fox; its fur is a lot lighter than Hux’s, almost white compared to the bright copper of Hux’s, and it looks as though no one else can see it.
Kylo blinks, feeling drowsy all of a sudden, but finds himself stepping onto the road to cross and meet the other fox. Mind hazy and fingertips tingling, Kylo follows the fox all the way into the empty park, feeling the wind starting to pick up and rustle the trees around him.
“Stop there,” a dark voice says and Kylo does, boots skidding on the icy ground. “Let me look at you, my boy. Let me see what makes you special.”
Kylo groans as he feels something in the air shift and the wind howls at him, beckoning him to look up to where the fox should be standing, only there’s a man in its place. His skin is pale, ashen, and deathly. His face is heavily scared, the rest of his lean body likely the same if it weren’t covered with a grey, old robe. Kylo shivers, noting the three fox tails that swish forebodingly behind the man, like the heads of a hydra waiting to strike.
“A kitsune is forbidden to mate with a human,” the man says, speaking aloud and straight into Kylo’s mind. “But you seem to have captured the attention of the fiery one, haven’t you? There’s something fierce inside your soul too, isn’t there? Vehement and blazing. No wonder you have stolen Armitage’s heart. But I shall have you for myself, human. You are what I need to strengthen my embers into infernos again. Become ruler of my kind. I shall be Supreme Leader Snoke, and you, my queen. You are my mate from now on, Kylo Ren.”
“Hux…” Kylo whispers his mate’s name, feeling entranced by the man in front of him.
He can’t move, feet locked to the ground and his heart pounding wildly in his chest as the man—Snoke—approaches him as though floating, fog pooling around his feet as he moves. The kitsune’s face is much more gruesome close up; old scars healed awkwardly causing disfiguration, and Kylo wishes he had the strength to fight. Instead, his body feels as though it’s drugged, wanting to submit underneath the hand of this intruder, when his mind is screaming for Hux—
There’s a flash of something from behind him, a rush of wind, and suddenly Snoke is knocked backwards with a shout, and Kylo finds himself free of the spell and collapses onto his backside, and an orange fox is standing in front of him.
“Hux,” Kylo gasps, so happy to see his mate come to his rescue, but stops, stares.
There’s fire at Hux’s paws, tiny embers burning away, confined to his body and doing no damage to the grass beneath him. Hux turns, trotting back to Kylo and licking his cheek before turning back and growling when he obviously hears Snoke getting back to his feet.
“Armitage,” Snoke bows mockingly. “Prince of the forest. Charmed to meet you again.”
Hux barks, snarls, before a light envelopes him and he shifts into his human form, fires still burning beneath his bare feet.
“You were banished,” Hux growls, still just as feral despite his change in appearance, proof that his fire comes from his soul. “Stripped of your magic and told never to return to this realm for your crimes against our kind. And yet. You even have the audacity to threaten my chosen.”
“Your chosen?” Snoke laughs, and the ground quakes. “You’re away with the faeries, pup. The stars would never bless your unity! A man! A measly human chosen by a kitsune!”
“Kylo Ren is no measly human, and I warn you not to insult him in my presence,” Hux replies, standing tall, his tail proudly behind him. “Final warning, wretch. Leave, and never return.”
Snoke exhales slowly, raising his hand and opening his palm.
“I am going nowhere without my prize.”
Hux bears his teeth, snarling, and Kylo feels a little afraid of his mate. Watching from behind, he can see just how feral Hux looks; one foot in front of the other, back hunched, and sharp nails looking like claws, Kylo suddenly realises that his fox is far from tame.
“Kylo is mine,” Hux shouts. The flames at his feet blaze ferociously, growing with his anger. “Lay one finger on him and I’ll be forced to kill you.”
Kylo swallows hard, unnerved by the thickness of the air around him as the two spirits stare each other down, neither one wanting to retreat. Finally, Snoke speaks.
“We shall see, youngling,” he chuckles, and suddenly sparks fill his hand as the clear night sky overhead becomes filled with grey clouds and the menacing rumble of thunder makes Kylo jittery.
Lightning pools in Snoke’s palm, building the energy for an attack but Hux is much too quick for the old man. Shielding his eyes from the intensity of the heat, Kylo manages to see Hux gain a fiery aura around his body, flames surrounding him as though simultaneously protecting him and fuelling his power. His eyes become pure white as his strength builds and builds into a crushing glow of pure fire, flames flickering every shade of red and orange before Kylo’s eyes until Hux lets out a primal yell and a fire blast in the shape of an angered fox’s head is sent hurdling in Snoke’s direction before the other has the chance to unleash his lightning and he’s consumed by the flames.
Kylo looks away as Snoke burns, screaming and yelling, thunder still rumbling above them all but fading away slowly along with its master, dying slowly. Only when the horrendous shouts have ceased does Kylo open his eyes to see the surrounding trees scorched and the grass burnt.
But all Kylo can focus on is Hux.
The fox is breathing heavily, all remnants of fire gone from his body, his ears and bushy tail still on his human body, much to Kylo’s relief, but his legs seem to be shaking. Kylo stands up, worry flooding his mind for his mate, the one who called him his chosen.
“Hux? You saved me, you saved my life—Hux?”
Instead of replying, Hux exhales slowly and begins to fall backwards but Kylo manages to catch him with ease, falling with him until his fox is laying in his lap, his face relaxed as though sleeping.
“I’ve never done that before,” Hux says quietly, voice hoarse, eyes fluttering open.
“You’re…incredible,” Kylo says, brushing a streak of dirt from Hux’s cheek. “I shouldn’t have followed him, I’m sorry, Hux. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Hux nods, but grimaces as he shifts in Kylo’s arms, but finds he’s too weak to move yet. “He enchanted you, you had to follow him. I felt your change of heart and came as soon as I could. Kylo…I could’ve lost you.”
“Never,” Kylo replies, pressing his forehead to Hux’s, nuzzling him in the way that he’s seen foxes do, wanting to be as much of a comfort to his mate as he can. “Like you said. I’m your chosen. Yours.”
The fox’s eyes seemingly light up, though the fire behind them this time is much softer, warmer, like the fire found in a home and not the sort that tears down forests. Gentle, not destructive. Just like his fiery soul.
Hux eventually shifts forms, both agreeing that a man carrying a fox would be much more discreet than a man carrying another man—half-naked—through the streets after midnight. Now in his animal form, Hux whimpers quietly as Kylo takes off his coat and wraps him in it before lifting him and carrying him home, nestling him in his arms and ensuring that he’s kept warm.
A fire as strong as Hux’s should never be left to freeze, certainly not against the November breeze, and definitely not against any sort of rival kitsune. With a soft kiss to the top of the fox’s furry head, Kylo promises that Hux will never have to put himself in harm’s way to save him again.
If he is indeed Hux’s chosen, then the least Kylo can do is fight back with as much fire as his mate.
Above them, the clouds part and the moon shines down on them. Kylo looks up, seeing the stars twinkling elegantly, and when Hux makes a warm yip sound, Kylo feels blessed.