#to ghost: sorry about this. generally when it comes to fandoms I read most text posts and nod my head thoughtfully and sip my drink
london calling (yes, i was there, too)
For Day 1 of Wondertrev Loveweek!
Fandom: Wonder Woman
Word Count: 2154
Rating: T (for ~innuendo~ probably)
Summary: A view of London, past and present, from Diana's point of view.
Read it here on [AO3] or below the cut.
London has become a glittering, sprawling city in the years since Diana first arrived at its docks. Some would go so far as to call it the greatest city in the world.
Diana still dislikes it.
She never warmed to London. She loves Lisbon, adores Amman, visits Xi'an every chance she gets, calls Paris home for now. But London remains something of a frustration for her, a necessary evil for business trips from time to time.
There are things she doesn't mind, she supposes.
The red telephone boxes, for one. They're a bit cliché, but iconic. (She remembers when those were first put in.) They're less common now, but every time she passes one, she snaps a photo and texts it to Clark, with the caption thinking of you, because one time in a pinch, he used one to change into his Superman suit but in his haste accidentally broke one of the panes of glass, and she's never going to let him forget it.
Then there's Hampstead Heath. It's a bit outside the bustle of the city proper, sure, but it's a breath of fresh air (literally), and it has lovely views of the city. She's enjoyed her walks there, even fondly recalls a picnic or two on the grassy hill as she gazes at the skyline, stuck in the city between one meeting and the next.
Indeed, the city itself has largely been cleaned up. There are still stately aging buildings and parks, but less of the pervasive grime. Still, there's something about London that she can't quite put her finger on that makes her feel unsettled.
It's totally irrational.
"Yeah, it's not for everyone."
Diana hates it here. The air is bleak and grey and thick. It's like the air on Themyscira on the winter solstice, when it's choked by smoke from their celebratory bonfires, only worse, because this isn't fragrant, woody smoke. It's a thick miasma of coal and smog, utterly pungent, with an acrid odor layering it that Diana will soon find out is what the aftermath of bombings smell like.
The streets, too, are filthy, full of trash and grey with coal dust, and she's never seen anything so utterly uncivilized in her whole life.
And it's loud, an ugly cacophony of sounds like she's never encountered: people shouting—a language that she understands, to be sure, but one that is just a little dissonant all the same because it isn't hers —and bells chiming and the creaks and groans of the bridge as it raises, and hissing of the engines in the automobiles.
Truly, she doesn't know why anyone would live here, but it's all right, because soon they'll be headed off to the War. Battlefields are not good, but she is sure they are something that she at least understands.
Her first day in London has been a whirlwind: the clothing shop, the fight in the alley, Parliament and the horribly rude generals, and finally, assembling the team at the pub. She's not ashamed to admit that she's looking forward to a bit of rest before she goes to confront Ares.
After leaving the pub, Steve leads her to a quiet side street, and directs her up three flights of stairs into a cramped set of rooms.
"It's not much, but when I'm in London, it's home."
The apartment is largely impersonal—it's clear that Steve doesn't spend much time here, away on missions more often than not—but it still feels warm. To that end, Steve ushers her into the little kitchen and hands her a cup of tea.
It's pleasantly warm despite being bitter, and she manages to finish it as Steve gets up and starts rearranging the cushions on the sofa.
"What are you doing?"
"Um. Making up the couch?" It sounds like more of a question than her own, honestly.
"Yes, I have eyes," she says impatiently. "Why are you making up the couch?"
"I...don't have an answer you'll approve of."
She huffs. "I do not understand your society in the slightest. Did we not sleep together on the boat, just last night, and all the ones before it?"
"And tonight is different how?"
"Um," says Steve, clearly looking uncomfortable. "There's a bed?"
Diana levels him with a very unimpressed look. "You sat alone at the kitchen table with me while we drank tea."
"Well, I—huh? What's that got to do with anything?"
"Well, what on earth do they teach you about the pleasures of the flesh that makes you think a bed or even a horizontal position is a requirement?"
Steve chokes on air and starts coughing. "Diana—"
"I'm just saying you get very flustered about very peculiar things. The bed, for example, but not the kitchen table, which looks very sturdy, by the way—"
"Okay, okay! You've made your point! I'll sleep with you."
"Finally," she huffs.
"—not polite to assume, yes, you have said, but it is hardly an assumption on your part if I have clearly stated my feelings."
"Right, well, we'll just. Um. Go to bed, then."
Steve, anticipating Diana's lack of concern over modesty, offers her an oversized flannel shirt to sleep in.
"If it will make you feel better," she says, and puts it on over her undergarments.
"Goodnight," she says, once he's extinguished the light.
She's not awake long enough to see him fall asleep, falling into a slumber almost as soon as her head hits the pillow.
Diana wakes up to warmth, an intangible yet visceral feeling of safety, and a comfortable weight around her waist. It's clearly morning, weak light dappling the side of the room, the view out the window in front of her proving it's a cloudy day. She shifts slightly and realizes that in the night, Steve has rolled her way and thrown his arm around her.
They're meant to get an early start, but Diana is used to waking up so early for training every morning that it can't possibly be time to get up yet. She's willing to lay in bed just a few moments longer, but her shifting appears to have woken up Steve, who tugs her a little closer and then seems to realize where he is.
He lets go of her like her skin is aflame and jerks backward so hard that he nearly falls off the edge of the bed.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean—"
She catches his hand in the middle of a wild gesticulation. "If I thought you were being disrespectful, you would no longer have the arm in question."
"Right. Neat. I'll just, uh, go make some tea."
Sameer and Charlie knock on the door not long after, and then they're out of London, off to the War.
London, upon return, is even worse than London before. Even amidst the celebrations, it seems so much bleaker, so much colder.
Etta, dear lovely Etta, helps with all the arrangements to make it appear as though she existed before last week. Documents, a day job—and a place to stay.
"I've arranged it all so that it's yours. Young ladies, they usually have to stay in boarding rooms, but I think this is what he would've wanted."
Etta makes time to take her to the apartment, under the guise of ensuring that it has everything she needs.
It's a grey day, the kind that doesn't really let much light make its way indoors. The small apartment is dim, and it feels so desolate, so empty.
Diana turns in a circle as Etta rummages through the drawers, making a list of the few things she finds to be lacking. She was just here a few days ago; how can a place feel so intrinsically different?
"Well, luv, it appears to be mostly in order. If you don't mind, I'll come 'round tomorrow with a new spatula and a bit of sugar, and you'll be all set."
"Yes, of course," Diana says distantly, and then Etta's gone, out the door.
An apartment so small and cluttered shouldn't be so capable of feeling empty, but it does.
Diana, who's always run hot, feels vaguely cold.
She tries, she really does. She does her job and goes on missions and tries to make friends, invites people over for dinner or tea, does her best to make London home.
She makes it a whole month before it drives her mad, being in that little apartment. London itself doesn't hold Steve's ghost, but this apartment does.
After a month, she can no longer stand it, even though she's hardly ever there anyways. In a fit of impulsiveness, she turns the keys over the Etta, and moves to Paris, a place she's been several times already, on missions with Sameer, and once, Napi.
She moves frequently, after that, from place to place, city to city, country to country, but doesn't call London home again.
So it's irrational, but every time Diana thinks of London, all she can think of are the grey skies and the colorless light in that apartment, like the world was slowly being sapped of color. Each time she thinks of London, she can't help but associate it with sorrow. With each emotion she felt in the aftermath of Steve's death, all of the complicated ways her victory felt like anything but.
No, she never takes to London, even as the years pass and the city changes. She arrives only as absolutely necessary, and leaves as soon as whatever work is done.
Today, for example, she's here for a conference on artifact preservation. She knows the man from the British Museum who's presenting the seminar—and frankly he has no business giving this talk—and as soon as it's over she'll be on the Eurostar back to Paris.
Her next meeting in London is with the director of the British Museum itself. She and a small team from the Louvre are meeting with a team from the British Museum to hammer out a loans agreement for a couple of highly-coveted pieces. It's the most important meeting outside of the Justice League that she'll have all year, and she's the lead negotiator.
The day before she's expected to leave for the week-long trip, Steve shows up, alive again after a century and change.
She already wasn't looking forward to the trip—this just makes it worse. She's in emotional crisis, and has no desire to leave Steve for any period of time, but this is literally the one meeting of the year that she cannot miss. (After all, if there's one attitude regarding museums and artifact "ownership" that she hates more than France's, it's Britain's. She's not going to miss this meeting and let them get away with anything.)
"I could...come with?" asks Steve, uncertainly. They're both still trying to figure things out.
"It's hardly the worst place I've ever followed you," he says weakly, trying for a joke, and it's met with a wet laugh. "Look, I know London. Knew London, anyways. I could walk around somewhere familiar while you were in meetings and then after…" he trails off.
"And then after, there is no one I would rather spend time with," Diana declares.
"Neat, so—I'm coming."
Diana wastes no time booking the second ticket.
"It's hideous," says Steve when he sees the ultra-modern skyline for the first time.
"Well, London isn't for everyone," replies Diana with a smirk.
"It's just—strange. London was sort of home for so long, and now I don't even recognize it."
"You get used to it, after a while," she says softly, and Steve has the distinct impression that she's not just talking about London.
They've arrived the evening before the meetings are set to start, so they wander around a little before getting dinner and checking into the hotel. (Diana has accumulated properties in plenty of places, but London was never one of them; instead, they're staying downtown, near several excellent take-away spots that Diana was already planning on taking advantage of.)
"How many shades of red would you turn if I offered to take the couch right now?" Steve jokes, surveying the hotel room upon arrival.
"Objectively? Fewer than if you joined me in the bed."
Steve flushes almost as many shades as he had in mind, still a little startled by her bluntness.
"Oh? And now who's assuming?" he says as evenly as he can.
"I don't know what you mean," she says, far too innocently, "I run hot when I sleep."
She can't help but laugh at that. She feels so—content, for the first time in so long. It's coloring her view of everything: the business trip suddenly doesn't feel so unmanageable, London doesn't feel so soul-less, even the sterile hotel room feels cheerful.
It's true that Diana never warmed up to London, but it has a fighting chance now.
Final Note: Please pardon any negative depictions of London; it's not my favorite city but it mostly comes from Diana's emotional relationship with the place.
Tevinter Nights Meta: The Dread Wolf Take You
[Please note: this post is a write-up of an ongoing conversation with @eranehn with whom I am reading TN and discussing the games, so if you see me using the “royal we,” it is because what follows is a condensed version of those dialogues]
It is hard not to read this story as an homage to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon.
[Spoilers for Tevinter Nights below the cut. Beware, LONG POST]
Much like that film, the structure is built around a broader enframement (in this case, Charter meeting some contacts in a teahouse in Kirkwall in order to gather intelligence on Fen’s plans), and the rest proceeds like a jigsaw puzzle of nested unreliable narrators. Each participant tells one version of the tale, or rather one element of the puzzle, and each weaves lies and truths together such that the reader is left doubting their footing. The task of unmasking the previous character’s lies is left to the other characters — and by the end, they point out the inconsistencies in the narratives of their counterparts.
Much like in Rashomon, the final conversation is a “reveal” of sorts from the proverbial “ghost in the machine:” by this point, we know that the masked Orlesian bard with the suspiciously awkward blond wig is really Solas in disguise, haunting the gathering like a man who eavesdrops on his own funeral.
Of course, this is very much a story about Solas: and as such, it seems to involve a great deal of double-voicing by Patrick Weekes. The signature structure of the modern novel (and, really, modern prose more generally) is the distinction between authorial, narrative, and character voice, and here I think we see Weekes playing with that quite a bit.
There’s a great deal of virtual ink spilled in the DA fandom about what Solas is and what Solas wants/plans, and this post offers one more take, though we do not claim to have discovered anything particularly new. But in the interest of diversifying the conversation away from the impetus to condemn or absolve, and towards “let us analyze this here discursive construct,” we’ll focus on things like story structure and language and various hints scattered around in the writing of both the short story and the games.
So, onto the story itself. We can’t not read Weekes as, to some extent, ventriloquizing a lot through their characters at the audience. “We know what he wants,” Charter opines, “He wishes to end—”
And then she is cut off by the Carta Assassin, who has no time for this sort of shit. “Not his goal.”
But then, that thread is never picked up again: from the Assassin’s tale we learn that Solas is after the idol (but we knew that from the trailer), but we think it’s safe to assume the idol is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Which makes us read the above statement “not his goal” as an instance of Weekes’ ventriloquism, i.e. a moment where the authorial voice is speaking to the reader directly. Fine, fine, if that’s not his goal, then what is? Let us continue.
We get some answers from the Mortalitasi’s perspective (equally unreliable): the idol is the hilt of a weapon, a red lyrium sacrificial dagger. The red lyrium is Blighted, our Carta friend reminds us (at least twice) and as we know, Blight is bad for business (a nice reminder to the audience about what’s at stake here — however you twist it, the Blight benefits no one).
The Mortalitasi offers some insight on what the Tevinter mage intends to do with it: to control the Fade, and turn it against the invading Qunari forces. It is interesting that here we are told what the idol is, representationally: “it seems to show two lovers, or a god mourning a sacrifice, depending on how it caught your fancy.” Again, this part feels like another bit of ventriloquism — the idol is ambiguous, and BioWare writers know it is ambiguous. Nodding right back at you, Mr. Weekes.
In any case, all does not go according to plan, since Fen’Harel shows up in his lupine form (complete with the six eyes of a pride demon, and general high dragon supersizing) and yells at the mages in all caps — as one does, I suppose. It is interesting that in that moment, and unlike in DAI, he warns about binding spirits again — don’t do it, or else (your life is mine — and one should probably ask what that might mean, beyond the most facile connotation). In any case, he doesn’t kill the mage. A change from how we’ve previously encountered him. Later, he releases the wisp the Mortalitasi bound to stir her drink: “you are free.”
This seems like a small, but important narrative gesture: in the entire story, there is not a single mention of Solas fighting on behalf of the elves, but repeated mentions, at multiple scales (from the spirits of Valor who fight at his side/bidding, to the small wisp put to the task to stir the Nevarran mage’s tea) of liberating spirits. The surface level of the narrative (and, really, the fandom’s attention) has been heavily focused on Elven interests (ancient or modern), but to us, looking purely at what Weekes spends their words emphasizing, there is no evidence that this is in any way Solas’s priority. And it should be noted here that Weekes is extremely proficient at deliberate ambiguity (just look at the Solas romance and whether or not it was consummated, and the endless, circular arguments on the subject we see in fandom).
So while the established wisdom is that Solas wishes to restore the Empire of the People, to assume that People=Elves strikes us as deeply limited — or perhaps a hyperfocus on a red herring. A lot of Solas’s inconsistencies seem to fuel endless debates in fandom, but Solas himself is unambiguous: spirits are persons too. And in modern Thedas, spirits too are bound into servitude by modern mages, especially in Tevineter, and the rest are quarantined behind the Veil. So with all that in mind, we’ve been playing with ideas about what Solas’s origins might be, to help us figure out what his goal actually is (thank you, nameless Carta Assassin for dropping the ball on that one — we’re here to pick it up and run with it).
There are any number of possible readings of course, and in the interest of not adding to the unbearable tedium of Solas Fandom Discourse, we will limit our task to taxonomizing and speculating, without devolving into moralizing cris de coeurs.
One possible approach is the “Solas spirit origin” bandwagon — and it is interesting to think about the implications, especially for interpreting who his “people” are. “People” in his dialogues very much operates as a linguistic, context-dependent “shifter”. However one cuts it, he does spend a LOT of time on supplying fascinating ethnographic tidbits about spirits.
Which does beg the question: (1) is Solas a scholar of the Fade who has overidentified a bit (2) is he an ancient elf of some sort who has gotten himself entangled as an affine (possibly by symbiosis, possibly parasitically) with a spirit, or (3) is he himself a spirit to begin with? The strongest direct piece of evidence for “spirit first” is probably some of Cole’s banter:
“He did not want a body. But she asked him to come. He left a scar when he burned her off his face.”
“Solas, bright and sad, observes and accepts. Spirit self, seeing the soul, Solas, but somehow sorrows.”
"Voice ringing with fullness from both worlds, guiding me to the shining places. He calls himself Pride."
From the bald elf himself, in dialogue with Cole
Solas: You may well become fully human, after all. I never thought to see it.
Cole: When did you see it before?
Solas: I did not say that I had.
Cole: No, you didn't. It's harder to hear, sometimes. Sorry.
On the other hand, Solas himself gives a different account. Of course, he is guilty of some impressive linguistic acrobatics, so let us all agree that a grain of salt is needed, even though he doesn’t lie outright, he just allows a whole lot of entailment on the part of the audience, and really this, we think, is part of Weekes’ brilliance as a writer.
Solas: I apologize for disturbing you, Cole. I am not a spirit, and sometimes it is hard to remember such simple truths.
Solas: A mistake. One of many made by a much younger elf who was certain he knew everything.
Cole: In his own way, he knew wisdom, as no man or spirit had before.
(Emerald Graves - Elgarnan's Bastion) My people built a life here... it must have been something to see.
“I grew up in a village to the north…” [describes learning how to get along with spirits as a young mage].
“I was Solas First. Fen’Harel came later...An insult I took as a badge of pride. The Dread Wolf inspired hope in my friends and fear in my enemies. Not unlike ‘Inquisitor’, I suppose.”
Incidentally (well, likely not incidentally at all), Weekes’ story expands on all of this material, and Solas intervenes, correcting Charter’s assessment:
“He is not a god, as he himself says. He is merely a very old, very powerful elven mage.”
Our fake Bard interjects here: “Or possiblement a very young mage,” the Bard suggested. “He could be a simple elf who stumbled upon old magic.”
The Mortalitasi has opinions on this too: “Or he could be a demon impersonating an elf.”
This is the first moment where we see this back-and-forth in-text speculation of what Solas is, but it isn’t the only one.
Following the Mortalitasi’s tale, our Carta friend is annoyed — of course he knew the elf was dangerous, is he a demon now too? Charter intervenes: “or has an alliance with a demon.” She brings up Corypheus’s alliance with Fear by way of evidence, and Cory’s strategy to “trap the Grey Wardens.” Solas here grouses/interjects: “the Wardens trapped themselves,” he says — but he does not course-correct over the suggestion of an alliance.
Is there an option (d) in this multiple choice, or should we check off all of the above?
It is said that wisdom spirits turn to pride demons when they're corrupted, just as Justice kept warping into Vengeance while merged with Anders. One possibility is that Solas was an evanuris first (but a younger one), and then did the merging with a vast spirit of wisdom to gain the power he needed to overthrow all the Creators and Forbidden Ones, on top of raising the Veil. When they merged, the wisdom spirit may have twisted into something between a pride demon and itself, and when combined with Solas, Fen’Harel was born. From one angle, this is a form of death of two beings as individuals, each being sacrificed for a unified purpose: to protect spirits and the People from neverending enslavement and inter-godly warfare. Such a reading would also resolve the conflicting messages surrounding his interest in both elves and spirits, and the way he alternates speaking as an outsider concerning each group. He would straddle the grey area that he, himself, described in nature. It also answers a possible dualistic interpretation of “I was Solas first.” All of his art may have the same dual meaning; he is nearly always depicted separately as an elf, with a pride-eyed wolf hovering over him. They could be completely disparate allies, sure...but it is difficult to believe that Weekes would be so straightforward after writing this character so ambiguously.
It is interesting to put this model in parallel with the Old God Baby problem. A spirit shoved into (or grafted upon) an original host, in the same way that an Old God Baby transmission mechanism grafts a soul onto an unborn child (see Kieran) — it seems to us that this process is not so distinct from a spirit allying itself with a mortal (or possession states more generally), though in the OGB case, accommodations are made for possible species incompatibility (and subsequent potential for mutual contamination) via fetal flexibility.
Alternatively, with an eye to some of Cole’s banter cited above, perhaps what he is is an amalgamation of several different spirits: such as a spirit of wisdom made flesh, but deliberately modified towards (or blended with) a more prideful expression of itself, perhaps to make him more effective as Mythal’s general. Or, alternatively, and this is perhaps the strangest, most unlikely, and most Eldritch horror possibility that checks off all the multiple choices: he is a chain of iterative imitations, a sequence of spirits imitating a previous copy, or an original being, gaining the will to manifest over and over and over again, either via their own volition or via repeated possession, but gradually morphing as errors are introduced with every subsequent iteration. (We jest, we jest 🤪)
But on to the Bard’s tale. Here lots of interesting things are happening, of course, but what struck us the most was our fake Bard describing Fen’Harel’s (haha!) behavior with the idol. Here, he confirms that the depiction of the two figures is one comforting the other. He strokes the idol, seemingly tenderly: and why not? If the idol is a depiction of Mythal with a “sacrifice” — symbolic or otherwise — one must wonder, in light of the parallelism in DAI where Solas holds Mythal as he absorbs her power, whether it is in fact him who is depicted. If so, it makes us wonder if that is indeed the story of his genesis.
In light of this, it has also come to our attention that the title of Solas’s personal quest is reprised later from DAI to Trespasser: “All new, faded for her” is a phrase introduced in Solas’ quest to rescue his wisdom friend, who had been enslaved and corrupted to a pride demon. Then it is repeated again in Cole’s dialogue in the Shattered Library. Assuming “all new, faded” could mean ‘merged with a spirit,’ and that “for her” refers to Mythal, it does seem to point to the symbiosis theory.
On to the unmasking moment:
By the end of the story, all our friends are petrified, except for Charter, and she and Solas have a (more or less) honest conversation. She’s there because he said that he will destroy the world, but Solas changes the wording to “ending” it. And then, here’s an interesting tidbit: “What I am doing will save this world, and those like you — the elves that still remain — may even find it better when it is done.” As usual with Weekes’s writing, it is useful to pay attention to the shifting meanings: assuming that this world he is talking about is a complex ecology, one where the Fade (and its denizens) are central to his efforts, then saving the elves (those who remain, “those like you,” not like him) appears rather epiphenomenal to his plans. Charter here is especially poignant: what about the others? And of course, that question remains unresolved, and productively so, because here Weekes seems to remind us, despite writing a troubled, relatable villain, that Solas’s plans (as they currently stand) remain rather ruthless about collateral. There is no simple, morally upright solution to the problem if spirits are brought into the equation: an ecology that takes the Fade into consideration is one where the food chain and hierarchies of predation do not favor fleshlings as the apex predator. Dragon Age is no Zootopia — there is no easy way to solve this (if “solving” it is indeed the right approach to the task).
One thing that got a lot of attention already is his admission to Charter: “I am not a god. I am prideful, and hotheaded, and foolish, and I am doing what I must.” When he speaks to the Inquisitor, his voice falters. Now, here we have a hard time not to hear Weekes’ authorial voice ringing through the utterance. This is not the first time Solas describes himself this way, and Weekes chose to emphasize it again (in a short story with a limited word count, every word counts.) Charter does a reprise of it at the end: here Weekes turns our attention to what matters, a highlight for the audience, we think. “Prideful, hotheaded, foolish. Doing what he must. Sympathetic to elves. Said that he was sorry.”
And Charter concludes, “The Dread Wolf wasn’t going to stop himself.”
But of course, we knew that: that will be the player character’s job.
pairings: atsumu/hinata, thomas/inunaki, gen stuff
characters: the entire msby black jackal starting lineup, but with a heavy narrative focus on meian
notes: quarantine fic, stuck in a mountain lodge fic, quarantined in a mountain lodge fic, ensemble dynamics
Nature is healing, the birds are returning, and Miya Atsumu is setting the kitchen on fire.
Every evening at six, they have the Animal Crossing debate.
“So,” begins Atsumu. He raps the whiteboard he stole from the hidden walk-in closet. He makes eye contact with each of them in turn except for Inunaki and Thomas and Sakusa, because Inunaki is asleep on Thomas’ shoulder and Thomas is having an existential crisis and Sakusa is studying his nails.
“So,” Shouyou parrots back. Shouyou is the only reason the Animal Crossing debate hasn’t devolved into an Animal Crossing dictatorship. He leans forward in his seat, brushing elbows with Bokuto who is distracted. Bokuto’s Skype hasn’t been working properly all day.
Feeling validated, Atsumu clears his throat. He gestures at the contents of the whiteboard which include his obscene monthly paycheck and Raymond and a list of every online gaming store in Japan.
“Today’s question.” He pauses for dramatic effect. “Should I spend a hundred thousand yen—“”
“—Objection your stupid honor, no—” Sakusa.
“—On the Animal Crossing switch which comes with a tempered glass screen protector and the Animal Crossing pouch and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game and a laminated mini-poster of Raymond or should I—”
Thomas nudges Shuugo’s shoulder. “Is he actually sleeping,” he whispers frantically.
Shuugo glances over at Inunaki. He’s jammed into the side of Thomas' sweater and crunching something imaginary between his teeth. He doesn’t look like he’s thinking of killing someone or thinking of killing someone.
“Yes,” Shuugo whispers back.
“—and destroy the garden,” Atsumu concludes.
The sound of something creaking above them. Bokuto thinks there’s a ghost haunting the attic. Shuugo thinks it might actually be Bokuto haunting the attic. He is simply unaware of the possibility.
“No,” Shouyou says brightly.
“Yes,” Bokuto says distractedly.
Atsumu begins to lean against the whiteboard in an unconscious bid to look like he has everything under control. “What.”
“Don’t destroy the garden and don’t buy the switch,” Shouyou clarifies.
Doubt flashes across Atsumu’s face even though Shouyou has said no to him every single day this week and last week and the week before that as well. Sakusa has produced a nail filer and is filing his nails in his corner of the sofa. Inunaki’s eyes are wide open and he’s looking at Thomas like he wants to kiss him or kill him. Thomas is looking at Shuugo like he wants to kill him.
“Atsumu.” Shouyou is the only reason Atsumu is still sane and also the only reason Atsumu is not quite sane anymore but sort of just dragging himself through each day with his face on the floor.
Sakusa has begun to file the sofa. Atsumu’s whiteboard slides three meters to the left, yanking him off-balance with it. Bokuto gives his phone a half-hearted shake and it bounces harmlessly off Thomas’ shoulder. Inunaki hisses at him.
Atsumu tries again, “is this about the garden or is it about the Animal Crossing. Hey, Shouyou. Are you listening.”
“Where are you going, Meian-san?” Shouyou asks, serene as a Buddha.
“To the bathroom,” Shuugo says after a pause, and then heads up the stairs and locks himself in his room and plays Candy Crush on his phone until he falls asleep.
The lodge was initially Shouyou’s idea. His mother’s friend’s uncle owned a lodge at the base of Mount Fuji and while they usually would have rented it out to AirBNB guests at this time of the year, the website had recently been banned in Japan due to transparency issues and they were good law-abiding citizens, so they stopped. Since they had the space anyway, they said to Shouyou’s mother over tea and rice crackers, would her son be interested in spending a few weeks in the mountains? Of course, there would be a generous discount.
So Shouyou said yes but only discovered later, as he had not thought to ask, that the lodge was not the size of a 2LDK apartment but a small castle. There were six bedrooms and eight bathrooms and a large industry-grade kitchen that contained three bread machines and a brick kiln. There was a barbecue pit in the backyard. They discovered an ouija board presumably left behind by previous inhabitants, Shouyou texted all of them about it over the weekend, and so the deal was done.
Shouyou would go because he liked the mountains and resonated with them spiritually, having cycled up and down one for most of his high school career. Atsumu would go because Shouyou was going. Bokuto would go because two of his friends were going and Sakusa would go because he was promised his own room and two bathrooms, and he was interested in the ouija board. Inunaki would go because he liked mountains despite being the emotional equivalent of a volcano, and Thomas would go because he was still caught in the middle of their fucked-up courtship ritual that had been going on for years now. Shuugo was hired as parental supervision. The Black Jackals could not afford to have their starting lineup incapacitated in the mountains before the next season began.
Naturally this all took place in early March, before the entire situation devolved into mass hysteria and toilet paper shortages and nature’s attempt to reclaim the gacha machines from mankind or whatever. When they arrived at the lodge COVID-19 was only on Sakusa’s mind, because Sakusa read the news religiously. It was also occasionally on Atsumu’s mind, as Atsumu was prone to bouts of sudden and sustained anxiety. However, every time Atsumu made eye contact with Shouyou the matter would be expelled from his mind as a ball, hit out of the ballpark, lands in some deserted parking lot several cities away. So Shuugo figured they would be all right.
Then, of course, they were extremely not all right. But by then all the local supermarket ladies had already fallen in love with Thomas and his cashmere sweaters and his smile. Surely they wouldn’t let them go back down the side of the mountain without trying to tear off a limb. Or two. Or twelve. So they stayed.
On Friday, Atsumu breaks the washing machine. He claims it broke by itself and that he was simply pressing buttons like a good Japanese citizen but Sakusa later extracts the truth from him, which is that he bodyslammed the washing machine before he tried pressing buttons like a good Japanese citizen. Which makes him a shitty fucking Japanese citizen, said Sakusa. Anyway all the buttons he pressed were the wrong ones, so it wouldn’t have made a difference. Shouyou calls his mother’s friend’s uncle to apologize for the washing machine in the evening and he doesn’t seem that bothered. It was turning twenty-five this year, apparently, which made it an immortal god of a washing machine. Someone would have had to put it in its place eventually.
They don’t tell Atsumu that he broke the twenty-five-year-old washing machine though, because Sakusa’s mad about having to hand-wash all their clothes from now on. Additionally, Atsumu seems to be experiencing emotions in relation to the washing machine as he doesn’t host the Animal Crossing Debate for the first time since they got stuck here, and goes to sulk in Shouyou’s room instead.
Shuugo knocks on Shouyou’s door after dinner, meaning to check on him and make sure Atsumu hasn’t ripped a hole through the bedroom wall that Shouyou shares with Bokuto. He’s a little concerned but not too concerned. There are sounds coming from behind the door, which means that he still has at least one spiker or one setter.
He sticks his head inside. He sticks his head back outside.
He regrets everything.
“Meian-san,” Atsumu says several moments later, fully-clothed and experiencing even more emotions than he had been experiencing when he first found out about the washing machine.
Shuugo doesn’t have it in him to meet his eyes. He passes along Sakusa’s message with less bite than Sakusa had probably intended, and then goes to the kitchen to look for a drink.
You Will Never Know The Value Of A Moment Until It Becomes A Memory.
“What do you mean you finished all the peach purunto.”
“Uh.” Thomas stares at his feet. He stares at the ant presumably crawling on the floor beside his feet. He stares at Shuugo, who is watching him from the big sofa in the living room and drinking a pouch of grape purunto. “Um,” he repeats in a slightly higher-pitched voice.
Shuugo salutes him for good luck and Thomas' shoulder twitches in response. He can’t make any big movements now or Inunaki will be startled and then try to kill him. This has been the state of affairs between them for a while now, since the Izakaya in December where a waiter tried to take Thomas home and Inunaki almost set their private room on fire.
“I’m sorry,” he tries.
The truth is Thomas doesn’t even like peach purunto. He likes grape purunto because he thinks the peach-flavored stuff doesn’t taste artificial enough. Everyone on the team knows this except for Inunaki, who Thomas has been engaging in a fucked-up courtship ritual for the last fifty-nine years. Everyone also knows that Shuugo and Bokuto have been stealing things from the fridge after midnight and not Thomas, who sleeps like a newborn baby placed in subzero temperatures and thus retires to bed early every night. But Thomas isn’t in a position to tell Inunaki anything.
That being said, neither is Shuugo. Shuugo squeezes the plastic pouch dry. He props his arms up on the back of the sofa, chewing peacefully on the last of his konnyaku, while Inunaki approaches Thomas and Thomas approaches the counter.
Thomas makes a sound when his hip bumps into the drawer. “Sorry,” he says again on instinct. Oh Thomas, Shuugo thinks wistfully.
Inunaki stares up at him. Shuugo can’t see his expression but he can picture it perfectly in his mind. It’s the same expression Inunaki wears when he’s about to receive a nasty serve. It’s the same expression Inunaki wears when he’s deciding what drink to get from the vending machine outside the gym.
“Peach purunto is my favorite.”
“I know.” Thomas does know. Poor guy. Shuugo sends him another prayer.
Inunaki’s voice almost cracks here, as if he were the one being cornered and not the one actually doing the cornering: “Am I not your favorite?”
Thomas' knees give out. He slides to the floor. The two of them vanish behind the kitchen counter in a dramatic moment full of romantic tension and fear.
“Is that allowed?” he asks in a voice so high-pitched and breathy and small it probably wouldn’t register on a decibel meter or the Richter scale.
“Do you like me or do you not?”
Shuugo flops silently back onto the sofa and rolls to the ground, excusing himself from the room. He doesn’t need to watch this part.
Or maybe he should have because apparently Thomas said no out of embarrassment and Inunaki flipped him off and stole the third button off his shirt and now there’s a problem. Thomas takes a swig of his shochu mixed with grape purunto. “There’s a problem, Meian-san,” he says miserably. “I only have one good shirt. And now I look like a gravure model.”“Because of the button?”
Another swig. “The button is enough.”
Downstairs Bokuto is talking to Akaashi the shounen manga editor on Skype or at least trying to. Upstairs Sakusa is ransacking the hidden walk-in closet for more cleaning supplies. Last Shuugo checked, Atsumu’s room was empty. Shouyou’s was not. Shuugo is never sticking his head into anything without acquiring firm vocal confirmation of his safety ever again.
“Where is Inunaki-san anyway?” Thomas looks right through him to the other side of the world where he is probably having the time of his life in Paris.
Shuugo thinks about it. He sips at his peach purunto.
The story goes that they all wound up in a lodge the size of a small castle at the base of Mount Fuji but then the world blew itself up and everyone got sick. Their supervisors decided, talking anxiously to Shuugo over the phone, that it would actually be better for the Black Jackals’ starting lineup to hang out in the lodge until this whole thing blew over. Was that possible? Please, Meian-san? Please?
Meian Shuugo, being completely defenseless against the word please, immediately turned to Shouyou. Shouyou, being completely defenseless as a general state of being, called up his mother’s friend’s uncle and offered them a generous portion of his obscene paycheck. And Atsumu’s obscene paycheck. And all their paychecks, actually.
Of course you can stay, they said over tea and rice crackers that could not be seen but could be heard over the crackling speaker of Shouyou’s Nokia phone. We don’t really want to go up there ourselves right now anyway, what with the cruise ship and the epidemic and everything.
Thanks, said Shouyou. In the background Sakusa was making Atsumu sign a contract to stop using Sakusa’s second bathroom.
Are you sure you’ll be okay, Shouyou’s mother’s friend’s uncle added as an afterthought.
Shouyou laughed brilliantly and confidently into the receiver.
“Don’t worry, Kishimoto-san,” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
Bokuto video calls Akaashi the shounen manga editor every night. They’re boyfriends, so this makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to Shuugo is that Bokuto conducts these video calls in the living room. He has either not discovered the wall socket in his room or decided that he is above it. He has also either not discovered that Akaashi, his shounen manga editor boyfriend, is very busy, or has decided to ignore the fact entirely.
They don’t use Zoom because Akaashi the shounen manga editor has qualms about private user information and where his is going. But Akaashi doesn’t seem to say anything during any of their calls anyway, so no one’s really sure why Bokuto bothers calling to begin with. Is Akaashi the shounen manga editor even real? Is Bokuto imagining things the way he is the ghost haunting the attic? One time Shuugo walked past the sofa while Bokuto was on it. His laptop screen was blank.
“Akaashi,” Bokuto says, stretching the ‘a’ like a piece of taffy formed from several pieces of taffy stuck together.
“...About the ghost in the attic...”
“...Tsum-tsum broke the washing machine...”
“...I think his name is Jonathan...”
Shuugo gives Bokuto one last glance before leaving the living room with his chips. Who the hell is Jonathan? Who is Bokuto talking to? Today, as well, the mystery remains unsolved.
HEY HEU HEY
MY SKYPE ISN’T WORKING SOMEONE PLEASE HELP
Are you sure it isn’t working. Maybe the other person just doesn’t want to talk?
HEV HEY HEN
SUDDENLY I CANNOT READ
They all find it unnerving that Atsumu politely agrees to do the dishes for the next two weeks as emotional compensation for breaking the washing machine. They find it unnerving that Atsumu doesn’t snap back when Sakusa declares that he is inferior to business majors over dinner on Tuesday. They’re all so busy being generally unnerved that it doesn’t occur to them that Miya Atsumu may have other plans that have temporarily deterred him from being an asshole, such as being an asshole at a later date.
“GONNA TAKE MY HORSE TO THE—”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP.”
“ —OLD TOWN ROAD—”
“WHAT’S HAPPENING BOKUTO-SAN?”
“RIDE TIL I CAN’T—”
Silence. Atsumu turns to look at them. “Shouyou!”
“Atsumu!” Shouyou takes a step towards Atsumu from behind the sofa, where the rest of them are gathered like one’s online shopping information hides behind a firewall. He holds his hands up in front of him, palms out, to indicate non-aggression. “What are you doing?”
“I’m washing the dishes,” says Atsumu, who has clearly given up on washing the dishes.
“And what are those?”
“Portable speakers. Found ‘em in the hidden walk-in closet.”
Shouyou tries to get closer but Atsumu holds up the kitchen hose like a knife and waves it at him. Every decent industry-grade kitchen comes with two meters of kitchen hose these days. It’s a necessary self-defense tactic.
“Come any closer and I’ll hose you. Even if you’re Shouyou.”
“Do you not love me?” Shouyou asks, heartbroken, probably.
“Does he really love him?” Sakusa comments from behind the sofa firewall.
Thomas and Sakusa exchange a look of equal parts horror and indifference.
“I love you,” Atsumu says, blissfully unaware of Sakusa Kiyoomi’s general existence at this time. He is in Clear Pain. The hose is trembling in his hand and Shuugo fears suddenly that he may let go of it. The water being emptied at breakneck speed into the sink can be dealt with later. If it decides to empty itself in another direction, they will need more than a sofa to save them.
“But I,” Atsumu lowers the hose, shuts the water off. His hands are still soapy and there’s an odd, unhinged look in his eyes. “I can’t wash the dishes in silence.”
Shouyou takes three steps forward. “Why?”
“Well, I mean.” Atsumu tilts his head to one side like a serial killer in a serial killer movie does in the moments before they jump the main character’s best friend who is dictated by cultural tradition to be the first to die. Or maybe Atsumu is the main character’s best friend. Or maybe Atsumu doesn’t watch any serial killer movies.
He tilts his head to the other side quietly.
They let him keep the portable speakers.
Shuugo calls his wife and kids on Skype every other night. On every other other night he wanders around the lodge like a ghost until the early hours of the morning, thinking about unresolved high school conflicts and the next V League season and his grandparents up in Hokkaido. Sometimes he checks the attic for ghosts. Usually he doesn’t. He’s confident he’ll find Bokuto there one day.
“Why don’t you just come back?” his wife asked, the first time they Skyped. He had to explain that he trusted his wife with all his heart when it came to looking after herself and their kids. But, and Shuugo said this earnestly and passionately, he didn’t trust a single member of the MSBY Black Jackals to look after themselves, except maybe Barnes, who was not present. They were professional volleyball players, not professional adults. No one ever really becomes a professional adult.
“This is a good chance for them to learn,” his wife commented, patting the top of Kenta’s head like a buzzer in a gameshow, but more gently.
Shuugo shrugged. “This is a major historical event. They’ll learn some other time.”
Kenta pushed himself up into the camera and said something indistinguishable. It was about Doraemon or the cockroach infestation episode of Gintama and Shuugo wasn’t sure which. He waved back at his eldest son. His eldest son nodded gravely and was buzzered back into his mother’s lap.
“Say bye to daddy, Kenta.”
“Love you too, kid.”
Tonight is one of those long, sleepless nights. Shuugo ducks into the hidden walk-in closet to see what’s been stolen this week, makes a note of who to yell at the next day, and ducks back out before he can meet anyone he doesn’t want to meet. He checks the toilet paper reserves. He spends an hour lying on the sofa in the living room by himself, scrolling through photos of his family and his dog. His wife sends them every day except for Thursday when she has to catch the live simulcast of her favorite drama on NHK. Kenta looks like he’s managing; Kohki, less so. But then and again, Kohki is three.
He dozes off on the sofa. In his dreams he’s fifteen again and everything sucks except for volleyball, which he doesn’t suck at, which he’s the best at. There’s a boy he thinks he might be in love with but first he wants to get a popsicle from the corner store. Wait a minute, he tells the boy. I’ll be right back. He runs to the corner store and buys his popsicle and runs back to the place where he had promised to meet the boy and it feels like no time has passed at all. Maybe three seconds, maybe three years. But the boy isn’t there anymore. The sun is setting. The street is empty, and there’s a volleyball bouncing by itself at the far end of it, silhouetted in red and orange and gray.
In the morning he’s awoken by yelling from three different directions and the smell of something burning. It’s unbearably, saccharinely sweet so it must be Atsumu again, perhaps with the help and passionate support of Inunaki. The time on the clock reads something fifty-two and he can’t be bothered to squint harder. It doesn’t really matter. Sun’s up anyway.
He clears his throat. “COMING.”
He sighs, shakes the cramps out of his shoulders, and heads off to save his kids. The ridiculously tall and fast and powerful ones with the impulse control of a flock of mature geese. The ones who play volleyball.
Inunaki wants to go grocery shopping. This is not news as everyone generally wants to go grocery shopping, barring Atsumu who has been living in a bubble of sustained anxiety since they got here and is only maintaining his sanity because of Old Town Road and Hinata Shouyou. But this week Inunaki seems particularly agitated about it. He starts the morning off by trying to make sourdough and destroys the first bread machine. He gets pissed about that and destroys the second bread machine. He pulls down the giant projector screen in front of the sofa and blasts K-ON at full volume all afternoon while Sakusa tries to film a skincare tutorial and Bokuto tries to nap and the whole house smells like sourdough starter. Shuugo almost regrets drinking his peach purunto. No, he chides himself. You will not regret what cannot be changed. Like peach purunto and sake parties. Like sake parties.
In contrast Thomas has always seemed the most hinged of the lot, though recently Shuugo has been approaching the astronomical revelation that this may in fact be a false impression created to lure you into trusting him with your life. After all, borderline-nonexistent impulse control is an entry requirement for all members of the MSBY Black Jackals except for Barnes, who is not present. Every once in a while Shuugo catches Thomas staring off in Inunaki’s vague direction like a chicken stares at a smaller chicken. It worries him.
Through the combined efforts of Shouyou, Bokuto, and Atsumu, they trap Inunaki in Sakusa’s second bathroom without Sakusa’s knowledge and convince him to watch a purunto infomercial on Sakusa’s laptop, also borrowed without his knowledge. The infomercial is something like ten minutes long. It’s a contingency measure arranged by Sakusa several days ago. If you need to stop Inunaki-san, he said last Friday or Monday or perhaps Sunday, dabbing at his cheeks with pore cleanser while Shuugo leaned against the doorway of his first bathroom and played Candy Crush. Then use this.
So they use it. Inunaki is successfully eclipsed from the equation and Thomas and Shuugo haul ass to the old Toyota parked outside and while Sakusa dreams of whatever Sakusa is capable of dreaming of, like clean oyster shells and hand sanitizer commercials probably, they drive down the side of the mountain to the supermarket.
Meian Shuugo grew up in a prefecture just outside of Tokyo. It was the kind of bland suburban neighborhood that wasn’t particularly interesting and contained only three convenience stores, located next to the police station, behind the police station, and several hundred meters away from the police station beside the supermarket. By extension, the supermarket Meian Shuugo grew up with was not particularly interesting either. It had all of the aisles a supermarket was expected to have but it didn’t have a playground for kids or a box television for kids or a giant stuffed Pikachu in the candy aisle. Shuugo, being a kid for most of his childhood, was unimpressed.
The supermarket in the town located half an hour shy of their lodge reminds him, acutely, of his unimpressive youth. He walks through the sliding glass doors and is assaulted with upbeat music, chatter, crying babies. Perhaps in another life he was born in this town and grew up bounding up the side of a mountain, doing mountain-child things like chasing beetles and building rafts to float down the creeks that were embedded in its face. Perhaps in another life he grew up the exact same person.
Thomas hands him a list, then goes to grab a shopping cart. They work methodically; Shuugo reads out Thomas’ neat, Sharpied-in handwriting and Thomas grabs things from the aisle at record speeds. Shuugo wonders, this week as well, if Thomas is secretly telepathic.
“Toilet paper, the eight-pack.”
No, he corrects himself. If Thomas were telepathic he would not have said no to Inunaki, who clearly wants to resolve the conflict they launched in the Izakaya last December even if his actions seem to say otherwise. Thomas hauls the toilet paper off the highest shelf and deposits it, with care, in their cart. Thomas the shopping cart chauffeur. Thomas the good guy.
“You’re a good guy, you know,” Shuugo says seriously. There’s not much left on their list; eggs, sake, dried seaweed sheets for Atsumu who has recently added it to his collection of coping mechanisms he picked off of self-care articles on Buzzfeed.
Thomas the shopping cart chauffeur turns to look at him. “I am?”
“Course you are.” Shuugo squats down in front of the chocolate section. His hand hovers over the thin row of plastic Chocobaby’s. It’s Kenta’s favorite.
Thomas laughs quietly. “Inunaki-san doesn’t seem to think so.”
If he buys the Chocobaby he’s sure Thomas won’t call him out for it. But Atsumu might, if he gets jumpy enough and his brain decides to latch onto it. And Sakusa definitely will. And even if neither of those things happen, who will eat it?
Shuugo sighs. “No, Thomas,” he says, stands up, brushes off the front of his pants. He grabs a bag of mini M&Ms resolutely, dumps it in their cart. “He does.”
“He does?” Adriah Thomas, twenty-eight this year and six-foot-seven, tall enough to strike fear in the hearts of most modern modes of transport including the Boeing 377, looks at him quizzically.
“You’re surprisingly dense, Thomas.” Shuugo takes over his chauffeur service for the time being and wheels their cart down the aisle towards the frozen goods section. His starting lineup may not be fond of tiny unimpressive chocolate pellets but he knows for a fact that ice cream will make the next week that much more bearable. “Maybe that’s how you got this far in life.”
“What does that mean, Meian-san?”
“C’mon. Let’s get more peach purunto.”
instagram user @joshokfine is the only remaining source of stability in my life. be like joshokfine. be better.
It starts pouring just a little shy of four in the morning on Saturday. Ordinarily one would be awake to witness this but they’ve been stuck up here for four weeks now, or maybe five, or maybe twenty-seven. No one sleeps when they’re expected to anymore except for Sakusa, who has packed enough moisturizing face masks to last him through the second coming of Christ.
So it starts raining and then the wind starts screaming and the windows start yelling and Shuugo is in the kitchen pouring himself something like his seventh cup of sake with sparkling fuji apple juice when Atsumu shows up at the end of the hallway in a giant pink quilt.
“Meian-san,” he croaks.
“Morning,” Shuugo says cheerfully, toasting him from the kitchen counter.
“I can’t sleep.”
Shuugo sets his glass down. He combs a hand through his hair and cringes. When was the last time he showered? Yes. No? He removes himself from the kitchen, steps out into the dim orange light of the living room. Atsumu has designer eye bags and designer eye bags beneath his designer eye bags. The kid looks like he’s been through hell. Or had a nightmare about it. Or had a nightmare about something else, like a pandemic or Raymond from Animal Crossing or breaking up with his boyfriend in the middle of a pandemic while still being without Raymond from Animal Crossing.
Shuugo wipes his hand off on his shirt and clears his throat. “What can I do for you?”
The lodge is fucking huge. That was the first thought Shuugo had when they’d finally finished lugging all their shit up the side of the mountain and Thomas’ old Toyota had been parked in the clearing outside and Sakusa and Atsumu were arguing loudly about optimal bathtub water temperatures just beyond the front door. Seriously, Shuugo mused, craning his neck, this lodge is fucking huge. The living room was not a living room so much as it was a giant open space with a vaulted, three-storey ceiling and spiraling staircases that led off on each side to narrower, but equally majestic, hallways. Carved into the eastern wall of the first floor was a large, industry-grade kitchen which contained a walk-in fridge and a brick kiln. In the center of the floor was a floral sofa.
They argued over whether the space that the sofa, and the accompanying automated projector screen and thirty-nine succulents, occupied should be called a living room at all. This went on for the first few days. In the interim Shouyou and Thomas explored the kitchen and Atsumu explored setting the kitchen on fire. Atsumu also explored the door at the end of the northern hallway on the third floor, and discovered the hidden walk-in closet that probably hadn’t been opened since the economic bubble burst in the early 90s. Bokuto explored the attic above the third floor via a trap-door in the ceiling and declared that it was haunted. Inunaki drank peach purunto. Sakusa found a hornet's nest in the woods nearby and tried to bring it back.
They never did get to have the full-blown debate about whether the sofa space should be called a living room, because by the start of the second week or the third or maybe the tenth, maybe the eighteenth, the world had stumbled backwards into the figurative hornet's nest of life itself. It emerged from the immediate aftermath covered in burns and uglier burns and violent, angry scrapes. As China began to pull itself together by the seams its neighbors both immediate and distantly-related began to show symptoms, keeling over in the dystopian-movie-dust.
Come April, they were all in the thick of it. Of what, you ask? No one knew. But they sure were.
There’s something about rain and nighttime that demands your attention. Shut away in your highrise apartments and your suburban houses, your grandmother’s old Japanese-style estate; shut away at home with the lights on and the world off, the world cordoned out; the rain is the only thing that reaches you. The sound of it. The pitter-patter. The footsteps.
Meian Shuugo invites the rain to shut the fuck up as he herds his starting setter to the sofa. Atsumu has been going through it for a while now. They all know this, the way they know he talks to his twin on Zoom some nights because he doesn’t care for private user information and what happens to his. However, no one mentions it because unlike Bokuto, Atsumu has discovered the wall socket in his room, and decided to use it.
“Shouyou’s asleep,” Atsumu explains and for the hundredth time or maybe the thousandth, he doesn’t think numbers are real anymore, Shuugo marvels at how tenderly he says Shouyou’s name. If someone had said his name like that when he was twenty-three Shuugo would have driven off immediately and bought them a ring or challenged them to a Beyblade fight. He wonders if Shouyou will do either of those things one day. If he’ll get the chance to.
Shuugo hums. The star of the lodge, beyond the brick kiln with the unidentifiable bones and the thirty-eight succulents, is the chandelier hanging from the vaulted ceiling. Usually it’s bright as ass but it’s raining outside today and it’s four, so they’ve got the lighting mode set to Orange And Moody. Which, Shuugo gathers, seems to be the correct setting.
Atsumu opens his mouth, still wrapped up in the giant pink quilt that he probably stole from the hidden walk-in closet. “I’m being an asshole right now, aren’t I?” he asks, uncharacteristically quiet.
“Not right now right now, if that’s what you’re talking about—”
“—Meian-san.” Atsumu is unimpressed and he shows it too much. If he wants to look unimpressed he should look dimly unimpressed or at most vaguely unimpressed, or he’ll come off as being over-invested in the whole affair. Granted, the kid’s always been bad at handling his emotions. But this is a moment of what Shuugo recognizes to be shaky vulnerability. Even for Miya Atsumu.
Shuugo smiles. “Yeah?”
“That’s not funny.” Atsumu sinks further into the sofa, vanishing between two very large floral cushions.
No, Shuugo has half a mind to say. You’re not very funny. I try not to tell you that because Sakusa says it enough for all of us but really, most of your jokes suck.
“Well,” Shuugo says instead, thoughtful. “What does being an asshole mean to you?”
“Uh. An inconvenience?”
“What does the current situation look like to you?”
Shuugo claps his hands together and then winces in very quick succession. If he’s judging this right then there’s a high chance Inunaki’s still awake thinking about the Izakaya they went to last December, and Bokuto might still be in the attic. He should stop.
“That’s right,” says Shuugo, not stopping. “If being an asshole is about being an inconvenience then the whole world’s being inconvenienced right now. In general. Does this look like optimal functioning to you?” He gestures broadly around him and hopes that Atsumu doesn’t think he’s pointing at the thirty-eight succulents.
“Because it isn’t. Everyone’s tired, Atsumu. Everyone wants things to start getting better.
“So given that we’re basically living in the asshole of the universe right now, I don’t think you’re being an asshole. Do I wish you’d stop listening to Old Town Road while doing the dishes? Yes. But do I wish Thomas and Inunaki would stop pretending they never want to see each other’s faces again off-court like the two main leads in a Korean drama? Yes. Do I wish I were at home right now in Tokyo with Mai and Kenta and Kohki? Of course.
“But no one gives a damn about what I want in the asshole of the universe. So no one gives a damn about you either.” Shuugo reaches for his sake. “What I’m trying to say is: buy your switch.”
He takes a sip of his sparkling fuji apple sake thing. He’s good at holding his liquor but the alcohol’s loosened his tongue and the rain isn’t letting up and it’s late or it’s early, depending on who you ask. Depending on who you are, and what you’re afraid of. He wonders if Atsumu’s still thinking about the thirty-eight succulents. The thirty-ninth has been missing for a few weeks now. No one knows for how long exactly. Time, remember?
Atsumu furrows his brows. He seems to be thinking very intently about something. Shuugo hopes it’s the fate of the universe.
“So, the Animal Crossing edition,” he says slowly, the color returning to his cheeks. “Do you think I should get that one?”
Around them the rain continues to fall. Every once in a while a bolt of lightning comes within an arm’s breadth of their tiny sanctuary away from the world and the toilet paper shortages and all the suffering and cruelty and unfairness. It lands at their feet. Light erupts from the ground like a star splitting in half and sticks to their faces, their hands, their teeth. For half a second, the interior of the lodge turns so white, it almost blinds them.
Shuugo wakes up at five in the evening on the sofa. His toes aren’t frozen solid the way they were the last time he fell asleep on the sofa. He sits up. Something pink and fluffy slides off his chest.
Inunaki is yelling at Thomas from the second floor. They’ve made an error in the toilet paper calculations, or someone’s used up all eight rolls in a week, or both. Inunaki’s disappointed and upset and he wants to get out of the bathroom. And he wants to talk about the Izakaya incident. And he wants a peach purunto.
Shuugo scrubs the heel of his hand down his face. He stretches his arms over his head. Then he rolls off the sofa with the quilt still drawn tight around his shoulders like a cape. And so begins another day in the life of Meian Shuugo, father and husband and professional volleyball player, and motivational speaker, and friend.
A conversation between Shouyou and Atsumu, as overheard by Bokuto who was taking a really big dump in (Sakusa’s bathroom) (but don’t tell him that) (no one tell Sakusa anything no really I will sic my ghost on you):
(Shouyou, I have something to tell you.)
(Let me guess. You ordered the switch.)
(Huh????? How the fuck do you know I ordered the switch.)
(You talked to Meian-san, didn’t you?)
(What the fuck. Are you telepathic?)
(No, Atsumu. I’m your boyfriend.)
A conversation between Thomas and Inunaki, as overheard by Atsumu who was hiding from his demons in (Sakusa’s bathroom) (who the fuck owns a bathroom anyway) (this is a communal household) (I am not hiding from my demons I am engaged in an act of civil protest):
(I know you’re not the one who finished all the peach purunto.)
In a surprising twist of events Sakusa has not only brought enough moisturizing face masks to last him until the second coming of Christ, but also stashed a metric fuckton of toilet paper in his second bathroom.
“I knew you would disappoint us some day,” he says neutrally to Thomas, who goes off to cry in front of the barbecue pit for twenty minutes.
“It was partially my fault too,” Shuugo says, feeling apologetic for some reason.
Sakusa watches Thomas go with the face of a merciless, unsmiling god. “But mainly his.”
In spite of the hornet's nest he tried to bring back in the first week, Sakusa consents to the public use of his second bathroom. He deletes the contract he made Atsumu sign that had previously prevented him from legally entering, but refuses to let them port the twenty-four toilet paper rolls jammed under his sink to any of the other bathrooms. It’s a personal thing, he says while peeling his third milk honey face mask of the day off with his fingertips. Who are they to complain? It’s his toilet paper.
Regardless, the toilet paper doesn’t grant him immunity from Meian Shuugo, who despite his stunning alcohol consumption record is in fact still the parental supervision figure in this household. This gives Shuugo certain rights such as the right to walk into rooms without knocking, though he’s decided to stop doing that and become a better person, and the right to use the barbecue pit after ten. Also, if he says they’re going to have a Ghibli movie night, they’re going to have a Ghibli movie night.
They have the Ghibli movie night. On Sunday. Or Friday. Or whatever. Whatever. They have it.
When Shuugo was a kid his family would sit on their ugly living room couch and watch Ghibli movies together instead of working through their disagreements with transparency and care. This is partially why Shuugo was not a kid for as long as most kids, but he can tell you exactly which scene comes after the fat cat in The Cat Returns gets stuck in the giant vat of pink Jell-o. He can also tell you, with full confidence, that Ghibli movies will do things to you. What kind of things, you ask? Does it matter?
Once again, they head into the hidden walk-in closet on the third floor and return with piles of blankets, quilts, and a bag of Calbee chips without an expiry date. On the way out Shuugo notices shuffling from above him and discovers, for the first and hopefully last time in his life, Bokuto Koutarou in the attic having a serious conversation with an owl.
“His name is Aka,” says Bokuto.
“Very sly of you,” says Shuugo. “I’m not going to ask why there’s an owl up here.”
“He only visits sometimes.”
Bokuto follows him downstairs. Shuugo picks a feather out of his hair and wonders if this is what zookeepers feel like. They collect Sakusa from his bedroom after peeling off twelve honey-and-lavender face masks, and make a stop at Thomas' room. The door creaks open after a few seconds and Inunaki sticks his head out. His hair is tousled and his eyes are puffy.
“What do you want,” he says.
“We’re having a movie night.” Shuugo resists the urge to pat his head. He may be turning thirty this year but sometimes he feels like he’s eighty-five and everyone else on his team is four and he has to do something to make sure they grow up right.
Inunaki follows him and Sakusa and Bokuto down the stairs and Thomas sneaks out of the room afterwards when he thinks no one is looking. They are actually all looking and rightfully so, seeing as it is Thomas’ room they just stopped by and Inunaki should not have been there at all. But no one says anything. Thomas tip-toes down the stairs in all his Boeing 377 glory. Inunaki goes to the fridge.
Shouyou and Atsumu have returned from the hidden walk-in closet and have started building a fort in front of the projector screen. The process consists of Atsumu lying face-down on the floor, motionless, while Shouyou throws things with a hardness rating of less than five at him: a blanket, a stuffed Pikachu, a bolster.
“What movie are we starting with,” Atsumu asks.
Shuugo salutes him from the kitchen even though Atsumu can’t see him. “Princess Mononoke.”
Atsumu lifts his head for a moment and stares past the floor-to-ceiling window to the other side of the world, where he is having the time of his life in Florence.
“Good,” he says. Then Shouyou throws a slightly larger stuffed Pikachu at him, and he disappears from sight.
In Atsumu’s words, everything sucks like fucking shit. In Sakusa’s words, everything’s piss-awful. In Thomas' words everything is sort of unbearable and in Inunaki’s words where is the peach purunto. In Bokuto’s words Akaashi the shounen manga editor is more stressed than the entirety of Japan combined and needs some time to himself. In Shuugo’s words, ew. Ew, ew, ew.
“Ew,” Atsumu says when the mountain god’s head gets decapitated and the screen fills up with the blue liquid-y stuff that mountain gods are apparently made of. Inunaki gives him a look that’s so utterly and completely disgusted that Atsumu excuses himself from being Shouyou’s armrest and stands up.
“You wanna fight, Inunaki-san? You wanna fight?”
Inunaki does not detach himself from Thomas’ cashmere sweater. “No.”
“Atsumu, I can’t see the screen,” Shouyou says sleepily, and Atsumu’s expression does a one-eighty off a cliff and dies.
It’s three in the morning by the time they get to the fifth movie. Or is it six? Shuugo decides it doesn’t matter and then pulls a fast one on all of them by putting in Grave of the Fireflies which, Sakusa complains, is too dry for this time of the year. In spite of that, Sakusa is the only one who manages to watch it from start to finish, his eyes glued to the screen while he files his nails discreetly in his corner of the sofa. Beside him Inunaki has fallen asleep against Thomas’ shoulder and Thomas has fallen asleep against the headrest, Sakusa having pushed him gingerly off of him half an hour ago. Bokuto is snoring loudly with his face in Inunaki’s armpit. Beside Bokuto Atsumu is asleep with his head in Shouyou’s lap, and Shouyou is mumbling something incoherently about rice.
Meian Shuugo reaches for the remote control and turns the projector off.
“You should go to sleep too,” he tells Sakusa. He reaches for the blankets and begins to drape them carefully over the sofa in criss-crossing patterns.
Sakusa yawns. “When do you think this will end.”
Shuugo shrugs. “Eventually.”
Sakusa inclines his head, then stands up and stretches. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for us.” He collects his belongings from the coffee table and goes to the kitchen for water.
“No, thank you for the toilet paper.”
“Self-preservation skills. You learn them early on in life when you’re me.”
They stop having the Animal Crossing Debate because Atsumu’s switch arrives next week, delivered by a courier in an inflatable T-Rex costume who says he’s here on god’s business. But they keep going with the whiteboard and the six p.m. discussions and everyone jammed up on the big sofa in the living room. It still doesn’t feel like a living room and the lodge still feels like a castle, complete with ghosts and unidentifiable bones and the ouija board Sakusa’s smuggled away to his room. But when they roll up all the curtains, the floor-to-ceiling windows start communicating with god or something, and the sun does a cool break-and-enter routine that ends in fireworks. Everything it touches goes up in flames. It’s kind of beautiful.
“Today’s question.” Thomas raps the whiteboard they stole from the hidden walk-in closet weakly. “Should we have spaghetti for dinner?”
Atsumu looks up from his switch, and Shouyou follows. “Did you read my tweet?”
“Atsumu. I follow you on Twitter.”
“Oh.” Atsumu looks back down at his switch. On Shouyou’s insistence he’s recently downloaded Kirby Star Allies. He is surprisingly into it.
Inunaki raises his hand. “Objection your honor,” he says. “I don’t think we should have spaghetti for dinner because it sucks.”
Thomas makes a face at him. It doesn’t really work because he’s six-foot-seven and wearing a Victorian suit he found in the hidden walk-in closet, but apparently it works for Inunaki, who repeats, with more conviction, “it sucks.”
“It does not suck,” Thomas insists. He begins to lean against the whiteboard in an unconscious bid to look like he’s not emotionally affected by Inunaki’s words.
“Can we have rice,” Sakusa says. “We’re Japanese.”
“I’m not Japanese.”
“You’re Inunaki’s boyfriend. Honorary Japanese.”
“I don’t think that’s how it works.”
“Sure it is,” says Bokuto, who is back to texting Akaashi for the time being instead of calling him on Skype. He now carries a power bank and a cable with him everywhere. To the bathroom. To the barbecue pit. To the woods.
“Why don’t we have both?” Shouyou suggests. Shouyou is the literal and metaphorical light of their lives right now, although Sakusa would be hard-pressed to admit it unless they gave him another bathroom. Shouyou also comes up with some of the most god-awful ideas sometimes. Like inviting everyone to a lodge in the mountains during the off-season and getting them trapped in a major historical event. Like trying to live each day to the best of his ability as if he’s Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled and not twenty-three and severely, inhumanely sleep-deprived. He still wakes up at five-thirty every morning. Shuugo asked him about it once. He said he needed the time to meditate.
“Why don’t you just meditate later?” Shuugo went on, hanging over the back of the sofa and watching Shouyou channel his inner Buddha of peace for something like the third time that week. The sun had not yet risen but it was beginning to put in efforts towards it. A thin strip of gold ran horizontally between the land and the sky, dividing them in jagged and uneven strokes.
“It’s not the same,” Shouyou said, exhaling through his mouth, eyes closed. Shuugo wondered briefly if he was bothering him, then figured that Shouyou would tell him if he was.
“I need to be awake each morning to make sure the world’s still there. To say good morning.”
Shuugo picked idly at the upholstery. “What happens if you aren’t there?”
“Who knows,” Shouyou laughed, brilliantly and confidently, and in that moment Shuugo understood for the first time in his life how he alone had not succumbed to the timeless insanity of quarantine. Perhaps in another life Shouyou had been born tall and powerful and with the kind of instinct and skill that Kageyama Tobio carried around on his shoulders all day. In this one, he had seen the second coming of Christ once already, and built himself a new skin in its wake.
It was the routines. The morning meditation and the rolled eggs and the five-hour-nap in Atsumu’s room. The evening runs through the woods and the card games at night. It was Atsumu’s Animal Crossing Debate and the chaos that always followed, the chaos that generally followed the MSBY Black Jackals everywhere they went, as if they had been born into incredulity and outrageousness and passion. Passion for their sport. Passion for life itself.
They aren’t professional adults. No one ever becomes a professional adult. They try to be professional siblings and children and lovers, professional commuters and pastry chefs and shopping cart pushers. They try to leave their suburban neighborhoods and the boys they never get to see again behind. They try to be kind to themselves, even as the world begins to slide resolutely off a cliff.
And they fail. And everything sucks. And everything’s sort of unbearable right now. Even Sakusa has stopped checking his phone religiously. They’d rather watch Grave of the Fireflies ten more times than put on NHK news.
So ew. Ew at the present state of the universe. Ew at Shuugo’s hair. Ew at the amount of money Atsumu spent on his Animal Crossing switch which came with a tempered glass screen protector and the Animal Crossing pouch and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game and a laminated mini-poster of Raymond.
And fine. Because what else can they do now but shut up and keep going? If there’s a God up there he’s definitely laughing at them with his hands full of nail clippers and clean surgical masks and health, cash, all the forgiveness the world needs right now. He’s probably making coffee as they run themselves into the ground, as they run their rivers dry.
So everything’s been going to shit for a while now. You’d think they’d get used to it, but they still haven’t. Which is to say that they’re still angry enough to fall in love and expect something to happen. Which is to say that they haven't given up on their dream of finding a ghost in the hidden walk-in closet. Which is to say that, in spite of the toilet paper shortages and the hornet's nest and the weepy sake parties, all the fucking weepy sake parties, there’s hope.
Are you sure you’ll be okay?
(The sound of rain, laughter, a ball hitting the ground.)
Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.
I was tagged by @yaboyspodcastpalace
Mad Maudlin (or Mad_Maudlin, or some variation thereof).
Fandoms You Write For:
At the moment? It’s all-MAG, all the time (with a tiny side brain devoted to the Daredevil/Chronicles of Darkness crossover of doom).
Where You Post:
AO3, with side announcements here and on twitter.
Most Popular Oneshot:
A Study in Natural Philosophy, a BBC Merlin daemon AU written during the very brief time I was in that fandom.
Most Popular Multi-Chapter Story:
Tongues of Men and Angels, a Stargate: Atlantis McShep AU I wrote for NaNoWriMo one year.
Favourite Story You Wrote:
Listen. Listen. I have 223 works on AO3. I have been writing fic since 2002. Let’s just stick to one-ish per fandom.
Once and Future, a Merlin/Torchwood crossover with additional references to Sanctuary and the rest of the Whoniverse. At some point this was going to be a whole Thing, with more elaborate crossovers and the Wandering Jew, but I fell out of love with most of the fandoms involved and at this point I can’t even decrypt my old notes. Something about “murder rehab” and Dropkick Murpheys lyrics.
Care and Feeding -- Harry Potter, my contribution to the grand traditions of super fucked up porn in that fandom.
Ghost Story, a Torchwood fix-it fic that nobody reads because it’s weird and long and in the first person a lot. But I loved writing it, and I think @marginaliana loved reading it, so who’s the real winner here?
The Story Needed Mending, Sanctuary, because I love Kate Freelander and I love Ashley Magnus and I just think they should be in lesbians, okay?
Apotheosis, BBC Sherlock, which, look. This fandom was massively important to men during my first couple years of grad school. I know how it ended, and I know it’s a punchline on Tumblr these days, but I found a lot to like in the first season, and this is probably still my favorite Sherlock fic of my own.
Dear John (WIP Remix), which I’m linking to the plain text form, because Photobucket took the images hostage. ::sigh:: I always enjoyed the Remix Redux, and this is probably my favorite remix fic I’ve done, going way beyond the original text but staying in the same spirit. Also I got to pour ketchup on it and devised cursive forms of the Pegasus gate symbols.
Frequently Asked Question, a comics!Hawkeye fic based off that one post about the lady with meningitis who lost all short-term memory. One of the few Marvel fics I ever wrote, based of the Fraction/Aja/Wu Hawkeye and the Kot/Walsh Secret Avengers.
The Stars My Destination, SGA in a Star Trek AU. This fic took two years to write and I was super burned out by the end of it, but it’s also got some passages I’m really proud of.
All You Holy Men and Women, Daredevil, because I think I really nailed the characters here.
The Minotaur and Other Poems, TMA. Which is funny because I was really, really unsatisfied with it when I posted it, but once I had a couple of months of distance I realized that it really achieved everything I was trying for?
Story You Were Nervous to Post:
Pretty much any “first in the fandom” story. Particularly “november in this house of leaves” and “Heave Cannot Hold Him, Nor Earth Sustain” since those were both preceded by multi-year writing breaks/mental health disasters.
How Do You Pick Your Titles:
Statistically speaking, most of them come from “Lullabye” by W. H. Auden.
Do You Outline:
Not formally -- it tends to kill my enjoyment of the story. If I outline at all, it’s very general. The good news is that I can hold a pretty complex storyline in my head without much trouble; the bad news is that, if i don’t finish the story quickly enough, it goes “poof” along with all my other memories. There are a loooot of abandoned wips in my writing folder, is what I’m saying...
How Many of Your Stories are complete:
...which is why I almost never post anything until I’m done with it. Even “Take Care of You (And I’ll Take Care of Me)” was almost done, I was just impatient for kudos and struggling to write out that last conversation.
There are a few unfinished tidbits float around various kink memes, but on the whole, I only post complete stuff. That was only I know how much I’ve abandoned.
There’s a Basira-centric fic I’m stalled on which might be perma-WIP territory, and because MAG canon is hurtling into a pit of despair, I’ve been working on a ridiculous AU in which Jon is a literal cat and nobody dies or gets mutilated. (Well, “working” -- grading is hard, y’all.) And there’s a Little Mermaid AU still in the very early stages, but that one’s got an outline so I can come and go without losing the thread.
Do You Accept Prompts:
Upcoming Story You’re the Most Excited For:
Jon Is A Cat And Nothing Hurts.
Tag Five Fanfic Authors to Answer These Questions
Tag anarchy! Do the quiz if you want to!
So it is written
Hello and good day.
This will be probably my last post on FYRA for a longer period of time. But I hope to find at least one who would share my interest.
Anyways back with a new request! This one will be more specific as it only targets one certain fandom. I have had plenty of amazing original roleplays in the past, but now my desire is slowly favoring canon universes once again. It makes character building (in my opinion) also a greater challenge which I also quite enjoy to be honest.
I have a strong penchant for including original characters and ideas that can be added to the pre-existing plot. Also very happy to expand on the given worlds and open to AU’s. Okay so I am a really big nerd when it comes to the supernatural, mysterious, urban myth and fantasy. Love combining those given elements with organized crime, complex characters, cataclysmic events and dark schemes that all unravels as time goes on.
Just so you know, a little about me.
You must be at least 18+ of age when you want to start original roleplay with this gal here. As I am in my twenties, I prefer maturer partners. I accept anyone, regardless if they are male or female. What I expect is a decent (if not very good) grasp on grammar, the ability and will to write creatively, shoulder a great part of the plotting and responsibility as well as passion for roleplaying. Of course this should be seen as a fun hobby but I really like to invest… I wish for my partner / friend to take equal initiative.
Here are my cravings and guidelines! Even though they are only limited to a few, I made sure to filter out the ones I know I wouldn’t role-play anytime soon. So if you are interested in something I didn't mention here, I am afraid I have to decline. Sorry.
Btw, call me Gil ;)
The roleplay I have been wanting to do for such a long time is none other than Devil May Cry.
Replaying the game brought back some really good and nostalgic feels - but the latest game one was one of the best in my opinion. Such creativity, especially with urban mythology, monsters and other interesting elements. Hence why this game is right up my alley and one of my favourites of all time. If this does not interest you as much, I am also keen on roleplaying Castlevania or next gen Harry Potter! But my main interest still remains with DMC, just so you know. :)
What it entails:
Alright, so you are writing with some of mature age. I have 11 years of writing experience when it comes to the game. This will be a fair warning that this request is not for the faint of heart. There will be violence, swearing, gore, intimate scenes, uncomfortable subjects, drama, conflict and other dark themes included within the story. I have few limits but I will respect the boundaries of my partner, so do not shy away from telling me. Just so you know, I won’t fade to black or skip out on the nitty gritty. Go big or go home.
My line of interests are very dynamic when it comes to genres. I love conceiving my own lore inside a stories, be it an original or a pre-existing story. Gothic fantasy among others are one of my favourites. I am not opposed to tapping into some science fiction, action, romance, crime, action or thriller genres, in fact I encourage it. Inspirations for me are Lovecraft, Hellsing, Blade, Underworld, etc. As for the fandom inspired RPs, I am more than willing to bend some rules and be a little indulgent.
3rd person perspective. My writing is wide-ranging and flexible, which means that frequently, word count will go up 1000+ per reply - though it highly depends on the given situation and partner. Quality over quantity as they say - but why not both? I love detail in description, and I am actively seeking someone of the same infamy. My partner should have a basic grasp on grammar, punctuation and somewhat of an interest in knowledgeable writing. I also double! (preferably, but we can always discuss whether it makes sense for our roleplay our not.)
World building and sharing the burden:
You should be active and help me shape the world around our characters. Even if we discuss many things during and before the roleplay, how we wish for things to play out and take its course, I am always happy to be surprised with a secret of my partner’s character I didn’t know before. You don’t need to lay out all your cards on the table… keep it a little mysterious and suspenseful. Just enough so we can work with the ideas, but not completely kill off the suspense.
I write canon as well as OC characters. Faceclaims, GIFs, drawings, mood boards or just a plain physical description is absolutely sufficient. Whatever floats your boat when it comes to visualising your character and their backstory, I’m on board. Characters should be written as opulent, flawed, unique, talented, heroic, villainous, spiteful, angry, and everything in-between figures. In other words, don’t be scared of making them ‘human’, even when they are non-human.
Openly play and accept characters of both genders, preferable m x f pairings, but I am open to m x m and f x f relationships as well. I have more experience with m x f relationships, so I might be more adept with this one. If the chemistry of two characters compel me, I will ship them no matter what! When it comes to sexual scenarios and intimacy (intercourse, foreplay, all that jazz). I encourage eroticism, but always in a tasteful, sensual manner (that goes for romance as well). The passion must be felt through the screen, even if it’s just a mere description of someone’s deep train of thought.
Drama, violence, sex, metamorphosis, symbolism, action, romance, pretty much everything is a-okay. I am unbothered by certain subjects that may or may not be uncomfortable for the general public. Roleplays are fictional stories and we best keep viewing them as such. If there are things you are uncomfortable with, name them and I shall respect those boundaries. But don’t be surprised when suddenly one of our characters bites the dust, or gets tortured. It may be difficult to write and read, but it is all part of the story and furthering the plot. My roleplays imply and involve brutality, mayhem, psychological and physical torture as well as other things. But I also endorse beauty, serenity and placid moments, scenes or characters. I love it when it comes full circle… everyone- and everything has a beautiful and hideous side. Both should be embraced like Yin and Yang.
Communication and friendship:
OOC-chat friendly! I love meeting new people and making friends. Plus it strengthens the compatibility between us. Communication is the alpha and the omega. If there is anything that bothers you, or if you think you are left out in some way (be it a mistake on my part or we’re both at fault here), don’t be scared to tell me. Really, it won’t be taken personally - since I know that we slip up every now and then, we’re only human after all. It is also completely sufficient if you only type out a few messages per week. I am super chill about it. It doesn’t bother me re-writing a scene to fit the narrative more. If there are mistakes, they can be corrected - just to get that out there. We can always exchange opinions and see what would benefit the story most. I will also voice my opinion should something arise that could be bothersome.
An active roleplayer is wanted without a doubt. Can’t do the thinking for two now. Let’s row this boat together
Subject matters I avoid are pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, vore, scat, furries and various other bizarre fetishes. Also no one-liners or text-talk messages. The sentences have to be cohesive, coherent and decently structured.
Now a little more information about myself.
I live in CET central Europe. My response rate varies throughout the weeks, depending on my schedule.
I study at a university full time and work a job on the side and both are keeping me fairly busy. My writing will increase most likely during the weekends. If I should hit a hiatus, I will let you know as soon as possible. I understand when you are busy as well and won’t be able to respond, though I prefer if my partner does not ghost me. At least let me know what’s going on so I can adjust and put the roleplay on hold if needed!
Mediums I roleplay on are email and googledocs. Though I also have Discord in case for OOC chat!
I prefer if my partner messages me first on email, giving me a brief description of themselves, their cravings as well as ideas. That way I can see if we’re compatible and if it bears any potential.
Message me here:
EMAIL: [email protected]
Hope to hear from you soon! Lots of love!
#13-These Four Years
Request: OMGG could u make a dad!Calum where he had a girl with the reader at 19 and now the little girl is 4, and when they go to tuck her in after he came back from tour and had a day of fun they just realize that their lives would never have been the same without their angel. So there's like flashbacks of when (Y/N) told Cal she was expecting, to the struggles of him being on tour while having a little girl on the other side of the world, the stress of being so young and expecting a child.
Okay I’m in love with this request... like just imagine your crush and your daughter and aGH. But that’s all I’ll say on THAT 😂 just a note-if you have fandom specific requests I still take those! Some things will be generalized (names, specific plot point from tv shows) but character’s status (celebrity, occupation ya know) and the request setting, etc. won’t change. :) request away!!
People always talked about how hard it must be to be a celebrity. How little privacy you had, how you couldn’t lead a normal life. But not once in the 17 years leading up to meeting C/N had I heard how excruciatingly painful it was to date one, however. Let alone raise a child with the man you love halfway across the world.
I sighed as I spread the blanket across my lap. Lia was in her room, choosing the book she wanted me to read to her tonight. The moment of silence was wonderful, but brief.
“Good Night book!” My daughter giggled as she climbed onto the couch next to me. I smiled at her, pulling her into my side.
As I began to read, I let my mind wander. It had been six months since we’d seen C/N last. Sure—we’d FaceTimed a few times a week, and every day Lia and I called him, but it was hard on both of us.
Management had refused to fly C/N out twice a month or for special occasions and parties, and Lia and I hated flying. It was just too much to handle, so we remained content with video chats and texting, lucky for the contact we had.
When your daughter’s father and the love of your life is in an internationally-adored band, you have to take what you can get.
Tonight, however, was one of those nights I felt like screaming for help. Between my job, caring for Lia, and taking care of the house, exhaustion had overcome my body. Emotionally and physically—I was drained.
“Mommy, what’s wrong?” Lia frowned, staring at me.
“Hm?” I blinked, turning to her.
“You stopped reading.”
I sighed, with a shake of my head, apologized and began the book again.
“Good night bed, good night stars. Good night chair and good night” —
“Bed time already?”
My heart stopped, and slowly I turned around. There, in the doorway, stood C/N. He looked groggy, tired from a long trip, but a light smile played across his face.
“Daddy!” Lia screamed, jumping from the couch and into his arms.
“My beauty! Look at you, you got so big!” He whispered into the top of her head. He held her up, wrapping his arms around her small body.
Tears sprung to my eyes and I didn’t bother to wipe them away before rushing to hold my family.
C/N met my eyes and he was smiling so wide. I mirrored his grin and shut my eyes, burying my head in his shoulder.
We held each other for so long, but when Lia let out a low yawn, we separated.
“Guess it is bed time, huh beautiful?” He smoothed back her hair.
“No, I’m not tired.” She whined. With a wink, C/N tossed me a smile.
“Well, I am, baby. So maybe we should all go to bed?” I asked, rubbing her back. I yawned wide to really sell it.
Lia rubbed her eyes slowly. “Okay, Mommy.”
Within a matter of minutes, our girl was passed out in her bed and we had moved to our own room. I lay on C/N’s chest, hands wrapped tight around his waist.
He was rubbing my back under my shirt. His lips moved against my ear and though I couldn’t hear him, I could feel him mouthing words against my ear.
“I love you,” I whispered into his chest. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Me too, love.” He pressed a slow kiss to my lips. Like a ghost, his lips moved over mine with a concentrated pressure. He loved me—that kiss told me everything I’d ever needed to know.
It quickly became more heated, and the gentleness faded into urgency. Mad and desperate. As if he might die if he wasn’t touching me. His hands moved from my back to my waist pulling us as close as possible.
We hadn’t been like this in so long... with burning desire I pushed back, matching his strength.
His lips moved down my jaw, to my neck, to my shoulder, to my collarbone and—
A loud yawn rippled through my body, pulling me apart from him. Oh god. Here we were—finally alone with C/N and able to love him, and I was too overworked to do so.
“Tired, babe?” He raised an eyebrow, chuckling.
I frowned and pressed my face into his chest. “I’m so sorry, I just”—
“Hey, hey,” he lifted my chin up to meet his eyes. He smiled lightly, “there’s no need to apologize. You have a right to be tired. You’re working, raising Lia without me...” His smile fell into a frown as he sat there, thinking.
“What’s wrong?” I whisper as his eyes narrow. He looked in pain, as if he felt guilty.
“I’m not here for her. I’ve never been here for her.”
I could almost cry at the way his face scrunched together. He ran a hand through his hair, and my heart broke for him.
I had felt so horrible when I missed Lia’s first steps while my mom was watching her. I was tired, done with watching a young kid. I’d asked my mom to watch her—just for a night—and I’m missed her first independent steps...
But C/N had missed more than just her first steps or her first word. He missed getting to live with her and watch her personality grow. He missed her first day of preschool. God, he even missed the first time we got to see her...
I’d been sick for weeks. C/N had just left for another tour and I assumed it was my reaction to missing him. He’d only been home for a month before a press tour launched, boasting the band’s new documentary. Needless to say, we did it like rabbits for the short time he was here.
I was proud of him, but sad to see him go. And that was why I was so sick. I missed him. There was no other possibility.
But as I stood in the convenience store aisle, just paces away from the pregnancy tests, I wondered if maybe there could be another reality...
Superstar C/N’s girlfriend couldn’t be seen in public buying such things, however, so I settled with my bar of chocolate and cheesy romance novel.
Later that night, though, when my best friend stopped by with my pizza and tests, I’d learn life without C/N was about to get much, much worse.
A week later, I found myself at a free clinic, watching as our baby shifted inside of me on a monitor.
I’d cried for joy confirming I was in fact carrying his baby, but as I realized what this meant for us—I couldn’t help but let a few solemn tears go. He couldn’t be there for the bulk of my pregnancy, nor most of our child’s life.
And what if he wanted me to end the pregnancy? Watching the tiny figure move on the screen, I knew I couldn’t do that.
“Sh, sh.” I traced his jaw with a light finger. “Don’t say that.”
“No, Y/N.” He sat up, gently pushing me off of him. “I’m supposed to be her father. Instead I’m... I’m like some uncle that comes into town, gives her a gift, then takes off again.” C/N ran a hand through his hair. “God, and-and then I leave you to raise her on your own.” He met my eyes for just a second before dropping them back to his lap.
C/N had always had a habit of getting caught in his thoughts. The problem with that? It was only when he was hurt or guilty. I knew he was drowning in lies right now—about how he wasn’t enough, how he was somehow hurting our daughter. That he was selfish—not ready for this. He narrowed his eyes as he focused on the pattern of our comforter, whispering silent words to himself.
“Baby, look at me.” He didn’t move his gaze. His lips, however, had stalled to a rest. “C/N look at me.”
This time, he followed. His eyes were watery and his voice trembled as he whispered a soft apology.
“Don’t apologize.” I grabbed his hand in mine and stroked small circles in his palm. His tension faded, but I knew he needed more. “Do you know how much that little girl loves you? How much I love you?”
C/N shook his head. “That’s not the”—
“No, it is the point. Baby, we love you. So, so much. And it hurts to see you think you’re not doing enough for us. You provide for us, you make the time for us out of your busy schedule, you beg your managers to come home and surprise us for God’s sake!” I chuckled a little but he dropped his eyes again. With a sigh, I continued. “Do you remember when I told you about Lia? What you told me?”
It was two days after I’d visited the doctor, and I paced around my bed. On top lay my phone. The phone I was about to use to tell C/N about our child. The child we hadn’t planned. The child he might not want.
Piece of cake, right?
With a sigh, I fell back against the pillows and tried to massage away the migraine pressing against my skull. To the chagrin of my splitting head, my phone rang. And to add insult to injury, C/N was the one calling.
“Hello?” I mumbled into the phone.
“Y/N, hey!” My boyfriend answered. I could hear the smile in his voice, and it was enough to lift my spirits. Until I remembered how somber the conversation was about to turn.
I shifted to sit up against my headboard. “Why’d you call?”
Pause. “I missed you... is that all right? I know it’s kinda late over there, but we’ve been non-stop recently. I’m sorry, if it’s”—
“No, no you’re fine.” I cleared my throat and desperately tried to prepare myself for what was to come. “Look, C/N we need to talk.”
“Okay, babe. Anything.”
His voice had changed so drastically from when I’d picked up, and I wanted to do anything to change his mood. But I had to tell him about the baby. Whether it made him happy or not.
“I’ve been sick recently, and”—
“You’re sick? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
I suppressed a pleased smile at how much he cared. “Well, I thought it was just a stomach bug, but it’s something more than that”—
C/N interrupted me again. “Babe, do you need me to come home? Because I’ll pull some strings, whatever it takes, Okay?”
“Will you please let me speak?” I chuckled.
“Thank you,” I sighed, “C/N, I’m pregnant.”
There was no sound coming through the line, and I’d thought he had hung up. My breathing grew heavier as I pulled the phone from my ear. I couldn’t believe he would do this to me.
I pulled my phone back to my ear, frantic. “Yes,” I breathed out.
“Oh my god angel, that’s amazing!”
It took a moment for me to process what I’d just heard. “What?”
“We’re gonna be parents.”
Again I could practically see C/N’s wide smile. Almost feel him hugging me.
Tears budded my eyes but I didn’t bother wiping them away. For the first time since I’d seen the sonogram, I was crying because I was happy. “Yeah. We’re gonna be parents.”
“You have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now.”
I laughed. “Me too.”
We sat for a while, just laughing and crying. Of all the ways this could have turned out, I had tried to avoid dreaming of C/N being happy and excited for the baby. But now I knew how stupid that was.
He and I loved each other. We’d already made plans for our future, when he would take a break from the band and focus on building our life together.
This baby was just a little early, but nothing could keep us from loving it.
“Y/N?” C/N asked towards the end of the call.
I yawned. “Yeah?”
“I have a promise for you.”
He’d sombered up—not sad or angry or frustrated, but he spoke with more precise words. Whatever he was about to say, he did not take lightly. “I promise to love you and our child—and all future children—as much as one person can. No matter where I am or what’s going on, I’ll make time for my family. If I’m on tour, I will quite literally take a break from a concert to read a bedtime story to our baby.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s a little extreme, babe.”
But C/N didn’t chuckle. “Not for my family, it isn’t.”
C/N nodded. “I remember that night.” A faint smile spread across his face. “The boys were so happy after I told them.”
“You promised me that you would do anything for us. And guess what, you have.” I brushed a stray tear from his cheek. He leaned into my touch for just a second, but then pulled back with a sigh.
“No, I haven’t. God, it was a struggle just to get management to let me come for a weekend.”
“But you still came, C/N. That’s the point. You’re doing everything you can to balance your dream and your family. I could never ask for more.”
“That’s the thing, Y/N. You two are my dream.” And C/N pressed a light kiss to my lips before pulling away. “But let’s just sleep now, okay? I’ll make a call tomorrow morning. Maybe I can work something better out.”
And with another kiss, we fell asleep together.
Fandom: Octopath Traveler
Alfyn only had intended to right certain wrongs and set certain things in motion upon returning to Clearbrook. He hadn't expected things to get so complicated (and so fast).
A/N: Putting this up top so everyone’s aware. THERE ARE SPOILERS IN HERE Y’ALL. THIS IS PART OF A TIME TRAVEL VERSE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE GAME.
*coughs* now that that’s said go and enjoy the fic :) yes I’ll probably make a master post for this verse sometime soon heh
When he arrived at Clearbrook, it was almost as if he had never left. The small, sleepy village had a timeless quality to it. The river flowed through the town at its usual leisurely pace, and a few cows mooed at him as he entered town. In the distance, there was a large hill with a few gravestones on it.
(Alfyn frowned when he noticed some of the gravestones were “missing”. Except, they weren’t really missing now were they?)
“Why hello there,” a friendly voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he looked from the hill to the kindly old farmer who was approaching him. “Don’t really get many travelers around these parts, are you another merchant looking to sell his wares?”
“You get a lot of merchants to be askin’ me that,” he asked back with a laugh. “Nah, I’m just a traveling apothecary on my way to-” Alfyn paused for a bit as he fumbled for a nearby town. “-Orewell.” He grimaced slightly at the name of the town he picked. Well didn’t that just bring up the nicest memories? “Thought I’d stop by for the night, it’s getting kinda late and all.”
“Oh! You don’t happen to be from around these parts now are you? Haven’t really heard talk like that from people who happen to be passing by. Well, now that I get a good look at ya, I can see that you don’t look like any merchant I’ve ever see. An apothecary though, ah, well you got that bag they’re always carrying around. Didn’t know that apothecaries traveled though. Thought most apothecaries liked to stick to one place.”
Alfyn couldn’t help the wide smile that appeared on his face. Gods, he missed being back in Clearbrook. Everyone was so friendly and curious. And, more importantly, it was home, even if it wasn’t his home. The smile diminished somewhat. “Eh, I grew up around here, small village a bit like this one actually. Reminds me of home, actually, being here.” He looked around and nodded a bit to himself. “I mean, most apothecaries wanna stick around and make sure that everyone around them is okay, I reckon. I felt a bit cramped stickin’ around in my village though, so I thought I might as well travel for a bit and see the world a bit. Try and learn something new if I can. I’m lucky though. A good pal of mine was also an apothecary in my village, and, well, I feel like I’ve left the village in good hands so to speak.” He couldn’t help but feel sorry for Zeph even as he chuckled. His Zeph, who was back in his Clearbrook looking after everyone while wondering what his old pal Alfyn was up to.
(Alfyn sent a little prayer to the gods, he had a feeling he wouldn’t be coming back home to his Zeph for a long time. The satchel his friend had given him would have to stay by his side for a while yet.)
“Two apothecaries huh? Well, you sure are lucky that your pal was there otherwise I felt like no one in your village would have let you leave. Especially if you’re from around here.” It was meant as a joke, in all likelihood. Alfyn, however, being the observant guy that he was, was able to see the slight tightening in the man’s face and hear how his tone fell a bit flat.
“From around here huh? Somethin’ getting passed around that I should take a look at? I’m feeling a bit knackered so I don’t know if I’ll get around to it tonight, but I’ll definitely be up to checking out some folks first thing in a morning if I need to.”
“I’ll take you up on that then, we have an apothecary in our village, Torvald, but he’s got enough on his plate considering his wife, Inga, is sick and he has two kids to be looking after. Zeph-” Alfyn couldn’t help but jump at that name, but if the farmer noticed he didn’t point it out. “-is such a well behaved boy, but it’s Nina, his younger sister, that I’m worried about. So young and it’s not looking good for her mother already. Feel bad putting even more pressure on him.” The farmer sighed. “Oh, but you don’t want to be hearing me talk your ear off now- err? Gosh we talked all this time and didn’t even introduce ourselves didn’t we?”
“Heh, don’t worry about it. I’ve been told I’ve just got that kinda presence that puts people at ease. The name’s Alf-” He stopped himself from saying ‘Alfyn’, remembering the words Primrose had said to them before they separated. It was best not to introduce themselves by their real names, who knows what would be messed up if they did. “-ons. Alfons Mossbriar, nice to meet ya.”
“A presence that puts people at ease huh? I believe it. Well, nice to meet you too Alfons, the name’s Lars and if you’re looking for the inn it’s just over there. Tall building just across the river by the hill, can’t miss it.” Alfyn gave a wry grin as he looked where Lars pointed. Hard to miss indeed, given the only other tall building was the general store by the river. “Kirsten at the inn will take good care of you, might even beg a few stories off of you given you’re probably her first customer in a while.”
“Heh, well if it’s stories that she’s looking for, I think I have a few that’ll satisfy her curiosity. Thanks Lars.”
“No problem Alfons, see ya tomorrow.”
He nodded and waved to the man who had walked off in the direction of what he remembered to be the village pub. Lars huh? Alfyn faintly remembered a cheerful farmer who’d sometimes give him and Zeph herbs from the medical texts they pored over. Well it was nice to see the guy again, even if he wasn’t as how he remembered him. (Only to be expected, really.)
There was a familiar house he passed on the way to the bridge. A soft smile crossed his face as he noticed the rather large chip on the bottom of one of the shutters. Heh, he had been a rambunctious kid when he was younger hadn’t he? Ma must have had a hard time keeping up with him.
Ma. She’d still be alive now wouldn’t she? Before he knew it, Alfyn was stopped just outside the door of the house, hand raised as if to knock. He forced himself to take a step back. What was he doing? He didn’t have time for this, besides, he was here for a reason, not to greet the ghosts of the past. Alfyn shakily sighed as he forced himself towards the bridge, just giving into the urge to rub one of the stones at the corner of the house on the way. He and Zeph had taken to doing that for luck, and heavens’ knows how much luck he needed now.
“Dohter, give me the strength to carry on,” he muttered under his breath as he crossed the voice, looking up to the moon as if that was where the gods rested. “I just need to come here to do what needs to be done and leave. Can’t be spending my days here chasin’ ghosts and such.” He looked down. “Zeph. Zeph, I’m so sorry. I’m gonna need to borrow your bag for just a while longer, and then I’m comin’ straight back home, I swear. No more journies for a while, and you don’t need to put up with my broken and battered one any more, I swear I’m going to give you your satchel back.”
Alfyn squeezed his eyes shut. Zeph didn’t even know what had happened. He probably thought he was off in Grandport or Flamesgrace or any of the other big cities they had looked at in maps and wondered what it’d be like to be there. He gripped the strap of his (Zeph’s) satchel and pressed it to his lips. He was going to get this done and then go back home to Zeph, before he made his friend worry for any longer. (Zeph may have Mercedes to keep him company now, but, well, good friends always did worry for each other.)
He took a few deep breaths and began to to walk forward. Alfyn was almost barreled over by a weight running into him a moment later. He turned around. “What in tarnation-”
“-I’m sorry, sir! I didn’t see where I was going.” Alfyn could only stare in shock as a much younger version of Zeph starred sheepishly up at him. “It’s my friend, you see, I need to go get my dad and-” The younger Zeph trailed off when he caught sight of the satchel he was still tightly gripping onto, his eyes lit up with recognition immediately afterwards. “-is that a medicine satchel? Sir, are you an apothecary?! You have to come with me, now.”
“I- wha!” He didn’t even have time to protest as small but strong hands grabbed onto his own and began to drag him in the direction of the familiar house he had passed. “Zeph, slow down a bit would ya, buddy? At least explain what’s goin’ on here!”
“I told you, it’s my friend. He’s sick with whatever everyone else is catching around here and-” Zeph slowed and turned back to him with narrowed eyes. “Wait, I never told you my name, and I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever seen you around here. How did you know my name?”
Zeph had always been a sharp one, even when they were kids. There was a reason why Alfyn felt comfortable leaving Clearbook in Zeph’s hands, and it was because, between the two of them, he always felt like Zeph had been the better apothecary. As much as he hoped that the younger version of his friend would have let it slipped, he knew that there was no way Zeph, even a younger version of him, would have missed it. He gave a nervous chuckle. “Met a guy on the way in town that mentioned you. Village apothecary’s oldest kid and polite too, always hanging out with his good friend.”
“Mmm,” the young Zeph didn’t seem particularly convinced by his explanation, not that he would blame him, but fortunately did not press him any further. “Well, that’s me, Zeph. Who would you be, sir? It’s awfully impolite for you to know who I am but not for me to know who you are.”
���Ah, well I’m Alf-”
Alfyn’s lips twitched a bit at the excited look in the younger version of his friend’s face. Heh, of course he’d pick up on that too. “I was going to say Alfons actually. Alfons Mossbriar, nice to meet ya.”
“Oh.” The young Zeph seemed disappointed that he didn’t share a name a with his friend. Alfyn felt bad for him, and was almost tempted enough to explain everything to him. Almost, except that would ruin everything and might just jeopardize his way back. “Well, no matter. You’re an Alf too, and it must be good luck for me to come across another Alf when my friend Alfyn is so sick. This means that he’s going to pull through isn’t it?” The kid verson of Zeph’s eyes crinkled a bit as he beamed up at him. “Well, we’re here.” Before he knew it the younger Zeph had knocked on the door to his childhood home and was opening. “Mrs. Greengrass? I wasn’t able to get my dad but … I found another apothecary on my way here, can I come in?”
He exhaled slowly as he felt himself being pulled into the house by a younger version of his friend. Well, as Therion liked to say, he might as well get this over with.
The house, when he entered, was dimly lit but warm. The fire crackled merrily in the hearth and he could see a certain middle aged woman, younger than he last remembered seeing her but much more stressed, wiping away the sweat from the forehead of the figure on the bed. A familiar blonde figure on the bed.
Alfyn froze on the doorway when he saw his mom again, worried, but alive. His lips formed the word ‘ma’ even as a younger Zeph tugged more insistently on his hand to pull him in. “Oh, shucks, sorry about that kiddo. This the friend that you been telling me about?” The door closed behind him with a loud thud as he stepped into the house. (Home, except not really.)
The woman sitting at the bedside looked up to them when she heard his voice. “Yep,” young Zeph chirped back, eerily cheerful despite the fact that his best friend lay close to dying on the bed. “That’s him, Alfyn Greengrass. Runt and troublemaker of the year, but my best friend.” Alfyn flinched back a bit when young Zeph looked up at him with pleading, wide eyes. (It was unfair, he could never say no to Zeph when he begged like that.) “You’ll help right, mister? Dad’s at his wits’ end trying to figure out what’s causing this and- and-” Alfyn could only watch in horror as the younger version of Zeph began to cry in front of him, finally letting go of his hands so he could wipe away the tears that welled up in his eyes.
The woman who had been sitting (Ma, he whispered in his thoughts) stood up and walked over to the two, pulling Zeph into a tight hug. “There, there, don’t cry now Zeph. You’ll see, this nice man will have Alfyn fixed up in no time.” Alfyn couldn’t help the small smile as he watched his ma comfort the younger version of his closest friend. Ma always was a kind and gentle soul like that. The woman looked up at him with a tired smile on her face. “I’m sorry, I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name’s Gerda Greengrass. Alfyn’s my son and Zeph’s best friend. You are?”
“Nice to meet ya Mrs. Greengrass, the name’s Alfons Mossbriar, I’m a traveling apothecary.” He made his way to the bed and the sickly boy laid there. Alfyn wondered what Primrose would say if she knew what he was doing. Well, he knew what she would say. She said as much to him before he set out on his journey to Clearbrook. ‘Do what you must, but make no rash decisions. We’re here to fix things that need to be fixed, not to change things to what we wish them to be.’ Alfyn repeated those words to himself as he sat down on the chair and began to take notes on the symptoms the boy (a younger him) was showing. “I’m guessing this is my patient Alfyn?”
“Ah, yes, that’s my son. He’s had a cough for the past few days but just recently he’s cramped up to the point he could barely move and those purple spots. We’re not sure if he’ll pull through, so many haven’t after developing the spots.” Alfyn grimaced as he noticed the familiar purple blotches on his patient’s arms. All of a sudden he found himself back on that road in Orewell, the sun setting on him and Ogen as he pulled up the older man’s sleeves. He jumped when he heard a voice from right behind him. “Do you know what’s causing it Alfons?”
Alfyn took a moment to catch his breath and looked to her with a nod. “Yeah, seen something just like this on my travels. Guy was pretty sick too, but I was lucky to get to him just in time. I don’t suppose you have a morter and pestle on you? I think I just so happen to have the same supplies on me, but-”
The two of them turned at the sound of the door opening and closing. Alfyn couldn’t helped but chuckle a bit when he noticed they were alone in the house, the younger Zeph must have left as soon as he had heard he needed something. Heh, they had been really close as kids weren’t they?
“Excuse me for intruding but-”
“-Hmmm?” He turned around at the sound of the woman’s voice addressing him. There was a warm smile on her face and he felt something inside both instinctively relax and tighten. “Something ya need?”
“No, not something I need as much as… hmm.” There was a wry turn to her grin and a sparkle in her eyes. “Alfons you say your name was?”
“Do your folks call you Alf as well? I can’t help but wonder. You look so much like my late husband, you know. I can’t help but wonder if my Alfyn would end up looking a little like you when he grows up.” Alfyn could only give the woman a bashful smile, suddenly unable to speak. (Yet knowing if he did open his mouth, everything would come out and he couldn’t have that happening.) “Another man also nicknamed Alf who looks almost exactly like my departed husband? It’s like a sign from the gods. I wonder if this means that Alfyn will make it out.”
“Heh, you know Zeph mentioned the same thing on the way here. Shucks, I’m just a simple traveling apothecary, not some kinda divine intervention from the gods.” He gave a lighthearted chuckle that he did not fully feel, and rubbed the back of his head. (It was a lie. He was some kinda divine intervention from the gods, well he and his friends. To come back here again, and in just the nick of time? What else could it possibly be but that?) “If my patient makes it out okay, that’s all I can ask for. I’m here to help those that need it after all.”
“Divine intervention you say,” the woman replied with a laugh to her voice. Alfyn couldn’t help but smile back, folk always did say he picked up his joy of life and kindness from his ma. “Mmm, maybe not from the gods, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Dohter himself guided you this way.” Alfyn look at the woman in surprise even as she chuckled at the expression on his face. “Dohter isn’t as well known as Alfreic, I’m sure, but surely that’s a god you’d be familiar with? Or is that a god only better known around these parts?”
“Actually-” The door slammed open right at that moment and he watched owlishly as a heavily panting Zeph placed a well used mortar and pestle into his hands.
“You know,” the younger version of his friend said a matter-of-factly. “You really need to be carrying those around if you’re gonna be on the road all the time. I’m sure you have to make all sorts of pastes and potions for people, but what use are you as a traveling apothecary if you need someone to be providing supplies to you all the time?”
A wry smile formed on Alfyn’s face. Always could trust Zeph to keep him honest couldn’t he? “One that’s misplaced his supplies one too many times and was on his way Bolderfall to replenish them. Now, if you’ll excuse me-” He watched out of the corner of his eyes as Zeph gaped at him slightly as he pushed himself out of the chair and over to the table. Carefully, Alfyn placed his satchel on the table and began to pull out the ingredients. A pinch of this, a sprig of that, a small handful of other things, and finally, the crown jewel, an Ogre Eagle feather from the Forest of Rubeh.
The feather glimmered gold and red, a hint of deep emerald and sapphire at its base, in the light. Alfyn watched as the younger Zeph watched it with barely concealed interest and walked over to get a better look at it. “Don’t touch it, I’ll be needin’ that for the potion I’m gonna feed your friend,” he said as he crushed the other ingredients together. Alfyn ignored Zeph who watched him eagerly as he went about his business of making the potion.
It wasn’t until Alfyn picked up the feather to add a bit to the potion that Zeph spoke. “I’ve never seen anything like it, what bird is that from.”
He grinned and shook his head. “A very big and dangerous that could eat kiddos like you for lunch. Good thing it’s not from around here is it?” He winked at the younger version of Zeph even as the young boy glared at him. Zeph looked ready to argue with him, but luckily the boy choose to bite his tongue. (Zeph always had been the better behaved of the two when they were young, younger him would have probably gotten into an argument already.) Still, the woman stood up from where she had been sitting at the young boy’s bedside and walked over to them to observe.
A good moment later, and with one final swish, the potion was done and he nodded at the two. “Okay, now time to feed this potion to him. Might take a while to do its thing, but he should be feeling as fit as a fiddle by morning.” The two of them looked visibly relieved at the announcement and he walked over to the boy at the bed and gingerly fed him the potion. He relaxed a bit when he noticed the boy’s breathing growing a bit easier. Good, the potion was working. “He’s starting to look a bit better already, now if you’ll-” A yawn cut off whatever else he was planning to say. Shucks, he was rather tired wasn’t he?
“You must be tired,” the woman said with a smile. “Ah, I’m sorry for keeping you so long, I had not realized how late it had gotten.”
He shook his head. “Not at all, m’am. Your son was sick and it’s my duty as a traveling apothecary to look after those who need help. I was just heading to the inn and-”
“-oh, is that so? Well why don’t you stay here for the night. It is rather late, don’t know if Kirsten will be up at this hour, and, well, I’d feel better if you were here in case Alfyn’s condition got worse.”
It wouldn’t. He knew that it wouldn’t having lived through it, but that wasn’t exactly something he could tell the woman. Not without telling her exactly why he knew that. “Aw shucks, you don’t have to do that for me, but I am feeling rather tired, so I’ll take you up on that offer.” The woman smiled at him and quickly readied a spare bed roll for him to sleep on.
It wasn’t until he was falling asleep that he noticed that the younger Zeph had crawled into the boy’s bed and had curled himself around them. Heh, they really were close as kids weren’t they? He closed his eyes and let sleep take him. “Zeph,” he breathed out.
He was standing in a field full of flowering and non flowering plants. A quick glance told him that all of the plants in the field had medical properties. Frowning, he walks along the path he’s standing on towards a hut in the distance.
He stopped just outside the hut. There was a man gathering the plants around the hut. A familiar man. The man who saved him.
He opened his mouth to speak but then stopped. No, that wasn’t right. There was something different about the man, something … more. “Dohter,” he asked the figure, once realization struck him, for who else would come to him in the guise of Graham Crossford, the man who had saved his life and who he epitomized as being everything an apothecary should be, than the god of healing himself?
The figure turned and smiled at him, the edges of his eyes crinkling a bit in mirth. “Alfyn.” Dohter’s voice was warm as he spoke. “Ah, how you have grown from a child who had the misfortune of falling grievously ill.” The figure began to sort through the herbs he had gathered, but Alfyn sensed that he was not yet done talking and so held his tongue. “Tell me, Alfyn, do you know why you were brought back to this time?”
“To right the wrongs of the past,” he guessed, remembering what Primrose had said. “We went through the ruins because someone was going to try to revive the sealed god and we were gonna undo that weren’t we? But we also had to make sure Graham Crossford got to his wife in time since that’s what set everything in motion for the unsealing?”
Dohter’s laughter boomed through the air and Alfyn couldn’t help but feel a little sheepish that what he said wasn’t why he was brought back. “Mmm, that’s only part of it, but did you think that was the only reason why?” There was a twinkle in the figure’s eyes as he stared right at Alfyn. “Don’t you think the gate would have opened for you if it was just Graham Crossford you had to assist?”
Gee, when it was put like that.
“No Alfyn, my young disciple, you’re not just here to assist Graham. After all, as an apothecary you’re supposed to help those in need that you come across?” The figure chuckled and gave him a soft smile. The man’s shape and tone changed even as he spoke. “After all, aren’t there people you want help?”
Alfyn could only stare in shock as Zeph’s face stared back at him. “Zeph,” he whispered, almost unable to believe what he was seeing in front of him.
Zeph smiled. “Wake up Alfyn, there’s someone that needs you.”
“Mister?” Alfyn startled awake to someone tugging at his shirt. “Mister, are you awake? Mister?”
Well, he was awake now given how loud and insistent the person was. “Huh? Wha?” He blinked in confusion when he didn’t see anyone standing right in front of him, then he looked down to meet the face of a boy. A younger version of himself actually. Oh. “Didn’t expect to see you up and walking about so soon. Medicine worked really well didn’t it?” The boy beamed at him and nodded. “Did ya need something though?”
There was a pause as the boy blinked owlishly at him and then looked at the old medicine satchel he had with him. “Well, gosh, I was just wonderin’ what was in that potion. Zeph’s dad has been working on figuring out what was causin’ the sickness but couldn’t figure anything out. You can’t cure someone if you don’t know what’s causin’ it right?”
Alfyn chuckled and ruffled the boy’s hair. “Curious fella aren’t ya? Well-” He trailed off and pretend to look up at the ceiling as if to debate whether he could tell the boy or not. A moment later he nodded and looked down at the boy. “-I guess I could let you in on a secret or two, given you’re not a rival or anything.”
“Oh no sir,” the boy shook his head earnestly. “I don’t think I’m good enough to be competin’ with you.”
Clearly, he was a cheeky brat when he was younger, he thought to himself with a rueful smile. “Heh, well you say that now but, I get the feeling you’re going to be someone I’m goin’ to need to look out for.” He winked at the young boy and sat up on his bedroll. “Now, most of what was in that potion was nothing special. Something to help the cough and something for a fever. There was one thing though that was really special though.” He leaned back a bit as if to reminisce.
“Oh?” It was clear that he had piqued the boy’s interest. “What would that be sir?”
“Why, that’d be the feather of an Ogre Eagle.”
“An Ogre Eagle?”
“Yep.” He nodded. “Imagine a bird as big as this house with fearsome claws and four feet. Massive wingspan and feathers that look to be all the colors of the rainbow. Dangerous beast that lives in the Forest of Rubeh to the north of here.” Alfyn watched as the boy’s eyes widened at the description. “Luckily for me, I had a few good friends who were strong enough to fight the beast off and I was able to get a feather off the damn thing. Now, don’chya be thinkin’ of runnin’ off there to chase one now. Bird that big could sweep little boys like you off with one flap of its wings.”
“Whoa, indeed.” Alfyn smiled gently as he got out of the bedroll and began to guide the boy to the bed. “Now, why don’t we get ya back to bed. It’s still too early to be up and young boys need sleep if they wanna grow big and strong.”
“Okay.” Alfyn couldn’t help but chuckle at the disappointed tone the boy took with him.
He helped the boy into bed and tucked him in. “There you go, all comfy now hmm?” The boy yawned and nodded sleepily at him before drifting off to sleep. Alfyn grinned and shook his head. He was about to leave when something (or rather the lack of something) caught his eye.
Alfyn turned to look back at the bed. Huh, what did he know, Zeph wasn’t on the bed anymore. Maybe the woman was able to convince the kid to go home. He froze when he noticed something small and white half hidden under the pillow. What in the world?
Quizzically, he pulled the small white thing out from under the pillow. It was made of paper, he noticed, some kind of note maybe? Except it felt bulkier than just a single piece of paper, an envelope? It wasn’t until he was holding the envelope close enough to his face to read the neat text across the front that he realized what it was. ‘To Mercedes’, the text read in neat and familiar handwriting. This was Zeph’s letter to Mercedes! The one that he had forgotten to give to the girl when she had left their village.
Alfyn stood there in shook as he debated what to do with it. He could tear it into pieces. He never did give that letter to Mercedes, and, as far as he knew, Zeph had ended up writing another one to his sweetheart years later. A voice that sounded suspiciously like Therion’s whispered in his head that Zeph wouldn’t know any better if he destroyed it. Wouldn’t affect the timelines any either.
Still, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Something that Primrose had mentioned to him offhand forcing him to still his hands. What if there was a reason why Zeph had asked Alfyn specifically to give the letter to Mercedes? Even if Zeph wasn’t able to see Mercedes off, he could have given the letter directly to her at any time before then. A voice that sounded like Tressa’s whispered in his mind that he should open it. Maybe, he had written something embarrassing in there and he’d be able to use it for blackmail later. (Not that he wanted to blackmail Zeph, but he was curious about what was written.)
He frowned and let his hands fall to his sides, letter still firmly grasped in hand. Might as well figure out what to do with it in the morning. No point in worrying about an old letter in the middle of the night when he couldn’t even read it without disturbing someone. Alfyn slipped back into the bed roll and placed the letter carefully under the pillow. He wondered what Zeph was thinking when he had asked him to give the letter to Mercedes on the day she left. (The rest of his dreams that night were confused and troubling.)
In the early morning, before anyone else awoke, he quietly left the house he had stayed in overnight and made his way to the inn. After all, old Lars would be expecting him to be at the inn when he stopped by. Not wanting to trouble anyone, he had left a note on the table that he’d be leaving now and wouldn’t charge them a cent for the treatment. He also left some instructions on what to do if there was still a cough or if the fever didn’t fully go away, along with a vial of the potion that had saved the boy’s life in case there was flare up.
Alfyn quietly whistled a tune to himself as he made his way to the inn, the bubbling of the river the only accompaniment. He grinned to himself as he caught the sight of the light breaking over the hills. It was always so peaceful in Clearbrook, untouched by war (but not by disease). He frowned to himself as he sat down on a patch of dewy grass in front of the inn. Now, what to do about the letter.
He frowned as he pulled the letter from one of the outer pockets in his satchel. He held it in front of his face. Mercedes. (It always led back to her in the end didn’t it?) Well, it wouldn’t be as much of a wild goose chase as it was before. He knew where she lived. Atlasdam wasn’t that far away, and he could probably make it there to deliver the letter before the moon changed phase. Of course, he didn’t know where exactly she lived in Atlasdam, but it shouldn’t be that hard to find out. Right?
He cringed internally as he thought back to his memories of Atlasdam, all those buildings huddled together. Or maybe it would be exactly like a wild goose chase, except this time the goose was hiding in one of many possible hiding spots.
There was always the option of tearing the letter apart, no one would miss it, but still- in the end he guiltily found himself opening the letter and pulling out the contents. Alfyn cringed and sent a mental apology to both Zeph and Mercedes. Hopefully, they hadn’t written anything embarrassing inside and would forgive him for his actions. He steeled himself for whatever he would read, but what he saw caused his jaw to drop instead.
There, in Zeph’s neat handwriting, on top of the page, was his own name. ‘Alfyn.’ This had to be some kind of mistake, he thought to himself as he flipped through the paper over. Why would Zeph address a letter to him that he wanted given to Mercedes? Was this some kind of sick joke in the event Alfyn pried into their private matters?
He found a note to Mercedes on the back of the page. A barely half page note about how he’d miss having her around, and how he would be looking for books that they could read together, and to please contact him in the future, she knew where he would be. Yet there, at the very end, was a request that Mercedes hand the letter to Alfyn. He frowned. What in blazes was his friend thinking here?
Alfyn took a deep breath and began to read, half expecting something berating him, what he got made him blush instead. “I- gosh, Zeph I never knew. I’m sorry.” He closed his eyes and held the letter close to his chest. Heh, and here he thought that the letter Zeph left in his satchel was the most embarrassing thing he had read yet. That had nothing on the letter that Zeph asked him to give to Mercedes.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured to the wind. “I shoulda read it sooner, I didn’t know Zeph. If I did I woulda done something. Would’ve done something a lot sooner. I’m sorry I made you wait.” He put the letter away when he heard footsteps approach. Alfyn waved as the figure of Lars came into view. “Hey there Lars, good timing, I was waiting for you.”
“Ready already huh,” the farmer said when he reached him. “Here I thought that I’d end up having to get Kirsten to wake you up or something.”
“Shucks, I think I just got used to waking up early as a kid. Had to help all the farmer when planting and harvest season came around y’know. Complained about it all the time as a kid, but Ma always made sure I was up when I needed to be. Now I’m just used to it.”
Lars laughed as Alfyn stood up and followed the farmer to his home. “Ah, but it’s a good habit to have. The early bird gets the worm and all.”
“Indeed.” Alfyn jogged a bit to keep up with Lars. For an old farmer, he sure did have a quick pace. (Although, Lars wasn’t as old as he was when he last saw him now was he?) “Can you tell me a little about the patient though? Is it the plague that’s been affecting everyone else or is it something else you’re worried about?”
Lars sighed and gave a bitter smile. “A bit of both, I guess. Julia, my wife, has always been a little weaker than most, but I couldn’t help but worry when she started dropping spoons and stuff two days ago. That’s the first sign that people have noticed. They start droppin’ everything like they can’t grip it strong enough, and then before you know it, they’re not able to move and there’s purple splotches all over them. By then, it’s too late and all you can do is make things comfortable for the sick.” Alfyn watched in concern as the farmer exhaled deeply and looked up at the sky. “Master Torvald has been trying his darnest to try to figure out a cure, but I just worry he’s making himself sick with all the effort. And that was before his wife started showing the symptoms.”
“Egads, that sounds awful. How long has this sickness been going on for anyway?”
“At least a week now by my guess,” the farmer said as he stopped in front of a house at the edges of the village and began to open the door. “Over half the village has been infected and, well, the odds don’t look good.” A cough greeted the pair when Lars opened the door to his house.
“That does not sound good,” Alfyn noted with a frown as he approached the woman coughing in the bed.
Lars approached the pair with concern written all over his face. “How does it look?”
“Hmm.” Alfyn tested the woman’s gripping strength and listened to her cough. “I think I got to her in the nick of time, I don’t see any purple splotches on her skin yet. It’s the cough that I’m more worried about.” He listened to her chest one more time before he picked up his bag and started rifling through his things. “I’m going to get her something for the cough, and I think I have something for the muscle weakness.”
“You have somethin’ for that?”
Alfyn laughed and gave Lars his brightest smile, one tinged with just a bit of pride. “Let’s say you weren’t the only one with a loved one who got sick with it, now if you’ll excuse me.” The act of making medicine had always been relaxing for Alfyn. Mixing and grinding stuff had always been an action of pure muscle memory which let his mind wander off to other things.
Things like Zeph’s letter for example. Folks always did say the past was past, and you couldn’t change it, but he had an opportunity now. One that he wasn’t going to let just slip through his fingers. (Zeph was too special to him for him to do that.)
Alfyn was surprised when he saw the two elixirs sitting in front of him. The cure for the pestilence that plagued the village glowed golden in the morning light. The other, for the cough, had a faint bluish hue. Heh, gotta love that muscle memory huh? He held up the golden elixir first. “Okay, first this one to get her strength back.”
The door opened suddenly right as he finished feeding some of the golden elixir to Julia. He looked to the entrance and saw a panting man standing there. At his side, a younger version of Zeph hiding behind his pants. Alfyn felt his smile freeze on his face when the younger version of Zeph noticed him. “Dad! That’s the man that cured Alf!” He watched as the kid tugged eagerly on his dad’s jacket.
Shucks, Zeph, did you have to say that out loud? He gave a nervous laugh when Zeph’s father fixed his gaze on him. “Shucks, it’s nothing special, really. Just happened to be passing by and saw some folks in need.” He yelped when he felt his hands being grabbed by the man and shook violently.
“I must thank you, Master Alfons. My son told me about how you saved his friend last night. I stopped by Gerda’s house this morning and indeed her son is doing much better than before. The purple splotches have all but disappeared from his skin and-” Zeph’s father trailed off when he noticed the elixir he held in his hands. “-is this the medicine that cured her son?”
“Please, none of this master nonsense, Alfons is fine with me, and- yes, that is the medicine that cured-” He barely choked back the word Alfyn (which was better than saying the word ‘me’, Primrose would have his head if she heard him say that) in time. “-him.” He held out the elixir for Zeph’s father to take. “I heard you had someone special you wanted to cure. Here, take the rest of this, I reckon it’ll be just enough.”
“Is it alright for me to take? It must be precious, such a cure-”
Alfyn shook his head. “-of course it’s fine. You have need of it don’t you?”
Zeph’s father gulped and nodded, a slight bit of fear in his eyes even as his fingers twitched out to the potion. “Of course, but how could I ever repay you for this? I’ve searched and searched, gone through every medical text I could lay my hands on, but I found nothing that could cure the disease that befell the villagers. This cure must be worth thousands but-”
“Heh, well I saw someone in a bind and I helped them out, simple as that.” Alfyn felt his lips curl into a grin as he uttered the words told to him by the man who saved him oh so long ago. The words he had come to live by. “You don’t need to pay me or nothing, I’m just doing my job as an apothecary.”
A bright smile spread across Zeph’s father face as he took the elixir from his hands. “Well, I’ll be. It’s as if the gods themselves sent you to our humble village. Thank you.” The man turned to leave, but turned to give him a look filled with curiosity. “You know Gerda mentioned you looked a bit like her late husband, and you do. You also seem to have a bit of Gerda in your looks too. My son, Zeph, mentioned to me that a man who was also named Alf saved Alf, his friend’s life, and that it must be a sign from the gods. I can’t help but wonder if there’s some wisdom to those words.”
Alfyn had a wry smile on his face as he watched Zeph’s father and Zeph leave. Heh, maybe he should have taken a page out of Therion’s book and gotten something to hide his face. People would cotton on to what was happening before long (and he was sure Primrose would have something to say to that).
As the pair left he watched as a young girl he recognized to be Mercedes stick her head inside the house to look around curiously. When Zeph called for her, she popped her head out and tagged after her friend. Heh, those two were close even then huh? A bittersweet smile spread across his face as he began to feed Julia the second elixir he made.
He nearly dropped it a moment later as the realization struck him. Mercedes wasn’t set to leave the village until years after the Great Pestilence struck. Zeph couldn’t have possibly written the letter when he did. Then how did the letter get to be where it did?
Alfyn went through the rest of his routine in a daze and was out of the house before he knew it. He was about to walk back to his house to check up on the younger version of him, when he remembered the dream from last night. “There’s someone that needs you,” Zeph’s face had told him. He looked up at the sky. “Dohter? Are you looking out for me now?”
He didn’t get a response, of course he didn’t. He shook his head and set off on his way, mulling over the mystery in his head and coming up without an answer. Strange. (But maybe best he leave it at that.)
“Why’d you save me? We ain’t got no money or anything.”
It had been two long days of working with Zeph’s dad, but finally the Great Pestilence had been driven from the village. Now was the time to grieve for those that were lost and recover from what had happened. Still, he couldn’t help but grin when he heard that question. The same one he had asked so long ago.
He crouched down and placed a hand on the boy in the bed’s forehead (just as Graham had done so many years ago). “Now listen son, and listen well, I saw someone in a bind and I helped them out, simple as that.”
He nodded. “That’s it.” Alfyn stood up slowly and looked to the woman, Zeph stood stoically at her side, his young eyes focused on the boy in the bed. “Well, I’ll be taking my leave now, I’m glad to have been able to get everyone in Clearbrook fixed up, but I really need to be headed to Orewell now. There’s- someone that needs me there.”
“Thank you,” the woman said. “I was certain that would be the last I would see of my son, but you saved you. There’s nothing that I could do that would ever repay you for what you have given me. Not that you would accept it anyway, I feel.”
Alfyn laughed. “Hey, don’t mention it. I’m just here to help, seeing your son and the people of this village happy and healthy is all the payment I need. Take care now.”
The woman grinned softly and nodded. “You take care too, Alfons. I have a feeling there are people that care for you and would want to see you happy and healthy too.”
He chuckled and nodded before he walked out of the house.
“Hey mister!” He turned at the sound of the familiar voice. “You forgot your bag here!”
Alfyn shot his younger self a bright self. “Keep it. Didn’t ya tell me you were going to be an apothecary when you grew up? I want you to take that bag and help as many people as you can, you hear me?” (This too, had been planned from the beginning. Something that Primrose had mentioned offhand before he left. He was going to miss having Zeph’s satchel on him, and he’d hope his dearest friend would forgive him, but he had a travel bag with all the supplies he needed and Zeph’s letter. That would have to be enough.)
The door shut softly behind him, his last view of the boy on the bed being that of a younger Zeph hugging the living daylights out of his friend. He couldn’t help but smile at that image. They would grow up to be good friends, perhaps even more. Alfyn thought to the small note he left for his younger self in the satchel. It was hidden in one of the inner pockets of the satchel, one that he’d no doubt find while going through everything in there (besides it was by one of the medical books it was only a matter of time before it was found), and it told him all that he needed to know without revealing anything about the future or the letter he had found. (Specifically, it told the younger him that Zeph’s favorite flower was cluster of small blue buds that could be found on the river banks and whose leaves smelled of mint. It also said that Zeph could be found sometimes in a clearing in the forest outside of the Cave of Rhiyo just outside the village, perhaps he could pick a few flowers and meet Zeph there.)
He never did figure out how that letter came to be, but, he thought with a grin as he looked to the sky, it had to be some kind of divine intervention huh?
Zeph had always liked to come to the clearing in the forest in the middle of the night. One would think that he would be scared of the monsters that lurked in the woods, but he never was. None of the children who grew up in Clearbrook were.
It was calming in the woods and gave him space to think. Best were the nights when the full moon was out and he could read whatever he wanted all by himself.
This was one of those nights. He sat in the middle of the clearing with a book out, not expecting any company. Try as he might, he barely finish the page he was on, his thoughts filled with turmoil. He bit his lip and tried to relax but couldn’t.
The sound of a branch snapping made him look up. Whatever Zeph was about to say died in his lips when he saw who it was. The surprised look on his face quickly morphed into one of joy. “Alfyn! What are you doing here?”
“I, uh, heard that you could be found here and thought you might like the company.” There was a flush on the other boy’s flush and he couldn’t help but brighten when he noticed the clump of bright blue flowers in his friend’s hands. At the same time he felt his face start to grow warm. Did this mean- “I, uh, noticed you liked these flowers,” Alfyn said quickly when he noticed Zeph staring at his hands. “Thought you might want some.”
Zeph felt his heart beat heavily in his throat as Alfyn came closer and finally sat down in front of him. The flowers were carefully placed on the ground next to the book. Before Alfyn could pull his hand away, he placed his own hand over Alfyn’s. “Read with me?”
“S-sure. What’chya reading there? Looks long.”
Zeph laughed, both at his friend’s obvious embarrassment and words. “It’s not that long, silly. It’s just a book of myths and legends. Look I’ll even read one out for you.” He forced his voice not to tremble when Alfyn sat next to him and interlaced their fingers together. Before long the two got lost in the moonlight, and the story, and the ambiance.
When it was finally done, Zeph looked up from the book to find Alfyn staring right at him.
“It’s a good story,” Alfyn said finally, his eyes bright and shining in the moonlight. He felt himself leaning forward, almost as if enraptured by his friend’s gaze. Alfyn gulped before he too began to lean forward. “You have a nice voice.”
“Thanks,” he whispered breathlessly, before his eyes slid shut and their lips met in a soft kiss. (It was perfect. Everything he could have wished for.)
Both their cheeks were flushed with red when they finally pulled away.
“Next time, we’re going to have to sneak some tea or something huh,” Alfyn quipped a moment later. “Your voice is a little hoarse from talking so long.”
Next time huh? Zeph blushed harder just at the thought. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
The two boys then wordlessly got up from the clearing, Zeph tucking the book under one arm, as they walked home, hand in hand.
“I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” He turned and gasped when he saw the satchel on the table. It was a very familiar satchel, one that he had carried for so long and didn’t think he would see again. “How did you-”
Primrose just grinned and cocked her head to the side. “You like it then? Hmm, let’s just say I have my ways.”
She walked off without another word as Alfyn pulled the satchel to him and buried his face in it. Zeph’s satchel. He had thought it gone after he left it with the younger him. (He spared a brief thought for the younger him and hoped Primrose didn’t get Therion to steal the satchel off the kid or something.) “Zeph,” he murmured into the bag. “I’m coming back home, and when I do-” He sighed and closed his eyes. “-I’m going to tell you everything. I swear. Wait for me, okay buddy?”
fic: ice diamonds
notes: An early Christmas gift for @thewildwilds, who is a rad person and a lovely friend. If you’re somehow not familiar yet with her Gambler/Yakuza AU, you should absolutely check it out! This one was specifically inspired by the fourth image in this set.
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She picks her favorite dive to oversee from: a skinny, crowded place on the west side of the city. Its peak Friday business hours dovetail neatly with her timeline, and it's tucked into an alley only four blocks away, out of view from the main road. The clientele is diverse enough to allow them to blend in, but savvy enough to know to give her berth when necessary.
Genji doesn't like the idea of her being so close. Not with a wildcard like this in play, he says, so seriously that he can't possibly intend the pun.
She goes anyway. It's been weeks, after all, and the whisky selection is to die for.
Matsuoka is on shift tonight; he beams at her from behind the bar as soon as she steps through the door. “Is that Pekoyama-san?” he says, just loudly enough to raise the appropriate heads and just jovially enough not to alarm the rest. She’s always appreciated him. “What’ll it be?”
“The Hibiki today,” she says, hanging her purse off the hook below the bar. “Thank you.”
“Coming right up.”
Matsuoka is an artist with the ice. He holds it bare-handed and carves it with a short, flat knife, until it’s all clear angles and glittering edges. He spins it into a glass, pours a generous two fingers over the top, and sets the drink in front of her. It shines with refracted light and rich, dark color.
It’s mostly for show. It’s a reason for her to be here, at this bar, at this time. She breathes it in, oaky and floral, and lets that by itself calm her nerves.
“Been a while since we saw you last,” Matsuoka says, drying his hands on a clean dish towel. “Started to get worried this neighborhood was on the up-and-up.”
“Business,” she answers. “You know how things are.”
He winks at her, and leaves her be.
She waits. Genji and the others trickle in over the next twenty minutes or so, and take scattered seats around the room. They do a decent job of not making themselves conspicuous, casually dressed and striking up conversations with civilians, but that doesn't make it any less overbearing. He's brought three more bodies than she asked.
It's too late for there to be anything done about it, though. She holds her phone in her lap and watches the stream of people flow in and out the door: older gentlemen and young couples and packs of laughing women. She allows herself a single sip of her drink; it’s early, but the whisky is too good to let dilute.
Her phone buzzes in her palm, almost fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.
Told you I didn’t need that much time
It’s meant to be a notification, to keep her apprised of progress. She’s not meant to reply.
She sets her phone flat on the bar and takes another pull of her drink.
Checking your ego wasn’t the point of the timeline.
Yeah, but it kinda was, wasn’t it?
I can keep going if you want. I’m on a roll
She suppresses the urge to roll her eyes, but only just. This batch of the Hibiki has particularly strong notes of plum, and she takes a moment to appreciate them.
You're the boss, princess
Just so we’re clear, though, you're the one leaving money on the table here, not me
I'm clear on what we agreed the plan was.
She waits. Minutes drag with no response.
Peak begins to pass. The crowd is still dense enough for her purposes, but there are more people leaving now than arriving. Genji and the others have to mingle and redistribute, to accommodate the ratio shift. Each time the door opens, it brings in a gust of cold air with it, tickling her wrists and ankles.
She waits, but her phone is silent until the next check-in.
Cargo’s here but the guy ghosted
You want us to track him down?
Her jaw aches with tension. Cold air from the door flapping open and closed makes it worse.
This was the point of her timeline. She scrolls back through her text history to find the approximate time he fell off the radar, and draws a radius in her head of his possible locations. Soseki can fan east and she and Genji can split west and south—
“Sorry, sir,” Matsuoka says to her right, “going to need to ask you to take off your hat inside.”
“Sure,” comes the answer, before she's had a chance to process the pulse of adrenaline that zips through her, a thrill like static electricity. “Sorry about that.”
Kuzuryuu tips his trilby off his head and lays it casually on the bar, not two feet from her glass.
She presses her fingers against the blooming spot of pain just above her left eye.
Genji is trying to get her attention; he sinks down in his chair, arms spread wide over the back, jaw jumping. She ignores him, and taps out her reply to Soseki, one-handed.
Don’t bother. I have eyes on him.
Just take what we came for. I’ll handle the rest.
The phone vibrates again, and a second message slides in beneath the first.
Talking about me?
You look pissed
She curls her hand around her glass, and tilts her head enough to let him into her peripheral vision. He’s taken a stool at the far end of the bar, draped his coat on the stool beside him, and is making inane small talk with Matsuoka.
The best course of action is to ignore him. It’s safest, for all of them, in the inevitability that he drew retaliatory eyes with him. There’s no reason for her to get caught up in his irresponsibility.
She lays her phone in her lap and types with her thumb, beneath the bar.
Was that your goal?
“What can I get you, friend?”
Matsuoka seems charmed. By what, she can’t fathom. Kuzuryuu squints up at the draft list— and then his eyes slide abruptly left, straight at her.
Her phone buzzes. She can’t see his other hand, she realizes.
“I’ll have one of whatever the lady’s having,” he says, smile wide.
She refuses to rise to his bait. To anyone watching who matters, it’s not evidence of anything. It’s barely even memorable, just a harmless overture from a stranger. It certainly isn’t anything to work herself up about.
But Matsuoka has known her too long; he looks down at her, an interested light behind his eyes, and leans both elbows on the bar.
“Friend of yours, Pekoyama-san?”
She can feel Kuzuryuu’s expectant look on the side of her face. She takes a sip of her drink, and it burns on her tongue, bright and smooth.
“That depends,” she muses, swirling the glass. “Are you friends with the flies that hover around your dinner?”
Matsuoka booms with laughter. Kuzuryuu claps a dramatic hand over his heart.
“Best move on from that one, my friend,” Matsuoka tells him, tipping ice into a cocktail shaker. “Pekoyama-san is a cold, cold woman.”
“Little late for that warning, doncha think?”
“Eh, everyone needs a laugh sometimes.”
She tunes their banter out, and lowers her eyes.
A man can’t have a drink every now and then?
You’ve picked easily the most troublesome place to have it in. For me and for you.
He’s good, she’ll give him that. She only notices the flicker of his eyes and the shift in his shoulders because she’s looking for them; each motion slides effortlessly behind something else, full-bodied sleight-of-hand.
What can I say? I was on a roll. No point in letting it go to waste
And what do you think your odds are of this ending well for you?
“Are you sure you won’t reconsider, Pekoyama-san?” Matsuoka asks her. Kuzuryuu has foregone the Hibiki 12 year; Matsuoka pours him an ale from the tap. “I like this one.”
Her phone buzzes. “Hey, hey,” Kuzuryuu says. “I appreciate the solidarity, but the lady’s made her decision. Don’t make me out like a creep.”
“Believe me,” Matsuoka laughs, “Pekoyama-san doesn’t have anything to worry about from a skinny thing like you.”
You tell me
The back of her neck prickles. Her heart pounds. She feels like she could turn her palm over and find her sword already there, battle-ready.
She swallows the last of her drink. It leaves only the ice behind, just beginning to melt, cold against her lips.
Then she tucks her phone back into her purse.
Kuzuryuu looks at her, which would be fine, except for how his eyes hang on her fingertips when she snaps the mouth of her purse closed again. It’s a mistake, if a brief one.
Matsuoka clears away her empty glass. “Another?”
She considers. A mistake, maybe.
Or, perhaps, a risk.
He carves the ice. It’s beautiful, flat and flawless, as clear as an open window. He spins it into a new glass, and pours the whisky over top.
She waves it away, when he tries to hand it to her. She snaps open her wallet and lays bills on the bar, enough to cover the drinks and Matsuoka both. “For the gentleman with the hat,” she says, setting both feet on the floor. “That half-price beer is a travesty.”
Matsuoka does as she asks, laughing his belly laugh. “I tried to warn you,” he tells Kuzuryuu, as she passes. “Like ice. You would’ve done better to find another girl in another bar.”
She can see Kuzuryuu watching her, in the bar’s front window. He draws his thumb around the edge of the glass and answers, “Where’s the fun in that?”
She lets the door clatter shut behind her.
“I always thought it was a shitty comparison,” he tells her later, one day when the odds are much lower, the stakes are much higher, and his smile steals into the curve of her neck. “Not much else burns like you do.”
codenamecesare replied to your post: yo hmu with some of that good shit ongoing fics
maybe they want recs for good ongoing fics?
Wow okay, sorry for being self-absorbed, friends. SORRY I CAN DO THAT
Warning: I have been reading less lately, and have also been reading some other fandoms (BNHA *cough*)
Here’s a couple fics (most of which I did not actually manage to get to the end of, but which I have enjoyed thus far). PLEASE READ THEM. I won’t be mentioning popular fics I’m following that I think most people already know about. Please be sure to read the tags yourself, because while I mostly write painfully vanilla PG content, it’s not always what I read, mmkay.
THIS ONE: Undiscovered Country. Do it for yourself and your future. I finally started this.
1. without fear, without metaphor: Yuuri was never one to use more words than necessary. Underutilized it, even, his family and friends would remark. Still, there was a certain relief that came with easy communication. Then he started wanting to use words for more. He even ran his mouth quite a few times in the past months, much to his embarrassment. And he quietly admitted to himself that it came with the sudden barrage of Viktor Nikiforov into what he expected to be peaceful life and probable retirement in his hometown.
2. Not Cricket: Victor had wanted to be the Japanese competitor's dance partner, and he could because he didn't have one. Victor had also wanted to be Katsuki Yuuri's coach, and he could because Katsuki didn't have one of those either.Now Victor wanted to be Yuuri's boyfriend- except Yuuri already seemed to have one of those.---Basically, Victor thinks Phichit is Yuuri's boyfriend and is ridiculously jealous.
3. blood is thicker than: “You might be Yuri’s biological parent, Mr. Nikiforov. But I’m his father. If Yuri wants to go with you, that’s one thing,” Yuuri Katsuki’s voice flows quiet and dangerous into the room “but if he doesn’t, don’t think that you’re taking my child away from home,”Or: Victor Nikiforov finds out he has a son. He wants full custody.Katsuki Yuuri isn't going to give up his child that easily.Or: Victor and Yuuri fight a custody battle for Yurio. Shit happens.Or: Yuri Plisetsky starts with one parent, and ends up with two.
4. before it burns me numb: “What do you mean, you had a crush on me?” Yuuri asks. “We’d never even met before the Grand Prix Final last year.” Following their engagement, Victor tells Yuuri the story of how he met, fell for, and pined after Japan's Ace. Not necessarily in that order. An Ep10 coda... with a twist.
If you think Viktor having had a crush on Yuuri for a long time would satisfy all your Viktuuri needs, you’d be right.
5. Sixty Impossible Things: Two weeks after his failure at Sochi, Yuuri receives a text from a mysterious number asking why the fuck he’s ignoring Viktor. So begins Yuri Plisetsky’s all out campaign to get Yuuri to fucking finally text Viktor and end his torment of watching Viktor pine, and so begins Yuuri's descent into a wonderland of texting his idol, meeting his #1 fan(s), and slowly rebuilding his life with a little help from his friends.
*swoony swoon* And some quality Yurio&Yuuri frandship
6. boy next door: “Hi, welcome to the Green Bean,” Yuuri says, in the way that’s become something of a joke between them. “What can I get for you today?”In which Viktor buys way too much coffee from the cute barista at the coffeeshop on the corner, and Yuuri has a terrible crush that Viktor never, ever needs to know about, and somehow it all works out in the end.
Cute A/B/O coffeeshop!
7. offer me (that Deathless Death): It was the curse he and his family were fated to: Death would come for him the moment he turned eighteen, and he could only hope the flimsy wards passed down through the generations would protect him. But Death always won eventually, Death would snatch him up as he had all of his ancestors.But somehow he wasn't what Yuuri had expected. He was a constant presence in his life, barely there. A vigilant spectator to his burgeoning skating career, a gray haired man with a soft expression who found him again and again, waiting for him to let his guard down, but becoming something more, over time."Don't be careless," his sister told him, but they were all careless, in the end.
THE SUMMARY IS LIKE A TRIP ALL BY ITSELF OKAY
8. Lullaby of Birdland: In another world, their story might have started with ‘Hi there’, or ‘Lovely sky tonight’, or ‘Hello, stranger’. Or perhaps something less cliché, something like: ‘A commemorative photo? Sure thing!’But in this one, it starts with an electric blue cocktail, the taste of smoke in the air. And: “You have really talented, um. Fingers.”
I literally only listen to the jazz music I do because of this fic
9. The Long Way Round: In the wake of tragedy and facing change to come, Yuuri and Victor make the ten thousand kilometre journey from Saint Petersburg home to Hasetsu the old fashioned way- on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing.
I already knew this would be good because sixpences, but it’s so tragically beautiful
10. Nuclear Hearts Club: Being seventeen and chronically confused isn't always a walk in the park - especially when you've been crushing on your brother's best friend since you were nine. You'd be crazy not to. Victor's the best thing to happen to the world since sliced bread.(Join Yuuri Katsuki on this pine-fueled high school adventure full of teen angst and astronomical fuckery.)
Nothing makes me feel things and cry over prose like butterbeerbitch. I saw there’s a new one-shot too, check that one out!
11. Life Unwoven: Five-Time Consecutive Grand Prix Final Winner Katsuki Yuuri meets Five-Time Consecutive Grand Prix Final Winner Victor Nikiforov.or,In which things are tangled, and untangled, and tangled again. And Victor will always be there to save Yuuri.
12. Human by Choice: When the body of emerging indie director Emil Nekola washes up near the small Oregon town of Quad Axels, FBI Special Agent Yuuri Katsuki is called in to investigate. But as he uncovers more and more of the town's dark secrets, he realises that there are bigger forces at play than previously suspected.After all, still waters run deep, and when you are haunted by your past, you will see ghosts at every turn.
OH HECK YEAH
Archiveofourown writers spookyfoot, xyloophones, mhalachai, and opalish are almost always writing little one-shots, along with... so many other amazing writers, so be sure to check them out for not WIPs but a pretty constant stream of fic.
[23 days later]
In reference to https://hadjii-blogs-undertale.tumblr.com/post/163800444030/
And honestly, @everyone-needs-a-hoopoe because there's things in here that go for you too. Please read it through to the end. Or just skip to the very end at first and then go back and read through if you need.
I really, really, really didn’t actually want to get off my butt and do this, for multiple reasons. And not just cuz I’m a lazy jackhole with depression who doesn’t want to do anything in general. But recent events have brought things to a head, and I cannot remain silent any longer.
First, I should like to clarify just where I stand as regarding the Undertale fandom.
The Undertale fandom is a beautiful thing. It is extremely imperfect but I love the fandom and will continue to do so for as long as I am able.
Second, I should like to clarify where I stand as regarding Undertale itself.
It will be difficult however, because I love Undertale more than I am capable of putting into any transferable medium that I know of.
Am I a bit emotionally over-invested in Undertale?
I also don't care that I am.
Undertale has brought more joy and happiness and meaning to my life than literally anything else save my family who raised me and loves me, my religion, and a shortlist of friends, some of whom I only have so dear to my heart because of Undertale, so the point is moot.
I can't say that Undertale cured my depression, because it didn't.
What it did do is it showed me at a critical point in my life that there's something outside the grey murky mire.
I'd considered myself an emotionally open person before Undertale. This was only vaguely true. Current me cannot comfortably say that old me was emotionally intelligent without severe disclaimers.
Old me was an emotionally awkward dirtbag who had some idea of how to be a person but on the whole was completely clueless.
I had forgotten how to feel. Like, really feel. And not just from the depression.
I could occasionally get hits from certain songs and I absolutely lived for those moments but the songs would rapidly hit their saturation levels and I'd be cold again.
Then Undertale came along. I loved the game long before I played it, discovering things about it slowly through an endless flood of my tumblr feed.
It looked like a rather good, cute, compelling little game. Eventually I decided to write a bit of fanfiction about it because it looked really good and I wanted to churn out what would happen if GLaD had an interaction with a murdery timeline.
So I went and researched. I dug and I dug and I dug. This wasn't all of my research, but on one particular tumblr alone I went through 700-odd undertale posts.
Between that and pouring out my heart and soul into the writing as I discovered just how much I could care about these things, or care in general really, I found that I'd left the door open, and something came back. A whole lot of something.
Undertale is a Happy™ game about Happy™ things.
I had learned that maybe sad things weren't all bad back from the days of Background Pony.
The difference being, Background Pony had a disappointing, absurd ending.
They'd won the right even by my sappy heart to have a sad ending, then they completely botched it.
I'd associated one of the most significant songs I know of with it, and they failed terribly.
But Undertale had a good ending.
As aggravating as it is to not be able to keep Asriel, much less Chara, in the bounds of the game itself, that's part of the point of the ending.
So there was no knee-jerk shock.
While it is true that in a practical Undertale implementation, unbounded by the Game Maker engine, fuelled by the raw power of Determination, human spirit, and imagination, surely something more could have been achieved.
But that does not take away from the coherent ending of Undertale.
There is a lot of pain in Undertale. So much pain.
It is overwhelming and vivid and searing and scorching and so very, very tangible and understandable and real.
Not that the events of the game are real, well, as far as I can tell. The emotions are deep and real, I mean.
This was to me as the gas leak was to Vinny Santorini in Atlantis.
Due to the combined pressure of the mental overhaul Undertale was giving me, and the softness and vulnerability it re-introduced, throwing in re-learning certain cold facts about how much the powers-that-be at my previous job didn't care about doing good work, only making money, more severely than I had previously believed from last year, I lost my ability to continue driving there and showing up every day.
Now, due to the way the contract works, and my having left the job gracefully, I am free to go back whenever I want. I was not fired. There are many employees who just go there, work as long as they can, then leave and wait for next season to come back. Their efforts are appreciated, especially when all heck breaks loose at the beginning of the on-season because all the bugs in the software that weren't found yet are harsly exposed.
What happened with me is not ideal, nor is it rare or even unusual at this place. In about 3 months I could walk in the door and they'd welcome me with a smile and I'd get back to politely telling people that they're wrong and clueless and fixing their crap for them and half the time doing their job for them. (as if that's terribly different than my current job... just in person now instead of over a phone)
Anyways, so, Undertale hurts.
Loving Undertale so deeply hurts a lot.
But it's also happy. It has so much happiness. It's so bright and wonderful. It's a warm, soft, fuzzy hug from goatmom and a slice of butterscotch pie. It's making spaghetti with Papyrus, only using an actual recipe this time and making it turn out well. It's watching anime until 4 am with Alphys and Undyne and suppressing giggles at seeing the two precious gay babies asleep and cuddling. It's hugging Sans and telling him it'll be okay. It's having a lovely tea party with Asgore and Muffet.
It's kissing a sad sapient golden flower on the forehead, buying a bar of chocolate and raising it in the air as a toast before eating it.
Bittersweet happiness sometimes but so very, very good and I love it and I really cannot get enough.
I'm addicted. Addicted to feeling again.
As the band Ghost says, "From the pinnacle to the pit, it is a long way down."
I haven't been to the absolute bottom, in that I haven't been institutionalized/hospitalized/just straight up killed by my depression,
But I have been in the shower for 4 hours before from 2 am to 6 am at college, for one thing, so uhhh,
nobody can say that I'm utterly clueless about such things without looking like a lunatic.
Posts like the above still rip my heart out every time I see them. I've long since re-associated the song mentioned earlier with this particular point of note of Chara.
It's not entirely pleasant, no, but it makes me feel so alive and real and like I'm an actual human being and not an emotionless, soulless automaton covered in flesh.
And the happy posts are just that much brighter because of the contrast.
Some people can get by on just fluff alone. There's nothing wrong with that. This is just the way I personally operate. As for me, I've had too much saccharine positivity and "oh dont be sad everything is completely fine and theres nothing to be sad about youre not depressed just get up and go to work son!"
sorry got sidetracked and a little oddly specific there
So the point is from the above wall of text that I have a lot of investment in Undertale and it means a lot to me.
Now, it's time for me to pull receipts.
One receipt, to be exact.
On a semifamous Undertale blog, that I still have not responded to, and quite possibly never will, unless you count this post as a response.
I literally couldn't even read their last response for a solid two months because my eyes would skim off the words because they were full of so much utter crap.
When I did, I was sorry for it, because it was still so much crap.
And no, this isn't like the average tumblr receipt pull, because a lot of the time, a given person has changed for the better, and the receipts you're pulling are for a dramatically different person.
This person has not changed and as best as I can tell will never change, or at least not for the next decade or so, unless something dramatic happens.
They were the OP of the twitter bustercluck. If you don't know, don't ask, because I don't feel like getting into that right now. I may do so later though in a different post.
All I was trying to do was share a little positivity, and I was met with discourse, hostility, and self-righteousness.
"And second “biological gender” is a statement rife with discontent-"
Pardon my french but wtf m8?
Since then I have learned more thoroughly that in more modern usage, that sex and gender don't have ambiguity and don't need "biological" and "identity" modifiers for clarification, so to a limited extent, they were correct.
However, this does not excuse their behavior. There are many people, myself included back then, that because of their upbringing are uncomfortable saying the word "sex" in any context. I am not now, but I was then, which is why I used "gender" with modifiers for clarification. I gave them multiple chances in earlier reblogs to realize that I was just trying to share a bit of happiness. I clearly conveyed the belief that what's in one's pants doesn't necessarily align with what's in one's head and that it's not a problem. I also clearly stated that when referring to Frisk and Chara, one should use they/them.
And yet, they chose to perceive a threat where there was none.
They prefaced their statement with "Yikes"
then "Im gonna assume the best here though because i wanna assume people are good"
And completely did not follow through on that.
Statement rife with discontent, indeed.
I was rather hurt by this. Especially, especially because of the uniqueness of their url. They are the one and only charadreemurr. That's a very particular title, and they ought to live up to it.
And here, they did not. Unless Chara Dreemurr really is supposed to be a pretentious self-serving self-righteous paranoid uptight jackhole of a binch. In which case, congratulations, they succeeded.
I showed the post to a different trans friend of mine, and they were shocked by the post as well, looked through their tumblr, and declared the person "basically their least favorite type of person".
To this day, I feel uneasy just seeing the word "yikes" sometimes.
I have mentioned it a few times to some people but this really sent me for a loop. I almost left the fandom on the spot, like far too many good people have done when they were burned by the toxic side of the fandom.
And honestly, if I'd lost Undertale at such a key point in my life, with my job already falling apart, and the other crap I was going through at the time, especially with the election, I cannot safely say that I'd still be here. With the friends that I wouldn't have made solid yet, I probably would have attempted suicide.
And believe me, I'm an engineer. I would not have survived. Knives, pills, guns, rope, water, heights, motor vehicles, police, fire, bleach, all are too unreliable for me. I know exactly how I would do it, if I were to ever do it.
Yeah, I know, it's not anyone's job to make sure I don't commit suicide beyond my own.
People who threaten others with their own suicide are horribly manipulative.
I am not threatening anyone with my suicide here.
I'm not saying "ermagersh dont break up with me or ill literally kill myself"
What I am saying is "X happened to me in the past and it's made me want to kill myself"
Suicide baiting someone is a terrible thing to do.
Accidental baiting someone is not someone's fault, as it's accidental, but generally one should try to avoid it.
Very similar to triggering somebody.
Don't trigger people.
If you do, apologize, and do better in the future, and be more consistent about tags and crap.
Just for the record, due to that and other things that have happened to me, I know that I am not now and not ever going to die by my own hand.
Because, I stood up. I turned around. And like Captain America, I said "No. You move."
Well, in my head. I didn't actually say anything to them.
And I stayed.
And that has made all the difference.
I have a great job now that pays moderately well. I have a wonderful aspec girlfriend now.
My life still sucks in so many ways but I actually oftentimes see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The world is crap and it's going to get crappier but not everything will be bad forever.
Now, we get to the center of the issue, having explained some needed context.
Nonbinary Frisk and Chara.
I love nb Frisk and Chara.
I have not and will never make a Frisk or Chara that is anything but nb.
At one point, a certain Frisk was going to maybe use She/They (or He/They, hadn't decided yet) instead of just They when they became a parent, but I scrapped that idea long before any of this.
It is completely correct to use they/them pronouns when talking about Frisk and Chara in general. These are all that are used in the game itself.
The pertinent question though is does this mean that Frisk and Chara are canonically nonbinary, and what of people who make variants/instances that aren't nonbinary?
Thus far, most of the argument I've seen in favor of nonbinary being a forcible requirement is only slightly more solid than claiming that the Boss in the Saints Row series must be nonbinary, as an example.
Yes, it is true that in SR2 and later, one chooses the boss's sex.
However, they also choose a voice, and the voice doesn't necessarily have to match the physical sex. Trans and NB Bosses are completely plausible within the game's canon. All dialogue just refers to the Boss as They/Them, regardless of player choice, to the best of my knowledge. Or just refers to them as "The Boss". In SR:GOOH, Satan (yes, the literal Prince of Darkness, ruler of literal actual Hell) refers to The Boss as "They" so yeah. Anyways.
Honestly the strongest argument I've seen in favor of NB Frisk and Chara being canon is "Because NB people could use the representation!"
Which boils down to "Because I said so!"
Which boils down to "Because f*** you, that's why"
Now, I personally love this reasoning and I'm already on board, but with three quirks.
1. I can see why other people may not be so satisfied with this.
2. I cannot see this as an absolute requirement preventing any other possible interpretation of Frisk and Chara being okay.
3. I do not find this a remotely strong enough reasoning to condone attacking other people over it.
I personally headcanon NB Frisks and Charas being by far the dominant kind across the entire Undertale trunk.
And I look across the internet at the many, many wonderful creative people who have instanced Frisk and Chara, and I see that this is so.
And this is how it should be.
Frisk and Chara are excellent NB representation.
I quite firmly believe Tobyfox intended this to be so, and created them as such.
On a side note, I just found out the "my last wish for undertale is that when discussion of it fades it dies peacefully instead of morphing into a garbage cesspool" tweet was faked.
Probably should've figured that out a long time ago, that's not quite how toby tweets.
Tobyfox, the one who made Frisk and Chara so readily NB, who put so much NB representation into the game in general, did not ask for this. He did not create them to be sticks to beat others with. They were a gift of kindness. To say "Hey. Hey you. You matter and are important and are valid. Have two complex characters who have no indicated and strongly ambiguous gender, not even barriers blocking a particular interpretation."
Thats the kicker. No barriers blocking a particular interpretation. The road goes both ways.
Frisk and Chara were meant to be characters one identified with.
"It's me, Chara."
Frisk and Chara ought to be NB, yes.
Unless otherwise specified, they're NB.
Thing is, not everyone who plays Undertale is nb.
real shocker there yeah
Point is, hurting someone who's not nb for identifying with Chara or Frisk is on the same level of behavior as yelling at someone for being kin with the same character as someone else, or yelling at someone for selfshipping with the same character as someone else.
It's immature, unkind, greedy, and completely unnecessary. Even illogical.
Even if Frisk and Chara were real in their own timelines and not just pixels on a screen, there are an infinite number of instances and infinite number of variations of them.
Even if infinities don't appease one, and they demand to examine the situation proportion/representation-wise, NB Frisk and Chara dominate the multiverse.
And if that does not satisfy, then what will?
Even if the entire infinite expanse was filled solely with nb Charas and Frisks, and there was only one Frisk across the trunk who was not nb, because they were created by one author in memory of a cis person who played and loved Undertale and fought through the entire game reset after reset, in a fruitless effort to save Asriel, will you rip that from their hands, in the name of "equal representation"?
Will you be like David in the bible, who had more than anyone could ask for, and lost it all because he wanted one last thing? One more person to be theirs as well?
There is a song by Tool which is very relevant here.
"Don't these talking monkeys know that
Eden has enough to go around?
Plenty in this holy garden, silly monkeys,
Where there's one you're bound to divide it.
Right in two."
I'm sorry, but I cannot condone vitriol over this.
I cannot condone such hateful attitude and behaviors.
Just like the antifa who was punched by another antifa at a protest because they judged them by mere appearance to be a fascist, hatred doesn't accomplish anything.
There are times and places when due to the actions of other people, there is no valid choice remaining but violence.
This is seen in Undertale. Even when attempting to run a True Pacifist route, one has to beat down Asgore, and/or Flowey.
This was seen back in WWII. We could not allow the Axis powers to enslave the world and murder whomever they wished.
This is not the case here.
Yes, there are those who purposely seek to misgender Frisks and Charas all around.
Such folks correctly are rebuffed and banished to the shadows.
And people who argue that Frisk or Chara canonically have to be a boy or girl really need to find a new hobby.
Those, if anyone, are the enemy.
The lost, clueless, angry, bitter enemy, who need to be talked to and brought into the fold of those who know better, in true Undertale MERCY fashion.
Or, if they will not listen, to be sent away, and blocked if harassment continues.
Random creatives on the internet who create a Frisk or Chara, maybe modelled after themselves, maybe after someone else, doens't matter, anyways, who happen to create one that isn't NB are not the enemy.
Some young unlearned cis 12 year old who wants to be like Frisk and thinks Frisk is just like them, or that they are Frisk, and has little involvement with NB matters, or perhaps just hasn't yet heard of or seen how well NB and Chara and Frisk go together, is not the enemy.
NB folk have a lot of very, very real enemies.
We have a long way to go as a species.
Please, do not make up enemies where there are none.
I ask anyone who attacks others solely for having a different idea of Chara and Frisk's gender to please reconsider.
Please, spread NB Frisks and Charas all around the net.
Let them enter the hearts of everyone who can appreciate this beautiful game.
Not through anger and aggression, but through love and kindness and patience.
If you cannot abide my having such a stance on this, Mel, then I suppose this is farewell if you must break off all contact.
And if you must leave, you may keep that commission money, whether or not you ever finish the art.
Thank you to anyone who reads the entirety of my words.
Okay, part 2! Let’s see how far we get with this one~
(I had to dig out my book on vampires to work on the lore for this one)
Fandom: Mystery Skulls animated
Part 1 /Part 3 /Part 4
Arthur gently pushed Lewis’ hand away when the specter offered it while disembarking from the van once they were back home. “I’m fine, Lew. Don’t worry,” he said, offering a forced smile, before pushing past Lewis and heading towards their building, where Vivi was already digging keys out of her skirt pocket.
“Once we’re upstairs, you should jump in the shower and relax, Artie,” Vivi hummed, tongue poking out from between her lips as she pulled her keys from from her pocket and began to unlock the door, “The hospital bed couldn’t have been super comfy, and I don’t think you’ve showered since a few days ago, before we got to that last town.”
“Yeah, okay,” Arthur said, nodding slightly as he mindlessly followed Vivi inside and up the stairs, Lewis following shortly after with Mystery at his heels. Vivi glanced back at him once or twice as they walked, and he could feel Lewis and Mystery’s gazes boring into his back. He knew they were all just worried about him, but the knowledge that he was slowly turning into the same sort of creature that had bitten him left his guts feeling hollow and his mind providing nothing but scenarios where he woke up in the middle of the night and decided Vivi would make a good snack. It made his skin itch. He would definitely be taking Vivi’s suggestion of a shower to heart.
He bid the others a quiet good night (even though it was still the middle of the afternoon) once they were all inside their apartment, and immediately headed to the bathroom. Once there, he shed the simple white t-shirt and sweat pants he’d gotten from the hospital (his own clothes having been shredded), and began the laborious task of getting their temperamental shower to provide optimal cleansing temperature. Though, he gave pause as he caught the sight of his reflection in the corner of his eye.
Arthur heaved a quiet sigh as he turned fully to the mirror, a light frown on his face as he took in his appearance. Dark circles drooped beneath his now piercing red eyes, scars marred the flesh just above where his metal prosthetic attached at his left shoulder, his skin was pale and he would hazard to say he almost looked gaunt with how thin he was. And now, thick hospital bandages covered the right side of his neck and part of his shoulder, marking where yet new scars would bloom. That wasn’t even to mention his new ‘condition’ that was crawling through his veins, slowly turning into something, rather than someone.
He scowled at his reflection, wondering, not for the first time, why Vivi and Lewis still bothered with him. His life was cursed with nothing but bad luck since he was small, with the death of his parents, and only continuing on through his life, most recently capping with the death of his best friend, and now this. Of course, Lewis had come back, but given that he was now a ghost he didn’t much figure that was really a silver lining to be looking at.
Startling himself with a quiet growl as his thoughts continued to stew as he glowered at himself, he jumped back from the mirror, he found himself becoming slightly shaky. His voice had sounded almost feral, and he hadn’t meant to even make the sound at himself. He shook his head slightly as he wiped at his face, before removing his prosthetic and stepping into the shower.
“Come on, Vivi. There has to be something we can do,” Lewis urged, floating behind his girlfriend as she ran her fingers over the spines of her massive book collection, looking for any and tomes she could find that had any information on vampires (she had figured out what that thing was far too late. Why hadn’t she clued in sooner?!), a slight frown on her face.
“I’m looking, Lewis,” she snapped as he crowded into her space yet again, turning a short, sharp glare on the specter. “But it’s hard with you breathing down my neck!”
Lewis floated backwards quickly, a light frown of his own on his features. “I don’t breath,” he stated simply.
That gave Vivi pause, before she let out a nervous sounding giggle, running her fingers through her hair and dislodging her hair band. “I’m sorry, Lew. I just…if I had of realized sooner what that thing was, maybe Arthur wouldn’t be in this situation.”
“It’s not your fault, Vi. We offered to let Arthur stay in our room,” Lewis offered, moving forward to fix Vivi’s hairband for her.
“Yeah, but then I egged him on into coming with us!: she insisted, staring up at Lewis with tears in her eyes.
“Yes, but you didn’t force him to wander off on his own and disappear into a completely different part of the mansion without any backup,” Mystery suddenly piped up after dropping a book onto the floor and scratching at his collar. “If he’d stayed with me, he probably would have been fine,” he added, nodding towards the book, “this should have what you’re looking for.”
“That’s a little harsh, Mystery,” Lewis scolded, the kitsune simply shrugging in response.
“It’s the truth. I’m not blaming Arthur for getting attacked, of course not. He’s been through more than enough that he doesn’t need this on top of everything else on the poor boy’s mind. What I mean is, he has been through enough paranormal experiences that he should know better then to wander off, away from safety. I could have intervened almost immediately had he stayed with me, but instead I didn’t even notice he was gone until it was much too late, lost in my own exploration,” Mystery said, ending with his ears pressed back against his head, staring off to the side.
“It’s not your fault either, Mystery,” Vivi said, patting her dog on the head as she scooped up the book he brought, “A lot of things could have changed how things turned out.” Lewis nodded vehemently next to Vivi as she spoke.
“That’s right. I think we’re all a little bit to blame for what happened. I’ve known for a while about how vulnerable Arthur’s soul is to supernatural creatures, after that demon tried to possess him in the cave, but I still chose to go with Vivi instead of Arthur. I could tell the thing in the house was moving away from my presence, and yet I still went into the basement with Vivi instead of sticking with him to keep that thing away. You and Vivi can handle yourselves easily against just about anything, but Arthur…” Lewis trailed off, looking remorseful.
Vivi sighed sadly, giving Lewis’ arm a gentle squeeze as she passed by him to set the heavy book on her desk. “Should have, could have, would have, I suppose,” she hummed, her shoulders slumping. “All we can really do now is help Arthur any way we can, and try to keep him from becoming like that vampire.”
“Well, I highly doubt he’ll get quite so far,” Mystery supplied, trotting over to hop up onto a chair next to Vivi’s desk, “If you’ll flip to the section on vampires, there’s a bit about the original three angels who were cast from heaven and became what humans would come to call vampires. They weren’t really, more like blood thirsty demons, but you get the idea. Anyway, it goes on to talk about how they created the real first vampires, the ones most humans associate with Dracula. These original vampires more closely resembled their demonic parentage, and didn’t retain as much of their human appearance. If I’m right, I think it was a slightly watered down version of these ancient vampires that bit Arthur. Probably a dozen or so generations down the line, since it still looked fairly human-like,” Mystery rambled as Vivi’s eyes flicked over the corresponding text. “Traditionally, people would be fed from repeatedly before their blood was mostly drained and they were forced to drink from their maker, before feeding on a sacrificial human. It was what separated victims from ‘the chosen’. Unfortunately, as time went on, the vampires realized that was a little time consuming,”
“And so, the lore changed to match their rituals, so now people only need to be fed from only once?” Vivi sounded incredulous as she continued to read, Mystery tilting his head a little and Lewis reading over her shoulder.
“Well, not exactly,” Mystery dithered, “They simply drained ‘the chosen’ the first time, rather than spacing it out, and fed them a sacrifice. Turns out, that’s how the later generations were better able to retain their human appearance; less demon blood.”
“And Arthur needed almost an entire blood transfusion when we got him to the hospital,” Vivi gasped, clapping a hand over her mouth.
“Yes, but,” Mystery interjected before Vivi’s mind could go in to many circles, “He didn’t feed on that blood. You know as well as I do that rituals need to be performed certain ways in order to take effect. Arthur must take a life in order to become a vampire.”
“So, what you’re saying is,” Lewis finally piped up, moving away from behind Vivi, “Arthur still has time. Until he feeds, he’ll retain his human soul.”
“Well, yes,” Mystery said with a small shrug, “In essence. But that is not going to stop his hunger, or the gradual changes to his physiology. He will never lose his human soul as long as he does not feed, but he will live in perpetual starvation and be forced to stay out of the sun.”
Vivi let out a quiet noise of distress, flopping down into her own chair, book all but forgotten. “So, there’s nothing we can do but watch Artie fade away?”
“That’s not what I said. Read the book,” Mystery admonished, “It says plain as day that if we kill Arthur’s maker before he feeds, then the ritual will lose all effect and he’ll return to his previous mortal form.”
“Oh,” Vivi sounded sheepish, leaning forward to look over the pages she’d had the book open to, running her fingers over the exact passage Mystery was talking about, “Oh, yeah. Right there.”
“Mhmm. So, there’s still time. But not much, given that it’s been at least two days since Arthur was bitten, and what has he had to eat? Not much. And fairly soon, regular food will no longer give him any sort of sustenance,” Mystery added, tilting his head so his glasses flashed. He did enjoy a bit of dramatic flair.
“But that vampire, it smashed through the window and fled. How are we supposed to track it?” Lewis asked, a frown on his face as he crossed his legs in the air, chin propped up in the palm of his hand, “I could sense it in the house, but not before. And it was already a days drive away. It has two days on us, at least. It could be anywhere by now.”
“Way to kill the hope there, Lew,” Vivi stated flatly, arching an eyebrow at the specter.
Lewis chuckled sheepishly, turning red as he pulled at the collar of his shirt. “Sorry. But, it’s only the truth. It’s going to be hard to find that thing again. And with us now being on a time limit, we can’t exactly afford to screw up by driving too far in the wrong direction.”
Vivi snorted quietly, rising from her seat to flounce into the center of the room,m twirling with her arms outstretched. “Have you forgotten, Lewlew? There is a treasure trove of spells here! I’m sure there’s at least one or two tracking spells I could use! We’re not dead in the water, yet!” She wagged her finger at her boyfriend, “Don’t you go losing your hope, yet. I’m not gonna let Arthur turn into a blood sucker if I can help it.” She then rolled up her sleeves as Mystery hoped off his chair. “Let’s get to work!”
Devil May Care
Got lost? Or maybe just lucky?
(nah, who am I kidding?)
Please call me Gil :)
I have posted here a while ago and was very happy with the responses I received from various individuals. I do share a good role-play with the said partners…. but it has been some time since I did anything fandom related. Especially since I am a total geek for video-games. Now I am craving for another kind of RP, a darker one… with less boundaries and more grit. Something from the supernatural side. It’ll be a hell of a good time!
I am currently looking for someone who is willing to do a Devil May Cry inspired RP with me!
(But if that doesn’t necessarily suit your fancy, I am also open to do a Harry Potter RP - either next generation or before the events of HP)
My mind has become restless with the idea that has been haunting me recently - a Roleplay involving Devilish creatures, Demons, Demon Hunters as well as the concept of Heaven and Hell. And no I don’t mean in a biblical sense… more in a mythological kind of sense.
After I’ve played the newest release of DMC 5, I am once again fully hyped for it and hope to find my soulmate. (well on rp’er terms that is)
I am also willing to incorporate crossovers as well! I will make a short list down below what I am willing to do!
Before we move on, I’ll give you the same ol’ description of what you should consider before messaging me :)
If you reach out to me, please be sure not to ghost me after the first few messages before we even get to the roleplay itself. Yes, I’ve had many instances where my partners had to go off the grid because life gets in the way, etc. I understand that - but just disappearing without getting to the juicy bits is just a waste. Don’t write to me without a proper thread or a simple one-liner. Short and lacklustre messages will also be ignored, sorry :(
I am currently searching for a literate, mature (preferably 20+ partner) writer with a vast, creative mindset willing to push some boundaries. Someone who is not afraid delving into darker themes, or come up with new fresh ideas for a fantasy plot.
Someone who is willing to commit to a long-term roleplay. Are you that someone to join the
I’ll swing you a few facts about me. Who am I?
I am a 20+ female, living in Europe and currently studying at a university which is fairly time consuming. With that being said, I am able to type out 3-4 messages per week, sometimes even more. I think tis a good solid rate that can get the plot going. Depending on my schedule, my frequency will increase or decrease. Not to worry, I will let you know as soon if there is something coming up that might influence the roleplay. I love detailed paragraphs that describe a story with nuance and vibrant emotion. If you are someone comfortable or only willing to type one-liners, you are not going to find your match here, sorry. I only role-play on either email or goggle docs.
I’m above the age of 20, thus well aware, mature and open
I’m a Paragraph writer
I have experience with over 10 years under my belt
I do prefer doubling but I am also open to make exceptions
Good brainstorming is key. Once we get to know each other, I would love to do a bit of strategizing, erecting a system for our world as well as gathering ideas we can utilize for the story.
Here’s a detailed description of my style and boundaries that I have for a potential RP.
How I write:
I am a multi-paragraph sort of writer, which means that frequently, my writing will exceed at least 500 words, and upward of 1000+ words. I love detail in description, and I am actively seeking someone of the same infamy. Generally, I tend to write in the 3rd person. But it can change based on the situation. My partner should have a basic grasp on grammar, punctuation and somewhat of an interest in erudite writing.
The genres I am into:
I am versatile when it comes to genres and settings that I like to focus on. Supernatural is my bread and butter, especially urban and gothic fantasy, but also very much like mythological stories and lore. I am not opposed to tapping into science fiction, action, romance, crime, action or thriller genres, though my most favourite is a combination of both fantasy, action, drama and a bit of sci-fi. For the roleplay I would like to take a lot of elements from Lovecraftian lore and even a little bit of Constantine. I love to mesh multiple genres together to create something completely new and fun. Yes, I know this is a fandom role-play, but that doesn’t mean we’re bound to this hard-set rules.
I openly play and accept characters of both genders, preferable m x f pairings, but I am open to m x m and f x f relationships as well. I have more experience with m x f relationships, so I might excel in this category more than I would do with the others. I do not fade to black - instead I encourage erotism and tastefully written romance scenes. The passion must be felt, even if its just an intelligent description of someone’s stream of thought. I am double friendly and prefer it over a single pairing!
OOC-chat friendly! Trust me, I won’t hold it against you if you tend to ramble outside of the roleplay. I love meeting new people and making potential friends. Plus it strengthens the relationship as well as the roleplay. Communication is key! If there is something that bothers you, or if you think you are left out in some way (be it a mistake on my part or we’re both at fault here), don’t be scared to let me know. Really, it won’t be taken personally - since I know that we all tend to make mistakes every once in a while. It doesn’t bother me to re-write a scene to fit the narrative in a better way and so on. We can always exchange our opinions and see what would benefit the story most. I'll also inform you if there are things that irk me.
Characters are the centre of attention:
Faceclaims, GIFs, drawings, mood boards or just a plain physical description is absolutely welcome / sufficient. I am not someone who necessarily requires a face claim for a character in order ‘to get the picture’. There are many instances where I could not find a suiting match for my character’s definition, so I resorted to drawing them myself or leaving it with a simple description. Characters should have flaws - that is a no brainer obviously, because its what makes them most interesting and compelling to read. I think we’re also far past the Mary Sue and Gary Stu issue, so I am certain that anyone who messages me, is capable of forging great characters.
World building & plotting:
An active roleplayer is wanted in this category, without a doubt. I love to build but I tend to lose interest real quick when I get the feeling I’m the only one who puts effort into it. Too often I find people shying away from it in this regard. If I feel that I’m the only one carrying the weight of the world-building part, I will end the roleplay with immediate effect. Be bold with your ideas! A bird cannot fly with only one wing, no?
I find writing erotic, dramatic or action packed scenes very enjoyable. I don’t hinder myself when certain subjects are mentioned that may be uncomfortable for the general public. But then again, as a reminder, a roleplay is not reality but fiction. For example situations that heavily imply and involve brutality, mayhem, psychological and physical torture are things that don’t really bother me in a sense, because again, it is fiction. Characters should be fully fleshed out, even the not so pretty parts of one’s personality and actions.
I don’t do necrophilia, pedophilia & and any sort of underage pairings as well as bestiality, vore, scat, toilet play, furries or other bizarre fetishes. What I’m also not particularly fond of are oneliners, text-talk ‘grammar’, or emails with the subject: ‘Hey wanna rp?’ or ‘RP?’. I also note that my partners must be around 20 years or older, I will accept no younger partners, sorry. The last thing I tend to avoid like the plague are slice of life roleplays, because lets face it, our own lives are already a slice of life.
Crossovers that we could incorporate with DMC if you’re feeling particularly cheeky:
DC (Justice League Dark / Constantine mostly)
If you are still reading, congratulations! xD
The journey has come to an end!
Usually I would list my Discord on this platform, but since Discord did an update recently where I can’t log into it anymore - I thought email would be a good alternative. In the past, people on Discord had only sent me friend without messaging whatsoever so I couldn’t quite figure out what they were looking for in the first place, or being completely uncommunicative. Email is much safer and more direct this way.
Contact me here!
EMAIL: [email protected]
I am looking forward to meeting you ～