#wait shit we need a reason for like fifty whole dudes to be out here hunting these things uhhh ok great idea that'll work
mylittleredgirl · 5 months
there are many good reasons not to see avatar but if you DO see avatar definitely see the 3D version. the entire movie is effects. same movie as the first one just underwater now. also if you are wearing 3D glasses it is less obvious that you will cry like seven times.
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thecoralkids · 3 months
my favorite things about epic the musical
but now we'll be the ones who ✨SLAY✨
i love how fast and intense the part where ody's giving orders is
the soldiers' little "WHOO"s after ody's lines OUGHHHH
*hawk screech* A VISION
"I know that I'm ready!! // I don't think you're ready..."
ody's voice is so SOFT when he's singing "it's just an infant"
zeus's voice is so deep. it fits him
the backing vocals on "if you don't end him now you'll have no one left to save // penelope!!"
ody & zeus's duet. no more needs to be said
"is the price i pay endless pain?" yeah. seems like it. i mean the odyssey makes sure to remind us that you have endured "much suffering" like fifty times so.
the second repetition of "when does a comet become a meteor" with the whole chorus singing....
"and ithaca's waiting!!" is such a satisfying line for some reason
"PENELOPE'S WAITING!!" they have the best relationship of anyone Ever actually.
the men singing "captain, what's the plan?" so satisfying
"we're up we're off and away we go!" yayyyyy
"captain! :D" "polities! :D" (dont talk to me SOBS)
this whole song is just so great tbh.
I LOVE when ody and the men are singing together. so fun. idk why its just satisfying
jungle noises!! also the beat to Open Arms is just SOOOOO very nice i don't know why something about the drums is just so very /pos though
the lotus-eaters' voices are very fun tbh. i love the overlapping vocals. they sound like Creechurs /pos
when the lotus-eaters go "oooooh!" after polites' lines >>>>
the high flute/whatever it its thats playing the melody of athena's lyrics as she sings them? oughh >>>>>
"Let's go!!"
ody's smug little "ha-ha-ha-ha"
you can HEAR the smile in athena's voice when ody tricks her. like. ooh yes this one this is my favorite mortal.
"nah, don't be modest, i know you're a goddess" >>>
i just LOVE how ody sings "you are ATHENA badass in the ARENA unmatched witty AND QUEEN OF the best stra-te-gies we've seen"
ody's little "ohkay" after athena's "we'll see where it ends." god he sounds so just. blorbo. in this song. yknow. hes just so smug cat /aff
warrior of the mind, just, like, in GENERAL, is great
"WHO ARE YOU." you can HEAR the oh shit
i love ody and the Cyclops' whole exchange. just something about it.
i love the cyclops' voice filter? whatever he's got goin on. very cool
"hey cyclops do you know what's better than eating me? GETTING DRUNK!!! yeah trust me dude youll NEVER wanna eat me now"
i appreciate him repeating "nobody" three times so absolutely NO ONE can miss it.
"I'm so glad we see eye to eye" hehe. cause. yeah.
"what..? WATCH OUT!!" >>>>>>
the whole not exactly call-and-repeat thing that ody and his men do during this song. just. man i love this musical.
when the men r singing in the background of ody singing >>>>
"captain..?" POLITESSSSSSSS :((((((((
the BANGING... like. its so emotional /pos.
the cyclops singing a version of the song ody and his men were singing before >>>>>
the sort of focusing-in thing at the start of Remember Them? i dont know. its just very satisfying
remember them is just a great song all around. amazing. 10/10 no notes
i lied i have notes. i LOVE the guitar riff thing? that happens around when ody says "SCATTER"
"captain" "wait" >>>>>
the cyclops sounds so SAD when hes saying "don't go! :("
"my comrades will not DIIIIII-EEE-IEEEE in vain." they always say it like "diii-EEEE-iiiiiieeee" and its very funny
the line "selfish and prideful and vain" is so funny after reading the odyssey. this goddess raised your child for you and saved your life like 1932094234 times. have some goddamn respect. gods.
"YOU'RE NOT LOOKING FOR A MENTOR I'M NOT LOOKING FOR A FRIEND!" callbacks to previous songs >>>>>>
"wiser, why's your" love that. (sounds alike)
the little stuttering the music does at the end of this song!!! so satisfying.
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barry-j-blupjeans · 1 year
:0 “I’d rather just hang out with you, if I’m honest” and Taako, please??
35. “I’d rather just hang out with you, if I’m honest”
((50 ways to say "I love you" prompts here! Send some in!))
Magnus didn't want to say anything about it, but to be completely frank, he was getting a little freaked out by Taako sitting so close. If there had been anything he had learned in the past few months, it was that Taako was like a territorial cat who only ever bothered you if he was hungry. And Taako would have said something if he was hungry. And he definitely wouldn't be near Merle, because last time he had complained about hunger to Merle, Merle had taken a handful of dirt from his pocket and offered it as a meal.
Magnus was worried about Merle, for different reasons, but now wasn't the time for that.
Point being is that Taako was sitting incredibly close to both him and Merle. Maybe something about the time loop shit had fucked him up more than he was letting on. He didn't look injured, at least. Magnus was trying not to look at him too much, or make eye contact, lest he scare Taako away, but it was hard. Trying to focus on carving this duck was even harder, but Merle kept talking to himself and Taako kept moving around and distributing the couch.
Magnus just wished he had roommates who could give him a second of peace.
"Alright," Merle said loudly. Magnus looked up. "Maggie isn't gonna say anything and I wasn't gonna say anything but like. You good?"
"Me?" Taako said. "Taako's great."
"You don't usually..." Merle scratched his beard, glancing at Magnus. Magnus didn't want to be having this conversation. Again, territorial cat and all that.
"I'm literally just sitting here," Taako said. "In our dorm. If I had my own dorm, I'd be sitting in it."
"You've got your own room!"
"Taako can hang out if he wants," Magnus said.
"Yeah, but he's not usually this affectionate about it!" Merle said, throwing his hands up. "It's weirdin' me out, man!"
"I'm literally just sitting here," Taako repeated. "You're- whatever, I don't care. I'm gonna enjoy my time in the living area I was given. You can get up if you're bothered by it."
"I'm not bothered by it!" Merle said. "You're just being weird."
"You're being weird," Taako sniped.
"This whole thing is weird," Magnus interrupted. "Taako can sit where he wants. Just please stop moving and talking and- and arguing or I'm going to my room."
"Feel free, homie," Taako said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"Up to you," Merle said.
For a blissful one, maybe two minutes, Magnus had his silence back. And then Taako said,
"I'm just kinda fucked up about it, right?" Magnus looked up again. Taako had pulled his hat down over his eyes. "Like, usually we just almost die, but then we did die. A lot. And now I gotta like, talk to the grim reaper or whatever about it 'cus we broke his deal. And it's not like, a big thing, but death isn't my favorite topic, so uh."
"You're meeting with him again?" Magnus asked, setting aside his carving tools. Something in my mind whispered "you have to wait for the cat to approach you first" and he beat it back with a stick. Taako was a person, not a pet.
"Yeah," Taako said, peaking from beneath his hat.
"Want me to come with ya?" Merle offered.
"I can scare him away if I need to," Magnus said.
"No, it's fine," Taako said. "It's just weird. I don't wanna talk about death, I wanna talk about, like, recipes and shit. He seems like a good hang, so I wasn't gonna be like "hell no". But I'm kinda like, "hell no" anyway because there's fifty-fifty of me ending up in prison so."
"Just talk to him!" Merle said. "Doesn't have to be about death!"
"Kinda does," Magnus said. "Like, that's the whole meeting purpose."
"Get the boring stuff outta the way then," Merle said. "Listen, kid. I trust him. He seems like a chill dude."
"He tried to kill us," Magnus pointed out. "Also he got your arm chopped off."
"I remember someone with an ax coming towards me and it sure wasn't him, Magnus!"
"What am I supposed to say, though?" Taako interrupted. "Like, "Hey I know we're supposed to talk about me and my friends-"
"Aw, we're your friends!"
""-but I'd rather just hang out with you, if I'm being honest." Like, what?"
"I think that's pretty good actually," Magnus said. "You state your point pretty clear. Less death, more friendship, and all that."
"Yeah!" Merle said. "That's my life motto."
"Less death, more friendship?"
"No, the "that's pretty good actually"."
"I fucking hate both of you," Taako cackled, pulling his hat over his face to muffle his laughter. "This is the worst. I'm going back to my room!"
"But I've got so much more advice!" Merle exclaimed. "Is this gonna be like a date thing or a hang-out thing or what? 'Cus I've got more advice for the first one. My first date with my ex-wife-"
"The start of that sentence gives me all the information I wanna know, actually," Magnus butted in before it could get any worse. Taako was still hanging off the side of the couch, laughing so hard Magnus could hear him wheezing. "Thank you so much, Merle, we'll definitely come back to you on that."
"No, we won't!" Taako wheezed.
"No, we won't," Magnus agreed.
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bonnymori · 2 years
𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲
Word count: 2760+ (i'll try to keep bigger lengths such as this one!)
Synopsis: You meet a new classmate who's working along Nanami, you think he's fun to be around, it stands the same to him about you. Later, feelings unravel.
Contents/Warnings: (1) Itadori Yuuji x gn!reader (2) FLUFF, TONS OF FLUFF - and some comfort (3) With the small participation of... Ino Takuma!! I really like him too, that's why <33333 (4) This is pretty platonic, but also not? (5) Ending turned sorta cliché... but I liked it u.u
A/N: This boy made me run rampant... to fhe point it's not single attraction anymore I just wish him happiness (smh if only my parents knew...) also next post will be Toji's fic pt. 2! Y'all see the first part is almost reaching 100 kudos????? I'M SO HAPPY EHSODJWKDKSJD- thanks for all the new followers and the support!! <33
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Ever since his fake death, Itadori has been training alone with the help of Gojo - and now, he works along a freshly new face, who belongs to a senior, founds out ex-salaryman named Nanami Kento. He's far a thousand times more strict than Gojo. Itadori doesn't really likes the change, because Nanami is a person he can't get along. This whole guy's appearance scream "work 4 life"; he has proved different, now he screams "work is shit - but I gotta do it because others won't".
They've just finished cleansing the outside of a movie theater off a few curses, when Itadori hears shouting from far behind them. Two figures approach, waving excessively. He quickly picks on Nanami's tired sigh beside him.
"Nanami! We figured out you'd be here! Our mission has been finished and we wanted to catch up to have lunch together!" A male clad in a full black outfit shouts, he has brown hair and a beanie on top of his head, looking quite content.
The other person simply trots next to him in silence, approaching with a friendly smile. They notice Itadori faster than the male, smile widening and quickly waving hello, suddenly eager to reach up to them. The gesture makes the pink haired boy perk up, curious to why the other person looked so joyful. His question is easily answered, when they tug on the man's sleeve and motion to him.
"Ino, we have a third buddy!" The dude looks at him with widened eyes. "So nice to meet you, I'm Y/N L/N! It's great to see new faces around!"
Itadori smiles at your energy, knowing already he would click with you very well.
"I'm Ino Takuma, sorry for not noticing you before! Your uniform looks cool." Itadori exchanges a few compliments with Ino, before the man turns to talk with Nanami, leaving him and you together.
"Yes! I'm Sukuna's vessel, Itadori Yuuji-desu! My type of woman is Jenn-"
You turn to him. "So, are you a first year?"
"Geh? Weren't you dead though?!"
"I was!- I am!- Please keep secret."
"Ahem." Nanami coughs, drawing attention. "I requested you two to not come after me today. Itadori here is the reason why."
"That's no problem, we're very capable of keeping secrets." You threw your arm over Itadori's shoulder, him nodding along with you.
"Oh really, then remember to keep quiet about it. I'll let this slide." The group of students nervously at Nanami's intimidating tone. "But, I'll get to have my break alone."
"Gah!" Ino exclaimed, watching Nanami walk away; he also left the responsability of taking care of Itadori for you two, leaving without a word. "It really had to be today, when Nanami would take us to his favorite bakery..."
"Crybaby." You teased. "Itadori here can't go outside where anyone can see him, he's dead. So, we were to order food either way because he shouldn't be left out."
"Augh okay, it would be unfair."
"So, where are you staying Itadori?"
"At Gojo's state!"
"Whoa, I've never been there before." Ino commented, waiting as you sent a message to Ijichi to pick them up.
"He's my teacher, a very cool one!"
"I imagine! Ooookay, once we get there I'll get the food."
Itadori felt as his chest would burst of excitement, finally there was people around him again, he couldn't be less happy about it.
"Sharing is caring!"
Itadori laughed as you wrestled with Takuma for some fries, netflix long forgotten in the background, as watching the banter was way more entertaining. Most of the time, Ino rambled a lot about Nanami, while he rambled a lot about Gojo. The guy even showed him the cool scar under his beanie. He felt kinda upset after explaining the exchange was just temporary, his stay under Nanami's wing wasn't decisive, and therefore, he was more like a classmate than a partner.
Itadori also learned a lot about you. He was surprised to find out that you, although energetic, was the one to speak the lesser in conversations. His surprisement grew even bigger when you told him you're a exchange student from Kyoto, arriving Tokyo about the same month as him - thankfully, you were to say for good.
Conversations flowed easily in the air, until a voice from the doorway barged in.
"Yuuji-kun! Don't forget about your lessons! Hi kids! Bye kids!" Gojo said playfully, throwing the familiar punching bear to Itadori before leaving.
"What's this thing?" Ino asked.
"It's to help me control my cursed energy. So while I watch the movies, if I don't charge it with cursed energy it punches me square in the face. I thought I had mastered this thing already, but he insist I keep training with it." Itadori grumbles.
"At least it's cute." You commented, taking a sip of your drink.
"Until it punches you in your face without warning!" The pink haired boy barks.
The talks died down, the three of you eating quietly when another movie is played on the screen. Itadori didn't bother reading the title, it was a plain one about a zombie apocalypse that got him extremely bored, yet he kept watching still so the plushie didn't punch him in the face again; he's been keeping a record since all his last cursed energy training lessons were a sucess to this day. When his head started nodding and eyelids dropping Itadori can't remember well, about fourty five minutes of movie perhaps? Make it fifty, the second slumber took over his body completely.
When he awoke once again, it was near midnight, the clock on the wall told him so. He also noticed a soft and warm surface supporting his head, figures, it's your shoulder he's resting into, he feels an arm around his own shoulders and your cheek placed upon his hair.
"Hey, it's late." You immediately notices he's awake, calling out softly. "You should sleep on your room, or something, better to your spine."
He chuckles when you poke his side. "But I'm comfortable here."
"I'm surprised, you just met me today, and now is sleeping on my shoulder."
"I'm not, that happens often to me."
"Sleeping on people's shoulders?"
"No! Making friends quickly." Itadori likes your gentle warmth, your hug, everything makes him feel at home. "I met two more people before you for two weeks, but they can't see me, because I'm dead."
"So I'll keep you company, that's my new mission."
His eyes widen at that, a oh so little blush covering the tip of his ears.
"For how many time I slept anyway?" He asks.
"About two- no, three hours. You missed two movies, and this one is about to end."
"And you stayed here the whole time?" He motions to your shoulder.
"Yep. That reminds me I gotta pee."
Itadori grumbles, but quickly lifts himself off you, respecting your needs. That gives him some time to look around, he notices Ino is gone, and the plushie sits quietly at the other side of the couch, unmoving.
"Y/N! How did you manage to make it quiet down?" He's beyond bafflet.
"I said!" You arrive quickly at the doorframe, hands still wet from when you washed them. "I used my innate technique."
"Oh! How is it like?"
"It's kinda funny, gimme a moment." You left to wipe off your hands, coming back in a second. "So, just like Shoko, I produce reverse curse energy, but it's quite different than hers, I can't heal people. That's why we often call it positive energy instead. I can use it to soothe off negative energy, so the bear has no cursed energy right now."
"How does it works on people?" He felt very curious about everything, asking away like a kid.
"Since everyone has negative energy, it just makes you sleepy really. But when it comes to curses it's really practical, I can either weaken it or, if the curse is like grade three or four, I can slap them off existence completely by wiping all their energy." You were naturally proud of having a such versatile power, your own energy swirling with pride around you.
"That sounds amazing! Is it why I fell asleep though?"
"Nah, only if I did it on purpose. I guess you were just tired, hope you don't mind I decided to let you rest today."
"No way, it was a good nap."
You nodded. "By the way, Ino left to attend to a drinking party, he paid for our food."
"Drinking? Is he old?"
"Yeah, he's twenty." You chuckled, already expecting that kind of reaction.
"No way! He looks young just like us!"
"That's totally my reaction after I learned he's twenty!"
After that day, you started visiting Itadori weekly to daily, after exchanging numbers he made a little group with you and Ino, naming it the "Nanami trio". But really, he exchanges more texts with you in private, be them memes, cool images he wish to share, etcetera. Although, Ino wasn't left excluded, he ofter brough his xbox to connect to Itadori's tv room and you all would spend hours playing together; he just didn't spend much time with both of you as much. And that was okay.
For a few days, your connection with Itadori died down when he didn't reply to your texts. They would remain unread for some time, the longest being half a day, until he would spam apologies then move on with the topic. That became a routine until one day when you came over to check on Itadori unnanounced, needin to ease off your worries about the boy, only to find him sobbing in the middle of a hallway, staring ahead and beyond, his back to you.
"Egh!" Startled, he scrambled to wipe his eyes, turning to you. "H-hey, um, hi."
"What happened?"
"I- he-" His eyes didn't met yours, knuckles white in a death grip. You notice he has a few bandages thrown over his face and arms. The way his shoulders are drawn, as if he wants to shrink into himself is something you've experienced before.
"Something hard to talk about?"
He nods almost immediately, head still facing down.
"It's alright, come with me." You reach for his hands, grimacing slightly when his forceful grip is now on your hand, yet you don't comment on it. He follows you through the state wordlessly.
You two stop on the same tv room, sitting down on the couch. You then guide his head to your shoulder, gently massaging his scalp with the free hand.
"It's alright."
Those two words are chanted like a prayer for the next half hour, at some point, Itadori twisted his body towards yours and unknowingly caged you between him and the sofa arm. He embraced you with a force you didn't have in you, like he didn't want to lose one another. Painful or not, not a muscle moved on your body. He needed a shoulder to cry on.
Thirty minutes passed like seconds, you peered down only to find the boy confortably napping against your bosom; at some point you just became the cold side of the pillow to him. That's alright. It brings you joy to be the mom friend anyways. So you decided to join the sleepland aswell, arms still secured around his shoulders and the back of his head.
It feels like the nap hasn't been long, though, because you can feel Itadori's grip loosening and therefore, you're awake.
"Sorry if I broke any bones, in advance."
"Wow, and you only warn me now."
He laughs at your comeback, hands still secured around your waist.
"I'm surprised you let me uh, cuddle you for comfort - and sleep. I don't understand it? You just make me sleepy." He rambled, keeping eye contact with you while his head still rests on your chest.
"That's a piece of cake when you have younger siblings who seek for you every night they get a nightmare."
"Does that mean I can come to you again if I have a nightmare?" There it is, his togepi-kirby cutesy face.
"Are you four?"
"That's mean!" Itadori blushed, squeezing you on his arms. "I like the contact. It puts me at ease."
"Mm, do you want to talk about it?"
He gulped. "No, not really."
Your peach haired friend remained silent, and so did you. It seems he doesn't intend in letting you go soon, or he just really forgot to mention it. It gives them time to think, your younger sisted used to do that sometimes, back in Kyoto.
"Y/N, wanna watch anything?"
"Sure, have you watched Parasyte before?"
"No, let's give it a try then!" Itadori glances at the remote, then back at you - making you confused over his hesitation to move. He notices you noticed it, chuckling nervously. "To be honest, I don't wanna let go."
"It's hurting my back."
"SORRY I'M SORRY!" He jumped away from you like a cat would jolt away from a cucumber, making you snicker.
"It's okay, I just wanted to change positions."
And to tease you, but he didn't need to know that part.
He glared at you with a small pout, typing the initials of Parasyte on the search bar. Outside his line of vision, you were grinning like a idiot, his sweeteness took a tow on you. All the people of Tokyo you met really held a way different spirit from your classmates in Kyoto, Itadori being the nicest of all. It's surprising him being Sukuna's vessel to begin with; being honest, you felt drawn by it.
"Y/N, it's startiiiiing." He cut your daydreaming short, slumping on your side and propping his head on your shoulder.
"This again?" You throw an arm around his shoulders, very much like the first time he cuddled himself on you.
"Don't blame me, you're the one who wanted to change positions. Guess I'll just make some alterations since I'm awake this time!" One of his arms went behind your back and circled your waist, hand resting at your hip.
"It's definely different, since the other time you drooled on me."
"Hhgh, okay okay! Let me enjoy this." For perhaps the actual first time, you're able to watch without exchanging words with one another.
And this time, it's you who's head loll to the side, nose buried on his soft rose perfumed hair. Itadori doesn't comment on it yet, his free hand moves under your legs to lift your whole body up efortlessly when he senses you have fallen asleep.
"I remember you said it's bad for my spine, I wouldn't mind it... yours however."
The boy makes a beeline to the guest room, he sighs when there is no choice but open the door with his foot. Inside, he places you carefully in the soft bed.
Before he could leave, a hand reaches up for his sleeve.
"Itadori," He turned, looking at you. "Make me company?"
He giggles softly - you think it sounds like a highschool girl. "You should start calling me by my first name!" Itadori rambles as he climbs on the bed, arms wrapping around your waist in a motion you're familiar with.
"Yuuji, I'm tired, let me sleep."
"But I wanna talk more..." He pouts. "Also, are we, um, dating?"
You wriggle around, bringing his head down to peck on his forehead, teasing. "Correction, I want to date you."
"Uh, oh." A blush coats his face so quickly, you'd say someone dumped a bucket of red paint on his face.
"Is that a no?"
"So it is a no."
"Christ, will you stop teasing for a second, I'm trying to talk here." He makes an angry version of his togepi-kirby face, you can't help but grin.
"You amuse me, but okay. I'll do it for you."
"Thanks." He blinks, the blush slowly fading away. "You know, I lied, not about the contact, I like the contact nonetheless-"
His hand moves to play with yours, such as tapping his tips against yours, or meassuring the palms.
"-it's you who brings me comfort."
It's also your turn to blush, that line was seriously charming.
"Yes, we're dating now." You respond, a little eagerly. "Can I kiss you?"
This is the best person I could ask for, Itadori thinks, keeping his eyes open as yours shut during the kiss, whom I won't change for anything else in this world.
When you both separate, Itadori feels drowsy and sleepy. His face fits perfectly on your shoulder as always.
"Goodnight, my favorite person."
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itwoodbeprefect · 1 year
i’m doing it!! i’m watching the ben stiller owen wilson starsky & hutch movie!!
this post is live watch: part 1, because i still have around fifty minutes of movie to go as of posting this, but for now:
“that’s me in the leather jacket and tight jeans.” yeah dude. perfect starsky so far.
HONESTLY ben stiller has the starsky run down. the scenery is perfect so far. the music hits just right. the ridiculous jumps stiller!starsky makes are exaggerated to just the right level to be comical in a not too overstated parody way. this is SOLID.
but then we get to hutch and ?
it’s FASCINATING to me that they made starsky the dedicated by the books being-a-cop-is-the-best-thing-there-is cop and hutch the corrupt jaded basically-openly-a-criminal cop. i mean. i guess? i don’t know if this would’ve been better the other way around. i think the hutch role here would’ve been weird for either of them. genuinely wild choice.
STARSKY’S MOM WAS A COP? okay, this, again, i like. this is good. (it’s probably going to come back to haunt me when she shows up and awful jokes abound, but for now, this is amazing.)
he’s had twelve partners. holy shit. i knew this was an origin movie (which to be honest, feels like an odd choice to start with, but whatever) but i kind of... assumed that meant we were starting at the academy. we are not.
fjdk oh wait starsky’s mom is dead. rip.
hnnnnnng. starsky and hutch meet (they know each other, but they’re on screen together for the first time) and they talk to each other in a way that Does Not Fit anything i could see spinning off from the show (i get that’s the point, they’re working towards that in this movie, but still, they sound weird) and then! we get the captain (dobey? idek) yelling “hey! why! are! you! touching him!” and see, there, that fits them. there’s a little bit of them there.
huggy is not only snoop dogg in this movie, he’s also the godfather. sitting in front of a tank of fish granting people that kiss his golden hand protection. damn.
slacker hutch: “you’ve never stopped and bought yourself a cup of coffee?” nerd starsky: [long outraged stare] “i bring a thermos.” fjdkfd okay so. these characters are not starsky and hutch, but that was a funny exchange. it’s just. this dynamic the movie’s got going on between them, i get why they’re going for that (it’s an origin story! you need friction to go from enemies to lovers buddies if that’s for some reason what you’re aiming at!) but it... is not in any way something that would fit as a backstory for show!starsky-and-hutch. which is fine, i guess, it just means they slapped a known property name and aesthetics onto a very generic buddy cop enemies to buddies movie with two entirely different characters, and that leaves the whole thing feeling a little hollow. very few people watch the show for the background music and the dirty street exterior - they’re there for the characters.
anyway i’m only ten minutes in. i have to like, actually watch this movie, maybe.
tangent, but i watched serpico yesterday (the 1973 pacino movie) and so far starsky walking into huggy’s with his new police partner and finding out hutch is striking backroom deals with criminals feels like an extremely weird fever dream 2000s parody version of that. when does stiller get a sheepdog and a mouse, that’s what i want to know.
i like huggy’s muscle’s luxembourgh comparison for its out of nowhereness but they go “technically it’s a part of europe, but in reality, they govern themselves” and maybe i don’t know enough about luxembourgh but look, like, yeah. assuming europe means the european union that’s just. kinda how it works my dudes.
starsky shoots an iguana’s tail off??? bad starsky!!!
hutch owes a kid in his neighborhood money because that’s funny but oh my god. oh my god who is this guy.
hutch’s weird beige dented ford is replaced by a “camper slash pickup truck” and this is the first hutch update where i’m like yeah!! yeah!!!
sorry i know i keep saying this but. starsky as the uptight one is just such a choice. such a goddamn choice.
the way these cheerleaders are written hurts my soul.
huggy about his car which is a model that won’t be out until next year: “i know some people that know some people that rob some people.” djfkd. this huggy? he’s okay. he can stay.
the locker room scene made me have to put my head in my hands but starsky and hutch wearing hand towels when there were also big towels available, that part tracks.
STARSKY gets the cowboy hat for their undercover moment? excuse me? show hutch is crying in a corner right now. why would you do this to him.
starsky: “i house sit for my sister all the time.” starsky has a sister here so ??? i can only assume that means nick came out and goes by nicky now. i’m filling in movie starsky’s family backstory and it’s good. we’re doing great together, movie.
okay yeah you know what, RIGHT after he says he has a sister he’s like “just be who you are. THAT’s what’s really cool!” so yeah. nicky is a trans woman and her brother dave house sits for her all the time. so glad that she got her life together and seems to somehow own a house now.
big earl is an awkward queercoded character because of course he is. sure. that’s what this script needed.
starsky in this sweater with a “kiss the cop” apron on the other hand? now THAT’S what a script needs, for real.
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starsky to hutch: “i’ve always had a thing for blondes.” ... that was intentional, right? pretty sure that was intentional.
and then hutch serenades starsky with a guitar while ignoring the two cheerleaders. is it wrong to say that this is finally a hutch that feels like show hutch? would that be too fandom goggles of me? would i truly be wrong if i said that?
anyway here’s another starsky in that sweater screenshot because it’s good, and the cup he’s using (to drink coffee accidentally laced with cocaine, but whatever) also deserves the screen time:
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okay okay ignore the rest of what’s happening but THIS JACKET. it’s great but i feel like movie starsky stole half of show hutch’s clothes:
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okay, i’m at 46 minutes and 35 seconds (out of 100 minutes), i think they’re about to have a dance-off (that’s a thing that happens, right?) and it’s also very deep into the night irl, so i’m going to take a break here.
general judgment so far: i like it! it’s fun! you can tell that they tried! it’s also really hecking weird and not always quite in the right way. stiller’s starsky is very close to perfect even if the character’s a little off (who thought starsky was low key uncool??? i just want to talk), but ben stiller has the body language down, and that just does so much heavy lifting. meanwhile owen wilson’s hutch is... really dubious. which isn’t entirely owen wilson’s fault because he’d probably have been better off if he’d actually been able to play, uh. hutch. instead of whoever this is. rip hutch. i hope you’re out there somewhere living your cowboy dreams while this guy runs around bay city using your name.
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ceealaina · 2 years
Title: Crashing Through Your Door Ship: IronHusbands Rating: Teen Major Tags: Pre-Iron Man 1, Fake/Pretend Relationship, Friends to Lovers, Mutual Pining Card Number: 5023 (Tony Stark Bingo) 3002 (IronHusbands Bingo Square: R4 - Mutual Pining (Tony Stark Bingo) B4 - Fake Dating (IronHusbands Bingo) Link: AO3 Summary: To give himself a break, Tony's been using a made-up boyfriend to get out of meetings. He gets to stay home and tinker, the board things he's settling down, it's a win-win situation. Right up until Obie decides he wants to meet this boyfriend that's taking up so much of his time. 
But what kind of best friend would Rhodey be if he didn't step up to be Tony's fake boyfriend? Tony’s nothing short of relieved and so Rhodey dresses up to be his date to the gala-of-the-week except wow, pretending they’ve secretly been in love for the past year is way easier than it should be... Word Count: 9237
Rhodey jogged down the stairs of Tony’s shiny new Malibu “beach house” (the thing was ridiculously large if you asked him, but Tony hadn’t) and let himself into the workshop. “Honey, I’m home!” he called out, blinking when he was met with a dark room. “Tones? JARVIS said you were down here.” 
There was a faint groaning noise from the far corner, and when Rhodey turned the lights on, he found Tony sitting in a chair, slumped over his desk with his face buried in his arms. 
“Oh no,” Rhodey deadpanned, picking his way through bits of machinery to kick Tony’s foot. “What did you do now?” 
“I fucked up,” Tony moaned, the words muffled by his position. He lifted his head to peer at Rhodey, looking bleary in the face of sudden brightness. “Your concern for me is overwhelming, by the way. Really feeling the love here, Rhodes.” 
Rhodey shrugged, unperturbed. “Your world is ending like every other week, and I was promised pizza and beer -- which I even brought because I’m an amazing friend -- so… If you’re gonna have a breakdown can we at least do it where there’s food?” He gave Tony a broad grin and a wink, and Tony rolled his eyes, trying to hide his own fond smile as he pushed back from the table. 
“Yeah, alright, let’s go.” 
When they were upstairs and he could get a better look at him, Rhodey had to admit that Tony was looking a little more frazzled than usual. His hair was extra fluffy, like he’d run his hands through it about fifty times, and his fingers were tapping out a constant jittery rhythm against his thigh. Rhodey waited until they were settled in front of some action movie, but when Tony wasn’t forthcoming with any information, Rhodey nudged his side. “Hey. You gonna tell me what’s bugging you?”
Tony groaned again, burying his face in his hands. “You’re gonna make fun of me,” he whined.
Rhodey smiled, even if Tony couldn’t see it. “Probably,” he agreed easily. “Tell me anyway?” 
Tony huffed and pouted and squirmed but eventually he relented, shifting to sit sideways on the couch and face Rhodes. “Okay, so.” He sighed heavily. “You know, I’m head of SI now.”
“Really?” Rhodey drawled. “I hadn’t heard.” 
Tony elbowed him hard in the side. “So there’s all this… Stuff that goes along with that. Like I wasn’t looking forward to the board meetings, but at least I expected those? But there’s all these other meetings, like fifty a day were nothing actually gets done, and there are the charity events, and the gladhanding, and the ‘come meet a friend of a friend of a friend of mine,’ and I have to be on all the time and -- Obie wanted me to learn squash, Rhodey. Squash.” 
“Aww, come on. Bet you’d be cute in those little white shorts.” 
“I hate you.” Tony told him. “Anyway, it’s a lot, and sometimes I just want to take a break and go hang out in the lab and build stuff, you know?” 
“Do I know that you’d rather be a reclusive little lab gremlin? Yeah, I’d noticed that once or twice,” Rhodey teased. 
“Whatever.” Tony squirmed again, clearly embarrassed, and Rhodey waited. “So, you know, to get out of doing stuff when I just really, really wasn’t feeling it, I, uh… I maybe told Obie that I was seeing someone?” 
Rhodey blinked at him. “Oh no.”
Tony sighed heavily. “Oh yes.” 
He sounded so forlorn that Rhodey couldn’t help but laugh at him, only laughing harder when that made Tony whine and try to smother himself with a throw pillow. “Tones, I say this because I love you, but how is someone this smart this fucking stupid?” 
“I know, okay?” Tony wailed, accidentally throwing the pillow across the room as his arms flailed in emphasis. “I don’t know, it seemed like a great plan at first. It’s not like I was hurting anyone. The board even liked the idea that I was maybe settling down a little. So they’re relaxing a little, I get a night off… Everyone’s happy.” 
“Until it blew up in your face, like your hare-brained plans always do?” Rhodey guessed. 
“I resent that,” Tony told him. “JARVIS turned out fine. Didn’t you, J?” 
“I haven’t started taking over the world yet,” JARVIS agreed. “Although I do have several contingencies in place.” 
“Everyone’s conspiring against me,” Tony sighed, head tipping backwards to pout up at the ceiling. 
Rhodey laughed, poked him in his side. “So what went wrong? Now Obie wants to meet this amazing boyfriend of yours?” 
 “Insisted on it,” Tony agreed. “Wants me to bring him to the firefighter thing next week. I’m pretty sure he’s on to me. He’s probably trying to force me to confess. Humiliate me so I learn my lesson. So obviously, I can’t give in.” 
“Perish the thought,” Rhodey told him dryly, although really, he’d seen the effects of Obie’s brand of tough love. He couldn’t exactly blame Tony for not wanting to admit the truth, especially given how harmless the whole thing really was. God forbid Tony get a break every once in awhile. 
“I just don’t know what I’m gonna do,” Tony groaned, scrubbing his hand through his hair again, leaving it standing up in all directions. “I can’t tell him. I thought about faking a breakup, but Obie’s not dumb. I break up with my long-term boyfriend days before he’s supposed to finally meet him? I might as well just tell him in that case. So my only option would be to get someone to fake it, but there’s no way that doesn’t blow up in my face. It can’t be anyone from work, and I don’t really know anyone else. I guess I could hire an escort, but how would they learn everything they’d need to know in time? You know that Obie would try and get them to slip. Plus, it’s not like I can get legal to just write up an NDA here. With my luck I’d end up blackmailed or something…” 
Tony was working himself into an epic ramble, and Rhodey nodded along before shrugging. “Or I could just do it.” 
Tony had already been off on another tangent, but as Rhodey’s voice caught up to him he stopped mid-word, staring at him. “I -- what?” he asked and Rhodey could already see his mind working overtime, trying to parse out what he was saying. 
He laughed. “Or I could just do it,” he repeated. “Come on, dude. I already know everything about you, so I’m not gonna slip. And let’s face it, if I was gonna blackmail you, I would have done it ages ago. We went to college together, I’ve got way better shit than a fake boyfriend.” He nodded as he thought through the logistics. “Yeah, this’ll totally work.”
Tony blinked at him. “Really? Really. You think so. You have met Obie, right? No way he’s buying that. He’d be all, ‘Tony m’boy. I’ve known Jim since you first brought him home for Thanksgiving. You expect me to believe he’s this secret boyfriend of yours? No reason to hide that away!’”
Rhodey snorted; Tony’s Obidiah impression was a little too spot on. “Yeah, like he wouldn’t have had a shit fit if he thought we actually were dating. All the more reason to tell him it’s me. We’ll make him squirm a little. And, I don’t know. Just tell him because it was new, and a change in our relationship, we wanted to keep it under wraps. Have some time to ourselves, get a feel for what this meant…”
Tony scratched the side of his nose. “You’re weirdly smart sometimes, you know that?” he asked, which wasn’t exactly a no. 
“The same excuse will work when we ‘break up’ later. Just tell him that now that we’re in the public eye, we’ve realized we’re better off as friends. No hard feelings, no big drama, no ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ just… Friends.”
“I…” Tony considered this, closed his mouth, blinked, and opened it again. “But…” He closed his mouth again and then sank back into the cushions. “You really think it’ll work?” 
Rhodey laughed. “Have I ever let you down?” 
“Constantly,” Tony replied immediately, but he was grinning. “Shit. I mean… You make some good points.” He drew a deep breath, mind still running over all the outcomes, and then nodded, a smile growing over his face as he got onboard. “Yeah, okay. I think this’ll work.” 
One week later, Rhodey was meeting up with Tony in an all-night coffee shop a couple blocks away from the gala, like some kind of Cold War spy fantasy. Apparently Obie had been planning to hang around Tony’s place beforehand, and Tony thought things would run more smoothly if they ‘introduced’ Rhodey at the gala, where there would be lots of wealthy investors to distract him. 
There was a little bell over the door that chimed when Rhodey stepped in, and immediately he saw Tony’s head snap up from a table at the far end of the shop. “Rhodey! Hey!” he said, bouncing with nerves like this was an actual first date and not his best friend. Rhodey arched an eyebrow as he reached the table and spotted the two mugs of coffee. 
“You sure you need those?” he asked, grinning to try and set Tony at ease. “You already seem jittery enough for the two of us.” 
“One of them’s for you,” Tony grumbled. “Leave me alone, I’m kind of stressed right now.” 
“I don’t think coffee’s gonna help, man. You look like you’re gonna bounce through the roof.”
“I hate you,” Tony informed him, huffing as he folded his arms across his chest and hunched over in his chair. “You’re doing a terrible job so far, by the way. I thought the deal was you’d pretend to be besotted with me, not tell me how dumb I look.” 
“You do look dumb,” Rhodey told him. “That’s what I like about you.” Then, when that finally got a hint of a smile on Tony’s face, “You want me to do besotted? I can do besotted.” He made a show of looking Tony up and down, eyes lingering over his chest and arms and the peak of thigh that he could see slipping under the table before sliding back up to make eye contact again. He tilted his head a little, letting a slow smile spread over his face as he glanced at Tony from under his eyelashes. “You look good tonight, Tones,” he purred, letting his voice drop down to his flirting voice, low and velvety. Then he grinned wide, shifting his voice back to normal. “That besotted enough for you?:
“Uh.” Tony blinked at him and swallowed hard, before shaking his head. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s… Good. Great. Yeah.” He jumped to his feet then, not seeming to notice the untouched coffees. “We should go.” 
There was the usual flurry of paparazzi outside the event, but Rhodey had been to enough of these events that his appearance wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. He knew this was more for SI than the media (the last thing Tony would need was a bunch of reporters hounding him about his breakup later) but he figured it couldn’t hurt to start selling it on the way in. Tony jumped a little when Rhodey’s hand settled on the small of his back, even though they shared casual touches about a million times a day, but he looked over at Rhodey with a small smile as he steered him past the cameras and the questions and into the building. 
“Hey,” Rhodey leaned in close so they wouldn’t be overheard. “You really do look good tonight, man. That suit suits you.” 
Tony snorted at that, but he seemed to relax a little too. “Wow, Rhodes,” he drawled. “Such a way with words.” He laughed though, and his eyes were sparkling and pleased. Then he shoved Rhodey and Rhodey shoved him back and they made their way down the hotel hall like that, laughing as their shoulders bumped together. 
As soon as they stepped inside the ballroom though, Tony stopped. Rhodey’s hand had resettled on his back and Rhodey could feel him tense as he spotted Obie, standing across the room and chatting up a bunch of rich-looking men in expensive suits. 
“Deep breaths, Tones,” Rhodey told him, shifting his hand slightly in a barely-there rub of Tony’s back. Tony glanced at him again, but his smile was tight now, eyes pinched at the corners. 
“Come on. Let’s get this over with,” he muttered -- but he did take a deep breath. 
When they joined the group it took a minute before Obie spared them a glance (though Rhodey had no doubt that he knew they were there and was just pulling yet another Obadiah power move). When he spotted Rhodey, his expression shifted, souring slightly before settling into something almost smug. He excused himself with a jovial smile, walking in the direction of the bar without waiting to see if Rhodey and Tony were following him. Rhodey heard Tony sigh softly, and he gave his forearm a quick squeeze.
Obie came to a stop, looking back and forth between them like they were misbehaving children, and finally settled his gaze on Tony, arching an eyebrow. “What’s this? I thought you were going to bring your boyfriend, Tony. Hmm? We had an agreement.” 
Personally, Rhodey thought that an ‘agreement’ was an odd way to refer to meeting your godson’s significant other for the first time. 
Beside him, Tony shifted nervously. “I, uh… I did.” 
Obie blinked and made a show of looking around the room. “And where is he, then?”
“Um, well. I… I mean…” 
Obie cut Tony off with a heavy, exaggerated sigh. “Tony, we’ve discussed this. You’re too old to be pulling this kind of nonsense. You’ve got responsibilities, you can’t just run around doing whatever you want. If the board --,” 
“It’s Rhodey!” Tony blurted out suddenly, eyes wide. He grabbed Rhodey’s hand half a beat later, tangling their fingers together as he held Rhodey’s hand up for proof. Rhodey gave his hand a quick squeeze in return. “Surprise?” 
Obie stared back at them, actually looking taken aback for once. “You’re kidding,” he said flatly. But Rhodey could tell that Tony’s nervousness was actually working in his favour, that Obie wasn’t quite sure that it wasn’t true. 
“Nope,” Rhodey told him, meeting Obie’s gaze head on before turning back to Tony with the softest smile he could manage. It wasn’t too difficult with Tony looking as nervous as he did, and the sweet little smile that Tony gave him in return looked a lot more real than it had before. “You know how it goes,” he added. “We were just hanging out late one night, playing video games, everything normal. And I just looked at Tony and thought, ‘wow, I have to kiss that man.’ So I did and it was everything I didn’t know I’d been missing.” He rubbed his thumb over Tony’s hand, obvious enough that Obie would track the movement. “I guess it’s been simmering for awhile, you know? Just didn’t realize it until right then.” 
Apparently Rhodey had his smitten face down pat because Obie’s posture eased slightly, though he still looked somewhat suspicious. “Alright,” he said finally. “I suppose congratulations are in order.”
He didn’t sound particularly congratulatory. 
“Behave yourself, boys,” he told them before abandoning them in favour of a potential investor across the room. 
Immediately, Tony sagged against Rhodey, the air leaving his lungs in a rush. “Oh god,” he groaned, head falling against Rhodey’s shoulder. “I need like seventeen drinks. Jesus Christ.” 
Rhodey huffed out a laugh. “Come on, sugartits. I’ll buy you a drink. I know how to take care of my man.”
“It’s an open bar, asshole,” Tony protested, but he let Rhodey tug him over to the counter. “Also, I object to ‘sugartits’ being my nickname, what the fuck?” 
“Hey man, I’m just trying to sell the bit.” 
“Seriously though. Sugarass maybe, cause, I mean, look at me. But sugartits? Come on Rhodes, do better.” 
Rhodey snorted, automatically placing Tony’s drink order along with his own. “Just think of it as payback for all the dumbass nicknames you’ve given me over the years,” he offered. 
“But those come from a place of love!” Tony insisted, laughing at Rhodey’s eyeroll. 
“Sure, Tones. Whatever you say.”  He turned to pass Tony his drink and found him watching him with a look on his eyes that he couldn’t quite place. “What? Something on my face?” 
“No,” Tony told him. “I just… I like the story you made up there. About how we got together? That was… Nice.” Then he shifted, clearing his throat. “A nice touch, I mean. I think you really sold it. Anyway! I think they’re bringing out dinner soon. Should we go sit?” 
“Yeah, sure,” Rhodey said, a little nonplussed; Tony seemed even more frenetic than usual. “Let’s go.” 
Dinner could have gone better. Tony was jumpy and twitchy, hyper focused on his food and constantly losing track of the conversation. Rhodey knew it was nerves, but that didn’t mean much when the board members they were seated with kept giving them odd looks and Obie’s expression was growing more and more suspicious. 
They were waiting for dessert when Tony’s arm twitched and caught his (thankfully mostly empty) wine glass, sending it wobbling precariously on the tablecloth. Rhodey’s hand snapped out automatically, catching it before it could fall and ruin the tablecloth along with everyone's fancy clothes. And then, because Tony was going to blow his own cover before the dancing even started, he curled his hand over Tony’s on the table, threading their fingers together. Tony turned and blinked at him, and Rhodey gave his hand a quick squeeze but didn’t let go. He grinned at him and a beat later Tony was grinning back, tension easing out of his body. 
They’d decided beforehand that they’d keep it simple, no PDA or soppy love declarations, wanting to be believable. But Rhodey figured that it wouldn’t hurt to turn up the romance a little, so he kept hold of Tony’s hand, only letting go when dessert was served and Tony needed his hand back to eat. 
They’d both chosen different dessert options, and Tony’s French chocolate-whatever looked absolutely delicious. Rhodey eyed it, consideringly, and after a few bites of his own dessert, he leaned over and stole a not-insignificant piece of Tony’s. The absolutely scandalized look that Tony gave him had him laughing, nearly choking on his bite -- which was just as delicious as it had looked. 
“What?” he asked, giving Tony a sugar-sweet smile in return. 
“That’s my dessert!” he protested. “You’ve got your own.” He gestured wildly at Rhodey’s plate with his fork, and Rhodey just shrugged back at him. 
“Perks of dating,” he told him, leaning in close and dropping his voice. “Sugarass,” he added, getting a snicker out of Tony in response. 
“You’re an idiot,” he grumbled, and then snatched a bite of Rhodey’s dessert in return. 
“Hey,” Rhodey protested right back at him, slapping at Tony’s fork with his own. Tony huffed at him, slapped his fork in return, and a beat later they were in a mini fork battle. Out of the corner of his eye Rhodey could see Obie glaring at the two of them, looking utterly unimpressed, but it was worth it for the way Tony was laughing, finally looking at ease. Rhodey’d always thought that Tony had a great laugh, so anything he could do to make it happen was a win in his book. 
Obie lasted until the instant the music started up for the dancing and then he was gripping Tony’s arm, pulling him to his feet with just a little more force than necessary. “Tony. I have some contacts for you to meet. I told them you’d be here, and they’d be a real asset to SI, so…” He trailed off, leaving whatever his implication was supposed to be hanging, and Tony turned his head enough to give Rhodey a truly epic eye roll. 
“Alright,” he sighed, not even pretending that he wasn’t completely put out by the idea. Rhodey winked back at him, and the pinched look around Obie’s lip tightened. 
“I trust you can occupy yourself for a few minutes,” he added, giving Rhodey a pointed eyebrow raise. 
Rhodey gave Obie a bland look in return. “Yup. I’ll manage,” he drawled, barely getting the words out before Obie was dragging Tony away. Tony shot him a pained look over his shoulder and Rhodey offered a commiserating eye roll. 
These events were always truly boring when Tony wasn’t around to occupy his attention. Rhodey polished off his own dessert and then finished the last few bites of Tony’s just for good measure -- he could consider it payment in kind for the entire night. Then, when the rest of their table had cleared out, he grabbed a drink and made the rounds, chatting with the few SI employees that he knew, getting hauled into conversations with a few people that he didn’t. He’d fended off no less than three horny old ladies (they were always a sucker for the military dress uniform) when he decided it had probably been long enough that he could rescue Tony again. 
He found him sitting at an empty table, nursing a half full glass of scotch and looking absolutely drained. Rhodey sighed briefly and then moved over to join him, taking the seat beside Tony and nudging his foot against his ankle. “You alright?” 
Tony looked up quickly, giving him a smile that was just a little too bright. “Yeah, yeah, I’m good. Just… You know…” 
He didn’t have to specify what, but Rhodey nodded anyway. Then he pried the glass out of Tony’s hand, setting it on the table, and tangled their fingers instead. “Come on,” he said, standing up.
Tony resisted him a little just because, leaning back in his seat and arching an eyebrow up at Rhodey. “Where are we going?” 
Rhodey winked at him. “Come on, now. What kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn’t ask you for at least one dance, huh?” 
Tony smiled all soft and sweet, like he could hide how happy that made him. “Yeah, alright,” he agreed, slowly getting to his feet with his hand still tangled in Rhodey’s. “Let’s dance.” 
There was a brief moment of confusion when they landed on the dance floor, and Tony, who had apparently never been led before (which was something of a tragedy, if you asked Rhodey) wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hands. But Tony wasn’t the only one who could dance, thank you very much, so Rhodey got him settled and led him over the dance floor in a fast-paced waltz. Their form was terrible, Rhodey was pretty sure, but he didn’t particularly care when Tony was beaming, giggling into his shoulder when they nearly took out an older couple on their way by. 
They made it through two and a half songs before the music shifted into something slower and softer. Tony tensed for a bare second, but Rhodey didn’t let him go, just tightened his arm around Tony’s waist, and a beat later he was sinking into it, relaxing in Rhodey’s arms. 
“Thank you for this,” Tony said softly, eyes somewhere around Rhodey’s collarbone. “This is… This is nice.”
Rhodey just hummed and pulled Tony in a little closer. “Yeah,” he agreed, something warm and familiar settling in his stomach. “Yeah, it is.” 
There was another beat and then Tony shifted and leaned in, resting his cheek against Rhodey’s shoulder as the two of them swayed slowly to the beat of the music. The warm feeling in Rhodey’s stomach grew, something familiar and comfortable settling deep inside him. Tony sighed softly, breath fluttering against the base of Rhodey’s neck, and Rhodey felt his heart stop. 
Oh shit. He was in love with his best friend. 
Tony must have felt him tense slightly because he pulled back to look up at him. “This alright?” he asked quietly, and there was something in his eyes, something nervous and wanting. 
Just like that Rhodey felt his heart start up again, comfortable and easy and exactly how everything was supposed to me. “Yeah,” he said, pulling Tony in closer still until they were pressed chest to chest. “This is just fine.” 
The rest of the night passed in a blur of drinking and dancing and schmoozing and more drinking, and every time Rhodey looked over at Tony he could feel his smile growing wider. Now that he’d realized, it seemed so obvious; of course he was in love with Tony. He had been for years. He’d always known he’d felt different about Tony, that he was special. He just hadn’t been able to put a finger on exactly how before. And now that he had, everything felt right. 
And he was pretty sure that he wasn’t alone in his feelings. He knew what Tony looked like with a crush, the little smiles, the nervous giggles, the way he got so sweet. Rhodey had just never expected to see those signs directed at him, so he figured he could be forgiven for missing them until now. But now that he had seen it, he was going to take full advantage. 
When the night was over the two of them slipped outside, arms wrapped around each other. Rhodey hadn’t realized just how drunk he was until he hit the fresh air, stumbling a little down the steps, and he let Tony pour him into the car they were sharing home. There was no actual  reason for them to go back to the same place so Happy would drop Rhodey off at his apartment first, and he couldn’t help being a little disappointed about that. He thought about suggesting that they both go back to Tony’s place anyway, in case Obie decided to check up on them maybe, but coming up with a valid reason felt like too much effort. Instead he looked over at Tony and grinned wide. 
“What?” Tony asked, laughing a little at Rhodey’s expression. Clearly he hadn’t drunk as much as him, or at least he was handling it better if he had. 
Rhodey just shook his head. “I’m gonna date you so hard,” he declared. 
When Rhodey woke up the next morning, it was with a wicked hangover. But after a hot shower, greasy food, and a few hours of mindless television, he had a plan. Really, Tony had given him the perfect opening with all this fake boyfriend stuff. Rhodey just had to… Take it up a notch or two. 
So once he was feeling a little more human again, he called Tony. It took a few rings for him to pick up, and when he finally did there was loud music blaring in the background that had Rhodey smiling.  
“Hey baby,” he drawled into the receiver, grinning when that got a snort out of Tony. 
“Obie’s not tapping the phones,” he told him. “You don’t have to keep playing boyfriend when he’s not around.” 
“Well see, there’s the thing,” Rhodey told him. “I figure we can’t ‘break up’ right away, otherwise Obie’s gonna know the whole thing was a fake and then what would the point have even been, right?” 
“Okay,” Rhodey agreed. “And I should probably go to a few more events with you too. Now that he knows, he’s gonna be even more suspicious if I just keep leaving you to attend things solo, right?” 
“I guess,” Tony agreed, sounding more confused than anything.
“Exactly,” Rhodey told him. “So I was thinking, if we’re gonna pull off something a little more long term, especially now that he’ll be over the surprise of it, we should probably get together and practice.” 
“Practice,” Tony repeated, sounding even more confused. “You want to practice being my boyfriend?” 
“Well, you know…” Rhodey hedged, because yes, that was exactly what he wanted, but he didn’t want to give all his cards away here. “Figure out pet names, and who sleeps on what side of the bed. Stuff like that.” 
“Are you still drunk?” Tony’s confusion had given way to amusement. “You think Obie’s gonna ask what side of the bed we sleep on?” 
“Well, no,” Rhodey admitted. “But somebody else might, and he could overhear it. We should just be prepared, is all.” 
Tony hummed on the other end of the line. “You know, if you wanted to hang out and have me buy your pizza, you just had to say so.” 
“You’re an asshole, Tones. I’m helping you, remember.” 
“Yeah, yeah, whatever you say.” There was a faint clatter from somewhere across the room, and Tony huffed out a laugh, low and warm. “I’ll be in the lab, come over whenever.” 
Rhodey showed up at Tony’s place a couple hours later, wielding the t-shirt that hugged his biceps just right and a bouquet of flowers. The doors opened for him automatically, but when he made his way down to the lab Tony was distracted by whatever he was working on and didn’t even hear him come in. Rhodey leaned against a table and waited, and when Tony showed no signs of even looking up, he finally cleared his throat. 
“So are we gonna hang out, or should I go away and give you and your screwdriver some alone time?” 
Tony turned then, a grin on his face, but whatever response he’d been going to give died as he took in the flowers in Rhodey’s hand. “Uhh…” He arched an eyebrow and met Rhodey’s eyes. “Did you bring me flowers?” 
Rhodey shrugged lazily, holding the bouquet out towards him. “I told you. Practice.” 
Tony blinked at him, a pleased little smile playing over his lips. “You’re weird,” he said, but he took the flowers and held them up to his nose, inhaling deeply even though they were just grocery store daisies and didn’t have much of a scent at all. 
Rhodey shrugged, and gave him that slow, easy grin that was his go-to pick up move (and that he’d practiced in the mirror before, not that he’d admit it). He held eye contact until Tony blinked away first, clearing his throat and squirming a little at the attention -- a definite good squirm. 
“Um, thanks,” Tony told him. “I’m gonna…” He trailed off, waggling the flowers a little, and headed for the stairs. “You thirsty? Hungry?” 
“I could eat,” Rhodey admitted. 
Tony nodded as he headed up the stairs, not waiting to see if Rhodey was following. “Wanna order in?” 
“Obviously,” Rhodey teased. “I’ve seen your kitchen. Pretty sure there’s been nothing edible in there for weeks.” 
“Wow, rude.” Tony’s protest was half-hearted and he shot a grin at Rhodey over his shoulder. “But probably not wrong. I should hire a life coach, or an assistant maybe.” 
“I thought that was JARVIS’s job.” 
“Alas,” JARVIS sighed. “I can only order the food, I have not yet developed the ability to get Sir to eat it.” 
“Okay,” Tony protested. “Now you’re both ganging up on me? So rude.”
Since he didn’t want to freak Tony out, Rhodey dialed it back down once they were in the kitchen, and Tony had tracked down a crystal pitcher that probably cost more than Rhodey’s rent to shove his grocery store flowers into. They bickered good-naturedly over the food like always, finally settling on Thai, and then Tony showed him the latest mods to his current favourite car while they waited for the food to arrive. Tony tipped the delivery guy an amount that took generous to a whole other level (something Obie constantly gave him shit for, but Rhodey happened to love about him) and then they settled in front of the enormous television to bicker some more over what movie they were going to watch. A normal, perfect evening.
He waited until they were both full and satisfied, the half full containers of leftovers littering the coffee table in front of them, and Tony was fully absorbed in the movie they’d finally settled on (Ghostbusters, again). Then, as subtly as he could manage and feeling a little like he was fourteen, Rhodey sank back into the overstuffed cushions and then stretched his arm out to hook over Tony’s shoulder. 
There was a beat, and while Tony didn’t quite tense up, he did go still. “Um.” 
When Rhodey chanced a glance over at Tony, he was looking back at him. His lips were pressed together,  but he looked amused again. 
“Whatcha doin?” 
Rhodey shrugged, and since Tony wasn’t giving any indication of being uncomfortable, he tightened his arm slightly, pulling him in against him a little. “Practice.”
 There was another beat and then Tony seemed to shrug as well, settling more comfortably against him, head pillowed against Rhodey’s shoulder as he went back to the movie. 
Rhodey’s voice was slurred as he answered the phone, squinting at his alarm clock. It took a minute for his blurry eyes to reconcile the display into actual numbers: 4:38 am.
“It’s me.” 
Tony’s voice sounded off slightly, softer, and Rhodey blinked a few times, trying to force himself into wakefulness. “Tones? You okay?” 
“Yeah!” Tony answered quickly, laughing a little. “Yeah, I’m fine. Promise.” 
Rhodey looked over at the clock again, suspicious now. “You just going to bed?” 
“Maybe?” Tony laughed again, and Rhodey could hear the genuine smile in his voice. “Sorry, I should have waited to call, I know. I just… I had to ask you a favour, and it’s really late notice already so even though it’ll probably be no, I thought if I don’t ask now then it’ll really be too late. And I meant to ask you before, I just… Didn’t.” 
“Tones.” Rhodey was laughing as he interrupted, rubbing at his eyes. “What is it?” 
“I, um… There’s another event tonight. Some charity something or other that I have to go to, and Obie’s been making comments about you, I don’t know if he really totally believes me, so uh…” There was a strange note in Tony’s voice, one that Rhodey was too tired to decipher. “I don’t suppose you want to come with me?” 
Rhodey grinned up at the ceiling, letting his eyes fall shut. “Yeah,” he hummed. “Course I’ll be your date tonight.” 
What with their conflicting, hectic schedules, Rhodey hadn’t actually seen Tony since the day after the gala, almost two weeks ago now. It was always good to see him when they’d been apart for awhile, but this time was even better, Rhodey taking an extra minute to take in the cut of Tony’s suit, the perfect way it fit when he showed up to pick him up. 
“You look good, man,” he told him. 
Tony rolled his eyes a little at the compliment, but when they got into the car, Rhodey could see the reflection of his pleased smile in the windshield. 
The gala could have been a repeat of the one before, the same people, the same food, the same tasteful, boring decorating scheme. This time, however, Obie was near the door when they came in, excused himself with a slight frown to meet them. 
“Tony,” he said in lieu of an actual greeting, looking him over with a critical assessing eye that made Rhodey want to tell Tony again just how good he looked -- doubly so when he noted the tiny little self-conscious ankle twist that Tony let slip under his godfather’s inspection. “Jim,” he added when Tony had apparently passed muster, turning to him with an arched eyebrow. “Tony didn’t tell me you were joining him tonight.” 
“Yes I did,” Tony grumbled mutinously, making Rhodey grin. 
They made it through the obligatory Obie small talk without Rhodey punching anything, and once he’d gone off to schmooze some more rich people, Rhodey elbowed Tony in the side. “I thought you said Obie was asking questions,” he teased. “I thought that was why you wanted me to be your date tonight.” 
“Shut up,” Tony grumbled, and Rhodey thought he could see a flush trailing up the back of his neck. “Come on, I’ll buy you a drink. Since you’re so hung up on being my date.” 
“It’s an open bar,” Rhodey huffed as he followed him, not caring that it was a repeat of Tony’s joke from the last time. “The drinks are free!” 
Tony grinned at him over his shoulder. “Guess that makes you a cheap date then, huh?” 
Rhodey managed to talk Tony into three slow dances this time, holding him close because he had to sell it, obviously. The flutter of Tony’s breath on his neck sent shivers through him every time, and by the end of the third dance, Rhodey was feeling a little drunk from it. Tony seemed more comfortable this time too, laughing and smiling at Rhodey more than usual, fluttering his eyelashes and playing up the boyfriend aspect, and the weight of all his attention and affection left Rhodey reeling. 
They had both drunk enough that, when the night started to wind down, Rhodey convinced Tony not to drive home. It was hot, the two of them flushed from dancing and drinking, and they headed outside to wait for the car he’d called. The air wasn’t much cooler outside, but it was a rare, misty night, and Tony turned his face up to the rain, eyes closed and a faint smile on his face at the refreshing sensation. Rhodey watched him, and wanted so badly to kiss him that he could almost taste it. He hadn’t yet, and while he probably could have pulled it off as part of the whole fake boyfriend thing, that felt like cheating somehow. He wanted Tony to kiss him, not some fake ruse version of himself. 
“Um…” Tony had looked back over at him, and Rhodey realized he had been caught staring. “You doing okay there, honeybear?” 
“Yeah.” Rhodey grinned at him, aware that his face was doing something a little dopey but not particularly caring. “Just tired.” 
“Well let’s get you to bed then, huh?” Tony asked before giggling as the innuendo caught up to him. “I mean home. To your bed. I mean…” He cut himself with a snort. “You know what I mean.” 
“Yeah, I know what you mean.” Rhodey agreed easily. 
Tony beamed at him and then nudged his arm. “Come on,” he said, wrapping a hand around Rhodey’s wrist almost without noticing. “That’s our car.” 
Rhodey grinned at the touch, even if he couldn’t help regretting that the night was over. “Hey Tony?” he asked as the two of them slid into the backseat of the car. “Want to grab lunch tomorrow?” 
Tomorrow ended up being three days later, because the both of them were entirely too busy, but that was nothing new. Tony was already waiting when Rhodey got there, doodling equations on a napkin, and he grinned at the sight of him. 
“Whatcha working on?” he asked, dropping into the seat opposite him. “Saving the world?” 
“Something like that.” Tony winked at him and then nodded as a server came out from the kitchen, balancing a tray laden down with burgers and beer. “Sorry,” he said, not sounding it at all. “I was starving and didn’t want to wait for you to get here, so I ordered for you.”
“So impatient,” Rhodey teased, kicking his ankle under the table. 
“Hey! It seemed nicer than making you sit there and watch me eat.” Tony stuck his tongue out at him as their plates were unloaded, immediately digging headfirst into his fries. Rhodey snorted as he reached for his own burger, grinning when he found it onion-free with extra pickles, just the way he liked it. 
“Thanks, man.”
The food was delicious, and Rhodey hadn’t realized just how hungry he was until he was digging in. Tony had ordered a massive amount of fries for both of them, but Rhodey couldn’t resist stealing some of Tony’s anyway. Of course then Tony had to retaliate by stealing Rhodey’s entire beer (before immediately ordering him another one). 
When they’d finished the majority of their food, they settled into talking and picking at their leftover fries. Neither of them was quite ready to leave yet, pretending they were still eating so they’d have an excuse to keep talking. Tony was in the middle of describing an idea he’d had to make cell phones better, eyes all wide and bright the way they got when he was really excited about something, and Rhodey couldn’t resist reaching across the table, curling his hands over Tony’s where it was resting against the laminate. Tony stuttered a little over his explanation, coming to a stop as he looked up at Rhodey with a small smile. 
Rhodey nodded, beaming at him. “Practice,” he agreed, feeling Tony’s hand squeeze briefly against his. 
They kept on like this, and although Tony didn’t make any moves himself, he didn’t seem to mind Rhodey moving on him, and Rhodey was pretty sure he was making progress. He seemed to expect the hand holding now, looked forward to it, even. He didn’t question Rhodey about it anymore, would just teasingly ask, “practice?” as their fingers twined together. The last time they’d been out for dinner, Tony’s hand had settled palm up on the table without him even seeming to realize, waiting for Rhodey to take it. 
They cuddled all the time now too, and while Tony had always been touchy feely, this felt like more. As soon as they had a chance to sit down together for more than a few minutes, Rhodey would wrap an arm around Tony’s shoulder and immediately he’d settle in against him with a soft little sigh like this was exactly where he belonged. It never failed to set something pleasant thrumming through every inch of Rhodey’s body. 
And while Tony had never been shy with the pet names, Rhodey had started adding his own. Nothing over the top, just slipping a ‘baby’ or a ‘sweetheart’ into conversation here or there. The first time he’d done it, not as a joke but as easy and natural as he said Tony’s name, Tony had actually stammered over whatever he’d been saying, an adorable flush colouring his cheeks before he regained his train of thought. He’d looked so ridiculously kissable in that moment that it was all Rhodey could do to stop himself. 
Rhodey slung an arm around Tony’s waist as they headed into yet another charity event. This one was more lowkey than normal, which Rhodey definitely wasn’t complaining about. Tony looked amazing in his jeans-and-leather-jacket combo, and Rhodey had never been happier to ‘pretend’ to be dating because there was now way he was going to be able to tear his eyes off Tony’s ass. 
They made it through a round of drinks before Rhodey realized something was missing, eyes narrowing slightly as he scanned the other attendants. “Hey Tones?”
“Where’s Obie? Don’t you usually want to get that over with first thing?” 
“Oh, uh…” Tony looked away quickly, acting like he was also scanning the room, but Rhodey knew him well enough to tell when he was faking it to avoid eye contact. “He must be running late.” 
“Late,” Rhodey repeated dryly, not believing a word of it. “That’s more your scene, last I checked. In fact, I’ve never known Obidiah Stane to be more than a second late in his life. He’s a stickler for it, it’s kinda his whole deal.” 
“Oh well, you know.” Tony shrugged, still not quite meeting Rhodey’s eyes, but there was a hint of a sheepish smile curling over his lips. “Things happen, traffic in LA, freak storms… There’s a first time for everything, right?” 
Rhodey snorted. “Is he even coming?” 
“Uh, you know…” Tony scratched at the back of his neck, and now there was a definite smile on his lips. “Maybe I got this event confused with another one?” 
“I don’t believe it!” Rhodey crowed. 
“Oh my god.” 
“Oh no, don’t you ‘oh my god’ me. I specifically remember you telling me that Obie insisted that I come tonight. Obie’s not even here, Tony.” He gave him his best grin then. “You know, if you wanted a date, all you had to do was ask.” 
Tony rolled his eyes, but he was grinning a little stupidly like he couldn’t help himself. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he insisted before curling his hand around Rhodey’s forearm and tugging. “Come on, Rhodes, dance with me.”
“Ohhh,” Rhodey teased, although he was already moving toward the dance floor, his arm back around Tony’s waist. “So now you want a dance.” 
“People will talk,” Tony offered lamely, still fighting back a smile. “Wonder what kind of asshole I’m dating if he won’t even give me a dance.” 
“Oh right, of course.” Despite his teasing, Rhodey didn’t hesitate to wrap his arm around Tony, drawing him close for a dance. This time Tony didn’t even pause, drawing in just as close until they were pressed chest to chest, Tony’s breath hot on his neck. Rhodey adjusted his hold, shifting them until his lips were almost pressed against Tony’s ear. “Well,” he offered, voice pitched low and smooth. “If Obie’s not even here, you wanna slip out early? Go back to my place, maybe, watch a movie?” 
Tony shivered as Rhodey’s breath tickled his ear. “Yeah,” he agreed, sounding out of breath. “Yeah, let’s do that.” 
Tony was uncharacteristically quiet in the car, peering out the window and lost in thought. He didn’t seem upset though, and when Rhodey finally caught his gaze in the window reflection, he gave him a bright smile. A beat later he slid a little closer on the bench seat, even though the cab driver hadn’t even recognized Tony and certainly wouldn’t have cared if they were supposed to be dating or not. 
The stillness went away as soon as they stepped through the door of Rhodey’s apartment, his typical manic energy coming back tenfold. He threw himself down on the couch like he belonged there before immediately getting up again. He went to peruse Rhodey’s movie shelf about five different times, every time getting distracted by nothing, opening cupboards and drawers and wandering away without closing them again and while rambling on about nothing the entire time. Rhodey watched him in amusement for a few minutes before coming over as he moved to open yet another drawer, curling his hands over Tony’s and holding them still. 
“You good, man?” 
Tony went silent, staring at him for a long minute, and then nodded slowly. “Yeah,” he said before blinking and turning abruptly toward the kitchen. “I’m hungry,” he announced. “Are you hungry? I want cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. Do you think there’s somewhere around here that will deliver chocolate cupcakes? Who has the best chocolate cupcakes in LA?” 
Rhodey snorted and shook his head. “Pretty sure all the bakeries are closed by now, but I’ve got some Duncan Hines cake mix in my cupboard somewhere. Will that do?” 
Tony grinned at him, a little sheepish. “Yeah,” he agreed. “That sounds good.” 
The cake mix, it turned out, was easy to find, right next to the muffin tins. The electric beater his mother had gifted him, however, was a whole other story. Rhodey set Tony to work measuring out the additional ingredients while he went rooting through the cupboard under his sink, finally emerging with dust in his hair and a triumphant, ‘ah-ha!’
Tony huffed out a laugh at the sight of him, his smile fond. He’d pulled off his suit jacket, leaving it draped haphazardly over a kitchen chair, and his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows. Rhodey got distracted for a moment, staring at the muscles in his forearms, and then shook himself out of it, nudging Tony away from the mixing bowl with his hip. 
“Move over, hot stuff. Time to let the master work.” 
Tony rolled his eyes. ��It’s cake mix, it’s pretty hard to fuck it up. You’re not special,” he grumbled. He was grinning though and hopped up on the counter, kicking his legs against the cupboards beneath him while Rhodey mixed and then poured out the batter.
With the muffin tins safely in the oven Rhodey stepped back over, giving Tony a kick of his own before he lost his security deposit. “Knock it off,” he told him, unfastening the beaters from the mixer and extending one to Tony. “Want one?” 
“Fuck yeah!” Tony beamed, making grabby hands. “Pass it over, honeybear.” 
Rhodey did as requested, stepping closer so the batter didn’t drip on the floor, and Tony took it with a contented little noise. Rhodey laughed at him, and then almost immediately forgot about his own beater as Tony started licking at the chocolate, head tilting to get just the right angle, tongue wiggling between the metal spokes. Rhodey had not thought this through. 
He didn’t know if he’d made a noise or what, but then Tony’s eyes flicked up to meet his. He lowered the beater slowly, eyes locked with Rhodey’s. Without quite meaning to, Rhodey took a step closer, heard Tony’s soft inhale in response, his tongue running self consciously over his lower lip. There was a fleck of chocolate there, and it took everything Rhodey had not to lick it off for him. He wanted to kiss him so badly, but something inside him stopped. He needed Tony to be the one to make that final move, needed to know that they were on the same page here, that Tony wanted this too, wasn’t just playing along with the world’s worst joke. 
And for a minute he thought Tony actually might. His lips parted on a soft exhale, upper body leaning in that much closer, this look on his face, like he wanted to just as bad as Rhodey. And he may have been the dumbest genius Rhodey had ever met, but he wasn’t this dumb. He had to know what was going on, that this was real. 
But then, abruptly, he was tilting his head away, sliding off the counter to pull back entirely and head across the kitchen. 
“I, um… I should go,” he said, not quite meeting Rhodey’s eyes. “Early day tomorrow.”
Rhodey arched an eyebrow at him, felt his heart sink. “The cupcakes aren’t even done! I thought you wanted cupcakes?” 
Tony gave him a pained smile. “Maybe next time,” he said, grabbing his suit jacket. “See you later.” 
He was gone a second later and Rhodey sighed, then thumped his head against the counter for good measure. Clearly, impossibly (although nothing was impossible when it came to Tony, he should have known that by now) Tony had missed every sign that Rhodey was serious about this. Which left the one thing he should have just done in the first place. 
Using his words. 
Rhodey was more than familiar with Tony’s tendency to dwell, so first thing the next morning he headed over to his place. It was early enough that the sun was barely up, fog rolling over the water below the house, but he wasn’t surprised when JARVIS directed him down to the workshop. 
Tony had clearly been working all night, his jacket abandoned just inside the door, and Rhodey winced as he stopped beside it, waiting for Tony to acknowledge him. His back was to the door, but he clearly knew Rhodey was there, body tense as he hammered away at something on the work table. He’d changed into sweatpants, but was still wearing his dress shirt from the night before, untucked and sleeves rolled up with a large grease stain above his right elbow. 
When a good thirty seconds had passed and Tony still hadn’t said anything, Rhodey sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. “Look man, I’m sorry. I thought… Well, I wasn’t thinking, obviously. But I’ll knock it off. I was never trying to make you uncomfortable, Tones, I promise.” 
Tony cursed under his breath as he missed, hammering the table instead, but then he put the hammer down, finally turning to face Rhodey. He looked absolutely destroyed, dark bags under his eyes, but he offered Rhodey a wan smile. 
“Well.” He shrugged one shoulder. “We can’t split up now. The bots have accepted you as their mother. U will be devastated.” 
He was playing it off as a joke, but Rhodey knew Tony. He could see the fear in his eyes, the worry that he might lose Rhodey completely, but even more than that, a bit of hope in his smile. Drawing in a deep breath, Rhodey crossed the room. 
“Okay, no more faking it,” he told him. “I like you, Tony. I mean, you’re my best friend in the entire world, but also, I like you.” 
Tony snorted at that, but he ducked his head and when he looked up at Rhodey again his smile was shy and pleased. “Yeah?” 
“Yeah,” Rhodey confirmed. “A lot. I kinda think about it all the time.” 
Tony was flat out beaming now. “So all the cuddling, and the hand holding, and the ‘practicing’?” 
“It was practice. It was… Practice for what I really wanted. And I probably should have said something when I first realized, but I’m saying it now. I really like you, Tony, and I want to be with you, and I don’t think I’m crazy in thinking that you might feel kind of the same--,”
Tony shook his head quickly, eyes wide. “No. No, I do.” 
Rhodey grinned. “Great. And I think we could really be something great. So, you know…” He took Tony’s hands in his, meeting his eyes so there could be no confusion. “Tony, go out with me, so we don’t have to break up.” 
Tony burst out laughing at that, bright and open and happy and Rhodey couldn’t help laughing with him. “Yeah,” he agreed after a minute, hand squeezing over Rhodey’s. “Yeah, that sounds pretty perfect.”
“Great,” Rhodey agreed. And then, because he’d been waiting for what felt like years, he used his grip on Tony’s hand to tug him in close, until they were pressed chest to chest. Tony yelped at the sudden movement, staring up at him with wide eyes, and while he was still caught off guard Rhodey leaned in, pressing their lips together. Tony made a startled noise, like somehow after all these he still hadn’t expected kissing. But it only took him a second to recover and then he was kissing Rhodey back, hands wrapping tight around Rhodey’s back as he parted his lips, tongues sliding together. 
They kissed until Rhodey thought he might actually pass out and pulled back, panting for air. Tony leaned back against the table and blinked up at him, a dazed smile on his face. “Wow,” he breathed. “That was… Wow.” He grinned wide when Rhodey just snorted at him and settled his hands on Rhodey’s hips, holding him close. “Hey, you know what I think we should do?” 
“What’s that?” 
Tony’s grin grew impossibly wider. “Practice.”
@ironhusbandsbingo @tonystarkbingo
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makeste · 2 years
BnHA Chapter 297: We’re Bustin’ Outta This Joint
Previously on BnHA: Horikoshi did his best to undo all of the good vibes from the Girl Power arc by killing off Midnight. It sucks and I still don’t like it, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, Not Killing Off Your One Female Teacher Character With Any Character Development was worth 30% of his grade for the semester, so it brought his average down all the way to a C-, and so he and his report card will just have to live with that. Meanwhile Ochako did some rescuing, and the other U.A. kids lay around unconscious and/or traumatized. The chapter ended with an abrupt cut to Tartarus, where AFO is apparently just chilling and waiting for the Nearly High Ends to come bust him free. What kind of a cliffhanger is that to leave your fans hanging on for three whole weeks. Who’s suffering more here, the characters or the readers.
Today on BnHA: Horikoshi is all “okay I know you all want to know what happens to Deku and Shouto and the rest, but have you considered finding out what happens to Overhaul and Muscular and Moonfish and New Girl Character instead?” Fandom is all, “you had us at New Girl Character.” Seiji’s dad is all, “I’m just going to say a bunch of stuff to help make sure none of the readers feel conflicted about cheering on a bunch of mass murderers escaping from prison.” Tomura is all, “dammit AFO why are you still here.” AFO is all, “shhh, Tomura, go back to sleep.” Tomura is all, “wtf but you’re literally hijacking my body and continuing to shred it to bits while we break into BnHA Alcatraz to recruit your own personal Suicide Squad.” AFO is all, “:).” Real!AFO is all, “HERE I AM, EVERYONE, SORRY TO KEEP YOU WAITING.” And then the chapter ends. Geez.
oh shit lol it’s a whole big fucking page all about Tartarus
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my very first thought was “that’s a long-ass fucking bridge”, and then I went to go google “longest bridges”, and Wikipedia was all “son there are literally a hundred and fifty bridges in the real world longer than 5km, and the longest one is actually 165km”, and I was all “oh shit I really don’t know jack shit about bridges.” then I looked at the list for a few more minutes and realized that the super-long bridges were all built over land, and that the longest bridge over water is only 38km. which is way more reasonable, but also still really fucking long though?? ngl I would freak the fuck out on that bridge. what does any of this have to do with Tartarus you ask?? absolutely nothing, I literally forgot I was reading a chapter for a sec lol uh
anyway, my parting thought on the bridge is that it kind of defeats the whole purpose of having a giant island fortress prison, but whatever. moving on
and the six levels thing is straight out of One Piece lol. something tells me BnHA’s prison break arc isn’t going to be quite as fun. hmm
so now we’re cutting to “the Bronze Gate”, which is the main entrance off of the bridge, and some goat-looking motherfucker is out here trying to become my new favorite character. bro
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ooh and now, giant robots!
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giant robots with machine guns. “I’m very sorry I killed off Midnight, makeste” you know what, fuck you Horikoshi. thinking you can buy my affections back so easily
does Gyges have six arms??? look how fucking calm he is announcing the code red security lockdown, holy shit. GYGES
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he came there himself?? so much for making the Noumus do his dirty work. and based on the speech bubble shape and font, this is still AFO talking
uh oh what’s happening
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is he using Decay or is his arm just sort of crumbling to pieces because he hasn’t had time to heal up yet? if it’s the former this prison break is going to set a record for shortest arc yet isn’t it
now we’re cutting to B10 which is apparently the lowest level. but do they mean lowest as in the least security, or lowest as in the deepest underground, a.k.a. the most security? idk it’s confusing and I think they should be more specific. is it B like in basement?? are there six levels or ten?? stupid Tartarus
anyway so the guards are talking about how Gigantomachia is scheduled to arrive tomorrow morning. heh. will there even be a Tartarus tomorrow morning
wow they’re talking about just killing him outright. damn
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I kinda feel like “prison guard” is one of those jobs that just sort of naturally attracts shitty people. anyways yeah, Seiji your dad is a real piece of work
and he’s even doubling down on it after the other guy repeatedly keeps trying to hush him up. dude we get it, you’re an asshole
ooh and now we’re getting an interesting look at the various prisoners, some of whom look suspiciously familiar!
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for starters, that’s definitely Moonfish in the upper left corner, I’m like 99% sure. not quite clear who that is across from him in the upper right, but it’s been a hot minute since we saw Muscular, so maybe?
and could that be Overhaul in the panel beneath him?? they’re not showing his face so I assume it’s someone we’d recognize, and he’s the only currently-incarcerated villain with that haircut as far as I can recall. though it seems weird that he’s not restrained more given his quirk. I thought Horikoshi mentioned in Ultra Analysis that he’d gotten it back somehow. eh well we will wait for answers
I don’t recognize the person to his left either (though she has an oddly familiar look to her?). but the person on the bottom right, next to Kurogiri... is it Stain?? the hair and body language are sure giving off Stain vibes. if someone had told the me from two years ago that I’d actually be excited to see Stain again I would have said you were full of shit. and yet here we are. these sure are interesting times
anyway so now the Code Red intruder alarm is blaring. and I gotta say, that one scene sure was effective at killing any sympathy I might have been inclined to feel for these guards lol. bring on the imminent massacre
“what horrible timing” lol yes. it’s almost as if they planned it that way
uh oh
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is he omae wa shindeiruing. watch your six, Mr. Prison Guard
oh shit
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WHAT DID I SAY. WHAT DID I FUCKING SAY. but nooo, you all were all, “but a bridge is more convenient!” VERY WELL THEN, LIE IN THE BED THAT YOU HAVE MADE
anyway so it’s the High Ends lol. I mean we already knew it was them. let’s just get on with it
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and it looks like it actually is Tomura again, too (as opposed to AFOmura)
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-- is he using Decay on himself?? is that what it is?? or no wait, is this just more of the weird side effect shit that’s been happening since he Awakened. actually yeah never mind that’s clearly what it is
y’all this man is out here having a full blown argument with himself
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so this is equal parts compelling and hilarious to me right now lol. like I feel so bad for Tomura, but I also lowkey want to see how far this escalates. like do you think he’d go as far as to punch himself in the face. where will this journey lead us
fucking look at this shit
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other people have already mentioned this, but with this scene especially it makes me really curious how they’re going to show this in the anime. will it be AFO’s voice coming out of Tomura’s mouth? or Tomura’s voice using AFO’s speech patterns? more importantly, will it be cool and dramatic, or will it actually wind up being hilarious? or both?? never count out both
also he’s looking pretty good there in that bottom panel with his one eye just barely visible. that doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but here I am, pointing it out
also also, lol at Tomura being all, “the fuck do you mean, ‘rest’, you’re the one that dragged my body out here to raid a fucking prison,” and AFO being all, “oh yeah, lol, true true, but I meant rest after that.” yes, this man clearly has nothing but the purest intentions, Tomura. trustworthy af
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this fucking guy. Tomura is your bullshit radar finally operational yet?? can you see yet that it was always his intention to use you right from the very start?? oh man I am starting to get fidgety now listening to this
so Tomura’s saying he doesn’t just want to be used as a chess piece. and AFO is all, “well okay but what if it’s a VERY NICE AND IMPORTANT chess piece.” bro DID HE STUTTER
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GO ON AND ACQUIRE THEM THEN! omg. why am I so fucking excited. it seriously makes no sense. like seriously, ‘hooray, our old buddies, Overhaul and Stain!!’ -- come again now?? who is this person that I have become
meanwhile AFO is making all this fuss and I really don’t understand it though
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why would you need to plow directly through the building. why can’t you just use doors like a normal person. it’s not like they can lock you out, like hello, you can literally turn anything you touch into dust, what’s with all the melodrama
anyway so he’s apparently hitting the prison with some sort of EMP attack now and shutting down all their systems
omg the suspense is killing me. this is going to be so badass once it’s animated, but right now all I keep thinking is “YES, GREAT, CAN WE PLEASE JUST MOVE IT ALONG”
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the doors are opening ahhhhhhh come on come on come on let’s go let’s get to the excitement already
now the guards are running over to try and regain control. but, like
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yeah that’s pretty much how I’m expecting the rest of this to go basically
so now they’re shooting at the dust cloud lol. well if there’s one thing movies have taught me, it’s that bad guys who wait inside clouds of dust while panicked cops blindly rain bullets at them until they run out of ammo are basically invincible lol. soooooo
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is this the first time we’ve seen Moonfish’s face? I feel like we might have caught a glimpse of it before on an omake page or something. either way, it wasn’t anything I actually needed to see again. thanks...?? I guess??
okay but seriously, are we supposed to actually know who this badass lady is?? like I don’t know her but I feel like I know her, you feel?
(ETA: lol there are already like 60 different theories about how she’s related to every single character in the series. will be interesting to see if anything comes of this. although we did just get three “this villain was secretly related to [insert character(s) here] all along” reveals just in the last arc, so idk, it might be better if we pass on it this time lol.)
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girl who are you. please stick around. for the love of god don’t let this man kill you off too
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wait so is this Overhaul? boy sure has seen better days huh. but the floppy sleeves... yeah, it’s gotta be him
anyway so then the only ones missing are Stain and Kurogiri, yes?? omg. and one page left to go
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so that’s it! and we still don’t have any idea what AFO is actually planning to do now, after all of that. are they going to merge bodies?? or is he going to try to switch with him?? either way Tomura’s body has to be part of the plan somehow since he keeps making so much of a fuss over it. flkhglkhlk. dammit I need answers lol
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thetravelerwrites · 2 years
Urgan (Orc)
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Rating: Mature Relationship: Male Human/Male Orc Additional Tags: Exophilia, Monster Boyfriend, Orc, Male Reader, MLM, Gay Reader, Football Captain, College, Friends to Lovers Content Warnings: Alcohol Poisoning, Children, Kids, Pregnancy, Unwanted Pregnacy, Mention of Abortion, College Drop-Out, Strong Language, Drug Use, Angst, Super Angst, ALL THE ANGST Words: 4385
A super duper angsty commission by the wonderful @severedreamerbeard​​! Urgan is the captain of his college football team and all around cool dude. He's an extremely reliable guy with his whole life ahead of him... until the woman he's been dating winds up pregnant, which turns his entire world upside down. The reader, Urgan's best friend, tries to help as much as he can while watching Urgan's life fall apart. Please reblog and leave feedback!
The Traveler's Masterlist  
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Urgan had been your best friend since preschool. You were human and he was an orc, but you were both jocks growing up, both in sports, both athletic. He’d been there with you through all the major events in your life. He was there when your parents divorced, when you came out as gay in middle school, and when the teammates who had once been friends started bullying you because of it. He was always there.
You hoped you had been as good a friend to him as he had been to you. You were there when his dad died, when his mom remarried someone he hated, and when his highschool sweetheart cheated on him. After all that, the two of you were closer than brothers.
College life was easier on both of you. You both had gotten a sports scholarship and found a friend group that was a lot of fun to hang out with. Parties were epic, classes were less so, but you were living the life and loving every second of it.
Then it changed. Not for everyone, not even for you. Or at least, it didn’t have to. You could have made different choices. It would have been far easier if you had, you were sure. But…
“How long have you been dating Kelly?” You asked him over a beer. The two of you were sitting out on the front porch of a house party currently in full swing.
“Who?” He snorted, half-asleep. He’d pulled an all-nighter the day before preparing for his psych exam.
“Kelly,” You said, pointing into the open door at the girl wearing a halter with a half-empty vodka bottle in her hand, some of which she’d spilled on her chest, grinding on another girl who was sucking the vodka off of her clavicle.
“I wouldn’t say we’re ‘dating’,” He replied, throwing back a large swig of his beer. “Fucking, yes. I’m not trying to date anyone right now. I don’t have the time.” He threw his beer bottle into a large trash barrel and stood up. “Where’s Derek? He owes me fifty bucks.”
“For what?” You asked, standing up and following him through the house. He slapped Kelly’s ass as he passed her on the way inside, and she laughed.
“I borrowed it to buy coke three weeks ago,” He said.
“Didn’t he almost OD?” You asked.
“Yeah, but that ain’t my fault, I want my money,” Urgan said, muscling his way through the crowd.
“Don’t be an asshole, bro,” You said, still following him.
“I’m not being an asshole! It’s not like he learned anything, I bet you five bucks he’s doing coke right now.”
“Yeah, I’m not taking that bet,” You laughed. “I don’t know of a time when he’s not on coke. I think he was high when we first met.”
“That’s my point. You know I’m cool about that stuff normally, but it’s affecting his performance on the field,” Urgan grumbled. “I’m team captain, and if he doesn’t straighten up, I have to kick him off the team, friend or not. We lost to E.U. because of him.”
You grimaced. E.U. had been your school’s rival for generations. The loss hurt and was a huge blow to Urgan. It didn’t help that it was televised nationally.
“If you kick him off the team, the other guys will be pissed,” You reasoned.
“I know that,” He said grumpily. “But managing the team internally is my job. If I don’t do something about it, coach will either demote me or kick me off with him for not handling it when I should have. I can’t afford to lose my scholarship over some douchebag’s coke habit.” He made his way into the garage at the opposite end of the house and smacked a seated Derek on the back of the head. “Hey, Derek! Money! Now!”
“Dude, back off!” Derek protested. “I’ll get it to you when I get it, damn!”
“Not good enough,” Urgan said, kicking the mirror that was in front of Derek. Powder went flying.
“Hey!” Derek said, standing up and taking a swing at Urgan. Urgan ducked and caught Derek’s arm, pinning it behind him. He was always quick.
“Quit the coke or quit the team,” Urgan said, snarling. “We’re not losing another game because you’re too high to play.”
“The fuck are you talking about, man?” Derek said, struggling. “Don’t blame that shit on me! It’s not my fault you can’t organize your team!”
“I’m serious, dude,” Urgan said, pushing Derek to the ground. “I’m not getting punished for you. Straighten up or fuck off.”
“Suck my dick, asshole,” Derek said. He jerked his chin at you. “Or get your boyfriend to do it.”
Words like that were water off your back at this point, but it always riled Urgan up. You could already see him tensing.
“Let it go, dude,” You said, pulling him back. “Derek, seriously, you’re bringing the whole team down. Lay off the drugs, at least until after the championship.”
“Get the fuck out of my house if you’re going to act all high and mighty,” Derek said, pushing past you. “And you can forget that fifty bucks. It’s all over the ground now.”
Urgan’s fists were balled up and he was breathing hard.
“He’s not going to stop,” Urgan said.
“Come on, dude,” You said, smacking him on the shoulder. “You’re not going to accomplish anything here. Take it to the field. Show him why you’re captain.”
“I guess,” He said. “I’m hungry, man, let’s grab something.”
“Sure,” You said. “Kelly’s coming over to your place after the party, though, right?”
“Yeah, but she won’t be any shape to do anything but sleep. She knows where the key is, she’ll be fine.”
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Finals were coming up, and most people were holed up in their rooms or dorms studying. Urgan was a decent student and never really worried about tests, though you hadn’t heard from him in a couple of days, which was odd. He could have been working a lot; he had a part-time job to pay for his own studio apartment. He said the dorms were too small for him.
“Urgan? No, I haven’t seen him in a week.” Joey said. Joey was a coworker from the bar where Urgan worked and also an ex-boyfriend of yours. You bumped into him at the university’s library while looking for Urgan. Urgan hadn’t answered his door when you went to check on him, so you figured he had to be here.
“Is he sick?” You asked, taking out your phone. You’d texted him awhile ago and you saw that he had seen it, but he hadn’t responded.
“I dunno,” Joey said. “All I know is that he asked the boss for some personal time. It could just be finals getting to him.”
You frowned. “Hmm… I’m going back to his apartment. He’s never been this quiet before. Something’s not right.”
“Tell him to come back to work. All the girls try to flirt with me when he’s not there. I need him to be my shield.”
You laughed and waved him off, heading out.
“Urgan!” You called, knocking insistently on his door. “Open the door! Are you alright?”
No answer. Frustrated, you got the spare key that was hidden in a slit of the doormat and unlocked the door. His apartment was dark and looked normal. Urgan was a fairly tidy guy, and nothing was really out of place.
“Urgan!” You called again, walking around the partition that obscured his bed. There he was, passed out on top of his blankets. There were empty bottles of liquor everywhere. Your heart stopped.
“Oh, fuck, please don’t be dead,” You said, crawling on the bed to slap him in the face. “Urgan, wake up!” His skin was cold, which scared the shit out of you, but after a minute feeling for a pulse on his neck you found a heartbeat, and you could see him breathing very slowly, so at least he was alive. But he wasn’t responding to your attempts to rouse him.
“Shit.” You took out your phone and called and called emergency services.
“911, what’s the nature of your emergency?”
“Hey, I need an ambulance, I think my friend has alcohol poisoning.” You said quickly, hoping it was intelligible, and gave them the address.
“Okay, sir, how long has this been going on?”
“I’m not sure, I just found him. I haven’t heard from him in days. He’s got a pulse, but he won’t wake up.”
“Is he cold to the touch?”
“Is he breathing?”
“Slowly, but yes.”
“Can you make sure his airway is clear?”
You put the phone down and opened his mouth. There didn’t seem to be anything in the way.
“It’s clear,” You said.
“Alright, sir, I’ve got an ambulance on the way. Do me a favor and turn him on his side and bend the leg that’s on the top. Keep his airway clear and keep an eye on his breathing.”
“Okay,” You said, doing as the operator said and trying to keep calm.
The ambulance arrived within minutes, and after several moments of the EMTs attempting to wake him and failing, they loaded him in the rig. You were able to ride with him to the hospital. They took you both to a room, and you stood back as they began hooking Urgan up to all sorts of tubes and wires. They put a tube in his mouth because his breathing was weak and slowing down. They put him on a heavy saline drip and debated whether or not to pump his stomach. Eventually, they left him to rest and you sat with him.
“What the fuck is happening with you, man?” You asked him quietly as he slept.
Eventually, you fell asleep, and when you woke up, they were taking the air tube out of his throat. Urgan was awake and groaning in discomfort as it was removed.
“Dude, what the hell?” You said, standing up.
His eyes were bloodshot and he looked extremely sick, but at least he was awake. He waited for the doctors and the nurses to leave so that it was just you and him before he answered you.
“Kelly’s pregnant,” He said hoarsely. “It’s mine. She’s sure of it.”
“Oh, shit,” You said, sitting back down in the chair next to him. “I thought you used protection.”
“I do,” He said in frustration. “The condom must have broken or something. She told me she was on the pill. I don’t know what happened. I’m so fucking screwed.”
“You may not be,” You said, trying to comfort him, but you knew he was right. Being team captain meant that you put the team before everything. If you had another priority, you couldn’t be team captain. Not to mention the scandal of having a kid during the height of his college career would destroy his reputation and make him seem irresponsible. A baby right now was going to ruin him.
“Don’t bullshit me. I can’t show my face at school. Coach is going to kick my ass as soon as he finds out. My life is over.”
“Don’t talk like that, man,” You said. “What’s Kelly saying about all this? Has she told anyone?”
“No, not yet,” He said, covering his eyes. “Well, she hadn’t when I started drinking, but I don’t know if she has now.”
“She wants to keep it?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t get farther than ‘I’m having a baby and it’s yours’. And then I just started drinking and didn’t stop.”
“How far along is she?”
“Three months, she said.”
“How does she know it’s yours?”
“I was the only person she was sleeping with at the time. We were thinking about dating seriously, but it didn’t work out that way.”
“Do you believe that?”
“I don’t know. We’ll find out, I guess.”
You frowned deeply. “She’s… been partying pretty hard in the last three months.”
Urgan rubbed his face. “I know. I’m scared shitless the kid is going to be born fucked up.”
“Do you… think you can talk her into giving it up? For adoption, I mean? She doesn’t seem like mom material.”
“I don’t know,” He said. “I don’t know what she’ll do.”
“What about…” You hesitated to mention it. “What about an abortion?”
“That’s her decision,” He said vaguely. “It’s her body.”
“Do you want me to talk to her?”
“No, don’t,” He said. “I’ll do it when I’ve got my head on right.”
“Dude, look where you are right now,” You said, gesturing vaguely. “Let me at least call her.”
He sighed. “Fine.”
You took Urgan’s phone, which was in his back pocket when he was brought in, and called Kelly. She was surprised to hear about Urgan’s condition and said she’d come up to the hospital.
She arrived an hour later and you gave them some privacy to talk. It was a while, so you went to grab a soda. When you came back, Kelly was leaving with tears on her face. You went in and saw Urgan sitting up in bed. His eyes were red from crying.
“Hey man, are you okay?”
“No,” He said, wiping his face and sniffing. “She’s going to keep it. I’m leaving school.”
“What?” You said, coming around. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m gonna finish out the semester but I’m leaving before the baby is born. I have to find a better job. I’m hoping I can come back when the baby is a bit older, like when they start school or something, and finish my degree.”
“But you only have a year left! Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“No!” He shouted. “I don’t want to leave school! I’ve been dreaming of this scholarship since I was a kid! It was my dad’s dream! But I’m not going to be a deadbeat! I have to find a decent job before the baby is born. I don’t have a choice.”
You were stunned to silence and just listen to him breathe through his tears.
“Are you and Kelly staying together?”
“Fuck no,” He said vehemently. “We both know that would be stupid. She’s going to stay in school as long as she can. She’s supposed to be due in winter sometime, so I should have enough saved up by then to give her for the baby, to make sure they’re comfortable.” He scowled. “I’m sure Derek is going to be thrilled. I can just see the look on his face now.”
“Don’t worry about that jackass,” You said. “Dude, I… Is there anything I can do to help out?”
He shook his head. “Kelly and I are going to keep this quiet until the end of the semester so that we don’t have to deal with anyone bullshit. After that, we’ll start telling people.”
“You’re not going to tell your mom?”
“Not yet. I can’t face her yet. She’s going to be so disappointed in me.” His tears began to fall again, and all you could do was put a hand on his shoulder and be there for him.
“I won’t say anything to anyone,” You told him. “I’m still your best friend, no matter what. If you need anything, you know I got you.”
“Thanks, man,” He said, his voice breaking.
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Urgan finished out school as he planned, barely scraping a passing grade, and then notified everyone that he wouldn’t be returning. As expected, his coach was furious, his mom was disappointed, and the team was dumbfounded. Derek was the only person who seemed to be enjoying the situation.
During summer, he asked for an amniocentesis, both to prove whether or not Urgan was the father, and also to check for any genetic conditions, since Kelly’s family had a history of genetic diseases. Urgan was hoping that she was lying about only sleeping with him around the time she conceived and that he would wind up not the father so he could go back to school, but the test was conclusive. The baby was his.
Urgan found work pretty quickly at a seafood processing plant near town. It was grueling work and it didn’t pay much, but it was a full-time job and had healthcare benefits, which was the best he could hope for in these circumstances. He began saving immediately to buy clothes and diapers for his kid, which he recently found out was a little girl, and was in frequent contact with Kelly. He didn’t attend any of the doctor’s visits at Kelly’s request. Not that he wanted to be there in the first place.
You continued with college and partied like a normal college guy, stayed on the football team, and was promoted to captain. Urgan seemed happy for you and gave you pointers on leadership. If he resented you for it, he gave no sign.
Many of Urgan’s old friends, mostly team members, dropped him immediately. They no longer invited him to parties or events, and when you mentioned inviting him, they shot you down. As far as you knew, the only one who still stood by him was you, and you couldn’t be there as much as you wanted to as you now had responsibilities with the team.
Even still, if he called, you dropped what you were doing and went over. You promised you’d be there, and you were going to keep that promise. He was your best friend and you were going to stand with him. No matter what.
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Urgan’s daughter, Roga, was born in November. She was small, even for a half-orc. You were there in the waiting room for the birth with the grandparents. It might have been your presence that stopped them from being at each other’s throats; the animosity in the air was palpable. Kelly’s dad was there, looking not-best-pleased at Urgan’s mom, despite her being nearly twice his size, but no harsh words were said.
Urgan came out in the full paper surgical outfit, holding the baby. He even seemed happy.
“Here she is,” He said, holding her out for the grandparents to see.
“Oh, isn’t she precious,” Urgan’s mom, Reana, said. “She’s got your eyes, Urg.”
“Yeah,” He said, smiling. “She looks a bit like dad, don’t you think?”
“She does!” Reana said brightly. “That nose definitely looks like his.”
The grandparents took turns holding the baby, and then went in to see the mother.
“Hey,” Urgan said to you, the only one left in the room. “Do you want to hold her?”
You chuckled nervously. “I dunno, man, I’ve never held a baby.”
“Neither have I, before today,” He said. “You don’t have to. I just wanted to offer since everyone else got to.”
“Yeah, but they’re family.”
“You’re family, too,” He said, looking at you like you were being an idiot.
You smiled a little and held out your arms, and Urgan carefully lay the baby into them. She was small and squishy and her face was all wrinkly. Babies all looked like potatoes to you. But she reached out and yawned and grabbed at your hand, and you couldn’t help but smile.
“She’s cute,” You said, letting her grip your finger.
“Yeah,” He said, grinning.
“How’s Kelly?”
“She hates my guts, but she’s okay.” Urgan reached out to take the baby, and you handed her over. “I should take Roga back. The lactation specialist wants to work with her.”
“I didn’t know there was a such thing as a lactation specialist,” You said with a laugh.
“Oh, yeah,” Urgan said. “The last nine months have been extremely informative.”
You snorted. “I bet.”
He took the baby back to Kelly and you sat in the waiting room, feeling a little awkward. Why were you here? You weren’t really family. You knew you were supporting Urgan, but… he didn’t really need you there right now. He seemed fine. Happy even, considering the circumstances. Maybe… maybe you should go. You really didn’t belong here.
You texted Urgan to let him know something had come up and to call you if you needed him, and he told you that it was okay, and to be careful going home. As you left, you sighed in relief. But you also felt a little guilty.
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Six months later was graduation. You finished top of your class and made valedictorian. You knew that if Urgan had still been in school, he’d have gotten that honor, but…
Urgan didn’t come to graduation, and you understood why. Kelly crossed the stage and accepted her diploma, and you couldn’t help feel a little resentful at her, despite the fact that it wasn’t her fault that Urgan wasn’t there, either. They really had done everything they were supposed to do--used protection, used birth control, was careful--but things just happen sometimes. Even still, it felt like Urgan was the one who had sacrificed the most and had gotten nothing in return.
You managed to get a job at an accounting firm almost immediately after graduation. It was a boring job but the money was good. You were hoping it would be a stepping stone to a better career later.
Since getting the job, you hadn’t really seen or spoken to Urgan much. You were still his best friend, but… you had your own life to live. You felt guilty about it, but your world couldn’t stop just because his had.
Urgan was still working at the fish processing plant, working long hours to support Roga. Urgan was basically paying Kelly’s rent and bills plus everything Roga needed for both homes, since he took her on the weekends from Friday night to Monday morning, when he dropped her off on the way to work.
However, a month after graduation, Urgan called you in a panic.
“Kelly’s gone,” He said. “She’s left. I got a text from her saying she’s gone to Canada.”
“What?” You asked in disbelief. “Did she take Roga?”
“No, I’ve got her here.” He said, his voice shaking. “When she texted me, I was scared she had run off with the baby, but she left Roga with her stepdad. I just picked her up and I’m bringing her back home with me.”
You felt terrible for hoping Kelly had taken Roga with her to Canada. Even though you knew it wasn’t Roga’s fault, all you wanted was for Urgan’s life to go back to normal. You just wanted him to have the things he should have had if Roga hadn’t been born. And you hated yourself for thinking that.
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know,” He said. He sounded extremely distressed. “Can you meet me at my apartment, please? I need someone to talk to. You’re all I have left.”
“Yeah, of course, I’ll be right there,” You said, picking up your keys.
“Thank you,” He said, and then hung up. He was audibly crying.
You made it to Urgan’s apartment before he did, and you saw him step out of the elevator carrying a ton of baby stuff in one arm and hauling Roga in her carseat in the other.
“Can you take her, please?” Urgan said. He looked pale and in shock.
“Yeah, of course,” You said, taking her carrier and looking inside. She was sleeping with a stuffed griffon clutched in her baby hands. “Is she okay?”
“I think so,” He said, unlocking his door. His apartment was strewn with kid stuff. It was so much different than the last time you’d seen it.
“I’m sorry about the mess,” He said, dropping the load he was carrying in the middle of the floor.
“Dude, I don’t care about the mess, are you okay?” You asked.
“I…” He ran his fingers through his hair. He was visibly shaking. “I don’t know if I can do this alone. I had accepted being a dad, but I don’t know if I can be… the only parent. I… I don’t know any babysitters for when I’m working. I don’t… is she off breastmilk? When was her last check up? When is she supposed to see the doctor again? Kelly didn’t tell me those things because I.. I figured she had it handled. I was making sure they had everything they needed. I didn’t think I’d…”
“Okay, calm down,” You said. “Roga is fine. You can find all of that stuff out. I’ll help, I’ll help however I can, okay?”
“Okay,” He said, sitting on his couch heavily. “Okay.” He reached down into her carseat and unstrapped her, putting her against his shoulder, clutching her as if she was a warm stone and he was freezing. He was certainly shaking like he was.
This was the first time you’d seen Roga since she was born. Now that she’d had a chance to grow, she did look a lot like Urgan. It made you feel worse for resenting her.
“Look, can you watch her for a few minutes?” He asked suddenly. “I’m almost out of formula and I didn’t expect to have her right now. I was going to go Thursday to stock up. I don’t want to run out.”
“I…” You hesitated.
“Please,” He begged quietly. “Please. Ten minutes. I promise.”
You sighed. “Okay.”
He transferred Roga from his shoulder to yours. Uncertainly, you gripped her firmly.
“I’ll be right back, I promise,” Urgan said, and he was out the door.
There was a rocking bassinet near Urgan’s bed behind the divider, and you settled Roga in it, staring down at her peacefully sleeping form.
“I wish I didn’t hate you,” You told her, tears welling up in your eyes and falling down your cheeks. “But you took everything from him. I know it’s not your fault, but it doesn’t change anything. He’ll never be the man he should have been because of you.”
Roga sighed in her sleep and snugged into her bed without waking. You did nothing but sit on Urgan’s bed and stare at her the entire time Urgan was gone, allowing yourself to hate her and Kelly and the team at school and everyone who turned their back on Urgan when he needed them the most. When Urgan returned, your tears had dried, and you left.
Roga was still sleeping.
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Since my work is no longer searchable, please do me a favor and reblog this story if you enjoyed it. Help me reach a wider audience! To help me continue creating, please consider becoming a Patron or donating directly to my PayPal!
Thanks for reading!
My Masterlist
The Exophilia Creator’s Masterlist
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The Dark Team (part 7)
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Join the taglist in here (Taglist: @lucywrites02, @louieboo87, @the-departed-potato, @jesuswasnotawhiteman)
Warnings: mentions of suicide and murder, awfully cheesy petnames (yes I have to put a warning on that).
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The streets were so cold you had to rub your hands to your neck as you walked. You had only one piece of information that could’ve been possibly linked to that murder, and therefore that stick.
Saying you weren’t worried about being very undercover was a lie; an almost seven feet tall “man” that dressed like a millionaire, and a man with a metal prosthesis and abnormal sized muscles were not exactly the definition of discrete, much less once they were being categorized as “wanted”.
“Are you sure it’s this way?” asked Loki impatiently.
“And why…?”.
“Stop torturing me with questions you know the answer of. Shut it and let me do my thing”.
“What is exactly your thing?”.
“Trying to not stab you in the balls, if you keep being this annoying”.
“Alright, guys, keep it down”, mediated Bucky. His role in the team was starting to be more and more like a third wheel in a car that’s trying to break down purposely, and he hated every second of it. “Can’t wait for this mission to be over”.
“Talking about that, we still have a game of cards on hold”.
“We could never play that with Loki, he has mind powers or some shit like that. He’d cheat”.
“Me?” he held a hand to his chest dramatically, “I would never cheat on a cards game. That is dishonest and I would never do such mischievous thing”.
Your phone beeped and the address changed suddenly. You stopped dead on your tracks and both Loki and Bucky, who were walking in line behind you, stumped with each other and almost made you trip.
“Careful, guys”.
“Are you fucking…”.
“Leave it there, Barnes”.
“What happened?”.
“I don’t know, the address suddenly changed. This isn’t supposed to happen”, you hit a few times your phone after it froze, and realized it wouldn’t work anymore. “Well, we’re gonna have to do this the old fashioned way”.
“And how’s that?”.
“How am I supposed to know? You’re the one that's a thousand years old and he’s a hundred and six. I’m barely around the two decades”.
“I’m beginning to think maybe you’re not one for this job. Aren’t you the one in charge of the planning? How did you even get to this Stank Internship in the first place?”.
“Hey, don’t be mean to them. They’ll cry”.
You rolled your eyes and ignored them. Meanwhile, you looked around. You had to find this person. A person who saw the “death” of the man with the pendrive, but the only one who said nothing about it. Only thing you knew was that he was a worker in a coffee shop. Which coffee shop, you’d ask? Well, that’s a good question.
It had to be in the neighborhood, that was for sure. You looked around a bit more, trying to drink in all the information the streets and its habitants could give you.
“The man was killed being thrown off that building. They said it was suicide. It was not”, you finally said out loud, pointing at the direction of one of the tallest buildings of the city. You were too concentrated to even realize you had stopped talking again.
The man you were looking for had to have a full view of the window the guy was thrown off from, so it would be in… that direction. A reasonable distance to see both guys would be less than two blocks. And it happened in an unreasonable hour for a work break, so… it had to be… alright. I think I got it.
“What are we looking for, then?”.
“There has to be a coffee shop maximum two blocks away from one of these three streets, the counter of the bar has to be near the window (or showcase) and the showcase should be tall enough to see the high part of the building, so I’d say at least three meters tall. I assume the man we’re looking for is old and introverted, quiet, not very friendly. Not less than fifty years old”.
“Alright Sherlock”, said Bucky, patting your back. “I’ll write down not to mock your intellect. Now you don’t have to pretend like you just figure that out all by yourself”.
“Okay”, you said, not paying any attention to his words. You were still juicing all the information you could.
“I got lost in the description of the man, how did you reach that conclusion?”, asked Loki, who apparently was reading your mind, following your thought process.
“Well, he’s the only one who didn’t testify at all. The witnesses in this sort of cases go through a polygraph. If all he saw was a suicide, then he wouldn’t be lying, he’d go through the lie detector and go out as if anything happened. Since he saw more, and didn’t say anything, it’s probably because he wanted to protect himself against the law, or just too lazy to go into all the bureaucracy it’d imply”, you explained. Loki had a full blown smile across his face, not even hiding it. “What are you smiling at?”.
“Nothing”, he brushed it off and pretended to fix his tie.
“No, please, do give me your input”.
“I can’t read whether you’re being sarcastic or not”.
“Wanna find out, dear?”.
“Hey, the aggressive pet names are my thing. Get your own passive-aggressive mechanism”.
“Can you concen…? You know what? Whatever. I’m going there”, cut Bucky. He was so done.
You walked as fast as you could down the nearest street out of the three possible ones, and kept rubbing your (now almost numb) cold fingers.
“Buck, do you have a gun with you?”.
“I don’t think this is the best moment to kill yourself. Let us finish the mission first”.
“Though, honestly, I think it could speed things up a little”, added Loki.
“Wow, you guys are especially mean today. We might need something to threaten the guy with”.
“Just a pocket knife. Do you think it could help at all?”, he searched for more weapons in his pockets, but found none. Going undercover, you all had to leave your suits and armor in the hotel room. Loki cleared suggestively his throat and you gasped.
“Really? You can make it out of nowhere?”.
“No, but give me a weird shaped branch or anything similar and I can transform it. Transfigurations have been my specialty lately, though”.
“I love you wholeheartedly”.
“I’d literally marry you on the spot”.
“In fact, I think I might kiss you right now”.
“You guys have no idea how glad I am to know you’re lying”, said Loki, patting Bucky’s back.
To find the place was way easier than you had anticipated. Firstly, because it matched every single aspect you had predicted. Secondly, because it was the only coffee shop in the whole place.
The clicking bell filled the silent place as the scent of fresh coffee and baked goods infested your noses. There was only an old lady reading a paper and the fifty year old you were looking for. Bucky sat down on a table near the counter and you and Loki greeted the man.
“Hi, how are you?” you said with a fake warmth that would assure you his confidence. “We would like a black coffee…”, you looked at Loki, still acting, and he reached your thoughts telepathically to hear your “act, dude; you’re frowning”. He immediately softened up his expressions. “What would you like to drink, dear?”.
“Same as you, darling”, he smiled even faker than you. “So are we pretending to be a couple, now?”.
“Alright, two blacks, please”, you went back to the barista. “Yes, old people get all softies for young couples. Just follow me, we need him to like us”. “And a strawberry milkshake with extra cream and a cherry on top, for the gentleman on the table”.
“Going right up”, said the old man.
“Do you ever take vacations on mocking people?”.
“Never. It’s a true blessing”.
“So, what’s the plan?”.
“Same as it was before, except we can’t actually cause any harm while threatening him, if we do”.
“Old lady at twelve o’clock?? Man, you really lack any empathy for innocent civilians, don’t you?”.
“Only with mortals. Don’t really care for them”.
“You’re probably lying. I know behind that shell there must be a big soft heart longing for...”.
“Alright, shut up, here comes our order”.
“Thank you, ah, wonderful”, you said, grabbing the cups. You pretended to just notice the news behind the counter, and Loki made the illusion of a highly realistic periodistic note on the suicide of the man with the stick. “Oh my… is that what I think it is?”.
The old man raised his eyebrows, intrigued.
“Uh, is just… don’t watch that, darling. It’ll make you feel sick”, said Loki tenderly, caressing your shoulder. “We sort of saw that… happening, you know?” he explained the old man.
“Oh, really?”.
“Yes, it was really close from here. Oh God, we saw it all happen, this poor man”.
“Very disturbing. Never seen such a gruesome situation in my short, very, very, very short life”, added Loki.
“Alright, we get it, humans live short lives”. “Believe me, you’re so lucky you didn’t have to see that”.
“Really?”, said again the barista, visibly nervous. “That terrible?”.
“Well, it’s a common tragedy, to be honest. But, you know, the cops and investigators were on our backs all night long”.
“Finally free now”, added Loki, still with his arm protectively wrapped around your shoulders. “You’re truly lucky to miss it”.
“Oh, yes. Sounds terrible. Glad didn’t see it, then”, he lied. And he was a bad liar. You didn’t even need Loki to tell you what you could so clearly see.
“And you know… I didn’t think it’d work, but we…” you chuckled innocently, as a kid telling their devilry to a friend, “we sort of lied to the lie detector, and it worked”.
“Love!”, gasped Loki, and lowered his voice “we shouldn’t be telling this to anyone. What if it spreads around?”.
“But, honey, have you seen this man? Why would you think he could wrong us?” you pointed at him and he, as you predicted, blushed with a smile.
“What did you lie about, if I may ask?”. He fell into the trap. You bent over the counter and lowered your voice.
“We saw it was not a suicide”.
Your expressions drew all seriousness and a terrifying look on your eyes gave the man the trust that you were being honest with him. He bent down on the counter too.
“What do you mean?”.
“We saw… oh God”, you started saying, but your eyes watered and Loki didn’t hesitate to hold your head to his chest, comforting you while you sobbed.
“I know, sweetheart, it’s terrible. I know”, he cooed. “We don’t know what to do with this piece of information. The man was thrown off violently, and the things they did to him before…” Loki hinted. The man swallowed hard and started sweating. Loki muttered nonsense, and you continued his empty explanation with sobs that sounded like words but nobody could actually figure out what you meant.
“That sounds awful, wow”, said the man, pretending he heard. Truth was, he didn’t need to insensitively ask for you to repeat yourself. He knew what had happened.
“We wonder what kind of deals could be behind all that, you know?”.
“Yes, very strange, to try to strip the man like that” started saying the old man, too affected by the situation to actually notice he was spilling the true tea. “It sounds like all a very weird business”.
“And that thing they pulled out of him!”.
“Ah… yes”.
You and Loki had started to lose your patience, and figured the man would be harder to interrogate like this than you’d expected. Loki squeezed your shoulder.
“My love, we should get going, don’t you think?”. And with get going he meant knocking the guy off and getting into his memories through Loki’s magic.
“No, my dearest, let’s stay here”, you insisted, without wanting to cause the fuss this was going to make. Ever since you came into the coffee shop, three other family groups had entered and were waiting for their order.
“But, sweet pie… I think we’re shocking the man enough”.
“Oh, please, I just want a normal day, honey bunny. Let’s stay and drink a cuppa here”.
Bucky chuckled at the pet name war you two were having, and the old man looked at you suspiciously. You sighed.
“Alright. Fuck it”.
“You’re cops, aren’t you?”, asked the old man. You fell off your character.
“No… but sorry anyways”, you said, kicking him on the face and smashing his head against the counter, leaving him unconscious.
“That was unnecessarily violent, I could’ve made him sleep with seiðr”, stated Loki, watching the man drip blood from his nose.
“Guys'', said Bucky, watching how all the clients were running away in fear, “I thought we said ‘keep it low, threaten discreetly’. What happened?”.
“For Fuck’s sake, just get into his head already, sweet muffin”.
“Hold his head, baby cakes”.
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quillsareforwriting · 3 years
Winner Complex (Oliver Wood x Hufflepuff!Chaser!Reader)
Alt Title: bright eyes, burnt lungs, our game has only just begun
Word Count: 2.5k
Summary: Reader has been a Chaser for Hufflepuff since their second year, it’s now their sixth year and people still don’t take the Hufflepuff Quidditch team seriously. It’s starting to piss them off. Not to mention, Oliver Wood has been very vocal about his views on their team. Stewing in anger, Reader has some choice words for the Gryffindor. Not entirely canon compliant because fuck Rowling, Hufflepuff is a house for hardworkers and you’re telling me the other teams flattened them, nah that’s bullshit.
Warnings: Underaged drinking, cursing, used an english to scottish slang translator for drunk Oliver
If you like my writing, consider reblogging so that others get a chance to see it! It’d help me out a ton and would show that people enjoy what I write.
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Laughter fills the open Quidditch Pitch as you dismount your broom with your fellow teammates. Quidditch practice had quickly devolved from drills into a free for all match, where there were no assigned positions or teams. A lot of Hufflepuff's practices ended like this, impromptu matches that the other houses would scoff at.
Apparently, having fun should not come at the cost of having a hard and focused practice.
You heavily disagreed. Today, you'd gotten to swing around a Beater's bat that you'd stolen off of Cedric who had claimed it at the beginning in lieu of his typical seeker position. Being a Chaser for your team meant you had never had to worry about pure power, just agility and accuracy. So, you enjoyed playing the other positions.
"L/N drop and give me fifty for stealing the bat," Cedric yells, draping a heavy arm around your shoulder and ruffling your hair. With a laugh you push him off and into Herbert Fleet, your team's Keeper, who gives a shout of indignation.
"Aye aye captain," you shout, dropping down with a laugh before deciding the ground was much to comfortable to actually follow through. "Actually, just leave me hear, s'comfy and 'm tired."
Heidi Macavoy and Tasmin Applebee, your fellow Chasers, both come to your side giggling, before grabbing your arms and legs respectively. In response you screech and thrash, laughing violently as they carry and swing you towards the change rooms.
In the distance you hear Anthony Rickett, "I've got your broom L/N."
Deciding they've moved you far enough, Heidi and Tasmin unceremoniously drop you onto the floor of the dressing room. With a groan you roll onto your front and push yourself up, pouting at your friends. Behind you, Maxine O'Flaherty and Herbert enter, with Anthony trailing behind.
You smile at Anthony as he passes off your broom, "Where'd Golden Boy go?"
"Captain Dick Joke wanted to have a word with him, claims we went over our designated time with all our fooling around," he says, rolling his eyes with a smile. “Apparently a real Quidditch team wouldn’t waste their time joking and playing silly games.”
“Does he think his team is so important that anything we do is meant to be a direct insult to them? Cause fuck dudes,” Heidi laughs, voicing the thoughts you’ve had since joining the team. Granted, it’s not just Wood who sees your team as inferior, all the houses seem to think you’re jokes.
Maxine laughs, wrapping her arms around the pair of you, "Good ole Morning Wood. Always hard up our asses."
By the time Cedric returns, the team still hasn't managed to pull themselves together, deciding instead to toss around different dick jokes at the expense of the Gryffindor Captain and Keeper. With an amused smile, Cedric shrugs off his outer robe, tossing it over Heidi and Herbert, who'd both sat down from laughing to hard.
Yeah, others may think your team sucks, but when it comes down to it, you hold your own and you have fun. All of you are used to being underestimated, you’re Hufflepuffs after all. It’s annoying as fuck, but it’s reality.
Never mind that most of your losses have marginal point differences even when the other teams catch the snitch. 
It definitely isn’t a sore point for you.
For all the dick jokes you and your teammates made about Oliver Wood, none of you really knew him outside of Quidditch. Hufflepuff and Gryffindor didn't share many classes so you had no reason to get to know him. Besides, the little you knew about him, asides from him being attractive as fuck, surrounded the fact he was Quidditch obsessed.
And, well, you didn't really get it.
Yes, you loved Quidditch, you'd played as a substitute in your second year, and had been a main player since third; the Quidditch pitch was practically your second home. Yet, you had a life outside of it. People didn't know you for being a Chaser for Hufflepuff.
Quidditch was not your identity.
Not the way it seemed to be Oliver Wood's. Honestly, you didn't know why people saw his obsession and immediately thought he would go pro. He was good, for sure, but he wasn't anything special. No more special than Cedric or Cho Chang.
If it wasn't for Harry Potter and his whole Chosen One plot armor, you honestly didn't think Gryffindor would be any more formidable than the other houses.
You just did not understand Oliver Wood.
And you certainly did not like him.
"Diggory, get off the pitch, Gryffindor has it booked," a voice booms, cutting your team's game short.
With a glance to your Captain, who waves you guys off, you begin your descent to the ground with the rest of your teammates. Cedric leads the pack with you closely trailing behind.
"Sorry Wood, must have gotten caught up in the game."
"This is the second time Diggory, if your team isn't going to actually train why do you keep booking the pitch, you're wasting everyone's time."
Cedric, to his credit, doesn't take Oliver's bait, keeping a calm and friendly smile. You on the other-hand, well, you don't have the same restraint as your Captain.
"Excuse me?" You spit, dismounting and throwing your broom to the ground. "You have a problem dick face? Think you know better just because you can send Potter to catch the snitch and not even have to play because he'll win the game for you?" You pause, taking in a breath and ignoring the glares the Gryffindors send you as they change stances. "Wood, even with the Chosen One as your seeker, you can barely pull off a win. You have one of the best Seekers Hogwarts has seen and you can't manage to win by more than like thirty points. So fuck off, sorry we occasionally run over our time, we're busy having fun playing the game we love."
“L/N, walk it off,” Cedric says as he and Herbert place hands on your shoulders. You hadn’t realized, but during your anger you’d gotten well up into the Scotsman’s space, clenched fists ready to swing. In response the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team were readying themselves to back up their captain. Shrugging off your friends, you turn on your heel and walk purposely towards the dressing rooms.
"Who do you think you are?" Angelina Johnson yells to your back.
"Y/N, the Hufflepuff Chaser who's scored on your dick of a Keeper multiple times every single game."
So. You may have fucked up when you blew a fuse in front of the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team. By the next morning it feels like everyone knows about your blow up. Students dressed in red glare at you as you pass, your bag gets filled with dung bombs during Potions, earning you a week of detention with Snape, and someone, you're pretty sure it's one of the Weasley twins, snuck something in your dinner that had your tongue swelling to triple its size. All in all, you were regretting not keeping your mouth shut.
Did you mean what you said? Yeah, partially. Should you have said it just because Wood's snide comment pissed you off? Eh, maybe not.
Unfortunately, the consequences of your actions have you in an absolutely foul mood. All you want to do is fly away your problems, but fucking Gryffindor has the Pitch booked and you just know you'll make shit worse if you step foot in their vicinity.
Granted, maybe you should. Practices are open to anyone and you should probably apologize for losing your cool. 
Fuck it, consequences be damned, you need to apologize for being rude, even if Wood pissed you off royally. Because, sure you meant every word you said, but you didn’t need to say it and you didn’t need to take your anger out on him.
Why again did you think this was a good idea?
"Hufflepuff," someone shouts, causing you to look up from your Transfiguration textbook. You'd decided to wait in the stands until you could intercept Wood, which evidently caught one of the Gryffindor's attention.
Alicia Spinnet, your mind helpfully supplies.
With a sigh, you watch as the whole team stops practicing to turn towards Alicia and, subsequently, you. You hadn't been expecting to be met with a bunch of glaring lions, maybe some frowns but not outwards hostility. The winds pick up as the all fly towards you, Wood leading the pack.
"What're you doing here L/N? Gryffindor has the pitch booked, and we don't appreciate anyone snooping," he says and you close your textbook before making eye contact.
"Actually, I'm not snooping, I'm working on one of the Transfiguration readings."
"Yeah right," one of the Weasley twins mutter, and you give them a tight-lipped smile.
"Well go to the library then, you can't be here.”
Remember, you're here to apologize, not to further antagonize them.
"Actually, I can be here. I'm not on the Pitch, I'm in the stands."
For fucksake.
So apologizing was a disaster.
It’d been too long since you’d gone to a Quidditch after party. With the disastrous game of Hufflepuff vs Gryffindor, where your team had demanded a rematch because your victory was far from fair, and the subsequent game being Slytherin vs Gryffindor, with the latter barely managing to pull off a win. And, it’s not like you’d be welcomed to their celebration. 
Thursday’s game, however, was promising a victory party of epic proportions. Ravenclaw was playing against Slytherin, and neither team were above underhanded tactics. At least, Slytherin definitely wasn’t, and Ravenclaw would always dish back what they got. Whoever won would definitely be ready to gloat, and with gloating came wicked parties.
In all honesty, you were hoping Slytherin would win. You had a few friends in the house and even if you weren’t a fan of their Captain, it’d be nice to see them without the ever looming presence of the Gryffindors. Because there was no way in hell they’d come to a Slytherin party.
“And Cho Chang has caught the snitch, securing the win for Ravenclaw at 170 to 60.”
“Hurry up Golden Boy, Cho’s waiting,” Heidi cackles as Cedric primps himself one final time. 
“Yeah, wouldn’t want her to wait too long, she might finally come to her senses,” Herbert adds, slinging his arms around you and Maxine. With a grin, you start heading to the door, dragging the two with you.
“We can always leave him behind and tell her he caught a bat boogey hex straight to the face,” you pause for a moment before looking back at your Captain. “We could even send her down to get you.”
“We would half to hex you though, you know, for authenticity,” Maxine says, and the pair of you high five around Herbert. 
“You’re all shit heads,” Cedric laughs, ruffling everyone’s hair one by one before tugging Herbert away from you and Maxine. “Come on, let’s go.”
One by one you duck out of the common room, chatting jovially. You tug your sweater sleeves down as you enter the dungeon, curling your hands into the cuffs. Heidi and Tasmin drift closer together, linking arms around one another.
The journey up to Ravenclaw’s common room is both short and long, passing by quickly as you all discuss the game and your plans for the party.
“I hope Wood shows up, heard he’s a confrontational drunk and I’d love to see him try to fight Y/N while stumbling around.” You’re quick to shove Anthony as you approach the Ravenclaw on door duty.
“Oh fuck off.”
“Wouldn’t mind seeing that,” Tasmin mutters, laughing at your affronted expression.
“He’d destroy me!”
“But it’d be hot. C’mon, take one for the team,” Heidi adds, causing you to cackle.
“Oh my god I hate you guys so much.”
Within half an hour you’ve realized the entire Gryffindor team has shown up. The minute Heidi and Tasmin had realized that, they’d burst into laughter and you’d walked away in search of a bottle of firewhiskey. 
Bobbing and weaving, you dance through the crowd, finding your way to a table covered in food and alcohol. You sigh upon realizing the drink you’d originally been looking for isn’t there. “Bungbarrel Spiced Mead it is,” you mutter, grabbing a bottle and uncapping it so you can take a heafty swig.
The drink does it’s job well, warming your throat and bringing a smile to your lips. Your shoulders drop from your neck and you take another sip.
Really, you shouldn’t have taken an entire bottle of the mead, considering it has double the alcohol content from the strongest muggle mead, but you figured you’d need it. 
Capping the bottle, you spin around to find your friends, only to run into a warm chest. Vaguely, you register large hands grasping your shoulders, but that all disappears as you lock eyes with Oliver Wood.
“Shit, a‘m sorry L/N,” he murmurs, cheeks flushed from drinking. “Ah didnae see ye thare.”
“S’all good Wood.”
You both stand there for a moment, staring dumbly.
“S’ppose I should apologize for what I’ve said to you,” you break the silence, looking down at your feet. “Was just angry ‘cause nobody seems to take us seriously and you were right there.”
“Tis a' in th' bygane, ah wis mad at first, bit noo tis juist th' team bein' stubborn,” he says, moving his hand to clumsily bring you to look at him. You give him a soft smile, thanking the alcohol for lowering both your inhibitions. “Hard tae bade mad at sic a prett’ t’ing.”
You’d not been expecting him to forgive you, let alone call you pretty, but it’s certainly a pleasant and welcome surprise. After worrying so long, you were not mad at the unexpected exchange.
“Thanks, you’re quite pretty yourself,” you find yourself saying, leaning into the hand resting on your neck.
“Na one's prettier than ye love. Ye know, bafore th' seazin stairted, th' team hud bin buggin’ me aboot liking ye. Thay weren't wrong bit ah didnae think ah staud much a chance. Ye wur aye hingin 'roond Diggory 'n' Fleet, thought you'd prefer one o' thaim.“
“Oliver,” you begin, unsure how to take it.
“We've baith bin drinkin’, 'n' that's a guid excuse fur ill ideas 'n' a'd lik' tae kiss ye,” he finishes, watching you with hooded eyes. 
You pause for a minute, before opening your mead and downing a large gulp. “Okay.”
He gives you a wide smile, moving his hands to cup your cheeks with a surprisingly gentle touch. You tilt your head upwards, stepping closer as he ducks his head down. As your eyes flutter closed, your lips meet, bumping once before slotting together. His kiss is warm and inviting, the taste of Daisyroot Draught flooding your senses. One of your hands find purchase on his red sweater, and it takes all your might not to drop your bottle as you melt into him. 
It feels like the moment stretches on forever, until you find yourself pulling away with a slight laugh.
“That was nice,” you murmur, making no move to pull away.
“’Twas nice.”
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Star Trek Episode 1.24: This Side of Paradise
AKA Yet Another Creepy Utopia Planet
Our episode begins with the Enterprise heading in to orbit around an Earthy-looking planet named Omicron Ceti 3. Omicon Ceti is a real star, by the way—also known as Mira or Mira A, it’s a red giant and part of a binary star system with its sister Mira B. It’s not a real likely place to go looking for such a nice homey sort of planet, though, because Mira is a pulsating variable star, which means its size and brightness is constantly fluctuating, and it’s hard to evolve life when your sun keeps flickering like a neon sign in a noir movie all the time.
Uhura reports to Kirk that she’s been transmitting a contact signal every five minutes just as he ordered, but she’s only getting dead air in response.  Kirk tells her to keep it up until they get into orbit, then moves on to talk to Spock. “There were one hundred fifty men, women and children in that colony,” he says. “What are the chances of survivors?”
Looks like the chances are, uh...not great. And by ‘not great’ I mean ‘nonexistent’. Spock explains that ‘Bertold rays’ are a recent enough discovery that there’s still a lot not known about them, but one thing that is for sure known is that exposure to these rays causes living animal tissue to disintegrate. Nasty. Evidently this planet is heavily exposed to these rays, because a group of colonists-- “Sandoval’s group”-- came here only three years ago and Spock says there’s no possibility they could have survived. Well why the heck would anyone build a colony in such a place? All Spock can say is “They knew there was a risk.”
Kirk questions whether they can risk sending a landing party down under such conditions, but Spock says the disintegration doesn’t start immediately, so they’ll be alright if they don’t stick around too long. The helmsman reports that they’ve successfully established orbit, and he’s found a settlement—or at least, something that was a settlement at one point. Kirk tells Spock to equip a landing party of five to accompany him down there, including a biologist and McCoy. That’s gonna be a fun mission briefing. “Yes, we're beaming down to a planet bombarded with deadly radiation, but no need to worry, crew, your tissues will probably only disintegrate a little bit."
Sometime later, the landing party—Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Sulu, a blueshirt and a goldshirt—materialize into a meadow near a dirt path and a picket fence. They’ve thoughtfully arranged themselves into a nice alternating pattern.
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[ID: A shot of a sunny meadow with a dirt road, a few trees and a white picket fence in the background. Newly beamed down are six Enterprise crewmembers standing in two rows: in the front are Kirk and Spock, in the back are McCoy, a goldshirt, a blueshirt, and Sulu.]
The goldshirt, incidentally, is DeSalle, who we last saw back in The Squire of Gothos. The character was originally written for this story as Lt. Timothy Fletcher, but was changed to DeSalle after the production crew realized they’d cast an actor who had already appeared in the series. Yes, really. AGAIN. The blueshirt is Kelowitz, who showed up briefly in The Galileo Seven and Arena, and likewise started out as another character but was renamed after being cast. I don’t know how this situation managed to happen so often on TOS, but apparently it did. At least they both seem to have managed to hold onto more or less the same positions that they had the last time we saw them, a rare feat for any minor TOS crewmember.
The group walks forward towards some nearby farm buildings arranged around a dirt yard, with a horse-drawn cart sitting out in front of one of them. But there’s no horse to be seen, and no people either. They wander through the yard and over toward what looks like a paddock, but without any animals in it. Everything seems quite thoroughly deserted.
Kirk leans on the paddock fence and glumly muses, “Another dream that failed. There’s nothing sadder. It took these people a year to make the trip from Earth. They came all that way...and died.” Hold on, it took them a year? What, do they not give colony ships warp drives? Did they have to hitchhike here?
“Hardly that, sir,” someone says, and suddenly we see three men in green jumpsuits standing at the edge of the yard, looking very relaxed and also very not dead.
As the landing party all turn around to stare in shock the man in front strides forward and says, “Welcome to Omicron Ceti 3. I’m Elias Sandoval.” McCoy looks like he’s getting ready to spray the dude with holy water.
After the titles, we get a brief captain’s log to sum things up, just in case everyone forgot what happened during the commercial break:
“Captain’s Log, Stardate 3417.3. We thought our mission to Omicron Ceti 3 would be an unhappy one. We had expected to find no survivors of the agricultural colony there. Apparently, our information was incorrect.”
The colonists start happily shaking hands with the landing party—but happily as in “oh, it’s so nice to meet you” not “oh thank god you came to rescue us we’re all on the brink of death”. Sandoval says they haven’t seen anyone outside the colony since they left Earth four years ago, although they’ve been expecting someone to come by for a while. Apparently their subspace radio didn’t work right and they don’t have anyone who could “master its intricacies”. Now, I’m no expert on establishing colonies on alien planets, but ‘person who can work our only communication device’ does rather seem like a position you would want to make sure was filled before you left.
Kirk has to explain that they haven’t come to visit because of the dead radio. He does not explain why they did decide to come when they did. Spock’s comment about the colonists knowing there was a risk indicates that whether or not Bertold rays specifically were known about before the colonists left, they at least had reason to believe there was something dangerous about the planet. So why’d the Federation let them go and then wait another three years before sending anyone to check up on them? Eh, probably just another failing of twenty-third century space bureaucracy.
Sandoval’s not bothered about it, though. He tells Kirk that it doesn’t make much difference—the important thing is the party is here now and the colonists are happy to see them. Then he invites them on a tour of the settlement and casually strolls off, leaving the landing party to stand there and try to process what the hell they just witnessed.
“Pure speculation, just an educated guess...I’d say that man is alive,” McCoy says. Thanks Bones.
Spock says that his scans show that the planet is getting ray’d just as their reports indicated, so that’s not the issue. Under this intensity, the landing party could safely hang out here for a week if necessary, as per the usual Star Trek rule that you can be exposed to a deadly thing and be just fine up until the exact moment it kills you, but there’s a mighty big difference between a week and three years. Or as Kirk succinctly puts it, “These people shouldn’t be alive.”
“Is it possible they’re not?” Sulu asks. Great out of the box thinking there Sulu, love it.
Kirk takes a moment to consider that, which is fair—compared to the kind of weird shit they’ve encountered so far, the walking dead wouldn’t even stand out that much. But McCoy points out that when they shook hands with Sandoval, “His flesh was warm. He’s alive. There’s no doubt about that.” Spock fires back with a reminder that, “There’s no miracle connected with [Bertold rays], doctor, you know that. No cures, no serums, no antidotes. If a man is exposed long enough, he dies.” Okay dude, calm down, all McCoy said was “he’s alive” not “my god! Bertold rays have been fake all along! wake up sheeple!"
As Kirk points out, this whole debate is pretty pointless anyway for the moment—they’re arguing in a vacuum, and they’ll need more answers if they want to get anywhere. So they go to follow Sandoval, who leads them towards a nearby farm house, while a few colonists do various farm chores nearby. Sandoval explains that the colonists split into three groups, with forty-five people at this settlement and two more settlements elsewhere on the planet. Apparently they thought that arrangement would give each group a better chance for growth, since if some disaster struck one group the other two would probably still be alright.
“Omicron is an ideal agricultural planet,” he says. “We determined not to suffer the fate of the expeditions that went before us.” It’s rather vague what expeditions he’s referring to here, since at no other point in the episode are any previous attempts at settling Omicron Ceti 3 mentioned. But given that Sandoval specifically mentions the possibility of disease afflicting one group as a reason to split up, and Spock earlier said that Bertold rays were a recent discovery—and that the colonists knew coming to Omicron Ceti 3 was risky-- it seems possible that previous groups tried to settle the planet and, without knowing about the Bertold rays, mistook their effects for some kind of disease native to the planet. Of course that doesn’t explain why this group of colonists decided it would be a good idea to try to settle here again anyway, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few months, it’s that not everyone sees the possibility of dying to a terrible disease as a compelling reason to change their plans in any way.
As they stand in the farmhouse talking about this, a woman steps forward from another room in the house. She’s in soft focus, just in case we might forget she’s a woman, and instead of the green jumpsuit all the male colonists are wearing, she’s wearing green overalls over a lavender shirt, a combination that somehow manages to be an even worse fashion disaster than the jumpsuits themselves. She starts to say something to Sandoval, then stops in surprise as she sees the landing party. But for once the romance-o-vision isn’t for Kirk—it’s Spock that the camera zooms in on as the woman stares at him.
“Layla, come meet our guests,” Sandoval says cheerfully, oblivious to the wistfully romantic background music. He introduces her as Layla Colomi, their botanist. Layla says that she and Spock have met before, but “It’s been a long time.” Kirk gives Spock a bit of a side-eye for that, but Spock offers no details.
Well, all romantic tension aside, they do still have a mission to attend to here, as Kirk reminds Sandoval. Sandoval tells them to go ahead with any examinations or tests they want. “I think you’ll find our settlement an interesting one. Our philosophy is a simple one: that men should return to a less complicated life. We have few mechanical things here, no vehicles, no weapons. We have harmony here. Complete peace.” Oh yeah, that bodes well. Remember the last place we saw complete harmony and peace? At least that explains why everyone on this farm is using equipment straight out of Stardew Valley, which is presumably not the most advanced agricultural technology available by the twenty-third century. I’m not sure why Sandoval’s idea of a simpler lifestyle excludes vehicles, though. They’re not exactly the most recent thing on the timeline of human technological advancements.
Sandoval tells the landing party to make themselves at home, and they all head off. All except for Spock, who lingers just a few seconds more to give Layla a completely neutral look before walking away as well.
Everyone goes off to conduct their respective investigations. Sulu and Kelowitz wander through a yard over towards another farm building. Kelowitz isn’t sure what exactly they should be looking for, though. “Whatever doesn’t look right—whatever that is,” Sulu replies, climbing up to sit on a railing on the building’s porch. “When it comes to farms, I wouldn’t know what looked right or wrong if it were two feet from me.” I hope you enjoyed that line, because “didn’t grow up on a farm” is about all the backstory TOS is going to give us for Sulu until the movies.
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[ID: Three screenshots showing Sulu pulling himself up to sit on the railing of an old-fashioned farmhouse as he says, "When it comes to farms, I wouldn't know what looked right or wrong if it were two feet from me." Growing up from the ground nearby are two large plants with thick brownish-purple stems and large pink flowers on top.]
Hey Sulu, what's that about two feet from you? Oh well, I'm sure it's not important.
Kelowitz opens up a nearby barn and notes that there’s no cows there—in fact, the barn isn’t even built for cows, just for storage, and indeed it only looks big enough to be useful for holding cow, singular. Having a storage barn isn’t itself that weird, although the fact that there is nothing currently stored in the storage barn is a bit strange. But also, as Sulu points out, come to think of it, they haven’t seen any animals here, native or imported. No cows, no horses, no pigs, not even a dog. Which is a bit odd for an agricultural colony. They must have had or expected to have animals at some point—otherwise what was pulling that cart?
Back in the house, Sandoval is asking Layla about Spock (once again referred to as a ‘Vulcanian’). She says that she knew Spock on Earth, six years ago. Sandoval, apparently having noticed the dreamy background music by now, asks if Layla loved Spock. She says that if she did, “it was important only to myself...Mr. Spock’s feelings were never expressed to me. It is said he has none to give.”
“Would you like him to stay with us now? To be one of us?” Sandoval asks. Layla smiles at him. “There is no choice, Elias,” she says. “He will stay.”
Elsewhere in the house, McCoy is scanning a colonist. He doesn’t look exactly happy with the tricorder result he gets, but all he says is, “That’ll be all, thank you very much,” and the colonist leaves, passing Kirk coming in. Incidentally, I can’t help but note that this room contains two paintings on the wall and what appears to be a cabinet full of china. I suppose the paintings could have been done by a colonist, but the china could surely only have been brought there. Who decided to pack fancy china on a year-long space voyage to an agricultural colony?
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[ID: A shot of the interior of a farmhouse with blue walls, with a large wooden table in the middle of the room, a cabinet with china and glassware in the corner, a wooden desk with a copper tea kettle and some other kitchen items on it against the back wall, and a painting hanging on the wall showing some blurry trees. Sandoval, a middle-aged white man with short brown hair wearing a green jumpsuit, walks past the camera as he says, "Oh, captain, I've been looking for you."]
Kirk asks if McCoy’s found anything yet. McCoy replies that he’s surveyed nine men so far, ranging in age from twenty-three to fifty-nine. And they’re all in perfect condition. Not just healthy—perfect. Textbook responses across the board, from all of them. “If there are many more of them,” McCoy muses, “I can throw away my shingle.”
At that point Kirk’s communicator goes off. It’s Spock, calling in from one of the crop fields. He’s made the same observation as Sulu—there’s no life on the planet aside from the colonists and the plants. No animals, no insects. Spock doesn’t have any explanation yet, so Kirk tells him to carry on with his investigation and hangs up.
McCoy notes the absence of animals as peculiar, and Kirk says it’s especially so because the expedition records show that they did bring animals with them to raise for food. And pull their carts, presumably. But it seems none of them are still around. McCoy says he’d like to see the expedition’s medical records, a request Kirk has apparently anticipated because he’s got the floppy disc on hand with him.
Sandoval comes in and says that he’d like to take the two of them on a tour of the fields, to show off what the colony’s accomplished. McCoy says he’ll have to bow out, since he’s still working on the medical examinations. “However, if I find everyone else’s health to be as perfect as yours...”
“You’ll find no weaklings here,” Sandoval says, which uh, sure is a hell of a way to phrase that. “No weaklings! None of those miserable, pathetic sods with imperfect health! Only the strong survive! THE SLIGHTEST BLEMISH SHALL BE CAUSE FOR EXILE!”
Leaving McCoy behind, Kirk and Sandoval head out to the fields, where Sandoval gushes to Kirk about how great this place is: they’ve got moderate climate, moderate rains all year round, and the soil will grow anything they stick in it. Which is pretty miraculous, considering there’s no such thing as growing conditions that are perfect for every plant. But as we’re about to see, that’s not the only weird thing going on with their farming practices.
The conversation is interrupted by DeSalle arriving to give Kirk the biology report. Sandoval excuses himself to attend to work elsewhere, leaving Kirk and DeSalle alone to discuss the report. At first, it seems to be just as Sandoval said: they’ve got a variety of crops growing here successfully. The weird thing is that they don’t actually have very many of those crops. There’s enough to keep the colony going at the size it currently is, but barely more than that. Which tracks with what we’ve seen of the place so far: a couple of tiny fields that look more about the size for someone’s backyard garden than for a prosperous farm, tended by the occasional person idly scratching at the ground with a hoe. For a supposedly bounteous agricultural colony, that’s pretty weird. What have they been doing all this time?
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle all one color,” Kirk muses, taking a moment to stroll a few steps away so he can say this dramatically in the distance instead of actually talking to DeSalle. “No key to where the pieces fit in. Why?”
Kirk’s communicator goes off. It’s McCoy, saying Kirk had better get back over there. “Trouble?” “No, but I’d like you to see this for yourself.” Of course. No one can ever just explain something over the phone, can they.
So Kirk heads back to the house, where the thing that Kirk just absolutely has to see for himself turns out to be McCoy just telling him what he’s found out, but he definitely couldn't do that over the communicator for, uh, reasons. What he’s found out is pretty interesting, though: McCoy checked up on Sandoval’s medical records from right before the colonists had left, which said that Sandoval had had an appendectomy, and had scar tissue on his lungs from childhood pneumonia (the weakling!). Yet when McCoy scanned Sandoval himself today, the results came back just as perfect as all the other colonists’. Kirk’s first thought is instrument failure, but McCoy says no, he thought of that and tested it by scanning himself, and it recorded him just fine, down to “those two broken ribs I had once.” Which sounds like an interesting story. But Sandoval’s scan? No scar tissue, and one healthy appendix. That’s right, Sandoval’s apparently managed to regrow an entire organ. Do you think you would notice that happening? Like, would it itch?
While Kirk and McCoy try to figure that out, Spock is hanging out in a field scanning with his own tricorder, while Layla stands nearby smiling ominously at him. Spock muses that there’s “Nothing. Not even insects. Yet your plants grow, and you’ve survived exposure to Bertold rays.” Yeah, how are those plants growing without insects? Presumably the native plants have evolved some way around that, but the ones the colonists have brought from Earth would need some help. Are the colonists just manually pollinating everything? Maybe that’s why they haven’t grown very much.
Layla says this can be explained, but when asked to do so, she just says, “Later.” Spock looks annoyed and remarks, “I have never understood the female capacity to avoid a direct answer to any question.” Hey! Cut that bullshit out. No one on this colony has directly answered a question since you got here, there’s no call to go ragging on a whole gender for it. Besides, just saying “Later,” is hardly a stunningly deft diversion, it’s not like she threw a smoke bomb down and disappeared.
“And I never understood you,” Layla says, walking over and placing a hand on his chest. “Until now. There was always a place in here where no one could come. There was only the face you allow people to see. Only one side you’d allow them to know.”
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[ID: Three screenshots of Spock and Layla, a white woman with a lot of long blonde hair wearing a lilac shirt and green overalls, standing outside in a field with a large tree in the background. Layla, seen from behind, is pressing her hand to Spock's upper chest and saying, "There was always a place in here where no one could come." Spock replies "you know that's not where my heart is right".]
If Layla was hoping this little speech would prompt Spock to cry out that yes, she’s figured him out, he does love her but has never been able to show it! she’s disappointed, because he just looks uncomfortable and steps away. He tries to steer the conversation back onto the mystery of the colonists. “If I tell you how we survive,” she asks, “will you try to understand how we feel about our life here? About each other?”
That’s a pretty vague thing to make a promise about, so Spock deflects by saying that emotions are alien to him; he’s a SCIENTIST. “Someone else might believe that—your shipmates, your captain—but not me,” Layla says. Oh sure! Obviously none of the people who have lived, worked, and risked death alongside Spock can be expected to know anything about Spock. Only you are the Spock Expert, gifted with incredible insight by virtue of having a crush on him.
“Come,” she says, sauntering off through the field with her hand outstretched to him. Spock rather pointedly folds his hands behind his back instead and follows her.
Back in the house, Kirk and McCoy are struggling to have a conversation with Sandoval. Kirk tells Sandoval that he’s received orders from Starfleet Command to evacuate everyone on the colony, since, y’know, deadly rays and all that. He expects Sandoval to start making preparations. But Sandoval, calmly, casually, says, “No.” It’s not necessary, he insists—they’re in no danger.
But...but the Bertold rays. Sandoval is unmoved,  pointing out that as McCoy’s own instruments show, the colonists are in perfect health and there have been no deaths. Okay, what about all those animals? What happened to them? “We’re vegetarians,” Sandoval says blithely. Which, as Kirk points out, does absolutely nothing to answer the question. Actually it raises further questions.
Sandoval remains thoroughly unbothered and thoroughly unhelpful. “Captain, you stress very unimportant matters. We will not leave,” he says, and goes back to gazing out the window, evidently considering the conversation over.
Elsewhere, Spock and Layla are still walking, and Spock is getting annoyed that Layla still hasn’t explained just what it is they’re going to see. “Its basic properties and elements are not important,” Layla says helpfully. “What is important is that it gives life, peace, love.” Oh boy.
Spock is dubious, but Layla pulls him forward, over towards another one of those large pink flowers. “I was one of the first to find them,” Layla says. “The spores.”
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[ID: A gif of Spock approaching a large pinkish-purple flower and saying, "Spores?" The flower then sprays a cloud of white spores all over his face and torso while Spock recoils.]
For a moment Spock just looks startled, but then he starts clutching his head and falling onto his knees in the grass, dropping his tricorder and gasping, “No--” For the first time all episode, Layla’s absolute serenity starts to fracture slightly. Over Spock’s agonized protests, she insists that it shouldn’t hurt—it didn’t hurt any of them. But, as Spock gasps out, he’s not like them. Whoops, did the biologist forget to account for biological differences before handing out a facefull of spores? I bet you didn’t even check if he had any allergies first, did you?
Just as it’s looking like this might put actually put a crack in Layla’s blissed-out impassivity, Spock stops thrashing about and starts seeming less anguished and more confused. Layla’s concern vanishes once again, and she goes back to smiling happily while stroking his face. “Now...now you belong to all of us...and we to you. There’s no need to hide your inner face any longer. We understand.”
Spock still seems unsure, but then he takes Layla’s hand in his and smiles. Not the slight hint of a smile or sardonic quirk of the lips you’d expect to see from Spock, but a huge, broad grin from ear to ear. “I love you...I can love you,” he says, and then he kisses her.
Hoo boy.
After the break, we get a quick Captain’s Log to recap:
“Captain’s Log, supplemental. We have been ordered by Starfleet Command to evacuate the colony on Omicron 3. However, the colony leader, Elias Sandoval, has refused all cooperation and will not listen to any arguments.”
Sure enough, we see Sandoval exiting the farmhouse, followed by McCoy and an extremely frustrated Kirk. “Captain, your arguments are very valid, but do they not apply to us,” Sandoval says, as calm as ever. He tries to walk off, but Kirk grabs his arm and pulls him back.
“My orders are to remove all the colonists,” he says, “and that’s exactly what I intend to do with or without your help.”
“Without, I should think,” Sandoval says, and strolls off, leaving Kirk standing there fuming.
Sulu and Kelowitz come walking up to report that they’ve checked out everything and it all seems normal, except for the missing animals. Of course, they also both said they had no idea what to look for in the first place, so maybe take that with a grain of salt. Kirk tells them about the evacuation orders, and says he wants landing parties to start gathering the colonists and preparing them to leave. And by the way, where did Spock and DeSalle go? Sulu says they haven’t seen either one in some time, but McCoy says DeSalle was going to examine some native plants he found. Native plants, huh? I think we can guess what happened to DeSalle.
Since Spock still hasn’t reported in, Kirk gives him a call. Or tries to, at least—Spock doesn’t pick up. On the other end of the line, we see why that is: Spock's communicator is laying abandoned on the ground, while Spock himself, now dressed in the same horrible green jumpsuit as the colonists, is stretched out on the grass with Layla, watching clouds. The communicator beeps away while Spock happily describes how one of the clouds looks like a dragon. "I've never seen a dragon," Layla says. BEEP BEEP. "I have." BEEP BEEP. "On Barengarius 7." BEEP BEEP. "But I've never stopped to look at clouds before." BEEP BEEP. "Or rainbows." BEEP BEEP. "You know, I can tell you exactly why one appears in the sky, but considering its beauty has always been out of the question." BEEP BEEP.
"Not here," Layla says (beep beep), and they smile dreamily at each other before going into another makeout session. Meanwhile, Kirk is still on the line, and not getting any happier about it. Layla finally picks up the communicator and holds it up for Spock, who takes a break from kissin' to say, "Yes, what did you want?"
Naturally, this throws both Kirk and McCoy for a loop. While McCoy stands there with a "what the fuck" look on his face, Kirk takes a moment to recover and then demands, "Spock, is that you?"
"Yes, captain, what did you want?"
"Where are you?"
"...I don't believe I want to tell you."
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[ID: Three shots of Kirk and McCoy standing in front of the farmhouse, Kirk holding his communicator while McCoy looks on. Kirk has a stunned expression on his face and looks around with his mouth open, trying to figure out what to say.]
Kirk plows on ahead, telling Spock that, whatever the hell he thinks he's doing, he's got orders: they're getting the colonists out, and Spock is to meet back at the settlement in ten minutes.
"No, I don't think so," Spock says casually. "You don't think so, what?" "I don't think so, sir."
Kirk has to take a moment after that one. It's rather amazing that McCoy's made it this far into the conversation without saying anything himself. Presumably he's just in shock. Eventually Kirk tells Spock to report in immediately, but by now Spock and Layla have gone back to kissing, leaving the communicator open but abandoned in the grass once more.
"That didn't sound at all like Spock, Jim," McCoy says, putting in his bid for the Enterprise’s bi-weekly Massive Understatement contest.
"No, it--I thought you said you might like him if he mellowed a little."
"I didn't say that!"
"You said that."
"Not exactly,” McCoy protests, and then somewhat grudgingly adds, “He might be in trouble.”
I'm sure McCoy did say that, or something like it, but "I hope Spock has his brain taken over by alien spores" was presumably not where he was going with it. He obviously sees this sudden change of behavior as something to be concerned about--even moreso than Kirk, who seems more irritated than anything. But then, it's only been a couple episodes since McCoy had his own run-in with an alien influence making people act a lot more mellow than usual, and he didn't enjoy that experience at all, so it's not surprising that "trouble" is his first thought here.
Kirk tells McCoy to take over the landing party detail and start getting the colonists up to the ship, and to make sure the party works in teams of two, with nobody being left alone. Meanwhile, Kirk himself takes Sulu and Kelowitz and heads off to find Spock, using the open frequency from Spock's communicator as a homing signal. They follow a dirt path out of the main settlement and soon find said communicator, laying open and abandoned in the grass just off the path. As Kirk picks it up, they hear laughter nearby, and Sulu points in astonishment further down the path, where Layla is watching Spock dangle upside-down from a tree branch like a kid on a jungle gym.
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[ID: A shot of Spock and Layla among some trees at the end of a dirt path. Layla is standing on the ground and holding hands with Spock, who is hanging upside-down by his knees from a large tree branch, laughing.]
For a moment all Kirk can do is stare weakly at this weird spectacle. Then he collects himself with a stern AHEM and marches over like a principal about to deliver some very serious detention.
Meanwhile, back at the main hub of the colony, the landing party seems to have gotten well underway with preparations for departure, with several colonists and crewmen piling up luggage and equipment in the middle of a field while McCoy stands nearby overseeing everything, a job I’m sure he’s enjoying since we all know administrative work is McCoy’s favorite thing. Then DeSalle arrives, carrying a couple of the spore flowers and tells McCoy to take “a good, close look” at them, because they’re very interesting. McCoy steps forward to check them out right before the scene cuts away again, leaving us with little doubt as to what’s about to happen next.
During that little interim, Kirk and his crew have made it over to where Spock and Layla are cavorting. Spock just grins happily at Kirk, clearly not bothered one bit, even as Kirk asks if Spock’s out of his mind. He didn’t report to Kirk, he says, because...he didn’t want to.
Kirk glances back and forth between Spock and Layla, who’s standing there smiling rather smugly, and tells Layla that she’ll need to come get ready to evacuate with the rest of the colonists. Spock cheerfully says that there’s not going to be any evacuation. “But perhaps,” he adds, “we should go and get you straightened out.”
That really doesn’t bode well, but rather than ask just what Spock means by that, Kirk tells Sulu that Spock is under arrest in Sulu’s custody until they get back to the ship. Which will certainly work out well because it’s not like Spock is strong enough to chuck Sulu all the way across the field barehanded or anything. Not that Spock seems especially perturbed about being under arrest; instead he just shrugs, drops down from the tree, and says, “Very well. Come with me,” before heading off across the field, leaving else to follow in confusion. That’s how you arrest someone, right?
Of course, Spock leads them right to another group of spore flowers, which the group stops and stares at obligingly for a moment. Then the flowers explode a bunch of spores at them. Somehow, even though he’s standing right next to Sulu and Kelowitz, Kirk manages to totally avoid getting any spores up his sinuses, while the other two are immediately affected. “Yes...I see now,” Sulu says blissfully, with that trademark Very High grin that George Takei does so well. “Of course we can’t remove the colony. It’d be wrong.”
Kirk grabs him by the shoulders—Kirk’s go-to method for snapping people out of it--but when this somehow fails to bring Sulu back to his right mind, all Kirk can do is say that he doesn’t know what these plants are or how they work, but “you’re all going back to the settlement with me, and those colonists are going aboard the ship.” This stern proclamation has absolutely no effect on anyone. The whole group just stands there happily watching Kirk stomp back toward the colony. “I can see the captain is going to be difficult,” Spock remarks.
Kirk’s day isn’t about to get any better, because upon making it back to the colony he’s greeted by McCoy, who we can immediately tell is under the influence as well because his accent is absolutely out of control. It’s so thick even the subtitles pick up on it.
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[ID: A screenshot of McCoy walking through a meadow with his communicator out, saying, "Sho’nuf."]
“Hiya, Jimmy boy!” McCoy very happily says to a very unhappy Kirk. “Hey, I’ve taken care of everything. Now all y’all gotta do is just relax. Doctor’s orders!” With a very resigned look, Kirk asks how many plants McCoy’s beamed up to the ship, and McCoy says it must be going on a hundred by now.
So Kirk beams up to the ship and heads right to the bridge, where he tells Uhura to put him through to Admiral Komak at Starfleet, though what he expects Komak to do about all this I don't know. But it’s too late. Uhura turns around to show that she’s smiling as happily as everyone else, and says, “Oh, I’m sorry Dave, I mean, captain. I can’t do that.” She’s short-circuited all the ship’s communications, except for ship-to-surface, since they’ll need that for a little while yet. Then she leaves, pausing in the door of the lift to tell Kirk that it’s really all for the best.
Kirk stands there seething for a moment, then stomps over to grab a plant that’s been left in Spock’s chair. He throws it across the bridge, and the camera lingers ominously on it as Kirk heads back into the lift.
Things aren’t any better on the rest of the ship. Kirk soon finds a long line of crewmembers of all different shirt colors, patiently waiting to transport down to join the colony. Out of what I can only assume is some desperate futile hope that someone will follow his orders if he just keeps trying, Kirk orders them all to go back to their stations at once. Unsurprisingly, they all ignore him. Kirk points out to one of the redshirts that this is MUTINY! but it doesn't get him very far.
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[ID: A gif showing a young white man with brown hair wearing a redshirt as he says, "Yes, sir, it is." The camera then zooms in very dramatically on Kirk's stunned face.]
So...they’re all going down to join the colony? All four hundred thirty of them? Or four hundred twenty-nine, I guess, if Kirk refuses to join the fun. That’s almost ten times the amount of people the colony currently has in it. That seems like it could present a bit of a problem, because if you’ll recall DeSalle told Kirk earlier that right now the colony’s growing enough food to feed their current population, with little left over. How are they going to handle such a large and sudden influx into their population? Do they have housing for all these people? Or are they just all going to eat dirt and sleep on the ground because they’re all too high to notice anyway?
After we’ve had a commercial break to contemplate this shocking turn of events, Kirk takes some time out to give vent to his feelings in a captain’s log:
"Captain's Log, Stardate 3417.5. The pod plants have spread spores throughout the ship, carried by the ventilation system. Under their influence, my crew is deserting to join the Omicron colony, and I can't stop them. I don't know why I have not been infected, nor can I get Doctor McCoy to explain the physical, psychological aspects of the infection."
And indeed, just in case we had any doubt, we then see McCoy strolling through the field and happily telling Kirk, “I’m not interested in any physical, psychological aspects, Jim-boy. We all perfectly healthy down here.” Kirk grumbles about how much he’s been hearing about things being perfect lately. “I bet you’ve even grown your tonsils back.” “Sho’nuf!”
Kirk tries desperately to get McCoy to do something to figure these spores out—run a blood test, take a scan, type the symptoms into WebMD, something, anything—but McCoy is more interested in rambling on about mint juleps.  Meanwhile, back in the farmhouse, Sandoval’s having tea with Spock while they talk about how nearly everyone’s beamed down from the ship and things are “proceeding quite well.” Kirk storms in and demands to know where McCoy’s gotten to, and Spock says he went off to make that mint julep. Which could prove quite difficult unless this tiny half-assed farm colony has somehow managed to set up a working distillery around here somewhere, but Kirk’s got bigger concerns right now than where McCoy’s going to get his bourbon.
Sandoval wants to know why Kirk won’t join them in their private, spore-sponsored paradise. Kirk asks where these spores came from, anyway, and Spock exposits that there’s no way to know—they just drifted through space until they arrived at this planet, which is perfect for them because it turns out they actually thrive on Bertold rays. The plants act as a repository for the spores until they can find a human—or half-Vulcan—body to inhabit. No explanation is forthcoming as to how Spock knows any of this.
Spock and Sandoval insist that the planet is “a true Eden” with belonging and love and no needs or wants for anyone, but Kirk is skeptical. “No wants, no needs. We weren’t meant for that. None of us. Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is.” Of all the things wrong with this situation I’m not sure “BEING TOO HAPPY IS BAD FOR YOU” is the take I would go with, but okay. Spock says that Kirk doesn’t understand, but he’ll come around...sooner or later.
Kirk, disgusted with this whole conversation, goes back to the ship. The bridge is dark, silent, and utterly empty. We get a slow pan of the blinking lights and displays of the consoles, with no one left to man them. Kirk walks over to his chair, hits the intercom, and starts calling one part of the ship after another, with no response from any of them. With nothing else left to do, he sits down in his chair and starts glumly recording a captain’s log so angsty it could be a LiveJournal entry:
"Captain's Log, Stardate 3417.7. Except for myself, all crew personnel have transported to the surface of the planet. Mutinied. Lieutenant Uhura has effectively sabotaged the communications station. I can only contact the surface of the planet. The ship...can be maintained in orbit for several months, but even with automatic controls, I cannot pilot her alone. In effect, I am marooned here. I'm beginning to realize...just how big this ship really is, how quiet. I don't know how to get my crew back, how to counteract the effect of the spores. I don't know what I can offer against...paradise."
Hold on hold on HOLD ON what do you MEAN the ship can be maintained in orbit for several months? Every time someone takes their hands off the controls for five seconds we get told that the orbit is decaying and they’re gonna plummet into some hapless planet within a few hours at most but now all of a sudden it’s fine to hang out up there for several months? MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
Kirk gets up to go sit at the helm, just to get a change of scenery mid-mope, and as he finishes his log/rant the camera slowly pans down to reveal the spore flower that he chucked across the bridge earlier. Which is weird because we just got a wide shot of the bridge and that flower definitely wasn’t there then.
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[ID: Two shots. The first is a wide shot showing Kirk alone on the empty, darkened bridge, preparing to sit down at the helm. There is nothing in on the floor in front of the helm. The second shot is a closer shot of Kirk sitting at the helm with his chin in one hand, now with a large spore flower poking up in the front of shot.]
The flower promptly shoots Kirk in the face, and for a moment he just continues to sit there with spores in his hair and a “yeah, this might as well happen” expression. But then he slowly starts to smile, suddenly as happy as everyone else. Exactly why Kirk’s been unaffected by the spores up until now, even after hanging out for quite a while on a ship that’s supposedly been thoroughly contaminated by them, is never really explained. Maybe he's just on a lot of Zyrtec. But it seems even Kirk’s determination to not be happy can’t hold out against a point-blank spray in the face. He calls Spock to say that he finally understands now, which Spock is happy to hear. Kirk says he’ll be down just as soon as he packs up a few things, so Spock says he and Layla will wait for him at the beamdown point.
So Kirk goes off to his quarters to pack up a suitcase, the contents of which seem to mostly consist of uniform shirts. Apparently paradise for Kirk does not include one of those green jumpsuits, which, really, who can blame him. He opens a small vault by his bed and pulls out a couple of black cases, one of which he opens to reveal a medal. This seems to stir some sense of conflict because he sits down and stares at it for a long moment, but then puts it aside and heads to the transporter room, where he puts the suitcase on the platform and then prepares to set the controls.
But then Kirk hesitates, and stands there for a moment looking conflicted. Possibly he’s still having feelings about those medals, or maybe he’s having second thoughts about whether he packed enough shirts. In any case, he eventually exclaims, “No...No! I...can’t...LEAVE!” Then he punches the console for good measure.
Apparently this little emotional outburst is all it takes to cure the spores, because Kirk gasps a little, looks momentarily confused, and then seems to be back to his old self. “Emotions...violent emotions. Needs...anger,” he tells the empty room. “Captain’s log, supplemental. I think I’ve discovered the answer...but to carry out my plan entails considerable risk. Mr. Spock is much stronger than the ordinary human being.” Then he treats us to this remarkable line:
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[ID: A shot of Kirk in profile at the transporter controls as he says, "Aroused, his great physical strength could kill."]
Down on the planet, Spock and Layla are still waiting at the beamdown point when Kirk calls Spock up and says he’s realized there’s some equipment on the ship that they’ll need for the colony, and he needs Spock’s help to get it all beamed down. Really, you’d think there’d be quite a lot of equipment on the Enterprise that a farming colony could make good use of, but I guess they’re really determined to stick to the whole no-technology approach. Despite this, Spock cheerfully accepts the explanation, gives Layla a quick smooch, and beams up.
But upon materializing, Spock is greeted not with a smiling Kirk ready to go move some equipment with his bro, but Kirk standing there holding some nonspecific heavy metal rod thing that he’s smacking threatening against his hand. “All right, you mutinous, disloyal, computerized half-breed,” he says, “we’ll see about you deserting my ship.”
Spock reacts to this bar-brawl-starter with nothing more than a nonplussed expression and polite correcting Kirk on his syntax. Kirk, determination unshaken, continues laying into him with a stream of insults that would have made that fucker from Balance of Terror go, “Whoa, hold on there a minute.” Undeterred by not being able to use any actual expletives, he compares Spock both to a machine and to various fairy-tale creatures, makes fun of his ears, and rounds it all off by having a go at the entire Vulcan race. He even insults Spock’s parents.
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[ID: 1. A shot of Spock standing in the transporter room looking perplexed as Kirk, off-camera, says, "Whose father was a computer and his mother an encyclopedia?" 2. A gif from Monty Python and the Holy Grail of John Cleese as the French knight on the battlements yelling, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"]
Spock stands there taking it all stoically for quite a while, even as the background music gets increasingly tense. He finally starts to crack when Kirk goes after Spock’s relationship with Layla, and when Kirk keeps going despite Spock angrily telling him, “That’s enough,” Spock finally flips out big time. You know what that means, it’s time for a STAR TREK FIGHT SCENE! This one’s got it all: close-up shots of the actors intercut with long shots of very obvious stunt doubles; cardboard props getting punched; even people picking up random unidentifiable bits of starship equipment that may or may not have ever been there before to use as weapons. The only thing we’re missing is Kirk doing some kind of weird wrestling move.
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[ID: Three gifs showing a fight scene between Kirk and Spock. First we see a long shot where Kirk and Spock are clearly being played by stunt doubles, as Spock punches a metal rod Kirk is holding, bending it in half. He then punches Kirk in the jaw, sending him careening into the wall. Then a close-up of Nimoy and Shatner as Spock advances on Kirk and throws a punch but misses, denting the control panel in the wall behind Kirk. Kirk dodges out of the way towards the console, and Spock throws another punch that hits the side of the console. Then back to a long view with the stunt doubles as Spock throws Kirk into the opposite wall, which Kirk careens off of, falling on his back on the floor, while Spock picks up something resembling a square metal stool or stepladder and raises it over his head. Finally, we see Nimoy and Shatner again as Kirk lays on the floor looking up at Spock, raising the thing he's carrying over his head.]
We dramatically cut to black as Spock stands poised above Kirk, raising whatever-the-hell-that-thing-is over his head threateningly. Apparently the ad break gives him enough time to cool down, though, because instead of bringing the thing down on Kirk’s skull, he hesitates.
“Had enough?” Kirk asks. “I didn’t realize what it took to get under that thick hide of yours.”
Spock slowly lowers the thing, looking a bit regretful about having to do so. Kirk says he doesn’t know what Spock’s so mad about, anyway. “It isn’t every first officer who gets to belt his captain...several times.” Dude, you just stood there and unleashed a screed of personal and racial insults at your best friend here. A “sorry” probably wouldn’t go amiss here.
“You did that to me deliberately,” Spock realizes, and then realizes that the spores are gone. “I don’t belong anymore.” Kirk explains that since the spores are “benevolent and peaceful,” violent emotions overwhelm and destroy them—that’s the answer. Which...definitely makes sense, chemically speaking. Sure.
Spock, still looking pretty glum about all this, points out that Kirk’s method might have worked out alright for curing one person, but they’ve got over five hundred infected people down there, and trying to pick a fight with all of them probably isn’t going to go so well. But no worries, Kirk’s got another plan. He wants Spock to rig up a subsonic transmitter that they can hook up to the ship’s communications system and then broadcast to all the communicators. Spock says he can do that, but hesitates as Kirk turns to leave. “Captain. Striking a fellow officer is a court martial offense,” he points out.
Kirk mulls over that one for a moment. “We-ll...if we’re both in the brig, who’s gonna build the subsonic transmitter?” he says, and Spock concedes the point. Besides, it’s a bit late to be worrying about striking fellow officers now.
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[ID: A gif from The Naked Time of Kirk and Spock standing in an Enterprise conference room. Kirk slaps Spock across the face, and Spock retaliates by backhanding Kirk so hard he is thrown across the table in the center of the room and falls onto the floor on the other side.]
But what with the insults and the punching and de-sporing and everything, it seems that something has clean slipped Spock’s mind: Layla’s still down there waiting for him to come back. As she stands around the field, McCoy wanders over and asks what’s up. When she tells him that she’s been out here for some time now waiting for Spock and Kirk to come back, he gentlemanly offers to fix that for her and calls the ship. Spock picks up, and Layla asks if everything’s okay up there.
With obvious discomfort, Spock tells her that yes, he’s...quite well. Layla, oblivious to anything being wrong, asks if she can come up there, because she wants to talk to him, and besides, “I’ve never seen a starship before.” Wait a minute, never seen a starship before? You’re on a planetary colony! What, did you drive here?
Spock asks if she’s still at the beamdown point, and if McCoy’s there. Layla says yes to both, so Spock tells her to give the communicator back to McCoy, since she won’t need it to transport, and he’ll have her beamed up in a few minutes. One might think that at this point they might take this easy opportunity to also beam up McCoy and get him cured (it shouldn’t be hard, McCoy is already 85% comprised of negative emotions to begin with), so he can start investigating these spores, just in case Operation Go For the Eardrums doesn’t work. But they don’t. Kirk awkwardly asks Spock if he’s sure about talking to Layla while she’s still spore’d, but Spock just nods and heads to the transporter room.
He beams Layla up, and she happily runs over to give him a hug—they’ve been parted ever so long, after all—but when he just stands there stiffly, not reacting at all, she slowly pulls back and says, “You’re no longer with us, are you?”
Spock says it was necessary. Layla begs him to come back to the planet and belong again, but he says he can’t. She starts crying and saying she loves him. "I said that six years ago, and I can't seem to stop repeating myself. On Earth, you couldn't give anything of yourself. You couldn't even put your arms around me. We couldn't have anything together there. We couldn't have anything together anyplace else. But we're happy here. I can't lose you now, Mr. Spock, I can't." Look, if the only time the relationship you want can possibly work out is when the other person is being mind-controlled by alien spores, I think it may be time to consider whether this is really a relationship you should be pursuing in the first place.
“I have a responsibility to this ship...to that man on the bridge,” Spock gently tells her. “I am what I am, Layla. And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
Layla soon realizes that all this anguish has resulted in her getting de-spore’d as well, and she’s not happy about it. “And this is for my own good?” she demands angrily. Well...yes, I mean, it is, but Spock doesn’t say that. Nor does he respond when she asks, “Do you mind if I say I still love you?” but she hugs him again anyway.
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[ID: Layla tearfully embraces Spock and says, "You never told me if you had another name, Mr. Spock." Spock replies, "You couldn't pronounce it."]
We’re obviously supposed to read this little story arc as the tragic tale of true love destined never to be, because Spock is only able to express his feelings for Layla under the influence of the spores. He has experienced paradise, but alas, he cannot linger there, and so on. It’s never set all that well with me, though. The problem is we never really get Spock’s side of the story and so it leaves open the question of how much he actually did want this relationship in the first place. Layla said earlier that “Mr. Spock’s feelings were never expressed to me” so evidently he never outright said “I love you but I can’t be with you” or anything of that sort to her. When they’re alone in the field before Spock gets spore’d he seems stiff, standoffish, awkward, and deflects all of her overtures with what appears to be discomfort, even annoyance. He clearly has no interest in talking about whatever history they had together, even when they’re all alone. For all that Layla goes on about how she can see a side of Spock that his crewmates don’t, we see interactions with those crewmates multiple times throughout the show that prove that Spock is perfectly capable of showing people that he cares about them, even if the ways he does it are usually a bit atypical. We don’t see any of that in his initial interactions with Layla.
If we accept the premise that the spores only make people act as they would if they had no inhibitions or fears holding them back, then yes, Spock saying he loves Layla after he’s been spore’d would indicate that he did secretly love her all along. The problem is that we know the spores make people do things that they would not ordinarily want to do. You think all of those four hundred thirty people on the Enterprise secretly longed for a quiet life among the soil but all chose to instead join the space navy for some reason? Should we believe Scotty is actually deep down perfectly okay with abandoning his beloved ship to a slowly decaying orbit? I doubt that Kirk has always harbored a subconscious desire to give up exploring the final frontier to pursue a peaceful agrarian lifestyle, but he very nearly does do just that. So the question of how much a relationship with Layla is what Spock “really” wanted seems to be a bit hazy.
Mind, I’m not saying this makes Layla an evil person who deliberately drugged Spock so she could have a relationship with him or anything like that. It’s clear throughout the episode that the spores induce those who are infected by them to spread them around to anyone nearby who’s not in the spore fandom yet, so there’s no reason to believe Layla would act as she did if she wasn’t under the influence herself. I just personally find it hard to buy into the tragic romance of a star-crossed relationship when the thing crossing the stars is that one of the participants is only enthusiastic about the whole thing when they’re not fully sober. It makes me question how much of their previous relationship really was Spock having feelings for Layla but being unable to express them, versus Layla projecting a lot of feelings onto him and writing off his disinterest or discomfort as denial.
Kirk and Spock go back to working on the signal, while Layla deals with her heartbreak by disappearing into thin air for the rest of the episode. Spock says that the sound they’re going to send out is on a frequency that won’t be heard so much as felt, but apparently it will be felt quite emphatically. Kirk compares it to putting itching powder on someone. Which may seem like another silly technobabble deus ex machina, but speaking from personal experience, driving someone into a frantic frustrated fit by playing an obnoxious noise just on the edge of hearing sounds totally legit. All they need to complete the sensory overload meltdown experience is find a way to simulate some flickering florescent lights and put tags on the backs of the uniform shirts.
And indeed, as the device starts to work, we see Sulu and DeSalle working in one of the fields—for a certain value of ‘working,’ anyway, they’re kind of just digging around aimlessly—when Sulu accidentally elbows DeSalle in the back. He apologizes, but DeSalle shoves him back, and before long they’re having a full-on brawl right there in the field, which can't be good for the crops. As the device on the ship hums away, two more crewmembers start their own fight over by the farmhouse, and when a third tries to break them up he promptly gets dragged into it as well.
The effects haven’t quite reached everyone just yet, though, as we see McCoy chillaxing under a tree with some unspecified concoction. Sandoval strolls up and says that he’s been thinking about what sort of work he could assign McCoy to. When McCoy protests that he does one kind of work and that’s doctorin’, Sandoval says that he’s not a doctor anymore—they don’t need any doctors here.
This does not go over well.
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[ID: A gif showing McCoy reclining against a tree in a grassy meadow, a stalk of grass in one hand and a grass of something brown with several leafy stalks in it. Sandoval is standing over him. McCoy says, "Oh, no?" and then slowly stands up, tosses his grass stalk aside, looks Sandoval in the eye and says, "Would you like to see just how fast I can put you in a hospital?"]
Undeterred, Sandoval says that he’s the leader and he’ll be assigning McCoy whatever work he wants to, but when he tries to walk away McCoy pulls him back and snarls, “You’d better make me a mechanic. Then I can treat little tin gods like you.” Sandoval throws a punch at him, but McCoy dodges and whacks Sandoval in the stomach, putting him out flat on the ground. See, I told you it wouldn’t be hard to cure McCoy. Everyone else on the Enterprise was perfectly happy to give up their careers to go do a bit of light farming, but tell McCoy he can’t be a doctor anymore and no amount of spores are going to save you.
While Sandoval is busy rolling around on the ground, McCoy stands there looking confused for a moment, then—presumably having only just now noticed that instead of a mint julep he’s actually been drinking a coke with a bunch of cilantro in it—throws his drink aside and admits that he’s not sure why he just clobbered Sandoval. But Sandoval has other concerns for the moment. With a look of dawning horror familiar to all us chronic procrastinators, he abruptly realizes that they haven’t actually been doing anything all this time. “No accomplishments, no progress. Three years wasted. We wanted to make this planet a garden...”
McCoy points out that the colonists really will have to leave—they can’t survive here without the spores handling all that radiation for them. But the dream’s not over; the colonists could be relocated to start again somewhere a bit less deadly, if that’s what they want.
“I think I’d...I think we’d like to get some work done,” Sandoval muses. “The work we set out to do.”
McCoy calls Spock and says that Sandoval wants to talk to Kirk. Spock notes to Kirk that the crew are all starting to rather sheepishly call in by now. Sandoval tells Kirk that the colonists will fully cooperate with the evacuation now, and Kirk tells him to start making the preparations. Real ones, this time.
Sometime later, everyone’s back on the bridge getting ready to head out. McCoy reports that he’s examined all the colonists and they all remain in perfect health. “A fringe benefit left over by the spores.”
One would think that this would have been quite the eventful afternoon for the medical sciences, given that they just discovered spores with such incredible healing powers that they can make people regrow organs, and McCoy just confirmed that anything healed by the spores stays healed after the spores are gone. Sure, they’ve got some side effects, but Kirk’s already discovered a simple way to get rid of the things once they’re no longer needed. Strap someone to a bed, give em a facemask full of spores, let them lay there for a while having a nice buzz while they heal their cancer or whatever, then play an irritating noise at them until they sneeze the spores back out again. Boom. Done. You’ve solved medicine. Or, y’know, we could vacate the planet and never speak of it ever again, that works too.
Notably unmentioned by anybody during this little denouement is the fate of the other two settlements on the planet that Sandoval mentioned back near the beginning of the episode. The length of the timeskip isn’t specified, so it’s possible that the crew went and collected them as well in the interim, but we never get any details as to how that little adventure went, assuming that it did happen and that the Enterprise isn’t about to get halfway to the next starbase before Kirk realizes he forgot something.
As they watch the planet diminish behind them on the viewscreen, McCoy muses that this was “the second time man’s been thrown out of paradise.” Kirk disagrees. "No, no, Bones, this time we walked out on our own. Maybe we weren't meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through--struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can't stroll to the music of the lute. We must march to the sound of drums."
Spock remains unimpressed by this bit of philosophizing. “Poetry, Captain. Nonregulation.” Kirk notes that they haven’t heard anything from Spock about this whole ordeal, since, y’know, that definitely seems like something Spock would want to talk about. He says he’s got little to say about Omicron Ceti 3.
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[ID: A close-up of Spock on the bridge as he says, "Except that for the first time in my life...I was happy."]
oh my god someone needs therapy
On that INCREDIBLY CHEERFUL note, the Enterprise flies away and the episode ends.
It’s somewhat baffling to me that of all the quite reasonable objections available to the whole situation with the spores, the main problem that Kirk—and by extension, the episode—seems to have is that “the spores make things too EASY and mankind was meant to STRUGGLE!!!” I mean, effectively what we had going on here was people being drugged without their consent into a state that overwrote their own desires, ambitions, emotions and much of their individual personalities and replaced them with bland, happy conformity to a goal and lifestyle none of them actually chose. That seems a bit worse to me than “people weren’t working hard enough.” Kirk goes on and on about how the spores made things too easy, but what they really did was make people apathetic to whether they succeeded at anything or not. Sandoval’s horrified when he’s cured of the spores because the colonists had much different plans for their colony; far from making those plans easier, the spores made them impossible. The dreams and desires of the Enterprise crew for a life of exploration among the stars would have been forever unmet if they had permanently joined the colony, they just wouldn’t have been able to care. Kirk seems to believe that the ultimate evil of the spores is that they deprive people of ambition; to me it seems that the worse evil is that they deprive people of their individuality and their autonomy.
Then there’s the fact that while the spores make people happy and friendly, they also make them remarkably blasé about the well-being of anyone who isn’t part of their collective. They have to be—caring about whether someone else is upset or hurt would make them unhappy, after all. Spock and McCoy are completely unconcerned with the mounting distress of their best friend, and beyond peer pressuring him to get with the program and take the spores like everyone else, they don’t seem to much care if he remains the only unhappy person on the planet. The colonists seem completely unbothered by the fact that all the animals they brought with them died a rather grueling death by radiation poisoning. Everyone on the Enterprise is happy to abandon the ship and join the colony with no message left behind for Starfleet, with apparently not a thought to spare for any friends and family back home, who would only ever know that their loved ones disappeared into space never to be seen again.
Or at least, they would if things actually went according to plan, which they probably wouldn’t, because the spores also made everyone cheerfully oblivious to the idea that anything could potentially cause a problem or pose a threat to them. After all, if Kirk hadn’t had a recovery at the last minute, the Enterprise would have been left unmanned in orbit around the planet, with no way for anyone in the colony to get back onboard. Uhura also goes out of her way to make sure that they no longer have any off-planet communication. So it’s probably not going to be long before Starfleet notices that one of their prize starships has abruptly gone incommunicado, and I’m willing to bet they’d be a bit quicker on that investigation than they were about checking on a tiny backwater colony (although it is Starfleet, so who knows, really). And since they know exactly where the ship was headed on its last recorded mission, it probably won’t take them long to find it. If Starfleet sends another ship along to investigate quickly enough, they’ll find the abandoned Enterprise hanging out in orbit around the planet, and Kirk’s log clearly lays out what happened, so all the other ship has to do is figure out how to neutralize the spores and everyone’s going to get rescued from Omicron Ceti 3 pretty quickly whether they want to be or not.
If Starfleet doesn’t show up in time...Kirk says the ship can be “maintained in orbit” for several months, but then what? It can’t stay up there forever. Sooner or later, the orbit will decay and the ship’s going to crash into the planet, and if it crashes anywhere near one of the colonies, their magic healing powers are going to be put to the test. Also their magic agriculture powers--rich soil and mild weather is all well and good, but is that going to be enough to carry all those crops through the ensuing environmental effects of an impact that big? Especially since, as already mentioned, the colony has enough to feed them and that’s about it—so they really can’t afford to lose any crops for very long.
Sure, maybe the Enterprise wouldn’t crash close enough to any of the colonies to ruin them, but why take the risk? All they had to do was have a helmsman set it on a course out of orbit, then take a shuttlecraft back to the planet. Doesn’t occur to anyone, evidently. Nor do we see anyone bothering to bring any supplies or equipment from the ship to the colony, even though there’s gotta be lots of stuff up there that would be useful. All in all, it seems quite likely that Paradise would have eventually collapsed in on itself simply because the spores make people unable to pay attention to any potential threats or obstacles long enough to do anything about them.
So what’s the moral here? ‘Society can’t survive if everyone is stoned all of the time’? I mean, okay? Sure? Cool? Glad we sorted all that out.
That said, despite having ranted for the past nine hundred words about the weird moral, I’m not saying this episode is bad. As a serious point about human nature I don’t find it especially compelling—YMMV, but I just personally tend to side-eye stories that center around the idea of “wouldn’t it be awful if we all had it too easy??”--but as fifty minutes of extremely Star Trek-y silliness it’s glorious. We’ve got Spock hanging from a tree and talking about dragons while making out in the grass, McCoy going full Georgia and wandering about with something he thinks is a mint julep, Kirk stomping around in increasing agitation as he tries to get some sense out of somebody and then making emo log entries while he sits on the bridge alone...it’s great.
The original draft of this episode apparently had the romantic subplot be for Sulu, who would have been motivated to stay with Layla after having been diagnosed with a serious medical condition that was cured by the spores, kind of like the eventual plot with McCoy in For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky. D.C. Fontana rewrote the story to focus on Spock, since if you have an episode about something that causes a strong emotional reaction, throwing Spock and his ever-present internal conflict into the mix is kind of the most immediately obvious way to generate some pathos and drama. The spores originally granted those affected with them telepathic abilities, enabling them to link with everyone else who’d been spore’d and form a hivemind. There are some traces of this in the final episode with spore’d people talking about “joining us” and “being one of us” and so on, but without the telepathy part it just kind of makes it sound like they’re in a cult. Also, the cure for the spores would have been consuming alcohol, so presumably in that draft McCoy never got infected.
For the purposes of the Trek Tally I’m going to count the spores as a Space Disease, which might be broadening the umbrella of that term a bit but hey, close enough. Next time we’ll be looking for life, Jim, but not as we know it, in The Devil in the Dark.
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domesticblisss · 2 years
Näher | PT.06
Walter x Female Reader (Nicknamed ‘Hase’) Mob AU! Rating: Mature (Minors DNI) Word Count: 2186 Warnings: Angst, smut and fluff, the holy trinity. Alcohol mention, annoying dude at a bar. Oral (female receiving), fingering, PiV. Summary: Hase and Walter has to stay away from each other for over a year. A/N: Blame Walter’s appearances on NXT and NXT UK this week. Pt.01 | Pt.02 | Pt.03 | Pt.04 | Pt.05
I haven’t seen Walter in over a year. Shit went down with Bobby Gunns’ gang and he made Axel, Fabian and Alex flee with me to the US, to Florida of all places. It has been the worst 483 days of my life. I haven’t spoken to him since he made me leave, no “goodbyes”, no “I see you laters”, no “I love yous”, only a “You’ve got 30 minutes to pack your stuff. Axel is going to help you and Fabian and Alex will be waiting for you in the car.” It was the most silent and nerve wrecking car ride ever. Alex’s knuckles were whiter than usual from how tight his grip on the steering wheel was, Axel’s legs bounced nonstop, and I am pretty sure Fabian was saying a prayer in italian under his breath. My nerves got the best of me and my incessant questioning started. “What is going on?” Silence “Where are we going?” Silence “Why isn’t Walter with us?” Silence “Is everything ok?” “Will you shut the fuck up?” Fabian yelled from the front seat, earning a smack on the head from Axel, who sat by my side in the back. “There’s no need to talk to her like that, Fabian.” Alex, always the voice of reason, started. “Hase, I’m sorry about peanut head over here and everything that’s going on. Do you remember Jurn?” I nodded. “He turned on us. He works for Gunns and somehow made his way into our business. Walter found out but he was still able attack the office by the docks and we lost a few men. Gunns was planning on going after you to get to Walter.” “Oh.” I couldn’t say anything else and I felt Axel’s hands in mine, squeezing it tightly. A few minutes passed before I was able to open my mouth again. “Is Walter okay?” “Yeah, he’s fine. He has some stuff to solve but he’s fine. Don’t worry about him.” it was Axel’s turn to answer me. “Where are we going?” “Florida.” “Why?” “We’ve got business there too and it’s safer.” I could fell the tiredness coming from Axel’s voice. “Hm, okay. Is Walter going to meet us there?” “I don’t know. At least not right now, he’s going back to Austria for a little while.” “What about Tim?” “You know how loyal Tim is to Walter. He’ll just go wherever Walter goes.” I could only nod. The last 10 minutes of the car ride and the 14+ hour plane trip were made in complete silence. ------ It has been 483 days since I have last seen Walter or even heard his voice. In the beginning, I would bombard the boys with questions daily, asking if I could call him – which the answer was always no – asking if he was ok, asking when he was coming to meet us or how was the businesses. My constant running around to only be met with dismissiveness from his side and vague answers from the boys started to get tiring and I lost my will by the fourth month. The three of them were kind enough to not force me to talk about him anymore and were always finding a way to slip a little info here and there during conversations for me to catch on. Tim came to be with us around the six-month mark and brought with him the copy of The Rolling Stones’ Aftermath vinyl Walter and I would always listen to after a hard day, me either sitting on his lap or us dancing around his library when “Under My Thumb” came on. Inside the vinyl case was a letter handwritten by him, ever the man of few words, the letter was as short as I would imagine a letter written by Walter would be.
I am deeply sorry about how fast everything happened and that I couldn’t even say a proper goodbye.
I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if you got hurt because of me and I am sorry for not calling you, but this is for the best as of right now.
Things are getting better around here, and we will see each other again someday.
I hope this record brings you good memories and makes your days a little better like it used to when we had each other.
Love, yours forever,
“Someday”. What the fuck was “someday” supposed to mean?
I left the house a couple of weeks after Tim arrived, all their presences and Walter not being there was getting to be unbearable, as they were acting as if I was this fragile object that would break at any given point. So, for the sake of my mental health, I decided to leave the house and rent a place for me in downtown Miami and opened a record store to keep my mind occupied since the boys already had people running their businesses around here, only calling me in when they needed a second opinion.
It wasn’t like I stopped seeing them, at least one of them would go everyday to the store and Fridays were the days where we would get together to drink, eat and talk all night long. Besides that, my days simply consisted of yoga, working out when I felt like, looking out for the store, and going out for drinks at night to the bar on the street corner of the store.
The Bar is owned by Gus and Angela, a couple in their fifties that have known each other since high school. The nicest people I have ever met, they took me under their wings on the first night I went there. They saw how down I was and started talking to me, asking about “what is making a sweet angel like you hurt like this?” and I told them everything. I probably shouldn’t but I am sure Walter isn’t the most dangerous and “issues with the law heavy” person they got to know. Every night since then, they made sure my favourite spot on the counter was free for whenever I arrived, that my favourite drink was on stock and, of course, that I didn’t drink too much, that no assholes got into funny business with me and that I arrived home safe.
Today was supposed to be another one of those nights. It was way busier than usual, but my seat was still free, and my drink was there waiting for me, being super crowded, they couldn’t give me the attention they always did.
I barely sat on the stool and I could feel eyes staring at me from my left side. I turned around to be met with blue blood shot eyes, messy, bleached, and drier than the Sahara Desert blonde hair.
“Hey, peach. What is a sweet thing like you doing here?” the man asked.
“Yeah? Me too! I’m Dolph, what can I get you?”
“I’m good. Thanks.”
“C’mon sweetheart,” he got up to stand closer to me, his hands touching my hair as he spoke up again “order something, it’s on me. Let’s have some fun.”
“I’m good, dude. Thanks again.” I told him and as I turned to face my right side, I felt his hand grab my left arm.
“I said, let’s have some fun you little b–“ he was cut off by a too familiar voice.
“I think she said no, weichei.”
“Geht es dir gut, Hase?” he said as he came to my side and I could only nod.
“Oh, I see. So, this is your type, huh? You little sl-“ Walter cut the Dolph guy off once again, this time by punching his nose. The whole bar stopped, and Angela came to me to know what was going on.
“Is everything ok, dear?”
“Yes, I’m so sorry, Angie. This dude was bothering me but it’s fine now. This is Walter by the way.” I look behind me to see him greeting her with a wave and that stupid childish grin he gets on.
“Oh, now I understand you, darling. Go, just go and leave it to us to take care of this loser.”
Luckily, Walter’s car was parked right out of the bar so the walk to it wasn’t long. I could feel him right behind me, his hand finding its way to the small of my back, only to have me walking a little faster so I can get away of his touch.
The air inside the car felt thick with tension that seemed one sided when Walter slowly typed my address on the navigation system.
“How do you know my address? Wait, that’s a stupid question. Of course you know it. Axel gave it to you, right?”
The 10-minute ride felt like an hour long. I couldn’t say anything, and Walter knew better than to try and strike a conversation like nothing happened. Both of my legs were bouncing nonstop, and Walter gave in to his default reaction to when I got like this: he put his hand on my knee and squeezed it, knowing that it usually calmed me down.
“Please don’t touch me.”
He was quick to comply.
It didn’t take us too long to get to the apartment and I wordlessly told him to get in.
“This is a nice place.”
“Feels like you.”
“God, Walter. Cut the fucking small talk.” I snapped.
“What do you want me to say?”
“What do I want you to say?! I had to fucking flee Germany and leave you behind. I stayed one year and three months with no contact with you whatsoever. One year and three months without hearing your voice, without seeing you, having to beg to one of the guys to give me any sort of information on you and you are asking me what I want you to say? Are you really that out of touch?”
“I’m sorry.”
“That’s it? You’re sorry? Fuck! I hate you! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!” I kept repeating those words while slapping his chest only to be stopped by having him hold my wrists and bring me closer to him.
“Again, I’m sorry. I didn’t want it to be this way.” I didn’t let him continue and kissed him.
His hands immediately left my wrists, one of them grabbing me by the back of my hair and the other going straight to my waist, bringing me even closer to him, as if that was possible.
He backed me up on the kitchen doorway, his hands working quickly to take all the layers of fabric that got in our way and as soon as my pants hit the floor, he got on his knees and started eating me out.
It is like he had a map of my body memorised on his head. He knew exactly where to bite on my thighs, the exact pressure to apply on my clit when he was sucking it and how I liked my nipples to be played with. I broke down when he got two thick fingers inside of me. He got up and held me after I stopped spasming, the high too big after one year getting by with my trusty vibrator. He held me tight, as if, if he let me go, I would disappear.
“Are you ok?”
“Mhm” I nodded and let out a shaky laugh.
“Wanna keep going?”
He guided us to my couch, sitting down and pulling me to his lap.
“Go on, use me as your will.” He offered.
I sank down onto his shaft slowly, getting used to the thickness of it once again.
“You used to be faster at this.” He mocked me.
“I haven’t fucked anyone in a year, give me a break.”
“Don’t you have a vibrator?”
“I do and he’s not as big and thick as you.”
I started riding him slowly, each up and down motion bringing me closer to bottoming him out. I held on to his hand, which he brought to his lips and started kissing each fingertip, murmuring “I love you” after every kiss.
His breathing got uneven as my movements became more erratic, his thrusts got faster, meeting mine halfway. It wasn’t long before we came together.
I got off from his lap and laid down on the couch, panting. He took this as an opportunity to grab us some water in the kitchen, and when he came back, he laid on top of me.
We stayed quiet for a few minutes, only staring at each other. He had the same look of adoration he gave me the first time I ran into him with Axel on the grocery store.
“What?” I broke the silence.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“I am truly sorry that everything happened like this. I never meant to stay away from you this long, but you know Bobby was a dangerous guy and I had to take precautions. I promise you this will never happen again and that I will never leave you again.”
“Promise. Never again. I’m all yours.”
Weichei: Wimp
Geht es dir gut, Hase?: Are you ok, Hase?
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frasier-crane-style · 2 years
Watching Snyder League
-Diana literally vaporizes a guy armed with nothing but an assault rifle.
-Also, these have gotta be like the dumbest terrorists. Their plan:
A. Send multiple armed gunmen to take hostages.
B. Stall for time
C. Set off a suitcase bomb on a one minute countdown (why not just set it off immediately? It's In The Script)
You have a suitcase bomb--just park a car somewhere, set the timer, leave it in the trunk, and walk away. You can kill as many people as you want without losing any of your own guys.
-Superman's scream sends out five separate shockwaves. Which makes me think the guy's milking it, personally.
- I'm amused that both SOP for the Amazons is having, like, fifty people standing around guarding the Mother Box. AND that they don't ramp up security after it wakes up.
- And there's this system of burying the Mother Box.  Which 1. seems like the only way to get there in the first place is to teleport in. What good is this system against a teleporter?
2. It takes six guards to suicide themselves by knocking down pillars, which seems like--in five thousand years, you couldn't come up with something where you just pull a level from twenty feet away?
This is the problem with the Amazons. They're all women, so none of them go into STEM fields.
- It's also real weird that this Bruce Wayne doesn't even try to hide that he's Batman. He just walks right up to Aquaman and goes "hey, Bruce Wayne, I'm also Batman." And remember, he's getting the Justice League together entirely based on a hunch. At least in Josstice League, there were Parademons all up in Gotham.
- And should I even bother to ask why Darkseid's people can't just bring three new Mother Boxes to Earth? Are those the only three? If so, you'd think they'd try to get them back sooner. Like, A LOT sooner.
- Okay, this was supposed to come out one year before Infinity War, but still, it was pretty obvious what Marvel was doing with Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. They had to know they were inviting comparisons.
-I love the implication, tho, that Darkseid just lost track of the Mother Boxes and just... no one realized they were back on Earth. And they have Parademons that can specifically sniff out the Mother Boxes. 
-And if Superman dying was such a momentous occasion that it woke up a Mother Box, why not the Old Gods dying? Why not Ares dying? Wouldn't that have left Earth just as undefended?
-I have no idea why any of this is happening a couple years after Superman debuted and then died and not in, like, 1446.
-Are the Mother Boxes like finicky computers? Do you need to turn them off and on again? When Superman showed up, did they shut down for real, and then he died, so they came back on for real? Is it like a Windows 95 thing, where you can't JUST turn the computer off, you have to go to the start menu and press Shutdown and then wait for it to close up shop?
-It’s so weird that this is supposed to be a Dark, Mature Adaptation For Adults! And it doesn’t have the same basic logic you’d get from an episode of Power Rangers. 
-So. Much. Daddy issues.
-Please stop letting Ezra Miller improv.
-They cast like the gayest man in America to play the one guy with a love interest.
-Diana: "I lost someone I loved once." Well, twice, but who's counting?
-All those reshoots and they couldn't get Amber Heard to knock off the British accent?
-Why is Desaad, of all people, Darkseid’s dragon? Is it just because they were rifling through all the Fourth World saga to find the few guys with scary names instead of Granny Goodness or Virman Vundabar?
- And they really play up Darkseid appearing to Steppenwolf, but we've not only already seen him in the big flashback, we saw him get his ass kicked by Zeus of all people.
- And the whole thing where Steppenwolf is part of Darkseid's 'family' really isn't helping the Thanos-Nebula-Gamora comparison.
-It's weird to introduce Darkseid as the guy who was already beaten once. Wouldn't it make more sense that Steppenwulf was the guy who lost, and that allowed Darkseid to take over, and now he's trying to redeem himself for his defeat? Or that Darkseid was never defeated at all, but someone stole the Anti-Life Equation from him and hid it on Earth? Something. Instead, it’s literally just randomly burnt into the crust of the Earth, Darkseid discovers it, then forgets all about it for reasons the movie doesn’t get into despite being four damn hours long.
-It’s only the central plot, whatever, forget about it.
- Pretty sure Kal eye-lasered a couple Army guys to death after he was resurrected, not that he ever gives a shit.
-Third big reveal of Darkseid. Come on, you've shown him three times now. We've heard him talk.
-And this does the same thing as Josstice League with Superman being more powerful than the rest of the JLA put together. Here, he even no-sells Steppenwolf's axe. He just lets it hit him and it doesn’t do shit. So Doomsday could kill him, but Steppenwolf can't even scratch him. And yet Wonder Woman seems pretty evenly matched with both, if not outclassed by Steppenwolf.
-Barry Allen spends the whole climax running in a circle. And he fails at it! Dude's really retarded when he doesn't have Team STAR Labs cheering him on.
-He also casually travels back in time to undo his side getting a Game Over, which makes you wonder how any conflict in this universe can ever have any stakes. Say what you will about Endgame, but at least they explain why time travel can’t solve every problem they ever have.
-Hell, the Mother Boxes can bring people back to life. The example used is literally “it can turn smoke back into a house.” Why not bring Joe Morton back to life? He did a good job in T2, c’mon.
-Speaking of, according to TV Tropes, Ray Fisher got to come up with his own backstory for Cyborg (”I don't praise Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder for simply putting me in Justice League. I praise them for EMPOWERING me (a black man with no film credits to his name) with a seat at the creative table and input on the framing of the Stones before there was even a script!”), which makes it kinda hilarious that this movie’s characterization of Cyborg is that he’s a genius sports hero who also loves helping out the underprivileged.
-AND his big conflict with his dad is that Silas Stone was never there for him, as literally represented by there being an empty seat next to his mom at Vic’s big sportsball game. So apparently the black experience is indistinguishable from Austin Powers In Goldmember. Who knew?
-What else? It's weird that the narrative tries to put some importance in Martha Kent, but then in her big scene with Lois, she's really Martian Manhunter (not kidding) and when Superman is resurrected, he hears encouraging words ONLY from Jor-El and Jonathan. All she really contributes to the story is hugging Superman after he comes back.
-Also, Batman spends a lot of time in the climax shooting people with a rifle. They're bug people and it's, like, a Halo rifle, but still. You can tell Snyder's just chomping at the bit to have Batman carry around a Colt Commando.
-They give no shits about secret identities in this, so why do they still bother with putting a shitty distortion effect on Batfleck's voice? He has a pretty good Batman voice outside the suit, but once he puts it on, he starts sounding like he's giving a blowjob to Daft Punk.
-One of the movie’s, like, four cliffhangers is Lex Luthor telling Deathstroke about Batman’s secret identity, because Deathstroke has a private vendetta against Batman and is out to get him. Of all the Bat rogues who are solely motivated by taking out Batman--why choose Deathstroke, the guy that’s just a mercenary for hire, to characterize as simply hating Batman? (They also imply Batman took out Deathstroke’s eye and THAT’S the big feud between him and--guys. C’mon. This was really supposed to be a whole movie of Deathstroke getting revenge for his eye?)
- The movie ends with them making Wayne Manor the JLA headquarters--God, just tell me if secret identities matter or not.
-Did we really need two ‘beyond the impossible’ scenes back to back, one for Cyborg and one for the Flash?
-Oh, it’s not Arkham Asylum, it’s ‘Arkham Home For The Emotionally Troubled.’ Was this supposed to be one of those Arrowverse things where they call it Starling City for a while, only to rebrand it Star City because that’s somehow better than just calling it Star City in the first place?
- "[Snyder] also said that the reason Darkseid lost track of which world the Mother Boxes were left on was because he was gravely injured and their forces sent limping away, and upon returning to Apokolips had to fight a civil war for the throne (possibly the event hinted where Steppenwolf betrayed him), wherein their records were lost." Imagine having a movie four hours long and not explaining the fucking backstory.
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The hufflepuff request part two
Warning: violence, swearing, bodily harm
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Draco was now slightly concerned that he did something wrong.
You were never this jumpy around him.
"What is going on with Y/n?" He asked after you left.
"Who knows." Fred said.
"women are very confusing." George said.
"You were rejected again weren't you?" Ginny asked.
You watched Fred and George try to put their names in that cup, not realizing Draco was behind you until you heard a "Hi" in your ear
You jumped but smiled.
"hi." You replied with a intense blush on your face.
That's when Fred and George were promptly launched back and you laughed
"Told you two it wouldn't work." You laughed.
Draco smiled and you laughed harder as Madame Pomfrey dragged them away.
Draco was now spending a lot of time with you between classes, holding your books and walking you to each one
His attention was focused on you
Then came the amortentia potion.
You both were partners, following each step carefully.
Snape walked around asking each person what they smelled.
"And you. What do you smell miss Y/n?" Snape asked.
You sniffed it and your heart pounded.
"Uhm... i-I..." You paused and Draco rose a brow.
"I smell mint s-sir... Mint and earl grey tea." You answered making Draco almost fall out of his seat.
"Mister Malfoy, what do you smell?" Snape asked.
"...Books... And Chamomile... With rain." He answered looking at you.
"Very good. Both of you are dismissed." Snape said.
You immediately booked it and Draco went after you.
"Y/n!" He called.
You sped up your pace.
"Y/n slow down!" He said.
You didn't.
He finally caught up though and grabbed your wrist.
"Draco--" "I like you Y/n. A lot. And I know this is REALLY in advance but I would love to take you to the Yule ball, if you'll let me." He said.
"And... If... If you want I'd also really like to be your boyfriend--" you cut him off with a kiss and he literally dropped everything just to pull you closer.
You melted in his arms.
So obviously you dated.
Cedric was happy for you
So was the group because now you weren't a walking disaster.
You were there when the names popped out of the cup.
All of you were sitting at the Gryffindor's table and you watched
He didn't really start paying attention until Harry's name popped out.
"Wait... What!?" You asked looking at Harry.
"did you find a way to sneak your name in!?" Draco asked him.
"What-- No! I have no idea what's going on!" Harry said.
Ron got upset because he thought Harry was lying
But you could tell by the look on Harry's face that Harry genuinely had NO idea what was going on.
You had this gut feeling that something was wrong though.
You helped Harry train though, after researching how brutal this competition could be.
You were all very anxious watching Harry with the Dragon
And it certainly worried the fuck out of Draco when you had to participate in Cedric's lake trial
He didn't even realize that you were a part of it until Cedric came back up with you.
Then you realized Gabrielle was still down there.
All you said was "Well.... Fuck it." Before jumping back in.
You came back up with Gabrielle right before Harry came up with Ron.
Fleur was so fucking grateful.
Then came the dance practice
"Draco, I know I agreed to go but seriously I can't dance." You whined.
"I am going to teach you, come on." He laughed.
He pulled you close you sighed. "Okay but when I step on you don't say I did not warn your ass."
You stepped on his feet a lot. But he was patient. And he just wanted you close to him to be honest.
You two were smiling the whole time.
Then the Yule ball actually happened.
You walked out and Draco almost fell over.
"Hi." You said.
"Y/n... You're beautiful." He said with a smile.
"T-Thanks." You said with a blush.
You and him were literally smiling the entire night
He kept whispering compliments in your ear when you danced and just held you so close.
You had no idea how bad this was about to become.
The final trial was approaching and something in your gut was telling you that something was wrong.
"Harry something is wrong, I can feel it." You told him right before he was gearing up to go into this maze.
"I'll be careful--" "Harry. Don't go." You begged.
He almost didn't. But he was stubborn and did.
You were anxious the whole time and Draco kept trying to tell you that it was going to be fine
Then Harry returned.
And you saw it.
"No.... Please no."
Draco didn't understand at first and then he saw Cedric.
His immediate reaction was just to hug you and face you away from it because he knew that Cedric was your friend.
"Harry... We-- we need to check on Harry." You mumbled into his chest.
Draco asked Fred and George to make sure you were okay before he ran down there.
Harry was sobbing and Draco hugged his friend while trying to stay strong.
"H-He didn't-- he didn't want me to--to leave him." Harry sobbed.
"He's-- He's back Draco.." Harry said.
"Who?" Albus asked.
Immediately after hearing that you sent a letter to your parents telling you to get the fuck out of Dodge.
They didn't understand why you were so adamant about it, but damn it they did.
Draco ended up moving out of his parents' home.
It was very abrupt but it still happened.
Molly immediately was like "Here. Your home is now here."
And he accepted.
The summer was dedicated towards planning your next few moves.
You all were exhausted and one night Draco couldn't sleep.
You woke up, going downstairs to find Molly talking to Draco.
"Hello dear, join us won't you?" Molly said.
You sat with Draco and held his hand and he gave you a small smile.
"Is something wrong?" You asked.
"Tell her dear." She said to Draco.
"Father has disowned me..." He said.
"What!?" You asked.
"He took his side-- the wrong side. And when I outright refused he disowned me." Draco said.
"Draco... Sweetheart I'm so sorry." You said.
"I'm fine... I have everything I need right here." He said to you.
"That and you've got a family." Ginny said making you all turn.
"I came down here for water. It feels like hell upstairs." Ginny said.
She walked over and hugged Draco.
"We may not have been friends Draco. But your my brother. And if that asshole comes near you again I'm going to kill him." Ginny said.
"Ginny!" Molly gasped.
"What? I'm being honest." She shrugged making you snort.
The school year ended up being shit thanks to a bitch named Umbridge.
She REALLY didn't like you.
You didn't understand why but she literally went out of her way to make your life a living hell.
So when you found Fred and George with a bunch of fireworks....
You gave them the matches.
And they unleashed hell.
You were smiling the whole time.
So was Draco
But when Umbridge was pissed she took it out on you
And the trio (and Draco) was not having this.
They finally had enough and finally she was gone
Dragged off by centaurs
You ended up working close with the order
Tonks was so fucking happy to have her little sister back
And Remus was happy to see her happy
No surprise you straight up told him "Look, you like tonks, tonks likes you go for it dude."
You FINALLY apologized for punching Sirius
He said it was hilarious actually and even said "I think James turned in his grave laughing."
Draco spent all of his time with you
And as you were planning he realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you.
Then something happened that involved you having to literally go on a rescue mission to the ministry
It was intense.
You saved Arthur from Nagini
You thought you saw Lucius but you weren't sure until you were face to face with him.
He kept blaming you.
Over and over during this battle he kept saying that you were the reason why Draco was gone
And when he actually hit you Draco was PISSED
Draco basically LAUNCHED his father away from you and you coughed.
"Holy shit." You gaped.
"Are you okay!?" Draco asked.
"He flew like fifty fucking feet!" You gaped.
"Are you okay? Did he hurt you!?"
"How did you even--"
"Y/n! Are you okay!?" Draco asked.
"I'm fine--" "AVADA KADAVRA!"
You turned to see Sirius stumble back.
You and Draco sprinted to Harry, holding him back as he screamed.
When you all returned to base Harry couldn't form words
Draco stayed close to Harry though, making sure that if anything seemed too much he'd be able to calm Harry down
Honestly it warmed your heart to see Draco care about Harry like a brother.
Things got intense though when Dumbledore died.
Like you all felt like you were walking on some VERY thin ice and it was bound to crack at any moment.
Then you helped the team with bellatrix's vault.
And it fucking sucked.
You all ended up in the equivalent to a dungeon.
"Darling." You said.
"hmm?" Draco asked.
"Why the fuck do your parents have a prison in their home?" You asked.
"I have no idea." He said.
"....Oh god this isn't a kink is it?" You realized making anyone who was sitting bolt up.
Lucius of course dragged your ass out.
Because he was angry.
And he let Bellatrix have free reign over whatever she wanted to do
She held you down and carved into you
You were screaming bloody murder and Draco was having a mental breakdown having to hear you.
When they finally busted out, Draco got you out of there immediately.
You didn't speak for a while.
You couldn't-- what the fuck do you say after that?
Dobby died, making this even harder.
Way harder.
You sat on a rock by the lake, staring into the water.
Draco sat next to you and you sank into his arms.
"Don't leave me." Was the first words you said after the incident.
He never left your side.
When the battle of hogwarts started you did everything to make sure Draco was safe.
He did the same for you.
Draco saved Fred and you noticed Tonks running.
"Guys, something's wrong with Tonks!" You said.
You all booked it and winded up saving Remus and Tonks life from a hoard of death eaters
Draco kept you close at all times and didn't dare to let you out of his sight.
You killed Bellatrix yourself.
"DON'T YOU EVER FUCKING TOUCH MY MUM OR MY SISTER AGAIN YOU BITCH!" you screamed before she just... Died.
Draco was ready to fight but damn, you had that battle wrapped up quick
The battle just stopped at one point.
It seemed like you lost.
Harry was dead.
Draco and you both were wrecked
This was utterly fucking terrifying.
Was this it? Like actually? You lost just like that?!
Then you noticed movement.
And Harry rolled out of Hagrid's arms
Draco grabbed you and ran because he knew that you all were in the dead center and that was asking for something bad to happen.
Then... You won
Harry actually did it.
It was over.
You cried to be honest.
Like finally! This whole fucking thing was over.
You literally collapsed onto the nearest bed and slept for hours.
When you woke up, of course there was a celebration
Draco took that time to propose to you too.
Tonks was so happy for you she was almost crying
You FINALLY met Teddy
You and Harry were the Godparents btw.
A few years later you became a professor at hogwarts
Draco became a healer (In my head, he always ends up a healer, change my mind)
Your poor kid had to deal with famous parents
Because everyone is always talking about the "badass professor" and the "hot healer"
Which makes your daughter sink down in her chair and want to scream.
You went over to the Weasleys every holiday
During the summer you helped out with Fred and George's shop
Tonks and you have dinner every weekend
The team always gets together for a big dinner during the start of school and the end of it.
You loved these people
Even the crazy girl with the pink hair.
95 notes · View notes
angrylizardjacket · 3 years
i’ll be in the front row {Joe Mazzello}
Anon asked: lil prompt I thought of while doing my laundry: imagine meeting Joe while you’re both doing your laundry at a laundromat. it’s nyc, so apartments with full wash & dryer are hard to come by. joe is always running lines with himself, and you both sometimes loan each other quarters when one of you runs out.
Anon asked: tbh I don’t have anything specific to request, but I am begging you to please write more for Joe. srsly you write him so well & he deserves more content!!! 🐚 
A/N: 3269 words. my little garbage brain had to yell at me not to write this like the laundry scene from Dr Horrible. BIG FLUFF. set around undrafted. hope you enjoy. PLEASE leave feedback!! i love this so so very much omfg.
You always see him on Sundays, eleven in the morning, like clockwork. Dark sunglasses, fancy backpack, but nondescript clothes; sweater and jeans, baseball jersey and jeans, laundry day clothes if you’ve ever seen them. He’s a little familiar, but you’re not sure why. Sometimes he’s wearing a cap, but not with any sort of consistency, at least not in the six months since you’d been coming there. 
For the record, you’re not staring, he’s the only person who comes in at the exact same time as you, give or take fifteen minutes, and he, like you, always waits for his laundry. It’s only been in the past few months that you’d even started recognizing each other, smiling and giving the other a wave across the machines. It’s harmless, it’s people watching, it’s routine.
One morning, he’s sitting on his washing machine, with a pen in his mouth and a stack of papers in one hand. His usual sunglasses are propped up on his head, which isn’t an unusual occurrence when he reads - is it weird that you know that? Kind of. He’s highlighting something, mouthing whatever he’s reading too fast for you to catch, and anyways, you’re trying not to stare. You’re half paying attention to a kitschy game on your phone since your washing is almost done, and you heave your damp clothes into the dryer.
“Damnit,” patting your pockets again, and searching through your change, you can’t help but scowl and come to an annoying conclusion. All you have is a fifty, and the change machine in the laundromat only spits out quarters.
“You okay?” It’s the guy with the script, your quiet laundry buddy, looking at you with slight concern, pen still in his mouth.
“Yeah,” you huff a sigh, putting on a strained smile, “two quarters short for the dryer.” Usually you had smaller bills, or just remembered to bring the right change, “can you watch my stuff while I go to the gas station to get change?”
“I can cover two quarters,” he offers easily with a slight smile, pulling the pen from his mouth and putting it, the highlighter, and the stack of papers, onto the dryer after he jumps from it. You stumble through trying to brush him off and refuse graciously, but he’s already elbow-deep in his backpack, telling you it’s no trouble.
“I owe you,” you say with half a laugh, and he shares in your amusement.
“Yeah, I’ll hold you to that,” he replies with an amiable sarcasm, which has you laughing. After you start the dryer, however, you turn back and he’s regarding you with a frown, leaning on the washing machine with his stuff in it.
“Do I have something on my face?” You ask with surprising uncertainty, and he’s quick to clear the frown from his face as he shakes his head.
“No, it’s just kind of weird that we’ve been coming here for so long but never... like, spoken.” He muses, and you feel yourself growing surprised. He offers his hand. “Joe.”
“Y/N,” you say, shaking his hand firmly, and he quietly repeats your name back to himself, like he’s committing it to memory. Something warms in your chest, and you can’t help but look at the stack of papers he’d been focusing intently on, “may I ask what you’re working on?” And he looks confused for the barest moment, quickly followed by excitement, and then what you recognize as him very deliberately restraining that excitement into something more polite.
“It’s a script,” and he kind of sounds... apologetic?
“And...?” You prompt, before backpeddling, “I mean, if you don’t wanna talk about it, that’s fine, I mean we technically just met -” and he’s waiving you off goodnaturedly.
“No, I know, I know,” he assures, “I just... another white guy writing a script in New York?” He makes a face, “get a real personality, am I right?” He laughs self-deprecatingly, but it seems to hit a little too close to home for him, and his expression falls. It’s a sentiment he’s been on the receiving end of far too many times.
“What’s it about?” You ask, gentle and genuinely curious, and his eyebrows raise in surprise as he meets your gaze. Tentatively hopeful, he explains that he’s on the fourth draft of it, that it’s loosely based on his brother’s experiences trying to make it into the Major Leagues in baseball. Most of it goes over your head, but you can’t help but be intrigued. 
“I’m not super big into baseball,” you admit as he’s winding down, “but it sounds awesome, dude; let me know when it’s in theaters and I’ll be in the front row.” He grins at that.
You exchange phone numbers a month later, the pair of you getting take out at the fast food joint across the road from the laundromat, so you could still at least keep somewhat of an eye on your clothes. He’s in between drafts of the script, and they’re actually in preproduction, and you realise oh, he’s actually serious about this.
“See, that’s the difference,” you tell him, leaning your elbows on the table and pointing a finger at him, “the difference is that you follow through.”
“What?” He laughs, not yet following your train of thought.
“Every other white guy in New York could write a script, but none of them would follow through and get it made; you’re ambitious, Joe.”
“I’m not ambitious, I’m just lucky,” he shrugs, a blush creeping up his cheeks, but you won’t let it slide.
“Luck will only get you so far,” you tut, and he gives you a strange look.
“Have you... never seen Jurassic Park?”
“When I was younger,” you shrugged.
“Or The Social Network?”
“I’ve really been meaning to, why?” 
“No reason,” Joe shakes his head with a disbelieving grin, and doesn’t bring it up again.
A few weeks later, he’s late by almost a full half an hour, which you’re not particularly bothered by, you get the impression that he’s a busy guy, but he runs in, laundry basket in hand, apologizing breathlessly. 
“No need to apologise,” you tell him with a bright smile, putting your phone away, “everything okay?”
“Budget meeting ran late,” he explains, gracelessly lumping his clothes into the washing machine and throwing a few tide pods in along with them, “filming’s so close, I just lost track of time.”
“Oh, shit really? Wait have you already cast it?” You asked with a surprisingly genuine excitement; over the weeks, you’ve become rather invested in this project.
“Yeah, didn’t I tell you?” He asked with a grin, “casting was finalized two weeks ago; we start rehearsals next Saturday.”
“That’s so exciting!” You enthused, before laughing, “anyone I’d recognize?” And it’s mostly a joke, but Joe gives pause, evaluating you before he pushes start on his washing machine.
“I don’t know,” he answers genuinely, before conceding, “I mean, apart from me -”
“Acting, writing, and directing; does that make you a triple threat?” You asked coyly, and he breaks out into grin.
“And producing,” he reminds, and you make an impressed noise, nodding.
“Quadruple threat, excuse me.”
“But honestly, I don’t know if you’d recognize them; do you know,” and he goes back to the topic at hand, frowning a little, “Aaron Tveit?” You’re a little speechless, before answering.
“Not personally,” you find yourself answering, which gets Joe to laugh, “shit, dude, from Broadway?” And Joe’s wearing a proud little smile when he nods in confirmation, “and the Les Mis movie?”
“The very same,” Joe agrees, and your mouth hangs agape, “I told you, this is a real movie, I’m not filming this in my backyard,” after a beat, he licks his lips and jumps to sit on the washing machine, “have you seriously never googled me?”
“Why would I?” You asked, and he huffs a disbelieving laugh, shaking his head again in that way that you don’t quite understand. “Should I?” You finally ask, and Joe shrugs, smiling bright and carefree. He’s even swinging his legs, ankles crossed.
“I’m not a murderer, if that’s what’s got you worried,” he muses with a surprisingly carefree grin, “I mean, I’m kind of glad that you haven’t, it means you actually like me for me, you know?”
“Of course I do,” you answer automatically, and Joe’s expression turns fond, “I really like you, dude,” you explain, “I’m kind of in awe of what you’re accomplishing.” And you mean it with your whole heart, “if you’d prefer I didn’t google you, I won’t; I don’t make a habit of googling my friends, I won’t start with you.” When you say this, something about him relaxes, and he hops off the washing machine.
“Wanna grab lunch?” He asks with a smile, which you mirror without hesitation, and agree.
They’re filming out of state, which Joe tells you the week before he leaves, and you hadn’t realised how much you would miss him until the first Sunday rolls around, and you’re sitting in the laundromat alone.
Your phone goes off with a notification at exactly eleven.
It’s a photo of Joe and Aaron Tveit in baseball jerseys, covered in dirt, grinning.
[HOLY SHIT] you send back, following it up with [IS THAT] and then you wait a moment before adding [QUADRUPLE THREAT JOE MAZZELLO??] 
[christ 😳😅🥰] he sends back, and something about his restrained but still obviously flustered response has your heart skip a beat. [is it weird that i miss the laundromat?]
[yes 😂]
[and you of course i miss you too] he’s quick to follow it up with, and your own smile grows wider. You take a photo of the empty laundromat and draw in a terrible stick figure impression of him and send it back.
[miss u too haha] and you give pause before sending [hey if u ever wanna send other prod photos.......] [u don’t just have to send them on sunday]
[you haven’t signed an NDA 😂]
[joseph who am i gonna tell??]
[your other friends idk]
[my lips are ZIPPED 🤐] [photos for personal use only]
[personal use????? ��😘]
[dont be GROSS]
[but i wanna be gross!!]
So now you’re flustered in the middle of the laundromat, completely at a loss as to how to respond to that. 
[are u flirting with me joseph?] you send back, and you watch the three little typing dots as they hover for a very long time.
[only if you’re into it]
[go direct ur baseball movie 🥰😅] you send, and tuck your phone away, feeling rather like a fool, but a pleased fool nonetheless, and you’re grinning for the rest of the day.
Photos are exchanged often after that, usually selfies, or photos of where either of you were, what you were doing, the flirting turning absolutely less subtle with each day that passes until you’re just complimenting each other, and mentioning occasionally how you miss the other.
When he sends a photo of himself posing against the fence of the dugout in a way that showed off his ass, you can’t help but make it your lock screen, though it’s quickly followed by a video and a text that reads [i was told i have to send you this too,,, for context].
“This feels undignified,” says a strangely familiar voice from off-screen, presumably filming, while Joe was trying to ask for opinions on how he should pose.
“This is undignified,” comes someone else’s response, and the camera swings around to reveal an amused Tyler Hoechlin, opening a water bottle, “this Y/N must be real cute.” In the background, a few others, vaguely recognizable, all in baseball uniforms, snicker.
“They are!” Joe answered defiantly, grinning, one leg up against the wire, looking over his shoulder, “are you filming me?” The camera flips around and you get a pretty glorious angle directly up Aaron Tveit’s nose.
“No -”
The video stops abruptly, and you’re all but wheezing with laughter, though all you send back is;
[so worth it] [ur ass *chef’s kiss*]
[THANK YOU] [you get it] [knew there was a reason i liked you so much]
The moment he gets back to New York, he asks you out to dinner. Of course you say yes.
For your third date, he offers to cook you dinner, and watch a movie, prefaced with a question that you’re surprised he still asks; have you really not googled me? And the honest answer you always give: no.
His apartment has a lot of movie posters, of movies you’ve heard of but never seen, or seen when you were very little.
“Big movie buff, obviously,” you note with a little smile, and he raises his eyebrows in amusement at your observation. Even moreso when you excitedly coo about how you haven’t seen Jurassic Park in so long when he suggests it.
“Your self restraint is godlike, babe,” he snickers, and you’re not quite sure what he means, you’re kind of just happy to be here. 
He cooks dinner, and you both sit down in front of his alarmingly big TV, and you feel a warm rush of nostalgia at the opening. You’re eating quietly, watching with rapt attention, but you can feel Joe watching you expectantly. 
“What’s up?” You ask, turning to him, confused, and his smile grows a little wider, and his gaze flicks to the screen for a moment, and then back to you.
“Just waiting for it to click.”
“For what to click?” 
“Babe,” and he says it like he can’t quiet believe it, his gaze now focused on the screen where the kids, Tim and Lex, were being introduced, “that’s me.” And follow his gaze and holy shit. A lot of things start making a lot more sense.
He’s not sure what he’s expecting your reaction to be, but the way your face lights up, and the unbridled enthusiasm and compliments that pour out of you, was not it, but he’s definitely not complaining. 
“Wait!” Your eyes sparkle as you look around his apartment, the movie posters he had everywhere now having a completely different meaning, “all these...?”
“Every single one,” he agrees, a little abashed, suddenly humble, and you grin when you finally look back at him.
“I didn’t think I could be more awed by you, but dude,” you enthused, “that’s cool as hell! You’re cool as hell!” But you take a deep breath, putting your plates onto the coffee table, sitting as close to him as you could, “but I would have thought the world on you even if you hadn’t done any of this,” and he tries to brush it off, but you’re adamant, “no, I mean it, I like you for you, Joe, not for what you’ve done, but... for who you are.”
“You’re gonna make me blush,” he shoots for serious, but misses entirely thanks to his pleased little smile.
“Good,” you tell him seriously, and kiss both of his pink cheeks before kissing him. Your dinner might get a little cold after that, but you can always reheat it. 
You comfort him over the weeks it takes to edit him film, Undrafted, though he’ll never let you see too much of the final product; he wants you to see it in cinemas first.
It’s still kind of surreal to you that Joe Mazzello is both a movie star, and your boyfriend. He’s still friends with Laura Dern, and he also spends eight dollars a week at a laundromat to wash his clothes. Bizarre. But you kind of like how down-to-earth he is. 
What’s more bizarre is when he invites you to the red carpet premiere of his movie.
“Me?” You squeaked, and he seemed a little confused at your hesitation, his hands on your shoulders.
“You,” he nodded slowly, not understanding why you’re suddenly nervous.
“For real?”
“Yeah, of course I want you there; you said so yourself, you’d be in the front row, right?” He smiled a little and you could feel your heart melt.
“You remember that?”
“Of course I do,” he tells you gently, “it’s one of the reasons I liked you in the first place.” He’s so earnest; you agree easily.
The red carpet is a whole other world, you find, dressed to the nines, styled by someone you don’t know, cameras flashing in your face -
“Is this Y/N?” Tyler Hoechlin is saying your name. What universe is this? Joe was blushing furiously with his arm around you as the cast made their way over.
“Finally, a face for a name,” and that’s Aaron Tveit; you have to remind yourself not to get star struck. Instead, you smile and offer your hand to them both, which they shake, smiling and greeting you warmly. 
“Don’t embarrass me, you assholes,” Joe warned, though his tone was amused, and the others chuckled, clapping him on the shoulder.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Mister Director,” Aaron assured.
“You’re good at doing that on your own,” Tyler added, and Joe gave him the finger, but held you a little tighter. 
“Did he send you the video of when he asked me to take that photo? You know the one,” Aaron asked, and you straightened your posture, grinning brightly.
“With an ass like his, I don’t know why you’d think it’s undignified,” you said loftily, and there was a beat as everyone took in what you said.
“I fucking love you,” Joe half laughed, pulling you in for a kiss.
“You’re good,” Tyler snorted, shaking his head with a grin, and Aaron was just straight-up laughing. The rest of the cast took to you easily, though most of the in-jokes among them went over your head, by Joe’s side, you never really felt left out. 
The theater itself was cool and dark, but you could feel the whole cast and crew thrumming with excitement and nervous energy, and Joe gave your hand a squeeze where your fingers were interlaced. 
It’s clear he’d poured his heart and soul into the movie, his fingerprints were all over every aspect of it, and you couldn’t quite believe you were watching it all finally completed; it had been almost a year since you’d first asked him about it, and now, here you were, hand in hand with him at the premiere. 
As the credits rolled, as the crowd clapped, and you along with them, you found yourself speechless. Joe, quiet and surprisingly nervous, turns to you.
“What’d you think?” His voice is quiet, uncertain, and you all but tackle him across the armrest, kissing him until you’re both breathless.
“I’m so proud of you,” you gasp against his lips, “I’m so fucking proud of you.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” his voice is gentle as he takes your face in his hands, but you shake your head.
“You could have, babe, you absolutely could have, you’ve got so much ambition and talent -”
“I didn’t want to do it without you,” he admits in a rush, and you freeze, eyes on his, “I mean it.” And you’re kissing him again, hoping he can feel the pride and love that’s flowing through you. There’s an afterparty to get to, drinks with the cast and crew, and a comfortable bed waiting after that, you know, but you can’t help but bask in this one moment together, just a little longer.
149 notes · View notes
clumsyclifford · 2 years
hi i have some continued thoughts about the gif set i made earlier but i’m just thinking about like baby boys writing nothing personal and jack just like feeling really down on himself one day bc he doesn’t know what he’s contributing and alex tells him he named this song for him bc he is so important i don’t know there are so many THOUGHTS TO BE HAD why are they like this
hi paige i don’t know if this was supposed to be a prompt but i took it as one because i’m me hope that’s okay <3 (also here is the gifset in question, warning for max damage)
read it here on ao3
“Hey, where’d Jack go?”
Flyzik looks up from his laptop and glances around the control room. “I dunno,” he says. “I thought he was here.”
“I leave for two minutes,” Alex says, sighing exasperatedly. “We need to put a bell on that kid.”
“Believe me, if I could, I would,” says Flyzik, returning to the all-important task of probably talking shit on Twitter or whatever he does when he’s taking up studio space. 
Squire, whose playing had been arrested upon Alex’s re-entry, starts the guitar line from the top. The unfinished track fills the small room. Alex considers handcuffing him just so he’ll stop playing that one fucking guitar part.
At this rate, he’ll be sick of the song before it’s even released.
“I’m going to find Jack,” he announces, not that anyone cares. In a halfway attempt at defiance, or being annoying, or whatever, he snatches Flyzik’s coffee mug off the table.
“Hey,” Flyzik says half-heartedly without looking up. “Give that back.”
“You’re fired,” Alex informs him.
“Joke’s on you, I quit this morning,” says Flyzik.
Alex rolls his eyes and leaves the control room.
There’s really only one place Jack is likely to be (okay, two places, but Alex has just come from the bathroom and he’d been the only one in there). Alex heads for the lounge. The TV is on, playing a commercial for mattresses. Occupying the entire length of the couch:
“Jack,” Alex says. “Where’d you go, man, I thought we were working on the song.”
Jack makes no indication that he's heard Alex at all.
“Dude,” Alex says, coming into the room and facing Jack. The way Jack is slumped into the cushions, it looks like he’s been lying here all day, not for two minutes. “Were you just waiting for me to go to the bathroom so you could bail?”
Jack shoots him a glare, but again says nothing. Alex frowns.
“Are you good?” he asks, sinking to the floor with his legs crossed. He sets Flyzik’s coffee on the table at his side. “Is something wrong?”
Jack groans. “Can you leave me alone?”
“Hey,” Alex says, hurt. “What —” He breaks off. Obviously Jack doesn’t want company — or at least not Alex’s company, which stings — and if Alex doesn’t want to be a dick, he should leave. 
Except Jack is already kind of being a dick. So.
“Dude,” Alex says again. Jack keeps his eyes on the TV over Alex’s head. “Can you at least look at me?”
“I’m just taking a break, what’s the big deal?” Jack mutters.
“The big deal is you were fine five minutes ago when we were tracking the guitar,” Alex says irritably. “I leave for two seconds and when I come back you’re gone? ‘Taking a break’?”
“Yes, Alex, I came to jerk off in peace,” Jack snaps. “So can you piss off?”
Alex huffs. “Stop being an asshole when I’m just trying to understand what’s wrong.”
“Nothing is wrong, dude!” Jack finally looks at him, though it’s clear he would rather not be. “You don’t need me to finish the song, okay? You have Squire to do the guitar, and if he can’t do it then you will, so I’m just gonna sit this one out, alright?”
Alex stares at him. “The fuck do you mean, we don’t need you to finish the song? You need to learn it. And Squire’s just doing the demo track anyway. Meaning technically he doesn’t need me for it, either.”
“Alex, you wrote the fucking song.” Jack crosses his arms. “It wouldn’t exist without you. Unlike me.”
“You…would exist without me?”
Jack glares at him, again. “No, the song would still exist without me. And it would have a guitar part, without me. I know my role in the band, Alex, I’m not getting any ideas, okay? I’m the one who makes inappropriate jokes on Twitter and collects bras during shows. I don’t contribute in the studio.”
The gears in Alex’s brain grind loudly to a halt. “You don’t — what? What?”
Jack draws his knees up to his chest and looks back up at the TV. “Am I wrong?”
“Uh, yes?!” Alex says emphatically. “Extremely wrong, what the fuck? Since when is this a thing? You really feel this way?”
“Oh my God, it’s not a big deal,” Jack grumbles. 
“It’s a big deal to me,” Alex retorts. “You think you don’t contribute when we’re in the studio? You’re, like, the reason most of these songs get made. If you weren’t here we’d still be on our first record.”
“You don’t need to therapy me,” Jack says dully. “I’m fine with it.” 
Which is obviously not true. Jack’s shuttered expression and bitchy attitude don’t exactly communicate ‘fine.’
“I’m not trying to ‘therapy’ you,” Alex says, making air quotes. “Whatever the fuck that means. I’m trying to tell you something you should already know.”
Jack sighs wearily. Somehow he seems to sink deeper into the couch, like whatever’s weighing him down is only getting heavier. “Alex, it’s fine.”
“Stop saying it’s fine,” Alex says sharply. “It’s not fine. Did someone say something when I left? Is that why the mood whiplash?” There’s no way. Squire would never, and Flyzik hadn’t even been on the same planet. Not that Flyzik ever would, either, but then again, they make a lot of fucking jokes around here. Sometimes the kind of joke that hits a little too close to home. Call it an occupational hazard of living and working with a bunch of guys in their early twenties; none of them really know when to stop.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. 
Jack’s gaze flits between Alex and the TV, which has really been playing commercials for far too long. He seems to realize he’s not going to escape this conversation, and with an almighty sigh grabs the remote and hits mute.
“No one said anything, okay?” There’s a pause. Alex waits patiently while Jack gathers his thoughts. “It was just that, like, you were there, and we were joking around, and then you left, and like…Squire kept playing the part, Flyzik was still on fucking MySpace or whatever, and, like, I don’t know. It just felt like if I left it wouldn’t matter, so I did.” He barks a humorless laugh. “And I was right. It didn’t matter.”
“It mattered to me,” Alex says. “I came back and you had abandoned me with Squire and Flyzik. You think I want to be stuck with them?” 
One corner of Jack’s mouth pulls up, barely, then drops down again. “I’m fine,” he says a third time. “You can go back and finish tracking the lead. Just call me when you need me for something.”
Alex considers this. “You know, I could use a break, while I’m here.” He takes a sip of Flyzik’s coffee, which is absolutely disgusting and also room temperature at this point. Jack frowns at him.
“You’re in the middle of demo-ing a song,” he says flatly. “‘Best Friend Knows,’ right?”
“Well, as you so eloquently pointed out, Squire can track the guitar,” Alex says. “And in fact is tracking the guitar. And has been for half an hour. He doesn’t need me for it, either.”
“But that’s not the fucking same and you know it. You wrote the song.”
“Yeah, so what? It’s not that great of a song. Anyone could have written it. I bet Andrew has fifty better songs in his back pocket.”
“But Andrew isn’t in the band,” Jack says. “The whole point is they’re your lyrics that you write for your band.”
“And you play the guitar,” Alex counters, raising his eyebrows at Jack. “Yeah, there are a billion songwriters and guitarists in the world. Anyone can play guitar, but there’s only one All Time Low guitarist, and it’s you. You’re our guy, Jack. You brought the band together, you keep it together, and you keep us moving forward. So what if you’re not writing lyrics? There’s way more to being in a band than writing the fucking lyrics. I promise you, man, without you we’d still be playing the fucking Dulaney Talent Show. We’d be fucking nowhere. We definitely wouldn’t be in L.A. recording our second full-length studio album.”
Silence falls as Alex’s words hang in the air. They’re both quiet for a moment. The Red Bull fridge buzzes in the background, and even more faintly comes the sound of Squire relentlessly playing the same lead part for what has to be the millionth time. 
“If you say so,” Jack finally says, although he doesn’t really seem to believe it. 
“I do,” Alex says firmly. Jack is the heart of the band more than anyone else, the beating pulse that keeps them alive no matter what shit gets thrown their way. When they were traveling from venue to venue in a shitty van, Jack was the one who kept spirits high. In their earliest days, Jack had held them together like glue, as if he could tell that something really special would happen as long as he didn’t let them go.
And he’d been right. There’s no All Time Low without Jack. That’s always been obvious to Alex.
“I think it’s an awesome song,” Jack quietly adds, as an afterthought. “No one else could’ve written it, so take that shit back.”
“Mediocre at best,” Alex says. “But there’s still time to make it better.”
“I like it,” Jack insists. “It’s cool. You’re a good songwriter.”
Alex waves a hand. “All the good lines are from Squire.”
“Well, I don’t know any of the words,” Jack says, a hint of his usual dry humor making a comeback. “But I bet that’s not true. All the best lines always come from you.”
“They’re meh. There’s not even a good line for a title. ‘What Your Best Friend Knows’ is just the most repeated line, but like, I don’t know. It’s boring.”
“So just call it something else,” Jack says. “The title doesn’t have to come from the song. You might have heard of a little album called From Under The Cork Tree? It’s by this super underground band, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of them.”
Alex laughs a little. “Yeah, okay. I guess.”
Another pause fills the room. Finally Jack says, “If you want to hang out, you can, but stop trying to therapy me.”
“I’m not trying to therapy you! It’s called being your friend, you dumbass.”
“Well, cut it out,” Jack deadpans. There’s the Jack Alex knows. 
Alex smiles at him, even though he knows it makes him look very sincere, more sincere than Jack probably wants from him. “You made your band bed,” he says. “Now you have to lie in it.” He half-stands and clambers onto the couch, and Jack stretches his legs over Alex’s lap. “What are we watching?”
“I don’t know,” Jack says, reaching for the remote. “It’s been commercials since I got here.”
“Jesus Christ, don’t these people have anything better to do than advertise all day every day?” Jack unmutes the TV. An episode of a show neither of them know is playing. Alex rolls his eyes. “Which channel is playing Lost reruns, do you think?”
“Only one way to find out,” Jack says, raising the remote like a wand. “Hope you brought a board ‘cause it’s time for some channel surfing.”
“Oh my God, you’re so lame.”
Jack snickers. “Maybe there’ll be a line you can use for the song title. Like a ‘Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner’-type thing.”
“In Lost?” Alex says skeptically. 
“Maybe, you don’t know.”
Alex highly doubts Lost will have any cool one-liners that could double as song titles, but it’s not a bad idea, pulling an iconic movie quote the way Fall Out Boy did on Cork Tree. The gimmick isn’t really the All Time Low style, but there’s a first time for everything.
Besides, Alex thinks, glancing over at Jack, whose attention is trained on the TV, I think I know the perfect movie.
They’re back in the studio the following day. After yesterday’s minor emotional hurdle, Jack seems to be doing much better. Right now his eyes are wide in surprise as he stares at Alex.
“‘Keep The Change’ —”
“I know the quote,” Jack interrupts, a smile stretching over his face. “That’s the name? Of the song?”
Alex grins. “Has a cool ring to it, don’t you think?”
“Are you fucking kidding me? This is the best day of my life,” Jack enthuses, beaming. 
Alex shrugs. “Well, someone gave me the great idea to use a movie quote for a title. This felt fair.”
“Alex, I literally love you so much, you don’t even know,” Jack says. “Just for this, I’m giving you my firstborn.”
“If you ever have children, God save us all,” Flyzik says dryly from the far side of the room. He’s not wrong, but Jack doesn’t even act offended, still caught up in the excitement of the song title. 
“Hey,” Alex says in a low voice, kicking lightly at Jack’s leg. “For the record, I’d never in a million years have thought to use a movie quote title.”
“That’s why I’m here,” Jack says.
Alex gives him a meaningful look. “That’s my point, man. Next time you think you’re not contributing, just remember this, alright?”
The shadow of realization passes over Jack’s face, and he shakes his head incredulously. “You are such a piece of shit,” he says, although he doesn’t seem upset. “This was just to make a point?”
“I didn’t do it to make a point,” Alex says. “I did it because it was a good idea. But it does make a point, because you thought you weren’t contributing in the studio, and this is proof that you are.”
Jack sighs. “Point taken.” A little bit of humility colors his expression. “Thanks.”
Alex gives him a cheeky smile. “You are welcome,” he says airily, and throws an arm over Jack’s shoulders. “And now I think we both have some guitar parts to learn, am I right?”
“Yup,” says Squire, as if he’d just been waiting for his cue. “Jack, you wanna track this?”
Jack glances over at Alex, who grins. “Yeah,” he says, stepping forward and taking the guitar out of Squire’s hands. “I’d love to.”
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