#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 · 3 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 · 27 days
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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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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The Dark Team (part 7)
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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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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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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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ayyponine · 2 years
talk to me abt sharp objects calhoun day episode
bc it might b my favourite idk. idk which writer or whatever involved first went like “you know what. lets invent this holiday thing” but i owe them my life. youre halfway thru yr episodes, main character just published an article saying “the killer might be someone within the community” so everyone who read it instantly goes “so its DEFINITELY one of these two people oh boy!!” and then they all gather into the local rich ladys backyard to passive aggressively exchange some words until shit blows up. you just spend yr episode waiting fr that pot to boil over. chef kiss.
anyway im yelling at smth every two to three minutes because
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the way alan (fuck you) acts all self assured coming into the ivory tile bedroom having reclaimed territory after adora flirted w the police chief but he asserted some dominance by arguing, acting all masculine and then adora lying in bed letting him have some after theyve been sleeping in seperate beds for a while so he thinks hes the big man now. but also once downstairs it’s like we have to go buy camillle smth appropriate fr the day. just girls alan youre NOT invited. you do have to drive us there though and then sit in the car and wait fr us outside. good i fucking hate that guy.
camilles shopping trip from HELL. first you have amma going like mammaa i am babyyy giv me attention :(( and bursting the bubble, demanding they listen to her when adora first refuses that. then adora immediately turning herself into the victim in the situation bc the second she hears news abt the article and experiences stress she starts bleeding frm the cut on her hand again (which the shop assistant also asked about. she had heard the fucking news of adoras horrible traumatic wound which kept her weak and inside all day.... she had cut it on a fucking rose bush ma’am...) acting all “uugghhhh im so upset youve made me bleed you girls did this to me uwuwuwu ://” and then icing on the cake, the shop assistant steps up with two thin strapped pink frilly dresses like ohh camille thisll look great on you i bet :) welcome to hell
the now iconic dressing room scene ft. adora snatching the clothes (bitch) and going like whaaat why are you upset just come outside we dont have time fr this :// and after being at least a little shocked @camille’s scars going straight back into “it hardly matters. youre ruined.” like oh my daughter did this to herself and its all to upset meeeeeee
back at home the moment of mb genuine vulnerability and connection btwn amma and camille acknowledging that living at home can be hard sometimes and mb they could understand each other and be like. supportive while trying to get through this. amma offering to borrow her a dress that both camille and adora would be approving of. tfw u just went thru a real mess of a family situation but you still gotta dress nice and smile through the day bc youre representing your mother and have to not be ungrateful after everything she’s done for you. aaaaa
the call to curry and the meaning of home... camille’s "i should probably just head home” vs his “i thought that sending you home would help” then shifting to “wanna come home kiddo?” aka home is w him and eileen, actual supportive parental figures who can admit to making a mistake and will try to express they love her, try to make her laugh. during their earlier call he was like great job on the article we need more asap and it then shifting to him actually admitting like maybe it was wrong of him to send her there bc while talking to him she feels able to say shit like “whenever im here i feel like a bad person” or “im not decent” and they just try to reassure her and help in response of what she needs. aaaaaa
everyone looking at each other. looking looking looking and people frm different little subgroups interacting by bumping into one another and splitting up again and making snide little remarks to their own private company. b r u h
camille in the prev episode first refusing a kiss frm kansas city and taking it into a more sexual direction instead, then finally making out w him when he dropped her off back home and adora was watching them from inside the house. now catching adora’s gaze fr a second before taking his arm and leaning in a bit more. adora moving in to offer him a house tour the second he’s left alone. adora then having slipped into this persona of seeming like a super reasonable and understanding nuanced woman w genuine concern for her daughter’s wellbeing while subtly saying things to maybe put him off her aka “she’s still recovering from a recent episode”. and camilles instant like panic when jackie comes over to tell her adora is giving kc a house tour and afterwards interrogating him in turn like haha what did she say tho. kansas city stupid idiot thinking theyre boyfriend and girlfriend now like wow those floors.. haha yeah but no what the FUCK did she day tho nervous SWEAT
amma earlier being so happy to hear camille wants to run lines with her like yes!! attention from estranged big sister!! but then during her big performance she’s not even looking bc she’s too busy cozying up to the other out of towner misfit. the second that fight breaks out no one, not even adora is looking, so amma gets upset and instantly switches like okay BYE. and it WORKS. the way adora is then instantly just bereaved and elegantly sobbing on her porch like a weak little lady because yes her daughter just went missing while young teens exactly like her are getting murdered but this elegant damsel is also in distress AT LEAST as much thank you.. and the way the MEN instantly run into the woods to save the day and presumably kill the *checks notes f-slur mexican out of town truck driver or whatever who’s been killing these children. go pick up some rocks to destroy thanks fellas youre doing great
camille also going into the woods and stressing out because she’s getting flashbacks to marian (and alice? idk they all look alike lmao), aka other young girls she cared abt and failed to protect, resulting in them dying. earlier w the people she knew frm high school we were shown brief but fully separated trauma cuts (flashes of different scenes) but in this situation past and present, real and imaginary are merging right in front of her and she feels helpless to stop it. if you just saw the previous episode you know it ended w her worried about finding amma in the shed, dead, toothless. and now she does find her in that shed (alive tho). instantly rescued and put to bed for pampering.
this episode spans the events of a single day but you see adora in three different outfits. theyre all soft pastels but her nails are long and red. we get into the drinks on the veranda scene which i cannot think about without wanting to throw hands. earlier jackie made a comment on adora’s “friends” being porch girls during calhoun day like. theyre not on the lawn w the common folk but also kept out of the house. you’re soooo welcome here but don’t fucking come in. and the way adora asked her to share a drink w her please, seeming tired after the drama of the day and now in her nightdress, in soft lighting, even starting by saying she wants to apologise. only for that to turn into hurt city central. im gonna throw hands with a fifty yr old. the whole thing abt being born to a cold nature, not able to get close which is such a shame and completely camille’s own fault of course :/ her then running off to kansas city whos so enamoured w this mysterious troubled but snarky cool girl image he has of her and fucking w her clothes on and the lights out with the closeup on “closer” carved into her bit of exposed skin. aaaaAAA
but also it’s in all the little things :)) like before the event camille being dressed in dark colours while adora and amma are in pink, the old magazine mother/daughter picture which camille wasn’t welcome in, only eternally perfect little marian. “she takes after her father” aka a dude you dont like and dont ever want to even acknowledge or talk about. but said only in the most pleasant way in passing :) / amma switching moods frm mamas perfect little angel starring in the play to “my other phone... dont tell mama” and the phone casing kinda looking like ann’s bicycle seat (white with flowers) / camille being so ready to snark back and deflect/ cut it short whenever someone tries to bring up a sensitive subject / “my scars will armour me!” and this whole play glorifying the martyrdom of millie calhoun. aka camilles “great-great-great-grand victim” and the bloodline and generational type of suffering for your loved ones. everyone just looking on and doting on these kids performing a horrid little play starring the ideal and pure heroine victim. the sick perversion and gleeful watchers of violence like everything is just fine. btw yes the kids had been doing drugs while looking at the dollhouse inside and theyre inappropriately giddy abt their little performance. also the next episode in the first five minutes containing a flashback to marian calling camille “millie”. i will yell
(also wnted to mention this video bc it touches on thought cuts and the LOOKING and having to keep up appearances due to constantly being judged but. it’s about other episodes as well so idk it’s a great video but i couldn’t neeatly fit it in anywhere).
(bonus fr anyone who actually read thru this lmao. when i think of camille i think of one vine and it’s this one)
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isolavirtuosa · 2 years
Maybe 6-10 + Postscript
[fanfiction] Dean/Castiel
Canon Compliant Coda
One minute I was sitting on the porch, having a beer with Bobby, and the next I was standing in the bunker next to an equally confused-looking Sam.
Parts 1-5 here
Parts 6-10 + Postscript
- 6 -
  “Cass!” I cried, already moving to get up.
“Stay where you are, Dean,” he said, completely unfazed by the punch and fixing the demon with a very ‘you don’t know who you have fucked with’ look.  Then he lifted his hand and pressed it to the demon’s forehead, filling her body with light as she screamed.  “If you move, we’ll have to start the spell all over,” he explained, letting the body drop to the ground.
“I’d rather start the spell over than see you get your head bashed in,” I said, crossing my arms over my chest.
“My head was hardly bashed in,” he said, rolling his eyes.  “I’ve got this under contr-”
And then a demon and an angel flew at him.
“Don’t move!”
I stayed seated, but my entire body was a spring, ready to leap into the fight.
It turned out to be quite unnecessary.
I hadn’t seen Castiel in full Angel Smiting Action in a while, but it was obvious that he didn’t need anyone’s help, much less a lowly human’s.
“So why are angels and demons working together…?” I asked as Castiel arranged the bodies in a row next to the hospital’s looming wall.
“Do you not remember anything that Other Dean and I told you when we summoned you here?” he asked.
I gave him a big shrug and upped the winsome charm in my smile.
“Temeluchus is the Torturer,” Castiel explained.  “He punishes wicked souls, but also wicked angels.”
“Sounds like the kinda dick neither side would like.”
“On the contrary, those he tortures become his most loyal followers.  Dean, I must continue chanting now.”
I leaned back on my hands, still keeping a watch on the dark, but I was feeling pretty detached from the whole situation.  Of course if someone came for Cass again, I’d be ready to fight them, but I really didn’t care about any of this.
It wasn’t my job anymore.  I didn’t have to care about the ridiculous rituals and the angel and demon bullshit.  All these life-or-death situations that had once seemed so important just had no consequence for me anymore.
It was kind of freeing.
I knew the ritual was done when Cass cut my finger with a knife and a beam of light shot up from under my ass, up into the sky.  A matching beam shown from the opposite direction, then suddenly the beams turned into a ring, surrounding the entire hospital.
“We did it,” Castiel said, nodding his head approvingly.
“I guess that means Junior and Sam handled whatever came their way,” I said.
“Okay, so you wait here,” he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out some weird-looking glowy orb.
“What do you mean ‘wait here’?”
“You and Sam must maintain the trap while Other Dean and I lure Temeluchus inside,” he explained.
“I just sit here…?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said with a nod.  “You’re doing an excellent job already.”
“Just sit here?”
“For how long?”
“Until we defeat Temeluchus.”
“Any ETA on that?”
“Hopefully within an hour and forty-seven minutes,” Castiel said after a moment of calculating.
“And you and Junior are enough for this guy?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“With the power of the Michael sword and Lucifer sword, yes, of course.”
“All right then, I’ll just… sit here…”
“Perfection,” he approved.
“Be safe,” I said, looking him in the eye.
His head tilted to the side in surprise.  “Of course, Dean.  You, too.”
I patted the angel blade in my pocket, and Cass nodded at me before disappearing into the night.
“Holy shit, this is boring,” I decided after about three minutes of sitting in my little candlelit circle.  I opened Castiel’s phone and started scrolling through his holotexts with Dean.  It was completely uninteresting, but also pissed me off.
‘Hey, can you help us with a demon problem?’ Dean had written, and while he had received no reply, the very next text Dean sent two days later said, ‘thanks for helping us out.’
There were many such messages.  Years and years of little glowy messages, and all I’d gotten was a ‘I didn’t mean to bother you’ and an abrupt exit.
The phone buzzed and a new message popped out of it.
‘Dude, I forgot how boring this is.’
I felt myself smiling as I hit the call button.
Sam’s face appeared glowing over the phone.
“Hunting is weird,” he said.
“Right?” I agreed.  “What the fuck does us sitting in little circles of candles have to do with battling a pyscho torturer angel?”
“Fuck if I know.”
I grinned at him.  I liked being on the same page.
“I could really use a beer…” Sam said.
“Hell yeah,” I agreed.  “Whenever these doofuses finish this thing already.”
An explosion sounded from the hospital.
Sam gave me a weary look.
“I’m sure they’re fine,” I said.
There was another rapid succession of explosions.
“Should we… do something?” Sam asked slowly.
“They said to stay here.”
“They did say that.”
We looked at each other and shrugged.
“Cass is a fucking angel,” I pointed out.
“Dean once arm wrestled a seraph and won,” Sam said.
“…he did what now?”
Sam grinned at me.
I realized I knew very little about Sam’s life after I died.  “So you and Junior got into a lot of angel hijinks?”
“More than I really wanted,” Sam said, shaking his head.  “Angels have a thing for Dean for some reason.”
I looked at him.
He looked back at me.
I looked at him harder.
“There’s this angel Sandalphon who Cass put us in contact with,” Sam continued, ignoring me.  “He’s the one who taught Dean Enochian.  He’s kind of Dean’s Cass.”
“I thought Cass was Junior’s Cass,” I grumbled to myself.
Sam rolled his eyes.  “Everyone knows Cass is your Cass.”
“I claim no ownership of that weirdo.”
Sam rolled his eyes harder.  “Dean, what is this?  You’re mad that Cass didn’t come to see you in heaven?”
“Uh, yeah,” I said.  “The guys offs himself in front of my face and then doesn’t have the decency to pop in and say, ‘hey, I’m alive, it all worked out in the end’?”
“I was a mess after you died.”
“…why do we need to talk about that at this particular moment…?”
“Well, instead of going to see you, Cass was here on earth with me, helping Eileen keep me together.”
I fell completely silent, turning my eyes to the ground so I didn’t have to meet Sam’s intense stare.
“But he was always watching over you, you jackass,” he continued, like this wasn’t one of the most intense conversations we’d ever had.  “He would come down to me sometimes and tell me that he had gone to check on you, and that you were okay, that you were finally at peace.  That you were waiting for me, but that fifty years on earth would be a blink of an eye for you.”
I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath.
“He kept me alive, Dean.”
I shook my head, not wanting to think about how much I had hurt Sam.
“I’m sorry, Sammy,” I said, and my voice cracked.  I swallowed, trying to get it back under control.  “You know I had to go first, you know I couldn’t…”
“I know.”
“I didn’t want to leave you.”
“I know.”
“Okay, good talk,” I said, opening my eyes and looking anywhere but at the little image of Sam that the phone was projecting.
“Good effort,” he agreed.
I finally looked at him, narrowing my eyes.
“You suck at this,” he said with a laugh.
“I just poured my heart out to you, asshole.”
“Let me try and not drown in the flood.”
“I’m hanging up now.”
“So you can sit alone in the dark with your candles?”
“Fuck me.”
“Seems like the explosions have stopped, so that’s probably a good sign?” Sam said.
“Always a great sign when the explosions stop,” I agreed, looking up towards the roof of the hospital as flashing lights caught my eye.  “Something is definitely happening now.”
“So you think another twenty minutes or so?”
“Did we always take this long to wrap things up?”
“I think we might have actually taken longer…”
“Shit,” Sam agreed.  “So-”
The rooftop seemed to rock with some kind of shockwave, and suddenly light was pouring out of our asscracks again, encircling the hospital.  I felt like my blood itself was glowing, and my arms both flew flat to my sides as that feeling coursed through me.  I felt my head falling back, and my mouth opening as light shot out of there, too.
Then everything went quiet.
Except for the body falling off the roof.
The trenchcoat-wearing body, falling off the roof.
 - 7 -
  “Cass!” I yelled, leaping to my feet and rushing to where he was falling.  It didn’t make any sense really, but I had to do something.
The body was getting closer and closer to the ground, time moving in slow-motion, until suddenly there was a crack of thunder and some kind of shadow started to form behind him.
A powerful wind hit me square in the chest and sent me stumbling backwards.
Castiel’s descent slowed.  There was another gust of wind, and it slowed further, but he was almost to the ground now.
I pushed myself through the next gust of wind and held my arms out, catching him as his weight knocked us both to the ground.  “Cass?” I gasped, my arms tingling where they touched his back.
Wings, my brain supplied, even as the tingling stopped.
“Hello, Dean,” Castiel groaned into my arm.
“What the hell happened?” I asked, trying to help him sit up.
“Temeluchus felt the cage closing in on him and used his last strength to blast me off the roof,” he explained, unable to support himself and collapsing back into me.
“Here,” I said, shifting him so he could rest his back against my chest, my knees on either side of him.
“Thank you, Dean, I seem to be bleeding profusely,” he said, his weight heavy against me.
“You can’t heal yourself?”
“It will be fine, I just need to recover my strength a little,” he said.  “Bringing my wings into this plane suddenly was very draining.”
“But you’re really okay?”
“I’m really okay,” he confirmed.
We both looked up towards the roof, where Dean was standing, waving the glowy orb around.
“That’s Temeluchus,” Castiel explained.
“Good job, Junior!” I called as loud as I could, but Dean just shrugged, unable to hear me.
Castiel gave him a tired wave, which seemed to satisfy him, and he disappeared from sight.
“You think you can walk?” I asked, trying to figure out what to do with my hands.  I finally settled on putting them on the ground behind me and leaning back on them.
“Yeah, in a few minutes,” he said, seeming to put even more of his weight against me.
We were both quiet.
My arms started to get tired, so I sat up straighter, resting them awkwardly on my knees.
“I’m sorry,” Castiel said softly.
“For what?”
“For worrying you,” he said.  “For… not… being around…”
“Were you watching me?” I asked.  Talking to Sam had kind of put all the pieces into place.
“Could you be more specific?”
“After I got to heaven,” I said.  “Were you watching over me?”
“Of course,” he said, his head flopping heavily against my shoulder.
“Cass, we talked about this,” I said, trying to sound irritated.  My hand absently moved to support him, cupping his jaw.  “No watching over me without me knowing.”
“No, you told me not to watch you when you were asleep,” he said.  “You were very specific.  You said it was creepy to stare at someone when they were unconscious.”
“Yeah, okay, unconscious as in asleep, but also unconscious as in having to fucking idea that you’re even there, watching them like a creep.”
“That was not clear, Dean.”
“I see that now,” I sighed.  “So you were just spying on me all the time and reporting back to Sam?”
“I wouldn’t quite put it that way…”
“And then you…” I paused, swallowing.  “You were taking care of Sammy?  For me?”
“Yes, of course,” he said.
“And Junior?”
“Of course,” he repeated.  “They’re family.”
I caught myself thumbing along his cheek and stilled my hand.  “Thank you.”
“It’s not something you need to thank me for.”
“Well, I’m doing it anyway,” I said, letting both arms slide around his chest and hugging him from behind.  “Thank you, Cass,” I mumbled into his hair.
“Of course, Dean,” he said, his voice sounding strained.  “Of course.”
We just stayed like that for a long moment.
I let go of him abruptly, sitting up straight again.  “So you healing now or what?”
“I healed myself about five minutes ago,” he informed me.
“Then why didn’t you say anything?!”
“You know that I enjoy our talks,” he said with a shrug, still not moving.
Maybe I enjoyed our talks, too, which is why I didn’t move either.
Castiel eventually shifted forward, trying to get to his feet and faltering.
“I thought you said you healed yourself,” I said, reaching out a hand to steady him.
“I’m still adjusting,” he said, rolling his shoulders and then trying to stand again.
I stood with him, keeping a hand on his arm.
He tilted his head towards me, giving me a warm smile.  “Sam and Other Dean will have been waiting for us for a while.”
“Why didn’t they come check on you?” I asked.
“Oh, Sam came over, but when he saw our intimate conversation, he turned around again,” he explained.
“Intimate?” I grumbled to myself.
Sam and Dean were in fact waiting at the car, lying side-by-side on the hood and looking up at the stars.  The glowing orb was settled between them, randomly pulsing light.
“We interrupting your date, ladies?” I asked.
Sam just gave me a long look.
“Castiel, you’re okay?” Dean asked, sitting up and giving Cass a worried look.
“Yes, I’m good as new,” he replied, patting his bloody trenchcoat.
We all got into the lame mobile and drove back to Lebanon.
Dean took a phone call during the drive, his voice lowering for privacy as he promised to be home soon.
All of these hunters were really married with kids and yards and day jobs, and it was so completely foreign to me.
“How’d it go, boys?” Claire asked us cheerfully as we entered the bunker.
“Catch!” Dean said, playfully tossing her the orb.
My eyes widened in fear, but somehow wizened old Claire caught the very breakable orb effortlessly.
“Nice,” she said.  “I’ll lock it up in the Vault.  You all look beat.”
“It was a long two days,” Dean said, taking a seat at the table.
“Well, all was quiet while you were out,” Claire said, standing up and shifting the orb from hand to hand.  “There was one false alarm on a haunting in Maine, but Dash cleared that up.”
“Finally off the clock,” Dean groaned.
“Finally,” Claire agreed, walking past me and then pretending to drop the orb.
I leapt to catch it, only to have Claire hold out her hand as it landed effortlessly into her palm.  She tossed her head back in an easy, free laugh.
I glared after her, but something about that laugh made me feel warm inside.
“Last night on Earth,” Castiel said softly, way too close to my ear.
I jumped away from him, cringing.
He just smiled at me, like he wasn’t a gigantic creep.
“Might I suggest an evening of booze and bonding?” he asked, sounding oddly upbeat for someone covered in blood.
“Clean up your damn trenchcoat,” I said irritably, still trying to recover from the annoying proximity of him.  That line, in my ear.
“Oh, right,” he said, and suddenly he was blood-free.
I let out a breath I hadn’t known I’d been holding.
“Beers,” Sam said, emerging from the kitchen with a case of beer.
“Cards?” Dean suggested, standing up to get them.
And so we began our how every many-eth last night on earth.
 - 8 -
  I could not stop laughing.
Dean grinned, seeming to soak up the attention as he continued telling me embarrassing stories about his dad.
Sam and Claire came back from the kitchen with more beer and some nachos.
“You are such a fucking nerd,” I informed my brother, cackling.
He looked at me funny, then turned to Dean.  “Just what have you been telling him?”
“The truth,” I said, laughing harder.
Sam rolled his eyes.  “Whatever, it’s your deal.”
“Oh, Sammy, Sammy, Sammy,” I said, shuffling the cards and dealing them.  “Crying.  At a Celine Dion concert?”
“Dude,” he said irritably.  “You had to be there.  It was incredible.”
I tossed my head back, laughing.
“At least I don’t cry over tentacle porn,” he grumbled.
“I told you, there was something in my eye!” I snipped, losing my amusement.
“Oh, yeah, sure, something in your eye,” Sam agreed.
“Shut up,” I muttered, glancing at my cards quickly before putting them back down on the table.  I stretched my arm out along the back of the chair next to me and waited to see what everyone else was going to do.
“Tentacle porn?” Dean asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes, Dean, because, you see, your uncle loves to claim that I am a nerd, when in fact he is the nerdiest nerd that ever nerded,” Sam explained.
“Please,” I said.  “You know what I was doing while you always had your nose buried in a book?”
“Sitting in the Dean Cave with your right hand and the latest video from Busty Asian Beauties?” Sam suggested.
“Driving around in your old ass car, being a creepy old guy who gives underage girls DVD copies of old ass Bill Murray movies?” Claire put in.
“Dean does like antiquated movies,” Castiel agreed, nodding his head.  “He especially enjoys watching them obsessively in order to be able to recite the dialogue at times when his conversational skills lack.”
“…I was going to say, ‘getting laid’…” I trailed off, realizing now that the chair I had my arm draped over was occupied by the traitorous Castiel.  I tried to covertly remove it, but Sam caught my eye and smirked, so I left it there to spite him.
“You know what we should do?” Castiel said suddenly, like he hadn’t just joined everyone in taking a shit on me.
“What should we do, Cass?” Sam asked enthusiastically.
“We should pray,” he said with a solemn nod.
That earned some strange looks from around the table.
“To Jack,” he clarified.
“Wait, to God?” Dean asked, leaning forward and looking interested.
“Yes, that is the function he currently occupies,” he said with a nod.  “Since we’re all here together, I wondered if maybe he would join us if we asked.”
“I thought Jack didn’t want to come down to earth,” Sam said, but there was a hopeful look cropping up in his puppy dog eyes.
“It’s a special occasion,” Castiel said, turning to me.
“Huh?” I said.  I didn't know why he always had to look to me.
“I think if you led the prayer, he would be more inclined to listen.”
“It’s just different coming from you.”
“Yeah, Dean,” Claire said, grinning.  “It’s just different from you.”
Sam and Dean started grinning with Claire, and I knew that they were mocking me somehow, I just wasn’t quite sure how.
“Jack!” I called, looking up towards the ceiling.
“A little more prayerfully might prove to be more effectual,” Castiel suggested.
“From the heart, Dean,” Sam said, patting his chest.
“How drunk are you?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Not enough.”
“Okay then,” I said.  I closed my eyes.  “Jack.  We’re all here.”
“Hi, Jack,” Claire chimed in.
“Can we call him ‘Jack’?” Dean whispered.
“Miss you,” Sam said.
“Jack, your family is here, waiting to see you again,” Castiel murmured, his tone more reverent than the rest of ours.
“We’ve got beer,” I added.
There was silence.
“The Dean Prayer failed,” Claire hissed.
“The Dean Prayer never fails,” I said, nodding my head towards Castiel.
“It’s true, I always respond to his prayers,” he agreed.  “When he actually prays them...”
I rolled my eyes.  And why was my arm still around his chair?
“It just took me a moment to get here.”
We all startled, heads shooting over towards the doorway, where Jack stood, looking exactly the same as when we last met.
“Jack?” Sam said, already on his feet.
“Hello,” he said, holding his hand up awkwardly.
Sam wrapped him in a bear hug.
I glanced at Castiel, feeling an answering smile tugging at my lips at the way his entire face lit up at the sight of Jack.  I patted him on the shoulder.
He turned that smile on me.
“I think you’re next,” I said, nodding my head towards Jack.
Sam didn’t seem to want to let Jack go, so somehow Castiel squeezed in between them, and the three of them shared a very uncomfortably long hug.  Then, in what must have been straight out of a horror movie, they all turned to stare at me.
“Hey, guys, I’m good,” I said, holding up my hands.
They all just looked at me, Sam with those damn puppy dog eyes and Jack and Cass with their creepy yet somehow very effective stares.
I sighed, pushing my chair away from the table and crossing the room.
Jack stared up at me expectantly.
I pulled him into a quick, tight hug, patting his back.  “Missed you, kid.”
“This is so fuckin’ weird,” Claire decided.
“Uh, hi, um, I’m your... brother?  Half-brother?” Dean said, rubbing at the back of his neck nervously.
“Yes, of course,” Jack said.  “It’s nice to finally meet you, Other Dean Winchester.”
“Come sit,” I said, clapping Jack on the back.
“Beer?” Sam offered.
“That would be delightful,” Jack said, smiling his sunny smile.
Claire had pretty much hit it on the head.  It was fucking surreal to be sitting in this future bunker with an Ancient Claire and my brother’s kid and God, drinking beers and laughing about the stupidest shit that we probably wouldn’t remember the next day.  We played cards, and then for some inexplicable reason had a Connect Four tournament.
“I didn’t know I needed this,” Sam said softly, as he, Cass, and I sat on the floor, leaning against the wall and watching the other three arguing about gameplay time limits.
“I don’t think anyone needs this,” I said, nodding my head over towards the game.
Sam smacked me in the arm.  “I needed you to meet Dean.  I needed to see Jack again.  I needed us all to be together one last time.”
“So you completed your journey of self-discovery and are ready to wrap up this chick flick?” I asked.
He smacked me again.  “You’re annoying.”
“You’re annoying,” I said, smacking him back.
“Yeah, but I’m bigger.”
“What the hell does that have to do with anything?!”
“Everything,” he said, getting in my face.
“Go home, Sammy, you’re drunk,” I said, squishing his face.
“You’re both drunk,” Castiel said.  “Other Dean is definitely drunk.”
We all watched as Dean accidentally dumped out the game he had had been about to win, all the black and red pieces sliding onto the table.
“Way to go, Deany,” I said, holding my beer bottle up to him in a salute.
Dean’s eyes widened, then he grinned.  “You called me by my name.”
I gave him a thumbs up.
Sam leaned his head on my shoulder, which was awkward since he was a giant.  “This just makes me really, really happy.”
“Yeah,” I said, patting his head.  Me, too.
Castiel leaned his head on my other shoulder.
I turned to look at him.  “What are you doing?”
“Joining in the fun.”
I breathed out a heavy sigh at him.
He ignored me.
I sighed even more loudly, putting my arms around the two jackasses leaning on me.
I think I was ready to go home, but this moment right here wasn’t so bad.
“Dean,” came Cass’s gravelly voice from my shoulder.
“Can we finish our talk?”
“...there was more...?”
“Yes, Dean, there was more,” he said, sitting up.  His face was very close to mine.
“Personal space.”
He backed up approximately one millimeter.
I looked at him.
He backed up one more millimeter.
“Later, okay?” I said.  “After everyone goes to sleep like Sammy here,” I said, nodding my head towards my passed out brother sleeping on my shoulder.
“We will talk then?”
“We will talk then.”
“Okay,” he said, giving me that little smile that was becoming more and more frequent, and resting his head back on my shoulder.
“That wasn’t an invitation…”
Castiel didn’t say anything, so I didn’t either, and I went back to watching the very strange shenanigans of the three fully adult children I’d played some small part in bringing into this world.
 - 9 -
  “Looks like you shut the bunker down,” I told Jack, surveying the damage of the littered beer bottles and passed out people.
“The last two standing,” he said, smiling at me.
“I could stand if you’d like,” Castiel said from the floor, with Sam sleeping on his lap which was simultaneously the weirdest and yet most adorable thing I’d seen in a long time.
“I really don’t think you can with that Sasquatch pinning you down,” I said.
“Dean, I am an angel with the strength of-”
“Pipe down, Cass, me and Jack are having a moment.”
I watched the synapses slowly fire in his brain, his mouth opening into an ‘oh’, before nodding and piping down.
“We are?” Jack asked, his head tilting to the side and this slow delighted smile spreading across his face.
“Yeah, kid, we are,” I said, ruffling his hair.  “Look, I’m just drunk enough to tell you that this whole thing you’ve got going on… the whole ‘hands off’ approach to earth… it’s…”
His brows drew together in worry.
“It’s good,” I rushed forward.  “You done good, kid.  Real good.  I mean, the future completely sucks with its shitty cars and terrible rest stops and all its touchy feely crap, but… but my brother lived.  Claire Novak is alive.  There’s a friggin’ Dean Winchester out there, hunting on weekends and then going home to his family.  They’re not all part of some fucked up cosmic game, and that makes up for all the shitty tofu burgers in the world.”
Jack was looking up at me with an expression that looked like awe.  “What about the vegan bacon?” he asked softly, swallowing and trying to smile.
“Man, you had to mess with bacon, too?” I asked, trying to play along.  My eyes felt hot and wet.
“I’m sorry, Dean, but humanity decided to go another wa-” he started to say, but I couldn’t take it anymore and hugged him like I should have hugged him when we were both alive.  His arms clung around me, and it was like some kind of circle had been completed.
I kissed the top of his head, truly feeling like a doting, proud father.  “Thank you Jack.  You’re the best damn God this world has ever seen.”
“Dean,” he said, hugging me so tightly.  “Thank you, Dean.  Thank you.  I am who I am because of you.”
I started to feel awkward like I always did after such an overt display, so I patted his back and finally pulled away.
But Jack smiled at me, and I smiled back, and all felt right with the world.
“Go wake up Sammy before you go,” I said.
“Are you sure?” he asked, tilting his head as he looked over at Sam sleeping peacefully.
Jack nodded and went over to Sam and Castiel, touching Sam’s shoulder gently.
Sam didn’t have the same violent sleep reflexes that I did.  It was comforting to know that he didn’t live like that.
I watched Sam, Cass, and Jack say their goodbyes from across the room.
“We’ll meet again,” Jack promised, and then he was gone.
We shuffled Dean and Claire off to bed, and then it was just the three of us.
“So what happens tomorrow?” Sam asked.  “Do these bodies just… fade away?”
“The body will become incapable of housing a soul, but your soul is what is holding the body together, so when the soul is released, the body will return to the earth,” Castiel explained.
“Then poof back to heaven?” I asked.
“Poof back to heaven,” Castiel agreed.
“How much time do we have?” Sam asked.
Castiel’s eyes fixated on me, and I felt like he was looking inside me.  “Seven hours and thirty-two minutes.”
Sam looked thoughtful.  “There’s someone I need to see.”
“Go for it, man,” I said, knocking his shoulder with mine.
“You, too,” he said, giving me a look.
“You might want to shower before you see your lady friend,” Castiel suggested.
I snorted.
“Oh, shit,” Sam said, looking down at his bedraggled appearance.
“Also, it might be better if you were sober,” Castiel added, touching Sam’s forehead briefly.
Sam shuddered and blinked.  “Okay, I’m showering and then I’m out of here.  See you back home.”
“See you back home,” I said.
“Cass, don’t be a stranger,” Sam called over his shoulder before disappearing from sight.
“I do not think that I would go out of my way to be an unknown person,” Castiel started to muse.
“He means get your ass over to our part of heaven sometimes.”
“Oh… that makes more sense, as Sam and I already know one another intimately,” he said, nodding.
“‘Intimately’?” I repeated.
“Yes, we are family and therefore cannot be strangers,” he said.  “About… getting my ass over to your part of heaven.  That’s what I would like to discuss with you.”
“Okay,” I said, waiting.
“You should be sober as well,” he decided, touching my forehead.
I flinched from the touch, feeling my buzz drain away.  “You are a literal buzzkill, Cass.”
“I’m sorry, Dean, but this is important,” he said flatly.  “I know you think you’ve worked out your issues, but I want you to know that nothing has been resolved  here.”
“Oh my god, do we have to talk about our feelings?” I complained, slouching into a chair and rubbing my temple.
“Yes, Dean,” he answered, completely seriously.  “We have to talk about our feelings.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay?” I offered.  “I was an asshole.  I assumed that you were avoiding me, when clearly you were doing the opposite.  And I can’t put into words how much I appreciate what you’ve done for Sammy and Junior.  So what is the issue?”
“The issue, Dean,” Castiel said, still standing over me and looking like he was about to launch into some kind of fatherly lecture, “is that you finally found peace in heaven.”
“And this is a problem why?”
His eyes finally stopped boring into mine as he turned to look at the wall.  “It’s not a problem.  It’s wonderful.  It’s what I’ve always wanted for you.”
“Every time I would watch over you, there was always this sense of contentment to you.  Your anger was completely gone.  You were finally at rest.  And then I showed up.”
“Dean, I was only with you for a few brief moments, and your anger flared back to life.  You were irritated, uncomfortable, discontented… because of me.  Because of my mere presence.”
“I wouldn’t quite put it that way.”
“How would you put it, then?” he asked.  “Because I run it through my head over and over, and the only possible conclusion I can come to is that I am a negative presence in your life.  You bring me so much happiness and joy, Dean, and I want to be that for you, too, but I can’t.  I tried to explain it away as you being uncomfortable about the shift in our relationship, but when I open my eyes and truly look, I can see how much pain and suffering I caused you even before I told you the truth.  I know that I tainted our relationship for you, but it was tainted before-”
“Cass, please stop,” I interrupted him.
He stopped, still looking at the wall.
“‘Tainted’, really?” I asked tiredly.
“I understand that my interest in you is unwelcome-”
I sighed, rubbing my temple harder.  I’d had enough ‘feelings’ for the next hundred years, yet here I was, stuck having to touchy-feely it up or lose Cass.  “You said you loved me, yeah?”
“Yes,” he said solemnly.
“So what does that mean to you?”
Castiel’s brows crinkled in confusion.  “What does it mean to me?”
“Yeah,” I said.  “I wanna know how it makes things any different.  What is it that you want that you can’t have?”
“I…” he trailed off, looking thoughtful.  “I don’t know how to explain it,” he said, genuinely confused.  “I want to… be near you.  And I want to do things for you.  Like helping Other Dean when he’s in trouble.  I want to… make you happy.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad,” I said, with a shrug.
“Dean, I can’t control myself,” he said, shaking his head.  “Earlier when you were slightly intoxicated, I took advantage of your state to be close to you.”
“Leaning on my shoulder?” I asked.
He nodded, shame-faced.
“I didn’t mind it,” I said, which was all I was going to say on the matter.
“Dean, do I really not make you uncomfortable?” he asked.  “You’re always saying ‘personal space, Cass,’” he said, slipping into his vaguely-offensive me impression.  “At first I didn’t know any better, but I… Dean, I have to confess to you that it’s on purpose now.  This need to be close to you, I just can’t…  It’s inescapable.  Something is wrong with me.  Why do I behave in this undignified manner?  I am broken, I am failed, I am-”
Seeing the self-loathing in his eyes, I knew that I had to shut this down immediately.  “Stop,” I said.
Blue eyes slowly met mine.
“You’re fine just the way you are, Cass, okay?” I said.  “Yes, you’re an awkward creep, but you’re my awkward creep, and I wouldn’t change you for anything.”
“Just listen, all right?” I said, taking a deep breath.  “You were right.  I wasn’t… I’m not comfortable.  With your feelings.”
He gave me his angel version of the ‘no shit, Sherlock’ look.
“I just… never got to… process it?” I said slowly.  “You dropped this bombshell on me about the deal you made with the Empty in one breath, and then you were telling me how you felt in the next breath, and then you were just… gone… and… I was pissed, okay?  And I was gutted and I hurt and I…  Cass, you were just gone.”
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.  “There was no time, and I had to do what needed to be done.”
“It did not need to be done,” I said, feeling the anger starting the rise up again.  “We could have talked about it.  We could have figured something else out.”
“No, we couldn’t have,” Castiel said firmly.
“You knew for months!” I snapped, hitting my fist on the table.  “We could have hit the books, figured something the fuck out-”
“My deal with the Empty saved your life,” he interrupted me.  “It saved your life so that you could fight another day, because when the world is about to end, I will always place my proverbial bet on Dean Winchester.”
“You cou-”
“And I was right.”
“I was right,” he repeated eyes boring into mine.  “The Empty took Billie, you survived, and you figured out a way to defeat Chuck.  And when it was all over, Jack was able to pull me out of the Empty, so I’m asking you, what better possibility was there?  We won, Dean.  We got everything we wanted.  What more could you ask for?”
“I needed you!” I yelled, turning my head away from him.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
“But you didn’t,” he said softly, confused.  “You did it all without me.”
“That’s not…” I trailed off.  “I needed you,” I repeated, frustrated.  “But you were gone, you left me.”
“It was only temporary.”
“It felt pretty damn permanent!”
“It’s true that when I made the deal, I knew that I might not be able to come back, but I hoped-”
“How could you do that?” I asked, closing my eyes more tightly.  “How could you just throw everything away like that-”
“I’m hardly the first of us to make a sacrifice to save the world,” he pointed out.  “You were ready to have me lock you in the Ma’lak box and drop you into the ocean not so long ago.”
“I’m a human with a human life span,” I said, trying to unclench my fist and failing.  “I was always going to die.  But you…”
“Dean, I was happy to die, and I would do it again.”
“You shouldn’t be fucking happy to die.”
“You weren’t unhappy to die.”
He had me there.  “It was my time.”
“It didn’t feel that way to us,” Castiel said.  “It felt like… the world had ended.”
“And yet somehow the world kept on turning.”
“I didn’t want it to.”
“That seems a little overdramatic.”
“How can I move through this world day in and day out when you’re not in it?”
“Well, then I guess you understand a little bit how I felt,” I said, shooting him an annoyed look.
“It’s not the same,” he said, shaking his head.
“I’m sorry, do my feelings not matter as much as your feelings?” I asked, wanting to swallow the words back as soon as they were coming out of my mouth.
“You are my purpose in life, the reason why I walk this earth,” he said.  “What am I to you?  We are not family by blood.  We have no actual ties.”
“Shut up,” I complained, rubbing my face with my hands.
“Why do I have to shut up?” he asked, sounding indignant.
“You’re not just…”
“I’m not just what, Dean?”
“You’re…” I reached for the words that just wouldn’t come.  How could I convey to him how much he meant to me?  “You’re my person,” I finally stumbled out.
Castiel’s head immediately cocked to the side.  “Your… person?”
“My person,” I affirmed.
“Dean, did you just make a Dr. Sexy, M.D. reference?” he asked, looking thoroughly confused.
“…yes…” I said, trying to own it.
“Dr. Ellen Piccolo loves Dr. Sexy with all of her heart,” he mused.
“But Dr. Sexy is not her person,” he said, his brow creased as he slowly worked through his thoughts.
“No, he isn’t,” I said quietly.
“Her person is Dr. Wang,” he said, eyes flitting around like he was searching a database in his head.  “The person who understands her without having to say anything.  The person who she would… call if she murdered someone and needed help dragging the body across the living room floor.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Dean, it is a very meaningful thing to be someone’s person.”
“It is,” I agreed.
There were actual tears welling up in his eyes.  “Dean, I… I don’t feel worthy.”
“Shut up, Cass,” I grumbled.  “I said what I said.  You’re my damn person, so deal with it.”
He smiled at me, even as a giant teardrop slid down his cheek.  “Thank you, Dean.”
“Don’t make it awkward.”
“I think you are the one who has made it awkward this time.”
“How so?!”
“You have created this… chick flick moment.”
“Dr. Sexy is not a chick flick!” I protested.
Castiel huffed out a little laugh.  “Dean?”
“I do not have any bodies to drag, but you are also my person.”
I wasn’t sure why, but that made my heart squeeze.  “Come here.”
“Huh?” he said.
I stood up, holding my arm out to him.
“Personal space?” he asked.
“Come here,” I repeated more forcefully.
He stepped in closer and I pulled him into a hug.  He breathed in sharply, standing rigidly in my hold.
“You’re my person,” I mumbled into his hair.  “You’re my person, Cass, you’re my person.”  I pressed my lips to the top of his head like I’d done with Jack.
At that, Castiel threw his arms around me, holding me tight.
I don’t know how long we stood there like that.
At some point, he shifted slightly, looking up at me.
Our eyes met, and I found my hand cupping his jaw, thumbing along the scruff there.  “You’re my person,” I whispered brokenly.
“I understand,” he said, reaching up his hand to touch my face, mirroring my own.
I felt lost, but Cass’s steady gaze was an anchor.  So I did what my body thought I should do and brushed my lips against his.
He froze, completely perplexed.
I froze, too, my eyes widening in slow horror.
“Dean, what-”
“Don’t read anything into that!”
He glared at me.
“That’s not…” I trailed off.  “I don’t know why I did that.”
“Then say that,” he said, still frowning.
“I don’t know why I did that,” I repeated, feeling confused and anxious.
His hand slid from my cheek to the back of my neck, pulling me in and tucking me into his shoulder.
I felt the rough, familiar texture of Castiel’s trenchcoat against my cheek, and I found myself closing my eyes.
Cass had gotten better at hugging.
There was a little whoosh, and then we were in the guest room.
I blinked, pulling away.
“Get some rest, Dean,” he said, gesturing towards the bed.  “I think we have discussed our feelings exhaustively for now.”
“This body is going to disappear in a few hours, so what do I need sleep for?” I asked, even as I was yawning.
“I think you are overtired and a rest will help you recover your bearings,” he said, disappearing.
With everyone else gone or asleep, I had nothing better to do than crawl into the bed and pass out.
 - 10 -
  I woke up with a gasp.  I felt like I was missing something.  My eyes searched the room for a clock, wondering how long I’d slept.
It was almost noon.
I was going to disappear in an hour.
I was going to go home.
Sam was in the kitchen, heating something up, while Dean and Claire were both slumped at the table, looking miserable.
“The future still hasn’t invented a cure for hangovers?” I asked, making sure to scrape my chair along the floor as I took a seat.
They both jumped and groaned.
“How are you two so perky?” Claire grumbled.
“Dean has an instant hangover cure on speed dial,” Sam called from the kitchen.
“Hook me up with that shit,” she said with a glare in my direction.
“I thought you and ‘Jimmy’ were best friends now,” I said with a shrug.
“Jimmy only shows up when we’re in mortal danger,” Claire muttered.
“Sucks to be you,” I said.  “Hey, Jimmy?”
There was a whoosh and suddenly Castiel was next to me.  “That name is not for your use,” he said with a frown.
“Oooohhh, looks like you’re not the only one with special privileges,” Claire said with a snort, then flinched.  “Goddamn, did we drink an entire liquor store last night?”
“I did that once,” Castiel commented.  There was a long pause.  “It was most unpleasant.”
“Can you help the kids out?” I asked, magnanimously gesturing towards Dean and Claire.
Castiel looked between them thoughtfully.  “It does seem to be a special occasion,” he decided, swiftly leaning over the table and touching each of their foreheads.
Claire sighed in relief.
Dean blinked slowly.  “You know we’re both older than you, right?”
“Born first,” I said with a shrug.
“Trust me, he is as old as the dinosaurs,” Claire said, shaking her head.
I made a face at her.
She made one back.
“Dean, are you feeling… rested?” Castiel asked suddenly.
I looked back at him, raising an eyebrow.
He looked… uncertain.
Oh, yeah, all that had happened.
“I’m good, Cass,” I said, and I was pretty sure that I was.  Probably.  No idea what the fuck was going on, but I felt good.  Lighter.
He relaxed a little, half-smiling.  “Good.”
“Sit next to me,” I said, smiling back and hoping it wasn’t a smirk.
Castiel’s eyebrows knit together, but he took the chair I was offering.
Damn, but he could read me like a book.  Luckily, Dean and Claire hadn’t noticed.
“Dean…” he said slowly.
I tilted my head to the side, trying to convey with my eyes that he should stop talking and just go with it.
Sam came in and placed a selection of pies in the middle of the table.
“Oh, god, not pie for breakfast,” Claire groaned, but she was smiling.
“Technically, it’s lunch time,” Dean said, but he was smiling, too.  “Man, we haven’t done this in so long.  Uncle Dean’s Breakfast of Champions.”
“You named a breakfast after me?” I asked, feeling weirdly happy that someone would associate such an art form with me.
“Dig in,” Sam said, going around to the other side of the table and pulling out the chair next to Dean.
So predictable.
As soon as he sat down, the sweet, sweet sound of passing gas filled the air.
I cracked up, trying not to spew pie everywhere.
Everyone looked between Sam and me.
Sam slowly eased off of the chair and pulled out the deflated whoopee cushion.  “…why…?”
“Did you think I would forget about the tofu burger?” I asked, suddenly very serious again.
“Wow, Dean, you really got me,” Sam said, rolling his eyes.
“Oh, Sammy, oh Sammy, Sammy, Sammy,” I said.
“What?” he groaned.
“Do you remember when I went to the bathroom last night?”
“Well, first of all, no, I don’t keep track of your potty breaks, and two, no, I don’t really remember much of last night at all, so…”
“I didn’t really go to the bathroom.”
Dean and Claire were suddenly on alert, giving each other slightly concerned looks.
“What did you do, Dean?” Castiel asked with exaggeratedly wide eyes, finally playing along.
I leaned back in my chair, stretching my arms behind my head and grinning.  “It’s better I not tell you.”
“Hey, I was not involved in the tofu incident,” Claire protested.
“Call me a dinosaur again, Claire.”
She clucked her tongue in annoyance.
“Maybe the joke is that I didn’t do anything at all,” I said with a shrug.  I was lying, of course, but that was part of the prank.  The not knowing.
The question was really more what hadn’t I done.
I’d switched the salt with the sugar, I’d put plastic wrap on one of the toilets, I’d stuck plastic spiders in everyone’s sock drawer, I’d coated the soap in all the showers with nail polish, I’d replaced every displayed photograph of the Men of Letters with pictures of Bert and Ernie…
“I made you pie for breakfast, Dean,” Sam said, trying to shame me into admitting what I’d done.
“You picked up pie on the way back from booty calling your wife,” I said.
Dean looked mortified.
“Eileen sends her love, by the way,” Sam said to me, going with the big-eyed stare next.
“This pie is excellent, though,” I commented, taking some more for myself.
“Oh my god, just hurry up and vanish,” Claire groaned, stabbing her own pie with a little too much force.
“Too bad what I did won’t vanish with me,” I said cheerfully.  “Or will it?”
“Ughh, Winchesters are the worst.”
“Hi, we’re all Winchesters,” Dean pointed out.
“I said what I said.”
We were all smiling, eating pie, and then my soul just seemed to pop out of its body and I was back in heaven, sitting on Bobby’s porch again.
“Where ya been, kid?” he asked, giving me an amused look.
“Earth,” I said.
I stood up, looking around me.  It felt good to be home again.  “I’ll tell you all about it at family dinner.”
“All right,” he agreed.  “Jo and Ellen are coming tonight.”
“Yeah, so don’t be late,” he said.
I waved to Bobby as I trotted off towards the Impala.
Castiel was sitting in the passenger seat, waiting for me.
“That’s Sam’s seat,” I pointed out, getting in next to him and starting the engine.
“I think he will not mind as he is currently elsewhere and otherwise occupied.”
I reversed away from Bobby’s and pulled onto the road.  “So…”
“You’re here.”
I continued guiding the car along the sharp curves of the road.
“…is it okay that I’m here?” Castiel asked tentatively.
“Yeah, of course,” I said, flicking my eyes to him and then quickly back to the road.
He still seemed hesitant.
“Of course,” I repeated more forcefully, taking one hand off the wheel and squeezing his shoulder.
His head cocked to the side, surprised by the touch.
I was not about to tell him how I felt again, but the contact seemed to convey it well enough.
The ride was quiet, but not uncomfortably so.
My place was tucked into the woods.  I parked the Impala out front and got out, leaning against the car and looking out into the trees.
Castiel came around from the other side and leaned next to me, trying to see what I was seeing.  “Your insides are so… quiet here.”
I felt my eyebrows going up at that, but then I decided to just accept his weird quirks of speech and nod my head ‘yes’.
There were two squirrels chasing one another up and down a tree, chattering away.  A small fox kit was scampering along the underbrush.
It was relaxing.
“If you don’t have anywhere else to be, you could come to family dinner tonight,” I offered.
“I… don’t eat, Dean.”
“Well, technically, neither do we, what with being dead and all,” I pointed out.
“Oh… well, if you don’t mind…”
“I invited you.”
“Then I accept.”
I took in a deep breath, glancing over at him.
Castiel’s eyes were hyper-focused on one of the squirrels, darting around rapidly as they followed its movements.  “Did you know that a squirrel’s front teeth never stop growing?” he asked.
I felt my mouth quirk into a smile.  “No, I didn’t.”
“They are truly fascinating creatures,” he mused.
I reached out, taking his hand in mine.
It was still and cold at first, but then seemed to relax, fingers curling around mine.
“Is the happiness really in just saying it?” I asked quietly.
“I think it is,” he said back, just as quietly.
“More than in the having?”
“I do not have any data to compare the saying with the having, so I am not sure.”
I held his hand more tightly.  “It felt good.  To tell you.”
“It felt good to be told.  And you seem much more peaceful in my presence now, unlike the turbulent storm that you were before.”
“That’s good I guess.”
I felt like I was reaching for something that I couldn’t quite grasp.
Castiel stood beside me, waiting patiently.
I was thinking about what I’d done.  After I told Cass that he was my person.  That strange, impulsive action that I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I wondered if he was thinking about it, too.
It didn’t mean anything.
But maybe it meant everything.
“You’re not quite turbulent, but your winds are starting to stir up,” Castiel commented, still looking into the trees.
“Do we really need to keep going with the storm metaphor?”
“I think it’s apt.”
I heaved out a sigh, angling my body towards him.
Castiel turned to me, his hand still gripping mine.  “Dean, you can tell me what you’re thinking instead of keeping it all hidden away inside.”
“But I don’t know what I’m thinking,” I said softly.
“I’m thinking about when our lips touched,” he said bluntly.
I almost dropped his hand at that, but his grip was too tight to escape from.
“It’s all I’ve been able to think about,” he continued, blue eyes piercing into me.  “I don’t understand what it means, and I want very much to understand.”
“I don’t know, Cass,” I said helplessly.
“How can we figure it out?” he asked.
I looked at him.
He looked back at me.
I looked away.
“I don’t want you to be turbulent anymore,” he said gently.  “Is it better if I… go?”
“No,” I said sharply.  “No more going.  No more running away.”
“Are you saying that to me or to yourself?” he asked genuinely.
“I don’t know!” I said, our eyes locking again.  “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Th-” Cass started to say, but I cut him off with my mouth.
I immediately pulled back, shaking my head.  “No, it’s weird.”
“Well, it’s weird if you keep doing it suddenly and then stopping.”
“How would you know!”
“I have kissed multiple people.”
“The quality of those kisses was much better.”
“Even Meg?!” I spat out incredulously.
“Better than whatever that was just now.”
I was offended.
Castiel looked up at me, settling his free hand at the back of my neck and gently running through the hair there, massaging.  “Dean, I’m not trying to pressure you into doing something that you do not want to.  You just seem unsettled, and I want you to… settle it.”
“I don’t know how,” I said, shaking my head.  “I’m not…” I trailed off, feeling more and more relaxed the more Cass’s fingers worked into my neck.
“Maybe another day, then,” he said, moving like he was going to pull away.
Goddamn, I was a pussy.  This was ridiculous.  I just had to get it out of my system, and then it would be done.
I pulled my hand free from Cass’s.
His brows scrunched together.
I caught his face in both hands, holding him in place as I leaned into him.
His eyes went wide for a moment, then they closed.
I let my eyes shut, too, and went quiet as our lips met.
It wasn’t what I was used to.  It wasn’t passionate or wanting.  It was… steady.  Warm.  Hopeful.
I rested my forehead against Cass’s as my eyes slowly opened.
Cass’s lips were pursed, his eyes still closed.  “That was… much better,” he concluded.
I didn’t know what to do.  I felt frozen.
“It’s okay,” he said soothingly, fingers stroking my hair.  His eyes slid open, warm and gentle.  “Dean, it’s okay.  You redeemed your terrible kissing skills, and now you do not have to ever do it again if it made you uncomfortable.”
I shook my head.
“Say it, Dean,” he prodded me.  “Put it into words.”
“I don’t think I can,” I whispered.
“What’s holding you back?” he asked.
I shook my head again.
“Dean,” he said, his voice going even lower and more growly than usual.  His grip tightened on my hair, feeling almost… forceful.  “This cowardice is unbecoming.”
“I’m not gay!” I said, pushing him away.
“Okay then,” he said, looking at me like I was crazy.  “No one asked you to be.”
I dropped my face in my hands, breathing in deeply.  “Then why the hell do I like kissing you?”
“You like kissing me?” he asked, sounding pleased.
“Cass,” I complained.
“Just feel what you feel,” he said, cocking his head to the side and staring into my eyes.  “Why should it matter how you define yourself?  Whose approval are you seeking?”
“You make it sound so easy,” I said, shaking my head.
“It is,” he said.  “Dean, you are in heaven.  You are free from the shackles of the world to just be happy, whatever that means to you.”
Apparently the only thing holding me back was me.
“Yes, Dean?”
The happiness was in the saying.  I felt myself start to smile.  “I love you.”
Cass’s face broke into an echoing smile.  “I love you, too.”
And that was enough.
 - Postscript -
Back on earth, Dean Winchester II reached for the toilet paper as he sat on the bunker toilet.  As his fingers touched the material, he frowned.  It was course, hard, and not like toilet paper at all.  He tugged on it, finding that the thick cardboard-like material came off the toilet paper roll easily, leaving nothing behind.  Some actual toilet paper was glued to it, but unusable.
He held up the cardboard, eyes squinting in confusion.  There was something written on it.
‘Dean Winchester wuz here 2071!’ it declared proudly.  On the back it said, ‘don’t mess with a man’s burgers!’
Dean threw the cardboard to the ground with an annoyed roll of his eyes, but then he couldn’t help but laugh.
His predecessor had left his mark, and no one was ever going to forget that he had been there.
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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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