For @blitheringmcgonagall who asked for a fic called Tango for Jily. You can see her other request, Liquid Gold for Wolfstar, here.
Send me a title and I'll give you a fic!
word count: 791
“Slow, slow, quick quick, slow. Again. Slow, slow, quick quick, slow.”
He held her hands close to his body as they moved around the improvised dance floor.
“James, I’m never going to get this.”
“Sure, you will. Just do it again. Slow, slow, quick quick, slow.”
She stumbled again, losing her footing as she tried to step around his feet. She let out a groan of frustration.
“That’s alright, let’s do it again.” He straightened her out next to him and prepared to go again. “Slow, slow, quick quick, slow.”
She tried, she really did. She got the first few steps, which James praised her for, and then she stepped on his feet again.
“Fuck! Why are we trying to do this stupid fucking dance at the wedding? Who needs to dance, anyway.”
“I’m pretty sure you picked the tango, love.”
“I know, but I didn’t think it would be so hard. Or that I’d be so bad.” She shot him a glare. “Or that you would be so good at it.”
“It’s okay, Lils. You’ll get it. Let’s just -”
“James Potter, if you’re about to say ‘just do it again’ one more time, I’m going to step on your feet.”
“Okay, I won’t say it.”
“Empty threat, Evans. You’re already stepping on his feet.” His voice came from the side of the room where he had been seated since the beginning of this atrocity. James had invited him along to help teach her, but he had provided little more than snide remarks so far. “Though really, he keeps putting his feet in the way, so it’s as much his fault as yours.”
James dropped his head. “Do you think you can do better, Padfoot?”
“I know I can.”
“Well, be my guest.” James stepped back and motioned at her in a take over kind of gesture.
“Excuse me, can we stop talking about me like I’m some sort of prank that just needs to be handled properly?”
James stepped back, his eyes wide in shock and looking ready to bolt. If Lily was in a slightly better mood, she might laugh at him for being so true to his inner deer self. As it were, it just made her narrow her eyes.
Sirius, like a true dog with a bone, stepped forward. “Well, Evans, that’s exactly what you are like right now. Someone who needs handled properly, and for once, your fiance doesn’t have the right touch.” He gave her a mischievous grin and held his hands out in front of him. “Care to try my hands?”
Lily narrowed her eyes at him, but he just stood there, wiggling his fingers with that stupid grin on his face. For a long moment, they looked at each other, each daring the other to make the first move. James shifted nervously beside them, considering stepping in between them.
“Fine.” Lily took his hand.
“Marvelous.” Sirius drew her against him and immediately began to move. He spun her in wide circles around the room. Her feet were barely on the ground, and his arms were tight around her waist. She cried out protests that fell on deaf ears. She pushed against him, but he held her tighter. He continued to spin her around and around and around.
She dropped her head to his shoulder - only for a moment because they were still spinning and she had to pay attention - but she relaxed and let herself go with him. They were spinning, but her feet were on the ground more than they were off. They were spinning, but she was moving with him. They were spinning, but she was no longer falling.
Suddenly, they weren’t spinning anymore, but they were moving together. He pressed her hips into his; their pelvises flush together.
“Black, was this just an excuse to get me pressed up against you?”
“You’re not exactly my type, Evans.”
He guided her movements around the floor. Slow, slow, quick quick, slow. A perfect tango. They repeated the steps, and again, and again.
“I’m doing it! I’m doing it!”
“Damn right, you are.” Sirius looked back at James. “Ready to cut in, Prongs?”
With a grace that came from years of pureblood dance lessons, and of which Lily could not have almost accomplished, Sirius stepped back, James stepped in, and they continued dancing.
“Now you’re both doing it.” Sirius smiled on as James and Lily danced around the room in a practiced step that suddenly seemed to work for them. “You just needed to loosen up a bit.”
“Thank you, Sirius.” Lily met his eye over James’s shoulder. “You might have saved my wedding.”
“Our wedding?” James asked, incredulously.
“That’s alright. You can pay me back by naming me godfather of your firstborn.”
Firien sat alone in the training yard. It was a cold night, and fat snowflakes drifted down from the skies above, blanketing the world in white. She entertained herself by watching them fall past the torches, catching in their warm glow. She huddled in on herself, ready to turn in, but curiosity kept her in place.
Up at the Skyforge, Tahir and Farkas worked together. On what, they would not tell her. The chest and underside of the massive eagle that hovered over the ancient forge were illuminated by the very same coals that had burned Kodlak’s flesh and released his spirit to the realms of Oblivion so long ago. She listened to the sound as two hammers striking steel sang as one voice in the night.
On the table beside her, a steaming hot cup of tea sat abandoned. She wanted to drink it, as Vilkas had been the one to prepare it for her upon learning she had been sitting in the dark by herself waiting for Tahir and Farkas to finish whatever they were doing, but the distraction was too great.
Vilkas had actually sat with her, for a time, but when the cold started to creep into his bones and stiffen his fingers, he gave up, leaving her to it.
Despite the muffling snow, the ringing of their hammers rang out clear, echoing over Whiterun. Every so often she would hear the hiss of them dousing metal in water to harden it. She could try to sneak up there, but the two werewolves would pick up on her scent before she could even steal a glance at what they were working on. It frustrated her. She felt more comfort in knowing what was going on around her, and loathed to be kept in the dark. Though not as serious, she couldn’t help but recall when Farkas, Tahir, and Vilkas had kept the beast blood hidden from her, and the feeling of secrecy always put her on edge.
It was rich, coming from her. She who was full of secrets and hidden truths.
Finally, with aching fingers, she lifted the mug and took a sip of the tea. It was lukewarm by now, though the air was so cold that steam still rose from the clear brown liquid, and it tasted slightly spicy. Overall, it was very pleasant on an evening like this, but it still wasn’t enough to keep her mind of Farkas and Tahir’s project.
She suddenly noticed that the strikes of the hammer had faded into just one, and she quickly set the mug back down on the table as the sound of footsteps crunching through the snow reached her ears. Farkas appeared around the side of Jorrvaskr, his face covered in soot and shiny with sweat. His tunic was stained with ash and she noticed his hands were equally blackened, even though she had no doubt he had been wearing smithing gloves.
He smiled wearily when he saw her, the snow quickly erasing the footprints behind him.
“I can tell this is frustrating the hell out of you,” he said once he was close enough to not have to raise his voice.
“It is,” she confirmed as he sat across from her. He reached out and took the mug. She didn’t mind. She was hardly touching it as it was.
“What is this?” he asked as he sniffed it warily.
“Some sort of spice tea,” Firien said. “Vilkas brought it to me… What are you working on up there?”
Farkas peered at her over the mug as he took a sip of the tea. He set it down and sighed, but it was one of amusement.
“It was supposed to be a surprise, but we knew you wouldn’t stop pestering us,” he said. “Tahir is just finishing up a few things, but you’ll see when he’s done.”
He reached across the table and took her hand. He brought it toward him and kissed her knuckles, his lips very warm against her skin. Then he released her, and together they sat in silence as they watched the snow fall beyond Jorrvaskr’s patio awning. The Skyforge was quiet, which hopefully meant Tahir would be joining them soon.
Sure enough, he appeared in the same spot Farkas had as he hurried through the snow. In his arms was a large black bundle, and Firien straightened up, eager to see what he had. As he drew closer, she could see it was something covered with a black cloth.
“I knew you wouldn’t be patient,” he said with a grin. His cheeks were stained with ash and it covered his hands, arms, and torso as well. His long, dark hair was in a messy knot at the back of his head, and the furs he wore across his shoulders were free of tarnish, which implied he had only just put them on. “It’s not finished yet, but I figure we can at least show you what we have done.”
He set the bundle on the table, where it landed with a dull thunk. He gestured for Firien to proceed, and with slightly shaking hands, she removed the cloth, revealing a chest plate.
Her lips parted in surprise as she traced over the intricate designs. It was a chest plate, yes, one exactly like the Wolf armor worn by the Circle. But instead of a wolf, the collar had been adorned with the snarling head of a dragon.
“This is…” her voice trailed off, and Firien realized she was speechless.
“Eorlund has helped,” Farkas said, “but for the most part, it’s been me and Tahir.”
“We still have a lot to do,” Tahir added, “but the chest plate is done. It’s nowhere near done, but now you know what we’re working on.”
“I don’t know what to say,” said Firien softly, truthfully. She was stricken by the kind gesture.
“Nothing,” Tahir said. “You don’t have to say anything.”
“You stopped Alduin,” Farkas murmured to her, his intense gaze meeting her own. “Consider this our thanks for not letting us meet such an unfortunate end.”
Her heart incredibly soft, Firien reached out and traced a finger over the head of the dragon. She felt overwhelmed by their fondness for her, for she knew that was where this has come from, and why they had gone to such lengths. And as she stood and hugged Tahir tightly, then turned to place a grateful kiss on Farkas’ lips, the mug of tea remained on the table, now cold, and Firien thought she might seek out Vilkas to ask for a new one.
jacques snicket mansplains math incorrectly
“as you know, all us volunteers are loyal to the same thing, which is our organization,” jacques says.
“well,” beatrice says, “i admire you optimism but that’s wishful thinking on your part, jacques.”
“no, i can prove it,” jacques insists. “have you ever heard of mathematical induction?”
beatrice frowns. “i believe kit has mentioned it.”
jacques explains, “basically, it’s about proving that if a statement is true in the case of number k, then it’s also true for the case of number k plus 1. and then if you prove it’s true in the case of 1, then it must be true for the case of 2, 3, 4, 5 ….. and so on.”
beatrice nods. “that sounds reasonable.”
“so we can use this to prove all volunteers have the same loyalty. we start we the basic case - of one volunteer. since there’s only one volunteer in the group, it’s a trivial case which is always true.”
“and then? so what?”
“and then we prove that if N volunteers have the same loyalty, then so does N+1 volunteers,” jacques continues. “so we take a group of N+1 volunteers, exclude one of them —”
“ohhh, can it be olaf?” beatrice asks excitedly.
jacques ignores her. “and then we’re left with N volunteers. according to our assumption here, N volunteers always have the same loyalty. Now, similarly, we exclude a different volunteer this time, one different from before, and we can also get the same result - the N volunteers left have the same loyalty.”
beatrice narrows her eyes skeptically.
“so now we have - the first volunteer excluded has the same loyalty as the other ones, because in the second round they were not excluded. therefore, the volunteer excluded in the first round in the N+1 volunteers, and the volunteer excluded in the second round, and the rest of the volunteers - they all have the same loyalty. therefore, we have proved that if N volunteers in a group have the same loyalty, then N+1 volunteers in a group will also have the same loyalty. and since we already stated that statement is true for when N equals to 1, then we know it also holds true for 2, 3, 4, ….and so on. any number of volunteers, really.”
beatrice stares at him.
“therefore, all volunteers have the same loyalty. and since i’m a volunteer and my loyalty is to our organization, and every volunteer has the same loyalty, all volunteers’ loyalty are therefore to our organization.”
“that sounds …. wrong,” beatrice says finally. “but i don’t know enough about mathematical induction to disprove that.”
“trust me, this is absolutely correct,” jacques says.
—Superman & Lois, "Fail Safe"
Heard it’s international day of friendship. So, I’m gonna be spamming y’all with the best trios today
Femtalia event @femtalia-hetaliaevent
Day 5 - Free day
taiwan y nyo japan
Tahani: Jason, I appreciate your gift of...bottled water.
Jason: Well you said you're not eating sugar.
Eleanor: Dude, there's like a million other things that don't have sugar in!
Oscar: I’m not sure how many cookies it takes to be happy, but so far it’s not twenty-seven.
Ruby: So that’s why I keep running out of cookies.
Person A: My only skill is breathing
Person B: You have asthma
9:11 p.m. at the Beachside of Isle Defino.......
Lavenza: (Watching the Night Sky While Sitting Next to Morgana on a Bench) Doesn't the stars look fascinating at this time of hour, Mona-Chan?
Morgana: (Smiles Softly While Looking Up at the Sky as Well) Yeah. It does. It's been a while since I've went outside in the nighttime. So I kinda never paid attention to the stars that much. Ooh! Look! (Points at Something at the Beach's Ocean) You see the ocean showing the moon's reflection!
Lavenza: ('GASPS') You're right!~ It's so bright and mesmerizing to the eyes~ (Turns to Morgana With a Bright Smile on Her Face) Thank you so much for showing me this, Mona-Chan~ This is wonderful.
Morgana: (Chuckles Lightly at How Cute the Velvet Girl is Being) It's no problem at all, Lavenza. Really. But um...('Clears Throat') how are you liking the vacation here so far?
Lavenza: I'm enjoying it quite fondly. (Frowns a Little) It's a shame that it will all come to an end tommorow.
Morgana: Yeah. But at least we'll always have memories we made here along the way.
Lavenza: (Happily Nodded in Agreement) That is true. There are so many that I adore already. (Smiles Brightly) I especially enjoyed the "Water Wars" activity we participated in other day.
Morgana: I did too. (Puts on a Bit of An Annoyed Look on his Face) Even if it was annoying for the most part....
'SPLASH' 'SPLASH' 'SPLASH'
Morgana: LAVENZAAA! (Immediately Rushes Over to Lavenza's Side) Come on! Speak to me!!
Lavenza: (Slowly Turns to Morgana While Laying Down and Covered in Water) M-Mona...Chan...('Cough') Are you okay?
Morgana: (Tears Starts Falling Down on his Face as He Holds Lavenza's Hand to Dear Life) You don't have keep worrying about me, Lavenza! I'm just fine!
Lavenza: (Giggles Lightly) My apologies......It seems this war has gotten me.....into a worried state....No matter....I do hope....that you do your very best out there.....for...the...both of...us....(Plays Dead)
Morgana: (Eyes Widened in Complete Shock Before Closing Them and Sighing Heavily) Rest easy, my friend. Your sacrifice will not be in vane...(Lowers Lavenza's Hand Down as He Gets Back Up on his Feet) I will destroy every competition we have left and win this stupid war for the both of us! For my name isn't MORGANA OKUMUR-
'SPLASH' 'SPLASH' 'SPLASH'
Without warning, Morgana gets pelted by multi water balloons by none other than Futuba and Omega.
Morgana: (Gets Back Up From the Ground While Glaring at the Duo) Really!? Did you really have to do all of that to me!? Y-You didn't even THINK about giving me a chance to attack or anything!!?
Futuba: (Smiles Brightly and Mischievously) Nope! Bye!~
Omega: (Fleet Away While Futuba's Riding on his Back) So long, tiny, dramatic feline!
Futuba: (Giggles Softly From a Near Distance) Dramatic Feline~
Morgana: (Starts Growling at the Duo in Annoyance)
End of Flashback
Morgana: (Sighs While Pinching his Nose) I swear... Futuba can be a real brat sometimes....
Lavenza: Well, to be fair, you were monologuing long enough for her and Omega-Kun to hit you. And we have gotten ice cream afterwards. So it wasn't all dreadful.
Morgana: ('Sigh') Yeah. It wasn't....The ice cream was delicious....
Lavenza: (Nodded in Agreement) It most certainly was. (Smiles Softly While Blushing a Little) Still, it was very sweet of you to try and avenge me. Even if it was short-lived....
Morgana: (Starts Blushing as Well) Yeah. I-It's no problem....(Smiles a bit Bashfully) I'm...sure you would've done the same for me if I were in that sane situation.
Lavenza: Oh absolutely. I would obliterate anyone who dares try to cause you any harm.
Morgana: I-I don't think the 'Obliterating' part is necessary, but....thanks.
'Sound of Small Waves'
Morgana: (Turns to Lavenza) Yeah?
Lavenza: I'm not sure if I've already told you this yet, but.....(Gives Morgana a Sincere Smile) I would like to thank you very much for being my friend. Your kindness and companionship has always manged to brighten my day. And I am truly grateful for that.
Morgana: (Stares at Lavenza For a Brief Second Before Smiling Softly Himself) You're welcome, Lavenza. (Starts Rubbing the Back of his Head Back & Forth) Heck, If anything...I should be thanking you for being mines to begin with. But regardless....(Smiles Brightly at the Velvet Girl) I'm glad I met someone as amazing as you.
Lavenza: (Heart Begins to Melt in Pure Happiness as She Pulls Him into a Loving Hug) Oh Mona-Chan~ You're amazing too~ And a sweetheart at best~
Morgana: (Starts Giggling While Blushing Some More) W-Well....I-I mean, I-
Morgana: (Eyes Widened by the Sudden Sound) Wait. What was that?
Lavenza: Oh my... (Giggles Softly as She Sees Four Very Familiar Face Coming Out Of Their Hiding Spots) It seems we've gotten ourselves some company.
????: Hell yeah you do!~
Morgana: (Starts Groans Once He Recognizes that Feminine Voice) I noticed....(Turns Around and Sees Futuba, Haru, Sae, and Omega Smirking Playfully at Him and Lavenza) WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING HERE!?
Futuba: (Playfully Shrugs) Oh no reason!~
Sae: We just wanted to make sure you two are having a wonderful night together~
Haru: (Smiles Brightly at the Young Duo) It warms our hearts that you care so much for one another~
Omega: While I am not interested in anything romantic related....(Gives Morgana and Lavenza a Thumbs Up With a Smile on his Face) I do, however, ship the two of you together as well.
Futuba: See? (Place her Arm Around Omega's Shoulder) Even the big guy gets it.
Morgana: (Sighs Heavily While Facepalming Himself a) Why are you people like this?....
Haru: Because we love you with all our hearts.
Futuba: Plus, you're stuck with us forever. Sooooooo-
Morgana: Yeah. Yeah. I know.....I love you guys too.
Lavenza: (Turns to Morgana) You know, you've never gotten the chance to tell me what "Shipping" means.
Morgana: Yeah. I uh....(Chuckles a bit Awkwardly) Keep forgetting to do that really.....
Futuba: I can tell you what it means!~
Morgana: (Immediately Glares at Futuba) Not a chance, Sakura!! I can tell her about that on my own time thank you very much!
Futuba: (Smirk Grew a Bit Wider) You sure you're capable of doing that, kitty-bro?~ Cause it kinda seems like you're stalling to me.
Morgana: Betcha you're wrong.
Futuba: Betcha I'm right.
Morgana: Betcha you're a gremlin.
Futuba: Betcha you're a goody two shoes!
Morgana: WELL, EXCUSE ME FOR WANTING TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!!
Sae: Children. Children! As much as I would love hear more if this pointless banter from one another, I believe it's time for all of us go back inside now.
Haru: Sae's right. It's already getting dark enough as it is.
Omega: Let us proceed back to the house!
Futuba: (Nodded) Right. (Turns to Morgana and Lavenza) You kiddos ready to head in now?
Morgana: ('Sigh') Yeah. We're ready. (Turns to Lavenza) Unless you wanna stay here a little longer or.....
Lavenza: Oh I'm quite already, Mona-Chan. (Smiles Brightly) I'm already having a great time tonight thanks your company~
Morgana: (Smiles Back) I'm glad you're having a good time.
And with that, the group finally make their way back to the house. Awaiting their departing of Isle Defino tomorrow.
Summary: AJ is worried about Telulah's idea of studying a walker with James.
Word Count: 4641
Read on AO3:
AJ’s eyes traveled up to the sky, watching the clouds lazily roll by one after another, hoping that it would calm his nerves. He had been nervous about today and no matter how many others told him otherwise, the feeling in his gut wouldn’t leave. AJ took a shaky breath and placed his arms behind him, putting all of his weight on them as his feet anxiously kicked back and forth against the picnic table. His mind remained in his worries until he felt a warmth appear on the top of his hand. Glancing over, he saw Telulah who gave her usual bright smile over his way. It was a smile that never failed to bring up his mood. As AJ looked at the smile and felt his heart settle a bit, he knew that the smile had done it again. Still, he couldn’t return the smile which made Telulah’s falter.
“What’s spinning in your mind?” Telulah’s hand gently took AJ’s while her other placed her pencil in her notebook before closing it. Her attention was no longer divided between her countless notes that she jotted down in her notebook and her boyfriend.
“It’s nothing, T.” AJ tried to brush it off but one look over at Telulah made it clear that she wasn’t going to take that as a legitimate answer. “I’m just worried,” AJ’s face fell and he focused on his worn out shoes before his focus turned to the zipper on his leather jacket that still seemed a bit loose on him. He wanted anything that would distract his mind and get this pit out of his stomach.
“Worried about today?” Telulah’s voice made AJ’s eyes travel over to his girlfriend’s who had a soft, reassuring smile on her lips. “AJ, it will be okay,”
“How do you know that though? I know you wanna study walkers more but this seems dangerous! You’re gonna be outside of Ericson where you could get bit, or hurt, or have a seizure!” AJ’s eyes shone with concern, concern which Telulah knew was valid.
“I know it's a risk, but James will be there to help us and I’ll have you,” Telulah guided both of AJ’s hands into her own. Her soft eyes made AJ’s heart calm a bit.
“I don’t like risks,” AJ mumbled, his thumbs gently brushing on the tops of Telulah’s hands. Telulah knew well what he was talking about. It was always a risk no matter who you were to wander out there, stumbling upon walkers and other dangerous things that could harm you or end your life.
“I know but if I can get more information on walkers and progress my findings...” Telulah took a deep breath. “I think it's worth the risk,”
AJ wanted to say something more but his attention was diverted when he heard the laughter of one of the youngest residents of Ericson. His eyes turned towards the sound and he saw Mitchie running around Allison again and again. His wild mess of black hair nearly covered his dark brown eyes, causing him to nearly stumble. His hyperness didn’t cease though as his voice grew in volume.
“Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” Mitchie ran in circles while Allison sat in the rocking chair that had been moved outside to the front of the admin building. Her hands rested on top of her pregnant belly as she watched her son in amusement. Suddenly Mitchie skidded to a halt in front of Allison and held his arms out wide. “I love you!”
A soft, fairly large smile appeared on Allison’s lips at those words. As soon as the words had left his lips Mitchie began to run in a circle again and again until he stopped when he noticed Willy walking alongside Prisha. Mitchie bolted towards the staircase, not thinking of how he was still learning to master them while running.
Prisha and Willy’s eyes grew large and they ran over to the admin building. Willy scooped his son up in his arms and spun him around once. “Hey there, Mitchie! Have you been doing a good job keeping your mom safe?” Willy smiled brightly as his son shook his head wildly.
“Yeah!” Mitchie exclaimed, holding tightly onto his dad’s clothes while Willy walked over to check on Allison.
“You doing okay, Allie?” Willy smiled softly, his eyes holding some concern.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Allison took Willy’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.
“You haven’t been overexerting yourself, right?” Prisha walked forward and looked over Allison’s way. Allison could see that Prisha was just as worried as Willy was. It made sense since it was nearing what Ruby guessed the due date would be.
“I’m fine. I’ve been sitting on my ass and rocking back and forth. I haven’t done any stupid shit, just hanging out with Mitchie,” Allison groaned in annoyance and leaned back in her chair, causing it to start rocking once more. She appreciated the concern, she really did, but she also didn’t want everyone hovering over her. It wasn’t like she was going to do anything reckless and she was clearly easy to spot and find.
“Alright, well perhaps you want some alone time for a bit,” Prisha placed her hand on her chin and began to try and brainstorm a possible activity that Mitchie would like.
“Prisha!” Violet’s voice called out to her wife, making Prisha spin around. Her eyes immediately brightened when she saw Violet and noticed that Violet’s eyes had done the same when she had seen Prisha. Jogging forward up the stairs, Violet stole a quick kiss from Prisha. Prisha smiled and deepened the kiss before giving another.
“I think some alone time would be nice,” Allison’s words pulled Prisha and Violet’s attention away from each other.
“Oh shit, sorry,” Violet messed with her glasses for a second. “I was just coming here to see if Prisha wanted to go fishing with me over at the pond.”
“Fish!” Mitchie screamed with excitement and squirmed out of Willy’s arms. Violet gave a light laugh as Mitchie scampered up towards her.
“I can take Mitchie with us too,” Violet offered, which Mitchie seemed very excited by.
“Sure, that would be great,” Allison smiled over at her mom and watched with amusement as Mitchie grabbed both Violet and Prisha’s hands and began to talk loudly about how much fun this was going to be. Violet and Prisha listened and shared a soft smile as they walked off, giving one final look back at Allison who waved goodbye.
“Do you want me to go too?” Willy glanced over at his wife who shook her head.
“No, you can stay,” Her words made Willy beam and he quickly knelt down and kissed Allison’s belly before stealing a kiss from her and sitting beside her. Immediately his hand took hers and he started to talk about this and that to pass the time while Allison quietly listened with a loving smile on her face.
“It seems like today is a good day for everyone,” Telulah commented with a smile. AJ nodded, giving a small smile over her way.
“Yeah,” AJ took a deep breath, his face animated as ever whenever he exhaled which made Telulah chuckle. AJ paused mid breath and looked at her, his eyebrows furrowed. “What?”
“Nothing, you’re just cute,” Telulah leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to AJ’s lips. The romantic gesture made his heart do a small flip. AJ blinked in surprise before he hopped off the picnic table and did a little happy dance. “Okay! I’m ready! I’m gonna keep you safe!” AJ declared proudly with a confident grin as he placed his hands on his hips.
“I know you will,” Telulah smiled and got up from her spot. “Okay, I think I spotted James over with Jesse by the horses.”
“Okay,” AJ walked forward as Telulah grabbed her notebook, tucking it under her left arm. Telulah looked at her boyfriend, noticing the necklace that he was wearing, the one she had made to match hers. The simple red stone shone in the light and memories of that day flooded back into the forefront of Telulah’s mind, making her heart grow warm.
Her eyes traveled up and glanced at the scar on AJ’s cheek, the one he had gotten protecting Louis all those years ago on the night the Delta ship exploded. Her heart settled in a calming peace knowing that AJ would be by her side and do everything to keep her safe because that was who he was, a protector. Telulah’s finger brushed against AJ’s scar for a second, causing him to blush.
“Okay, onward to new discoveries!” Telulah crowed.
AJ gave a small nod then proceeded to boop Telulah’s nose. “Onward,” He smiled then quickly took Telulah’s hand in his. In a moment the two were off to where the horses were kept.
They immediately spotted Jesse who was sitting on the ground next to the horses, Adsila and Molly. Both horses looked happy now that their manes had been brushed and were content with the carrots James had recently offered them. James sat beside Jesse, his fingers intertwined with Jesse’s while his head rested on Jesse’s shoulder. His free hand was softly playing with Jesse’s hair as the two spoke about walking through the garden together where the flowers grew. It was only when Telulah and AJ were standing in front of them that the two got pulled away from their conversation.
“Guess time’s up,” Jesse sighed then leaned over and kissed James. He got to his feet, helping up James before looking over at Telulah and AJ. “It’s just going to be the three of you?”
“That's right! But don’t worry, I won’t let any walkers nibble on James,” Telulah smiled brightly, her words causing Jesse to give a faint chuckle.
“Sounds good to me but I know James can handle himself,” Jesse held James’ hand and smiled lovingly at him. “Be careful,”
“I will,” James cupped Jesse’s face and gave him a quick kiss, his eyes holding the same love that Jesse’s did. James gave Jesse’s hand one final squeeze then began to walk off with AJ and Telulah. The three of them quickly made their way over to the front gate where Omar was on watchduty.
James glanced over at Telulah. “So, the spot is ready if you are,” He gave a soft smile over Telulah’s way who returned the smile.
“Yep! I’m all set! I got my journal and everything!” Telulah held up her hand and moved it back and forth, displaying the journal.
“Oh shit! I forgot to get some things. Wait right here!” AJ kissed Telulah’s cheek quickly then sprinted off towards the dorm. Telulah watched AJ with curiosity as he ran off, wondering what he had forgotten.
“T,” Allison’s voice drew Telulah’s attention towards her friend who was making her way over with Willy.
“Allison, you shouldn’t be moving around so much,” Telulah smiled warmly at Allison who gave a small smile in return.
“Heh, I could say the same thing to you. Shouldn’t your ass be planted at the picnic table? We don’t want you getting a seizure while you’re out there,” Allison’s voice trailed off for a second.
“Don’t worry,” Telulah smiled brightly, her eyes glancing over at AJ who was sprinting back with the items he had acquired. “AJ is gonna be with me the whole time. He’ll make sure I’m safe and sound,” Telulah’s hand naturally slipped into AJ’s.
“True, AJ is tough, I’ll give him that,” Allison smiled over at her best friend who had a small frown on his face.
“I’m way more than tough,” AJ muttered before remembering why he had run off to grab the items in the first place. “I got you your helmet, T, in case your epilepsy strikes,” AJ smiled as he helped put a red bike helmet on Telulah, a small safety precaution to make sure that even if she had a seizure and fell she wouldn’t get any head damage. “Oh, and I got your journal carrier too,” AJ smiled proudly when he saw how happy Telulah was that he had remembered both of these things.
“You’re the best!” Telulah leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to AJ’s cheek then turned her attention on making sure her journal was secure.
“You better keep them safe, James,” AJ did his best tough guy impression which normally would be effective on anyone. Anyone it seemed except James who nodded his head eagerly.
“Of course!” James wanted to say more and explain that it wasn’t going to be that dangerous with the one walker he had guided to the spot. But before he could he noticed Lee Kenny scampering forward. Soon the young seven year old slid to a stop.
“Yes!” Telulah responded with the same volume and energy that Lee Kenny had.
“You better make sure that my big brother comes back safe or else… or else you’re gonna have to deal with Maisy!” Lee Kenny puffed out his chest, trying his best to be intimidating.
Telulah gave a warm smile and knelt down in front of him. “I promise,” She held out her pinky which Lee Kenny immediately interlocked with his own. After he was sure he had done his job Lee Kenny started to head back.
“Lee Kenny, where are you supposed to be?” AJ’s question made his little brother’s eyes grow large for a second.
“The music room but Dad said it was okay for me to be the messenger and say goodbye,” Lee Kenny smiled proudly when he saw the look of approval on AJ’s face. Without another word he waved goodbye and headed back to the music room where Louis and Aasim were busy taking care of all the kids.
“Alright, well we should head out,” James’ whisper-like voice drew the others’ attention and with a few quick goodbyes James, Telulah and AJ were off.
James securely put on his gloves and mask made from walker flesh and whispered that it wouldn’t be too long of a walk. The three strolled through the woods with James leading the way to the spot where he had placed a single walker. He had been curious as to what Telulah was planning and was more than happy to have someone with a more positive outlook on walkers around Ericson. At least from the conversation he had had with Telulah she seemed more positive.
His gaze traveled over to the pair. AJ’s eyes were steady and trained on the environment. His knife was already out and ready to take down any walker that came across his path. James hoped that knife wouldn’t come to use today. He quickly returned his attention back to leading the way.
AJ’s eyes were focused on making sure no threats were nearby while sneaking small glances Telulah’s way. Telulah, meanwhile, was humming a happy tune, a tune she always hummed whenever she got super excited. The hunting knife that AJ had bartered for with a caravan a while back rested on her hip, the small Disco Broccoli keychain on it swaying back and forth with the movement. AJ’s mind went back to the day he had made that keychain for Telulah and saw how happy it had made her. But soon his attention returned to being on guard, only a faint part focusing on the fact that Telulah’s hand was in his. His heart felt more settled knowing that she was right beside him and if anything bad were to happen he could react the second it did.
“So, Telulah, you asked me to collect a walker today. Why?” James snuck a glance back her way.
“To study them. My hope is that if I get enough data that one day I can save someone from turning into a walker,”
Telulah’s statement made James pause for a moment and put all of his attention on her. “Really? You think that’s possible?”
“Sure! I think with enough research and studying you can make any dream a reality. This one is mine,” Telulah smiled brightly and patted her journal. “I’m hoping to get some really good notes today now that I have a chance to observe a walker up close. I’ve got you to thank for that,”
James was surprised by her answer and was quiet for a minute as he pondered it. A question began to burn in the forefront of his mind until he let it slip out. “Then what is your view on walkers?”
“My view on them?” Telulah raised an eyebrow and thought for a moment. “I guess I see them as creatures that have trapped humans,”
“Trapped them?” James walked forward, his mind solely on this conversation.
“That's right. How do I say this? I think that a part of who we are is still trapped inside a walker. You can sometimes see it in small aspects of their behavior or in other places like their eyes. What it feels like to be stuck in there, inside a decaying form, I have no idea but I’m guessing it's not so nice.” Telulah looked at James for a moment then glanced away, her eyes conflicted on whether to say what she wanted next. After a second she decided to elaborate further. “I want to be able to stop people from turning but that's not all. My hope, my goal, is to be able to change walkers back.”
James’ eyes grew large at those words, shocked by this news. A quick glance over at AJ, however, made it clear that he had heard this before.
“Years ago my brother Demetrius was bit and no matter how much he wanted me to end his life, I couldn’t.” Telulah took a shaky breath and felt AJ squeeze her hand, letting her know that he was still there. He had heard this story a while back and he knew how painful it was for Telulah to bring it up. But she wouldn’t bring it up if she didn’t trust James or feel like it wasn’t important to share. After a moment Telulah continued. “Not when there could be a way to change him back. So I’m going to keep researching walkers, studying them and understanding what makes them tick and one day I’m going to get my brother back!” Telulah smiled confidently even though her eyes were filled with sadness due to the painful memories.
“That's...” James was at a loss for words. “Amazing,”
“Thanks.” Telulah beamed and strolled forward with AJ, making James jog forward so he could walk alongside them.
“So then if you view them as people or something in between,” James took a deep breath, “If you see the life in their eyes like I do, then you must not kill walkers, right?”
“No, I still do. They’re a threat just as much as any human can be a threat. If they’re going about their way then I won’t go out of mine to kill them,” Telulah paused and picked up a few rocks, stuffing them in her pocket. “But if they try to hurt me or someone I care about, then I have no issue with killing them. I know my dream is lofty and it could help people but not everyone can be saved. I know that and I’m not going to risk my loved ones’ lives for a walker’s,”
Telulah’s answer seemed to sadden James somewhat. Still he seemed happy to have someone who valued walkers’ lives even if it was to a degree and in a way that was different from his. James began to lead the way once more, talking about how his ideals differed from Telulah’s. All the while his hands moved animatedly as he tried to shake off the social anxiety of the situation. A few times a walker crossed their path and James immediately threw a rock to guide it away before continuing forward.
After some time had passed James spoke up once more. “We’re almost at the barn,” He looked back at the pair for a moment then returned his attention back in front of him.
His words had made AJ’s anxiety come crashing back. Memories over a decade old invaded his mind, plaguing it with that awful night. The night he had to take Tenn’s life, the night Clementine’s leg had been bitten and the night where he nearly had made a fatal mistake. The cries of the walkers rang in his ears, the smell of blood overwhelmed his nostrils and his heart felt like it was beating way too fast to be safe. His breathing was uneven and his mind lost amongst memories of the past, causing him to stand frozen in place.
That’s when Telulah noticed AJ tense up. Immediately she stopped. “What's wrong?”
Telulah’s words snapped AJ out of his head space and his eyes wandered over towards hers. “Nothing, I’m fine.” he lied, quickly hiding his face so that Telulah couldn’t see his expression.
“Seriously, AJ, are you okay? I know I asked you before if this would be too much for you. If it is we can head back and I’ll come back another day. I can take someone else with me like Willy or-”
“I’ll be fine. I just gotta shake this off,” AJ cut off Telulah, trying to reassure her, but he could see that she was only focused on his well-being.
“I’m worried about you. I don’t want to bring back heavy memories for you,” Telulah’s words made AJ glance down.
“It’s fine,” AJ tried to calm down his anxiety but it wasn’t working.
Telulah was silent for a few seconds then turned towards James. “James, give us a few minutes, okay?”
James looked over at Telulah then at AJ. In an instant he seemed to pick up on what was happening. He gave a short nod. “Alright, let me know when you’re ready,” James walked off and leaned against a tree, taking the moment to enjoy the nature around him and giving the two the space they needed.
Telulah gave James an appreciative smile then grabbed onto AJ’s hand and guided him over towards another tree and sat down with him. She silently took both of his hands in hers before speaking. “AJ, just focus on my face. Forget about everything else for a moment and just focus on my face and your breathing,”
Telulah noticed AJ’s hesitation to do so. It wasn’t exactly the safest spot they were in. But once he saw her eyes and the calmness within them he decided to listen. Slowly he began to follow her deep breaths, his breath being as animated as usual. He focused on her small smile, the look of trust and concern in her eyes. He inhaled again, holding it for a few seconds before exhaling. He pulled all of his focus away from the world and on the fact that Telulah was here with him. Her presence became an anchor for him to hold onto as his mind and heart battled the anxiety. After a few minutes of deep breaths and focusing on Telulah, AJ felt his nerves lessen, even if it was for just a moment.
“Okay, I’m going to ask you again. Do you want to go back home?” Telulah gently rubbed circles on top of AJ’s hands. “Whatever you choose, I’ll support it,”
With that reassurance in mind AJ answered. “Let’s stay here. I want to be here with you. If I went back today and you still came back here...” AJ’s voice gew quiet for a second. “I’d still be worried so even if I’m anxious I wanna be with you,” AJ’s eyes locked with Telulah and she could see the determination burning within them.
“Okay, then let’s go,” Telulah’s usual bright smile returned and she helped up AJ, quickly guiding him back to James. “We’re ready,”
James nodded, leading the way forward, and gently pushed open the door to the barn.
The walker stood in the same spot, looking rather intrigued by the beam overheard. Its bald head shone in the sunlight that pierced through the barn and its clothes were slowly withering off its decaying body. As James, Telulah and AJ walked inside it turned around due to the sound, its milky white eyes looking off into the middle distance in between the humans, unable to pinpoint where each one was. A low, unearthly groan left its lips revealing that it had very little teeth and rather plump gums.
Telulah let out a low whistle then looked around for the best spot to safely study the walker. Her eyes quickly found a stack of hay that would be high enough that she wouldn’t get harmed but large enough that if she did have a seizure she wouldn’t fall. “AJ, can you help me up there?”
AJ followed his girlfriend’s sight to the stack of hay and gave a nod. Using both of his hands for a spot that Telulah could step on, AJ worked to get her up there before accepting her hand and being pulled up as well. He immediately took out his knife and was on guard while Telulah got out her journal.
Flipping past pages from interviews with Clementine about her amputation and various other interviews with some of the other Ericson residents about their experiences with walker bites, Telulah found a new blank page. “Alright, Gumbo, let’s see what I can learn from you,” Telulah whispered with a smile, her eyes shining with the excitement of the potential new discoveries she could make. She immediately jotted down its physical appearance as her tongue stuck out in concentration as it always did whenever she was fixated on something. After the physical appearance was written down she then tested out the walker’s visual and hearing abilities.
Using the windchimes within the barn as well as the multiple rocks she picked up, Telulah began the series of tests. Her pencil scratched against the paper as she jotted down her findings as well as any peculiar features or behaviors that the walker she’d named Gumbo showed. Something about the walker’s eyes seemed to intrigue Telulah, the way they reacted to a certain test made her want to run more tests on the walker focusing on its eyes and so she did.
AJ sat by her side, ever vigilant in making sure she was completely safe. His grip remained tight and his breathing was still uneven which concerned Telulah greatly. After a while, Telulah yawned and mumbled that she had gotten enough notes for today before thanking James.
“I think these notes will be really helpful, but I’m going to stick to interviews and watching walkers from afar for a little while.” Telulah intertwined her fingers with AJ’s. “Thanks, for coming with me and for keeping me safe even if it meant you had to deal with memories from the past,” Telulah gave an apologetic smile.
“I’m just glad you’re ok. Now let’s get home where it's safe,” AJ gave a small smile then began to lead the way back. Soon he was lost in a conversation with Telulah on the topic of playing card games that evening.
James watched them as he followed behind. His eyes focused on Telulah and noticed her positive, bright energy. A small smile appeared on his lips. Even though she didn’t have the exact same views as him, she still agreed with him on things that most people wouldn’t. A warmness appeared in James’ heart at the realization that he had a new friend. He was curious though on whether her dream and research could ever lead to the future she was striving for. Whatever the case may be, James hoped that she would reach her goal even if it felt out of reach.
Arawn: What is the strangest thing you have in your fridge? Pwyll: I had a book in my fridge a while back. Arawn: what Pwyll: That was probably... Pwyll: That was probably the coolest book I ever had
Arawn: *deep breathing*
today i’m missing book 1 harper and scary grey’s dynamic.
Draco: My jaws hurt
Ron: Harry! I can’t believe you’d do that to Draco!
Harry: What? It wasn’t me!
Draco: Yeah, it’s not his fault, I accidentally dislocated it
Ron: Oh, sorry, whenever you get hurt, I immediately think it was Harry’s fault because of something you two did in the bedroom
Pansy: He got a good point
Harry & Draco: ...
Happy Birthday, my gorgeous!!