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  • septic-stories
    30.11.2021 - 43 minutes ago

    A Siren's Call: Infiltrator

    Star City

    August 8, 16:35 PDT

    Jenna was a little jealous that the rest of her team got to have fun at the beach while she was busy with Black Canary during the day, but at least she was still on summer break and hadn't been the one stuck at school like Wally.

    "Thank God we're done. If I smell anymore smoke, I might throw up."

    Black Canary laughed at Siren. "Well her name is Bonfire. It's a given."

    Siren grumbled. "I could have been at the beach with my friends today! Instead, I think I wound up with singed eyebrows." She reached up to touch them with a frown, but a beep from her pager caught her attention. She pulled the object out of her pocket. "Batman wants the team suited up and at the Cave in a few hours."

    "You might want to go home and change then," Canary pointed out.

    Siren glanced down at her soot-covered suit and scoffed. "You don't think this'll pass for stealth tech?" she quipped.

    With a playful shove from Canary, Siren went to retrieve her bike and go home to clean up.

    Jenna finished braiding her damp hair back, grabbing the mask that hung on her doorknob. Just as she left her room though, she heard a knock on the door.

    "I swear..."

    She hoped that it was someone she knew because the last thing she wanted was there to be a door-to-door salesman or neighbor wanting a favor waiting just after she suited back up. Going up to the door, Jenna glanced through the window blinds and her eyes lit up. She opened the door.

    "Hey, Ollie."

    "Jenna. Just the person I needed to see," the man answered.

    Jenna gave a wry smile. "I hope it's not going to take long because I was on my way to the Cave."

    "Well, that's why I'm here." Green Arrow stepped to the side, revealing a blonde girl.

    Almost instinctively, Jenna stepped behind the door to shield her outfit. It was then that she saw that the unfamiliar girl was dressed in similar colors to Green Arrow's, mask and all. Opening the door further, Jenna allowed the two guests to enter her home to avoid prying eyes.

    "Jenna, meet Artemis. My new protégée and your new teammate. Artemis, this is Jenna. But you'd probably know her better as-"

    "Siren. Right?" Artemis finished, eyeing the familiar black and white clothing that Jenna donned.

    Jenna nodded with a smile. "That's me. Nice to meet you." She looked over to GA. "I'm guessing this is why the team's meeting at the Cave? Why'd you come here?"

    Green Arrow gave Artemis a glance to which she nodded, leaving Jenna to eye the both of them in confusion and suspicion.

    "I'm not going to give all the details because that's up to Artemis, but we're keeping her private life a secret. So we're introducing her as my niece. I wanted you to know about it before we introduced her to the rest of the team."

    Jenna looked between the two archers -at least she assumed so by the quiver on Artemis' back- before crossing her arms with a shrug. "Okay."

    Artemis looked wary. "Okay? You're not going to ask why or anything?"

    Jenna shook her head. "It's none of my business. I'm sure you have a reason, but I'm not going to bother you about it."

    Artemis' shoulders dropped slightly, conveying subtle relief. "Okay."

    Slipping the mask over her face, Jenna looked at Green Arrow. "Are we ready to go then? And can we go through the back door? You're insane for coming into my house from the street dressed like that."

    ~/~/~/~

    Mount Justice

    August 8, 19:55 EDT

    "Recognized, Green Arrow, zero-eight. Siren, B-zero-three. Artemis, B-zero-eight."

    When the trio walked in, they found the mission room to be empty besides Batman and Red Tornado.

    "You told her?" Batman asked as they approached.

    "Yes, she knows," was Green Arrow's response.

    Siren put her hands on her hips. "Uh, she is standing right here." The adults looked at her. "It's not my place to tell, so I won't. You have nothing to worry about, I swear."

    Seeming to be satisfied, Batman nodded then he looked to the hallway entrance where the team was slowly coming in from. "Gather around. We have something to discuss once everyone is present."

    "Jen!"

    Siren turned at the sound of her youngest friend's voice. It was almost like she blinked and all of a sudden Robin was by her side. She saw the rest of her team following behind.

    "Hey, Rob. How was the beach day?"

    "Fun, too bad you and Wally had to miss out."

    Siren snickered. "Hey, I just had to work. Wally was the one who had to go to school."

    "Wally?"

    Siren looked over to Artemis. "Kid Flash," she supplied. "Speaking of, this is Robin. Over there is Miss Martian, Aqualad, and Superboy. Guys, this is Artemis."

    "It's so nice to meet you. Are you joining the team?" Miss M asked Artemis as she floated over next to Robin.

    "Uh, yeah, I am."

    "We welcome you aboard," Aqualad greeted warmly.

    "Now if only everyone was here to meet our new teammate…" Siren turned back to Robin. "Where is Kid anyway? Wasn't he going to be here after school?"

    Robin cackled. "He's late. As usual."

    "For a kid who's fast, he sure doesn't know how to time manage," Siren snorted.

    "Recognized, Kid Flash. B-zero-four."

    Siren turned her head to see the form of the said speedster. As the light dimmed, she saw him carrying beach items and was dressed in his trunks. Looked like someone forgot to give him the message or he forgot to check.

    "The Wall-man is here! So let's get this party star-"

    Wally stumbled forward, tripping over his surfboard. He fell to the ground, dropping everything. The beach ball went bouncing, flying past Siren's head which she calmly dodged. She rolled her eyes, looking down at the redhead as he let out a heavy sigh.

    "-ted?" Just then, he noticed the new person in the room.

    "'Wall-man', huh? I love the uniform. What exactly are your powers?" Artemis asked.

    Siren smirked. Oh, she liked her already. Wally walked up between Robin and Siren, frowning.

    "Uh, who's this?" he asked.

    "Artemis, your new teammate," she answered.

    "Kid Flash. Never heard of you."

    Arrow stepped forward, putting an arm around Artemis. "Uh, she's my new protégée."

    "What happened to your old one?" Wally asked.

    "Recognized, Speedy. B-zero-seven."

    Speak of the devil.

    "Well, for starters, he doesn't go by Speedy anymore. Call me Red Arrow."

    Siren raised an eyebrow, looking Roy over. He looked completely different now. Instead of his old "Speedy" garb, he wore a red and black suit and had a new bow. He looked more mature, albeit a bit angry. Siren had to admit, he looked good. Like, really good.

    Green Arrow stepped forward. "Roy, you look-"

    "Replaceable," the teen retorted as he brushed past Siren.

    "It's not like that. You told me you were going solo," Green Arrow defended.

    "So why waste time finding a sub? Can she even use that bow?"

    Siren huffed. So what if GA had a new protégée? It's not like Red would come back to join up with him again. Ollie had the right to teach someone else to be a hero.

    "Yes, she can," Artemis defended herself.

    "Who are you?" Wally spoke up.

    "I'm his niece."

    "She's my niece."

    "She's his niece."

    Siren's voice overlapped with Green Arrow's and Artemis', forcing her to hide her wince. Yeah, that was subtle alright.

    "Another niece?" Robin chuckled, causing Siren to glance over at him. She silently groaned. Wonder Boy was notorious for sticking his head into things that were meant to be left alone. Siren gave it by the end of the night before he knew everything.

    "But she is not your replacement. We have always wanted you on the Team. And we have no quota on archers," Aqualad explained.

    "And if we did, you know who we'd pick," Wally added before Siren reached over to smack his shoulder.

    "Whatever, Baywatch. I'm here to stay," Artemis said.

    Red Arrow made a move to leave, but Aqualad stopped him.

    "You came to us for a reason."

    "Yeah. A reason named Doctor Serling Roquette," Red answered.

    Siren's eyebrows raised at the same time as Robin's eyes widened in recognition.

    "Nanorobotics genius and electronics expert in Royal University at Star City. Vanished two weeks ago." As he spoke, Robin pulled up info on his computer and put it on a bigger screen for everyone to see.

    "Abducted two weeks ago," Red Arrow corrected. "By the League of Shadows."

    "Whoa! You want us to rescue her from the Shadows?" Robin asked excitedly.

    "Hardcore!" Wally piped up, fist-bumping Robin.

    "I already rescued her. Only one problem," Red said, walking over to the computer.

    "The Shadows had already coerced her into creating a weapon. Doc calls it 'the fog'. Comprised of millions of microscopic robots. Nanotech infiltrators. Capable of disintegrating anything in their path. Concrete, steel, flesh, bone."

    A chill ran up Siren's back at the last two examples.

    "But its true purpose isn't mere destruction. It's theft. The infiltrators eat and store raw data from any computer system, and deliver the stolen intel to the Shadows. Providing them access to weapons, strategic defense, cutting edge science, and tech."

    "Perfect for extortion, manipulation, power broking. Yeah, sounds like the Shadows," Artemis muttered.

    "Like you know anything about the Shadows," Wally scoffed.

    Artemis looked over her shoulder and smirked slightly. That seemed to tick Wally off.

    "Who are you?!"

    "Roquette's working on a virus to render the fog inert," Red Arrow continued.

    "But if the Shadows know she can do that-"

    "They'll target her," Siren finished Robin's sentence.

    "Right now, she's off the grid. I stashed her at the local high school's computer lab," Red Arrow said.

    "You left her alone?" GA asked.

    "She's safe enough for now."

    "Then let's you and I keep her that way."

    "You and I? Don't you want to take your new protégée?"

    Green Arrow stepped toward his former partner but was stopped by Batman with a hand to the shoulder. They exchanged looks before the older archer backed down.

    "You brought this to the team. It's their mission. Which means it's hers now too," he said.

    Red Arrow scoffed. "Then my job's done."

    "Roy," Siren began, stepping forward to follow him to the Tubes.

    Before he had the chance to step inside, Siren grabbed his arm. "We need to talk, but you won't answer my texts or calls."

    His eyes narrowed. "You're busy with your new teammate."

    "Hey," she snapped back, reaching out to poke him in the chest. "I'm not the one who walked out. We gave you a chance to join and that offer still stands by the way." Her tone softened. "If you don't want to talk now, fine. But can we please talk later?"

    She didn't get a response as he pulled away, stepping into the Tube.

    "Recognized, Speedy-"

    "That's Red Arrow. B-zero-seven. Update."

    The light turned on, engulfing Red Arrow as it teleported him away. Siren stared at the Tube with a frown. Behind her, the Team had started to disperse so she sighed and turned away to follow. Wally left to change, and the rest of them made their way to the Bioship. Siren caught up with Artemis.

    "Don't listen to Spe- Red Arrow. Or Wally. I think you'll be a good fit here," she said grinning.

    Albeit a little shy, she got a smile in return. "Thanks, Siren."

    "No problem. Hey, we're basically family, we gotta stick together," Siren said with a laugh, though she glanced back at the Tubes sadly.

    ~/~/~/~

    Happy Harbor

    August 8, 21:53 EDT

    Siren sat on the edge of a computer table where Doctor Roquette was sitting. Artemis was sitting beside her so it gave her a chance to subtly look the new girl over. She was curious about her. She seemed genuine and if GA trusted her, then so did Siren. She was just confused as to why she wanted to hide her identity. Sure, most of the Team would just go along with the idea of her being Oliver's niece, but obviously, Siren knew otherwise and she imagined Robin was catching on.

    "Everyone online?"

    "Ugh, this is weird," Artemis commented.

    "You'll get used to it," Siren assured.

    "But it's distracting. Coding a distributed algorithm virus on a kiddy computer with less RAM than a wristwatch is hard enough. Now I have to hear teen think in my skull?" Roquette held her head in her hands in frustration.

    "Lady, do you always complain when someone tries to help you?" Kid Flash asked.

    "Pot, kettle, have you met?" was Artemis' snarky reply.

    "Hey, hey, I do not need attitude from the newbie who drove Red Arrow off the Team!"

    Artemis jumped up and pointed at Kid. "That is so not on me!"

    "Fate of the world at stake?" Roquette snapped, making Siren hold her head. Arguing over the mental link was getting extremely annoying. And painful.

    "She started it!" Kid Flash huffed.

    "How about I just help Miss Martian and Superboy patrol the perimeter?" Artemis suggested as she walked off.

    "Good idea." Aqualad agreed.

    Siren stood up, walking over to the boys. She crossed her arms, glaring at Kid Flash who was munching on his candy bar.

    "She did not drive Red Arrow off the team, Kid. You know he chose to be solo all on his own way before she came along. So cut her some slack, will you?"

    "It was her arrow that saved your butt against Amazo," Robin added.

    Siren subtly raised an eyebrow. She hadn't figured out that little tidbit. It made sense though. Green fletching on the arrow but a different head design? And a few days later, a girl in green turns up as Green Arrow's new protégée? Good thinking, Robin.

    "What? No! That was Speedy- I mean Red Arrow's- arrow. Right?" Kid asked.

    "Not so much," Robin answered.

    "Huh, well, still not giving her the satisfaction."

    "You know I can still hear you!" Artemis called out.

    KF groaned, clutching his head in his hands.

    "I couldn't get the Justice League," Roquette muttered.

    "The virus will not be of much use if we cannot find it. Can you track it?" Aqualad questioned.

    "My utility fog is not a weapon. It's science. Brilliant science. And of course I can track it, but I'd have to go online. Might as well rent a billboard with this address and 'Assassinate me' written in neon," the doctor complained.

    Siren frowned. Not a weapon? What could destroy anything and anyone in its path and not be considered a weapon?

    "We will protect you," Aqualad promised as he laid a hand on her shoulder.

    After a moment of contemplation, Roquette pressed a key on the computer.

    "Tracking the fog now."

    Siren leaned up against the wall beside Robin as they waited. After a moment, she felt a buzz come from her pager. Pulling it out, she noticed a new message from Robin. She glanced at him with a curious look before reading the message.

    So a niece, huh?

    Siren sighed to herself. He couldn't have given it until after the mission? She paused to contemplate before responding.

    Not my place to say. I already know you'll go digging, Mr. Detective Jr, but you're not getting anything out of me…Not that I know much anyway.

    "Mmm, that boy."

    Siren's fingers froze as Artemis' thoughts drifted into her head. Oh my god, she sounded like Kid. Siren had to bite her lip to hide a laugh as she hit send on her pager. Hey, anyone who had vision could see that the team's resident Kryptonian was easy on the eyes.

    "He can hear you. We can all hear you!"

    Siren winced, noticing the defensiveness and jealousy in the Martian's voice.

    "Oh, I know," Artemis said, not at all embarrassed,

    "Miss Martian, Doctor Roquette has located the fog. Reconfigure the Bio Ship so that Robin and Superboy can pursue."

    Siren turned back to Robin, giving him a swift fist bump. "Good luck."

    "Back at you." He answered before taking off to meet up with Superboy outside.

    "Ready," Miss Martian said a few seconds later.

    "Kid, scout the halls. Be sure no one gets inside this room." Aqualad then instructed.

    Kid Flash sped over to the door, leaving it cracked open. Siren moved over to stand on the other side of Roquette, facing the computer to watch over her shoulder. Files blurred by as she kept a close eye on the fog's location. Siren just hoped Robin and Superboy would be able to find it before there was any more damage.

    Suddenly, Siren could hear a weird noise that was rapidly getting louder just before Aqualad whirled around and dove to protect the doctor from whatever it was. Siren grabbed the doctor's shoulders as she stood, moving her away from her seat. "Get down!" the heroine demanded.

    Siren pushed her down, dropping low herself as more projectiles flew toward them. The lowest one was coming straight for her head, but Aqualad pushed her away, allowing the shuriken to embed into his skin.

    Siren looked up to see a woman with dark hair run into the room. Her face was obscured by a mask resembling a cat. Where the hell is KF? He was supposed to prevent anyone from getting in!

    "Hm. That had to hurt," the woman said slyly, charging toward them with her sais drawn.

    "Atlantean skin is quite dense," Aqualad retorted, his skin icons glowing as he drew his own swords to fight back.

    "And my shuriken are quite poisonous."

    Siren pulled the doctor away from the fight, using her body to shield her. "Miss Martian, Artemis, Kid, we're under attack! Get in here now!"

    "On our way!"

    The fight advanced toward Roquette and Siren as they moved back. Amidst the fighting, both Aqualad and the assassin were knocked down to the ground, but the pause in battle allowed the assassin to throw a sai at the doctor specifically. Aqualad just barely managed to conjure a whip to knock the sai off target, ramming into the board centimeters from the doctor's and Siren's heads. Siren's breath hitched. Too close.

    "Almost. Poison slowing you down?" the assassin taunted, whipping out a small dagger. Aqualad blocked her swings; the two struggled to overpower the other.

    "Jellyfish toxin. I'm largely immune."

    The woman headbutted Aqualad, knocking him and his bearers to the ground. "Largely."

    She twirled her sai, raising it as she prepared to strike Aqualad while he was down. Siren grabbed the sai by her head, yanking it out of the wall and throwing it at the assassin's hand. Siren's aim was successful and knocked the sai out of her hand, however, she still had the extra dagger in her other one.

    "I always have a backup," the woman sneered at Siren, pulling her arm back to plunge the weapon.

    An arrow flew in from the doorway, repeating the same thing Siren had done, but this time making impact with the woman's wrist, temporarily immobilizing her. Artemis had arrived.

    "Don't move," she commanded.

    "This gig's getting interesting," the assassin mused, pulling out a thin sword. She knocked away Artemis' array of arrows, broken pieces flying everywhere. Just then, Miss Martian and Kid Flash ran into the room, joining Aqualad and Siren in covering the doctor.

    The assassin noticed the newcomers. "Maybe a little too interesting."

    With the four of them behind her and Artemis ready to let more arrows fly, she analyzed her options. Pulling out a small smoke bomb, she threw it down while blocking Artemis' arrow just as Kid Flash ran forward. Siren pulled her jacket up to cover her nose and mouth, still shielding the doctor in case the assassin tried to come after the doctor while they were all distracted. When the smoke cleared, the assassin was nowhere to be found.

    "Gone," KF snapped.

    "She's getting away! You're letting her get away!" Roquette yelled at them.

    "This is all your fault," Kid Flash accused the new member. "You were on perimeter. How'd that Shadow get in?"

    Miss Martian walked up to the two. "That's not really fair. I was outside too."

    "Outside being distracted by her!" Kid Flash argued. "Besides, I can't be mad at you."

    "You gave me mouth to mouth." The speedster's thoughts filtered into their link. She did what now?

    "We heard that!" The rest said in unison.

    "Dang it!" Kid Flash cried out, embarrassed as he stalked away. Siren shook her head. Would he ever learn?

    Miss Martian approached Artemis, laying a hand on her shoulder. "I didn't do half as well during my first battle, and I know you can't have been Green Arrow's sidekick for very long."

    "Focus, everyone," Aqualad spoke up. "The Shadows will be back."

    Siren turned to Aqualad. "We can't stay here. If one Shadow knows we're here, then no doubt she or any others will keep coming until they succeed," she pointed out.

    Their conversation was halted when a voice entered their comms.

    "Robin to Aqualad. We're over Philadelphia. We've located the Shadows' next target: Star Labs. We're too late. It's destroyed, totally destroyed. The fog decimated it." Siren hung her head. Things just kept getting worse.

    "This is bad," Robin continued. "Star Labs is cutting-edge science and now their secrets are in the hands of the enemy. What's our next move?"

    Aqualad faced the doctor. "Rescan for that fog. Find it. We're moving the doctor."

    After their communication with their other two members ended, Siren moved over to the computer the doctor had been using. She opened a web page to make a quick search. "There's an internet café a few blocks away from here as well as the city hall. The doctor could still work on stopping the Fog at either place, but the Shadows would just find her again."

    "What if we split up? I could disguise myself as the doctor and some of you 'protect' me, while the doctor works at another location," Miss Martian suggested.

    "That's a great idea, Miss M," Siren said with a grin.

    "Agreed. Move out," Aqualad commanded.

    ~/~/~/~

    Aqualad and Siren covered the perimeter outside the city hall, keeping an eye out for the Shadows but waiting to conduct their ruse.

    "Stop it, both of you." Aqualad suddenly spoke through the mind link, making Siren turn to him in confusion.

    "What?" Both Kid Flash and Artemis' voices overlapped. Siren scoffed. Guilty, much?

    "I can hear you glaring." Aqualad made his way beside Siren.

    "Miss Martian, stay in camouflage mode and make a wide perimeter sweep. Siren, patrol the streets."

    Obviously, Miss Martian wasn't there, nor would Aqualad make vocal commands with the mind link, but they had to play the part to fool the rest.

    "Yes, Aqualad," Siren also spoke out loud, leaving the area to "patrol". In reality, she would make her way inconspicuously down to the café where Roquette was really stationed.

    She stayed close to the shadows, keeping to stealth so no passersby would notice her, but allowing herself to be visible just enough for the Shadows to see her leaving the city hall.

    Once Siren was further down the street, approaching the café, she slipped inside through a side door to the kitchen. Entering the main room, she found Roquette working hard on the computer.

    "Aqualad will be here soon. We should be fine, with us holding up the act of you being in city hall, they'd have to be really smart to figure you're actually here," Siren spoke up.

    "Good, because I'm almost ready to start uploading," the doctor said.

    Siren moved beside her, leaning against the desk as she saw Aqualad arrive. "Took you long enough," she teased.

    "The assassin brought friends this time," Aqualad said.

    Siren flinched. "You should have let me stay to help."

    "You were needed here to protect the doctor. I managed," he assured.

    Siren looked up as there was a thump on the roof. Huh, maybe they were that smart. "Time for round 2," she muttered.

    "We've got company," Aqualad said, impatient tones in his voice as he addressed the doctor.

    "Uploading now," Roquette answered, turning to them. "And by the way, you said you'd protect me."

    "And we will. But we don't have all night waiting for this Fog to be destroyed," Siren said.

    A ball rolled into the room, releasing smoke into the air. Siren readied herself, prepared to attack at the first sign of movement. However, after a pause, Aqualad whirled around in the other direction just before multiple darts struck him in the chest. The female assassin dropped down from the ceiling.

    "Let's test the limit of your jellyfish immunity, shall we?" the woman taunted.

    Aqualad hissed, shaking his head as he was no doubt trying to fight past the poison entering his system. He ran toward the assassin. Siren could tell his moves were becoming sluggish as the woman easily dodged his attempts at striking her. She kicked him in the torso, knocking him face down on the ground. "There. Limit tested."

    Siren stood in front of the doctor with a scowl. "He's got backup. Don't assume you'll succeed."

    The woman drew a sai from her hip. "I don't have to assume anything."

    Siren let out a sonic cry, but the woman dodged, rolling into a somersault then letting her sai fly. Siren pivoted, shoving the doctor away as she ducked. When she turned back around, the assassin was upon her, grabbing her by the arm and throwing her across the room. Siren slammed into a table, causing it to tumble over along with her.

    "Now, doctor. Time for my appointment," Siren heard the assassin say. She let out a small groan as she pushed at the table to slide out from underneath. Rising up on her hands and knees, she saw the assassin had the doctor by the collar, sai pointed toward the poor woman's face. Then there was a beep coming from the computer, indicating the upload was complete.

    "So, you finished the virus. Eliminating the reason for your elimination, though not the entertainment value," the woman sneered, leaning in close before she let the doctor fall with a shove. "Lucky for you, my orders are clear. You live to program another day. After all, doctor, the Shadows may find another use for you."

    With those final words, she left. Siren staggered to her feet. She could have pursued, but her teammate was currently down. She wasn't going to leave him behind. Siren hurried to Aqualad's side, turning him over on his back. He was beginning to wake up, pain etched on his features.

    "Hey, fearless leader. How're you holding up?" Siren chuckled, helping him sit up.

    "I will be fine. Roquette?"

    "Breathing, although a bit terrified," the doctor spoke from behind Siren.

    Siren helped Aqualad to his feet, letting him put weight against her as he recovered. Her pager then beeped so she pulled it out to check the new message. Who else was it from but the Boy Wonder?

    Fog is neutralized. The infiltrators have been outfiltrated.

    Siren laughed. "Robin says that the Fog is neutralized. At least we accomplished something."

    She helped Aqualad move to the exit so they could group up with their other teammates. When they made it outside, they found Artemis standing on the sidewalk.

    "Artemis, where's the assassin?" Aqualad asked, his breath still labored.

    "She, uh, she got away."

    Kid Flash appeared by her side, coming from city hall. "From you? Big surprise. Notice we got ours." At that moment Miss Martian appeared with two other Shadows tied up. Kid noticed something by his feet: the assassin's mask. "Cool! Souvenir."

    "Her mask?" Aqualad noted, now able to stand on his feet though Siren stayed close by. "Did you see her- her face?" He grunted softly as he pulled the darts from his chest.

    "It was dark," Artemis defended, clearly on edge. Siren watched her with concern. She wouldn't blame Artemis. This was her first mission after all and it had been a rollercoaster. But something about her tone seemed off.

    "It is fine. Robin and Superboy neutralized the Fog and Doctor Roquette is safe. Thanks in no small part to you." Artemis turned back around at Aqualad's kind words. "Welcome to the Team."

    Artemis smiled as they gathered around her. She and Aqualad shook hands as Miss Martian laid a hand on her shoulder.

    "I've always wanted sisters," Miss M said. "Here on Earth, I mean. I have twelve back on Mars, but trust me, it's not the same."

    "I wouldn't know," Artemis said with a short laugh. "But thanks."

    "Hey, now we're not so outnumbered," Siren joked, looking at Miss Martian. "And now I have someone to talk to who can truly know what it's like to be around Green Arrow."

    Kid Flash had still yet to say anything, so Siren elbowed him in the side right at the same time as Miss Martian had to his other side.

    "Ow," KF grumbled. "Yeah, welcome." Artemis was the first to stretch out her hand for a shake which Kid begrudgingly obliged.

    ~/~/~/~

    Mount Justice

    August 9, 12:55 EDT

    As Siren made her way to the Zeta Tubes, she sided up next to Artemis. "So? How was your first mission?"

    "It was...fine," Artemis answered. Siren frowned at her hesitation. They both stopped near the Tube entrances.

    "I get Kid Flash can be a handful. If he keeps giving you crap, I have no problem with-"

    "It's not that, don't worry. I'm just…" Artemis' eyes shifted to the side as if expecting someone from the team to appear, but the others had gone home or to their respective rooms after the mission. "…dealing with some personal stuff and tonight brought it up again."

    Siren watched her new friend with concern. After a moment of deliberation, she placed a hand on her shoulder, causing the archer to look up.

    "I'm not going to push you for information. You can tell me as much or as little as you'd like." She let go of Artemis' shoulder to reach into her pocket. "But if you ever need someone to talk to, I'll be here."

    Siren opened her phone to enter in a new contact. "Give me your phone number and I'll text you. That way you can get a hold of me at any time. Even if you just want to go out for coffee or something."

    Artemis gave Siren a hesitant look before accepting her cellphone. A couple of moments passed before she handed it back over. Siren looked down to see beside Artemis' name was the little bow and arrow emoji. She smiled as she sent a quick text to Artemis' number.

    "I guess I'll see you later?" Siren asked as she backed closer to one of the Tubes.

    "Yeah," Artemis said.

    The last thing Siren saw before she teleported away was Artemis' smile.

    ~/~/~/~

    Thanks for reading! Artemis is my favorite character so I was excited to finally include her. Plus, I'm hoping to do well in writing the bond between her and Siren since their mentors work together.

    I have some news! I decided to open up a Twitter account as a central location for scheduling updates, questions about my stories, and anything else that may be related to my writing. You can find me at septic_stories. Til next week!

    #young justice #young justice season 1 #robin#aqualad#kid flash#superboy#miss martian#artemis #original female character #bisexual female character #fluff and angst #action and adventure #eventual romance#slow burn#canon compliant#dick grayson#kaldur'ahm#wally west#connor kent#m’gann m’orzz#artemis crock #a siren’s call #asc siren #asc jenna lance #septic stories
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  • obscuremarvelmuses
    30.11.2021 - 50 minutes ago

    also, the Natalya retcon has Wanda’s magic as hereditary, along with the title of Scarlet Witch, whereas in previous canon it came from being touched by Cthon at birth. . . my Wanda uses neither of these, since my Wanda is 60s-based and not an actual witch yet, nor do I use Natalya in my blog canon, her mom was Magda. If I ever did incorporate her, it would be as an aunt, Django’s sister. Given that Django was A MAGIC USER HIMSELF I could see his sister being a witch, though I kinda feel like this is just typical Marvel thinking all R.omani are magic.  Anyway, if I did have my Wanda develop magical abilities, it wouldn’t come from her family OR from Cthon and instead be TIED TO HER MUTANT POWERS

    #wanda hcs #wanda is so fluid in canon that I feel more ok about making my own version #than I normally would for a character #yeah I'm one of those chumps who still tries to be canon compliant a lot #silly I know
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  • thetorontokid
    30.11.2021 - 1 hour ago

    sw authors ‘actually go directly to the source’ challenge 

    #sw salt #and maybe stop just brushing up on sw via youtube reaction videos #my hopes about all future writing are so far below the ground #i'm more than happy to ignore them #but it's how it's filling in the 'canon' of my fave character that i don't appreciate
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  • dousedhearts
    30.11.2021 - 1 hour ago

    I don’t want to be deterred from writing or drawing val. I’m going to carry on. I’ve put so much work and characterization into him. It’d be a shame to stop just because of some shit bag fans on the internet taking things too far. I want to share my art of Valentino! I want to write with people and plot!

    #and as for the anons that are like 'maybe don't write a character who've canon done your trauma' #thank you for your concern. I've brought this up with my therapist in the past #and it is and can be a very nice coping mechanism #because I control this character. <3 #He can't cause any harm that I don't want him to #isn't that neat? #The ghost breakdancing beside you ♥ ooc
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  • starryblueeyesandstarryblueskies
    30.11.2021 - 1 hour ago

    The 100 Character Themes

    Clarke Griffin- Soldier

    Bellamy Blake- Legends Are Made

    Octavia Blake- all the good girls go to hell

    Raven Reyes- Legend

    Lexa- you should see me in a crown

    John Murphy- Game of Survival

    Lincoln- War of Hearts

    Monty Green- How to Save a Life

    Jasper Jordan- bury a friend

    Emori- I am not a woman, I’m a god

    #I only accept seasons 1 through 4 as canon #the 100 #character theme songs #character themes#clarke griffin#bellamy blake#octavia blake#raven reyes #lincoln kom trikru #john murphy#commander lexa #lexa kom trikru #jasper jordan#monty green#emori #emori the 100 #starryblueeyesandstarryblueskies
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  • cattheo
    29.11.2021 - 2 hours ago

    c!beeduo (exclusively c! not cc!)

    genre: fluff

    warnings: none

    SLOW DANCING (HEADCANON)

    it kinda sucks at first, because they both have never been really good dancers – tubbo just doesn't have the habit, while ranboo has two left feet.

    but they can make it work out. eventually. (as they always do.)

    maybe by ranboo bending over a little too much more than his back can take or tubbo being so much on his tiptoes that it feels like he has been wearing heels,, but it's very much worth it.

    because they like slowdancing with each other – "it's like a hug... but with music.. and a little uncomfortable... but it's.. it's nice. i think"

    they didn't have a wedding party – mostly because the wedding was simply for taxes purposes.

    but now they're actually in love, and ranboo has been getting ideas of finally throwing them an official wedding party.

    however, he gets so absolutely terrified about the wedding dance.

    he wants it to be special, but it's very hard to make it romantic when he keeps on stomping on tubbo's feet every time they dance.

    #found this in my drafts #so now im gonna simply completely ignore canon and make shit up abt the characters #c!beeduo #c!ranboo #c!tubbo #slow dancing headcanons #slow dancing#dsmp headcanon#/rp /dsmp
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  • fiveais
    29.11.2021 - 2 hours ago

    Nobody Meandering

    I had another character concept idea/daydream where essentially I gave Nobody an out via a very dangerous person and he went for it without a second thought once he figured it out. All in all seeing him that... erratic was actually very concerning. It got really kind of hard to “watch” after he came back. Turns out Nobody has no concept of dignity when it comes to his own personal goals- he’s actually very clearly desperate. Yeesh.

    Good to know.

    #character talk#nobody #essentially he got himself eviscerated by breaking a Role and lunging at them in hopes that he would be able to experience a real death #he never really had the chance before and this was more of a Cut Content thing so it's not out of canon but the guy clearly is unwell #in his story element
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  • 13thx
    29.11.2021 - 2 hours ago

    . okay, I’m..... gonna do a brave thing and revamp my tecteun muse. make it more compliant considering the new information we have! 

    #ooc #please give this like a post if you're going to be interested! #tbh short version is - she's gonna be canon. worked on the Division & is still a nasty old git #because apparently like a billion years of being alive means that there's no character development BUT ANYWAY-- #dw spoilers #doctor who spoilers
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  • vaelon
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    main cast of my wip as lines from death note the musical

    sabine: love is for mortals and fools

    late act 2 & 3 sabine: love makes you break all the rules

    desdemona: i’ll rid the world of any criminal who wants to play / and also rid the world of anybody who gets in my way

    aselyn: your simple arguments have all been made before / the world’s not black and white, the choice not either-or

    romulus: isn’t everybody sick to death of all this stuff, can’t we all stand up and say enough?

    bonus: act 3 finale out of context

    des and aselyn: “i’ve seen through you right from the start” / “i’ve simply let you play your part”

    #out of character.    —    (  local sloth enthusiast.  ) #des is not a justice figure whatsoever ~~by the canon timeline~~ but ‘and also rid the world of anybody who gets in my way’ is SO
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  • mochishira0o0
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    Made a Mochishira Corpse Bride AU where Ryoji takes Emily's place and Smoogi takes Victor's place (call that Corpse Groom)

    View Full
  • dorminchu
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    Insult to Injury: The Director's Cut — Chapter 05

    Fandom: James Bond Characters: Lyutsifer Safin, Irma Bunt, Tov Kronsteen, Mrs. White, Madeleine Swann, Le Chiffre, Raoul Silva, Original Character Relationships: Madeleine Swann & Lyutsifer Safin Warnings: Intense scenes of violence, brief strong language. Rating: M Genre: Crime/Drama Summary: A troubled psychologist desperate to escape her past criminal ties finds herself drawn into a far more insidious schism. [Post-Skyfall]

    [Ao3 | FFNet]

    Spoiler warning for the first five-to-seven minutes of No Time to Die—but this is also the point where canon is definitively jossed.

    — ACT II — “Beware the storyteller with a huge grievance and an artistic license.” ― Joyce Rachelle

    — 1996 —

    Touching down at Salzburg Airport after a twelve-hour commute, there was no jet-bridge and the next bus was fifteen minutes away. Walking into the terminal under an auburn sky, taking crisp winter air into his lungs. For the purpose of the assignment his belongings could fit into a valise—winter clothes, and a passport with faux name and other credentials. His German was fluent enough to converse as necessary but his accent was a dead giveaway. He got a few second looks at customs, but nothing verbalised. Good enough.

    According to the letter he'd reviewed and disposed of in the hotel that morning, Stockmann's handler would approach on the ground floor of the airport and identify him by the name on the passport. He was between the travel agency and the phone booth when he heard a voice say:

    “Mstislav Chvátal?”

    Stopped in his tracks, turning his head. A middle-aged woman with amber eyes and auburn hair pulled back in a bun separated herself from the rest of the commute. The black coat buttoned to her throat exemplified her squarish face. She walked up and offered her hand. In German she said, “I am Irma Bunt, Shatterhand's personal secretary. I trust you had a safe journey?”

    “No complications.”

    They shook. Bunt was surveying his face, his plainclothes. She nodded curtly, releasing him. “The cab is waiting outside. You may follow me.” Only once they were on the road did Bunt speak again, still in German: “This is the first contract you've accepted outside of your home country?”

    “Yes.”

    “It is my understanding that you fancy yourself a future officer. In what agency, if I may ask?”

    “The FSB.” His sights at the time were set on two options; the Spetsnaz GRU, and the Main Intelligence Directorate, but he wanted to know how Bunt would react to a lesser position.

    “Of course, that is venerable.” The sharp eyes came back to his face, which at this time was not scarred over. “I was assuming you would have legitimate military experience.”

    “This isn't my first job. I'm aware of what's expected of me.”

    “We shall see. Your accommodations have been taken care of. My associate, Kronsteen, will meet you at the Hotel Seevilla. He will inform you of what to do and where to go.” She paused. “You were taught German during your schooling or elsewhere?”

    “Schooling.”

    “I should have guessed. You speak like a tourist.”

    He kept all emotion from his face and his voice and said, “I'm here to observe and follow orders, not talk.”

    Bunt's smile was cold. She said, “Very good,” in the tone one might use when praising a dog. Chvátal took this in stride.

    Walking into Hotel Seevilla, it was already dusk. Only the line at the reception caught Chvátal off-guard. “This is commonplace?” he asked the concierge.

    “Certain days are more busy. On Wednesday evenings we have a special at the restaurant. Would you care for a brochure?”

    “No thanks.”

    Tourists on their way to and from the restaurant adjacent paid him less mind but the older woman two places ahead gave him a polite second glance. Chvátal was smaller for his age which coupled with his face also made him look a little younger than the truth. Even in plainclothes, he didn't hold himself like a civilian. Just wait until these high-class Austrians figured out he wasn't here for the culinary event on Wednesday.

    The woman behind the reception waved him over. “Can I help you?”

    “Yes, I have a reservation here.”

    “Name?”

    “Mstislav Chvátal.”

    “OK. I'll need some verification.” He handed over his passport. She didn't hand it back right away. Without looking at him she said, “Are your parents staying here as well?”

    “I'm travelling alone.”

    “Well, aren't you grown-up.”

    She was older than him but not by much. Probably the owner's daughter. The man behind him muttered something in Swiss German. Chvátal said, a little colder, “The reservation was made in advance. I can provide further identification if it is necessary.”

    Then the phone on the wall rang. The attendant said, “Excuse me one moment. Yes? Yes, I know we're busy. Reservation for Chvátal?” The silence dragged. She went still. “Oh, is that—yes, and is he still—OK, I'll let him know.” She hung up, shook her head. Suddenly polite but her teeth were sharp. She stole a glance down the hall that Chvátal didn't miss. “My apologies. There's a Mr. Kronsteen that's expecting you, correct?”

    “That's correct.”

    She looked at him. “I thought you'd be taller. Anyway, your payment has been taken care of. Rooms are down the hall and up the stairs.” She handed him the key and glanced down the hall. “Enjoy your stay.”

    Chvátal smiled. “Thank you, miss.”

    There was a slim man waiting in the antehall, next to the winding staircase. He caught Chvátal's eye and nodded.

    There was a suitcase waiting for him at the foot of the bed which contained; a vz. 58 in 7.62x39mm rifle with a side-folding stock; a bulletproof vest to be worn beneath his shirt, white parka, snowpants and black boots; a white porcelain mask; and a photograph of the target with her husband and daughter.

    At a glance, Mrs. Blanchard was probably in her late thirties at the time the photo was taken. Her husband had to be at least fifteen years her senior. The daughter stood between them, her father's hand on her shoulder. None of them smiled.

    He glanced briefly at the mask. A woman's face upturned in a smile. It wouldn't protect him from the elements and couldn't have come cheap.

    In twelve hours or less the job would be complete and he would be on a plane back to Vladkavkaz. They didn't pay him to think for himself.

    Half an hour later, outside the hotel. Kronsteen said in Russian, “It will be best if you depart just before sunrise. Take Puchen around the lake, you will avoid uncontrolled traffic that way. The walk there and back is about an hour. When you're done, don't linger. Ms. Bunt will meet you on Puchen. You will be taken directly to the airport. Any remaining questions?”

    “It seems pretty active here.”

    “No one around here is going to trouble you. That goes for the house as well.” Kronsteen stopped, looking at him. “I shouldn't mention this, perhaps. But we don't usually take on candidates this young. Our client had nothing but good things to say about you. Your marks are high.”

    “I won't let you down, sir.”

    The following morning he geared up and left. Minutes down the road, his face was numb. The air was frigid enough to make breathing laborious. He encountered no one else on the trail. When he was half a mile from the destination, and for the sake of avoiding possible contact, broke off to tread across the frozen lake. The ice was thick enough.

    The cabin was a two-storey with a dory at the dock for summer use; a separate trail led off to a shed. Beside the firewood covered under tarp, a flight of stairs led to the front door which had a strong enough lock that he couldn't shoulder open.

    Impractical to stand around and wait. Taking one of the frozen logs from the pile and breaking a window was a waste of effort. So he shot the door open and pushed through. Smell of stale tobacco came to him first. There was a hall leading further into the house and a flight of stairs on his left.

    Catching sight of a woman midway down the hall, Chvátal advanced as she backed down toward her inevitable fate. When he was at the threshold between hallway and living room, she turned around and he identified her as the target. Mrs. Blanchard's attention locked onto the porcelain mask. Her mouth trembling as she broke into a half-hearted, wheezy chuckle. “Ernst, fils de pute—”

    He opened fire. The woman crumpled, torn apart before she hit the ground. He stood still. Through the window he could see miles of unbroken snow reflecting sunlight. The glass was misted red. He lowered the rifle and slung it over his shoulder. At his feet, pooling blood edged the soles of his boots.

    Back down the hall, detecting movement at his left. Full stop. Someone was breathing on the other side of the closet door. Through the slats and the limited visibility of the mask he could not identify a source. He reached out and opened the door with no excess of force.

    A girl shrunk back against the wall, surrounded by coats. He recalled her face from the photograph but she was a little older now. Dressed for the weather in a coat and fuzzy grey snowboots. She didn’t go to pieces at the sight of him. In her hands she had a gun. Her eyes darted to his boots and the rifle. She pointed the gun at his face. Her breath was steady but her hands shook. Chvátal began pivoting away from her, showing his open hands. He meant to say, don't shoot. He only got as far as don't when the first shot glanced his jaw, breaking the mask. Several more rounds into his chest staggered him. Chvátal caught himself against the wall. Adrenaline kept him from the pain but not forever.

    His ears were ringing. He saw her finger move on the trigger and then, inaction. The horror creeping across her face. Before he could react she ducked past him and bolted down the hall, out the front door. A moment of hesitation was not about to cost him his job. So he went after her.

    Down the steps. The kid was already out on the lake. Thick snow under his boots giving way to ice. Chvátal stopped a foot from the bank, next to the dory. He barked, “Стоп!”

    She looked back, and her footing slipped. With a short scream she tumbled, landing flat on her ass. Chvátal took a slow step onto the ice, then another.

    “Reste loin de moi!” The girl levelled the gun at him, hands flushed from cold. Chvátal put the rifle behind him, hard-pressed to speak with his mouth full of blood. He could read French from a newspaper. Conversation was a wash. Body language didn't need much translation. He spat tersely and said,

    “Ich werde dich nicht verletzen.”

    The girl raised her head. He took another step. The ice was holding.

    “Du verstehst mich? Da war ein Fehler.” He approached until he could see the whites of her eyes, offering a hand. “Ich gehe mit dir. Niemand wird dir weh tun.”

    She was looking at his face. Where his eyes should be under the porcelain. “OK.” She stood up carefully, began maneuvering on her feet, like a shuffle. Once she reached the bank she glanced over at him and said, “Du sollten nicht auf dem Eis stehen.”

    “Warum hast du es dann gemacht?”

    She looked at him funny. “Warum kümmert dich das?” Chvátal didn't respond. Ice beneath his boots giving way to crisp snow. The girl trailed behind him. “Pourquoi tu fais ça?” Chvátal kept moving. Sensation coming back into his body. Her bootsteps crunched faster to keep pace. “Mon père ne prendra pas à la légère une attaque contre sa famille. Une fois qu'il aura découvert ce qui s'est passé, il vous suivra. Vous feriez mieux d'avoir des amis qui vous protégeront si vous ne souhaitez pas que ce soit fini pour vous—”

    “—you know,” coming to a full stop, turning to address her, “for a girl who just lost her mother, you talk a lot of shit.”

    The girl looked at him as if she'd been slapped. Assuming the point had been made Chvátal continued straight toward the cabin but she did not follow. He didn't pause until he heard: “Fuck you.” Her accented English was pristine. She’d probably gone to all the best schools. “You have no right to speak to me like that. Piece of shit. Do you know what my father does to men like you?”

    Chvátal’s teeth bared, blood pooling under his tongue. Tiny shards of porcelain nicked flesh. Pausing to spit, but she did not watch him do this, he said, “Save your breath. I could have left you to drown and you could have shot me in the head. We both seem to be out of luck.”

    As they came up to the front of the cabin the girl shoved her hands in her pockets. If she hadn't been trained to count her shots then it was doubtful she had the presence of mind to carry spare ammunition.

    Sound carried easily across the empty space. They both looked over and saw the vehicle en route coming from Fischendorf. Easy to talk shit when your dad could just pay off the whole town. So the authorities would overlook the bullet holes in the walls and whatever was left of Mrs. White, the foreign kid with a military history checking in and out of the hotel within walking distance, and call it suicide.

    Chvátal stood there in the unrelenting cold. Blood running down his jaw. As the girl turned back to the house he said, “Hey.” Turning around, the child's terror resurfaced behind her eyes, blue eyes. For the same reason he'd offered his hand to her on the ice, he said, “It wasn't my intention to do this in front of you. Don't go back inside the house.”

    Shouldering the rifle, moving towards Puchen. Several minutes later Ms. Bunt was opening the door to an unmarked black car. “It’s done,” he said in Russian.

    “What kept you?”

    “The mother was not alone in the house.”

    “I trust the girl has been dealt with?”

    “I was not instructed to eliminate anyone but the target.” His jaw grit through the pain in his jaw and sternum and his own misgivings. “Or, did you expect me to shoot her?”

    “Were you seen?”

    Chvátal paused. “No.”

    “Then, there is no trouble. You did exactly what was asked. That you were wounded will, of course, still be noted for posterity. You will receive payment in a week or two. Leave the rifle and the mask here. There is enough time for you to fix your face.”

    — 2013 —

    During the week sequestered in Sion, Safin had been putting together an itinerary with his private team and retaining contact with No 2, the middleman.

    Coming down the stairs for the last time, Madeleine was bundled in a dark coat that did not suit her finer features. She'd handed off her suitcase to one of the men. Without looking at him directly, she said, “I understand that you cannot give away too much information. But unfortunately, it seems I am at the same impasse as before. My father is gone and all I have for counsel is you. For the sake of my own security, I need to know anything you can tell me about this position in Norway.”

    Safin glanced over. “I presume you’ll be given specific instructions as to what you should look for and how to approach your clients. The staff will already know what they need to about your background, or what you choose to provide. Personal anecdotes can always be used against you or your colleagues. You must never lose sight of that, whether in the company of friends or superiors.”

    The seconds dragged. Swann's eyes were piercing. She'd pry him apart at the ribs for even a hint of closure. But for now, her mouth drew thin. “Thank you.” The same cold, practised tone she'd used several hours ago.

    Transitioning away from the impassive mountain range into a more industrial setting. There were a few different routes that could be taken but without accounting for delays they should arrive around seven hours in the best conditions. Eight hours, if permitting room for human error.

    It was a quiet, brisk morning at the station in Genève. The sky was turning steadily to halcyon. Behind them, all glass windows. Two exits. The crowd gathered wasn't yet a throng. Swann’s attention kept flitting around, habitual. Safin didn't look over as he said, “Relax.”

    Swann turned away but he caught the grimace in his peripherals. Her arrogance whittled down until it was just weariness. Cold, clinical, well-versed in her occupation. He’d only ever seen her laugh when she was drunk. Twenty-six, married to her misery more than a career. On paper she'd make for a decent informant with her credentials and selective sense of morality.

    Confiding in a man she’d known for all of two weeks about unresolved family trauma did not encourage faith. It would be simpler to put a bullet in her head before she started asking more pertinent questions. No 8 wouldn’t take kindly to the news about his investment being cut short.

    Then Madeleine said, “There’s a man over by the doors, he hasn’t taken his eyes off us since we arrived.”

    He was of normal height but stockier than your average businessman. Dressed well but not ostentatiously so. Caucasian. Dark hair. Gavin Morris, a counterintelligence officer from INTERPOL who’d collaborated with MI6 to track down the hard-drive containing the identities of several dozen NATO agents after a brief interception by Marco Sciarra, formerly No 12.

    “Keep your eyes ahead.”

    Madeleine's eyes on the adjacent wall. Her hands in her pockets were tensed into fists. The trick to longevity was playing every side against the other. On an individual level the winning syndicate would trust you above the rest. But in the end, you always had to make a decisive choice. 

    After boarding the train it was only a two-hour ride from here to Genève-Aéroport. Gavin Morris took up a seat in the aisle two rows behind him. Swann kept her handbag by her feet. Tilting her head in the direction of the window, she did not rest against it. The sunlight on her face brought out the misery trapped behind her eyes. Focusing on nothing in particular until the train's movement jarred her from half-consciousness. She glanced over at Safin and then away.

    “A week before the funeral, my father sent me off to Ermatige. And I can remember very clearly, sitting in class that morning and reasoning to myself that the casket must have been empty.” Madeleine paused. Slight crease in her brow. “When I came back on holiday, he'd relocated to Nittedal. I lived there until I could get away from him. But he made me promise not to speak to anyone about what happened to his wife. I used to pretend that he did it for my safety.” She took a shuddering breath and went on, in a small voice, “I could honestly never forgive him.” Looking up, a half-hearted sneer played across her mouth. “I don’t know why I bother telling you anything. All you ever do is sit there and stare—”

    “—you were nine years old and up against a trained killer. You are lucky to be alive. Does that cover it?”

    Madeleine's jaw tensed. Eyes shimmering. She didn't speak.

    This impromptu escort mission to Sion had put a wrench into his formal assignment. No 1 did not allow such disruption unless there was good reason. In the case of Donka Hospital it had been part of the operation. Aside from getting Swann’s attention with an arranged hit on her former colleague, there wasn't a good reason to stick around. But No 1 had insisted that Swann needed someone that was more attentive. How fortunate that she wouldn't be his concern after seeing her to Oslo.

    Madeleine squinted at him. “You’re not going to kill me in my sleep?”

    “No.”

    She lowered her eyes again.

    Safin let the minutes pass. Swann's expression, usually terse and pointed, was rendered emotionless by sleep. Observing her in an unguarded state was not pertinent to the given assignment.

    Madeleine Swann was no different than any other spawn of a bureaucrat, until the night terrors. Easy to brush off her responses in Conakry as circumstantial. But at rest, in the safehouse, he'd hear her. Fitful, inconsolable. Irascible, come morning. The girl in the cabin had grown into a pitiable misanthrope and every night, the source of her unresolved trauma was right down the hall. To divorce himself from emotion was suddenly far more difficult. Euthanasia wasn't an option. Better to crush her once, then move on. She'd understand eventually.

    — 2006 —

    The mission for Safin, now No 10, involved a reservation at the Casino Royale in Royale-les-Eatix but did not participate in the game of baccarat. He observed on the sidelines, speaking only when it was required of him.

    The only problem was MI6's newest operative. A man who had no qualms blowing up an embassy in Madagascar to apprehend one insurgent no doubt would walk in and introduce himself to all the regular socialites by his codename with unprecedented charisma.

    No surprise that Le Chiffre's associate would put that to the test by slipping digitalis in his martini. It was slightly disappointing that an agent of such esteemed calibre could fall for a rudimentary trick. Le Chiffre's reputation preceded him. No better with money than vice, and with the state of his recent business dealings he wasn't any different than the whores he invested in. 

    So when Bond walked back in, a little dishevelled but otherwise unbowed, No 10 was paying attention.

    Shortly after Lynd was kidnapped, he was given the order from one of White’s informants. Half-an-hour before sunrise, he reached his destination. The vehicle used to transport Agent 007 and Vesper Lynd was parked in front of the gate to the French-style summer villa. An the impromptu departure from the Royale would suggest this was a hurried getaway, with less time to take defensive measures.

    No 10 was wearing the dark grey suit and dress pants from the Royale. The only difference now was the bulletproof black mask over his face, and the silenced gun at his hip.

    He eliminated the first man with a single shot to the chest. The second man did not hesitate to give him the information—"Le Chiffre is waiting for the money, with the girl”—before he was summarily dealt with.

    Down into the grimy basement. There were two more men waiting for him; two silenced shots and they were no more. Only the woman, Lynd, sat erect, silent. She was positioned facing the corner of the wall with her wrists and ankles bound. Her dark hair hung loose around her face.

    "Lynd?" He tipped her chin up. A trickle of dry blood stained the corner of her mouth from where her lower lip split but her attention on him was lucid. "Le Chiffre is in there?" His voice was slightly muffled under the mask. Lynd didn't blink. She nodded once.

    No 10 went over to the unlocked door, shouldered it open. Smell of stale sweat and cigarettes permeated his senses. In front of him were two men. The first was tightly secured at the ankles and wrists against an upturned chair; on his back, naked unlike the woman. The second, Le Chiffre, was crouched over the man prone. In his raised fist he held a knife.

    “Drop it,” said No 10.

    The knife clattered. Le Chiffre straightened his knees, turned smoothly on the balls of his feet. His lame eye oozing red. He did not wipe his face. “Your timing is excellent. I was just finishing up a little business.” Le Chiffre's attention went to his suit. His eyes narrowed slightly. "You must forgive me if I don't seem to recall your name.”

    “Where is the money?”

    Le Chiffre chuckled. "Should have guessed Mr. White would send the latest errand boy. Well, I must tell you that my colleague Mr. Bond is a remarkably stubborn man. Getting any information out of him will probably take a few hours but not much more.”

    Bond was twisting about on the dirty floor, punch-drunk. Le Chiffre nudged the side of his head with the side of his shoe. Bond gave an animal sound of distress, his body rigid as if to physically stop from curling into himself.

    No 10 did not look at him. His grip on the pistol was tense and there was only the slightest tremble in his voice, “Then, you will concede that James Bond is already damaged to such a degree which would render further attempts at interrogation pointless.”

    “Pointless? That's quite the strong word—”

    “—and as a direct result of this incompetence, you lost the money. That is your defence?” He spoke softly but he was no longer impassive. “So far, the only information I have gained is a finer understanding of your proclivities. I imagine that isn't anything unheard of for your colleagues at QUANTUM. One speculates the reason you have been permitted to fraternise among them for several years without discretion.”

    Le Chiffre's face twisted into a sneer. “QUANTUM is well above the grade of common criminality. Such a distinction is evidently well beyond your grasp. You may tell Mr. White that I—”

    No 10 shot him once, between the eyes. Le Chiffre crumpled slowly under his own lame weight to meet the dirty floor. The silence broken only by his own uneven breathing. Then the sound of Bond's flesh rasping against the dirt. Trying to right himself, but the effort to get into a position where he could unbind his limbs wasn't within his current capabilities. He receded further into wordless agony.

    No 10 took this moment to collect himself. He ran through in his mind the message he would deliver to Mathis, and White. To the living man he said, “You are fortunate enough to have been spared twice today. My orders do not concern you or the woman. If our paths should intersect again it will not be by chance, or mistake.”

    — 2012 —

    It was not only the loss of Le Chiffre, but collateral left in the wake of his death that heralded the beginning of persistent trouble between SPECTRE and MI6 that continued on-and-off for several years. This finally came to a head with the death of MI6's head of SIS, Olivia Mansfield; Raoul Silva’s blood-soaked quest for vengeance against his surrogate mother figure left MI6 disgraced and SPECTRE scrambling for control.

    Truthfully, Safin hadn’t known Silva that well. They had worked alongside each other back in 2010. Silva was hard to forget. Almost deceptively simple. Vengeance was his creed from the first day they had met and this did not change throughout his time in SPECTRE. In their first introduction on a contract in Morocco, Silva had sized him up and said, "I look forward to working with you, Lucy."

    Safin was quiet. The whole room watching. He kept his own emotions in-check, said coolly, "Of course."

    No one in his life had ever called him Lucy before, or would attempt since. 

    Silva's grudge had rotted him in a way the cyanide pill could never hope to do. What good came of chasing the dream of revenge to its logical conclusion? 

    She’s not so powerful if you take away her desk, Safin had said once. Just another bureaucrat.

    And Silva had shook his head and said, no, no, you don't get it either.

    If he couldn’t look Mansfield in the eyes then what was the point?

    Despite all the warning signs, fixing the election in Uganda during 2011 garnered No 1’s favour enough to assist in clearing out a small island off the coast of Macau. Ten months later, the surviving members of SPECTRE were sitting around the table a few weeks before Christmas. No 1 surveyed them all with a look of polite but unmistakable disapproval.

    “It is a shame,” he said, “that we have lost one of our most talented men today. But we must not forget that his death only serves to bolster the efforts of those who stand in our way. No 11 made his goal a personal vendetta and so he paid with his life. In doing so he dragged SPECTRE’s name into the light. This is unacceptable. Further deviations from the stated mission will be dealt with accordingly.” All around the table was silence, the heavy weighted anticipation of his decree. Then No 1 smiled thinly. “At the same time, we would be fools not take advantage of this development. MI6’s standing has been brought into question. We have already infiltrated their numbers. Now we will see to it that they devour each other. It is only right.”

    — 2013 —

    One hour left before they would reach the airport. Dr Swann was resting without disturbance. Morris had not moved from his position. 

    Morris had touched base with Safin and his detail over in Guinea back in February, before the MSF could start meddling too deeply. While they had ostensibly been working towards the same goal of information control, they were neither true allies nor opponents. No 10 was there to incite—and solve—the given political insurrection. Morris’s job was to work things out with the bureaucratic element and souse out potential causes for the insurgency. Despite her connections Madeleine had no real skin in the game, at least not yet.

    Morris got up and broke the tension first. “Hello, Lucifer.” Safin held his eyes but said nothing. “I see you’re already back on a commute.”

    “Only to Norway,” said Safin. Madeleine stirred.

    “Ah, I didn’t mean to disturb your friend—Madeleine, is it?”

    “I don’t believe we’ve met,” said Swann, glancing at Safin once as though condescended. She was sitting upright, her tone alert. Safin wished she would take the hint once offered. Morris locked eyes with her instead and his tone relaxed a fraction.

    “Yes, of course—my name’s Gavin Morris. I’m with INTERPOL. As of this moment we’re working along with the EU on the matter of the recent state of affairs in West Africa, starting back in late February of this year. Both you and Lucifer here were involved in the operation at Donka Hospital up until the end of July. Your cooperation in this matter would be appreciated.”

    Madeleine glanced back at Safin, who did not betray what he thought beyond a curt side-glance. To Morris she said: “I’m not sure I will be able to provide the information you need. I was only there for a few months and I didn’t see much activity outside of the hospital.”

    “Anything you know is a start. But I would like to speak with you two separately if that’s all right.”

    Safin volunteered himself and afforded a passing glance towards Madeleine meant to reassure. She did not seem troubled as he and Morris went to the next car over.

    Back in 2012 several of the NATO agents had expressed interest in defection to SPECTRE, but were subsequently discouraged when No 11 went rogue and security became a sticking point. No 12’s success nevertheless garnered him insurance for the time being and set an example for everyone else. For the next eight months it had been up to operatives such as No 10 and newcomer No 4, Max Denbigh, to ensure SPECTRE was back to its old tricks on the ground-level—conducting acts of espionage on a smaller-scale that could easily be misconstrued by the mainstream media which was itself already bought and paid for on a certain level. No 8 was the financier.

    The pharmaceutical/vaccination scheme that had kicked off in West Africa was just the latest example. The threat of anarchism on part of the local insurgents was a distraction—it didn’t matter what these people believed in as long as they could divide attention from what was going on behind-the-scenes, existing as a mob full of righteous, but ultimately ineffective anger. The political and military climate was brutal enough to most looking in from the outside, which would discourage a thorough investigation. Most of what had been promised to the people was for clout. There would always be some concerned element, usually non-native to the country in-question, but they could only do so much from across the ocean. Whatever funds were scrounged up and donated could easily be rerouted without a need to dig in deeper. Empathy without a greater cause was dangerous on its own but a useful tool for the purposes of SPECTRE.

    Safin had his own reservations but kept this separate from the job at-hand. There was only so much one could do in the middle of a corrupt authority, without power and resources necessary to enact change you were just another figurehead. 

    “They’ve shut down the harbour for about a month now,” said Morris quietly. “It’s a hell of a mess you cleaned up, and we’re grateful for your cooperation in the matter. But it isn’t over. The WHO is doing everything it can trying to convince the rest of the world that this situation is under control. They are saying this virus has been contained—but according to our sources it supposedly originated from the aluminium mines, and there’s no cure or sign of a mutation.”

    “Then, why shut down the harbour? Most of the patients that passed through were mineworkers or else participated in infrastructure. Since the pandemic did not start in Conakry, and whatever the MSF had been injecting the afflicted with proved ineffective, perhaps this is the result of something else.”

    “Yes, that’s been on my mind as well. It's a good opportunity for those with interest in controlling the mines to make a claim. All the workers and their families were promised compensation, but they’re wising up pretty quick—unfortunately there’s not much that can be done without the possibility of further government intervention. And it’s not the first time this has happened either, so it’s difficult to get enough interest behind it. You remember that election cycle in Uganda, back in 2011?”

    “Public interest isn’t going to affect much on its own. There’s only so much that can be done if tensions are high—at this point, it’s probably more optimal to let the insurgents burn themselves out and then crush them accordingly. Set an example for anyone who thinks they’re in the right. Once you have a group that is radicalised and desperate enough, you want to get across the idea that the only thing they’ll respond to is the threat of violence.”

    “Well, Lucifer, I must confess I was hoping we’d be able to elect your assistance in this.”

    “It will not bode well for the state of diplomacy to keep meddling in their affairs.”

    “Perhaps not.”

    “You wanted to see Dr Swann?”

    “If it isn't any trouble. It’ll only be a few minutes.”

    Back to the old car. Madeleine glanced up and said: “So, it’s my turn?”

    Safin nodded. She did not ask what he had discussed with Morris and when she came back to her seat a few minutes later, Safin offered her the same courtesy.

    They touched down in Oslo and from there they took another train—only twenty minutes to their destination, and from there it was just a matter of navigation.

    Her lodgings had been settled beforehand with with forenom, the company running the aparthotel complex. Now the apartment itself was compact to the point of slight claustrophobia, but it possessed all the necessary faculties. Standing outside of the room, Safin turned. “My assignment concludes here. This will be the last time we are in direct contact, however you will be still under some measure of protection. That was your boss's decision, not my call. I cannot say I disagree. Since you are about to be working as an informant, and given your father’s standing, I think it would be prudent to see you are afforded more than the barebones level of security, no?”

    “I’ll make sure to keep that in mind the next time someone breaks into my flat.”

    “Your boss's name is Oberhauser. Only give him what information is needed, nothing more. You'll live longer.” Madeleine gave a tight-lipped smile. She took his hand when offered and they shook on it. He said, “Good luck, Madeleine.” There was no lingering sentimentality. He simply turned and left.

    Art for this chapter commissioned from the one and only @cavalieredispade​

    A big thank-you to @crewman-penelope and @sesyeuxocean for additional input/corrections with German and French translations respectively, re: the confrontation on the ice.

    Information on Safin’s—or should I say Chvátal's?—rifle was taken from this article; in Madeleine's case I looked into the different models of the Beretta manufactured during the 1990s.

    I had Safin's motivation for killing Mrs. White, the resulting shoot-out and the choice to spare Madeleine outlined roughly a year before No Time to Die released. Now, I will probably borrow a few plot elements from NTtD such as the Heracles Project and Safin's affinity for tea, but otherwise I'm working from a combination of my own idea, Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royale, and the unused Spectre (2014) draft scripts.

    Royale-les-Eaux is a fictional town in Northern France. It features in the James Bond novels of Ian Fleming and others, particularly Casino Royale and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

    Lines from the flashback in chronological order: "Ernst, fils de pute—" = "Ernst, you son of a bitch—" "Стоп!" = "Stop!" "Reste loin de moi!" = "Stay away from me!" “Ich werde dich nicht verletzen.” = "I won't hurt you." “Du verstehst mich? Da war ein Fehler.” = "You understand me? There was a mistake." “Ich gehe mit dir. Niemand wird dir weh tun.” = "I go with you. Nobody will hurt you." “Du sollten nicht auf dem Eis stehen.” = "You shouldn't be standing on the ice." “Warum hast du es dann gemacht?” = "Then why did you do it?" “Warum kümmert dich das?” = "Why do you care?" "Pourquoi tu fais ça?" = “Why are you doing this?” “Mon père ne prendra pas à la légère une attaque contre sa famille. Une fois qu'il aura découvert ce qui s'est passé, il vous suivra. Vous feriez mieux d'avoir des amis qui vous protégeront si vous ne souhaitez pas que ce soit fini pour vous.” = “My father will not take an attack on his family lightly. Once he finds out what happened, he will follow you. You better have friends who will protect you if you don't want this to be over for you.”

    #no time to die #fanfic#fanfiction #canon divergent au #lyutsifer safin#madeleine swann#mrs white #ernst stavro blofeld #original character#le chiffre#silva#crime drama #this is where the fun begins
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  • resplendentlady
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    Hanukkah edits of Magneto!!!

    #hanukkah#magneto#jewish magneto #canonically jewish character #michael fassbender #sir ian mckellen
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  • silvadeus
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    @lovedsoul replied to your post:

    GRABBY HANDS!!! GIVE???? GIVE NOW??????

    ((Ask and u shall recieve!!!))

    Spring was basically the first to be created and she was literally just made from cicada shells and flowers from Eagus’ glade, She’s basically the byproduct of a ‘I want kids but im not able to have any because of unfortunate circumstances’ scenario. She’s a delicate thing and much like her other sisters, if not more, Eagus would kill a man if anything happened to her. She may or may not also be the Queen of Fae.ries.

    Summer’s the second child and she’s literally made from sticks and mud, A sturdy girl who’s always found running wild in the woods and throwing parties. She’s closest with Spring, especially since she’s a case of Spring wanting a sister. Eagus tends to worry about her often but he also know’s she’s capable of holding her ground.

    Autumn is the third child and much younger than Spring and Summer. she was supposed to be a lil scarecrow for Eagus’ crop garden but she ended up coming to life and Eagus just rolled with it. She’s a very raggedy little girl and always covered in Leaves and straw. She still does her best to help with the garden even if Eagus says she doesn’t have to anymore. Eagus always frets over her whenever she gets hurt, especially since being made from straw and fabric makes it easier to get injured

    Winter is the baby of the family!!!! made of fur and pine needles, she’s a very rare sight to see on her own, always Kept near Eagus or the sisters whenever she’s not in the presence of whatever babysitter they can nab. She’s a Daddy’s girl and a bubbly little toddler, Causing her family grief whenever she discovers new things. Eagus is always trying to Winter Proof the cabin but she’s always finding new ways to give him a heart attack.

    #lovedsoul #canon; never ask us why #next characters im gonna draw after i finish eagus' ref sheet are the girls
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  • liuenigma
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    im not gonna write meili's trip to mondstadt today bc I feel like that meili vs zhongli fight took a lot of energy from me. it wasn't even a long fight im just not used to writing action scenes sksjsk

    #meili vs the archons was mostly started just to add. canon characters into my writing #but theyre basically action scenes and im not the best at writing those #lemmy.txt
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  • rulerofpurple
    29.11.2021 - 3 hours ago

    BE NOT AFRAID

    Aka when Gabe and Maddy start to split their forms you can really tell the twins are uh. Angelic in nature <3

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  • greensght
    29.11.2021 - 4 hours ago

    for  eleven  days  it  has  snowed  without  end         [  …  ]          not  the  gentle  swirls  of  summer’s  days ,   but  something  near - blizzard      –     gale  winds  and  flakes  that  sting  any  exposed  skin.         (          stark  words  ring  true     :     winter  has  come  at  last  ,   the  first  of  his  life.         )          he  watches  it  unfold  from  his  window  seat  ,   half - frozen  fingers  pressed  against  the  glass  ,   the  world  outside  distorted  through  breath - fogged panes.      and  ,   though  he  knows  it  is  only  winterfell  ,    it  may  as  well  be  somewhere  a  thousand  leagues  away.     somewhere  still  beyond  the  wall  ,   where  the  dead  loom  and  fear  holds  his  heart  in  a  vice.      the  thought  sends  a  chill  through  him  ,    horrors  unwillingly  summoned  once  more  ,   his  friends  dead  and  skeletal  hands  reaching  up  to  grab  at  him  ,   pulling  and  pulling  and      . . .     his  eyes  squeeze  shut  ,   memories  released  with  a  shuddering  breath.

                         ❛          winter  has  swallowed  us  whole.         ❜          eyes  open  once  more  onto  that  formless  world  of  white     –     once  familiar  walls  turned  looming  towers  of  snow  ,   winterfell  a  fortress  of  ice.         ❛          when  i  left  winterfell  ,   everything  was  burned  to  the  ground.      they’ve  built  it  back  ,   but     . . .         ❜         once  upon  a  time  he  had  known  every  stone  upon  the  castle’s  walls  ,   had  known  every  hidden  place  and  secret  spot.     but  now  it  has  been  built  back  by  unfamiliar  hands  ,   its  walls  lined  with  unfamiliar  faces.     not  dead  ,   but  changed.        

                        changed  that  has  been  buried  ,   even  the  worst  of  summer’s  days  swallowed  up  by  impending  doom  ,   by  a  world  turned  on  its  head  ,   by  winter  itself.     he  turns  from  the  window  ,     one  hand  still  pressed  against  its  glass.     turns  towards  her.    the  mother  of  dragons  ,    silver - haired  and  radiant  ,   like  an  image  plucked  from  the  past.     daenerys  targaryen        .  .  .         somewhere  in  the  godswood  ,    the  heart  tree  rustles  ,    its  old - eyes  half  hidden  under  the  falling  snow.     but  still  watching  ,   ever  watching         .  .  .         and  he  watches  ,   too.     watches  with  eyes  steady  and  sorrowful.         ❛          i  am  afraid.         ❜

    ☽                  [  ...  ]                  @stovmborn​​
    #i hope this is okay i got inspired #i have no idea if this lines up with any of your post - canon so let me know if you want smth else #but the idea of them showed in at winterfell as the others get closer and closer #yeah.. yeah #stovmborn #✧     .     𝔤𝔯𝔢𝔢𝔫𝔰𝔢𝔢𝔯     :     [   in  -  character.   ]
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  • syntheticmelancholy
    29.11.2021 - 4 hours ago

    I finally finished this little reference on Dolph Cooper (my Fallout 4 OС). This guy is a real pain in the ass for Nick Valentine and the peaceful townspeople, he easily deceived people, taking their caps, until the synth detective arrested him. Dolph always hated and feared robots, so Nick terrified him. Valentine made him work off his crimes, forcing him to help the townspeople together. After a while, Dolph accidentally fell in love with his enemy and became a much better man than he was before... I apologize in advance for mistakes!

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  • chaosresponcibly
    29.11.2021 - 5 hours ago

    Scott cursed himself for the one time he'd ever taken Jimmy's word for something.

    He cursed Jimmy, too. He cursed that stupid fish for showing up, spouting some nonsense about cod blood and how he was safe around Scott.

    (He cursed himself for believing anyone could be safe around him)

    He cursed himself for letting Jimmy stay in Rivendell. He cursed himself for not noticing the way Jimmy always picked seats closest to the fires, the way he never went swimming.

    He cursed himself for ignoring how Jimmy kept his hands closed, the webbing hidden against his palms.

    He cursed himself for letting it get this far.

    He sat on his bed, fighting the way his chest was constricting and his heart had dropped to his stomach.

    He brushed ice out of Jimmy's hair, closing his eyes. He always thought that Jimmy, with his open eyes, looked dead when he slept- now he knew that he'd been wrong.

    Finally, he got up and rang for a servant.

    It hurt, deep in his gut, as soon as he did, he was accepting reality. He couldn't keep pretending the morning was like every other.

    He looked back at where, just hours ago, his husband had been asleep. Now, there was only ice and empty flesh.

    He closed his eyes, and didn't open them again until the servants and the corpse were gone.

    #empires fanfic#empires smp #flower husbands fanfic #flower husbands #flower husbands angst #angst #non graphic canon divergence #CW death#CW corpse#hypothermia #apollo do not interact #Apollo dni #have I been writing too much FH angst? #yes #is it concerning to keep writing my favourite characters die? #probably #am I going to do the right thing and stop? #no #Scott broke my heart and Im taking y'all down with me #also my friend found my tumblr so Im making them regret looking
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  • t4tchucky
    29.11.2021 - 5 hours ago

    what is it with mcu fic writers and making steve super ableist all the time? ur allowed to dislike him, that’s fine, but considering his entire backstory this particular negative trait makes absolutely no sense to give to steve.

    #who should be the ableist villain in this fic? ah yes! the man with numerous disabilities! #do you hear yourselves?! #i am fully aware tht disabled ppl can be ableist but it's like. ppl don't even go at it from that angle. they treat steve like he's always- #-been 500% able-bodied despite having A Whole Movie proving otherwise #esp if he's going up against clint since. yk. steve was partially deaf pre-serum #ik it's super typical for characters to be continually mischaracterised in fandom spaces due to fanon/headcanons overpowering canon itself #but i draw the line when it's something as basic as Steve's Whole Fucking Premise As A Character #mine#mcu cw#ableism tw
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  • fitzrove
    29.11.2021 - 6 hours ago

    omfg I adore The Great

    #been watching s2 and i just - this cast is great #also canonically asexual major character #as well as practically everyone being bi XDDD #i love how offhand it is #and i just like this series so much #the great#tv series #i'm gonna follow so many blogs about this once i've seen s2 #currently at ep3
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