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  • criticallyacclaimedstranger
    21.10.2021 - 12 minutes ago

    Fic: What Spring Does To The Cherry Trees, Chapter 6

    Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5

    Rating: Explicit

    Fandom: Narcos

    Ship: Javier Peña/OFC (Eva)

    Tags/warnings (whole thing): slow burn, h/c, a bit of violence (nothing as bad as canon), guns, knife injury, pain and suffering, the loss of a parent (both actually), angst, ptsd, javi being a lil prick but also soft!, (safe) piv sex, masturbation (female AND male), fingering, unprotected piv sex (in the words of the Spice Girls: be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on), pregnancy risk, death of an animal, talk of cancer, so much internal conflict, insomnia, killing coyotes.

    Summary for the whole thing: Javier Peña has resigned from the DEA and is back at his dad’s ranch in Texas. Life is slow and uneventful, until an unfamiliar face shows up at the local watering hole one night. Eva is retired from the army and lives in her old pickup truck with more than one ghost. She’s looking for ranch work and when her path crosses Javier’s, maybe they can help each other along in their lives?

    Chapter summary: Mistakes were made. Things were said. Lives were lost. Eva tries to deal with herself after the terrible events. Javier isn't feeling too good about himself, either.

    A/N: This is perhaps a little slow-paced but I figured these two knuckleheads needed a break after what happened in the previous chapter. There are baby cows, though! And I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who found Cherry Trees just now, and read, reblogged, liked, and commented! You really gave me the last push I needed to finish this chapter. I was so worried about it after the intensity of the previous one, but I think this is just what we all need right now.

    Eva does not sleep.

    There is no shower in the cabin, and she feels an almost physical need to get clean. Clean from blood, clean from dust, clean from cum. Clean from the guilt. But she can't go up to the house, just can't, it's impossible. She can't see Chucho, won't see Javier.

    The water trough outside the stable has a pump. That works better than the tap in the toilet.

    She steals across the yard in the gathering darkness and avoids looking at the stable door, unable right now to think about that one empty box. Pumping up cold water, she leans underneath the stream of it, gasping in shock but willing herself to stay despite her body screaming at her to run. It's not enough, so she strips and climbs into the trough. The water reaches up to her knees and it's still warm from having been heated by the sun all day, but the fresh water pumping out of the nozzle is not, and she grits her teeth against the chill. Bracing herself, she splashes her lower body somewhat clean. Shivering, she gets out, steps into her boots, and pulls her plaid back on before hurrying back to the cabin. The cold water started something and now she feels sick. Sinking onto her knees in front of the toilet, she expects to throw up, but nothing comes up. Her stomach is gurgling angrily, running on empty since lunch. She drinks a little water from the tap but it's cold and she feels like she'll never get warm again.

    She makes a fire and once it's going, she puts in as many logs as the hatch can take. Soon the cabin is swimming in heat but Eva is still chilled to the bone. Recognizing that her blood sugar is low, she searches her duffle bag for something to eat, finding a granola bar. It tastes like ash, but she forces herself to eat it, pulls on clean sweatpants and a wool sweater, loads up the stove with more firewood, and wraps herself in a blanket before hiding underneath the covers of the narrow bed.

    But she doesn't sleep. Sluggish thoughts of self-contempt move around in her aching brain as she beats herself up, over and over, for her stupidity.

    There are precisely two men of approximately her age on this ranch, and she had to fuck both of them. And she got the horse of her employer killed, because she didn't pay attention, because she was preoccupied thinking about dick when she should have been paying attention to her surroundings.

    You stupid cunt.

    She tries to put some of the blame on Javier. Had he not been flirting with her from the moment they met she wouldn't have entertained the thought of even touching him. Had he not been so inexplicably attractive when he finally showed some goddamned emotion, when he finally dropped that act that she got so fed up with from day one.

    Had he not been right next to her, ready to provide a moment's comfort, when her heart was breaking from what she had to do to Chucky.

    Had he not been such a good kisser.

    Had he not been such a perfect fucking asshole who didn’t say no to a fuck but took no responsibility and blamed her when she slipped up this one single fucking time.

    It's not in Eva's nature to lose control. She's used to putting a very steady lid on things that could become difficult. But this time, everything is boiling over and the lid has flown halfway to hell. She knows what she should do: she should quit as soon as her truck is fixed - which it should be in just a few days - and hit the road, leave Big River Ranch as far behind as she possibly can.

    Another thing that's not in Eva's nature is quitting. The only thing that quitting is going to get you when you're in the army is into a hole in the ground. You grit your teeth, you spit out the taste of blood, you harden yourself, and you carry on and on and on.

    When the first morning light breaks through the windows of the cabin, Eva blinks blearily against it, realizing that she must have slept a little after all. Her head and stomach are aching but her body is finally warm, flushed even. A few lingering embers still glow amid the ashes at the bottom of the wood hatch, and she scrapes them apart before closing the air vent.

    She has to go up to the house, has to eat something. Has to keep going, apologize to Chucho, discuss what kind of compensation she owes him. Has to face Javier without feeling guilty or punching him in the face. That last part will be the most difficult by far.

    The house is silent when she comes in through the unlocked front door. Not even Chucho is up yet, so Eva sneaks around in the kitchen, making coffee and beating eggs for a scramble. She goes out into the back garden for some chives she spotted flourishing in the overgrown garden and when she comes back in, Chucho is laying the table.

    "Good morning," Eva says quietly as she puts the chives on the chopping board and brush a few remaining stalks off of her palms.

    "Good morning, Eva. I hope you slept well?"

    She shrugs, leaning back against the countertop and forcing herself to look at him. “Okay.”

    "Won't you sit down?" Chucho pulls out a chair and Eva promptly takes a seat. He sits on the next chair and rubs his mustache; a gesture that echoes of Javier.

    "You're not hurt, are you?" he begins, and she assures him that she's not. It's only a little lie: her back is sore but she's had worse. She can take physical pain. Her sense of self, however, has been cut much worse. And she's terrified of what Chucho is about to say to her. She likes Chucho a lot and to be a failure in his eyes feels devastating.

    The morning light renders the lines on Chucho's face less deep than they are and make him look younger than his years. Only his eyes reveal the many years he has seen, and when he speaks, his voice has that unhurried circumspection that some older people possess.

    “How many times have you been thrown off a horse, Eva?”

    She scoffs, amused with the ridiculous question. “More times than I can count?”

    “And how many times have you gotten back up on it?”

    “As many times as I’ve been thrown off,” Eva shrugs, unsure about what Chucho is getting at.

    “And how many things have you learned from being thrown off?” Chucho asks pointedly. Eva gives him a faint smile.

    “There’s a new reason each time,” she acknowledges. “I try not to do the same mistake twice.”

    Except mess around with two guys on the same fucking ranch…

    “We learn for as long as we live,” Chucho nods. “And this was just a roundabout way of telling you that you made a mistake, like we all do from time to time, and I don’t blame you for it.”

    “I should’ve paid attention,” Eva protests in a low voice, lowering her gaze to the tabletop, her pointer finger following a grain in the old wood. “I was… preoccupied with something else, and I didn’t look where I was going. He trusted me.”

    “And you trusted him. And still, things happen. Why didn’t I tell you that we’ve had gopher problems in that area for years? Why have I been putting off getting rid of them? If I had called in an exterminator last year, like I meant to, Chucky could still have stepped into a hole, unless I filled in every single one.”

    Chucho’s large, veined hand lands gently on Eva’s, drawing her eyes back to his.

    “We can never tell where our actions, or lack of them, will lead. You were good to Chucky. Remember that.”

    The old man pats her hand a little awkwardly before rising to his feet.

    “I think café de olla today, don’t you?” Without waiting for an answer, he goes to the stove to fetch the coffee pot. Eva bites her lower lip in an attempt to prevent the conflicting feelings inside of her from flowing over.

    “Café de olla would be perfect, thank you,” she mumbles before getting up as well. She’s famished, and there’s scrambled eggs to be made.

    “I’ll take care of this,” Chucho dismisses her with a wave of his hand.

    “But I – “

    “Go take a shower, chica,” he tells her in a voice which tolerates no protests. “You smell.”

    The last quip is delivered with a smirk, and Eva smiles back.

    “Yes, sir.”

    ///

    A long, hot shower and a big breakfast later, Eva excuses herself and leaves the house, heading to the stable. The horses are awake and eager for their own breakfast before a full day of work.

    The emptiness of Chucky's box is more difficult to handle than Eva thought, but she forces herself to face it. The halter is hanging on its hook by the door, and she allows her fingers a brief caress of it before her heavy feet carry her into the box. She can smell Chucky in there, his own unique scent of horse mixed with the smell of hay and manure. The familiarity of the grassy, leathery warmth makes her heart ache.

    “You deserved better,“ she murmurs to the empty space. “I'm so sorry.“

    She kicks at the hay on the floor and leans against the wall, sighing deeply. Slowly, she sinks down to the floor and wraps her arms around her knees. The other horses move around in anticipation, snorting and trying to get her attention: why is breakfast taking so long?

    Working with animals doesn't allow for much time for seated contemplation. Whatever shit you have to deal with; anger, sorrow, grief, you do it while working through your chores. The job must be done.

    Eva's father couldn't cut it. He let himself be overcome by emotions, forgetting everything except his dying wife. That is a betrayal Eva still can’t face, but it lulls in the back of her mind, forcing her back up off the floor. Chucky may be dead but there are four other working horses waiting for their oats.

    Routines are a comfort. Eva feeds each animal, pats their strong necks, gives Zorro, Chucho’s chestnut stallion, a kiss on the muzzle when he pushes against her neck. Named for the fox, not the rapier-wielding masked avenger, Zorro is playful, quick, and intelligent. His coat shines red when hit by a setting sun, and he is a great horse for mustering cattle.

    “Okay, Zorro, I see you, you silly thing.”

    Zorro nickers and the sound always makes Eva smile.

    “Eat up, there’s a lot of work to be done today.”

    When each horse is happily munching away, Eva turns to walk out of the stable and sees a silhouette in the door, standing against the light of the rising sun.

    The Stetson tells her immediately that it’s Johnny who’s silently looking at her from a distance. She squares her shoulders, ready to defend herself against his judgment. He hasn’t had one nice thing to say to her since their falling-out, and Eva doesn’t expect him to have suddenly sprouted a conscience.

    Johnny comes in, and stops by Stella’s box, next to Zorro’s.

    “Mornin’.”

    She only gives him a short nod but doesn’t answer, just stares hard at him with her unwavering, military-trained gaze. It has the desired effect: Johnny seems ill at ease, leaning towards the box door and looking in at Stella instead of Eva.

    “Chucho told me what happened,” he begins. “You okay?”

    “I’m fine,” Eva acknowledges tonelessly.

    “I’m sorry about Chucky.”

    Eva blinks before casting down her eyes.

    “Yeah. Me too.”

    “I’ve told Chucho time and again that those gopher holes will get someone hurt!” Johnny snarls, suddenly heated. He looks up at Eva and she meets his gaze, barely able to hide her surprise. She expected a scolding and moreover, she somehow thought that Johnny would know about what had happened between her and Javier yesterday. It didn’t make any sense, of course, but she couldn’t help it. She felt like everybody knew and was judging her for it.

    “I’m glad you weren’t hurt, at least,” Johnny mutters, looking down again. “And I’m sorry for the shit I said last time we spoke.”

    His apology throws Eva completely and she stares at him, forehead knitted, trying to comprehend what it is he wants by this. It never crosses her mind that he may just want to say he’s sorry and move on. It never is that simple.

    “You were really shitty to me,” she points out, but without vehemence.

    “I know,” Johnny nods, scraping the heel of his boot to the cement floor. “I’m not gonna try to make excuses.”

    “Good,” Eva says cruelly. “’cause I don’t wanna hear any.”

    “You’re not gonna have to. Just know that I really am sorry. And I hope we can still work together.”

    He makes eye contact and gives her a short nod before leaving the stable. Eva stares after him, trying to comprehend what just happened.

    “Jesus fucking Christ,” she mutters and closes her eyes, rubbing her forehead. “I can’t deal with this.”

    Ten minutes later, she has persuaded Chucho that it would be best if she camped out with the cows in the pastures for a while. She has a tent and a working vehicle, it’ll be fine, she doesn’t mind, she’s done it countless times before. And with coyotes around, it would be good if someone watched over the animals at night.

    Eva suspects that Chucho knows her suggestion comes from her own need for solitude, but she doesn’t care. He agrees, and she gets to escape the drama. Get her head on straight, think over her options.

    What better place to do it than out on the pastures? Just her and the skies above her, the cows around her?

    ///

    Javier is no stranger to hangovers. He’s had his fair share of them during his years in Colombia, and he is more than capable of getting his job done even with a splitting headache and revolting stomach.

    But this one is going to kill him. And it’s not just the all-night bender of whiskey and cigarettes on an empty stomach.

    He knows he’s an asshole. He knows he fucked up. Not just with her, but with everything he ever touched.

    It’s almost lunchtime when he gets out of bed and drags himself into the shower. Black, strong coffee gets him alive enough to drive out with lunch to his pops and the other workers. After only a couple of miles, however, he has to stop and get out to puke.

    Fuck. He gets a bottle of water from the cooler and rinses his mouth, wipes off his mustache with the back of his hand. Spits and pours some cold water over his hand before passing it through his hair. The sun is beating down with July intensity, making his headache even worse.

    Serves him right. The thought is like a broken record in his head, one that he desperately wants to throw out but is unable to because once upon a time, it was a tune he cherished. The idea that he was never enough kept him pushing, trying, working. There was always something more he could do, a rule to break in order to achieve results.

    It’s not until now that he really starts to think about the people he had to step on and push over in order to get those results. Sure, the death of Carillo still haunts him, that’s on his private rap sheet, but Carillo was still a soldier. He knew the risks. The women Javier used did it for love or money. They relied on him to protect them.

    Javier takes a sip of water and returns to the car. He needs to get lunch to the workers. Be useful. Not think.

    He sees Eva first when he reaches the herd. She’s riding Zorro, gesturing to one of the others about something. Her dogged face is shut very closely around whatever it is she may be feeling, but Javier gets a sense of her emotions when she comes to take her lunch sandwich from the cooler, and refuses to look at him.

    That’s fair, I guess.

    Whatever it was they had the day before is definitely gone. Javier finds himself missing it tremendously. It may have just been physical attraction, the simple scratch of a basic itch, but he had a feeling it could perhaps have been more.

    Or not. Maybe he is just delusional about her.

    He hangs around after they have all eaten, unwilling to return to the ranch where the lonely quiet would just eat away at his brain. He tries to make himself useful where he can. Tries to get close to her.

    He finally gets his chance when Eva gets off the horse and hands it over to Chucho. She grabs a drink from a bottle in the cooler and pulls the baseball cap off her head to wipe her forehead with her forearm. Javier makes his way through playful calves to her, resisting the urge to run. She will not evaporate into thin air, he reminds himself.

    “You okay?” he asks her in a low voice when he reaches her. Eva is still stubbornly looking into another direction.

    “Fine.”

    “I… I’m sorry about last night.”

    “I don’t want to talk about it.”

    Of course not. Javier didn’t expect her to burst into grateful tears and want to straighten everything out with him, but he had maybe hoped for some kind of recognition of his effort. Part of him bristles, wants to rebuff her, tell her not to be such a bitch, he’s really trying. Still, he knows that will lead to no good, so he backs off and lets her be. Eva quickly returns to her work, and Javier slams shut the cooler.

    “Fuck,” he mutters, not sure if it’s directed at himself or her.

    Something wet and warm touches his hand, startling him. A calf is pushing its muzzle into his hand, whining and grunting.

    “I don’t have anything for you,” he says tiredly. This is because Eva has been feeding the animals apples from the truck bed. “Go away.”

    The calf doesn’t understand, of course, but catches his thumb in its mouth and starts to suckle. Javier snatches his hand away and wipes it on his jeans.

    “Eww. Come on, pequeña, go find your mama.”

    The calf looks at him with thoughtful eyes, like it’s contemplating this stupid, two-legged creature in front of it.

    “I haven’t got anything for you.”

    A snort, and the calf bumps its head against Javier’s stomach. He frowns at the unabashed behavior, but there’s something charming about it, as well.

    “You want scritches? Okay, you dumb animal.”

    Leaning back against the tailgate, Javier settles to scratching the calf behind its ears. Brown, moist eyes half closed in bliss, the beast treads and shifts before finding a comfortable position, head leaning against Javi’s hip, jaw resting on the tailgate.

    “Like that, huh? Is that good?” he murmurs. “Yeah, I can see it is. Good girl.”

    The herd is moving away, the cowhands, led by Chucho on Zorro, driving them. Eva is standing on the bed of her truck, watching the animals stir. She looks misplaced with no horse under her.

    “She’s much better at this than I am,” Javi says, half to himself, half to the calf. His hand comes to a standstill on the calf’s head, and it snorts in dissatisfaction. Javier sighs, and resumes his petting.

    “I know I fucked up, but shekissed me. She was the one who wanted sex. I figured she knew what she was doing.”

    The calf moos low, and Javi interprets is as You’re an asshole, but your hands are magic. A little specific, maybe, but there is definitely something hinting at a conflict in the sound.

    “Okay, thanks, what do you suggest I do? Can’t keep petting you forever.”

    His bovine therapist snorts again, as if finding this not only unacceptable, but also unreasonable. Javier sighs.

    “I’m talking to a goddamn cow.”

    A loud call comes from the moving mass of longhorns, and the calf calls back before running off, as if never having been interested in Javier’s hands in the first place. He follows it with his eyes until it disappears into the mass of moving bodies.

    Chucho comes riding towards him, and Javier busies himself with packing up the truck. His dad has something on his mind, and Javier doesn’t want to get chewed out for slacking off.

    “Give Olsen a call,” Chucho tells him, referring to the local pest control guy. “Have him come out as soon as he can to get rid of those gophers.”

    “What’s the rush, why not wait until someone else dies?” Javi snaps, suddenly dead tired of being ordered around by his father. He’s been telling his father for a long time that they need to do something about the gophers, but for some reason Chucho has always put this particular thing off.

    “Just do it,” Chucho tells him in a low voice before turning Zorro around and joining the herd.

    ///

    The Silverado is parked facing away from the sunset, and Eva is sitting on the back, watching the sky turn red and pink and, eventually, dark and star-spangled. The summer night is warm but she still wraps a blanket around her as she watches the stars. The sounds around her are familiar: cattle settling for the night, crickets playing, the occasional cry of a nocturnal bird.

    The moon is almost full and bathes Eva’s surroundings in silver-blue light, rendering her flashlight unnecessary when she finally leaves the truck for the tent pitched next to it.

    Out here, she can sleep. The second she lays her head down, she’s out like a light.

    The rising and falling yipping howls of coyotes wake her up. A quick check of the wristwatch tells her it’s two-thirty, and when she hears the sound again, she grabs the rifle right next to her, and crawls out of the tent.

    The herd is restless, Eva can smell the anxiety. Swinging up on the truck bed, she gazes in every direction, grateful for the moonlight that allows her to see everything almost as clearly as in daylight.

    She spies the animal some three hundred meters out. It’s alone, but when it howls, she hears others answer from not too far away.

    Lifting the rifle, Eva takes aim. She has no scope, but doesn’t need it. She’s an excellent shot, even with a gun she’s not familiar with. And this one has been used by her only once, on Chucky. That required no aiming.

    Her pointer finger is on the trigger and she has the coyote in a perfect line of shot. One little squeeze, and it will be dead.

    It’s not her first time killing a living thing. But it’s the first time she hesitates. She never did that before, not even when the living thing in the scope was a human being. She has seven confirmed kills in battle, and remembers each one. A part of her doesn’t even want to forget them. She fears that she will lose something if she forgets. There were others, of course. Faceless bodies of unknown fate, people caught in crossfire, lives she may have ended, but she can’t know. She does her best not to think about them.

    Inhale, exhale. Pull the trigger.

    The shot startles the cattle, but they stay where they are. A few bellows are heard, but nothing more.

    Eva jumps down from the truck and walks over to the target, makes sure it really is dead. When she sees the fallen coyote with a hole in its neck, her throat starts to ache from holding back an unwelcome whimper.

    She leaves the coyote where it is. Let that be a warning to the others.

    ///

    The days fly by with Eva sleeping out in the pastures, enjoying her newly found freedom. High summer turns the weather hot and the days long, and there is no more perfect time of year to be sleeping in a tent. She visits the homestead for the occasional shower and meal, goes into town twice to get books from the local library, but other than that, she stays out with the cows.

    Javier has duties that keep him to the homestead, and Johnny has gone back to treating Eva like he used to before his tantrum. She once again finds him to be good company when she urges Zorro into a gallop to round up stray longhorns. Being back in the saddle does not scare her; it is a natural part of her that she can’t do without. Chucky is not forgotten, but she doesn’t dwell on his fate.

    Her period arrives with unusual intensity two weeks into her camping life. Having no sanitary pads with her in the field, she takes a dirty t-shirt and shoves it between her thighs before jumping into the truck and driving back to the ranch. The t-shirt goes straight into the trash and Eva rummages through her bags to find painkillers but discovers that she has nothing except the codeine prescribed to her back in March. Swearing loudly, she grits her teeth and decides to just soldier through it.

    She goes up to the house for a shower. Queasy and bloated, she can’t down anything but coffee and a banana at breakfast, but neither one of the Peñas say anything about her lack of appetite.

    After Chucho has left for the stable, Eva tells Javier in a few curt words that they were safe. He nods, a vague aura of shame surrounding him.

    “Good to hear.”

    Eva escapes the house after that, but she returns to the homestead that night. Another hot shower, a warm meal, and the comfort of the Spartan cabin are enough to pull her back from camping out with the cow, although the two weeks have been wonderfully relaxing.

    She curls up on the old leather couch to read a novel she found in the house. The pain, however, has coated her insides and is soaking her brain in discomfort, rendering her unable to focus. Frustrated, Eva sighs and slams the paperback onto the couch next to her, just as there’s a knock on the door.

    Tentatively, she gets up and goes to open, not sure what to expect.

    Javier stands outside, looking apologetic. He’s carrying a bundled-up blanket in his hands.

    ”Sorry to disturb.”

    She eyes him unflinchingly, waiting for him to state his business, which he does after a moment’s pause.

    ”I wanted to see if you were okay.”

    ”I am. Why?”

    He blinks at her blunt response before looking down at the blanket like he forgot all about it. He unfolds it, showing her a hot water bottle inside.

    ”I got you these.”

    He hands the blanket with the bottle to her but is left holding them in the void over the threshold, as Eva doesn’t accept them.

    ”Why?”

    He smiles then, like what she said was funny. The lines in the corners of his eyes make Eva smile back, in spite of herself. He really has such a nice smile. If he trimmed his mustache, it would be a little more prominent.

    ”For, you know… your…” He gestures with the bottle against her mid-section and for a split second she wants asks him if he’s twelve fucking years old, or maybe eighty-seven.

    ”Cramps?” she suggests instead.

    Javier stops gesturing and tilts his head a little, regarding her as if he’s taking measure of her.

    ”Cramps,” he finally says, his voice low. ”It looked to me like you could need it.”

    The muted baritone with which he delivers that last sentence strikes a chord deep within Eva’s core, awakens something in her. It looked like. He looked at her. He analyzed what he saw. He decided to act on his analysis to make her feel better. Eva reaches for the blanket and the bottle, and Javi hands them over. Frowning, she keeps her eyes locked on Javi’s, weighing her options. Never does it strike her to just thank him for his consideration. Javi waits patiently, not put off by her hard stare.

    “You have any paracetamol?” she finally asks.

    “We might, but it’s probably expired.”

    “That’s fine, I can do without.”

    “I can go into town – “

    “I said that’s fine.” Her sharp tone accepts no protest, but she regrets her tone almost immediately. “Thank you. For these.”

    “You’re welcome. Tell me if you need anything.”

    She nods, and retires inside.

    The bottle, filled with hot water, is of great comfort on her lower belly when she curls up in bed, and she sleeps deeply throughout the night.

    #my fic#narcos#narcos fanfic#javier peña #javier peña x ofc #what spring does to the cherry trees
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  • logo-comics
    21.10.2021 - 13 minutes ago
    #hamefura#bakarina #my next life as a villainess #fanfic summaries
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  • giraffesanddietpepsi
    21.10.2021 - 16 minutes ago

    .

    #so I haven't really written fic in ages #and even then I've never finished a multichapter #but I have a few planned for 9-1-1 #and I'm planning on doing an AU for NaNoWriMo #it's a Numbers AU and I'm really excited about it #declarations of your local giraffe enthusiast #9 1 1 #911 fanfic#buddie#my post
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  • missed-the-skeleton
    21.10.2021 - 27 minutes ago

    Star Gaze Chapter 7 out

    I uploaded it some time ago but forgot to post it here, oops.

    https://archiveofourown.org/works/33440899/chapters/86091856

    This one contains quite a bit of blood and minor character death as well as some memory/nightmare, so if you’re triggered by guns and knives skip the first two separators.

    This is the chapter of the mini comic I’m doing :D

    #my fanfic#myfanfic#my fic#myfic#undertale #sans x reader #sansxreader#sans/reader#sans undertale#sans simp #sans x self insert #tw blood#blood #tw minor character death #minor character death
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  • bakuliwritesarcana
    21.10.2021 - 29 minutes ago

    Aiming to have another kissing prompt up tomorrow, and a full headcanon set up by Monday! For now, here's a sneak peek of chapter 4 of End Up Here. First three chapters up on my AO3, which you can find here. Hope you are all having a fabulous day so far!💜

    “You know, Julesy is actually quite the skilled sword fighter,” Lucio praises, cozying up to the Apprentice on the sofa and laying his arm casually across the back of the seat.

    “Is he now?” the Apprentice inquires, glancing quickly over at Julian, a teasing sparkle in their eyes.

    “C’mon, Jules. Let’s see if you’ve gotten any better over the years. Or if I still need to show you a few tricks,” Lucio announces, abandoning his glass and taking up a fighting stance in front of the sofas.

    “We’ve not got any swords!” Julian exclaims with a laugh, wobbly lifting himself from his seat anyway, “What are we going to use?”

    “Eh, our imaginations, I guess,” Lucio coyly returns, “Indulge me, Julesy. Just like old times.”

    Julian swallows hard, glancing cautiously back at the Apprentice, as if asking for permission. They seem untroubled, however, giving an encouraging nod. So Julian rids himself of his jacket and gloves, white undershirt hanging loosely open. Lucio mimics Julian’s disrobing, tossing aside his furs and cape, letting it drape unceremoniously across a nearby chair. Lucio circles, a lion stalking his prey, silver eyes fixated on Julian. Suddenly, Julian feels as if he’s been transported back to the medical tent: Montag enters, eyes piercing and wild. His gaze is unrelenting, freezes the young attendant to his spot. Julian can feel his blazing light brighter than ever, wrathful and free. Acutely, he senses the Apprentice's gentle aura off to his side and it’s then that Julian feels his own brightness ignite deep within his core.

    A (drunken and unsteady) battle ensues, the two men waving invisible swords at one another, shrieking and hollering in excitement and joy. The Apprentice is clapping and out of breath with laughter at their ridiculousness. Julian feels like he’s flying. Lucio always makes Julian feel like he’s flying. By the end of the fight, there’s no clear victor and Julian and Lucio collapse back onto the sofa, settling on either side of the Apprentice. There’s an odd, breathless tension that fills the air. Something covetous and warm. Lucio’s eyes rove as they’ve always roved- hungry and feral.

    #bakuli writes#my fanfiction#sneak peek#arcana fanfic#bakulis spice#the arcana #not tagging everything in this one #don't want to flood the julcio tag too much lol #and this can just be an exclusive little post #where if you come across it you come across it #enjoy! #thanks for your patience! #aiming to have this chapter up by the end of the weekend #i'm really excited to start the next few chapters #shameless fanfiction plug #lucio morgasson#julian devorak#the apprentice
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  • otonymous
    21.10.2021 - 34 minutes ago

    Just in time for a NSFW spooky season...👻🎃

    Description: A new job takes you far from home and into the reaches of a mysterious manor and its equally strange - yet alluring - inhabitants.  Prepare yourselves to enter the world of the seductive unknown in The House on Thorny Cliff. 🏰🔮

    The fantasy starts on Pat*reon (please see link to page in my Pinned Post)! 🔥 - Chapters 1 and 2 now up!

    (Photo in cover courtesy of Nathan McDine - @nathanmcdine on IG)

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  • jasmindoodles
    21.10.2021 - 50 minutes ago

    “I’m not just another number”

    Pairing: Arc trooper Fives x oc
    Word count: 3.1k
    Warning: None

    A/N: Sorry for taking so long with the second chapter ya’ll! Hopefully it won’t take me as long with the next chapter but don’t count on it, I’m terrible at writing!!!

    Chapter: 1 | 2 |

    Chapter 2: In our Favor 

    As Echo makes his way through the palace, growing more and more concerned for the whereabouts of his brother, he comes across a hallway, hearing faint noises of what sounds like a man and woman, he starts walking down the foyer to investigate who those voices belong to.

    Peeking his head into the corridor, he tries to focus on the sound. As he starts to hear the voices clearer he realizes it’s the queen and one of his brothers. Hoping its Fives he starts to pick up the pace but comes to a stop at the end of the hall to poke his head out from around the corner just enough to take a glimpse of the two. 

    What he saw next left him a bit baffled, walking side by side was the queen and Fives, with her arm and hand wrapped around Fives’ forearm; both of them smiling and giggling. Echo had to blink a couple of times, to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating.

     He was about to go walk up to them when a hand grabbed him by the arm pulling him back into the hallway and placing another hand over his mouth. Before he could even react, the figure started speaking in a hushed tone.

    “Echo calm down, it’s me!”

    He recognized the voice, it was General Skywalker! “General-”

    “Shhhhh!! Be quiet Echo or they’ll hear us!” 

    Speaking in a more hushed tone, he asks “General what are you doing?” 

    “I heard you lost Fives, so I decided to lend a hand in finding him and I wanted to get a layout of the palace.” The general then looks over to where Fives and the queen are walking and says with a sly smile and raised eyebrows “Looks like our boy Fives is getting real friendly with the queen.” 

    Rolling his eyes Echo goes on to say “ He’s gonna get himself into trouble.” Anakin just waves him off. “Oh come on Echo, I don’t see anything wrong. They’re just talking, besides this might just work in our favor.” 

    He just looks at the general with disbelief, but also not surprised. “How does this work in our favor? Do you know who Fives is?! This is the guy that can’t keep his eyes on just one prize!” 

    “Oh Echo you worry too much, just relax nothing bad is gonna happen! I’ll make sure of it.” Anakin smiles confidently, while Echo drags both his hands across his face while muffling “We’re doomed!” 

    Anakin just rolls his eyes at Echo's dramatic antics and goes to look back at Fives and the queen. Then all of a sudden he turns Echo around and pushes him into a room that was nearby, telling him “Quick, they’re coming this way!” They quickly get in, and once the door is shut they both press their ears to the door trying to eavesdrop on Fives and the queen’s conversation. To their dismay, it was too muffled and they could hear their voices fading away.

    They looked at each other, Echo asking “Can you hear anything?” Anakin shaking his head no “No, they were probably just passing by the hall. Come let’s see where they went.” He motions him to follow out of the room. Once out, they peer their heads around the corner, but they neither see Fives or the queen anywhere in sight. Echo goes on to say “Great! We lost him! AGAIN!” 

    The general goes on to say “ Ahh, he’ll be fine, they probably just turned the corner. We need to get back to our rooms anyways, the servants will be coming by soon to escort us for dinner with the queen.” Echo answers “But sir we still have an hour and-“ before he could finish, Anakin puts a hand up to stop him from continuing “ Echo I know you’re just trying to look out for Fives, but he’s a big boy, he can handle himself just fine.” Now in a bit of a defeated tone, he answers him “Yes, sir.” As they start to walk back to their rooms, Echo pauses for a moment to look back in concern and then continues to follow the general back to their rooms.

    _________________

    While Echo and Anakin walked back to their rooms, Fives and the Queen turned the corner that led to a large glass double door with two female guards on either side of them. As they get closer to the entrance, the Queen lets go of his arm to stand in front of him, she looks up at him with such gentle eyes that could make any man come crumbling to the ground at her feet. 

    He goes on to say “Well your highness I guess this is where we part ways.” Which made him a bit sad considering how much he was enjoying their conversation and the warmth of her hands on his forearm. 

    Smiling at him while grabbing his hand, she holds it in between hers gently, telling him “Thank you for escorting me to my gardens, Fives. I greatly appreciate it. I enjoyed our little conversation and I hope we can continue it later at dinner. ” Giving a small bow of her head to him, returning the bow to her. 

    “It was my pleasure, your highness. It's a good thing I got lost or I would have never had this pleasure of getting to converse with you.” Smiling at her, she giggles which made his heart flutter, then she goes on to say.

    “Oh and about the art gallery, if you just go back around the corner down the hall you came from and take the left entrance. That should put you back on the right track.” She gives a wink at that. He tries to hold back a smile while nodding in thanks to her as she lets go of his hand, and goes to stand in front of the large door while her guards open them for her to enter the gardens. He waits until the doors are completely closed and then he starts to walk back almost in a daze, flexing and tightening the hand that the queen was holding so gently between hers. 

    Inhaling deeply through his nose while clenching his jaw, he tries to focus on where he’s going. Then he thinks back to what the queen said about continuing their conversation at dinner and then it clicked “Blasted, I almost forgot about the dinner! I need to get back to my room!” Right as he says that he hears a gasp coming from the right of him, it was a servant. Poor girl probably got startled by his sudden outburst, but there’s no time to worry about that now. He has to get back before his captain bursts a blood vessel for making them late. He asked the servant girl if she could escort him back to his room, thinking he didn’t want to waste time getting lost again even though it was fun. She kindly agreed and started guiding him.

    ….

    Finally back, he thanks the servant and proceeds to enter his room. Once inside everyone  in the room had their eyes on him, he asked in confusion “Why’s everyone looking at me?” Echo gets up from where he was sitting “Fives what were you doing? Why didn’t you meet me at the gallery?” A bit irritated at him he answers

    “Because I got lost, ok?!” 

    “Then why didn’t you comm me? I even comed you and you didn’t answer me?”

    “Well, it’s because I got distracted by something.”

    Echo raised an eyebrow and retorted “More like someone.” 

    Fives goes to argue further when Rex stepped in “Enough, both of you!! The servant is going to come by to escort us soon, there’s no time for arguments! Fives, suit up! ” 

    Fives responds to him with a “Yes, sir.” Once he’s out of Captain's view, both he and Echo give each other childish looks in annoyance. Echo mouthing the words “this is your fault” while pointing a finger at him. Fives mouthing back at him “Me!?” While exaggeratedly pointing at himself.

    Rex pinches the bridge of his nose, sighing. Cody on the other hand is just watching the whole thing while chuckling. He pats Rex on the shoulder telling him in a light chuckle “Just be glad I didn’t bring Boil and Waxer, then we really would have our hands full.”

    ________________

    Once Fives is fully suited up and briefed on the dinner arrangements, it only takes a few minutes more for the servants to come and escort them. As they and the generals come out of their rooms the servants guild them down the open corridor. 

    Seeing the queen again has Fives feeling a bit nervous, their earlier conversation felt as though it was a dream. He can't seem to shake off this odd feeling, he can't understand why he is feeling this way and it frustrates him. Before he can gather his thoughts they’ve already arrived at the entrance to the dining room, as the doors slide open the servants wish us a pleasant meal while bowing and retreat. 

    Inside, the room was large and wide with intricate carvings climbing up the walls to the high ceilings reaching the three elaborate chandeliers hanging above a long dining room table that stretches almost to the same length as the room itself. Atop the table laid out an assortment of food garnished by an array of flora, alongside were the engraved silverware arranged perfectly for each guest. 

    Everything was so beautifully arranged but that meant nothing to Fives for his eyes were on the queen standing on the opposite side of the table where they stood, there she stood so heavenly with the sunset glow shining through the grand windows behind her. He made sure to remember this moment in time. 

    Others were standing beside her, thanks to the debriefing they had before arriving, he knew they were part of her royal court. Two of them are her top royal advisers and grandparents, Koa'Kai and Palila Mahon. They were with her in the throne room when they first arrived. Beside them, a taller younger woman around the same age as the queen was dressed in armor, her hair in a braid that reached her mid-thigh, Gana Anako head chief of the queen's royal guards. They all were sporting facial markings similar to the queen, some more elaborate than others. 

    Just then the queen started to speak, it snapped him back to reality for a moment. She spoke in a calm tone "Please, make yourselves at home and take a seat. Safar, could you and the others please serve our guests their drink of choice?" 

    "Certainly, your highness."

    The servant bowed and disappeared for a moment while General Kenobi went on to speak. "Thank you, your highness, for your generous hospitality and not just for the food but also the lavish guest rooms you're allowing us to stay in." As he and the rest take a seat at the dining table, the servants come back pushing carts with a variety of different drinks asking them which one they would like. 

    "But of course general, especially for those who were highly recommended by my friend senator Amidala." The queen says as she takes her seat while a servant pours her drink.  

    Sitting now, General Kenobi went on to say "Ah yes, you two have known each other for quite some time now, am I correct?"

    "Yes! Since we were in our teenage years. Padme started ruling as the queen of Naboo the same year I became queen, we met for trading negotiations, and from then on we've been close friends. Even today we still keep in touch, checking up on one another." 

    At that moment Advisor Palila spoke, "Yes, senator Amidala is such a kind and caring young lady, too bad she couldn't come. It would be nice to see her again after all this time." She says with a sigh. 

    "Yes it would be nice to see her again, but sadly she's off having to deal with a senate that can't make up its mind. I still question as to why she even joined the Republic." Advisor Koa'Kai said in an almost mocking tone while taking a sip of his drink. The queen and her grandmother give each other glances of slight concern but the queen cleared her throat a bit and went on to speak. "Yes, hopefully, she'll be able to visit soon. But for now, we will enjoy the company of our new friends and while we have them here it is best to get to know them." She glances over to the generals and their men with a gentle smile.  

    ___________________

    While everyone's chatting, one of the servants comes to Fives and Echo's side with the cart of drinks and asks them what they would like. Given that Fives isn't too familiar with drinks outside of Coruscant. He responds with,  

     "Um... Uh... You know what? I'll have what the queen is having." Giving a small glance at the queen and back with a cocky smirk. On the other hand, Echo just asked for water while whispering to Fives

    "What if you don't like it?" 

    "Oh come on Echo, how bad can it be?" 

    He whispers back as he takes a sip and immediately regrets it, as the drink burns with a bitter sour taste, it almost makes him spit it back up. Not wanting to offend anyone, he forced himself to swallow it, he struggled to keep his composure which prompted all who sat at the dinner table to look in his direction confused. Rex, in particular, who he's sitting next to, gives the "cut it out" look he knows all too well.

    He gave a hard swallow and cleared his throat, giving an awkward smile to try and mask the burning sensation at the back of his throat. The Advisor Koa'Kai asked with a raised eyebrow "Son, are you alright?"

    "Yes, of course. " Fives answers, eyes watery while trying to hold back from coughing. Not completely convinced they go back to their conversation at hand, Echo nudges him leaning in, and whispers "Real smooth there, buddy." 

    Fives whispers back "Shut up!"

    As the dinner progressed, General Kenobi spoke up again. 

    "I must say, your highness, the rumors about the beauty of this planet don't hold a candle to the truth. It's marvelous how lush and fruitful the planet has become." 

    The Queen smiled at his compliment and was about to speak when her grandfather interjected "Yes, it is. We make sure to take great care of our planet, it's the only home we've ever known, after all."  

    "We take great pride in maintaining our planet's health. Decades back, before my father's family took rulership of Toralu you'd be surprised at how our planet looked, it sure wasn't as beautiful as you see it today." The queen added before taking a bite of her food. 

    ....

    As they were all enjoying the food The queen's grandmother Palila asked in a cheerful tone "Are you all enjoying the food?" 

    Anakin went on to answer her "Oh it's amazing! Haven't had food like this since..... Well..... Let's just say it's been a while." And went back to stuffing his face. 

    "That doesn't surprise me! The Republic can barely keep itself in order. I don't understand how it can maintain an army, but what do I know, I'm just an old relic" Koa'Kai expressed with a less than amused huff. 

    Palila smacks him lightly on the arm " Oh stop it, you! You poor things, it must be so hard to get a decent meal while in battle". Palila said with a sad expression. " Eat as much as you want, especially your men. You boys don't be shy now, you're going to stay well-fed while you're here." Looking in the soldier's direction with a caring smile. 

    Cody answers her " Thank you, ma'am. We'll make sure to follow your orders." Ending it with a smile. 

    Obi-wan went on to ask "Out of curiosity advisor, if I may ask? What is it that you don't understand? I'm interested in knowing other's views on such matters. Especially since we're here to gain your alliance." 

    With a rather unamused expression, he answered the general "Well for one, the Republic haves so-called "peacekeepers" as generals. Last I remembered a peacekeeper prevented conflict and violence but all I can see are Jedi rushing to battle and getting their men killed by the thousands and accomplishing what? Bringing fear and death to an unsuspecting planet?" The advisor gestures to the troopers. 

    Obi-Wan went on to say "I see where you're coming from advisor, but we are fighting for freedom, and yes sometimes that requires us as Jedi to walk a dangerous line but our only intentions are to end the war and restore peace to the galaxy." 

    Anakin asks the advisor "In any case, don't you think liberty is something worth fighting?"

    With a sigh, Koa'Kai answers him "But is it worth the loss of life? In my lifetime, I've seen what war can do to an individual, to its civilians, and to the planets on which you fight upon."

    Obi-Wan was about to say something when Anakin interrupted him " How can you say that when your planet was in conflict years back? That's pretty hypocritical if you ask me."

    Koa'kia's demeanor changed to one of disapproval at the young general's words and responded with "Yes our planet was under conflict many years back, a civil war erupted and it almost destroyed us and our planet. We learned from our mistakes that fighting for something doesn't necessarily mean you have to destroy everything in your path."

    Anakin answered back swiftly. "Sometimes sacrifices have to be made to gain peace, or would you rather have the galaxy under the rule of those who are guided by the dark side?"

    Koa'kia responded with "Not everything is just black and white Skywalker. There are many faces to war, some we cannot see and others we can't understand unless we're on the other side."

    Before anyone could say something else the queen stood up calmly and took a deep breath in to speak "Regardless of the side we take gentlemen, at this moment we are not here to discuss such things. We are here to enjoy each other's company over this lovely meal. I ask that you set aside your differences to relish this time we have together." 

    As she sat back down, Obi-wan spoke " I apologize if we have offended you, your grace." Bowing his head slightly. 

    "As do I, your highness." Koa'Kai bows his head with his hand to his chest.

    "There's no need for apologies, all I ask is for you all to enjoy yourselves. But if you gentlemen want to make it up to me, I have a couple of ideas of how you could." The queen gave a sweet but ominous smile.

    #fanfic #Fives x oc fanfic #kira x fives #fives x kira #arc trooper fives #arc trooper echo #obi wan kenobi #Anakin Skywalker#star wars #star wars fanfic #star wars oc #My OC Kira #kira luana #fives x oc #star wars: the clone wars #The Clone Wars
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  • otonymous
    21.10.2021 - 51 minutes ago

    Sleight of Hand: Part I (MLQC Lucien - NSFW)

    Description: Trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation, how will the appearance of a handsome, mysterious magician shake up your life? A saucy MLQC Alternate Universe (AU) story set in the Victorian era.

    Warnings: By virtue of striving to represent the society of the times in as believable a manner as possible, this fic contains outdated ideas in terms of gender roles in society.  Please know that by no means do I personally espouse any of these values.  With that out of the way, other warnings include: hints at child labour, slight fear, overbearing men, slight allusions to infidelity (nb. really filthy sexual warnings to come in the next chapter 😂)

    Word Count: ~4350 words (23 minutes of mystery and build up of sexual tension 😂)

    Author's Notes:

    To the dear patron who requested this fic, I wonder if you can tell that I totally got carried away by your prompt? 😂 Seriously, I had an absolute blast writing this piece, which is partly why it's become a multi-chapter monstrosity in length. I sincerely hope that everyone enjoys this read! Much love to you all! 🥰

    - XOXO, Otonny 💕

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    “Who is the man in the mirror?  A living, breathing being made of flesh and blood, or merely a figment of your imagination?  Step right up and find out for yourselves good sirs, madams and mademoiselles, at the Travelling Emporium of Curiosities!  The Great Magician Lucien is only here for another fortnight!  Don’t miss your chance for the show of a lifetime!”

    A man with a waistcoat straining beneath the barrel of his gut yells out to the crowd assembled in the square, the brim of his top hat pinched between forefinger and thumb as he bows low in a show as dramatic as his introduction.

    “Curiosities indeed.  Charge you a sixpence just to see some mangy dog in a cage with a man who hasn’t bathed in weeks so they can claim his ancestry from a wild jungle in some far flung corner of the earth.  Come now, the day grows late and we mustn’t keep Lord Roberts waiting.”

    A shadow looms over you, blocking the light of the sun that hung low in the sky — overcast and grey, like the soot-covered buildings of the square, the ships in the rocky waters of the harbour…

    …like life itself.

    “Come now.  Smile.  Frowns are hardly becoming on you, little dove.”

    The shadow shifts as your fiancé moves his face closer to yours. Those features twitch as he feigns a smile you had long ago learned that Henry Young Alden was incapable of feeling; that bred as a gentleman though he was, the man was born with a heart of stone, if any at all.  And though his fiancée in name, you were no more loved by him than a dove could be capable of eliciting even a shred of compassion from one such as he.

    In truth, you were but a trophy; a family tree his father sought to climb.  And the Alden family estate was worth twenty-thousand pounds a year — a lifeline to one such as yours which had grown used to subsisting on the goodwill of those who remembered the heritage of your name while looking askance at your father’s penchant for racking up debts at the gambling tables.

    Rich or poor, daughters were born to be sold.

    And you were no exception.

    So forcing a smile, you nod from beneath the lace trim of your parasol, slipping an arm through the loop of your fiancé’s, outstretched and impatient — more of an order than an invitation.

    “That’s my dove.  Obedient, as befitting my future wife.”

    He does not see the shiver of disgust that makes its way up your spine.

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    “Lucy!  Please Lucy, stop!  Where are we going?”

    “Oh, come on!  Stop being such a spoilsport!  You were the one who wanted to see him, weren’t you?  The handsome magician in that travelling show?”

    Feet turning to lead, you freeze in place on those cobblestone streets.

    “You know that…that Henry has forbidden me to even speak of the show, let alone see it.”

    Your words are quiet, all but swallowed up by the clip-clop of horseshoes and the sounds of carriages rolling past, wheels turning in slim ruts between muddy stones.

    Whirling around, your best friend fixes you with a fiery gaze, ringlets bouncing as if animated with the same enthusiastic breath that always made you go along with whatever mad plan she contrived.

    “Henry Young Alden is nothing but a pompous turkey who struts around wielding authority like he is a warden and not a fiancé.  He thinks he can say and do as he well pleases with you solely because his father has made a fortune in the Indies.  But you...you, my dear, are the friend who is closest to me, like a sister.  And though old Lucy may seem crazy to those who deem themselves to be more sound of mind, please know that I have nothing but your best intentions at heart.

    “I love you, my dearest friend.  And it kills me to see your spirit so dismembered for the sake of keeping your family fortunes afloat.  But even if that nasty Henry Young Alden has your body, I’ll be damned if he thinks he can cage your heart as well!  So what do you say to a final hurrah before the wedding?  Follow your heart’s desire one last time and indulge your curiosities in a little show of magic, shall we?  Oh, do say yes!  What harm could it possibly do?”

    So saying, Lucy’s thin fingers wrap about your wrist and with a quick tug, you let her guide you towards the entrance of the theatre.  Slapping your hand away when you reach for your purse, she pays for both your tickets, erupting in giggles when the toothless cad in the booth saw fit to throw a saucy wink in her direction.

    And as you make your way towards a bank of empty seats in the darkened theatre, excitement a beating drum in your chest, you take a deep breath, finally feeling free to breathe again.

    Lucy was right.  Unconventional though her methods were, your bosom friend was rarely wrong when it came to anything that concerned you.  It was stifling to be in Henry’s presence; worse still when you thought of the debtors that would call upon your house seeking monies owed from your father’s profligate ways.  And anytime you thought you’d just about had enough of the thinly veiled means by which Henry sought to exert further control over your life, the face of your mother — worn by anxiety and sleepless nights — tempered any fire which might have led you to seek to terminate the engagement.

    But here, in the world of this dimly lit theatre, you were nothing but a paying customer, hoping for a temporary respite from the inevitability that awaited once the curtains fell at the end of the show.

    “Shh!  It’s starting!” Lucy exclaims, though in her enthusiasm, she was the loudest of them all.  She tightens the grip of her fingers on your hand as scalloped curtains of crimson velvet lift to reveal…

    …nothing at all.

    A second passes.  Then a moment more.  And just when restlessness begins to make its way through the crowd—

    BOOM!

    Blinding light erupts, bright like a star colliding with the earth’s surface and suddenly, the stage is empty no more.

    Instead, at its centre: a man.

    One the likes of which you’ve never laid eyes on before.

    Tall, lean and effortlessly elegant in clothing befitting that of a gentleman of means, the one on whom the spotlight shone could have easily passed for the son of a distinguished family or a high ranking army officer.  And though his deep voice was tinged with an accent you had come to associate with men afforded the best education money or connections could procure, there was also a touch of the exotic about his raven hair, in the eyes that shone like polished onyx to make his origins difficult to place.

    But you had no time to ponder further; the main act had begun.

    An assistant, a boy of no older than ten, emerged from the wings to roll a large mirror almost thrice his size to centre stage.  And after he had scampered once more out of sight, the magician faced the audience and began to speak.

    “What do you see when you look into the mirror?  The eyes of your father?  The smile of your mother?  Or perhaps the reflection of a lover?”

    Steps smooth and sure, the Great Magician Lucien circles the mirror, turning it round and round upon its axis so the audience below could ascertain the dimensions in its entirety; that, for all the beautifully carved sirens surfacing from its cherry wood frame, it was still just an ordinary looking glass.

    “Society abounds with stories about mirrors: myths, legends…fodder for old wives’ tales.  Some say that a happy couple could unite their souls for all of eternity merely by promising themselves to each other before a looking glass.  Others claim that this mere pane has the power to trap the souls of our dearly departed…or to invite the presence of more malignant beings.”

    A hush falls over the audience, as if some sorcery were to be found in the presence of the magician himself; hiding in the unearthly regality of his bearing, the impossible fluidity of his every movement as he drifts across the stage as if carried on a cloud.

    But perhaps it was his voice that captivated you most of all; deep, reverberating tones that seemed to reach the very core of your soul to speak of secrets shrouded in whispers, of faraway lands and eras long past, so old as to be forgotten by all but those who knew of a time when the divine roamed the earth.

    You felt a connection to the man but could give no coherent reason as to why.

    “Mirrors allow us to see ourselves…”

    Standing before the glass, those dark eyes stare intently at their own reflection even as every other pair in the room remains fixed on him.

    “…but how can we ascertain if what we see is the truth…”

    GASP!

    “…or a lie?”

    “By God!  It must be the work of the Devil himself!”

    Voices of shock and dismay erupt among those assembled in the theatre to see the magician’s reflection in the mirror moving independently of the man who had just stepped off to its side.  The hairs of your skin stand on end, joined by a chill that works its way towards the far reaches of your body.  For not only did the reflection seem to possess a will of its own, the man in the mirror also donned a cream-coloured dress coat where the original had worn black.

    “Dreams,” the magician continues, his audience once again falling silent as if on command, “are like mirrors in this sense.”

    Beside you, Lucy tenses, the interlace of her fingers tightening about yours.

    “How does one distinguish between events of the waking life and those which purportedly only exist in the mind?”

    Onyx eyes sweep over the rapt audience, wandering until they come to rest…

    …on you.

    Ba-bump.

    “And if you could trade the life of dreams for that of the waking, would you do it?”

    It was as if he had spoken directly to you.  Reached deep into the attic of your mind to peruse through every tome of secrets you had assembled therein, thoughts so incendiary and disagreeable they had hidden themselves from the surface of your own consciousness.

    From onstage, the magician and his reflection both extend a hand towards you in invitation.  You are not even given the chance to politely decline before Lucy is pushing you from your seat, grinning widely from ear to ear like a child.

    “Go on!” she enthuses, “You’ll never get a chance like this again in your life!”

    So amid curious murmurs, you take the magician’s outstretched hand — touch cool even beneath white gloves — and allow him to lead you up the wooden steps until you’ve ascended to centre stage alongside him.

    It was hotter than you imagined; waves of heat radiating from the spotlight above you slowly drawing out beads of sweat until your lace collar clung to the back of your neck; the string of pearls that had been an engagement gift from your fiancé feeling altogether too constrictive as you squinted beneath the bright light that had transformed the audience before you into pinpricks of grey, merging with the dark in that theatre.

    And for a moment, it is easy to forget that there was anyone else in that room except for you and—

    “Don’t be afraid.  I will not hurt you.”

    — the man beside you, his whisper so low you couldn’t be sure he had even spoken had his gloved hand not squeezed yours with the covertness of someone reassuring a partner-in-crime.

    Stealing a sideways glance at him, you take in the magician’s raven hair; noting the straight, elegant line of his nose, the masculine set of his jaw.  Up close, he was even more handsome than you had first thought from your vantage point among the audience.  Physically, there was little doubt you were attracted to him.  However — and for reasons you yourself could not quite comprehend — there was something else that drew you to this man, some magnetism beyond the flesh…a most peculiar feeling that spoke simultaneously of excitement and calm, peace and agitation…

    …a sense of homecoming.

    “Pray tell, fairest mademoiselle, what stock do you put into the power of dreams?”

    A featherlight touch on your shoulders and suddenly, you are spun around to face the mirror, the man in the white coat who had been lounging beyond the looking glass now replaced by the bewildered expression of yourself and the handsome Lucien behind you, his intelligent eyes searching yours.

    It was uncanny almost, to see yourself in the mirror with this man; as if the image framed in beautifully carved wood were a portrait commissioned to commemorate a wedding: yours and his, a stranger from a strange land, a man you did not know…

    …a man who wasn’t Henry Young Alden.

    “Dreams…are a fleeting fancy” you breathe.  “A trick of the mind unravelling during long nights and nothing more.”

    Compared to his, your voice seemed so small.  You wondered if you had always sounded that way.

    “Oh?”  Brows raised, the magician gives a soft exclamation.  Slowly, he raises his left arm.

    “And what would you say, mademoiselle, if I were to tell you that the world of dreams is every bit as true as that of reality?  That, if only you were to wish it, a new life awaits you among such ‘fleeting fancies.’  If such an invitation were extended…”

    Hand dropping in a slow arc, the tip of Lucien’s gloved finger comes to rest upon the mirror’s smooth surface.

    “…would you take it?”

    Slowly…slowly…the solid surface of the mirror began to waver, the circumference of ripples spreading wider and wider from their source beneath the magician’s finger, which had yet to move from the spot upon which it had been placed.

    Your lungs burned but you were only marginally aware of it, each breath coming more shallow than the last from the shock of what you could barely dare to believe you were observing up close with your own eyes.  The audience clamoured and shouted at your back, gentlemen and ladies alike growing unrulier by the second by something they deemed could be no more of a trick than the man in the cream-coloured coat had been.

    And as you stared as if entranced at the undulating reflection of yourself and the man beside you, the magician finally releases his hold from the glass.  Palm open and extended towards you in patient invitation, you hear his voice once more, clear amidst the din…

    …and right beside the shell of your ear:

    “Shall we?”

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    Delicately scented jasmine and a hint of smoky sweetness, like burnt sugar.

    It was the smell you awoke to first, nostrils flaring as you struggled with the seemingly insurmountable weight of your eyelids.

    “We have arrived, mademoiselle.”

    Shock giving way to strength, your eyes fly open at the sound: a voice in that same deep baritone that had whispered into your ear onstage, only now, it seemed to resonate from somewhere within you.

    You were in the library at home, your favourite room in all of Chattingham Hall, posture eased into the velvet sitting chair just beside a fire that had burnt down to nothing but a few embers, throbbing faintly orange like the rhythm of a settled heartbeat…

    …and you were completely alone.

    Light streaked through large panes of glass that flanked one wall of the library, cool grey tones signifying the early morning hours before the sun had fully risen in the sky to weave golden threads through foliage of the grounds below — the gardens of which mama had taken under her care and, being her pride and joy, remained one of the few things she had left to take refuge in, whittling away the hours in tending to the thorny brambles of the rose bushes.

    Feet heavy like lead, you nonetheless force yourself to rise - mind trying to wrap its way around the strange string of events:

    You had been in the theatre, of that you were sure; Lucy’s grip on your fingers had been no dream.  And you still felt the touch of the Great Magician Lucien on your shoulders, remembered the acuity of the fear and excitement that burned in your gut to see your refection in the mirror turn into some distorted spectre when the smooth glass transformed into wave-like ripples of a lake — deep and dark and calling to you with all the seduction of a siren’s lure.

    And now here you were.  Home, but not.  For something about the space bristled the edges of your intuition, warning you that not all was as it seemed.

    It was much too quiet, for one.  And even though the number of servants on the estate had severely dwindled since the decline of the family’s fortunes, one could always detect the muted footfalls of others moving about, busy with the upkeep of the manor even before the candles from the night before had completely burned down.

    The smells that had greeted you upon awakening were foreign too.  Mama’s garden never had any jasmine growing in it that you could recall.  And the ever-competent Mrs Buckley — the cook and one of the family’s few remaining servants — had never burnt a meal in your entire life.

    The stark sense of solitude that the eerie silence brought suddenly drove you, not without some desperation, to seek out reassurance in whatever form it may take.  Hurrying to the windows, you search for the sight of trees you had played amongst as a child in the forest that bordered the grounds of your home.

    And that is when you see him.

    A lone figure amongst the roses; that tall, straight posture striking even at this distance.

    There is no mistaking who he is:

    The magician who had brought you to this strange world of semi-reality.

    🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄🪄

    “Please kindly tell me where I am, good Sir.”

    Tense from a mixture of excitement and anxiety, it takes all your composure to squeeze the words from your lungs with even breath.  As if oblivious to your distress, the magician takes his time, an enigmatic smile forming across his handsome face as he settles down onto one knee before you.  Taking up your hand with care, he presses a gentle kiss to the back of it with all the reverence of a pious man’s prayer.

    The touch sparks; the heat of soft lips permeating the fine lace on your gloved hand until it travels to redden your cheeks themselves.  Henry had kissed you thus many times before, but never had it produced such an effect.  And as something shifted inside you, the hard kernel of a seed of passion cracking, you fought against desire to remember your place and position.

    Propriety was everything to a lady’s good name and, by extension, her husband’s.

    Or husband-to-be’s.

    So you hide your reluctance at parting from his touch, pulling away to a safe distance.  Lucien, if that was even his real name, widens his smile.

    He rises to his feet, and the eyes that had seemed onyx within the darkness of the theatre takes on an almost amethyst hue in the thin, grey light.  The man was tall but not imposing in the manner with which he carried himself; the masculinity of those broad shoulders obvious but confined within the black dress coat he wore.

    “Surely you recognize the home of your youth.”  The elegant accent of his voice is much more pronounced with proximity.  “And though I would venture to say that it has seen better days, it must remain a more attractive alternative than the one to which you are soon to consign yourself by marriage.”

    The words leave you flabbergasted.  The man touched on your personal details in ways you never expected.  Had he run in the same social circles as yourself or, at the very least, been considered a local, you might have been less inclined to think twice on it.  After all, you were no stranger to the society papers, having been the topic of at least a handful of articles since your betrothal to Henry Young Alden had been formally announced.

    “For it is the truth that yours is a match poorly made.”

    “I beg your pardon, Sir?  And what could you possibly know of my person that would lead you to make such a presumptuous comment?  I have only just made your acquaintance.  At no time have I made any inclinations as to suggest that my upcoming nuptials are anything but welcomed.”  Heart racing, your face flushes with indignation…or perhaps fear that you had been seen through and through.

    “Ah, but you are quite right, mademoiselle.  The wedding is welcomed by all except the one whose opinion matters most: yours.  I know this because your heart tells me so.  It is in your eyes, in the way your gaze wavers like the minds of the undecided.  You hate him, don’t you? — the man you are to marry.  Can barely stand to be in the same room let alone spend the rest of your life holding up the weight of his name and reputation whilst imprisoned in that cage…”

    He lifts the cane he’d been holding in his left hand.  It looked simple enough, certainly not anything that would’ve roused your curiosity had you not noticed the handle beneath the grip of Lucien’s fingers; its silvery cap exquisitely shaped to resemble the head and horns of a mountain goat, the likeness of which you recalled from sketches in picture books of fauna from your youth.

    And when he extends the tip to pull back the roses like curtains in a theatre, your blood runs cold to see Alden Manor, its grey stone exterior cast in shadow even in daylight.

    “…or would you disagree?”

    It was impossible.

    You could not see Alden Manor with the naked eye even when you peered out beyond the tallest parapet of your mansion.  And yet here it was, a monstrous outcropping sitting right beside Chattingham Hall as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

    “How…how did you…?”  Hands clenching at your sides, your chest constricts, each breath growing more shallow and quick.

    “Oh, I have no hand in this, my dear mademoiselle; you are the sole architect of this world.  For it is your dream that we are in, and here, in this time and space, you reign supreme, my queen…”

    Stepping closer to your person, the sight of Lucien’s broad chest eclipses that of the dreaded Alden Manor and once more, the subtle scent of burnt sugar tinged with notes of crisp jasmine unfurl to envelop your senses.

    “…and I am but your faithful servant, utterly yours to command.”

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    Disgraceful.

    Outrageous.

    Sinful.

    Such were the words that could have described the greedy thoughts that ran through your mind when Lucien intoned those words,

    “…utterly yours to command.”

    Indeed, as if imbued with the power of some magical incantation, they unleashed every filthy desire that ever teased at the corners of your secret imagination; things you daren’t utter even to Lucy in all your years of growing up together as the best of friends.

    And had she been privy to your true capacity for licentiousness, she mightn’t be so quick to judge herself the wild one…the one to lead the flock astray.

    The eyes of smoky amethyst that stared into your own grew darker and darker against the golden sun rising in the sky, the point of Lucien’s pupils expanding until you were touched by a need to throw caution to the wind just to see what it would be like to dive into their glorious depths.

    “You would do anything at all?” you ask.

    The man answers by way of a solemn nod and immediately, your hand flies to your chest, striving to calm the heart that beat with a savage excitement deep within.

    Suddenly, you felt as if you burned — phantom flames nipping at fingers and toes and licking up the sides of your body, stirred to greater heights by the breeze that blew to caress your cheeks like a tender lover.  And you are taken by an intense urge to divest yourself of every last article of clothing:

    Your corset was too tight.

    The lace of your collar scratched.

    And those dreadful pearls.

    Strings upon strings of them piled up around your neck like a collar, tethering you to the promise of a lifetime of woe.

    Hand rising in a half-hearted fist, you clutch at them. The motion draws Lucien’s gaze.

    “If you require further proof that this coward masquerading as a man does not deserve to align himself with you in the holiest of unions, I could show you something else of interest.  I do warn you, my dearest, that it might come as an unpleasant shock, though I daresay you might have already known the truth of it on some level.”

    You consider the words, letting them sink and settle before you respond with a nod.

    Lucien takes your hand in his as if it were the most natural order of things.  And here, in this dream world where you could do and say as you please with impunity, you let him; relishing in the touch of his palm, in the long fingers that interlaced with yours as the handsome magician led you past the wrought iron gates of Alden Manor.

    🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮🔮

    Parts II & III of Sleight of Hand are up now on Pat*reon (please see link in my Pinned Post)! 🪄 Hope you all enjoyed the read! 💕🥰

    "Sleight of Hand" is copyright 2021 Otonymous, all rights reserved.

    #mlqc #mr love queen's choice #love and producer #mldd #mr love dream date #mlqc lucien#mlqc smut #mlqc lucien smut #mlqc fanfic#my writing
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  • moonrvsworld
    21.10.2021 - 57 minutes ago

    Dim The Light, Mr.Kim

    (chapter 2)

    I wont believe this guy. His silly smile, his giggle, or idiot taste of randomly act seems like a camouflage . He’s totally hazardous more than you ever think. A type of guy who will never let you go until you whine under his move.

    ****

    This is insane. Seoho has never been feel the happiness like this for the last ten years of his life. Its sounds dramatic but that’s the fact. He even too excited to inhale the air after he walked out from the agency’s building. He was doubt before he took this decision. Kim Geonhak seems like a person who just want to play with money and boys. He totally asshole, especially when he get drunk. He really left Seoho the wrong impression, about how clingy that guy when he looks like need a lot of love.

    But who cares?

    Seoho was busy to think that his goal is only one step ahead now. He knows someday the chance will come, whether from the hard or unpredictable ways. Such as Geonhak, the thing he couldnt deal with.  People say miracle appear  the last, and the last thing to remember about Geonhak was just about their kiss.

    AH, HOW  TO SAY IT? A LITTLE BIT LAME?

    “Excuse me, here’s your order.”

    Seoho nooded to the waitres. He choosed  the table at the corner and start to check out his phone. Not much information that he should reply as soon as posibble until the last message pop up on the screen.

    He starts feeling worry. They just know each other for couple days, but Geonhak always acts like he is the last prince who became the hero. He didn’t get the point, or what? Seoho tried to reach Geonhak by calling him. He only answered by the long ring tone which finally send him to the mail box.

    WHAT A JERK! HE ONLY HAS A DICK BUT TOTALLY BRAINLESS.

    Seoho must put save the celebration for another day. Even with the iced cappucino on his hand, he must catch the next bus in a minute.

     ***

    “I quit, Sir.”

    Seoho’s voice sounds like a rat squeak. He tried his best to gather all the courage so he finally can make this decision. That ugly little guy slipped his cigarette between his dark thick lips. His fingers move so fast pressing the calculator after his eyes send the information of the numbers at the paper.

    “Seoho, Im busy now. You can come later, okay?

    Seoho sighed deeply. He must do it now or never. For so many years he let his life suffered under someone else’s decision. Since he couldnt take it anymore, he must take a big step to run. Doesn’t matter how hard the journey later, the outside world is the most suitable place for his soul.

    “Sir, I just wanna tell you this. Not even take five minutes for me. I quit. I already join the audition at the biggest agency and they accepted me. Perhaps this week is my last performance at you lounge.”

    Now the boss stop his hand’s movement and staring at Seoho like he is the alien who come from Mars.

    “The hell are you talking about? Dont say such a bullshit at this hour, Seoho. You really pissed me off.” The curt tone of his words made Seoho suddenly lose his recklessness.

    “Im serious now, Sir. I found another chance to reach my dream, so I hope this time you wouldn’t mind to let me go.”

    That guy suddenly pounding the table. All the papers fall down on the floor when he stood up and approached Seoho.

    “Say that silly thing again, you little bastard!”

    The boss grabbed Seoho’s neck and suffocated him with all his strength. The anger was burnt like hell. Even when Seoho knew that the situation could be worst, he still shock with his reaction. What if the ugly guy decided to slit his throat? This is the best way to do the murder. Seoho didnt try to look away from the intense glare and tense face of his boss.

    “I will forgive you this time for saying those nonsense,” he whispered. His voice was like snake hiss. Sharp and deadly.

    “It’s- its not a nonsense, I will retire.”

    Seoho tried so hard to explain, but the hand’s grip feels like the sword tip. Seoho try to awake as much as he can. He dont wanna die in this dirty place.

    “Listen to me you naughty rat, I need you to remember about who you are right before you got all the attention here,” said the boss furiously. “You just a trash. People wont look at your sense of nothing about your dream being an artist. This is your place. Right under my palm, which helped you from the misery. Just because you think you’re talented, doesn’t mean you worth to choose your own willing. Even your life isn’t enough to pay every little thing that I’ve done for you.”

    Seoho cannot answer anymore. He cough couple times and run out of air. His stuffy lungs made his visions turned to vague. Seoho grabbed his boss wrist just to make him stop. But no one can imagine how that little ugly guy can pushed Seoho into the wall caused by another big chance of death. He almost fainted when he saw another black siluet approached. He frowned and glanced to someone behind the boss who pointed a gun right on his head.

    The time stopped between them. That little ugly guy tried to take a glare about who are the fucking person that standing beside him now. The relived feeling crept its way into Seoho’s stomach.

    “Let your dirty hand go from him,” told Geonhak in his the most serious mode.

    The boss snorted sarcastically. “Ah, Mr. Kim? I think we prefer talk this shit in some relax way than pointing the gun on me. You’ll get nothing.”

    Geonhak pulled the trigger without any hesitate. Even Seoho’s body got shiver just by looking into his cold bloody eyes.

    “I dont wanna waste my time to talk with you,” he replied. His deep voice makes the situation even worst now.

    “Okay, okay, I’ll let this brat away.”

    The boss released Seoho’s neck. He took a step back and try to breath as much as possible.

    “Sit down!”

    Geonhak gave another command and pulled Seoho to stay behind his back. The boss sat with annoyed face.

    “You’re the last customer, right?” he asked towards Geonhak. “And you pay for surprising amount of money just to talk with this jerk.”

    Suddenly Geonhak shoot the floor near the boss’s foot. The explosion sound echoed all over the room. Seoho jumped from his spot and look at Geonhak surprisingly.

    “What the fuck are you doing?” yelled the boss with his scared face.

    The scent of gun powder made Seoho sick. He need to run out of that place quickly but he suddenly feel that leaving Geonhak right now is not a good idea.

    “First of all, he’s not a jerk. Im probably wont spent all  my money in one night just to see a jerk. Second of all, I want you to let him go from this place.”

    The boss looked at him with counfusing expression.

    “Are you a person who give him chance to join that stupid audition? What does he means for you?”

    “Means everything,” Geonhak answered so straight.

    Seoho almost forget his vexation towards Geonhak after he heard that words. While the boss suddenly laugh so hard.

    “Oh my God. Listen dude, I dont even know whats going on between ya’all but this is ridiculous. If you think you can bring that kid out of this shit, then you better try your luck next time.”

    That intimidating words surely tested Geonhak’s patience. That guy put the gun on boss’s head and get ready to pull another trigger.

    “Am I look like a joke to you? I’ll risk everything in my life just to take Seoho walk away from here,” he whispered.

    Geonhak pulled something from behind his suit. A piece of paper. Seoho squinted his eyes to make sure that his prediction was true. It’s a check with written nominal that he couldnt see it clearly.

    “I know you through the crisis for almost two years and that’s why you kept make him stay as your money machine all this time. Is it enough to solve your problem?”

    The boss didnt say anything. Now he looks so doubt about the situation.

    “I cant offer you more than this, Sir,” Geonhak continued. “You take it or leave it. Or dead with the bullet stay inside your head.”

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  • fawnandshadows
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    You Painted Me Golden — Chapter 5

    Summary:  Elain enters her reputation era. This chapter includes: girl talk, confrontations, and first times.

    This story can also be found on AO3

    Rating: 18+

    Warnings: NSFW

    Chapter 5 — I Did Something Bad

    They say I did something bad — Then why’s it feel so good?

    The silk sheets of Azriel’s bed clung to Elain’s sweaty back and the sound of the wooden bed frame hitting the wall rang out through the room — it was accompanied by Azriel’s heavy breathing, the high-pitched moans creeping out of Elain’s throat, and the repetitive slapping of skin as Azriel thrust into her. The hard bud’s of Elain’s breasts grazed against Azriel’s damp chest, she had just found out that night how sensitive they were, and Azriel wasn’t afraid to torture her with that information.

    His rough hand grasped her left knee, the one with the evidence of their bargain marked upon it, and lifted her leg up higher. Elain’s scream reached an octave she didn’t know was possible as he reached deeper in her than ever before.

    When she had knelt before him earlier that night in order to rid Azriel of his clothing, she was shocked at the sight of his cock — thick and veiny and glistening right before her eyes. The length startled her, and she suddenly wondered if she had gotten in over her head, but the deep moan Azriel let out as her fingers drifted over his sensitive skin caused her insides to warm and briefly swept away all her worries. Elain had the urge lick the blunt tip of him, and briefly thought about ignoring it, but the way his glazed, golden eyes stared down at her through heavy lids practically dared her to do it.

    His hand fisted in her hair at the touch of her tongue, and he pulled her head back abruptly — otherwise he ran the risk of coming right there on her face, even though the image of Elain covered in his seed was deeply appealing. This was so like the dream he had while he was away that Azriel was almost convinced himself that he was dreaming again, but he wasn’t. Azriel had forgotten his strength and accidentally jerked her head back a little too roughly, but the way Elain’s cheeks flushed and the small sound that escaped her told Azriel everything he needed to know. His little fawn liked it.

    She looked at him with wide, trusting eyes and Azriel said, “We have time to explore that later.”

    Azriel had shadow-walked her home this morning back to the river house. He placed the most delicate of all kisses on her cheek and stepped away before the door opened to a fuming Rhysand.

    “Get. In. Here. Now.” Rhysand said through clenched teeth, his violet eyes were spitting fire at Azriel. Elain felt a blush scorch her cheeks as she realized she hadn’t bathed since yesterday morning — everyone in the house could smell the evidence of what she and Azriel had done last night.

    Elain quickly walked past her brother-in-law as he held the door open for her, and she noticed that Rhysand didn’t wait for Azriel. He followed her as she walked into the living room off to the side, where Feyre was sitting having tea. Her sister looked pale as she held a delicate, porcelain tea cup and stirred in her sugar. The faint tapping of the silver spoon echoed throughout the room as they waited for Azriel to join them, and Elain felt the sinking suspicion that she and Azriel were about to be scolded like a couple of teenagers.

    Rhysand was clenching his jaw so tightly that Elain thought his teeth would shatter completely. He stood with crossed arms watching his Spymaster and sister-in-law. Elain knew exactly how they looked. They both wore the same clothing from yesterday; Elain’s blue dress had lost some of its luster and gained wrinkles and creases from where it laid at the foot of Azriel’s bed, there was even a tiny tear that appeared when Azriel had taken it off, and the bow tied at the back of her neck had gone limp. Her hair was knotted, tangled, and frizzed from the friction of Azriel’s pillow.

    Azriel didn’t look too different. His clothes were oddly neat, but a pleased smile graced his lips.

    “What the fuck were you thinking?” Rhysand growled, his violet eyes burning bright as he looked at them. They were a respectable distance apart, but only a fool wouldn’t be able to tell what they were doing just hours ago. Elain was certain that their scents were so laced together that no fae would be able to tell where one scent began and the other ended, especially with the heady smell of desire radiating off of them. Elain loved the aroma so much, the aroma of them that she wanted to bottle it into a perfume and wear it everyday.

    Elain fought the urge to reach for Azriel’s hand for strength. If they were going to act like it was a one time thing she would have to distance herself. She took a deep breath.

    “I’m not sure how it’s any of your business.” Elain said in a voice that wasn’t unkind and clasped her hands behind her back. She didn’t want anyone to see that they were shaking.

    “You’re our sister, Elain,” Feyre said delicately from the couch with an expression of confusion and concern. “We worry when you don’t come home.”

    Nuala and Cerridwen must have kept her secrets.

    “It wasn’t as if I met some random male, I was with Azriel,” Elain said, her gaze flickered to him to see his stony expression. “I was safe.” If she didn’t know better she would have thought the words had no effect on him, but she did know better. His shoulders relaxed just a bit, and his hands were no longer fisted to the point of showing white knuckles, but they were still balled into fists at his sides.

    Rhysand pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, and he was most likely counting to ten.

    “That is besides the point,” Rhys grunted. He opened his eyes and ran an annoyed hand over his face. His glare fixated on Azriel. “Are you incapable of thinking without your cock?”

    Azriel’s stare turned deadly, and Elain moved before the two brothers came to blows.

    “It was my idea!” She exclaimed, fury bubbled in veins. “I was the one that suggested we leave and…” Her face burned under the eyes of her sister and brother-in-law. Elain wasn’t a prude, as Azriel was aware, but that didn’t mean she wanted ther family knowing the intimate details of her life. “I was the one that wanted a night together. I’ve been attracted to Azriel since I laid eyes on him, and I wanted to act on it.”

    Rhysand turned green and looked vaguely disgusted. Feyre, however, looked more confused than ever.

    “A night?” Feyre asked.

    “Yes,” Elain said with confidence. “One night. We decided it would be for the best if we had one night together to get this… attraction out of our system.” Her stomach curdled at the lie and the heavy silence emanating from Azriel. He knew, Elain comforted herself, he knew that she was lying.

    They say I did something bad — but why’s it feel so good?

    “I’ve never done this before.” Elain said as she straddled him. Azriel twisted them around, allowing Elain to rest on top of him — her breasts presented to his hungry eyes, and he delighted in the fact that her hair tried desperately to hide the rosy peaks that pebbled forward. Elain felt exposed on top of him like this, but the desire etched plainly on his face and the warm, firm hands that clasped her hips made her feel safe.

    She felt his hardness slide against her slick center, and Elain was in awe of the fact that he was able to go again so soon after his release. Azriel’s stamina was added to the ever growing list of surprises that she discovered about him tonight.

    His cock twitched and poked at her as Elain slid against him. The animalistic growl that came from his throat told her that he didn’t appreciate the way she was teasing him, so she bit her lip as she raised herself up just to lower onto his impressive length.

    Elain felt overwhelmingly full. It felt different being on top, but she wanted to try it. All she could feel was how tauntly she was stretched around him to the point of discomfort. The look of complete and utter bliss on his face made her hesitate, but he had asked her to be vocal about what she felt. She decided to take a little more of him, but abruptly stopped. It hadn’t felt like this when he was on top, it was utterly delicious when he was sliding into her, but now she felt him too much.

    “Az?” She asked in a tentatively small voice which caused his eyelids to fly open. “I think you’re too big. At least, it's too big for me — this way.” Elain whispered sheepishly. An embarrassed blush spread across her body, but as soon as the words were out of her mouth he immediately had her on her back. Her head towards the foot of the bed while their feet nudged the pillows, his wings above them.

    “I’m sorry,” Azriel sputtered. “I forget how large I am sometimes, and you were taking me so well before.”

    It was Azriel’s turn to blush, but her discomfort had eased in this position, and soon that heavenly warmth was pooling in her core once again.

    Elain used the tip of her index finger to trace the length of his nose and asked, “Maybe we could work our way up to it? I’d like to try again some day.” She gave a bashful smile.

    Azriel smiled a boyish smile in return, and Elain noticed a small indent in his cheek. She let out a gasp, and immediately pressed her pinky into his cheek.

    “You have a dimple!” Elain exclaimed.

    “What? No I don’t.” Azriel replied. His smile had faded into a look of confusion, which Elain had found utterly charming.

    “Yes you do,” Elain stated and pressed down into the spot the dimple had been. “Right there.” Elain giggled as Azriel turned his head to nip at her pinky.

    His hips shifted ever so slightly, but it was enough to cause a ripple of pleasure in her, and soon one of his arms was propped beside her head while the other grasped her hip as he drove into her again, and again. All laughter had faded into breathless sighs, which in turn became wails of euphoria as Azriel’s cock hit the sensitive spot deep inside Elain. She clenched around him and screamed as he bit her shoulder — their climaxes coming at the exact same time.

    “You did something bad, Elain.” Feyre said, breaking Elain out of her vivid, vivid memories of the night before. She was suddenly grateful her hair was down and covering her shoulders. It was one thing to smell them on eachother, Elain couldn’t help but think Rhysand would have an even stronger reaction if he saw the bite mark Azriel had left on her shoulder. Elain, on the other hand, would run to a mirror as soon as she got the chance. “Lucien is a good male, and he didn’t deserve what you did to him,” Feyre scolded. “I remember what it felt like when I thought Rhys was interested in someone else at the Summer Court. It was completely awful.”

    But if he drops my name, then I owe him nothing

    Elain couldn’t stop the twinge of guilt that threaded through her, but he had claimed her as his mate to a complete and total stranger.

    “Lucien,” The name dripped like acid from Elain’s tongue. “Was acting as if I had accepted the bond, and I hadn’t. I was practically starving for a week because everytime I picked up food he would get this hopeful look on his face. And nobody even noticed. He,” Her hands tightened in anger at the situation, she hated that she was somehow portrayed as an evil shrew for tempting Lucien with the mating bond when she had done nothing. “He claimed me as his mate to complete strangers at Rita’s.

    A growl tore through the room, and Elain turned to look at Azriel. The shadowsinger looked like wrath incarnate; Shadows swirling around him to create a black, murky aura. Truth-teller gleamed on his thigh, and a pulse of blue glowed from his siphones. His expression promised war and vengeance, but it was darkly arousing. Elain could help the rush of arousal that overcame her and pooled between her legs, and by the way that his hazel eyes met hers, she was certain that everyone was aware of the effect the shadowsinger had over her.

    “One night?” Rhysand asked violently, and Elain clenched her teeth to hold her aggravation at bay.

    “Yes,” Elain repeated. “We don’t want to jeopardize our friendship, or the inner circle. It would be awkward, to say the least, if we decided to get involved and have our relationship turn sour. I,” She calmed herself. “I would never forgive myself if I came between Azriel and his family.”

    That one sentence seemed to dispel some of the tension in the room. The High Lord and his Spymaster were still tinder ready to combust at the slightest spark, but a weird, uneven peace blanketed the room.

    “I don’t understand,” Feyre said, her brows furrowed. She took a small sip of her tea. “Why say you want to explore the mating bond just to explore your… attraction to Azriel?” Her blue eyes looked soft upon her sister.

    Elain, standing tall with crossed arms and a determined set to her jaw, said, “I didn’t.” And set her gaze directly upon Rhysand, who turned bashful at his mate’s stare.

    “I may have been scheming again, Feyre darling.”

    I can feel the flames on my skin

    Azriel’s tongue glided along the column of her neck leaving a trail of fire in its wake. His large hands slowly wandered across her body, which was languid after their second bout of lovemaking. A sleepy, sedate moan rippled out of Elain as Azriel trailed his tongue into the hollow of her collar bone.

    “You have lovely collar bones,” Azriel muttered, his lips a whisper on her skin. “But then everything about you is lovely.”

    Elain opened her heavy eyes and took in the delicious sight of a rumpled Azriel after sex. Warmth started churning deep within her from the look of Azriel alone; His eyes were smoldering as he gazed up at her, his raven hair was sticking out in every direction, and the smile on his face was satisfied and sinful. It was a sight that she wanted to see everyday.

    Elain was sprawled on her back with her arms thrown up over her head, and her legs spread to accommodate the heavy male laying on her. She welcomed the heavy weight of him.

    “You know what I was surprised to learn?” Elain questioned, and continued when Azriel lifted a dark brow. “That your bottom looks just as cute nude as it does clothed.” She smiled at the light blush that appeared on his cheeks, and she took the opportunity to pinch said bottom which caused Azriel to jump slightly.

    “You mean to tell me,” Azriel said and propped himself up on his forearms. “That while I have been waxing poetic in my mind about the lilt of your voice, and your undeniable grace, and your beauty that rivals anything in the natural world, you’ve been thinking about my butt?”

    She didn’t try to stifle the laugh that erupted out of her.

    “I can’t help it. It’s so distracting and cute,” Elain started laughing so hard a small tear trickled down her cheek. “It’s taken all of my self control not to p-pinch it during one of your training sessions, or just whenever you're standing in front of me. You have a very pinchable bottom, Shadowsinger.”

    Azriel looked at her in amazement, and leaned down to press his lips against her lone tear. He supposed if he was going to make her cry it was better to be from laughter than from heartache.    

    He sighed and said, “You have permission to pinch my butt whenever you like.”

    His kiss muffled the sounds of delight that she made.

    It was a soft kiss at first, just a brushing of lips, but it turned molten like all of their other kisses that night.

    Elain felt as Azriel shifted weight to one warm as the other slid down her skin, stopping momentarily to show appreciation for her breast, before gliding over her stomach and settling between her thighs.

    Long fingers slid up and down her wet folds, and Elain found herself mewling into Azriel’s shoulder. Two seconds ago she was sated beyond belief and all it took was Azriel’s touch to make her needy for more. She lifted her hips, eager for more of his touch, but he just whispered in her ear,

    “Relax. Let me take care of you,” His voice was low and silky, and she wanted to hear more of it. “You were so good, taking all of my cock. It stretched you so much, didn’t it?”

    Elain managed a jumble of syllables, but her eyes were closed and she was too absorbed in her desire to form words.

    She felt a sharp sting as he flicked her clit.

    Her eyes opened wide at the sudden change, his fingers had stilled, and she saw the devilish look on his handsome face.

    “Didn't it?” Azriel repeated.

    “Yes, you stretched me so much,” She said and was rewarded as he moved his fingers once again. “No one has ever filled me as much as you did,” A growl was pulled from deep inside of him. She shifted her legs so that one was draped over his, giving him better access. “No one ever will.”  

    His humid breath tickled her neck as he bent his head to hers. His fingers started working her faster, and one plunged deep within her.

    “I’m going to fuck you everywhere,” Azriel promised. “I’ll fuck your pretty little mouth, and I’ll be the only who knows what your perfect lips look like wrapped around my cock. I’ll fuck you right here,” One of his fingers drifted lower, towards a place no other male had touched her. “The next day when you’re bent over your garden I’ll be tempted to fuck you again, and when we are all gathering for dinner I’ll be the only know who knows the reason why you’re fidgeting in your seat,” Elain grew hot at his words and started thrusting her hips to the pace he had set with his hand, another finger joined the one inside of her. “And tomorrow I’ll think about how greedily you fucked yourself on my hand,” Flames started licking at her skin as she clenched around his fingers. “For the rest of my life I’ll be thinking about how no female felt as perfect as you around my cock.”

    His thumb came up to press against her clit, and the flames consumed her. With a loud scream she released herself around his fingers, and she was surprised that her third orgasm of the night was just as strong as the first two.

    “I love knowing that you scream when you come.” Azriel said gently in her ear.

    He says, “don’t throw away a good thing”

    “He left you a note, Elain.” Feyre said and gestured to the small table in front of her where her tea set was placed. For a moment Elain didn’t realize who she was talking about.

    “Lucien? Has he left?” Elain asked, her delicate brows raised in surprise.

    “Imagine that,” Rhysand said, his voice teetering between sarcasm and spite with an overall air of cattiness to it. “He didn’t want to stay around while his mate was fucking someone else.”

    The words stung deep and sharp, but Elain kept her chin high. She didn’t want to give Rhysand any form of satisfaction.

    “Be careful how you speak about Elain.”  

    The words were soft spoken, but they made everyone go on edge. There was an unspoken pledge in Azriel’s voice — that he would gladly inflict pain upon anyone that would demean Elain, including Rhysand. The tentative peace that settled over them completely evaporated.

    “Yes,” Feyre said and stood. She slowly made her way to the rest of the group and handed Elain the letter that was left for her. “Be careful how you speak about my sister.”

    It was obvious that the two of them were speaking mind-to-mind, so Elain took the opportunity to read the letter.

    Elain,

    I am sorry for whatever offence that I did to cause you to take such drastic actions, and I want you to know that I did it unwittingly. I thought we were finally making progress, and finally working towards being  fully mated. I thought it was best that I put distance between myself and you know who. I hope to hear from you soon. Please, I beg you, don’t throw away a good thing — especially for someone so beneath you. I have known of him for the longest time, and I say with confidence that you are too good for him.

    Yours,

    Lucien

    Elain was seeing red. Whatever sympathy she had been feeling towards Lucien fizzled out and morphed into something ugly. How dare he? He doesn’t know Azriel, and he certainly doesn’t know me, Elain thought. The heavy handedness of the letter, the pompous, arrogant male who wrote it — it all caused Elain ball the letter up and toss it into the simmering fire. It was one thing for him to make assumptions about her, she could see the effects of the mating bond causing some of his emotions, but how dare Lucien say that Azriel wasn’t good enough for her, as if she would be soiled by being in his mere presence.

    Don’t throw away a good thing? They didn’t even have a thing. Not one singular thing did they have between them.

    She was quietly raging by the fireplace, watching as the flames licked at the paper until it turned into nothing but ash. The mated couple were too absorbed in silent conversation to notice Elain and the brave, friendly shadow that was comforting her.

    It was the same one that was sent to her before, the one Elain left in her bedroom, it had the same cat-like quality to it. It curled around the hem of her dress and then her ankles, and the warmth coming off of it matched the warmth of the fire. Elain watched as it danced through the air, swirling and settling around her neck. It felt like the nose of some small animal nuzzling into her.

    Elain let out a small giggle.

    “Would it be terribly uninspired if I called you Shadow?” She whispered to it, and it just brushed against her cheek lovingly. Unintentionally she looked over to Azriel, who was staring at her with wide eyes. He looked surprised. She wanted to ask him why, but Rhysands voice broke the quiet of the room.

    “I’m sorry, Elain,” He said, looking thoroughly put in his place after Feyre’s scolding. “I — I didn’t mean to insult you. It’s just that,” Rhysand took a deep breath and his face was more vulnerable than Elain had ever seen . “I remember what it was like when Feyre was still with Tamlin. I remember how it felt when she would…” He trailed off and suddenly everyone in the room was blushing except Azriel. Elain didn’t exactly want to hear the details of Feyre and Tamlin’s relationship, in fact she always felt a deep surge of guilt when she thought about how Feyre was suffering and she didn’t do anything to stop it. Rhysand let out a deep sigh, one that spoke of his tiredness and for once he actually looked his centuries old age. “I just hope Lucien doesn’t call him out,” His chin nudged towards Azriel. “For the blood duel.”

    The conversation ended as Cassian and Nesta charged down the stairs. Cassian with his wolfish smile and Nesta with her catty grin entered the room and they all waited for breakfast to be served.

    It just felt so good

    “It just felt so good,” Elain said, setting her cup of tea down with extra precision. She was liable to slosh the liquid right over the rim of the cup with all of her excitement — she felt as if every nerve in her body had been electrified and then dunked in water and wrung out. “Not just good, but right.”

    Nuala and Cerridewen sat on the opposite side of the wooden table in the dimly lit kitchen. They wore twin expressions on their faces: sly grins that always made Elain wonder what they knew, dark eyes that seemed to absorb light, and dark, expressive brows. The twins showed more of their true forms to Elain than anyone else, besides Azriel and Rhysand. Even for their High Lady, whom the twins respected and liked, some of their features remained shrouded in shadows. It was second nature to them as spies to remain at least partly shadowed, ever since they had befriended Elain Azriel was sending them on missions less and less, but they never knew when those missions were going to occur. It was easier for them to remain partly in the shadows, but they dropped them completely around Elain.

    “That’s not surprising,” Cerridwen said and took a sip of her tea. The whole room had taken on the aroma of mint from their tea, but it hadn’t done a thing to calm Elain. “We have seen the two of you together — your bodies are always perfectly insync.” She smiled kindly at Elain, but the spark in her dark eyes told Elain that she had observed more than that.

    “Are they really?” Elain asked eagerly and pressed her palms flat against the table.

    “Definitely, it looks as if you two had been around each other for hundreds of years. You two can work together in silence and never miss a beat, remember for Cassian’s birthday last year? When the master helped with the cookies?” Nuala said, the golden stud in her nose glimmered from the flicker of the fae light in the room. It was the easiest way to tell them apart, Nuala had a golden stud in her nose and Cerridwen favored multiple golden earrings in her ears — Elain always marveled that they never tangled and pulled at her curls. That was the other way to tell the twins apart: Cerridwen's hair was curlier and Nuala preferred doing her hair intricate braids. “It helps that he can’t keep his eyes off of you.”

    “Truly?” Elain said, her fingers digging deeper into the wood. “He can’t keep his eyes off of me?”

    “As if you don’t know,” Cerridwen said with a laugh and waved Elain off with a flick of her wrist. “I remember how you had to get your hair off of your neck because you were so overheated,” The wraith sighed dramatically and gathered her curls on top of her head, in a surely exaggerated pantomime of Elain, and then fanned herself off with her hand. “I’m sure the fact that you were in a dress with a scandalously low-cut bodice never crossed your mind, especially considering how heavily you were breathing.” Cerridwen dropped her hair, the curls falling heavily around her face, and Elain felt her face burn at Nuala’s laughter.

    “Remember when the frosting accidentally fell onto her bosom?” Nuala said, laughing at the memory, her voice made it clear that she didn’t think it was an accident at all.

    Elain did remember that part of the night. A dollop of vanilla frosting had fallen right into her cleavage, and she didn’t want it to get onto the fabric of her party dress, so she used her finger to scoop up the cream before popping it into her mouth. She just so happened to look at Azriel to notice intense gaze upon her mouth and the finger that was cushioned between her lips. Had he been watching her the entire time they had frosted the cookies?

    “It was nice,” Elain said, and tucked a strand of hair behind her pointed ear. “To be with him like that.” Her voice was low, as if her words were too delicate to be said aloud— like the hope that accompanied those words would be immediately trounced upon by someone trying to keep her and Azriel apart. A small sigh escaped her as she thought of her family that would soon be running through the door. “I miss him already.”

    “Who said the night had to be over?” Cerridwen said with a wicked grin.

    “What do you mean?” Elain asked, a small fire of hope burned brightly in her chest.

    “Well,” Nuala said with an identical smile to her sisters. “We know where he lives when he doesn’t want anyone to find him, and we can take you to him. Shadow-walk you, like we did during the war.”

    Elain chewed on her bottom lip, a rush of excitement and some nervous jittey feeling churned within her.

    “He won’t mind?” She asked with a hesitant smile, and the broad grins of her friends put her at ease.

    “Of course not.” Cerridwen said and abruptly stood up in a fluid showcase of grace, and her sister followed suit. Elain joined them, not nearly as graceful as the shadow wraiths, and clasped their outstretched hands. Her wide eyes watched as the edges of her friends frames feathered until their forms became complete shadows, and then those shadows enveloped her — for a brief instant Elain was suspended in time and shadow, a coolness settled around her, and then the darkness cleared and gave way to a bland apartment door.

    “Here?” Elain asked the swirling shadows of her friends and looked around the unassuming hallway. She didn’t know what to expect, but it made sense that the shadowsinger would choose a basic, clean apartment to live in and not one with the extravagant taste that their High Lord perferred.

    The shadows didn’t respond, but Elain watched as one hand manifested and formed into a fist to knock loudly on the door. Elain blinked and her friends had completely disappeared.

    She heard a metallic clang, and then nothing.

    Elain stared at the door, her hands curled into her dress, and watched as it slowly opened to reveal a shirtless Azriel holding Truth-teller.

    “Do your attackers usually knock first?” Elain asked, eyeing the dagger.

    “How did you get here?” Azriel asked. His voice was flat, but Elain managed to catch a brief flash of surprise in his hazel eyes. His one arm was reached out to hold the door knob, blocking her view of his apartment.

    “Our mutual friends.” Elain grinned and Azriel relaxed his shoulders briefly, but then tensed again.

    “You’re here? Alone?” Azriel asked, his hazel eyes wide and almost frightful, no that couldn’t be right. It wasn’t possible, Elain thought, that the fearsome shadowsinger was frightened at the thought of having Elain alone at his apartment in the middle of the night.

    “Yes,” Elain said smiling and leaned forward to peer inside his apartment. From what she saw it looked incredibly bare, as if it was never used, but she wanted to see more than the brief glimpses she got from straining her neck. She looked up at him. “May I come in, please?”

    She watched as his jaw tightened, his hand still clenched around the door knob, but he took a grudging step to the side. She heard him say, “I wasn’t expecting company.” as she stepped over the threshold and around him to see where he lived when he wanted to be alone.

    Elain couldn’t determine if his residence was unnaturally clean, or just empty. There was nothing hanging from the walls, no decorations to brighten the space up, in fact, there wasn’t anything homey about this space at all. Yes, space, that’s what it was. It was a space with practical furniture and appliances with enough room to feel comfortable, there wasn’t an object that she could see that held any sentimental value.

    There were shoes by the door, Elain noted and hid her smile that formed at his expense, as if he didn’t want the rest of his apartment to get dirty. She snuck a peek at Azriel’s feet and saw that they were bare, long toes nestled into the cushioned carpet, and she immediately moved to step out of her slippers.

    “You don’t have to.” Azriel started, but Elain cut him off with a bright grin. She wanted to make him feel comfortable with her presence here, so she would follow his rules.

    “I want to get comfortable.” Elain replied and watched as his expression turned heated, he slowly closed the door, and Elain thought it was to give her the opportunity to leave. “I rather like being barefoot. As a child I would run barefoot all the time, I loved the feel of the earth beneath me, and my mother would always wrestle with me to put my slippers on. She would throw a fit whenever she noticed that I would sneakily take them off whenever her back was turned.”

    Azriel could picture it: A small Elain stuffed into a gown of her mothers choosing, a determined look in her eyes and a too sweet smile on her face, biding her time and waiting for the opportunity to do what she wanted.

    “I was just having dinner,” Azriel said, putting Truth-teller back into it its home and rubbing the back of his neck anxiously. “Would you like some?”

    “I would love some.”

    The smile that bloomed on Azriel’s was worth any headache her family might become. To see him smile a smile that was free and comfortable and easy was worth an endless amount of toil.

    So, light me up

    “How was it?” Nesta whispered over her cup of tea, and Elain bit back a smile.

    “It was the most fun I ever had, and I’d do it over and over again.” Elain replied and the two sisters erupted in giggles, causing everyone else to look in their direction. For a brief moment it was just like old times, and Elain felt the bittersweet sing of nostalgia.

    They were quiet for a moment and everyone went back to their breakfast. Nesta took the opportunity to whisper, “I thought about it. Before I realized I was mated to Cassian,” The slimy feeling of jealousy curled in Elain's stomach, turning all of its contents sour and leaving a bitter taste in her mouth. For the first time in her life Elain wanted to act on her uncharitable thoughts about her sister, and she took a deep breath to calm herself. “I had this fantasy,” Nesta continued, blissfully unaware of her sister's silent seething. “Where I was with them both.” She sighed and a dreamy haze flitted across her face.

    “I’m sure it would have been pleasurable.” Elain managed to bite out in a tone that was only slightly cordial, but decidedly clipped. She turned from her sister, who was still lost in her fantasy, and looked down the table to where Azriel sat.

    There was one addendum that she would insist be added to their bargain, Elain thought. Fidelity. The thought of Azriel being with another female had her careening into a jealous fit, and it was just the thought of it. She could only imagine how she would feel if she had to see him with another female. Now that she finally had some small amount of Azriel in her life — to think that he may not be satisfied with her, or to think that he might share what they had last night with another female — it hurt her deep within her soul.

    Elain was never prone to violent outbursts, but they suddenly held an irresistible appeal. Not just their physical connection, but the emotional one as well. To think of Azriel having that kind of easiness and warmth… and… home. It felt like home. To think of him having that feeling with someone else was unbearable.

    He caught her eyes and sent her a smile that melted her bones. It was gone before anyone else had noticed it, and fixed his attention onto the food on his plate.

    You say I did something bad, why’s it feel so good?

    “You did something bad, Elain,” Nesta said with a cat-like grin. “I can't believe my sister would do something so naughty.”

    “It wasn’t terribly naughty.” Elain said somewhat sheepishly, her gaze fixated on her breakfast as she shuffled the eggs around on her plate.

    Nesta let out a very unlady like, “Ha!” and took a sip of her water.

    “After all, if it was so bad, then why did it feel so good?” Elain whispered seriously. Everyone had been telling her that she did something bad, but how could that be when it felt so gloriously right?

    Water came out of Nesta’s nose as she heard her sister's words, but misunderstood the meaning.

    “I shall have to tell Gwyn,”  Nesta said conspiratorially, and Elain felt her heart plummet into her stomach. “She has the biggest crush on Azriel, and who can blame her?”

    What did you guys think?? I had so much fun writing this chapter and I would love to hear your thoughts! I had a lot of fun with the format of this chapter and writing the flashbacks. Please like, comment, and reblog. I am starting a tag list, so please let know if you would like to be tagged. 

    Tagging: @swankii-art-teacher @justheretoreadsposts

    #elriel#elain archeron #elain x azriel #azriel#pro elriel#elriel fanfiction#my fanfiction#my work #you painted me golden #you painted me golden chapter 5 #elriel smut#elriel fanfic
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  • lefthottubdonut
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago
    CSI miamivegas crossover AU

    I miss you all the time

    POV : Greg has to go back to Los Angeles after his job at forensics in Las Vegas is finally over but first he has to go to Miami, there is something pending that can't wait any longer ...

    Greg x Ryan /Ryan x Greg

    🌈💕🦄😍

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  • sapphicnoel
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    anderperry week 2k21 day 3: future fic/domestic fluff

    A/N: sorry this is going up later than usual! tumblr decided to be stupid and wouldn't let me schedule this post. anyway enjoy xx -sam

    When Neil slid around the corner in a pair of socks, Todd was only a little annoyed. He sets the book he’d been reading down on the couch cushion beside him. Todd watches his fiancé make a fool of himself in their apartment for a moment, the stereo on and playing some obnoxious local pop radio station. It’s cute. God, he loves Neil. So much.

    “Neil, what the hell are you doing?“ Todd asks from the couch, trying and failing to glare daggers at his companion. There’s a book in his lap, still open. It’s their one collective day off and Todd would like to spend it cuddling with Neil while trying to get some reading done for the literature class he has on Wednesdays, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. At least he loves Neil, or he wouldn’t be nearly as forgiving.

    “I’m… Sliding around on my socks. I got bored,” Neil replies. “Wanna join me?"

    “Oh, no,” Todd laughs at the question. “Nope. You’re on your own. I’ll stay off my feet, thank you.”

    Neil pouts, honest to God pouts. Todd almost feels bad, until Neil’s crossing the minimal distance between them and pulling Todd to his feet. Oh, come on.

    “Neil, what the fuck?”

    “Come on, Toddy, live a little!”

    “I live plenty!”

    “Sure you do. Just this once, please?”

    “Fine,” He sighs, “But if I fall on my ass or break something, it’s your fault.”

    Neil just laughs. It would be a comforting sound if Todd weren’t trying to be annoyed with him. Trying and failing, mostly. He could never stay truly mad at Neil, not often.

    Two hours later, they’re both out of breath and grinning like fools at each other. They’d ended up on the floor towards the end after nearly falling flat. Neil was right for once. It was nice to just let go and dance around on the hard wood of the living room floor. Todd managed to not fall over, which was nice. He stole a glance at Neil, who leaned forward and kissed him in the mouth. It isn’t anything new, of course, but still a sweet gesture. This year marks their sixth year of living in New York and their seventh as a couple. So you can imagine that they’ve kissed a fair amount over the years, even before they decided to get married and long before Neil proposed.

    “I love you,” He breathes against Todd’s lips when they’ve parted. His hand cups one of the other’s cheeks, the touch warm and soft.

    “I love you too,” It’s Todd who kisses Neil this time, slower than before but no less passionate.

    The moment breaks when the cat, Walt, comes up to them where they sit on the door. Walt meows then settles in Todd’s lap. Because he can’t resist, Todd pets the cat and lets him stay even though his legs are falling asleep. With his free hand, Todd grabs one of Neil’s and laces their fingers together, laying his head on Neil’s shoulder.

    “Todd?”

    “Yeah?”

    “Can we get takeout?”

    “If we do, you’re buying.”

    “That’s fair. Is Chinese okay?”

    Todd smiles a little and lifts his head to look at his fiancé. He nods the affirmative and whispers something in Neil’s ears, prompting his cheeks to flush red. Walt scampers away to the couch and plops down on it. He falls asleep there.

    Neil gives Todd’s hand a squeeze, then presses a kiss to each of his cheeks. Todd giggles at it and smiles lovingly at Neil.

    This feels like home, he thinks, where the heart is.

    taglist below as usual :D @regina-della-poesia @maisietheweltoncow

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  • obiwhat
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    newest chp. of “Birds of Paradise”!!

    we’re getting to the nitty gritty of the

    p a i n~~

    :p lmaooo hope u guys enjoy the read!!

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  • artsyfangirl
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    Ugh, I need Ego Unus and Annus content. Please. Fanfictions. Please. PLS. MY HEART HURTS SO BAD. I WASN’T THERE FOR THE FINAL STREAM CUS IT WAS REALLY LATE WHERE I WAS AND I WAS REALLY TIRED AND I MISSED OVER HALF OF UNUS ANNUS AND I NEED CONTENT. FNAFIC WRITERS AND ARTISTS PLEASE!!!!

    #unus annus#fanfic writers#fan artists #i need this #my heart is aching
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  • sanpape
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    How do I...pace a story... How do I keep from making 1 in narrative day take like 8 episodes to get through...

    #sanpape why #my fanfic wtiting mutuals.... i have so much respect for u #i am holding all of ur hands rn #ya this is about piecework
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  • zafiro-anyejo
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    Wow can’t believe season 6 is gonna have Kim and Jimmy being secretly married while he’s an ambulance chasing lawyer working for the cartel & Kim helps the DEA/works pro bono as a defense attorney, ultimately trying to get juvenile clients off the streets and into better homes/on a better path. So glad that Saul and Walt never meet and McWexler lives a happy life. Awesome they’re gonna fight the drug war in ABQ. So great they’re gonna make the world a better place by shattering the rules and doing bad things for honorable, unselfish reasons rather than monetary gain!

    #better call saul #kim wexler#jimmy mgcill#saul goodman #i can DREAM can’t I??? #breaking bad#mcwexler #i know it seems i kid but this is legit what my fanfic is about im fixing canon myself and giving it a happy ending #like AU where walt never enters the picture and accepts the offer to pay for his cancer and learns a lesson in humility #hank and saul go out for drinks and end up crying over how much they love their wives and that they worry they never do enough for them
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  • hhf23
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago

    That Beautiful Sound: Pt. 2

    a/n: and here’s part 2 ! once again, the adorable artwork belongs to @artdoer93 (who y’all should follow *wink wink*) i took so long to write this out LOL (i spent a week on this) but enjoy a happy birb and imp😁

    There was a gentle, freezing cold hand that pressed against Blitzo’s body, causing him to pop open his eyes and stare at whatever cold item had woken him up. It was none other than Stolas who seemed to have been awake for a while, just staring at him with bright red, pleading eyes. He definitely wanted something but Blitzo was so groggy he didn’t know what was needed.

    Smiling happily now that Blitzo was awake, Stolas lay back down and giggled, poking Blitzo on the nose. It was honestly amazing how Stolas could function at such an ungodly hour of the morning but Blitzo was too tired to care and judge like he normally would.

    “Can you please wake up and cuddle me?” Stolas begged, smiling adorably at Blitzo, blinking his four eyes rapidly.

    “Can you like…I dunno, go back to bed?! Why the fuck are you even awake at…FOUR THIRTY?! STOLAS!!! IT’S NOT EVEN TIME FOR ME TO GO TO WORK AND YOU’RE AWAKE?!”

    “Oh come on, Blitzy! Please? I can’t sleep! I had a dream that was oh so terrible!” Stolas whined, dramatically placing his forearm over his forehead as if he was wiping sweat off.

    “Really? That’s the best you can do to convince me to give you attention?” Blitzo deadpanned, giving a blank expression to Stolas.

    “Well…yes…at the moment.” Stolas admitted, crawling under the blankets to lie on top of Blitzo. “We can maybe spice things up this morning.”

    “You wanna eat my dick for breakfast? Fuck no, get offa me, you asswipe!” Blitzo argued, shoving Stolas away.

    “But you are a wonderful companion, Blitzy!” Stolas cooed, using his baby voice as he kissed Blitzo’s cheek.

    “Bitch, you got stink breathe!” Blitzo groaned, pinching his nose.

    “You do too.” Stolas replied in a retort to Blitzo.

    Blitzo’s eyes rolled and before Stolas knew it, the little imp rolled them both over, landing on top of Stolas who blushed at the action. He wasn’t going to feast on Stolas for his morning breakfast, that’s for sure. If attention was what Stolas wanted, attention was what he was going to get.

    From the past, Blitzo knew that if he didn't give Stolas attention when he requested, he would be dealing with the clingiest asshole in all of Hell. Nonstop begging, pleading, sexual innuendos and way too much touching would be on the table for Stolas to get his way. Knowing that the last time he ignored the request and he nearly punched all of his employees when Stolas called him for the eighth time that day, he figured it was better to just give in and give Stolas a little something for all the troubles the Goetic demon caused him.

    “Alright, I can give you attention, Princey.” Blitzo snickered, throwing the blankets off of them. “But I need these off.”

    “Ooh! But it’s so cold, Blitzy! Are you planning to turn up the heat?” Stolas gasped, sinking into the pillows with excitement at his own dirty thoughts, the white irises of his eyes visible as he said those words.

    “Uh…well…I dunno? Maybe if you’re into this thing I plan on doing or…YOU KNOW WHAT? FUCK IT! Imma just do it no matter if this turns you on or not. All I know is that this is gonna be fun for me!” Blitzo growled out, ignoring Stolas’s dirty innuendos and drove his hands down to grab at the owl’s waist.

    The moment Blitzo’s hands wrapped around his sides, Stolas froze, clamping his arms down to his sides. They both apparently haven’t forgotten about last night’s little tickle fest and Stolas knew Blitzo was hungry for revenge. Feeling the little hands scratching lightly at his sides, Stolas knew that unlike Blitzo who was good at holding his laughter in, he wouldn’t be able to and would break rather quickly.

    Light scratching started at his hips and slowly made their way up, feeling like spiders crawling on his belly. Letting out soft giggles, Stolas flinched as Blitzo smiled, gently skittering his fingers around. The light skittering changed to a more deliberate touch, fingertips grazing against Stolas’s sides and hips, a pleasant yet unbearable sensation coursing through his body. His smile grew and his giggles followed in suit, causing Blitzo to add more pressure to his tickling fingers until he was digging into the spaces between Stolas’s ribs, finally causing his giggles to change into the cutest laughter Blitzo has ever heard.

    “Aha! And the giggles are here!” Blitzo sang, wiggling his fingers into the middle of Stolas’s ribcage, grinning as Stolas pulled him closer while kicking his left leg out. “Looks like that left leg is bunny kicking by itself again! Ahaha!”

    “B-Blitzy! T-thahat tickles!!” Stolas giggled, kicking his left leg as Blitzo continued to torture his ribs. “Aahahaha! You’re sohoho mehehean!!”

    “I beg to differ. I’m just preening you! I gotta get right here, you silly owl!” Blitzo argued, using two hands to pluck at Stolas’s left ribs which had always been more ticklish than his right side.

    Stolas cried out, now laughing deep from his belly as Blitzo used his ribs like a piano. He rolled over, desperate to protect his left side from the tickle torture Blitzo was giving him.

    “Oh, plehehease! B-Blitzy! Ahahahaha! Plehehease!!” Stolas squealed, curling up as his left leg continued kicking out.

    “No, no, no! I’m not stopping until you’re begging for me to have mercy on you! There’s gonna be no fucking ounce of mercy after the shit you pulled last night! As a matter of fact, exactly how ticklish are you here?” Blitzo asked.

    Puffing his feathers up, Stolas squealed happily as Blitzo’s fingers teased his ribs, shaking rapidly from side to side as he laughed harder and harder. As desperate as Stolas was to fight Blitzo off and tickle him back, a part of him knew that the imp just wanted revenge for getting tickled. Deciding not to fight back, Stolas let his left arm lie away from his body while his right arm grabbed the back of Blitzo’s head, pulling him closer only so he had something to ground him.

    Blitzo smirked at Stolas before glaring at him playfully, pressing his forehead into his while nuzzling him. “Gosh, listen to your adorable giggles, Stolas! I should tickle you more often!”

    “Ihihi-I guess Ihihi'm not opposed tohoho the-AAHAHAHAHA! NOHOHO! NOT THE BEHEHELLY BUTTON!! AHAHAHA!” Stolas squawked, wrapping his arms around his midsection.

    “Wow, I didn’t even know you had a belly button under all the feathers but okay. But you need to tell me! Where are you most ticklish? Ribs? Neck? Sides? Ooh, I know! How about here, right in your armpits?”

    “Noohohoho! Nohoho! I'm not tehehelling you whehehere I-AACK!! Blitzy!! Dohohon’t!"

    “Don’t what?”

    “Don’t do that thing!”

    “Mhm…this??” Blitzo asked, shoving his hands up underneath Stolas’s arms. “Don’t tickle here?”

    Stolas inhaled sharply and squealing loudly as Blitzo dug into his armpits. As bad as Blitzo’s fingers tickled him, Stolas just allowed it all to happen, laughing harder by the minute. A glide of fingers up Stolas’s neck made him shrug his shoulders up and squeak, a gentle poke to his ribs made him gasp, harsh squeezes to his hips, thighs and belly made him squeal and alternating between fluttery fingers and clawing into his armpits got him shrieking with hard laughter in no time.

    "HA! Yeah, not so nice when it's you, ain't it?" Blitzo chuckled, feeling Stolas reach up to grab the back of his head as he walked his fingers up Stolas's ribs. "This is what you get! This is what you get, feathers! This is what you fucking get for last night's incident!"

    Blitzo paused for a moment before he reached out for Stolas's underarms, digging into the skin to make Stolas do his adorable squealing laugh he did the last time Blitzo tickled him. Arching his back, Stolas let out a squeal and hiccuped as Blitzo started to squeeze at his sides, showing no ounce of mercy whatsoever.

    Feeling his face begin to heat up, Blitzo grinned as Stolas lay underneath him, kicking his left leg out and squealing with the happiest laughter the imp has ever heard. Grabbing at his hips, Blitzo began to claw all over his midsection, pulling out louder, more hysterical fits of laughter as he targeted Stolas's hips and lower stomach.

    "Gosh, you're so fucking ticklish!" Blitzo snickered, finding a sweet spot just above Stolas's hips. "Oh? Are we squeaking in between the laughter now? Is someone turning into a mouse?"

    "NOOO! BLIHIHITZY *squeak* AHAHA! *hic* NOOHOHO!" Stolas wailed, laughing harder as Blitzo squeezed at his thighs. "OHOHOW! HAHAHA! *hic* OW! I CAHAHAN'T *snort* BREHEHEATHE!"

    “You’re such a liar! This doesn’t hurt y-oh!! Did you just hoot??”

    As they both heard the hoot escape from Stolas, the two demons went still and silent, both sputtering over their words before falling into fits of giggles. Blitzo was ecstatic that he got Stolas hooting but the noise did embarrass the prince to a certain extent.

    The two stayed in the same position, giggling nonstop as Blitzo laughed so hard a snort escaped just as Stolas let out another hoot. Gasping for air after continuously laughing at one another's funny noises, Blitzo was the first one to break the chain of laughter.

    "Are you okay?" he prompted, laughing as Stolas rubbed his eyes and nodded.

    "Y-yes!" he giggled, screeching as Blitzo grabbed his wrists and pinned them out to the side, away from his body. "AAAACCCKKK!"

    Just as Stolas screeched, Blitzo leaned down and gently nibbled at the side of Stolas's neck, giggling as Stolas began to flail more than before, still not bothering to escape, but definitely trying to prevent Blitzo from nibbling his neck again.

    "NOOHOHOHO! *hoot* I'M NOHOHOT *squawk* OKAHAHAY!!" Stolas screamed out, shedding a few feathers as he squealed with laughter. "BLITZY! I CAHAHAN'T BREHEHEATHE!"

    As the two began to fight tooth and nail, they began to travel towards the edge of the bed, Stolas's feet scrambling for purchase while Blitzo clung onto Stolas like his life depended on it. The two grunted and laughed as they fought one another, one to escape and the other to get another good tickle in.

    "Okay, okay! Breathe! Breathe, your face is really fucking red!" Blitzo laughed before trying to tickle Stolas again.

    Stolas squeezed his eyes shut as Blitzo pressed his wrists into the bed and started kissing his neck, adding in an extra nuzzle to make Stolas laugh more. As the owl shrugged his shoulders up, Blitzo changed tactics and quickly used his tail to wrap around Stolas’s wrists, keeping them pinned away from his body as he slid his hands back under his arms.

    “AAAAYEEEHEHEHE! BLITZY! *squawk* I CAHAHAN’T BREATHE! WAHAHAIT! *hoot* WAHAHAIT! PLEHEHEASE LET MY WRISTS GOHOHO!” Stolas hiccuped, shaking his head as Blitzo ruffled his head feathers. “I CAHAHAN’T BREHEHEATHE!”

    “One more thing before I let you go, but I’ll let you know, this may or may not kill you!” Blitzo whispered, sending a chill up Stolas’s spine. “You ready for this shit?”

    “No!” Stolas squeaked, giggling as Blitzo’s tail wrapped around his wrist a little tighter.

    “Are you ready?”

    “Nooohoho! Let my wrists GOHOHO!”

    “Bitch, you don’t even know what Imma fucking do!” Blitzo chortled, sitting on Stolas’s thighs as he tried to roll over and flip the tables. “Oh no, you’re not flipping us over! You stay there and let me finish my revenge!”

    Slowly, Blitzo leaned down and pressed a kiss to Stolas’s ribs, chuckling as he heard Stolas grunt and let out a hooting laugh through his closed mouth. The kisses started to feel really good and Stolas closed his eyes, sighing with delight in hopes that Blitzo took his suggestion and would give him pleasure for the morning As Blitzo kissed down to Stolas’s belly, he suddenly blew a raspberry, catching Stolas off guard, taking joy in squeezing at the owl’s hip until his laughter got super high pitched.

    “AHAHAHA! I CAHAHAN’T! *hoot* WAHAHAIT! NOHOHO! NO *squawk* MOHOHORE!! BLITZY, *hoot* PLEEEEAAASE!” Stolas wheezed, slapping his hand on the bed. “I CAHAHAN’T! I GIVE! I GIVE! MERCY!!”

    As Blitzo blew his final raspberry on Stolas’s belly, he caused the owl to scream as his hands tickled all over his body, squeezing every inch of his torso and thighs for good measures. Hooting and hiccuping, Stolas lay on the bed, gasping as he felt Blitzo stroke his head feathers gently.

    “Are you alive or dead?” Blitzo asked, chuckling as Stolas’s chest rose and fell.

    “A-ahalive!” Stolas sighed, giggling as Blitzo gently skittered his fingers against the sides of his neck. “B-Blitzyyy-ahahaha! Stop tihickling me!!”

    “Only now you ask for me to stop?” Blitzo teased, rolling off of Stolas and lying next to him. “You liked that, hmm?”

    The blush was all Blitzo needed to know that Stolas had fun. Chuckling, he pulled Stolas in for a hug, Blitzo had the luxury of watching Stolas curl up and drape his fluffy tail over the two of them and started to doze off, eventually snoring, the soft hoots filling the now silent bedroom. Smiling to himself, Blitzo lay on his side as Stolas slept, gently stroking the dark blue feathers. As he checked the time, he saw it had only been ten minutes since they he had been so rudely awakened.

    “Hmm. I guess I kinda like that beautiful sound you make when you laugh hard enough.” he muttered, making sure Stolas was asleep before gently kissing his beak.

    Seeing as he still had some time before work started, Blitzo settled down and pulled Stolas’s tail up under his chin and pulled himself closer to Stolas. With warmth surrounding him, Blitzo went back to sleep and if his employees were curious as to where he was, they didn’t need to ask the question since they know of his little fling with the prince.

    #stolitz #stolas x blitzo #stolitz fanfic #based off of art #my writing#helluva boss #helluva boss fic #stolas helluva boss #blitzo helluva boss #helluva boss tickles #ticklish!stolas
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  • taexual
    21.10.2021 - 1 hour ago
    #ask#ot7lonelylover #tumblr may suck #but it's got one thing right and that's definitely the fanfic culture :( #ao3 too actually but it's still a dark wood to me lol #tumblr is much more interactive in that sense #at least in my experience idk #and this kind of message!! #is exactly the kind of message that gives a content creator a boost of motivation #unfortunately i have a mid-term tomorrow so i can't write right now shskfhf #but regardless this means a lot to me ❤️❤️❤️
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