Chapter 1: Alex Rider
Alex, bullies seem so trivial now
They're just children.
He's seen the stain of true malice, like blood on hands, and these kids--insecure, or scared in their own right, or arrogant because life hasn't had a chance to teach them any different--they're nothing.
Alex is too old inside for any of them to touch him.
Alex, he feels more comfortable with a gun than a rugby ball now
He's not quite programmed to play, anymore. Give him a gun instead, and somewhere to aim it.
Destruction is his name.
Alex, you want a better story. who wouldn't?
This is not the life you were supposed to have.
With that ear for language, you could have traveled the world with nothing but a backpack and a light heart: instead they send you into country after country to do their dirty work, and there is nothing light left in you; you are young, strong, fast, you could've gone into any sport for the clean burn of it, the welcome challenge: but the only challenge they give you is to fight until you fall, and find out how quickly you can get up again.
Everything beautiful within you, they've broken.
Chapter 2: Crossovers
Alex Rider/Criminal Minds, Alex + Reid, but in the end all you have is yourself
What Alex fears most isn't pain or death, but rather the idea that he's lost himself entirely.
He looks at his hands, hands that know the shape of a gun better than the curve of a ball, and wonders if all that's left is what they've made of him.
"You're more than that," Reid tells him, like he knows what it is to be seen only in terms of what he can do; and maybe he does.
Alex Rider/Criminal Minds, Alex + Reid, everyone leaves
Alex says, "Everyone leaves," and Reid smiles wryly, tells him, "I used to believe the same thing."
"What changed your mind?" Alex asks, something tired written in the line of his shoulders, his old eyes.
Reid says, with a look as if he knows how futile it sounds, "The one thing you don't believe in: time."
Alex Rider/Criminal Minds, Alex + Reid, the sum of our parts
After Reid has taken his shot, Alex watches him intently and says, almost to himself, "Not just a brain"; it's half-uttered, sounds a little like he's trying to tease Reid but has forgotten how.
Reid knows the look of old eyes in a young face. He says, "I don't think anyone's really just anything, do you?" and watches a slow light leach back into Alex's expression.
Harry Potter/Narnia, Edmund/Ginny, wands and swords
"Trade you," Ginny says, hair like fire and a grin like battle, and Edmund can never say no to that; she catches his sword up in a firm grip, unpracticed but not tentative, examining it like she sees it for the weapon it is, but also the deadly beauty it possesses.
He has a history with wands: but hers has a different hum under his fingertips, one that is not meant for him, ready for violence, but strangely friendly nonetheless.
"It suits you," he says at last, and when he lifts his eyes he sees that she has very carefully cut her thumb on the keen edge of his blade; slyly, she tells him, "You know, I could say the same."
Harry Potter/Narnia, Edmund/Ginny, rainy streets of London
Edmund fits in with the gray, the dismal, the shadowy half-lit stones of the street. He walks unnoticed, as he likes it; Ginny is fire-lit, even hair as vivid as hers paling in the wash of the fire within her.
Nothing--not rain, not shadow, neither time nor memory (nor Death)--could make Ginevra Weasley go unnoticed.
Harry Potter/Narnia, Edmund/Luna, intelligence
"The trees have many things to say, you know," Luna says, dreamy but not flighty--Edmund knows the difference.
"I do know," he says, scrutinizing her carefully, "though most people don't."
"I suppose I'm not most people," she replies, and dreamy she may be, but underneath it Edmund sees a mind sharp with the kind of determined intelligence Edmund holds familiar and dear.
Iron Man/Narnia, Susan/Tony, impossible things
Long before he lost the last of his baby teeth, he stopped believing in any kind of magic except the kind he could create with his own two hands: nuts and bolts and electricity, because fairytales and witches' wands are for children, and Tony Stark is a genius.
When he meets Susan, she looks at him coolly, unimpressed, and it's the kind of challenge he thrives under: changing people's minds; "You do think you know everything, don't you?" she asks, and he shrugs, says complacently, "Well, not everything, obviously, but if we're talking quantity, then--"
"If you've given up on the impossible," she interrupts him, voice old, thrumming with anger and sorrow and history, "then you don't know a damn thing."
Chapter 3: Narnia
Edmund, bored with school
The sound of the wind outside the classroom window turns into the roar of the Narnian sea, colored by Edmund's memory, more real than anything he is living right now. Mathematics are dust-dry beneath his fingertips, essays a poor challenge after living a diplomat's life.
"Pay attention, Pevensie," his teacher snaps, and Edmund sighs, turns away from thoughts of what he can no longer have.
Peter, made of stronger stuff
Imagine this: they give you a crown and tell you you are a king, place you upon a throne and give you the world, gold on your head and silver at your feet and the dreams of childhood spinning alive around you; they weave magic into your life until you cannot picture your life without magic, and then, in one breath, they take it away.
Lift the crown from your head and throw you from your throne, give you a body you no longer count your own, take a leader and make him a boy to be led, though the leader is drowning and angry within; and you could break, you could cry, you could shatter the world around you indiscriminately for the crime of being too gray, too dead.
But no--you were a king before they named you one, and a king you remain, though they have kept your crown; you falter, perhaps, but you will not fall under: you are made of stronger stuff than that.
Edmund, strike a match
Edmund has matches in his pockets, always, no matter where he's going or how long he'll be gone. "But why?" his friends ask, laughing at his eccentricity, wondering what possibility he's planning for; his siblings say nothing, though, only touch his arm or nudge his side in unspoken understanding, for they are the ones that know:
Fire keeps the winter away.
Pevensies, AU where Lucy has a proclivity for blowing stuff up
"Get down!" Lucy calls, and thumbs the detonator when they do so; behind them, the bench explodes, a roar ripping through the air.
"Damn it, Lucy, there are ways to accomplish this without blowing something up, you realize," Susan says exasperatedly, but there's a smile threatening her lips and a hectic flush staining her cheeks; Peter grins, cocks an ear at the sound of distant pandemonium and says, "That'll be our cue, then," while Edmund just covers his face with one hand and laughs hysterically.
And Lucy--Lucy grins bright and sly and says, "Yes, but isn't this more fun?"
Susan + Edmund, it was something that only they could understand
"Whatever you may say, you do remember," he says suddenly one day, and she freezes in place, "and it isn't practicality or callousness that has you pretending otherwise."
His voice is quiet, steady and knowing when he adds: "It's self-preservation."
She waits for his judgment, though she will not change no matter what it may be; he kisses her cheek, swift and kingly, and says, "My sister."
Edmund, fighting with two swords
Peter raises his eyebrow. "Isn't that a bit like overcompensating?" he asks out of the side of his mouth when he sees Edmund readying himself for battle with both swords.
Later, when Edmund saves Peter and holds one of the swords at his attacker's throat, Edmund just smirks at him; "There's nothing to overcompensate for," he says.
Lucy + Peter, Thor!Fusion: Thor!Peter, Darcy!Lucy
A tall, drunken man attempts to put his hands where they are clearly not welcome, and before Peter can intervene with finality, he watches as Lucy does...something that sends the man toppling to the ground.
Peter blinks. "What is that," he asks, pointing at the thing in Lucy's hand.
Lucy grins. "It's called a taser, brother dear," she says. "You really should come down here more often, they have the best toys."
Pevensies, sit in the chair and be good now/and become all that they told you
Four thrones are filled: side-by-side, children turned kings and queens; drinking in the scent of old magic and learning, diplomacy and swordcraft, battle in your blood, you rule your land.
Four thrones sit empty: small hands and thin wrists, you are all too young wear the crown; you are back in a land of gray winter, without your thrones or your swords or your necessary gravity; by all rights you should be dismissed by the people around you, but there is something--perhaps your ancient eyes--that makes them all listen, even still.
Narnia made you leaders; that can't be taken away.
Pevensies, it was so much harder the second time around
It wasn't as bad in England, being children again: England expected it of them; they were made for it there.
But here they are in Narnia again, with Narnian sand under their feet and the familiar wailing wind at their backs; and they are supposed to be rulers, to have the long reach and lengthy strides they spent years earning, to have a voice that echoes the gravitas in their words; to be the men and women they still see in their dreams, familiarly unfamiliar, like meeting your reflection through cracked glass.
Instead, they are less.
Jadis, forever is never
Where Jadis walks, frost follows; ice in her wake and a chill kissing her face like a lover. She smiles to herself, a cold and terrible smile, as cold as the Narnian land beneath her feet: this winter will last forever.
Miles and worlds and years away, four children stumble into a wardrobe.
They leave a land filled with food that is bright on their tongues, drink that lights their blood on fire, magic that rocks them to sleep and dreams that fill their waking hours; and then they return to a place where everything is gray and all they can taste is dust.
Those Pevensie children came back quite different, didn't they, people say, shaking their heads, must be the war; they hear the words but it makes no difference: they go through their days weary, sleeping as often as they can because in sleep they can dream and forget, refusing to eat because nothing tastes right, half-dead and fading, fading, fading...
Narnia eats its visitors.
girl!Edmund/Peter, dangerous and wanted
Three raps on the door, a rhythm Peter knows as familiarly as if it's been tapped on his spine instead, and he has the door open in a flash.
"Any trouble?" he asks calmly, and Edlyn's grin is a satisfied slice of competence proved a hundred times over; she says, "What do you think?" and slides past him without waiting for an answer, faint kiss of blood under her chin where she missed a spot, and her laugh rings in his ears when he pins her to the wall by her deceptively delicate wrists.
Sirens sound in the distance, but that's nothing new.
Peter/Caspian, both can be king
"You don't stop being king just because Narnia's got a new one, Peter," Edmund says exasperatedly when Peter has apparently indulged in his sulk longer than Edmund can stand. "Now, if you could channel that misplaced aggression in the direction it's meant for, we could all stop choking on your sexual tension and be grateful for it."
Edmund's always been too smart for Peter's liking.
Chapter 4: Push
Cassie/Nick, turns out he draws pretty well
The sketchbook falls to the floor, pages fluttering loosely, a collage spread out that says worlds: a flash of Cassie's shoulder, the line of her body asleep in a car, her eyes intent on something lost, her fingers curled around a glass.
Twenty and confident, she stalks toward Nick as he sputters, reaching for explanations, and she says, "You idiot."
She kisses him hard, bites his lip, pulls back and says, "I've been waiting."
Cassie/Nick, the orbit of your hips
When she stands on tiptoe to kiss him, his hands go by instinct on her hips, tightening. He can feel her bones; she feels fragile under his hands, someone he should be looking after, until:
Her teeth are unforgiving when she bites his lip, nails digging into his arms, and she pulls back to say steadily, "Don't you be careful with me."
Cassie/Nick, I am the highway
There's travel written into their bones, a history of hasty escapes and inescapable transience.
There was a time they couldn't stay in any one place for too long; now that they have the choice, they're still uneasy with permanence.
Only that's not entirely true: the two of them are as permanent as it gets, and it doesn't matter where they are in the world--they're all the home they'll ever need.
Chapter 5: Tamora Pierce
Circle of Magic, Briar/Tris, exchanging letters
Don't keep your nose in a book all the time, Coppercurls, the letter says, in Briar's bold hand that Tris witnessed the formation of, and for a moment, even though he's too far to reach, it's as if he's right there with her; make some friends, or at least, try not to make anyone cry.
I've never made anyone cry in my life, Briar Moss, she writes back, and if it's nosy advice we're exchanging, you could do with a little less friends and a few more books, yourself.
Neither of them say I miss you, but the words have never been necessary.
Circle of Magic, Briar/Tris, modern-day AU
She's the girl next door for most of his life, hot-tempered and aloof at times, hiding kindness under her brusque manner so no one else can get at it; she glares at Briar when he's being particularly loud, but when he has a headache, he finds her watching clouds in her backyard, and she always shares her blanket without a word.
Coppercurls, he calls her, and tugs on her braid; when he's lying on his front, she rests her paper on his back and tells him to hold still while she finishes writing.
He kisses her one autumn day, a leaf in her hair and his fingers against her cheek, and she's more likely to bite him than melt into his hold, but he's confident that she likes him enough to refrain.
Circle of Magic, Briar/Tris, as cliched as it is, she makes the nightmares go away
The first night, Briar sleeps as far apart from Tris as he can get on the pallet; she might think he needs the comfort of her arm over his waist, but he ought to be old enough to fight his own dreams.
The only reason he doesn't wake up screaming is that his jaw is clenched so tightly that not a slip of sound can escape.
After three nights of this, Tris says in the darkness, drowsily and irritably, "Would you stop this and try it my way, for once?"; she curls herself around him and he falls asleep with the comforting feeling of her gaze trained on his face, and it's the best sleep he's had in months.
Trickster's Queen, Dove, adjusting to the idea that she will be queen
Dove's never wanted to be queen.
She's always been more comfortable in the shadows, influencing people quietly and subtly in ways they don't expect from a teenager; she was never meant to be the face of a revolution, but the revolution is lifting her up all the same.
"I don't feel ready for this," Dove says to Aly, the one person to whom she can confess her fears, because Aly won't make the mistake of thinking they mean she is any less committed; Aly replies quietly, "That's how I know you are."
Chapter 6: X-Men: First Class
Alex/Darwin, how to make this body a safehouse and not a prison (Marrying the Violence, Marty McConnell)
Alex needs to know what's at his back.
Hyper-vigilance, skin prickling with tension, flashes at his peripheral vision that could be nothing or could be malice coming for him knife-edged, and isn't it better to be safe than sorry: better to keep training and running and building himself up, looking over his shoulder and never settling down, bag packed under his bed so he can leave in an eye-blink, better to not trust in what he's been given, to be ready, for whatever might come his way; and then there is Darwin, who makes Alex want to trust despite himself, who is dangerous for the ruin he is making of Alex's self-preservation, who is necessary for the silent understanding of his careful hand on Alex's stomach.
Alex does not rest, doesn't know if he ever will, but Darwin is strong and calm and steady at his back, and perhaps that is one thing he can let himself stop watching.
Alex/Darwin, come home
The look on Alex's face when Darwin turns up again--well, if he needed an extra reason to be thankful for his resilience, that'd be it right there.
"You were dead," Alex says, choking on it, disbelieving, lifting trembling fingers to Darwin's face; Darwin says, "Yeah, not so much," and the words are light but the tone is filled with everything he's not saying, and Alex makes a noise that would be a laugh if it didn't sound so suspiciously wet.
Looks like Darwin's not the only one who's come home.
Alex/Darwin, this burn beneath my skin
Fingers curled around Alex's ankle, mouth warm against his thigh, Darwin is strong and perfect and Alex could almost tell himself it's okay to let go, except--
The fire starts up slow and smooth under his skin, catches alight with a vengeance, and Alex is too dangerous to be trusted, Darwin is here now but he almost wasn't and that's Alex's fault, he--
"You can't hurt me," Darwin murmurs, soothing hands, slow smile; his confidence is an easy cloak thrown over the both of them in this bed, and Alex is so tired of holding back: "Let go," Darwin says, and he's all that Alex ever wants to listen to.
Alex/Darwin, he doesn't sleep well for weeks after
Alex can't sleep when he's so hot inside, killing fire, dangerous; he wouldn't want to sleep, anyway, when all he can see behind his eyelids is that last look of Darwin's face and his outstretched hand, so close and too far away, and then--
He runs too much instead of sleeping enough; running, at least, only hurts his body.
When Darwin comes back, it's like all the air Alex has been missing in his lungs, staggering, a gut-punch; he'd forgotten the exact curve of Darwin's smile, and that night, it's what he holds to himself when he finally lets himself sleep.
Alex/Darwin, a settled peace
The day Alex wakes up slowly and wriggles closer to Darwin's side, eyes still closed, like he knows Darwin's there and doesn't even need to check, Darwin's breath catches; he leans in and kisses Alex's eyelids, because he's seen morning after morning of Alex stiffening awake, eyes flying open, arm thrown out to stop Darwin's nonexistent escape, and this is infinitely preferable.
There's a flush on Alex's face when Darwin pulls away, though his eyes are still closed, and Darwin grins; he doesn't know whether Alex is actually trying to feign sleep, or if he just doesn't want to open his eyes and face him, but either way, it's oddly adorable for someone so prickly.
That's Alex, though: Darwin's mess of contradictions and armor, sweet heart, beautiful boy; Darwin carefully strokes the line of Alex's collarbone, resolving to see that flush spread all over.
Alex/Darwin, sometimes you get a happy ending
Alex knows he's staring, of course he is, how could he be doing anything else?; he says hoarsely, after a moment, "Well what the hell does it take to kill you?" blunt because he knows nothing else, can't let loose the howl of emotions twisting inside his chest.
Darwin--tall and beautiful and alive--grins and says easily, "Something more than your little fireworks, I guess," and the quirk of his lips, the open spread of his arms, they're an invitation if Alex has ever seen one.
Burying his face in Darwin's shoulder is the only thing that stops the words I'll show you fireworks from actually leaving his lips, which is probably a good thing if Alex ever wants to get kissed, instead of laughed at, sometime this year.
Alex tucks himself around Darwin's body when they go to sleep, arms locking close, legs tangled together, like he's trying to cover Darwin entirely. His grip doesn't relax even while asleep, and Darwin tries to smooth the dream-caused wrinkle in his brow with a brushed kiss.
"Not going anywhere," he says quietly, hoping the words will seep into Alex's sleeping mind; he'll keep saying it until the day Alex starts to believe it.
Alex/Darwin, I have taken the blueprint of your back for granted
In Alex's dreams he lies in bed, bracketing Darwin from behind, arm thrown over his hip. He ducks his head and traces the curve of Darwin's spine, pressing a kiss somewhere in the middle of his back, easy and sweet.
When he wakes up, there's no one there.
You're going to leave me, Charles thinks, clear as day; he's straddling Erik on his bed, hands cupping his face, and ringing through his mind amidst the want and the paralyzing love and the half-giddy tentative happiness is the sudden, clear conviction: You're going to leave me one day, one day soon, you're mine for this moment but you've never been mine to keep, and it will kill me when you go.
Erik is not the telepath in this bed, but he must see something in Charles--the faltering curve of his mouth, perhaps, or the ache in his chest that travels up his body; Erik's smile goes a little uncertain, though his mind still sparks as hopelessly besotted as Charles himself is, and he raises a slightly clumsy hand to cup Charles's cheek. That a man so convinced he is a weapon and a weapon alone, not meant to have kindness or gentleness or comfort or love, that a man who thinks he is made for a single purpose and has no plans for himself afterward can touch Charles like he's something precious and irreplaceable--Charles's eyes sting with a sudden wash of tears, throat tight with all the love he wouldn't give up for the world, not even if it brings him the greatest pain he'll ever know.
I'll keep you as long as I'm allowed, Charles thinks, kissing Erik in the half-hope that he could crawl right inside him and never come out, but I'm afraid I'm going to love you forever.
In the middle of one of their planning sessions, Erik's eyes go suddenly distant, unfocused, though his body doesn't move out of its relaxed stance; he blinks and comes back to himself after scant seconds, rises out of his seat and says smoothly, "I have to go look after something, carry on without me."
Alex, Hank and Sean don't seem to think anything of it, but Raven eyes him sidelong; she knows familiarly the meaning of that distracted expression.
Later, Raven corners Erik in the hallway and smirks, swiping a thumb under his jaw and flashing the smear of creamy red at him; "Looking after something, huh? Did Charlotte come along to supervise?" she asks, and watches with unhidden glee as Erik flushes slightly.
Chapter 7: Miscellaneous
"Stay with me!" Gum pleads, blushing pink.
"Goddamnit," Shoe swears, trying to pull away. "Why are you so clingy?"
Aziraphale/Crowley, they didn't see it coming (fill one)
It's a small thing, in the end: Aziraphale says, effusive with his warm, tipsy flush, "My dear," and his fingers rest on Crowley's back momentarily.
Crowley leans into the touch for an instant, before seeming to suddenly realize what he's done; abruptly jerking away, he and Aziraphale stare at each other, wide-eyed.
In unspoken agreement, they sober up: "Well," Crowley says after a moment, sliding on his sunglasses in an apparent effort to hide his expression (Aziraphale hasn't the heart to tell him it's never worked on him), "I'd say we win the award for ongoing obliviousness by several centuries, wouldn't you?"
Aziraphale/Crowley, they didn't see it coming (fill two)
Crowley whistles, a low, swooping sound that somehow manages to convey both surprise and a leer at once; “Well, this is unexpected,” he says, smirking.
“It’s what they assigned me,” Aziraphale says, a little miserably; “Now I’ll have to get used to a new one all over again.”
As one, they stare down at Aziraphale’s new form’s--admittedly very nice--breasts; “There are some perks,” Crowley says after a moment, eyes lost somewhere in the cavernous depths of Aziraphale’s shirt.
Luna + Hogwarts, there are so many secrets
The walls whisper to Luna, voices like old friends. They tell her of teenage fumblings in hidden hallways; the remnants of spells gone wrong lurking behind corners; a room full of paintings that greet visitors only with silence; the statue that steps aside and leads to the other end of the castle.
People might think she's mad, but if the price of being thought sane is to give all this up, she'll embrace madness with all her heart.
Albus Severus/Scorpius, not their fathers
It's no grand tragedy with them.
"I made a friend," Albus says simply at eleven, and Harry's eyes widen a little when he sees Scorpius's blond head, but that is that; at thirteen they are inseparable, boys with skinned knees and dirty faces, nothing to stare at; at fifteen, Scorpius leans over and kisses the side of Albus's face, and Albus says "Oh," considers carefully, and reciprocates.
Over the tops of their heads, Draco eyes Harry askance and smirks after a moment, a strangely friendly look, as if to say did you see that one coming?; Harry shrugs, mouth quirking, just glad that those two appear to be smarter than Harry and Draco ever were.
Robert Fischer goes to sleep tired, heartsick, ground down by a memory. Strange people walk in his dreams, crack his heart open, put it back together - different, perhaps better.
With change in his heart, Robert Fischer wakes anew.
Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot, we know our destiny and we refuse it
"To hell with ought and should," Guinevere says, eyes hard, mouth set, the way she looks when she is sure of what is right; "I would have us happy, and I don't believe that is too much to ask for."
Lancelot looks disbelieving, hungry, eyes flitting between them both; Arthur knows the cold metal taste of duty, and he wants something different on his tongue.
They close together as three the way they never could in twos: they will make their own destiny.
girl!Spot + girl!Jack, diplomacy
Put two leaders in a room together for the first time, and the air goes tight with lightning tension until they find common ground.
What's your name, then? Spot asks, and at the answering Jack, she smirks, says that your real name?, testing.
It's the one I chose, Jack replies, slouch of her body deceptively casual, hard-eyed and firm under her easy charm, and Spot inclines her head in wordless concession: she knows a little something about re-creating yourself.
girl!Jack/David, mischief managed
They're a study in contradictions, the first time they meet--David stiffly buttoned-up and aloof, Jack a wild, fey girl the likes of which David has never known before, alive and unusual, hooking under his skin despite his best efforts.
With Jack, though, one can't stay aloof for long: David finds himself losing his hold on his manners and his layers of armor-clothing, falling into Jack's wake like it's what he was meant for, accomplice to her schemes and loving every moment of it.
Months after that first time he ran right into her, David is scruffy and smudged, unrecognizable, wildly happy; and Jack runs her thumb over his cheek, grins at him and says, "My work here is done."
Shaun/Zach, putting up Christmas decorations
"Well, what do you think? Are we done?" Shaun asks innocently, tapping a finger against his mouth, staring up at the tree.
Cody squeals, "No, the star!" and giggles when Shaun swings him up onto his shoulders, says, "That's right--how can we be done without the star?" and steps closer so that Cody can put it on top.
Zach watches the two of them with something warm flooding his chest, the family he never thought he'd get to have.
The way Shaun looks at him - Zach can feel a blush work its way down his chest, mortification and lust twining together and rising from toes to ears, leaving his whole body feeling shaky and oversensitive, tender. No one's ever looked at Zach that way before, and he throws a hand over his face to escape the searing heat of it, just for a moment, just long enough for him to breathe.
"No, don't," Shaun says, coaxing, draws Zach's hand away; he says, "You're going to get used to this, I promise you," and if Zach's lucky, he'll get that chance.
Harvey/Mike, drunk dial
"Harvey," Mike says as soon as he hears a voice on the other end of the line, "Harvey, I have something really - " he pauses to hiccup " - really important to tell you, so important, it's going to blow your mind - "
"Drunk dialing me," Harvey says, "well, I'm glad to see that your penchant for terrible life choices hasn't been lost," and his voice curls paper-dry and sardonic, but there's the slow-burning heat of amusement underneath it all; Mike bites his lip at the sound, shaking his head to clear it - he's done all manner of things to hear that tone, will continue doing so to hear it again.
Whatever Mike thought was so important five minutes ago that he had to call Harvey right away and let him know, he's forgotten it already; but he likes the sound of Harvey's voice trickling into his ear, banter warming his bones, and Harvey hasn't hung up yet - Mike will stay as long as he's wanted.
Jessica Pearson, new shoes
A new pair of heels tap briskly down the hallway, a march, a rhythm she sets and does not follow. She towers above the rest; whatever their inclination might be, she will make them look up to her.
She doesn't need the shoes or the added height to carry power, but my god does she love them anyway.
"I don't understand," Sam grumbles, "I am literally the biggest one in this bed, how am I consistently the little spoon. Twice over."
"Shut up and get cuddled, bitch," Dean says gleefully, throwing an arm over Sam's hip and drawing him back against Dean's chest, a position that, for all of Sam's half-hearted complaining, is as familiar as the sound of his own name; on the other side of Sam, Castiel presses closer to Sam's front and makes a muffled noise that says nothing but means contentment, lying so far up the bed that Sam has no choice but to tuck his head under Castiel's chin, which was no doubt his intention.
And, okay, Sam's the tallest one in the bed, but - he's got an angel on one side of him, and Dean on the other, Dean who is Dean, his big brother who is large as the sun and has always been his safe harbor, no matter how old or how tall Sam might be, and - maybe he can just shut up and let them look after him.
Loki + Thor, forgiveness
They are at odds for now, perhaps, but it won't last: brother means something different when you've lived as much as they have, a title that has nothing to do with blood.
For now, Loki has his willful destruction, Thor his place on Midgard, a space between them full of violence and betrayal--but only for now.
Forgiveness is inevitable.
Neal, the moment after a con when he reveals he's working on the side of the law now
These people who might not know Neal, but most definitely know of him, the legend; some of them look at him with betrayal in their eyes--traitor, they say silently, you were one of us and now you're one of them.
Some of them just accept it--criminals are, for the most part, a practical bunch; it's an every-man-for-himself world out there, and Neal's landed on his feet, if perhaps slightly unbalanced.
As for Neal, he doesn't know what he thinks: he's neither one of us nor them; he's a bird with clipped wings learning to love his cage, and until he tastes freedom again, he won't know if he's coming back.