Happy Halloween!

Here’s a quick gallery of my Halloween fun that I had today!

We did a party at work where we had a pot luck and people brought in baked goods. I made meaty rice crispy treats. They were good, but probably could’ve used more marshmallow.

I did accidentally dump an entire pound of rice crispies into them, after all.

Otherwise, I was Toni Stark, Iron Woman extraordinaire and my cat Ophelia was my Penny Parker, Spider-Cat.

Going in to NaNoWriMo

Since I just realized I ran out of scheduled posts and I haven’t posted anything for 4 days, I’m going to go ahead and start a brief NaNoWriMo series for the month of November.

I will also be posting all of my #SmoreWords and #LGBTRelease stuff here too since I haven’t yet and maybe I’ll finally get my #Rhinvoverse case studies underway and post the rest of my Avengers LTs here.

The world may never know 🤷.

After this I’ll do a quick Halloween post and then see what all I get done.

But, I digress.

Tomorrow is NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s short for “Everyone who writes is about to be real agitated and on edge for the entire month of November which is definitely not going to mesh well with No Fap November and No Shave November, so I guess November is just going to be a giant hell month and there’s nothing any of us can do”, Or “National Novel Writing Month”.

I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for the past 5 years or so and I’ve won it for the past 3, so I’m trying to keep that streak alive this year by writing my first YA novel called Don’t @ Me.

I’ll talk more about Don’t @ Me tomorrow (I’ve got a full list of blog prompts I just came up with for NaNoWriMo, so expect more from me tomorrow if I can get off my ass and actually post stuff.

So, going into NaNoWriMo I have a list of things I’ve done to prepare.

  1. Loose outline. Now, I normally do a heavier outline for my books, but I figured I’d try something different. I only have a loose idea of what I want this story to do and where I want it to go.
  2. Friends to write with. I only have a few people who I know will stay by my side every step of the way. My best friend Lisa and a few of the people I’m friends with on NaNoWriMo, but it’s better not to do it alone.
  3. Patience and Understanding. I might not finish this year. I’ve got a lot going on and tons of projects going at the same time. So there’s a good chance I might not be able to do this. I’m sure as hell gonna try though.

That being said, I still feel completely unprepared. Only time will tell if I’m going to make it through National Novel Writing Month.

If you guys want to track my progress or become friends with me, you can find me on NaNoWriMo at Gin-Keros.

Coming Home, A Kingdom Hearts Fanfiction

This was the first time in a long time that they had all wound up in the same place. In the same world. Under the same sky.

Kairi lay between them, the ocean roaring beneath them, breaking against the wooden dock. Destiny Islands hadn’t been the same without them. Kairi had tried to make a home for herself in their absence, but she had felt lost. But right now, laying between them, she felt a peace settle over her and knew this was what coming home felt like. What it felt like to truly be home.

None of them spoke, listening to the sound of the ocean, the calming roar of the waves as they curled and broke on the water’s surface, crashing into the shore.

The silence between them was heavy with unanswered questions and unspoken tales of their adventures. These were things they weren’t ready to share, not yet. Instead they were content to just be there, fingers entwined with hers, their eyes closed, hearts open.

Sora was the first to move, emboldened by his adventures, he propped himself up on his elbow. While Riku lay still, his own (mistakes) adventures had left him shy, silent, secretive.

Kairi tilted her head just so, taking in the sight of Sora moving closer to her. He watched her, eyes locked. Her lips twitched upwards in a soft smile that was almost expectant . It had been too long . Sora sighed, sounding so content .

He leaned forward then, and Kairi’s eyes fluttered, mouth watering. Sora chuckled softly at her, untangling his fingers from hers and letting his hand glide featherlight over her stomach. Kairi took in a sharp breath, goosebumps prickling on her skin where he touched her.

Sora moved his hand further, finding where her fingers met Riku’s and pulled them apart. Neither of them protested, watching in silence as Sora laced their fingers together. Riku turned, rolling his whole body over onto it’s side. His head was tilted to the side, long silver hair falling into his face.

Sora smirked, moving himself to sit up better, moving his arm from beneath him and pushing Riku’s hair out of his face, behind his ear. They both glanced down at Kairi then. Her breathing was faster, face flushed as she waited.

Then, without uttering a single word, Sora placed his hand back down to steady himself, and leaned across her to capture Riku’s lips with his own.

They kissed soft and slow, lips meeting again and again as if they were made to fit together. Every time their mouths met, lips moving together, felt like an unspoken promise.

I love you , it said in every tilt of Riku’s head, every gasp from Sora’s lips, every time they moved just a little bit closer.

But it wasn’t enough, they still had so much more to say and to give to one another. To her.

Their hands parted, finding hers again. They held onto her like she was the only thing keeping them from floating away. She held them back, her hands stroking up and down their arms, eyes locked on where their lips were joined.

She felt her stomach flip with excitement and anticipation, her heart racing. She bit her tongue to hide a moan, not ready to let them know just how much this was affecting her.

Riku was first to pull away, panting. He looked properly kissed, lips swollen, hair mussed and falling over his face again. His cheeks were flushed, pupils dilated. He turned his gaze down at Kairi.

Sora was first again, moving away from Riku and pressing his lips to her throat, his tongue pressing against her pulse point. He trailed his tongue along her skin, from her pulse to her jaw, to her ear. She shivered beneath him, gasping when he sucked her earlobe into his mouth. He ran his teeth along the sensitive flesh, coaxing a soft moan from her lips.

Sora locked eyes with Riku, a silent challenge passing between them.

Then Riku descended on her as well. His mouth found her jaw, peppering kisses across her jaw line, then along her cheek to the corner of her eye.

Kairi gasped and giggled, the sensation of both of them pressing kisses to her skin was overwhelming. But she knew it was just the beginning.

Riku’s hand parted from hers to her waist, pushing up the hem of her soft cotton shirt to reveal her navel. Kairi’s breaths came in short pants now, his touch leaving fire in it’s wake. He let the fabric of her shirt settle just beneath her breasts, moving his hand up farther between them, over her collarbone, to rest on her throat.

He could feel her erratic pulse beneath his fingertips, if the smirk forming on his lips was any indication. Kairi’s face flushed a deeper shade of red.

He used two fingers to tilt her head towards him, his hand moving to caress her neck. Kairi raised her own hand up unconsciously, brushing the back of Riku’s hand.

Sora watched the two of them in silence, his gaze sharp and curious.

Riku leaned down then, his gaze locked on Sora’s. Kairi watched them both, the heat and despite that passed between them made her squirm.

Riku kissed her and her eyes fluttered closed. She felt warmth pooling between her legs and she moaned, long and low, into Riku’s mouth, He chuckled, never once moving his lips from hers.

Sora let out a breath, and Kairi could hear him moving next to her. She could feel the fabric of the blanket they had laid out beneath them, stretching and tugging as he resituated. He was driving her to distraction, wondering what he was planning to do.

Riku pressed his thumb into the center of her throat, bringing her attention back to him. She hummed against his mouth in apology, moving her hand away from where his rested on her throat to run her fingers through his hair.

Then she found out why Sora had moved.

He pressed his mouth to her stomach, peppering open mouthed kisses over her skin. Kairi whimpered in surprise, jerking at the sudden feeling of him kissing her there. Sora and Riku laughed at the same time, Sora pressing his hand against her diaphragm to hold her still. Then he descended on her again, nipping at her flesh and causing her to gasp and jerk again. But this time he had a handle on her, pressing her down flat against the dock.

She moaned, breaking her lips away from Riku’s to tilt her head back. Riku growled in frustration, pulling her mouth back to his for another kiss. Kairi couldn’t focus on kissing him back, Sora’s tongue tracing circles around her navel.

She was gasping and panting, pressing her thighs together hard to gain some relief. She pulled at Riku’s hair, ignoring his sharp intake of breath. Her body already knew what was coming next and it wanted it desperately. But knowing Sora and Riku they were going to take their time.

She pulled Riku’s hair again when Sora moved lower, letting his tongue dip beneath the waistband of her shorts.

Riku groaned, dipping his head and biting her throat, hard in warning. She moaned at the feeling of his teeth biting into her flesh and bucked her hips upwards. She had to bite back a please on her lips, teeth coming down hard on her tongue.

She wouldn’t beg.

Sora pulled away from her then and her eyes fluttered open, beginning to protest. But they were both watching her, leaning across her to undress each other. This was the part that always drove her wild.

Watching with wide eyes as Riku pushed his hands into Sora’s shirt, pushing it up slowly, his hands tracing over every inch of Sora’s skin. Sora was driven back on his knees, panting at the feeling of Riku’s hands on his skin. Riku ran the pads of his index fingers over Sora’s nipples, rolling them until they were hard against his fingertips. Sora tilted his head back and moaned, arching his back, pressing his chest into Riku’s hands. Riku hummed in response, ripping the shirt over Sora’s head and pressing his mouth against the other man’s nipples. He sucked and lapped at them until Sora was a mess of moans and gasps, hips jerking upwards.

The sound of Riku’s shirt unzipping was next, Sora watched her while he dragged the zipper down low, exposing Riku’s chest and abdomen. They did this so slowly, Kairi wanted to scream. The had already driven her half crazy with desire, but they weren’t anywhere close to giving in to her. Not yet.

Sora didn’t focus his attentions on Riku’s chest, instead leaning over her to bite and suck at Riku’s abdomen. Kairi watched with interest, Sora’s hands finding the buckle of Riku’s belt and undoing it, yanking the belt from his pants in one swift motion.

Riku laughed in surprise, pressing his hands against Sora’s shoulders to steady himself.

Sora unbuttoned Riku’s trousers, tilting his head back to make eye contact with him as he lowered the zipper and inevitably pulled them down. Kairi watched Riku’s trousers moving lower, barring his skin. Sora left them to settle low on his hips, ignoring Kairi’s frustrated growl.

He pressed his hand into the front of Riku’s pants, cupping him in his hand.

Riku cursed, hips bucking into Sora’s hand, fingernails biting into his shoulders.

Sora rose, pressing his face into Riku’s shoulder, pressing kisses to his throat and chest while his hand worked Riku in his pants. He was whispering things against Riku’s throat, soft encouragements, begging him not to come too soon.

Kairi dug her fingernails into her stomach, her whole body trembling with need from just watching them. She would not touch herself, she had better control than that. Or that was what she told herself.

Riku pushed Sora’s hand away, his eyes shut tight. He was panting, sweat beading on his forehead. He was a million miles away from both of them, focussed on trying to keep himself under control. It had been too long since Sora touched him like that, he’d lost any stamina he’d built up to it.

Sora laughed at him, bringing him back to reality.

Riku growled in response, lunging for the clasp to Sora’s pants. He undid his belt quickly, not bothering to remove it. Instead, he focused on unbuttoning and unzipping Sora’s own pants. Riku was moving quickly now, a man on a mission.

Kairi pressed her fingers into her lower abdomen hard, slipping just beneath the waistband of her shorts. Sora locked eyes with her, watching, daring her to touch herself. She let out a strangled, frustrated noise, tears prickling in her eyes.

She brought both of her hands up, pressing them against her forehead. She squirmed beneath them, rubbing her legs together to try and get some relief.

Then Sora let out a startled gasp, calling her attention back to him and Riku and away from her own frustration. Riku had pulled Sora’s trousers down to his knees, exposing his hard length completely.

Kairi supposed the teasing had gone out the window, the moment Riku had almost come into Sora’s hand. She gripped the fabric of her shirt hard, watching.

Riku reached down, cupping Sora’s balls in his hand, squeezing and twisting them in his hand. Sora’s breath sped up, eyes wide. Then Riku extended himself further, bracing himself with one hand on the other side of her knee.

His mouth was so close to Sora’s cock now. He licked his lips, pressing them against the tip of Sora’s length once before pulling away, a string of precum stuck between them. Sora’s abdominal muscles jerked, making his cock jump in front of Riku.

Riku squeezed Sora’s balls again, his tongue lapping at the tip of his cock. Sora’s hands were clenched into fists by his side. His eyes were closed tight.

Riku released him and pulled away, leaving Sora knelt there, panting with his face flushed. Then, he turned his attention on Kairi. He crawled over top of her, his body hovering just above where she lay and he kissed her soundly. She gasped into his mouth, tongue darting out and tasting Sora on his lips.

Then he pulled away, kneeling between her legs and undoing the button of her shorts. He pulled them down without ceremony, dropping them next to her. She turned away from him then, looking over at Sora.

He was watching them, his cock still hard and throbbing. There was another bead of precum at the tip and Kairi reached her hand up, wanting to brush it off with her thumb. Riku scolded her, gripping both of her wrists in one of his hands and holding them over her head.

She made to protest, but it died on her lips when Riku pushed her panties to the side and slid one finger inside of her. She was so wet, one wasn’t enough, but she didn’t complain. Instead, she arched her back and moaned for him, her arms struggling beneath his grip.

Sora made a noise of frustration, drawing Kairi’s eyes back to him again. He was digging his nails into his thighs, gripping them hard to keep himself from touching his own cock.

Riku said something about patience, pushing another finger into her, moving her panties again to press his thumb into her clit. She moaned loud, hips bucking up into him. The pressure of his thumb on her clit was so delicious she almost came right then.

But just as soon as it came, it was gone again, Riku moved away from her, examining his fingers, wet from being inside of her. At first, she thinks he’s going to bring them to his mouth and lick them clean, but he doesn’t. Instead, he advances on Sora again, pressing his hand down between his legs, fingers circling his opening.

Sora bit down on his tongue, lurching forward slightly, his cock jumping again. Riku pressed a kiss to Sora’s hips, running his teeth along the sensitive skin there. Sora bucked into him, cock brushing the side of Riku’s face, leaving a line of precum from his jaw to his temple.

Riku gasped, hooking his finger and pressing it into Sora.

Sora cursed loudly, arching his back and squeezing his eyes shut tight. He tightened around Riku’s finger, his whole body tensing up at the feeling of him inside.

Riku steadied himself, gripping Sora’s cock in his other hand and closing his mouth around the tip. The noise that came from Sora’s mouth was halfway between a moan and a scream. His hands found Riku’s hair immediately, pulling hard.

Riku flicked his tongue against the head of Sora’s cock, working the base with his hand. He didn’t move his head at all. Instead he hollowed his cheeks and sucked at Sora hard, circling his tongue around him and working his ass all at the same time.

Sora whined and begged when he was close, pulling at Riku’s hair to get him to stop. Riku moved his hands away, but kept his mouth on him, head bobbing finally as he took in as much as he could of Sora’s length.

Sora was cursing loudly, whole body shaking with effort.

Riku stopped, pulling back from Sora with a wet ‘pop’.

Sora sighed in relief, nearly collapsing onto the dock.

Riku turned his hungry eyes onto her. Kairi’s nostrils flared, taking in a deep breath through her nose. Next to them, Sora caught his breath, raising his own eyes to look at her.

They were all a mess right now, of that she was absolutely certain. Sora’s hair was stuck to his forehead, slick with sweat. Riku’s own hair was mussed beyond repair, sticking up at odd angles from where both she and Sora had grabbed it. She could only imagine what she looked like beneath them, half naked and panting, her thighs slick and wet.

Sora moved first, despite the fact that he was still panting heavily. He lay down next to her, pushing her shirt up, past her breasts and exposing them to the ocean air. He took one of them into his mouth, tongue circling around her nipple, flicking against it any time she gasped and moaned.

Riku moved himself between her legs, pulling at her panties. She lifted her hips up to help him, watching over Sora’s head as he pulled them down and off.

Sora moved his hand away from her breasts down between her legs, spreading her apart with his fingers. He teased her there, his fingers circling her clit, but never actually touching her where she needed him.

She groaned, bucking up into his hand to chase her release. Sora merely moved his hand away whenever she tried, catching her nipple between his teeth as a warning. When she gave up, defeated, Sora moved his hand away, dragging her wetness over her stomach and back up to her breasts. He pinched her other nipple between his fingers, and she cried out his name.

Kairi could hardly take any more. This was too much teasing for how long they had been gone, she needed them to fuck her. Hard . No more of this almost but not quite nonsense.

She opened her mouth to tell them so, lifting her head up to look at them. But her breath caught in her throat when Riku dipped his head down between her legs, pressing the tip of his tongue to her clit.

Her whole body shook, every thought she ever had about how long they were taking, leaving her mind. She wrapped her legs around his shoulders and he muttered something, the vibrations of it sending a shock into her system. She was practically screaming now, so loud she was sure she’d alert half the island to what they were doing.

Neither of them shushed her.

Then, when Riku sucked her clit hard, she finally did scream; long and loud and keening as she came undone beneath him. Every muscle in her body tensed all at once, stars exploding behind her eyelids. Her whole body trembled and jerked and squeezed.

When she opened her eyes, both of her boys were staring down at her, a look of awe on their faces. Kairi blushed at the look of them and turned away.

But they weren’t done yet, that much she knew.

She was still panting when Sora pulled her up into his lap, parting her legs. She lay against him, letting him support her whole weight. She felt boneless after that orgasm, her whole body reduced to nothing but static.

Sora looked at her, his eyes questioning. She laughed a little and nuzzled her face into Sora’s neck, kissing him there in response.

Riku settled himself behind her, ripping open a foil packet and reaching around her, gripping Sora in his hands and rolling a condom down his length. Sora’s muscles tensed, cock jumping against her belly.

Behind her Riku pulled his pants lower, the buttons clinking against the dock, and tore open another packet.

She straightened up between them, Sora guiding her over him and easing himself inside of her. He gripped her hips and pulled her close to him, his eyes locking with Riku’s over her shoulder. He nodded at him, pressing his fingers into her ass. She jumped at first, the cold sensation of lubricant making contact with the head of her skin.

Sora whispered reassurances into her ear, his hand smoothing out her hair.

She moaned softly, one of Riku’s fingers pressing inside of her as Sora rocked up into her.

Riku pressed his other hand into her lower back, easing her forward just a little, his finger moving in and out of her slowly. She tensed, clenching around both of them, earning soft moans from them both.

Sora whispered something against her skin, and she felt her stomach flutter, her whole body relaxing again.

Riku pressed a second finger inside of her.

She tensed again, whimpering as he scissored his fingers inside of her. She dug her fingernails into Sora’s back, toes curling.

Sora smoothed his hand over her hair again, capturing his lips with her own. He kissed her soft and slow, the same way he had kissed Riku above her. She moaned into his mouth, bucking her hips against him.

He felt so good inside of her, but it still wasn’t enough .

She voiced her need, begging them both with soft little please, please, please ’s falling from her lips. Riku pulled his fingers from her slowly, replacing them with the tip of his cock. He pushed her forward again, even further so that Sora would have to lay down on his back to accommodate her. He complied readily, laying back and gripping Kairi’s hips to steady her. She braced her hands against Sora’s chest.

Riku buried himself inside of her, his cock twitching at the feeling. Kairi moaned, fingernails cutting into Sora’s skin.

He cursed beneath her, arching his back at the feeling of Riku’s cock sliding in and out of her. It pressed against him, moving along the length of his own cock, inside of her. Beneath her, Sora was paralyzed, her whole weight pressed down against him. He was at her mercy, living for the moments when she rolled her hips against him.

He could feel the pressure building inside of him, the intense pleasure of both Kairi and Riku moving against him. He couldn’t think about anything else other than where they were joined, the feeling of Riku against him, the way Kairi clenched around him every time Riku pushed in and out of her.

He started out slow, the pace almost insulting after how long their had all waited. Then, he gripped Kairi’s hair, pulling her head back and fucked her hard . Sora could feel the punishing pace of Riku’s cock, the way Kairi’s hips rolled and stuttered against him, hardly able to move.

He was so close.

They all knew it wasn’t going to take long, they had hardly controlled themselves during foreplay.

Riku was shouting something above them, Kairi shouting back. Sora’s ears were ringing, his eyes shut so tight he saw stars. He grabbed Kairi at the waist, crushing her against him and fucking up into her. He just needed a little more .

Kairi gasped and moaned and cried against him all at once, her face pressed into his chest.

He felt Riku reach down between them, brushing his hand against Sora’s length, soft, featherlight touches that made his stomach muscles tighten in anticipation. Then he pressed his hand further between them, the pads of his index and middle finger just barely grazing against Kairi’s clit.

The position was awkward, Riku’s hand trapped between them, but it was effective.

Kairi came again with another long keening cry. It was muffled this time from where her face was pressed into his chest. She clenched around both of them, her muscles tight, body shaking once more.

Riku withdrew his hand moving his hips faster still, no longer concerned with her pleasure as she panted between them. His eyes locked with Sora’s, his hand traveling down between them, still slick with Kairi’s cum.

He pressed his finger into Sora, eyes still locked on one another. Sora clenched around him, his muscles tightening. Riku moaned and winced at the feel of him, pressing his finger deeper hooking it inside of him, pressing hard against where Sora needed him most.

Sora came hard, biting his own arm to muffle the shout and Riku followed him down.

“F- fuck ,” Sora whispered beneath them, slick with sweat.

Riku pulled out of her slowly, a hand on her back to steady himself. Then he leaned back on his knees and to catch his breath. Kairi moved next, a bit shakily, pulling herself up and freeing Sora from inside of her. He looked at her gratefully, rolling onto his side and breathing hard.

She pulled her shirt back down over her breasts, but didn’t bother looking for any more of her clothes. She was too tired for that right now.

“Seconded,” Riku responded to Sora’s earlier statement. Kairi smiled, letting herself fall back onto the dock. Sora and Riku both busied themselves with pulling up their trousers then, making themselves look halfway decent just in case someone had overheard them.

“I’ve missed you two,” she said, her voice soft and filled with emotion, “this place just doesn’t feel like home without you here.”

The Tide, A Mass Effect Fanfiction

She can’t fall apart, not yet. They’re in the middle of a war. Her pain comes second to the suffering of trillions of people on hundreds of planets all across the galaxy. She is Commander Rhys Shepard of the Alliance Navy, the first human spectre, the entire galaxy is counting on her.

She doesn’t talk about it when she returns from the citadel. She offers Kolyat a place on her crew, she isn’t surprised when he declines.

Kaidan is the first person to ask if she’s okay. All eyes are on her in the crew quarters. Garrus, Liara, Tali, and Chakwas stand nearby, their faces filled with questions she never wants to answer. She laughs it off and flashes them all a smile.

Because she’s okay, she’s always okay.

She can’t fall apart, not yet.


But then he sends her that letter . The Letter.

I will await you across the sea.

She barely makes it back to her quarters before she falls down on her hands and knees. Her entire body shaking with sobs.


If all else whispers back into the tide.

Her chest clenches tight. Her heart aching painfully. She only has ten minutes before something needs her attention. Ten minutes to grieve the love of her life.

X

She’s a mess of smudged makeup and ruined hair when EDI patches Traynor through to her cabin.

“Commander Shepard,” Traynor begins. Her voice sounds far away, blood still roaring in Shepard’s ears.

“Admiral Hackett is available on comm.”

She stands up from the floor, absently rubbing her fingers over the marks the steel grating left on her skin. They tingle and sting as blood begins to flow to the affected areas once more.

“Commander?” Traynor asks, sounding worried when Rhys doesn’t answer her right away. Rhys takes a deep breath and rolls her shoulders, hoping she doesn’t sound as though she’s been crying.

“I heard you, Traynor,” she says, her voice harsher than she meant it to be. Traynor signed off immediately after that, with a quick apology.

Rhys says nothing in return.

Instead she goes to her ensuite and hastily washes her face, scrubbing away the smudged makeup and fixing her hair. She doesn’t have time to reapply anything before she has to be on the comm with Hackett. It’s unfortunate.

Her face is ashen with grief, her dark skin pale and sickly. She looks like a ghost, her cheeks gaunt, her gaze distant and glassy. Her eyes are stained with dark circles underneath, so pronounced they may well be bruises from battle.

Hackett seems surprised by her appearance like, but doesn’t address it. By now the whole Alliance Navy must know that she’s a widow. The thought that so many strangers would know something so personal about her rolls her stomach. She doesn’t voice her concerns.

X

She re-reads the letter a million times. It makes her chest ache, her lungs swell, her eyes burn.

She hides in a secret area she found in the shuttle bay, curled in on herself as she reads Thane’s final message on her omni-tool. She cries. Of course she cries. It’s almost impossible for her to stop crying. But they are fighting a WAR and she doesn’t have time to be this selfish.

Still, she indulges herself. Playing holovids of their wedding, reading countless hours of messages, listening to his voice. She does it all sitting alone, cramped in the tight space she found in the shuttle bay when everyone else is sleeping.

X

Chakwas asks if she’s alright next. Her lack of sleep is becoming dangerously apparent. It is now something she can’t hide with the application of makeup. The skin beneath her eyes is almost black, much darker than her own complexion.

“I’m fine,” Shepard responds. Because she’s always fine. Chakwas doesn’t look convinced.

“You need to get some rest,” Chakwas commands.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” Rhys responds.

Chakwas gives her a sad look. Rhys can hardly stand it.

X

Cortez catches her reading The Letter, tears streaming down her face. Her hand is over her mouth to prevent her sobs from escaping. Her whole body shakes with them, her ribs popping and cracking as she trembles in her awkward position, folded in on herself.

“Oh Shepard,” is all he says before he’s moving her, gathering her into his arms. She struggles against him, her movements erratic and wild she she pushes against his chest.

She won’t break down in front of her officers. She’s their last beacon of hope. She’s disgusted with herself for being caught doing something so vulnerable. So human.

“I’m sorry,” she says when she frees herself from him. But she doesn’t mean it.

She rushes away, heading towards the door as quickly as she can. She wants to be free from this embarrassment.

“Shepard!” Cortez calls after her. She stills for a moment, turning her head over her shoulder to hide her tear stained face from James as he exits the elevator. James stops too, curious.

“It’s okay to grieve,” Cortez tells her. She snorts and laughs out loud, harsh and unforgiving.

“I wish someone had told me that when I lost my husband.”

It’s suddenly too much for her. Chest tight and aching again at the thought of Him. The thought of Thane’s final prayer, his final words, his final letter. She wants to scream, she bites her tongue to hold it in.

“Are you alright, Lola?” James asks when she passes him.

“Fine,” she says, boarding the elevator and heading to her cabin.

She’s not okay.

X

Liara is the next to ask her if she’s alright. And it feels like the more people ask her that question, the less alright she actually is.

“Shepard,” she says, her voice soft and melodic when Rhys tries to brush off her question.

“Don’t,” Rhys says.

Liara sighs.

X

Tali tries to get her drunk sometime after that. She supposes it’s to dull the pain of her loss, or at the very least to lower her inhibitions enough to get her to talk about it.

It doesn’t work.

Rhys isn’t interested in dulling what she feels. That would be an insult to his memory. If she had died first, he wouldn’t have forgotten her.   Thane would remember everything. Her laughter, the curve of her cheek, the swell of her lips, the freckles that brushed across her cheeks. She’s overcome with grief at the thought.

She leaves before Tali can pour the first drink.

She takes the elevator back to her cabin and sobs uncontrollably until she vomits.

X

Garrus is there when she finally breaks. The last chink in her armor. He finds her in the hallway, curled in on herself after she ends a holocall from Kolyat.

“Shepard,” He says in surprise.

She’s crying, her makeup smeared across her face from her fingertips. She rubs at her eyes hastily as Garrus stares down at her, his expression belaying concern.

“Garrus,” she says, voice heavy with grief.

He doesn’t ask if she’s okay. It’s obvious she isn’t. She hasn’t been even before Thane died.

“Garrus,” she says again, a sob tearing free from her lips.  

Garrus.”  His name is the only thing she can say.  She feels so weak.

She reaches for him.  

He’s by her side in an instant, pulling her to her feet and gathering her into his arms.  She’s embarrassed.  She can’t even stand.  

He carries her to the elevator.  

She rests her cheek on the cool breastplate of his cool armor.  She’s exhausted.  

Garrus says nothing.  He carries her to her quarters in silence.  Moving through her room to place her down on her bed.  She groans in protest, holding onto him when he tries to put her down.  She points towards her shower.  

She half expects him to protest, but he doesn’t.  Instead, he walks back towards her ensuite, placing her down in front of the entrance to the shower.

Rhys closes the door behind her and sheds her clothing.  She turns the shower on to the hottest setting and stands under the spray.  She lets it wash over her, erasing everything is, still crying miserably when it doesn’t erase her completely.  

She wills herself to stop crying, to stand tall and act like herself.  Act like the Commander everyone expects her to be.  There’s no time for her to be like this.  And yet, it’s all she’s done for months in the wake of Thane’s death.  Selfishly mourning his loss when the entire galaxy is falling apart at the seams.  

X

She fully expects Garrus to be gone when she’s finished showering.  She has no doubt that she scared him off with her soft whimpering sobs that were not at all drowned out by the roaring water of her shower.  If anything, they echoed through the chamber, amplifying the sounds of her grief.  

She wraps herself in a towel and looks at herself in the mirror.

She’s a shell of herself.  This was has taken its toll on her.  She looks like a ghost in the mirror.  Her eyes are hollow, face even more gaunt than the last time she caught a glance at her reflection.  There are creases around her mouth and eyes, a result of endless stress and suffering.  

She’s nothing more than a husk.  She wishes someone would put her out of her misery.  

She exits her ensuite and heads to her bed.  A few hours of sleep and she would be able to function.  She could get through tomorrow without breaking down.  

She tosses her towel haphazardly onto the floor.  She would worry about that when she woke up.  For now she wanted nothing more than to be dead to the world for at least the next few hours.  She prays silently to every deity in the galaxy that she doesn’t dream about Thane.

She doubts she’ll be that lucky.

“Shepard,” Garrus’s low voice sounds from behind her when she bends her knee to climb onto her bed.  

She jolts in surprise, turning her head towards him and crossing her arms over her bare chest.  

“Garrus,” she says, surprise evident in her tone, “you’re still here.”

He stands, moving towards her with a grace she had not thought Turians possessed.  

“Of course I’m still here,” Garrus says, his tone sounding almost accusatory, “I’ve given you month’s, Shepard,” he shakes his head sadly and looks at her, “And you haven’t come to me.  You haven’t come to anyone.

“I had hoped you would speak to at least one of us if not me in particular.  You didn’t.  Then I found you on the floor in the hallway of the crew quarters…” he trails off then, a sad look on his face.  

He’s worried about her.

She can’t even look at him.

“Talk to me, Rhys.”

She can’t.

She can’t.

She can’t.

She shakes her head no.  A soft whimper escaping her lips.

“Shepard,” Garrus says, concerned.  He reaches for her, but she jerks away from him.

“You’re cold,” She says when he looks hurt by her actions.

All she wants to do now is sleep.  She wants to be alone and sleep off the pain that sits heavy in her chest.  

“Rhys,” he says, his voice insistent and filled with concern.

“Please just leave me, Garrus,” She tries, “I just want to sleep.  Tomorrow we’ll know if we’ve won this war.  I…” She trails off, shaking her head and closing her mouth with a soft click of her teeth.  

“Let me stay,” he says.  And she knows she won’t deny him.

Garrus has been her best friend for years.  She needs him.  Has needed him for months.  He had given her the space she needed, something no one else had been willing to give her.  

“Not a good idea,” she protests weakly, but doesn’t put up much of a fight.  

She feels helpless.  

X

He sheds his armor and climbs into bed with her.  She has her back to him, hr face buried into the pillow Thane used to use.  

His scent is long gone, erased by the passing of time.  The fabric smells like her now, but she can still remember him.  

All she has left of him now are traitorous human memories.  She knows when those will fade with time.  The thought tears her apart inside.

Garrus holds her, his hands gripping the blanket where it covers her waist.  

X

She’s fading in and out of sleep, consumed with grief, and delirious when she starts talking.

“I loved you, you know,” she admits because it’s true, because he’s holding her in the absence of her great love, because he’s the aftermath of her destruction.  Her archangel.  

“I know,” he says, with profound sadness.  Because he’s always known.  

“It would have been so much easier with you,” she chokes out between sobs.  Because it would have been, he was still here.  He would outlive even her.  There wouldn’t be time to erase him from her memory.  She wouldn’t have to lose him the same way she had already lost and was still losing Thane.

“I know,” he says.  Because she’s right.  Because in that moment he would have done anything to make her feel whole again.  

But the truth remains.  Quiet and unspoken between them.  

She LOVED him.

she had loved him.


She’s inconsolable after that, face pressed into Thane’s pillow, staining it with tears.  

Maybe one day she could find it within her to love someone else.  Maybe one day that would even be Garrus.  

She whispers her promises to him in the dark, his face pressing against the back of her neck.  The harsh feeling of his scales ground her to reality.  Her lips still working around promises of love and forever.  

“I know,” Garrus repeats, placing his hand flat over her bare stomach, “I know.”

He repeats the words over and over and over again until they fall asleep.  

X

Tali and Garrus follow her into hell.  Their final mission, finishing the reapers where it all began for her.  On earth.

The battle is hard and not easily won.  Soldiers die in mountains around their feet as they march, armored feet beating against the ground.  They’re at the last leg, the final part when she bids them to leave her side.

Garrus protests, unwilling to leave her.  

Of course he protests.

She meets his gaze, leaning up against him and pressing her mouth to his in a short, chaste kiss.  It’s the only thing she can give to him for now.  The promises from the dark of their night spent together hang between them, unspoken.  

Go,” She whispers against his mouth.  Because it’s the right thing to do.  Because she won’t have another person die for her.  She won’t have someone else erased .

Because if nothing else, she wants Garrus to live .

“Come back to me,” he tells her.  Because it’s all he can say.

“To us,” Tali adds.

She says nothing in return, backing away from him and Tali and turning towards her fate.  

“I love you,” she says to Garrus, to Tali, to Thane, to everyone she’s lost in this war.  Because she does.  Because it’s all she has left to say.  

Her words are a whisper, drowned out by the roaring tide of battle.

X

In the end her choice is simple.  She watches Anderson die.  She sees the Illusive Man for what he is; a puppet just like everyone else.  

She sees mountains of bodies, the reaper ship is filled with hordes and hordes of the dead.  The stench is overwhelming, dizzying.  

In the end, it isn’t even a choice at all.

“Choose,” The boy, another ghost from her past bids her, “choose.”

And she does.  She runs, clutching at her battered body, every part of her screaming in pain as she does.  

“Choose,” the ghost says still, the command barely audible over the roar in her ears.  

She jumps, soaring into the light, willing to sacrifice herself in order to give new meaning to the galaxy. Her galaxy.  To end the cycle the only way it could end, with her.  

Every cell in her body is alight.  She’s burning and disintegrating, and she’s rewriting history.    

The Galaxy, her great unwritten symphony.  She would leave behind her legacy.  Sewing seeds of herself into every piece of the universe. That would be enough.  

All else would whisper back into the tide.

Review: All the Impossible Things by Lindsey Lackey

This book makes my heart feel so full. Though the first line, where she talked about “getting the wind” from her mother, my initial reaction was “Dang that sucks you got bad gas, Ruby” and I had a little chuckle about it for a good bit. Cause that’s not what Lackey meant AT ALL.

This story filled me with so much hope and love that I spent a good portion of the book openly weeping and also crying. Red finding a family with Celine and Jackson and Tuck and all the animals at the petting zoo was pretty much everything I’ve ever wanted.

I grew up in a bad home like Ruby. I never had to go to foster care or got taken from my parents, but I always wanted a family that would love me the way Jackson and Celine love Ruby. So this book really spoke to my soul.

I also absolutely loved how Lackey kept me guessing through the entire book. Wondering if everything was real or just this impossible metaphor for what it’s like to grow up the way Ruby did. All of her too big emotions and too much pain and suffering became this huge impossible thing, but…in the end. She’s found. She’s seen. She’s loved.

This book was simply incredible.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢
Plot: 🌬️🌬️🌬️🌬️🌬️
Characterization: 👍👍👍👍👍
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about All the Impossible Things

Red’s inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby “Red” Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep the skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn how to control it, but can’t figure out how.

This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red’s heart.

But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she’s quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother’s chaos. Now Red must decide the possible from the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Review: Wayward Son (Cat murder, problematic writing, & a well-deserved DNF)

After the bi-erasure extravaganza that was Carry On, I really tried to give Wayward Son a chance.

I actually liked the romance between Simon and Baz in the first book and Baz is my absolute favorite character which is so rare for me. I almost never like main characters the best out of books. I generally gravitate toward side characters, but Rowell makes Penny and Agatha so unlikable (and she kills off Ebb) that I had to like either Simon or Baz and since Baz is sort of awesome, I chose him.

Reading the second book was a mistake. There’s a scene about 2 hours in where Baz kills 9 cats and I had to DNF there. I cannot stand cat murder in books, it’s one of my biggest triggers because my parents used to torture me with it when they were abusing me as a child and I wish I could say I’m surprised RR included it, but I’m not.

I genuinely don’t understand how people even still like her books after all of her problematic storytelling. From Eleanor and Park to Carry On, she’s erasing culture and sexuality and she’s taking up space that would be better suited to own voices authors.

And it’s not like the book was even that good prior to the cat murdering scene, everyone was really whiny and I was trying really hard to get into it, but honestly I couldn’t do it.

I hate DNFing stuff and usually I would post a review without a star rating if I DNF’d something because that’s just common courtesy, but this 1-star was well-deserved.

It’s 2019, it’s time to stop this crap

Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I made the mistakes of reading the 1-star reviews before I wrote this one. Which sort of made me sick. Everyone is complaining that it’s “too juvenile” like this is middle-grade? I don’t know what you thought this was going to be, but the writing is juvenile because it’s for literal children?

A few people said this is a book for people who don’t like reading books, which I found genuinely insulting. As someone who writes books and reads hundreds of books a year, I absolutely loved this book.

I’m more into middle grade and YA, I like easy stories because my life is already so friggin complicated, I don’t want books I read to make me feel bad. This book was genuinely sweet and precious. And yeah, it was low key creepy.

I will agree that not much ghost-type stuff happened in the beginning, but people complaining about this is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. In first books, there is always a portion of the book that needs to be set aside for world building and character development. When people complain about a book being “slow” or “a nothing book” when in reality the writer is trying to set up the entire story I literally want to shake them.

Because if the author DIDN’T set up the story with world building and character development, everybody would’ve complained the story had no depth or development.

Anyways, rants aside.

This is my favorite book V.E Schwab has ever written. I love Cassidy. I love Jacob. I love Lara. Was I rubbed the wrong way in the beginning when Cassidy trashed the popular girls? Yeah. I don’t think that’s something that needs to be said in modern books.

And I know the V.E Schwab tends to do this a lot. With Cassidy being “not like other girls” and her best friend being a male ghost. But I feel like she sort of remedied that later in introducing Lara and cultivating a friendship between her and Cassidy.

I really, genuinely love Cassidy’s character and the spooky ghost stories told in the book. I loved the veil and how Lara literally is like “Don’t do the thing” and IMMEDIATELY after that Cassidy ends up doing the thing.

I like how the book resolution didn’t seem too easy even though it wasn’t all that hard. I hate when stuff takes to long to resolve. Honestly this book was so special to me. It was a sweet, spooky, nice read and I cannot wait to read the second one in the series.

Which is a HUGE deal for me because I am TRASH at reading second books. If I ever complete a series you best believe it was FANTASTIC (to me).

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 👻👻👻👻👻
Characterization: 🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

More about City of Ghosts

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab comes a sweeping, spooky, evocative adventure, perfect for fans of Stranger Things.

Ever since Cass almost drowned (okay, she did drown, but she doesn’t like to think about it), she can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead . . . and enter the world of spirits. Her best friend is even a ghost.

So things are already pretty strange. But they’re about to get much stranger.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, graveyards, castles, and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms. And when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift,” she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil — and herself.

And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit heavy and while I like lighter, peppier stories, this one really spoke to me.

I love V.E Schwab’s writing style. She has so many epic quotes!

This review is really short because I wasn’t too terribly keen on this one. It was good, but I like Vicious better. My favorite by her is Cassidy Blake. This one was only just okay.

Also the voice for the audio book was terrible.

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(5/5 Stars. )

Rating breakdown:

Prose: 👍👍👍👍👍
Plot: 😄😄😄😄😄
Characterization: 👍👍👍👍
Boredom meter: 🔥🔥🔥

More about A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic, from #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

This Site Uses Referral Links

Here is your periodic reminder that I use Amazon Referral links on my site. So any of the book links you click, whether they’re mine or someone elses, are referral links.

This is helpful to boost my site SEO, find new readers, and also be useful in the eyes of Amazon.

When I move my blog in the next month to my actual site domain, there will be a dedicated little blurb at the bottom of the page stating this so I won’t have to do a blog every now and then about it, but until then this is how we do it.

Mainly because WordPress.com charges like $500 a year for custom CSS/Widgets. It’s total bullshit.

But I use referral links! So if you buy stuff I get like 10 cents in my Amazon Associates account. But it’ll probably get taken because of fees or something.

Book Review: Vicious by V.E Schwab

I have no idea why it took me so long to discover V.E Schwab especially because the kinds of books she writes are the kinds of books I read. And also she has the most enormous following of any author I’ve ever seen before in my life?

Vicious was fantastic. I love stories where there’s no real cut-and-dry hero or villain. This literally checked something off of every list of narrative stories I like. And siren characters like Serena are just…*kisses fingers* my favorite thing.

Honestly I’m so excited for the second one, but I’m taking a detour through A Darker Shade of Magic and the Cassidy Blake series first since I have some catching up to do before I meet her.

More about Vicious

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

Get your copy here on Amazon.