Desdemona Wren’s Top 10 Books of 2019 (Let’s face it, 99% of these are gay)

Most of the books I read are either about queer life or by queer authors. So if they do include a romance, which I do generally like to see in stories because I love romantic subplots, the romance is usually queer or they’ve got a queer side romance.

From this list you’ll learn that I’m obsessed with coming of age stories and I read probably way too much YA, but since YA and NA are the genres I usually write for, that makes a lot of sense.

Below my ratings include both stars and rainbows. The stars are my general overall rating of the book (these will all be 5+ stars) and the rainbows are the overall queerness rating (rainbow ratings with a 3 and below only contain queer side romances and not a main romance ALSO rainbow ratings that include a purple heart have canon bisexual characters).

I also include one of my favorite quotes from the book and in lieu of a review, I’m just going to speak briefly about what each book meant to me. That way this blog doesn’t get too long. And if I’m being honest most of these books I never even reviewed because I’m about 40 book reviews behind.

So, without further ado, here is my top 10 reads of 2019 (they’re not all from 2019, I know, but shh).

10. This Time Will be Different by Mia Sugiura

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People talk about starting over after they’ve made a big mistake or a bad choice in life. But you can never really start over. You can’t fully reset. And I don’t think you should. There’s no point in dwelling on the past, but you can acknowledge it and try to make things better. Or try a new way, and know that this time will be different.

Description: Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: The reason this book made it onto my list despite only have a queer side character is because the main character, CJ, struggles so much emotionally throughout the book and all of her mistakes and anger really made me identify with her. Also it’s set in San Jose and I’m a sucker for anything set in California.

9. Sadie by Courtney Summers

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“I can’t take another dead girl.”

Description: A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: While there is bisexual representation in this book, the point of Sadie is not romance. The entire point of this book is that it’s literally just from start to finish incredible. It’s told from two differing points of view, one being a podcast, the other being the story Sadie herself tells. This resonated with me because I was a victim of childhood abuse and also sexual trauma. I spent most of this book openly weeping and every time they kept saying “I can’t take another dead girl” I got so scared and the ending literally just ripped my whole heart out.

8. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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“And so at the age of four, I learned someone could cry from a happy memory.”

Description: With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: The reason I picked this up was in part, because of the gorgeous cover and also because it is so hard to find books with Black Puerto Rican rep. This story was so beautifully written and Emoni’s passion for cooking and for her daughter was so incredible to me. I just…I wanted a mom who would love me that much.

7. Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

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“The most important four-letter word in our history will always be LOVE. That’s what we are fighting for. That’s who we are. Love is our legacy.”

Description: It’s 1989 in New York City, and for three teens, the world is changing.

Reza is an Iranian boy who has just moved to the city with his mother to live with his stepfather and stepbrother. He’s terrified that someone will guess the truth he can barely acknowledge about himself. Reza knows he’s gay, but all he knows of gay life are the media’s images of men dying of AIDS.

Judy is an aspiring fashion designer who worships her uncle Stephen, a gay man with AIDS who devotes his time to activism as a member of ACT UP. Judy has never imagined finding romance…until she falls for Reza and they start dating.

Art is Judy’s best friend, their school’s only out and proud teen. He’ll never be who his conservative parents want him to be, so he rebels by documenting the AIDS crisis through his photographs.

As Reza and Art grow closer, Reza struggles to find a way out of his deception that won’t break Judy’s heart–and destroy the most meaningful friendship he’s ever known.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: How do I even begin to explain how much this book means to queer culture in America? I wept so openly while reading this book. There was so much about the AIDs crisis and the fear the queer community experienced during that time. Honestly this book was just heart-wrenching and so unbelievably important.

6. Reverie by Ryan La Sala

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“Just because something is imagined doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.”

“It’s just gay enough to work.”

Description: Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Get your copy here, on Amazon

What this book meant to me: Ryan La Sala basically owns my soul now. Everything about this book was poignant and just full of rich description. Honestly, this has got to be one of my favorite books I’ve ever read in my life. Which is why it’s on my list of top 10 from 2019. Hell, if I had to pick my top 10 of the decade, I’m pretty sure Reverie would make the cut. It is so rare I come across so richly woven queer-centric stories. I recommend this to everyone who loves good writing and questionable villains.

5. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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“I can’t help it. I’m a Slytherin.”

And I’m the worst kind of Slytherin. I’m the kind who’s so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can’t even function. I’m the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.”

Description: Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: Leah’s experiences are so close to mine as a fat queer growing up in the deep south that this book has a special place in my heart. I love everything Becky Albertalli has ever written, honestly. Her stories are the kind of gay adventures I wish I’d been able to have growing up and Leah is my soulmate.

4. Slay by Brittney Morris

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“Je viens de la putain de toundra”

Description: By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.”

But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book takes place in my hometown of Bellevue, WA and everything about it is incredible. I love the story of how Kiera is portrayed and how her creation of Slay gave people of color a place to be who they are in games. This book was very educational for me and it also spoke to a lot of what growing up in Bellevue is like. This book is so important, funny, and has a great story. I’m so glad I picked this up.

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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“The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”

Description: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: As soon as I finished reading this book I immediately went home and made my (now ex) boyfriend watch the movie with me. I cried from the very beginning of this book to the very end. It’s not technically a 2019 title, but since I didn’t read it until 2019, I’m putting it on this list. The struggles Starr and her family face throughout this novel completely gutted me and this book is just incredible. The way Angie Thomas tells this story through Starr’s eyes is breathtaking and the writing style stuck with me. It felt less like a book and more like living life through someone else’s eyes.

2. We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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“If we’re not all free, none of us are free.”

Description: At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book was basically everything I wanted out of 2019. Women helping women and falling in love. The enemies/rivals to lovers thing that happened between Carmen and Dani really spoke to my soul and Tehlor Kay Mejia blew me out of the water with her storytelling and world-building. This is honestly one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. I cannot wait for the sequel to come out next month!

Honorable Mention: All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell

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“Everybody else gets to leave a mark on me. Why can’t I leave my own?”

Description: There’s no such thing as a secret.

SOMETHING happened to Ava. The curving scar on her face is proof. But Ava would rather keep that something hidden—buried deep in her heart and her soul.

She has her best friend Syd, and she has her tattoos—a colorful quilt, like a security blanket, over her whole body—and now, suddenly, she has Hailey. Beautiful, sweet Hailey, who seems to like Ava as much as she likes her. And Ava isn’t letting anything get in the way of finally, finally seeking peace. But in the woods on the outskirts of town, the traces of someone else’s secrets lie frozen, awaiting Ava’s discovery—and what Ava finds threatens to topple the carefully-constructed wall of normalcy that she’s spent years building. Secrets leave scars. But when the secret in question is not your own—do you ignore the truth and walk away? Or do you uncover it from its shallow grave, and let it reopen old wounds—wounds that have finally begun to heal?

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: This book hurt me. The experiences of the main character, Ava, are so similar to my own that I experienced a lot of flashbacks to my life as a child and a victim of pedophilia and sexual assault. I understood her so well and the way these things make you feel and shape you into the person you become. This book resonated with me so much I still think about it even though it’s been almost a whole year since I read it. Remembering Jane still tugs at my heartstrings.

*Also this is a special case. I believe the MC, Ava is canonically bisexual, but I think Mitchell preferred not to “label her” which I think is a cop-out so I didn’t mark the MC as canon bi.

1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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“History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

And way too many others to name, but there’s a twitter account that tweets quotes from this book and I’m obsessed with it.

Description: What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Get your copy here, on Amazon.

What this book meant to me: I know this might be a little cliche to all of you, but this book was so unbelievably important to me that nothing else could’ve been number one. I don’t usually read and enjoy M/M books, but I picked this one up on a whim after seeing it advertised everywhere. And honestly? I’m glad I did. Reading a book about someone figuring out they’re bisexual after years of thinking they were straight and then launching into a wholly forbidden relationship with a prince? Yes, please. I loved everything about this book. I loved the sarcastic writing style, the characters, Henry and Alex’s complete inability to process their feelings because they’re both total idiots, and all the girls being like “Wow you’re all idiots.” 2019 and 2020 is going to be the year of all the queer books and Red, White, & Royal Blue is driving the ship.

How I’ve changed: Over the Decade

Stayed single almost the whole year?
2009: No, been in a relationship for a year!
2019: Yup.

Were involved In something you’ll never forget?
2009: Dude yeah.
2019: Non, je ne regrette rien.

Tripped over a coffee table?
2009: Lol yes.
2019: Don’t have a coffee table.

Dyed your hair?
2009: Yes.
2019: No, actually.

Came close to losing your life?
2009: :/
2019: No.

Saw one of your favorite bands/artists live?
2009: No
2019: No.

2009/2019: FRIENDS & ENEMIES…

Did you meet any new friends this year?
2009: Sure!
2019: A few.

Did you hate anyone?
2009/2019: Yes.

Do you have any regrets when it comes to your friendships?
2009: NYes
2019: Non, je ne regrette rien.

Did you miss any friends?
2009: Yes
2019: No.

2018: YOUR BIRTHDAY…

Did you have a cake?
2009: No
2019: Nope, pie.

Did you have a party?
2009: No.
2019: No.

Did you get any presents?
2009: No.
2019: I did!

2009/2019: ALL ABOUT YOU…

Did you change at all this year?
2009: No
2019: I am literally a completely different person than I was.

Were you in school?
2009: No.
2019: No.

Did you own a car?
2009: No.
2019: Yes.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
2009: Yes!
2019: Again, yes.  

Did you go on any vacations?
2009: No
2019: Yes?

2009/2019: WRAP UP…

Was 2018 a good year?
2009: I think so.
2019: No? But also yes? It was just hard.

Do you think 2020 will top 2019?
We’ll see?

Do you think 2009 will top 2008?
Yes. And it did!

IN THE YEAR 2009/2019 I CONFESS THAT I…

Kissed in the snow?
2009: Naawww
2019: No.

Done something you’ve regretted?
2009: Yeaaa
2019: No.

Painted a picture?
2009: Lol sure.
2019: No.

Wrote a poem?
2009: Yes.
2019: Yes.

Ran a mile?
2009: No
2019: No, but I’ve walked several.

Visited a foreign country?
2009: No
2019: Does Canada count?

Cut in a line of waiting people?
2009: No.
2019: UHHH…Maybe at BART?

IN 2009/2019 I…

Broke a promise?
2009: Yes
2019: No.

Lied?
2009: Yes
2019: Yes.

Disappointed someone close?
2009: I’ve always been a disappointment to my parents!
2019: Sure have.

Had a secret?
2009/2019: Yes.

Pretended to be happy?
2009/2019: Yes.

Slept under the stars?
2009: Yes
2019: No

Kept your new year’s resolution?
2009/2019: I don’t make those.

Forgot your new year’s resolution?
2009/2019: Don’t make them.

Met someone who changed your life?
2009/2019: Yes.

Changed your outlook on life?
2009: No.
2019: Yeah.

Sat home all day doing nothing?
2009/2019: Yeah, for a little while, I think.

Learned something new about yourself?
2009/2019: Yup.

Met great people?
2009/2019: YEAH!

Kissed someone that means a lot to you?
2009/2019: No.

Stayed up till sunrise?
2009: Plenty of long nights.
2019: I actually haven’t.

Cried over the silliest thing?
2009: Yes.
2019: No, nothing worth crying over is ever silly.

Had friends who were drifting away from you?
2009/2019: Always.  It’s part of growing up.

Had a high cell phone bill?
2009/2019: Nah.

Spent most of your money on food?
2009: No
2019: Yeaaah.

Had a fist fight?
2009/2019: Nah.

Gotten sick?
2009/2019: Yeah.

Liked more than 5 people at the same time?
2009/2019: Big no.

Became closer with a lot of people?
2009: Yeah!
2019: Nah.

Song that reminds you of summer 2019?
Sucker – Jonas Brothers

Lost any friends this year?
2009: No
2019: I’d actually say they lost me.

When people say, “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever talked shit about anyone” do you think it’s possible?
2009/2019: No.

How do you feel about gay marriage?
2009: :/
2019: I’m gay. So. It’s gr8.

Give me a random lyric from the song you’re listening to:
2009: Not listening to anything.
2019: Calling calling calling me home.

Do you think you’re approachable?
2009/2019: Unfortunately yes.

Do you make sexual innuendos about everything?
2009/2019: Yes I am a child.

Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?
2009: Nope!
2019: Only if the other person is being gross.

Who is the last person you texted?
2009: My boyfriend!
2019: My boss.

Song playing right now?
2009: No idea?
2019: I can’t really hear it? Something top 40 on the radio above my head.

My “Decade” in Music

Since I’ve only been using Google Play since 2017 and Spotify wants to act like it doesn’t know me, allow me to show you guys what I’ve been listening to for the past 3 years. Starting with 2017.

My Year in Music 2017

Most played Artists 2017

  1. Mae
  2. Mayday Parade
  3. Panic! At The Disco
  4. CHVRCHES
  5. Carly Rae Jepsen
  6. Demi Lovato
  7. Stephen Sondheim
  8. Jonas Brothers
  9. TV & MOVIE SOUNDTRAX
  10. Taylor Swift
  11. Kesha
  12. Purity Ring
  13. Britney Spears
  14. Halsey
  15. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast
  16. LANY
  17. My Chemical Romance
  18. Melanie Martinez
  19. Lorde
  20. Imagine Dragons
  21. Ke$ha
  22. A Great Big World
  23. Rick Astley
  24. Alan Menken
  25. Kelly Clarkson
  26. Fall Out Boy
  27. All Time Low
  28. Bebe Rexha
  29. Ed Sheeran
  30. Relient K
  31. Selena Gomez
  32. Sam Smith
  33. L’Arc-en-Ciel
  34. Hey Violet
  35. AJR
  36. OneRepublic
  37. Skrillex
  38. Vertical Horizon
  39. One Direction
  40. L’Arc~en~Ciel
  41. Adele
  42. Rachel Bloom
  43. The Griswolds
  44. Transviolet
  45. Rebecca Black
  46. Sam Tinnesz
  47. Ariana Grande
  48. Daughter
  49. Phoebe Bridgers
  50. Astrid S

Most Played Songs 2017

  1. Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
  2. Mae – The Ocean
  3. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
  4. Demi Lovato – Tell Me You Love Me
  5. Kesha – Hunt You Down
  6. Demi Lovato – Sexy Dirty Love
  7. Jeff Williams & Casey Lee Williams – Time to Say Goodbye
  8. Demi Lovato – Games
  9. Melanie Martinez – Soap
  10. Rachel Bloom – Sex With A Stranger (Demo)
  11. A Fine Frenzy – Now Is The Start
  12. Sam Tinnesz – Wolves (feat. Silverberg)
  13. Mayday Parade – Call Me Hopeless, But Not Romantic
  14. Selena Gomez – Kill Em With Kindness
  15. Kelly Clarkson – Never Again
  16. Lorde – Writer In The Dark
  17. The Downtown Fiction – I Just Wanna Run
  18. CHVRCHES – Under The Tide (Single Version)
  19. Rick Astley – Let It Rain
  20. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  21. The Griswolds – Hate That I Don’t Hate You
  22. Taylor Swift – This Love
  23. Demi Lovato – Only Forever
  24. A Great Big World – Already Home
  25. Mae – Anything
  26. Krewella – Alive
  27. Eels – Fresh Feeling
  28. Ed Sheeran – Give Me Love
  29. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain
  30. Frederick Knight – I’ve Been Lonely For So Long
  31. CHVRCHES – High Enough To Carry You Over
  32. Taylor Swift – The Way I Loved You
  33. Demi Lovato – Cry Baby
  34. Demi Lovato – Lonely (feat. Lil Wayne)
  35. Demi Lovato – Hitchhiker
  36. Celeste Buckingham – Unpredictable
  37. Miley Cyrus – Malibu
  38. Transviolet – Don’t Put It On Me
  39. Lorde – Perfect Places
  40. Halsey – Is There Somewhere
  41. Scarlett Johansson – Set It All Free
  42. Purity Ring – Crawlersout
  43. Britney Spears – Womanizer
  44. Billie Eilish – hostage
  45. Gym Class Heroes – Cupid’s Chokehold / Breakfast In America (Radio Mix)
  46. John Legend – Love Me Now
  47. AJR – Weak
  48. Kesha – Bastards
  49. Chvrches – Recover
  50. Linkin Park – Bleed It Out

My Year in Music 2018

Most Played Artists 2018

  1. CxGf Cast ▲ 15
  2. Panic! At The Disco ▲ 1
  3. Mayday Parade ▼ 1
  4. Mae ▼ 3
  5. CHVRCHES ▼ 1
  6. Carly Rae Jepsen ▼ 1
  7. Taylor Swift ▲ 3
  8. Demi Lovato ▼ 2
  9. SOUNDTRAX
  10. Jonas Brothers ▼ 2
  11. Stephen Sondheim ▼ 4
  12. Purity Ring
  13. Halsey ▲ 1
  14. Sam Smith ▲ 18
  15. Kesha ▲ 6
  16. Panic! at the Disco
  17. Imagine Dragons ▲ 3
  18. Rachel Platten ▲ 7
  19. MCR ▼ 2
  20. LANY ▼ 4
  21. Lorde ▼ 2
  22. Britney Spears ▼ 9
  23. Bebe Rexha ▲ 5
  24. Kelly Clarkson ▲ 1
  25. Ke$ha ▼ 24
  26. Hey Violet ▲ 8
  27. Relient K ▲ 3
  28. Ed Sheeran ▲ 1
  29. All Time Low ▼ 2
  30. Angelspit
  31. Rick Astley ▼ 8
  32. Alan Menken ▼ 9
  33. A Great Big World ▼ 10
  34. Ella Vos
  35. Smooth Jazz All Stars
  36. Phoebe Bridgers ▲ 13
  37. Lana Del Rey
  38. Vertical Horizon
  39. Anna Kendrick
  40. OneRepublic ▼ 4
  41. Steven Universe
  42. Aly & AJ
  43. One Direction ▼ 4
  44. Fetty Wap
  45. DWNTWN
  46. Rebecca Black ▼ 1
  47. Ariana Grande
  48. Selena Gomez ▼ 17
  49. He Is We
  50. The Griswolds ▼ 7

Most Played Songs 2018

  1. Demi Lovato – Sorry Not Sorry
  2. Death Cab for Cutie – Soul Meets Body
  3. Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams
  4. Taylor Swift – I Wish You Would
  5. Taylor Swift – All You Had To Do Was Stay
  6. Nicky Jam – El Amante
  7. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – It Was a Shit Show (feat. Santino Fontana)
  8. Taylor Swift – Welcome To New York
  9. Loren Allred – Never Enough (Reprise)
  10. Lana Del Rey – Dark Paradise
  11. Sam Smith – One Day At A Time
  12. Jonas Brothers – Pom Poms
  13. Bebe Rexha – That’s It (feat. Gucci Mane & 2 Chainz)
  14. Emily Blunt – Moments in the Woods
  15. Sleeping At Last – Total Eclipse of the Heart
  16. Sia – The Greatest (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  17. Bebe Rexha – I Don’t Wanna Grow Up
  18. Alan Menken – The Ends Of The Earth
  19. Taylor Swift – This Love
  20. Rachel Platten – Loose Ends
  21. Halsey – Hold Me Down
  22. Lorde – Sober
  23. Phoebe Ryan – Forgetting All About You (feat. Blackbear)
  24. Rebecca Black – Heart Full of Scars
  25. Angelspit – I, Weapon
  26. Keri Hilson – Pretty Girl Rock
  27. Purity Ring – Obedear
  28. Demi Lovato – Lonely (feat. Lil Wayne)
  29. Bo Burnham – Repeat Stuff
  30. Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl City – Good Time
  31. Lorde – Homemade Dynamite
  32. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – Love Kernels (feat. Rachel Bloom)
  33. Hailee Steinfeld – Starving (feat. Zedd)
  34. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
  35. Mae – Night/Day
  36. Gym Class Heroes – The Fighter (feat. Ryan Tedder)
  37. Bridgit Mendler – My Song For You (from “Good Luck Charlie”)
  38. Rascal Flatts – Easy (feat. Natasha Bedingfield)
  39. Amy Adams – Happy Working Song (From “Enchanted”/Soundtrack Version)
  40. My Chemical Romance – Blood (Hidden Track)
  41. Transviolet – The Hamptons
  42. Bea Miller – yes girl
  43. Jenny & Tyler – Song For You
  44. Hey Violet – This Is Me Breaking Up With You
  45. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast – I Love My Daughter (But Not In A Creepy Way) (feat. Pete Gardner)
  46. MIKA – Grace Kelly
  47. All Get Out – The Season
  48. CHVRCHES – Miracle
  49. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  50. Loren Allred – Never Enough

My Year in Music 2019

Most Played Artists 2019

  1. Panic! At The Disco ▲ 1
  2. Jonas Brothers ▲ 8
  3. Mayday Parade
  4. Taylor Swift ▲ 3
  5. CHVRCHES
  6. Hey Violet ▲ 20
  7. Halsey ▲ 6
  8. Mae ▼ 4
  9. Juice WRLD
  10. Carly Rae Jepsen ▼ 4
  11. Stephen Sondheim
  12. Sam Smith ▲ 2
  13. Ariana Grande ▲ 34
  14. Purity Ring ▼ 2
  15. Imagine Dragons ▼ 2
  16. SOUNDTRAX ▼ 7
  17. Doris Day
  18. Steven Universe ▲ 23
  19. MCR
  20. LANY
  21. Angelspit ▲ 9
  22. Janelle Monáe
  23. Britney Spears ▼ 1
  24. Alan Menken ▲ 8
  25. Rachel Platten ▼ 7
  26. Hayley Kiyoko
  27. Vertical Horizon ▲ 11
  28. Lorde
  29. Phoebe Bridgers ▲ 7
  30. All Time Low ▲ 1
  31. Rick Astley
  32. Post Malone
  33. Queen
  34. Blackway
  35. Nicki Minaj
  36. Lana Del Rey ▲ 1
  37. Duckwrth
  38. Bebe Rexha ▼ 15
  39. Kesha ▼ 24
  40. Jazz All Stars ▼ 5
  41. CxGf Cast ▼ 40
  42. A Great Big World ▼ 9
  43. Kelly Clarkson ▼ 19
  44. Ed Sheeran ▼ 16
  45. DNCE
  46. Ella Vos ▼ 12
  47. Alessia Cara
  48. Thutmose
  49. Lil Wayne
  50. Beau Young Prince

Most Played Artists 2019

  1. Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes
  2. Blackway – What’s Up Danger
  3. Duckwrth – Start a Riot
  4. Nicki Minaj – Familia (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) (feat. Bantu)
  5. Taylor Swift – New Romantics
  6. Panic! At The Disco – (Fuck A) Silver Lining
  7. Thutmose – Memories
  8. Beau Young Prince – Let Go
  9. Ski Mask The Slump God – Save The Day (feat. Coi Leray & LouGotCash)
  10. Juice WRLD – Hide (feat. Seezyn)
  11. Aminé – Invincible
  12. Panic! At The Disco – Hey Look Ma, I Made It
  13. Panic! At The Disco – The Overpass
  14. Panic! At The Disco – Roaring 20s
  15. Vince Staples – Home
  16. DJ Khalil – Elevate (feat. Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, SwaVay & Trevor Rich)
  17. Lil Wayne – Scared of the Dark (feat. XXXTENTACION)
  18. Panic! At The Disco – Old Fashioned
  19. Panic! At The Disco – Say Amen (Saturday Night)
  20. Halsey – Colors
  21. Post Malone – Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)
  22. Jaden Smith – Way Up
  23. Taylor Swift – You Are In Love
  24. Halsey – New Americana
  25. Panic! At The Disco – One Of The Drunks
  26. Panic! At The Disco – Dancing’s Not A Crime
  27. Panic! At The Disco – King Of The Clouds
  28. Jonas Brothers – Sucker
  29. Panic! At The Disco – Emperor’s New Clothes
  30. Panic! At The Disco – LA Devotee
  31. Jonas Brothers – Cool
  32. Panic! At The Disco – Impossible Year
  33. Panic! At The Disco – Victorious
  34. Snakehips – All My Friends (feat. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper)
  35. Panic! At The Disco – Golden Days
  36. Hey Violet – Break My Heart
  37. Panic! At The Disco – Hallelujah
  38. Panic! At The Disco – Dying In LA
  39. Jonas Brothers – Only Human
  40. Panic! At The Disco – Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time
  41. Jonas Brothers – Every Single Time
  42. Jonas Brothers – Used To Be
  43. Jonas Brothers – I Believe
  44. Camila Cabello – Never Be the Same (Radio Edit)
  45. Panic! At The Disco – The Good, The Bad And The Dirty
  46. Panic! At The Disco – House Of Memories
  47. Jonas Brothers – Comeback
  48. Jonas Brothers – Happy When I’m Sad
  49. Jonas Brothers – Love Her
  50. Jonas Brothers – Don’t Throw it Away

5 Local Restaurants You Should Support Instead of Eating at Applebee’s, Episode 1: Petaluma, CA

Petaluma is the last stop in the Bay Area before it becomes wine country. Located in the scenic Sonoma county, it has tons of amazing food, wine, and, yes, even beer.

Lagunitas, one of California’s most famous beers, is headquartered here a stone’s throw from Penngrove, CA where wine country truly begins.

The rolling hills and fog make the view not only scenic, but a “must see”.

People come from all over the country to visit Napa, but they often sleep on Sonoma, CA which is arguably even better. And much closer to the coast.

Risibisi

From their website: RATED BEST RESTAURANT IN PETALUMA.

Risibisi Restaurant in downtown Petaluma serves healthy, fresh, Sonoma Italian cuisine featuring the finest local ingredients found in Sonoma County. We provide a memorable fine dining experience second to none, transporting you to the rustic elegance of an Italian Trattoria.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The food was excellent. The drinks were delicious. The service was impeccable. A perfect dinner. Definitely our new favorite restaurant in Petaluma!!

⭐⭐⭐

I have been to Risibisi many times. But my last visit was very disappointing. After being seated I had to go to the bar to get water after asking for it when we arrived and it never came. We did not get any butter or olive oil with the bread and had to ask for it.

My beet salad was just okay and the crispy duck salad was not good. Our main course was mediocre. The waiter must have noticed my displeasure at the end he brought Muscat and some doughnuts that had way too much cinnamon.

We came for my mom’s birthday. I mentioned that when we arrived. The waiter brought a candle on a plain plate with the check. I am sad about my dinning experience because I have had a great time at Risibisi before.

I probably won’t be rushing back soon.

My Review: Trying it out today. Will report back. Though it is VERY expensive. Expect to pay $20 for one here.

El Gallo Taqueria

From their website: Best food, good food.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fantastic food and amazing service. My friends had burritos and I had tacos and they were all equally good and they all came out at the same time. The speed at which they brought out the food was almost instantaneous!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Delicious food from a family-run style restaurant I usually get the combination plates and have yet to be disappointed. Food here tastes real without any fillers. The have delicious chile rellenos that are made very well.

My review: This is my favorite place to eat in all of Petaluma. The food is good, reasonably priced, and the staff is friendly. Honestly this is one of “MUST EAT AT” places. Their pupusas are AMAZING. Their burritos, especially the chorizo one, are fantastic.

Gohan

From their website: Enjoyment is key , which clearly shows in our restaurant. We offers Orient cuisine with modern influences. Our chefs work with fresh seasonal, preferably local, products. All dishes are prepared in our own kitchen. We offer an excellent product at a fair price.

We are happy to serve you a typical Japanese rolls with fresh fish and vegetables, a fine glass of wine or one of the carefully prepared meals from our kitchen. Our friendly and guest-oriented service staff will make sure your every need is being taken care of.

What locals are saying:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This spot is worth a visit. They serve large portions for fair prices. Constantly well kept and with fantastic ambiance. Would recommend to others.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This place offers extraordinary service and tasty food. One of my favourite spots around town. The food came out rapidly and the rates are fair. Will definitely recommend this spot.

My review: Service has always been incredibly slow for me. Even though every time I’ve gone it’s been completely empty, but the food is really good. So I’d recommend it if you like sushi.

Fourth & Sea

From their website: First off, we have the best fish and chips in Sonoma County and maybe this side of London!

How do we know? People tell us!

But we’re more than just great fish and chips. Our fish tacos for example, are nothing short of addicting. We know; we’re addicted. Two flour tortillas, cheddar cheese melted in-between, filled with seasoned grilled fish, coleslaw, and mild salsa.

Really good, really big, really filling.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Delicious food! Fish and fries were great. Clam chowder was amazing as well as the smothered hot dog. Its probably for the best that this establishment isn’t close to me or else I’d be eating out way too much! Dog friendly patio. Eat inside or out. Huge menu with home made ice cream for dessert.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This place is a classic little spot in Petaluma. Great fish and chips, and monthly shake specials. Lots of other items on the menu as well if you’re with a group. Seating inside and out; great on a warm summer evening. Only downside is listening to the guy running the kitchen demean his employees constantly.

My review: Honestly? Great fish & chips for this area. There’s a place down south that I love a good deal more than here, but if I had to pick a place in North Bay it would 100% be Fourth & Sea.

El Roy’s Mexican Grill

From their website: Authentic Mexican Food Truck where the food ranges from burritos, tortas, tacos, platillos (specialty plates), sopes, gorditas, to mexican hot dogs.

What locals have to say:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Y’all know El Roy’s is great, I’m not sure what more I can say. So good, always great service. Only thing missing is margaritas!

⭐⭐⭐⭐

We love the food at El Roy’s. My favorite is the shrimp tacos. The salsas are excellent. The problem with the place isn’t the food or service it’s the location. It’s too small and hasn’t got much parking.

My review: This food is so good! I didn’t really like the tortas, but everything else is *kisses fingers* fab.

What it’s Like to Write Every Single Day When You Have ADHD

NaNoWriMo is upon us and we’re 4 days in. I’ve been participating since roughly 2005 and this is the time where I start ‘feeling it’.

“But Des!” You say, “It’s only 4 days in. Surely someone who has been writing books for a number of years can go longer than this.”

I can. I can write every single day for 5 months straight if I have to, but would I want to? No. I get burned out really easily from having dyslexia and ADHD and I need frequent breaks from my manuscripts so I don’t go insane.

With NaNo, I don’t get that luxury.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning spree before I even sat down to get my words in. Even then I had to break up my writing by watching YouTube videos.

See, I have a very difficult time focusing on things like writing when I don’t take frequent breaks to do other things.

If I focused on writing for a full day, I could pull 20,000 words out of my ass, and trust me when I say I’ve done that. I’ve only ever done it once, but I’ve still done it.

But after I did that, I proceeded to not write for nearly 3 weeks. I can’t do that during NaNoWriMo. I would never finish.

So instead, I trick myself by allowing my brain to get all happy from watching a TikTok compilation, a crack video, or maybe even a 20 minute episode of something that I know makes me happy and then I force myself to write for 3-5 minutes.

It’s a huge time suck, but it works out really well for me. I’ve made word count every year I’ve done this. And I know how it must look to the people who are watching me, but trust me when I say I am definitely working. This is just part of my process.

Don’t @ Me: The story of Helena Bram.

This year for NaNoWriMo I’m writing my very first YA novel. I’ve only done New Adult before this with main characters ranging from 19-24, but Helena Bram is 15.

I like to tell the stories of people who are a little older because 19-24 is where I did most of my own self-discovery. It’s when I went off to college and when I finally left my parents and family behind, but I realize that’s not normal. Most people do their self-discovery in their teen years.

But since I was preoccupied by being abused and not being able to really form my own opinions or sense of self, I sort of missed out on that. I think the only thing I really knew about who I was around this time, was that I wasn’t straight and also that I was deeply unhappy.

Enter Helena Bram. Helena is a 15-year-old nomad from Buffalo, New York who lives with her mother. Her father split a long time ago and she never hears from him, not even on her birthday.

This vaguely looks like her if she were a lot older and a lot prettier (also you can tell this game was made by a man and that says a lot)

At the beginning of the story, her mother has moved the two of them across the state of Tennessee from Memphis to Knoxville where she’s the “new girl” again. She hasn’t been able to put roots down anywhere, nor does she have any friends.

The only thing she does have is a strange and wonderful connection to Best Buy. She waxes poetic about how it’s the only constant in her life other than the fact her mother will uproot them or her father will always forget her birthday. All Best Buys no matter where you are, stay exactly the same.

It is in irrefutable truth.

The Best Buy in Knoxville is no different than the Best Buy in Memphis and that’s the sort of stability she craves in her life. As she browses the store, though, she happens upon a table she’s never seen before. Not in any Best Buy she’s loitered in across the East Coast.

That’s when she discovers Twitter. In 2023. When she’s stuck in 2005.

She becomes obsessed with the possibility of it, seeing into the future through a flat brick of a phone and she spends far too much time in Best Buy talking to people she doesn’t know and ultimately falling in love with a celebrity.

For a long time this is all she has.

Until she meets Celine.

This is, of course, a coming of age F/F novel written partially about my own childhood, but with elements of science fiction and fantasy in an otherwise mind-numbingly normal world.

I really hope I can pull this off.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting the first 2,000 words I’ve written over on my Patreon, for my $1 subscribers.

If you haven’t become my Patron yet, I’d recommend joining. Since I will also be posting Chapter 2 & 3 of Rhinoverse this month for my $5 Patrons.

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.