Avengers - I can do this all day - 514
Steve era sempre stato cagionevole di salute. Di quelli che i dottori non erano certi avrebbe superato l'inverno, di quelli che le persone bisbigliavano: un'altra febbre e ci lascia.
La sua lista di malattie era decisamente più lunga del suo conto in banca, e sua madre aveva lavorato fino alla tomba per mantenerlo.
C'erano tante cose che Steve rimpiangeva della sua vita, troppe forse, ma sicuramente il fatto che sua madre non fosse mai riuscita a riposare un giorno era tra quelle che più lo tormentavano la sera.
Era morta prendendosi cura di lui, esattamente come in vita. Una donna forte, che non si era mai lamentata della sfortuna che le era capitata addosso.
"Sfortuna?" gli diceva sempre, con un sorriso ed una carezza. "Non so cosa tu voglia dire. Sono la donna più fortunata del mondo. Dopotutto ho avuto te, no?"
Steve non aveva mai saputo apprezzare a pieno la dolcezza di sua madre, non finché era viva almeno. Si era appoggiata a lei perchè gli sembrava che nient'altro al mondo fosse dalla sua parte, che nessun'altro pensava che Steve Rogers avrebbe potuto farcela.
Fin da quando era piccolo aveva sempre sentito tutti dire: non correre, non affaticarti troppo. Questo non è per te. Ti conviene stare a casa, o chissà cosa ti succede.
Sarah Rogers, però, non era mai stata così. Per quanto si preoccupasse, come ogni madre con un figlio così malato avrebbe fatto, Sarah Rogers aveva sempre spinto Steve a superare i suoi limiti, a non fermarsi mai davanti a niente e a nessuno.
Questo era stato quello che Steve aveva imparato nella sua vita, il mantra con cui era cresciuto: non lasciare mai che ti buttino a terra e se cadi, rialzati subito.
Anni dopo, Steve Rogers era l'unica recluta per l'Operazione Rinascita che non avesse pettorali, una resistenza da soldato. Quello che aveva era invece l'asma.
Sapeva benissimo che nessuno dei soldati che si allenavano con lui vedeva di buon occhio la sua accettazione, che parlavano a lungo quando Steve non li poteva sentire (o quando loro credevano che lui non li potesse sentire) di come Steve non fosse adatto a questa operazione. Del fatto che fosse lì per nepotismo, che probabilmente aveva fatto qualche favore al Dottor Eskrine per essere stato accettato nell'Operazione.
Steve cercava di non ascoltarli, chiudeva gli occhi e continuava a correre. Saltare. Superare gli ostacoli che gli venivano messi davanti.
E quando cadeva, quando il suo fiato diventava troppo corto e le sue ossa troppo deboli, e Steve si ritrovava a faccia in giù per terra, un nuovo livido e un ginocchio sbucciato. Steve si rialzava.
Nonostante il suo fianco urlasse per il dolore; nonostante il suo fiato arrivasse tardi, in respiri troppo frequenti e troppo poco profondi; nonostante per la sua anemia non potesse perdere così tanto sangue, Steve si rialzava e ricominciava a correre.
"Posso farlo tutto il giorno," diceva, a testa alta, cercando di nascondere il suo zoppicare, o il fatto che ormai il suo respiro fosse più un rantolo che altro.
Steve Rogers non si dava mai per vinto.
The Raven Cycle - I can never dream you right - 537
The Adam that greets him in their dreams is strange. Ronan doesn't know how to explain the difference between the Adam Parrish in his dreams and the one of his dreams.
The Adam that Ronan's forest tries to give to him at night is calmer, has all of the beauty but none of the fire. He's completely and 100% Ronan's.
The real Adam, the one Ronan wants and desires more than anything else in the entire universe, will never belong to anyone but himself.
He's independent and takes pride in it, and there's nothing Ronan wants less than changing him. Owning him. Regardless of what his dreams try to give to him, Ronan has never wished to owe Adam Parrish.
Especially since he knows how an Adam Parrish that belongs to him looks like.
His eyes are th same shade as the real Adam, his hands are just as calloused, and his smile is just as rare, but he doesn't pushes Ronan, doesn't call him a dipshit, doesn't get angry when Ronan tries to offer him anything.
Pleasing the Adam in his dreams is easy, when nothing with the real Adam ever is. Dream Adam goes along with anything Ronan says, pliant under his mouth and under his words.
Dream Adam Parrish is fucking boring as fuck.
What Ronan doesn't understand, really, is how Cabeswater, who is ever so ready to please him, could ever get everything that makes Adam who he is so wrong. It's like Cabeswater is looking at Adam through a opaque glass. He has the right shapes, but none of the colors.
Adam is the vibrant red of the dawning sun, and the violent red of the blood. He's the solid brown of the earth and the powerful green of the forest.
The Adam that Ronan sees in his dreams, almost every night, is a shade of pale blue.
Maybe what Cabeswater wants him to see is an Adam Parrish calm, at peace with the world and his role in it, but he doesn't think that's it.
He has seen Adam at peace, in the early hours of the morning, when Ronan is awake because he can't sleep and Adam is awake because he can't help but wake up at the crack as of dawn.
Adam is orange then, touched by the first rays of the sun and his eyes might be blue, but they are the color of the sky during a storm, never settled, always in motion.
He's wild, fiercely independent, but still in Ronan's arms. Not because Ronan owes him, not because he won Adam in any way shape or form, but because he has chosen to be there.
And that means much more than the fake Adam of his dreams.
"I dreamt of you yesterday," Adam tells him, with a wicked smile and promises on his lips.
Ronan can't help but caress his cheek and say, trutfully: "I never dream of you." And he doesn't explain that it's because he can never manage to capture the incredible being that is Adam Parrish, that even for a man that can dream anything in the entire world, Adam is too unique to ever fully grasp.
He hopes Adam understands it anyway.
Critical Role - Wet dream (wet of blood) - 579
Fjord dreads the dreams. Every night he closes his eyes and doesn't know what will come in his dreams. If his voice will slither into his dreams at night, stealing them and morphing to suit his needs.
Watch, Grow, Provoke, Consume the dream says. Uk'otoa whispers into his ears. Maybe not every night, but most. Almost all of them really.
And even when Fjord doesn't woke up, coughing salt water all over their dome, he still feels his eyes watching him. They say to him that he's never free, that they never avoid their gaze.
Uk'otoa sees him. Knows him. Studies him.
He knows what he thinks, what he's doing, what he thinks.
Every waking moment feels like a dream as well, sometimes, and it's becoming harder and harder to stay awake.
He tries to take all the guard shifts, tries to stay awake longer, more. But night always comes and, with it, the dreams.
Tonight, when he falls asleep, it's not Uk'otoa that welcomes him. Or, at least, he doesn't think so.
It feels different that the dreams that come from him. There's no water, not at the beginning at least. He's on the cart with the rest of the Mighty Nein.
He can see the others laughing between themselves. Jester and Nott are doing another one of their stupid stunts and Beau is laughing along. She looks more carefree now, younger in a sense.
Caleb, on the other hand, still looks haunted. Tries to make himself look smaller as if he could occupy less space if he wished hard enough.
Caduceus is seated in the front, leading their horses. Molly is laughing along with Beau and, sometimes, joining Jester and Nott in a particularly funny dance move. Yasha, beside Fjord, doesn't join but there's a rare smile on her face.
It's a nice dream, really. Nicer than reality, these days.
Fjord isn't really surprised when it doesn't last. In a moment the earth shakes and starts crumbling under them. The other starts to run, but they're not fast enough and the ground swallows them one by one. From the cracks water starts rising, covering every inch of dry land.
Fjord tries to move it, use it to open the ground up again, but the water doesn't respond to him. He's powerless.
"Did you really think," Avantika says, appearing beside him, "that you could leave him to sleep without consequences? That he wouldn't find you and hurt you where it hurt the most?"
He turns towards them, eyes open wide and scared. She's dead, he knows she is, saw her head snap and all. And still she smiles at him, sweet as once were their kisses.
"He'll find you, Captain Fjord," she whispers, "and he'll punish you if you don't do as he says. He'll punish all the ones you care about. Is that really what you want?"
He tries to answer but water spills from his mouth. He can't breathe, impossibly.
So Avantika smiles, this time cruel and rotten. "You're such a bastard man, Fjord."
Fjord wakes up then. There's no water in his mouth, but he dry heaves anyway, feeling bile and dread mount inside him.
"Fjord? Everything all right?" Jester asks him, looking worried.
"Another wet dream?" Beau joins in, with a filthy smile.
He loves them, as much as he can imagine loving anyone. And he's going to be the death of them.
"Yeah. Just another wet dream," he lies and closes his eyes.
Critical Role - Any name he wants - 576
The body that rises from the ground doesn't know his name or where he comes from. In fact, the more he tries to remember who he once was, or where he is, or why he's there, his mind comes up blank.
He looks around and notices just then that he's covered in dirt. A more attentive study of his surrounding tells him that he was buried under the ground. Buried alive, because whatever else he can't remember, he's most certainly alive and well.
There's nothing else around him but dirt and trees. No cross, nothing to mark what was supposed to be his grave.
Whoever this body is, he was someone who would be buried alive and forgotten. What a terrible life must he have lived to deserve this?
He picks himself up, with great effort. He's tired, his body feels weak. Only when he stands up he sees that there's a mark on his arm, a tattoo he doesn't remember.
Marks he doesn't remember, stories he doesn't know anymore. A person he doesn't understand. A person he's not so sure he wants to know.
What if the story of this person always ends up here? Buried alone in a ditch, just like trash someone forgot?
He doesn't want to be here anymore.
He stands up and tries to walk away, but his legs give up on him and he falls down, hard. How long has he been here? How long since he last ate? How long since he existed?
Who was he?
The fall has only made every hurt in his bones worse. He feels weak, but most of all he feels dead and that's too close for comfort. He can only feel the places where he just scraped his own body, where the blood is flowing. He might have gotten hurt in the fall, but those are now the only places that make him feel alive.
Because he can focus more on this he hears some noises and, uncaring of his state of exhaustion he picks himself up and walks towards it. "Hello?" he screams, hoping that someone would hear him.
There's a possibility, of course, that it's whoever put him there in the first place, but he can't live with the fear of a person he doesn't know overshadowing everything else.
What he finds, instead, is a caravan. A traveling circus, or so it seems at least. They've stopped and a couple of people are walking in the direction.
They don't look friendly, but they don't look like they recognize him either. Anything in between he can work with.
"What happened to you?" the first one asks, squaring him up. "You look just like you crawled up of your own grave."
That is far too accurate to be a coincidence and he laughs, unable to stop himself.
The other two watch him surprised, probably scared to see a man laughing so carefree at the thought of his own grave.
"No," he says, with a smile, "I was just burying an asshole."
That doesn't seem to calm them up, really, but he smiles again.
"Do you have a name?" the second asks and he stops.
He doesn't not really, but how can he tell them that? Does he really care that he lost the name of that man?
He can have any name he wants. Who can stop him? "Yeah," he replies, feeling carefree, "I'm Mollymauk. And it's a pleasure to meet you all."
Voltron - Head wound - 631
It's not one of his proudest moment, Shiro can admit it freely, but it's not really his fault. Sure, he wasn't looking where he was going, and he was distracted, but it really isn't his fault if he tripped in the chair and falled down on the floor. It isn't his fault if, in falling, he had hit his head on the desk and is now bleeding all over the floor.
It's not his fault and this is the version he's sticking to, okay?
"Shiro!" Someone yells and then rushes towards him.
Shiro blinks and tries to focus on the voice that's calling his name. It's hard to do so when hi head is pounding so much. He's a man that has survived torture and war, he really should be used to head wounds by now.
Keith's face appears into his vision and, while it's hard for him to make out, Shiro thinks he might be looking worried. For Shiro and his head wound, probably. Yeah, it makes sense.
"Are you okay?" Keith asks him, worriedly. "You're bleeding. Someone call the nurse!"
Shiro tries to sit up, but Keith immediately stops him. "Stop, what are you doing? It might get worse if you move."
"It's really not that bad," Shiro tries, with what he hopes passes as a smile. "I tripped on the chair, it happens. I'm fine."
"You're bleeding, Shiro," Keith insists, looking around. Now that Shiro can also focus on something else, he notices that there are a lot of people in the room.
A lot of people means that someone might have seen what he had been doing before falling... that's much worse than any head wound.
"Yeah, okay, maybe I should go to the infirmary," he relents then. If he gets out of the room, maybe he can avoid the incoming humiliation.
Keith nods, looking around to make sure that the others are calling someone and, in that mean time, Shiro sees Lance, Hunk and Pidge's head appear in front of him.
"That was a hard fall, dude," Lance says, "are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah," Hunk joins in, looking worriedly at Shiro's head. "You're not usually that clumsy, Shiro. Do you feel okay?"
Shiro can't really say why he was too distracted, so he just smiles and hopes for the best. "Yeah, sorry, I just wasn't looking where I was going."
Hunk nods, smiling, and Lance shrugs. Shiro might be out of the woods, especially when Keith says: "I see the nurse. Can you walk?"
Shiro nods, starting to sit up, relieved about being able to escape, when Pidge says: "Just walk behind him, Keith, and Shiro won't trip because he's too distracted by your ass."
The entire world freezes, and Shiro can feel the everyone's stares.
Because yes, it really isn't Shiro's fault that he was too distracted to look where he was going, not when Keith is going around in his Marmora's suit. It really should be illegal.
"Oh God," Lance says before laughing harder than Shiro has ever seen him. Hunk at least tries to contain himself for ten seconds before joining Lance in his laugh.
Pidge, the damn traitor, simply smirks, proud of herself.
Shiro can't even look at Keith, too embarrassed. "Can someone just kill me?"
The nurse joins them then, starting to bandage Shiro's head. "Don't worry too much, Admiral," he says, with a smile, "you don't know the times Keith had to come to us because he's too busy staring at you to concentrate on the simulation."
Shiro blinks, surprised, and then looks towards Keith. His boyfriend is completely beet red, but he's not denying anything.
"Shut up," Keith murmurs, but he's pleased, Shiro can tell. Well, it's the best head wound he's ever gotten, that's for sure.