Alex doesn't know how they find them. One moment they're walking down the street, the next his mother tells him not to look, that there's someone who's following them.
It's not an unusual occurrence, they get discovered more than Alex likes to think about. It's strange that it's so random. They weren't doing anything much and they've been in this city for no more than a week.
Maybe she's wrong, he thinks, holding out a little hope. Maybe they're not really here for them, and it's just a strange coincidence. They might slip away unnoticed and then walk away quietly.
Of course it doesn't work that way. It never does, does it?
They're men of his father, like they always are, and when they spot them they start chasing them. They don't have guns, thankfully, and Alex and his mother are faster than them.
They can actually run away and make it relatively unscated, he thinks. It would be a good day, he thinks a little hysterically. That's what good days mean to him lately.
But Alex trips. He doesn't even know on what really, and it's so sudden that he can't even cushion his fall with his hands. He falls to the ground and he's going so fast that he doesn't stop once he goes down, skating a couple of inches on the ground.
He can feel some pebbles enter his skin but, most importantly, he feels a sharp pain on his right ankle. By now he knows what a lot of injuries feel like, and he knows that this is how a twisted ankle feels like.
It's not important however.
"Alex," his mother tells him, annoyed and urgent, "move."
Alex know what not moving means. Death at his father's hands. Knives on his skin, playing with him and making sure he suffers before he goes.
There's really no choice. Twisted ankle or not, Neil moves.
After, when they're relatively safe and Alex's ankle pulses with pain pain pain, his mother looks at his injuries and huffs.
"It's nothing, Alex, walk it better."
That's what he does.
Neil gets pushed by another player and hits the ground hard. That's nothing strange, what's more worrisome is the pain in his leg.
Twisted ankle, possibly? No, maybe not that bad.
Still, it hurts.
"Neil, are you okay?" Dan asks, arriving at his side in a moment. The other player doesn't look that sorry about the incident and Neil wants to huff.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I can play," he answers to Dan, standing up. His leg is a little sore, and his ankle is uncomfortable, but he knows what he has to do: walk it off, Alex, it isn't even that bad.
"Don't be a fucking idiot," someone says. Neil doesn't even have to turn around to know it's Andrew.
"But what would I do if I don't act like an idiot?" he can't help but ask out loud. Andrew doesn't find it funny.
"Just rest, Neil," Andrew says, looking at him. "There's nowhere to run to anymore."
He's right, Neil realizes, a little surprised. Oh, right, he doesn't have to walk it off anymore.
"You're really a fucking idiot," Andrew murmurs, but he doesn't walk away. He helps Neil towards the bench and he can't help but smile.
All for the game - They come at night - Mentions of rape - 563
If there is one thing Andrew misses of the pills, is that they gave him a dreamless sleep every night. Andrew's dreams have never been his most loyal of companions, and he knows what hides in there every night.
It's why, at least in something, he can say that the pills had been useful.
Now, Andrew is left with himself and his own mind every night.
Sometimes it isn't that bad. It's not like he dreams every night, but some others...
Andrew is usually a good judge of what will be good nights and bad nights, and when Neil asks him yes or no he finds no problem in telling him yes or no depending on how he feels or how he thinks the night was going to go.
It's why this works between them, why he can be honest. Neil never looks disappointed when it's a no, and never acts like he's relieved it's a yes.
He's happy, and he crawl on Andrew's bed immediately, but he makes sure Andrew knows he would have accepted a no just as gladly. He really fucking hates Neil.
Still, Andrew isn't infallible, and so it's inevitable that one night he makes a mistake.
One night he says yes, but the moment he closes his eyes and sleep, after an hour of making out with Neil, Drake comes to him.
In his dreams it's always Drake, even if it wasn't always Drake in his life. It's always at the Spears, in that one house that might have been his once. That house that he had wanted to be his.
In his nightmares it doesn't even hurt. It's not the hurt that's worse, it's Drake's words. The I know you like it and You asked for it.
It was never the physical pain, for Andrew, but always the implication, the terrible words.
When Andrew wakes up and feels a body beside his (a body who isn't touching, but it's still there in this bed, in his room, in his life) Andrew lashes out. He takes the knife he always takes to bed with him, turns around and stabs at it.
He doesn't like it, he wants to say. He has never asked for it, wants to scream. Instead he remains silent, because words are useless.
"Andrew," he hears, and he looks up into Neil's eyes.
He's holding up a hand to stop someone from advancing (Kevin, probably) and looking at Andrew in the eyes. "You're safe, Andrew. Everything is okay, now. Can you understand me?"
What a fucking stupid question. Still, Andrew nods and then he realizes that his knife is still deep into something. He looks back and sees that he has actually stabbed Neil. Nothing too deep, looking at it, but enough so that blood is rushing out of Neil's arm.
It makes him want to vomit. Neil doesn't deserve this, not with a knife. Not with Andrew's hands on the other side of the blade.
Hasn't he had enough knives into himin his life?
"Andrew. Don't think about it," Neil tells him, "it's barely a nick. I don't care."
He's a liar of course. Not about the cut, it's shallow, but about him not caring. Andrew knows the relationship Neil has with knives and he vows to himself no more knives to bed. It doesn't matter if Andrew won't feel safe, never again.
The Raven Cycle - Dreamer and Dreams - 501
Ronan hates Declan. His mother tells him it's normal, that brother fights and they'll be friends again soon enough, but Ronan can't help but think that he hates Declan more than other brothers hate their brothers.
He wishes he had another brother. Someone nice, who didn't always tell Ronan how stupid or useless he was, someone who would actually like Ronan and make him feel less like a terrible human.
"Oh Ronan," Aurora says, kissing his forehead, "you're not a monster."
"It's what Declan said!" Ronan says, accusatory. "He said I'm a monster and you guys don't really love me."
"You know that's not true," his mother says to that. "Both me and your father love you very much."
"It's what I told him!" Ronan responds, proud. "You like me much better than him. Dad does."
Aurora's eyes clouds, and she looks like he actually hurt her. It's not what Ronan wanted to do, really.
"We don't love any one of you more than the other," she tells him, "and like Declan shouldn't have told you that. You shouldn't have said that to Declan. I want you guys apologizing to each other tomorrow."
"I don't want to apologize to him!" Ronan screams, angry, but his mother doesn't relent.
"You will. Or no apple pie for you two," she warns him, standing up. "Now go to sleep, Ronan. Everything will be better tomorrow."
It won't, Ronan thinks, because Declan will still be here.
Ronan dreams, that night, and he dreams a little boy. He's looking at Ronan with big blue eyes and blond hair. He's studying Ronan like he doesn't know what he's doing.
"Who are you?" Ronan asks him, a little surprised.
The little kid doesn't seem to know very well. He's a little baby, smaller than Ronan is, even if that doesn't mean anything because Ronan is pretty big (almost five).
He tries to make sense of why a baby is in his dreams and then he realizes that maybe, maybe for once he gets to have what he wants.
"Are you my new brother?" he wonders, smiling. The baby gurgles and then extends his hands towards him, beckoning him over.
This is great. He can have a new brother so he can replace Declan and his stinky ass (Ronan isn't supposed to use bad words, but who would know, really) and this one will actually like him, won't he?
Ronan walks forward, sitting down and touching the baby's hand. "I really really want you to be my new brother," he says, with a smile.
Aurora enters Ronan's room, the next day, and is surprised by what she founds.
Ronan is sleeping, clutching a baby's hand in his. He looks peaceful and happy, and Aurora can't help but look at the baby sleeping.
Her dreamer, just like his dad.
And just like his dad, he brought someone back. Gave her a child that was just like her, a dream that a dreamer really wanted to be true. Isn’t that fitting?
The Raven Cycle - Thieves and kings - 519
Kavinsky is a thief, he enters in the world of dreams and steals anything he wants. There is nothing that is out of his reach, and no one that can stop him. He has proven himself to the forest and to the dreams time and time again, made sure that no one would be able to deny that he's the best thief around.
But, he has to admit, while there's a certain charm on being a thief, on taking without asking and getting away before anyone can tell you anything, there's also a certain charm in being given.
Freely and seemingly without reserve.
That's nothing Kavinsky can have. He takes and takes and takes, but no one ever gives.
Ronan Lynch doesn't work that way.
Kavinsky knows Ronan before he sees him in a dream, of course he does, because Ronan Lynch stomps around the city like he owns the place and would like to burn it to the ground. he has a sick car and usually hangs around the cool people, or at least the rich one.
Him and Ronan would have nothing in common if it wasn't for their dreams.
Because while Kavinsky might have known Ronan in real life. Nothing surprises him more than seeing Ronan Lynch inside of his dreams.
Certainly he's hot enough that Kavinsky would dream of him normally, but this isn't that kind of dream, not really, and he's surprised at the sight of him.
Ronan Lynch seems to be talking to someone, a little girl that Kavinsky has seen in the forest before but that has always avoided him like the plague.
Oh, he thinks, it's not that Kavinsky has dreamt Ronan inside his dreams, it's just that Lynch is like him.
Or maybe something different.
Ronan doesn't have to protect himself, hide until he finds what he wants and then leave, from what Kavinsky can see, Ronan asks the girl something and she hands him over whatever he wants.
Ronan isn't a thief in this forest, he appears to be the king.
That's something that Kavinsky wants, something that he craves. Something he will have.
So when he wakes up, that night, he smiles and starts to plan.
One day later he walks towards Lynch BMW at two in the mornings. Lynch doesn't seem to be particularly well rested or in a good mood. Perfect.
Kavinsky observes the car while he walks in his direction and he would bet anything on that BMW being from the dream itself.
Yes, this will do just fine.
He looks inside the window and smiles at Lynch. The other looks at him and sneers at him. Ronan looks angry, restless, ready to do something stupid.
Kavinsky is the stupidest shit around.
"What do you say? Do you want to race?" he asks Lynch, fearless.
"Why?" Lynch answers, looking at him like one would a feral animal.
But Kavinsky only smiles: "Because I've dreamt a car, and I want to see if another dreamt car can beat it."
By the look Ronan throws at him, intrigued but mostly desperate, he knows he has the bastard.
Avengers - Roadkill - 595
Steve isn't looking where he's going. He can admit that, even if he shouldn't be proud of it. He isn't looking where he's going and so he doesn't notice before it's too late that he's driving full speed towards a kitten.
And Steve might be distracted, and possibly racing towards his own death, but he's not going to drag an innocent kitten into his mess of a life.
So, he stirs. Tries to slow down and regain control of his bike as much as he can, and by the time he finally falls down and rolls away from the bike, he's going slow enough that he doesn't have any broken bones.
Just a lot of pain and a ringing in his ears.
"Oh my God, are you all right?" someone asks him, and Steve blinks and opens his eyes. Of course he's not alone, this is a road, after all, and he can't just stay in the middle of the street thinking about all the ways his life is a living fucking hell.
"Yes," he says, trying to reassure the concerned voice. "I'm fine. In some pain, but fine." He tries to sit up, but someone forced him back down.
"Are you crazy? You can't get up! No way. And you, don't look at us that way, you shouldn't be here either!" Steve is confused about who this man is talking to before he realizes that the kitten he has just avoided hitting is walking towards them.
It's a surreal sight, really.
"Is that your cat?" he wonders, realizing he still hasn't looked in the direction of the man that is helping him. Kind of rude.
So he turns and comes face to face with Tony Stark. Billionaire and important CEO who probably has his life together (or, at least, as a lot of money to pick his life back together again). Of course Steve's life can never be too easy.
"Why the fuck would I ever have a kitten? And if it was mine, it wouldn't be walking in the street like this. Shoo, you demon spawn," Tony talks a mile a hour and Steve has a little trouble focusing on his words. "My driver has called the ambulance so you'll just stay here and breathe for me okay? Can't have all these muscles go to waste, right?"
Steve doesn't really follow but sure, he'll doo what Tony Stark wants him to do. Steve might not have a job anymore, and in a month or two not have a house, but that doesn't seem important now, for some reason.
"Kittens shouldn't live on the street," he says, because this at least he knows, "I would take him, but I'm completely without a cent. And I don't have insurance. Or a job. Or anything. Sorry, kitty, I probably can't even help myself."
Stark doesn't talk for a couple of second and then he says: "That was... tragic. But also very funny, sorry. You've probably hit your head pretty hard, you shouldn't apologizing to the kitten."
"Boss? The ambulance is here," someone else says, and Steve wants to turn to look, but it seems to be too much effort.
"Good. Now, can you not pass out on me, stranger?"
"Steve," he can't help but point out before he promptly passes out. Ops.
When he comes to, the nurses tell him that his bills have been paid and he finds a letter at his bedside: I adopted the kitten, called him RoadKill or RK for short. If you want to see him give me a all -T.S.
Captain Marvel - Stand up - 513
The first time Carol Danvers falls down and remembers it, she scrapes her knee. Her father is mad at her because Carol should know her place by now. A woman's place is not playing with the boys, she should be quiet in a corner and watch.
Isn't that what you're supposed to do, as a good woman?
Carol spits on the ground and stands up again. She doesn't care about the blood and the pain, what she cares is looking into her father's eyes and make sure he knows that she won't ever stand back.
That, really, settles the tone for Caron's entire life. It's difficult to accept, but everywhere she goes, people tell her that she should stand down. That, as a woman, she shouldn't do this, shouldn't stand up back again.
This is not a place for you they tell her every time they push her down and order her to stay down. She scapres her knees, her elbows, cuts her face, twists her wrist, dislocates her shoulder and they tell her to stop.
And so Carol does the exact opposite. She stands up, shrugs off all the injuries and tries again and again and again.
She will get it right, she knows that, she will show them that her place is wherever she goddam pleases.
When the conscience slams her down, it's like her entire life flashes in front of her. All the people that never believed she could do it, all the people that told her to stay down. Stay back. This is not a place for you.
And Carol wants to scream.
For every time they've told her to stand down, they've only made her more adamant about standing up and this will not be the fucking exception to the rule.
What does she care that they are an all powerful AI? What does she care about fighting an entire army? She will do it, and spit in their face while she does so.
"If my father never managed," she tells to herself, while she stands up, "you never fucking will."
"You know," Maria tells her later, before they separate and Carol leaves Earth again to help the Skrulls find a new home. "The explosions might have given you your disco power, but the woman who always refused to stand down. That was always all you. A stubborn son of a bitch."
Carol laughs, unable to contain herself. "It's why you love me, don't even lie."
Maria smiles and shrugs. "I'm not denying. Promise me that you'll stand up enough time to come back here. We'll wait for another six years if it's necessary."
Carol looks at her and nods, raising her hand to put it gently on her cheek. "I'll come back," she promises, trying to will it to be true. "I don't know how many years it will be, but I'll come back for you two. I won't forget you ever again."
"You better, you asshole," Maria says, a little choked up.
Yeah, Carol will get back up all the time she needs to for this.
Captain Marvel - She spoke to me in a dream - 508
Vers' dreams are filled with people she doesn't know. Faces she should know, that live inside her subconscious.
Every time that Vers tries to reach them, to grasp them in her dreams, they go away in a flash.
Her dreams aren't peaceful either. Most of the team she dreams of fighting, of blood and explosions. All her nights are filled with violence and things she will never remember.
Tonight it's different. She closes her eyes and instead of sand, she's seated in a garden. A sun is dawning on the horizon and she's looking at it, transfixed.
She doesn't know what planet this is, she knows it's not anywhere in Hala, but they figured that out a long time ago. It's everything else in her life that is a mystery.
Still, there's something peaceful about the scene and Vers can't help but feel at home here, between the soft wind and the smell of leaves.
She doesn't know how she knows these smells either.
Vers closes her eyes and tries to enjoy this strange dream. It doesn't matter if she has no idea where she is, it's still better than her usual dreams after all.
A couple of seconds later, she hears rustling near her and someone sits beside her. When she opens her eyes, she finds a woman with short hairs and strong eyes.
She isn't looking at Vers, but at the horizon, and there's a desire to touch that fills Vers completely. It's stronger than anything else she has ever felt, and it pulses inside her just like the powers she has been given.
"You really forgot about me, ah?" the woman asks. She still hasn't turned towards Vers, but there's no one else she could be talking to.
The truth is that Vers has forgotten her, and for the first time it really feels like she has given up her entire life that day.
"I'm sorry," she whispers, trying to put as much emotion into it as she can. "Who are you?"
The woman finally looks at her, there's a necklace that dangles from her neck, but Vers can't make out the words. It's a name, probably, and if she could only focus then maybe...
"You should remember yourselves," the woman tells her, annoyed. "I'm waiting for you, and I've never liked waiting."
Vers opens her mouth to say something, but the dream fades away, leaving Vers awake in her bed in Hala.
When she tries to remember the dream, it slips away from her fingers as quick as it came.
Years later, Carol Danvers sits in that exact same spot from the dream. She doesn't remember it, gone in the haze of morning, but she has Monica in her arms and the woman smiling at her.
Carol smiles and turns towards Maria, kissing her on top of Monica's head.
She will have to leave soon and lead the Skrulls to the planet they need, but now she knows what's waiting for her. She remembers where she comes from.
She remembers all of her dreams.
Voltron - A little bit more every day - 669
This is a strange and peaceful sight, Keith thinks, looking at all the paladins gathered around each other. They're talking between themselves, laughing and looking at something on Pidge's tablet.
He doesn't remember ever being so carefree, but it might be that a year in space, fighting against the Galra, has already made him forget what it meant to have a peaceful time.
Lately it feels like they never have time to just relax and enjoy a little bit of peace, always running around the galaxy, fixing one problem after another and making sure the Galra don't invade or destroy another planet.
It's... tiring. And while he's proud of the work they've been doing, he thinks he would also like to rest for a year or two.
It's why he's enjoying thi very much. Lance, Hunk and Pidge are laughing, happy and amused, Allura doesn't seem to understand what's happening, but she smiles as well, watching them.
Coran is telling a story, one of his old tales that they never bother to actually listen to the end.
And Shiro is watching them all with a serene smile.
Keith doesn't remember the last time he saw that expression on the other's face and he pangs for it. Shiro deserves the rest more than all of them combined and he never gets to have it.
It's nice seeing him so relaxed, really, it's what prompts Keith to take a step forward. He wants to be part of the scene, wants to know what is making everyone so relaxed.
The moment Keith steps into the room, however, everyone turns towards him and their faces morph. It's like they've seen one of their enemies, so much so that Keith actually looks back to make sure there isn't a Galra behind him.
"What is a Galra doing here?" Allura asks, and Keith doesn't understand until he notices where she's pointing.
He looks down at his own hands and finds them purple, just like any other Galra.
"No!" he says, taking a step back. "I'm not! I'm stil Keith!"
The other draws their bayard and point them towards him, ready to strike, and so Keith turns helplessly at Shiro. Surely Shiro won't attack him, will stop them from doing so as well.
But Shiro is just standing there and looking at him.
"We don't know you," Shiro says, activating his arm, "as if we would be friends with a Galra."
This is wrong, Keith knows it is, but he freezes on the spot while his friends start attacking him. He won't attack back, he won't...
Keith wakes up, trashes in the bed, and pushes away the weight that holds him down, screaming.
He hears someone moaning, but he's too busy retreating to the far head of the bed, shivering. He can't open his eyes, too afraid to see what colors his hands would be.
"Keith?" Shiro asks from the floor (because Keith pushed him. Of course, God. Did he hurt Shiro?)
"Are you okay?" Shiro's voice is coming closer, and Keith can't stomach the thought.
"Stay where you are!" Keith screams. He doesn't know if it's true, but he feels like his nails are longer while they sink into his own skin. "Don't come closer, please."
Shiro doesn't say anything, but Keith doesn't hear him moving anymore. "I'm not moving, but know that it was only a dream. Nothing here will hurt you."
Keith wants to laugh. That was never the problem. "But what if I hurt you?" he can't help but ask.
Shiro doesn't answer for a second and then he says, low but sure. "You will never hurt me, Keith."
It's the voice of someone who firmly believes in what he's saying without a shadow of any doubt. Keith opens his eyes, unable to stop himself, and Shiro is smiling at him.
Sure and solid and okay.
You're still the Keith I know, Shiro had said about his mixed heritage, and with him Keith can believe it a little bit more every day.
Voltron - Natural 1 - 547
They all stare at the dice for a second, and then the table erupts into chaos.
"No! I refuse! I can't believe it," Pidge screams, shaking her head.
"Uhm..." Shiro contributes, rather unhelpfully.
"I told you to throw that dice away!" Lance says, pointing at the offender. "I told you like three times!"
"You should never try and anger the dice Gods, Shiro, everyone knows so!" Hunk adds, shrugging. "Are you going to do another paladin when this one dies? Again?"
"It's not going to die," Keith says, before stopping and looking at Coran. "Right?"
Actually, Shiro wouldn't be surprised. He looks at the Natural 1 he just rolled in a straight Athletics check, and can't believe his luck. Or unluck, at this point.
Tiro is the fifteenth paladin he has rolled and, at this point, it really seems like Shiro's character aren't made to last an entire session. He wonders if it's possible to really be this unlucky with dice rolls or if there's something more.
Coran coughs and looks at the die, shrugging.
"Tiro is following behind the others, trying to get over the bridge as quickly as possible, but his heavy armor is slowing him down considerably," Coran starts recounting, "so much so that when you're all on the other side of the bridge, you turn and find Tiro struggling to catch up.
Keith, you go to tell him to get a move on when you see one of the ropes that helds the bridge up starts loosening."
"Can I try and catch it?" Keith asks, looking at Coran and taking his red die.
"Make a sleight of hand check," Coran allows him, nodding.
"Can I cast feather fall on him?" Allura wonders out loud, but Coran shakes his head.
"You're a monk, you can't give your own abilities to other people. It's not a spell you have," Coran tells her before pointing at Keith.
"I rolled a thirteen," Keith says and Coran nods.
"OKay, you manage to take the end of the rope before it falls, and you scream at Tiro to run. Shiro, roll an athletics check for me, please."
"And for the love of anything holy, change dice!" Pidge screams, giving him one of her own dice.
Shiro nods and, hoping against all hopes that it might change anything, he rolls Pidge's die. They watch it roll for a minute before it settles on another one.
"That's impossible," Lance screams, banging his head on the table. "What is this? How does this keep happening?"
Coran blinks and looks at the die for a second before sighing. "Tiro, you start running towards the end of the bridge to maybe jump and get to safety, but you slip right off the cliff and take twenty dten damage."
Coran rolls the damage and Shiro looks at his own HP, knowing full well what's going to happen.
"You take one hundred damage," Coran tells him and Shiro groans.
"Tiro is dead. Can I just stop playing?"
"Did you really just die by falling down a bridge?" Hunk asks, shocked, "we just killed a dragon with no problem!"
"Maybe if you change class." Pidge points out.
"He likes playing paladin," Keith tells her with a huff.
Shiro sighs and nods. "Fine. Meet my new character. Ziro."