Hanfu photoset via coser小梦, Part 8/?
According to Chinese legend, the white Jade Rabbit (玉兔) is a companion to the beautiful moon goddess Chang’e (嫦娥), and pounds the Elixir of Life for her with its mortar and pestle under a cinnamon tree. Chang’e and the Jade Rabbit live in the Moon Palace, and can be seen every year in full view on the day of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Jade Rabbit – Coser小梦 (read about him here); Chang’e – 真的菜菜.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival everyone! (Source)
So I wanted to write the next part of the Peacekeeper Ari story, but I didn’t!!! Instead I wrote this!!! A coffee shop AU!!! Set in @feynites Bagelverse!!! I cannot fight my urge to self-indulge!!!
(This being a modern AU, Diligence is not an embodied spirit and goes by a different name instead.)
controversial topics should be stuff like “is cloning good” or “should we fuck aliens” and not whether people deserve to be poor or deserve healthcare
exactly. we should already be onto the star trek problems of whether or not it’s okay to beam our consciousness directly into a satellite, or spend sixteen hours a day inside a holographic simulation of Middle Earth.
*awkward shuffling* sometimes I just miss AUs and I need to write something for them ok?
Dirthamen and the Evanuris are @feynites
Selene lets out a long, slow breath as
she stares at her reflection in the mirror.
The gown is very fine, with a
high halter neckline the tops of which brush gently against her jaw
whenever she angles her head downwards. The gradient of it is gentle
but striking, switching from a white that matches the curls of her
hair until it becomes a deep jet black of feathers trailing along the
floor from about halfway down her legs. Her hair has been intricately
braided with ravens feathers and obsidian gems and laid over her
left shoulder, leaving the long, low dip of the back of the dress
open and exposed and only barely covering the curve of her ass.
She is carefully tugging the dip
slightly upwards in a vain attempt to gain a bit more modesty when
Lord Dirthamen enters the room and her breath leaves her lungs in a rush.
(I fic’d on ur fic… >.>)
(Also standard reminder to all my followers on mobile, if you don’t see a ‘read more’ beneath the first few lines, tumblr ate it. So to avoid scrolling through long story posts, please blacklist ‘long post’.)
Dirthamen deliberates for a long moment on Selene’s words.
I would do whatever it took to stay by your side…
Those are not words that are meant to be spoken in idle sentiment. Dirthamen is not an expert on social conduct, by any means, but he knows that much.
Perhaps Selene had simply been caught up in the habit of speaking in courtly terms…?
He wavers in uncertainty. His own assessment of the situation between them is more difficult than usual to trust. Not only because it is venturing into a field where he has little true experience, but also because… he thinks of the white curl of Selene’s hair on her cheek. The firm touch of her hand, when she caught his own. The curve of her dress, and the warm cadence of her voice. Hesitating, tripping over words, longing for… for something.
And he must confess, he has his own longing. It would be easy to convince himself that their desires are in accordance.
Because that is what he wants.
But then, too, there is possibly more evidence to support this idea than simply yearning for it. Dirthamen could languish in this feeling forever, were he still a spirit. Even as an elf, he thinks he still might. It is such a potent want. So deep and rich and nuanced. Not as simple as lust, nor as reactionary as envy. There is heat to it, but he does not know how to qualify it all. As he hears the bath waters running in the next room, he moves towards one of the full-length mirrors in the main room.
Reaching up, Dirthamen pulls off his mask. He sets it atop his head, and stares at his reflection. There is something off, still, from the normal template of an elf. He thinks of Selene, and how she looks. This evening, and other evenings, too. The sharp cut of her cheekbones, the elegant curve of her legs; the soft tilt of her lips, when she is thinking of something that makes her smile. The swell of her breasts and the intelligent light in her eyes.
Bit by bit, his features shift. His skin darkens and his hair lightens; the front of his gown fills out, letting a pair of breasts slip through the plunging collar of his gown. His third eye vanishes – oh, that was probably what he did wrong – and his features rearrange themselves, until he sees Selene staring back at him from the smooth surface of the mirror.
A perfect replication.
She must be deep in his thoughts, for him to manage such a thing. But then, he already knew she was.
It is still not an easy shape for him to hold, however. For a moment, he reaches over, and touches the glass. Sees Selene reaching back for him. Then he lets out a long breath, and shifts back. His features settle into a more comfortable shape. His eyes behave themselves, at least, but after a moment the gown rips as a pair of black wings unfurl. Like a muscle in desperate need of stretching. Dirthamen offers a mental apology to his clothiers, and follows the impulse as he lifts his arms above his head, and gives a full-body stretch. Reaching his feathers up to the ceiling, and then banishing away the ruined gown.
He strips naked. Brushes the hair back from his face. And makes a decision.
He is going to… do something.
His gaze strays to the bath chamber. He and Selene have bathed together before, of course. It is not unprecedented, though usually they agree to it beforehand. Still, it need not bother her, most likely? And if there is… something… then…
…Dirthamen has never attempted seduction before.
He is probably not good at it.
But there is usually only one way to improve. And that, unfortunately, is to make attempts.
With light steps, he makes his way over to the bath chamber, and opens the doors. The latch is quiet. His wings turn briefly to smoke, dancing with the steam in the room, as he slips in. Closing the door again behind him, to keep the humidity contained.
Selene has her back towards him. She is sitting in the bath, near to one of the fountains, with her hands below the water. It is a treated bath; milky and opaque. Dirthamen’s wings turn back to feather, as he makes his way over to the edge. He is trying to decide how close he should come, for politeness’ sake, when Selene glances over and sees him.
Her cheeks, already flushed from the bath, darken. Dirthamen scents something like arousal clinging to the water, which should not be possible, unless…
He notes, again, that her hands are below the surface.
She was masturbating, then. A greater intrusion than he anticipated.
As if in some kind of delayed response, Selene startles, and immediate moves to the other side of the pool.
“Dirthamen!” she exclaims. “You – I – you wanted, you, you wanted a bath?! I mean – of course you wanted a bath! We just went to a gigantic fancy party in awkward clothes and – and – yes, that makes sense, I’m so sorry I didn’t think you’d…”
She stares at him.
Then she waves at him, frantically.
“I’ll refresh the bath water!” she exclaims.
Dirthamen stares down at the pool, which still smells very slightly of her arousal. The scent is interesting to him. In a multitude of ways, in fact. It smells very much like an alpha’s pheromones, of course, but there is also something very distinctly like Selene to it, which seems to transcend the ordinary physical responses of scent and arousal. It is much more effective, but in a way that does not distress or repel him.
Before Selene can get out of the bath, Dirthamen slips down to the edge, and slides into the pool.
“No need,” he assures her.
She stares at him.
The water is very warm, and pleasant. Dirthamen settles into the spot she had vacated. He attempts to make his wings discreet. But after a moment, he abandons that futile effort, and instead spreads them out over the water. The heat feels good against his features. A low sigh escapes him as he stretches out, once more feeling a peculiar urge to expand, and then tilts himself back against the side of the bath.
He wonders if Selene will leave.
She seems to be wondering the same thing herself.
“I… I should… leave you to it,” she says, as she stares at him.
Dirthamen wishes he could innately understand the meaning of her stares. She does not seem repulsed by him, but in his experience, being looked at so long and so intently is typically a sign that he has done something wrong with his physical appearance.
And yet… he stares at Selene quite often as well.
It is not because he finds her aberrant or unappealing.
“You do not have to leave,” he tells her. Careful to phrase it openly, so that he is not issuing an order or edict. Though on that front, at least, Selene has proven that she will disobey him if she feels inclined to; and Dirthamen hopes that he has proven that he will not withdraw his support for her, even if she does.
Possibly it helps that she has enough potential blackmail material on him to make life exceptionally unpleasant for him, were she ever inclined to.
Selene remains in the bath.
After several minutes, Dirthamen ventures a wing towards her. At the first brush of feathers, she moves aside. At the second, she gently pushes his wing back towards the edge of the pool. Taking the signal that the touch is unwelcome, Dirthamen leaves it there. He stares up at the ceiling of the bath, and attempts to make decisions. About what to do, and how to go about doing it.
There are some things he knows. Selene finds him attractive, at least part of the time. She is capable of enjoying his company. She is not deterred by many traits which others find frightening in him.
I would do whatever it took to stay by your side…
He also knows she has been hurt, and badly misused, and that she could be hurt and badly misused by his own hands as well. No matter his regard for her, or desires, or intentions. Love does not stave off mistreatment.
…Does he love her?
The thought leaves him frozen in the bath for several long moments. Struck and bewildered, because the question does not seem to be a mystery, so much as it is a box with a lid that he has refused to take off. A puzzle already solved, but as yet unacknowledged.
His wings drift unintentionally. Selene brushes his feathers with a hand, and seems to conclude something on her own.
She moves away from the side of the bath.
“Do you need some help?” she asks him.
“Yes,” Dirthamen says, before he realizes that he does not know what she is offering assistance with.
Reaching over to the ledge beside the pool, she procures a soft sponge, and one of the milder varieties of soap. Then she moves closer. Angling towards his wing, and pressing the sponge to the surface of his feathers. Dirthamen watches with half-lidded eyes, and feels contradictory things. Surprise. Trust. Contentment. Restlessness. His feathers drip when Selene lifts them. Her touch is gentle, and pleasant, as she washes his wings and strokes her hands over them.
“You barely shifted at all today,” she notes. Her voice is not loud, but Dirthamen hears it clearly just the same.
“Mm,” he confirms.
“Tired?” she guesses.
“Not particularly,” he admits, because it is true. He does not feel tired. He feels… “This is relaxing.”
Selene’s fingers sink between his feathers. He looks, and finds himself wondering if that is the same hand she was pleasuring herself with, when he first walked in. It is her dominant one; so, most likely. The water has made the scent of her ambiguous, however, and washed most of it away in the cleansing bath.
He cannot really smell it any more. Just the memory of it.
Selene’s ministrations bring her closer and closer to him, as she works her way towards the base of his wings. Alternating between them, but inching nearer, just the same. Dirthamen finds his heart beats somewhat faster, the closer she comes to him. His gaze lingers on the damp curls at the nape of her neck, and the way her breasts move in the water, as she shifts and reaches and strokes at his wings.
When she is closer still, he ventures a hand to the ledge nearest to himself. His fingers close around a clean wash cloth.
Selene startles at the first brush of it against her back.
She turns to see what he is doing. Her cheeks darken.
“Oh!” she says. “You don’t… have to…”
“I would like to return the favour,” he assures her.
She clears her throat. Her touch upon him falters. He wonders if he has misjudged, before she ducks her head away, and caresses one of his feathers with the side of her finger.
“I already washed,” she tells him.
But something in her tone makes him feel bold enough to try again. And this time, when the cloth brushes against her skin, she offers no protest. Dirthamen soaks it in the warm, treated water, and then runs it over the backs of her shoulders. He can feel the tension in the muscles there; yet it does not seem to be fear or stress for the situation that is prompting it. The weight of the day, more likely. He presses a little more firmly.
After a few minutes, Selene begins to press back against his touch. She sighs, and her own passes with the sponge become more languid. Dirthamen rolls his thumb against the muscles of her shoulders, pressing through the cloth, and is rewarded when she moves closer still. He inches his wings inwards. It feels as if they are moving with the momentum of the water, almost, until Selene is right in front of him. Near enough that he could put his arms around her. One of her hands holds the wing nearest to it, but the touch is relaxed; not attempting to push it away. Her neck tilts back into his palm, as the wash cloth slips, and Dirthamen finds himself setting bare hands against her skin.
Her shoulder brushes his chest.
His lips come perilously close to her temple.
She turns towards him. Her gaze settles on his lips. The steam from the bath curls around them, and seems to soften everything.
“I think I would also do a great many things, to keep you by my side,” he confesses.
He wonders how long they have both been pretending to pretend for.
Or is it really only him?
Selene’s face tilts towards his. Her hands settle on his chest. He can feel how fast her heart is beating, feel his own rising to answer it, as every point of contact between them feels lit up, somehow. Until it is lit up. Selene’s movement towards him halts, as she blinks, and stares.
Dirthamen’s skin is glowing where she touches him.
He regards the phenomenon with some interest himself.
Experimentally, Selene lifts a hand, and then trails a finger across his collarbones. Dirthamen watches as the pattern lights up, leaving behind a glowing streak that forms a shallow ‘S’ shape, before it fades. She presses her palm to him, and then lifts her hand. Her gaze seems struck as she regards the echo of her handprint against him. It lingers only a moment, before it is gone, too.
Selene repeats the process. Hand back down, and then up again.
Then she looks at his face. As if mesmerized, she puts her hand to his cheek, and runs her thumb across his bottom lip. Dirthamen cannot see the effect, but the contact feels the same. His lips tingle. A rush of heat settles beneath his bones, and his heart skips over a beat. He pulls his wings in closer. Soft droplets of water cascade back to the surface of the bath.
The sound seems to rouse Selene out of her fascination. Her eyes widen. She freezes, and glances downwards. As if suddenly realizing their positions for the first time.
Dirthamen hesitates in return.
He knows with sudden clarity that if he does not say something, then this moment will break, and be gone forever.
“…I am not very good at seduction,” he confesses, into the tense silence between them. His throat feels dry, as he swallows, and hopes that she will continue to prove compassionate towards his honesty. “Have I been doing it wrong?”
Selene stares directly into his eyes.
And then she descends on him with a startling intensity. Her lips seal over top of his. Her arms close tightly around his shoulders. Dirthamen’s wings flutter, and displace more water droplets. But it seems the only place for his hands to settle is against her back. So that is where he puts them, as a rare thrill of excitement sparks all throughout him. Selene’s tongue presses insistently between his lips. He feels as if he has swallowed a bright star, and closes his eyes when the glowing from his skin gets too intense to keep them open. Selene’s mouth slides against his own. Her legs settle around his. She presses firmly up against his front, breasts to his chest, stomach to his stomach, and holds his face with both of her hands.
When they finally part, both of their breaths sound uneven.
“Oh,” Selene sighs.
“I think I am going to melt,” he warns.
It is the only thing he can muster before he feels the solidity of his shape give out. His wings drip down with the water, and his bones turn to jelly. The glow from his skin breaks apart, interspersed with dark shadows, as he literally slips through Selene’s fingers and reflexively wraps around her at the same time. She gasps as he turns into an amorphous being of light and shadow, holding her tightly, warm as the water around them.
An involuntary purr of pleasure resounds through his being.
Then there is an awkward delay.
That was… not an ideal response, he suspects.
Selene experimentally presses her fingers against him once more. This time she seems to be testing for consistency, although it does still glow.
“I ran out of composure,” Dirthamen confesses, embarrassed.
Selene’s experimental touch turns into a caress. Then she rests her forehead against some of him, and shakes. He only has a minute to worry that it is with fear or disgust, before the first giggle escapes her. A small, giddy sound, that quickly bubbles into several more, as she manages to hold most of him between herself and the side of the bath. Mirth and delight flood out of her, along with something akin to relief.
Her lips brush some of the glowing material of him; a tendril of it by her cheek. His mask has slid into the bath water, from where it had been at the top of is head. It gently bobs along beside them.
“That’s alright,” she assures him. “This is… this is alright?”
So lemme see if I’ve gotten this right about Scorpia:
Based on her little character blurb, she ‘grew up in the Horde’. So we can infer that the Horde crashed in her family’s kingdom while she was fairly young.
Now, the way she describes things to Catra, her family joined up happily with the Horde and gave them their runestone. I think it would be safe to consider, given the Horde’s track record of lying to recruits, that this is not 100% guaranteed to be true. In fact, between the odds of a royal family happily turning one of their daughters over to be a child soldier and giving up their super magical family heirloom and symbol of rule, versus Hordak just overthrowing them and delivering the ultimatum that they willingly support the Horde or die, the latter is wayyy more likely.
Anyone with any understanding of rule would probably be able to determine the same thing.
So we have little Scorpia, whose family has been overthrown by a bunch of alien invaders, and who has been inducted into said invaders’ child soldier program. Her birthright has been taken by Hordak and given to Shadow Weaver. And she gets an invitation to the Princess Ball.
We don’t have a canonical age (to my knowledge?) for Scorpia, but she looks a little older than Catra and Adora (though it’s actually hard to call, since she’s tall and has strong features – she could just look more mature by virtue of that). But my guess would be that she’s about (edit) 20-ish, compared to Catra and Adora’s late teens, especially since she’s an established Force Captain already.
This would also be in-keeping with her assessment that she doesn’t ‘fit in’ with the other princesses. While Mermista might be older, and Frosta much younger, the implication seems to be that most of the princesses are around the same age as Adora. If they were significantly younger than Scorpia, she’d naturally assume that the difference was that they were little? Like, most teens don’t get bent out of shape if a bunch of kindergarteners don’t gel with them as social peers. Scorpia especially seems like the type to just happily barrel through and win over a pack of kids anyways.
But something more like a really self-conscious fourteen-year-old being rejected by some twelve-year-olds would make more sense?
Scorpia asserts that her family was ‘disliked’ by the other kingdoms even before the Horde came; given that she’s grown up in the Horde, though, this would have to be secondhand information. I’d call it unreliable – the Horde is known for psychologically manipulating its recruits, and as we’ve seen with Catra, they lean into a ‘no one else will have you’ approach fairly often. Wouldn’t want the indentured princess with a rightful claim to ruling their territories to get any ideas about fleeing to one of their enemies and taking any loyal retainers to her family along with her, after all.
But if Scorpia’s spent most of her life being fed Horde propaganda, then she was probably blindsided by showing up to the Princess Ball to find people holding a hostile attitude towards the Horde. The same way Adora was taken aback by Bow’s assertion that she was with ‘The Evil Horde’.
Since the Princess Ball is a politically neutral function, though, most likely, no one saw any point in mentioning that they all hate the aggressive army banging on their doors. All Scorpia knew was that she went to a fancy party, hoping to meet other princesses and probably make some friends, and everyone seemed to hate her. They all acted like she didn’t ‘really’ belong. Thereby reinforcing what she’d been told about her family’s outsider status, and being left with the impression that there really wasn’t any place for her to find acceptance other than with the Horde.
No wonder she’s so excited to make friends with Catra. Another Horde Force Captain probably seems like her only opportunity to have a peer who likes her. (I mean, apart from Catra being a kitty and Scorpia finding it adorable, of course.)
i love experiencing how my classmates work to avoid misgendering me. for instance, today one classmate greeted the rest of our small group:
“All right ladies and gentlemen — and Avery”
another time a classmate went:
“Pardon me, ma’am — uh, sir, uh….esteemed one”
and, my absolute fave:
“Hey ladies! — and gentleThem”
i love these moments both because they’re humorous and because they show how hard these folks are trying! it’s not about getting it right every time at first, but consistently correcting yourself!
It’s not about getting it right every time at first, but consistently correcting yourself!