The X-70 Phantom was cold and sterile, and it made Vector Hyllus's nose hurt as her took in the harsh smell of the cleaning chemicals the protocol droid had used to keep the ship clean after Kaliyo tromped through it in her muddy boots everyday. His enhanced sense picked up the pheromones and original chemicals scents, and it always made him slightly dizzy to think about them each as he did with the minds of the Killiks always curious to know more.
He was walking down the small corridor that lead to the cockpit, his boots echoing along the shining floors and his own entirely black eyes staring back at him, slightly distorted from the shimmering metal of the walls. He reached the end of the hallway and stood soundlessly in that Killik way of his in the doorway, watching her with a gaze more perceptive than any other mans.
He could see the rich colors that danced together in her hair like no human truly could. There were different shades of browns, from dark chocolate to lighter shades and highlights. She had it pulled back in that military way of hers, a tight pony tail. But, letting her rebellious colors shine through, her bangs hung loosely and some small strands had gotten free of her thin leather cord.
Her silvery-blue crystalline eyes, sometimes as cold and sharp as ice, but sometimes...only for him...they were warm and turned to steamy blues. She had full lips and wore little make-up, her face naturally beautiful, even to someone who didn't have his enhanced vision. The only thing that most people thought marred her were the three, long, vertical, jagged slashes that tore down the left side of her face. She wore her scars like badges of honor, and too him, they only perfected what was already flawless.
She had lost a lot of weight in the past few months, and she was thinner than ever before, her trying ordeal in the SIS as an undercover double agent for the Empire having drained her physically and mentally. She was exhausted, and he could only admire her for lasting as long as she had. She had been mind-controlled, the Empire's own technology they had implanted in her skull to control her if she became too powerful and learned too much had been found out by the Republic and turned against them. She had been left a powerless, helpless pawn. And no one had been the wiser. Even he had thought she was just acting strangely, but no. She had been unable to speak to anyone, for they had put in place a block in her mind to keep her from speaking and disobeying. She still hadn't told the full story of how she had awoken from her own mind trap. But, he just was glad she was safe.
Vector himself was a Killik joiner. A human Imperial who had been bound to the Killik Pheromones and had joined their hive mind. Even now, he could hear there whispering about her, her bravery, strength, and power. Always her power.
Ignoring them as best he could and slightly repressing the bond, he cleared his throat gently, causing her to look up from the trance she had been in, starring out at the glowing planet of Nar Shaddaa from the pilot's chair, where the rest of her crew was enjoying the leave she had been given by Keeper to recuperate from her trying ordeal. She rose slowly and in that graceful way she had, like a cat, slinking and sly, as she looked at him, inspecting his black eyes, with no white and no pupil, and his smooth-shaven and firm face.
"Vector." she smiled her rare smile, one he only ever got to see, and crossed her arms over her chest. He was a pleasing sight to her sore eyes, and part of her was glad he had decided not to join Kaliyo, Dr. Lokin, and Ensign Temple on Nar Shaddaa's dangerous surface.
"I'm sorry," she said, her sly smile widening as he stepped closer, within touching distance, and she got a whiff of his strange, and intoxicating scent. It was something she couldn't describe, but it was the most appealing thing in the world, and she inhaled deeply as he returned her smile confidently, bowing with his right hand over his heart in his Killik tradition.
"I'd forgotten you'd wanted to talk to me when the others were gone," she continued hurridly, trying to convey her serious apologies. "I've got time now, if you'd still like to..." she trailed off, nonchalantly leaning back against the back of the pilot's chair, and brushing a strand of hair out of her eyes and trailing her fingers across her scars in the process. Vector laughed that soft laugh of his, it was very charming and very boyish, and she loved the sound of it more than air itself.
"Yes, but we'd like some privacy," he stated, speaking in his usual way, referring to the whole hive rather than himself as an individual. "No crew members, no Killiks, no emergencies...if you could arrange it..." he looked at her uncertainly, not sure of what to say to her, to convey the feelings they had only been able to share in fleeting moments just before something life or death had happened, or just before something terrible occurred in the hive.
She was quite for a long period of time, and he was worried that she hadn't understood him. And that, if she had, she would say no. Or that she would worst of all...hate him for suggesting it. Her large eyes remained focused on him, scanning his face calculatingly, but not in an unkind or cruel way. She had all the love in the world in her gaze, and suddenly, a hope began to rise in him that maybe...just maybe...she would feel the same way.
Finally, she answered, slowly at first, but then a teasing smile broke out onto her face and he had to strain to keep from breathing a sigh of relief.
"I can arrange it," she whispered, still staring up at him in a way anyone but Vector would have found slightly unnerving. Then, her sarcastic side resurfaced and she reached for him, gently touching his shoulder with thin fingers.
"Shall I dim the lights? Pour a drink?" he laughed once more and she felt her heart soaring at the sound, her usual grim demeanor gone. He bowed again, a smile of his own once more teasing at his lips as he, in complete seriousness, responded.
"If you like," he answered slowly. "We'll meet back with you shortly, Agent Blaide." He always referred to her by her formal name. She was an Imperial Intelligent Cipher Agent, Cipher Nine. She had always gone by Blaide since she joined, and he had always called her such, even though he knew her real name, as very very few did. Akara Dantayus. He simply called her Agent, or Blaide or both, respecting her wish to leave her old life entirely behind.
She nodded her head and gave him one last fleeting smile before gently sliding past him and disappearing just a ways down the corridor into the small quarter she maintained.
Wherever they were, Vector hoped Kaliyo and the others were having as good a time as he was speaking with their fearless leader. It was the simplest things that seemed to make him the happiest.
Blaide didn't know what she was expecting Vector to say or do, but it was nothing close to what he actually did that night. She was absentmindedly looking over files on her large desk in her spacious quarters, flipping through mission reports and other documents.
Her quarters were warmly furnished in deep purples and the same silver as the rest of the ship, but thankfully, her quarters still had a small, homey feel to them. Despite her bitter exterior and hardened interior, she still enjoyed these small comforts.
She was still flipping through files when she heard booted footsteps coming back down the corridor, and she looked up from her paperwork briefly.
"Vector?" she called out quietly, her eyes traveling over to the doorway that lead out into the hall.
Suddenly, in a tone she had never, ever, once heard from him, she head his voice, soft and unsure, coming from the hallway. And what he said, oh what he said froze her, holding her in place as if a Sith had stopped her in her tracks. She couldn't be sure he had actually said it.
"I'm here, Blaide." he'd said. I'm. Not we're. I'm.
She was silent. Staring at him for a moment, before he suddenly stepped inside her room, walking in that confident way of his, and he looked at her, unsure of what she was thinking.
"Surprise." He murmured gently, reaching for her with arms that were the same, but now oh so different. She felt a smile creeping to her lips, and she couldn't keep her heart from beating like a drum in her chest, stopping her breath at the sight of him. Nothing had changed, and yet everything had.
"You look...wonderful!" she said softly, her voice barely a whisper as she fought to regain control of her breathing.
"You have nice eyes," she beamed at him, reaching up to touch his face with tentative fingers. There they were. So long hidden behind a layer of pure blackness, she could finally see them for herself. His eyes. Unaffected by Killik pheromones or hive minds. "It's so good to see them," she laughed gently. To Vector's now entirely human ears, it was the sound of an angel itself, no longer did he have to dissect the sound and feed it to the hive mind. It was just them. Just this moment.
Blaide was too busy literally being caught up in his eyes. She drank them in. Every detail, she wanted this to be one thing she would always remember, no matter what. The soft, delicate shape of them, the way his eyelashes left small shadows on his cheekbones. She loved the color, amber and chocolate swirling together in a mix of browns and golds. There were a liquid gold color and had rims of deep brown around the edges. Chocolate colored flecks dotted them and she marveled at the way it made his eyes stand out, his most captivating feature. They were looking down into her brilliant blue ones with a warmth she couldn't ever see in her own, a loving tenderness she couldn't imagine her own face contorting into. She knew they were fire and ice, and yet still, they were as perfect for each other as they could be.
She was still captivated by his eyes when he took her cheek in his hand gently, his fingers caressing her cheekbones and holding her gaze to his.
"You look different without your electrical aura," he observed quietly, trailing his fingers gently over the side of her cheek and she let her head rest gently in his smooth hand. "But just as lovely," he finished softly, letting his hand fall back to his side, keeping the distance between them so as not to seem to forward.
"The Aebea nest taught me to repress the Pheromonic bond entirely." he explained as a smile began to grow on her face as she realized this was the true Vector Hyllus. Not the one who shared his mind with thousands of Killiks, but the real and true man. She asked herself many times who she had fallen in love with. Vector? Or a thousand Killiks. But she knew the answer. She knew whose personality had shone through as he fought to become more human again.
"I can hold it for awhile," he added gently, their gaze still unbroken but by brief blinks that they both rushed so as to keep their gaze locked with their partner. They were finally seeing the true forms of each other, as they really were, raw and with no barriers. This moment was precious, and far, far too short.
He took a deep breath before continuing on, slowly taking her hands in his, tracing delicate patterns onto her thin hands with his thumbs.
"This is a moment for us to be together, one you needn't share with the Oroboro or the colony."
He waited for her response, expecting for her to drop his hand, or be completely spooked by his new appearance. He was still worrying about her response (he had apparently re-discovered that human quality, worrying over everything), he hardly noticed her eyes melting into the light, stormy blue he loved so much. That her gaze was full of nothing but care and admiration.
"You're a smart man," she replied with a slight laugh, her voice low, she was using the same sly tone she used when she was working up to some smart remark. "I don't like sharing." she stated cooly, squeezing his hand and taking a step closer to him. He too felt his heart pounding, and he smiled down at the beautiful woman so close to him. He had often wondered why she had chosen him, and as he admired her beauty once more, he felt the thought cross his mind. But he pushed it away, wanting to focus on the moment.
"I'll remember that," he said, barely having time to finish his statement before they collided, their arms wrapping around each other at the same time, and their lips meeting gently. He held her close, they were entirely about gentleness and care. Kaliyo was all about greed and lust, and Blaide wanted everything but that. The Rattataki girl had gotten herself into so much trouble with her care-free ways, and Blaide could hardly imagine how she could do so. But at the moment, it was made even harder as Vector gently kissed her, his love and care for her, his kindness and nobility, it was all tangible. She could feel it in every place their bodies touched.
They were fire and ice. He was warmth and light-heartedness. He had a constant desire for more: more knowledge, more learning, more culture. He was happy and all about the warmth so evident in his glowing eyes of brown and gold.
She was ice, all hard edges and bitterness. She was cold and calculating, critical, sarcastic, and often cruel. She would do whatever it took to get the job done. She was quick to anger, and she knew she was as hard and unfeeling as ice. Yet it had already been proven her mind was thin as ice as well. It could be cracked, by the Imperials, the Republic, whomever.
They were opposites, she was often angry at him for his gentle heart and kind spirit. She admired his loyalty to the Empire, and was curious at his kindness and generosity rather than the ways most Imperials were brought up with, the ways of their Sith leaders. They should not have been able to feel this way about each other, and yet they did.
She had taught him to regain his humanity, and in turn, he had melted away some the ice that had frozen her since her sister's run-in with the Sith lord and her family's death. He had brought her true happiness, and that was all that mattered.
While their companions spent their time, unaware on the Smuggler's Moon, Fire and Ice finally found their balance, a place where they could exist together, without harming one another. The only thing that mattered now was the love they felt for each other.
Without their knowing, morning slid into place, and Blaide and Vector stood quietly near the doorway of her room, holding each other close for a few last moments alone before the ship was once more alight with the noise of their companions returning from their night on the Smuggler's Moon.
"The others will be back soon," He whispered softly. Their heads were touching as he held her tightly to his chest. Their breathing was in sink, their hearts beating to the same tempo. She stood quietly, listening to the gently tempo as she drank in the sound of his voice. He gently leaned over and pressed his lips to her cheek, leaving a lingering kiss that made her smile against his chest.
"But I am glad we could have this," he added slowly, pulling away from her just enough to he could give her his small bow, his eyes glittering with warmth and love as he once more pulled her close again.
"I do love you, Akara." he whispered, deciding the only way to get his true feelings across was to use her given name. Despite the sound of it, she did not react hostilely. She simply kept smiling against him, her eyes closed as she breathed in the scent of him, as she had done for the past few hours.
"I love you too, Vector." she stated slowly, almost testing the way the words sounded on her lips. She liked it immediately, loving the way the sentence was structured, the way it sounded. It was like no other phrase. So simple, and yet so laden with meaning it almost hurt. Almost.
He sighed softly, stealing one last, gentle kiss as he brushed his lips against hers, trying to send her in that brief moment all that he felt for her. All the love, the care, the pride, the passion, the fear for her life, the adoration. He tried to convey all this in one last, parting kiss, and he hated to draw away. He say her stow her own sadness behind the layer of ice that was her eyes. "Then it all works out," he murmured, his lips still hovering inches from hers. He pulled away, being very gentle and kind as he brought his hands up in a 'v' so that his fingers pressed against the bridge of his nose.
He closed his eyes and she felt a flutter of panic as she realized what he was doing.
Vector let all his emotions come once more under his control before he let loose the pressure his mind had held on the bond. He would not share these precious moments and feelings with the Killiks. They belonged to him and to Blaide and no one else. He heard almost as suddenly as they had stopped, the voices of the thousands and thousands of Killiks once more chattering away, and for the first time in his life, it didn't feel as comfortable as it had before. Somehow, the way he had been with Blaide these past few hours...that felt more comfortable than he had ever been before.
Blaide had to hide her disappointment and sadness as Vector reopened his eyes and they were once again their usual black. She grit her teeth together and blinked, trying to make sure it was real. She knew he wasn't gone. He could easily become the man he was only moments before at any time, but the idea that he wasn't always that man frustrated and upset her as it never had before. Perhaps now because she knew that other man...
She stopped herself. They were the same man. She had fallen in love with the Killik-minded Vector long ago, and despite her initial hesitation, she loved him with all of her heart. Killiks and all. It was what made him himself, whether she could see his eyes or no. It was part of him, just as her scars were part of her.
"Now..." he said slowly, his mind still re-adjusting to hearing the Killiks once more. "We return to work."
She nodded slowly, smiling. She loved the way he spoke when he was with the hive. It was different than the way he had the night before, but she loved both of them the same. She squeezed his hand once last time as he returned her smile and bowed gently.
parts of the song (which i listened to while writing) are very innocent and sweet, which is how i wanted to portray this couple. Not in an awkward, smutty way. She may be very darkside and whatnot...but he brings out the good in her...and changes her and chips away some of the ice.
Vector is also one of the most interesting characters in this group i have as an Imp. Agent in SW:tOR. He's a neat concept, and I really like him in general.
I wanted to really focus on the differences between them as well. Anyway, I hope you like, and if you're interested, here's the scene, starting at 4:05 into it. [link]
its really sweet, and I liked it alot. I hope you enjoy, and please Leave a comment and tell me what you think. Also, in game, my characters name is spelled 'Blaede' since 'Blaide' was already taken. le sigh.
People... why do you hate this movie? Come on, let's get to adult mature constructive manners - why do you hate this movie? It would make sense if you hated it because you don't care for the Star Wars franchise. But that's the funny part - you praise the original trilogy all the time in comparison, talking about this and that you thought was made wrong and overall ruined all three prequels to you, as it changed everything.
Here's the thing - the movie is only hated for the mere purpose of being different. They used a ton of CGI, they gave new styles to everything, they gave some new types of lighthearted elements, and you didn't like it therefor as it "ruined" the mood and tone and style of the original trilogy's. But that just means you prefer the way they made the original trilogy - it doesn't give you the right to bash the living shit out of the prequels for no apparent reason. But let me go through the major issues haters talk about over and over again, and let me respond to them:
* "The Trade Federation is annoyingly pointless and complicated, and just drags on some scenes and we don't get anything going on!" Really? This is brought up all the time when people complain about the movie. All haters says THIS is what brings the movie down mostly. I promised to not insult anyone here, but... you are adorable, haters. This really IS adorable and cute. I saw this movie when I was 11 years old back in 1999 and knew jack shit about politics and business and etcetera - I followed everything going on perfectly fine. And for me in that age; that says a LOT. They want allowance to bring supplies to the planet and to get control over it - but they at the same time tries to hide all kinds of evidence from it being them as Darth Sidious is behind it all and thinks it's a perfect way to slowly get control over one planet to start the threats with. It's not a planet of a great military force either, which makes it perfect and practical for them to test out their new battle droids. And the ones opposing it are obviously suspecting it - and that's where the discussions are clashing in the meetings they have. I remember it so well because it was very interesting to me. Not only did they expand on the universe to bring in elements as politics for once (which after all is a huge matter in war; and this IS called "Star Wars") and we get to see Coruscant which is like the center of the entire universe - but we do not always know how the story will end up to be. For being a prequel - there's a ton of things we can not tell what will happen with it. Like Naboo and Padme and Qui-Gon and Shmi, for instance. Again - you're complaining about this because it's a new element that wasn't in the original trilogy. That's your whole argument, and you try to add in things about it that does not add up.
* "Jar Jar Binks is the most annoying and stupid character ever, and makes the movie too childish and lighthearted!" Oh yeah, because childish lighthearted elements are NEVER present in the original trilogy. I felt it was SO adult when I saw C-3PO, R2-D2, the ewoks, Chewbacca, or the fact that they could defeat a whole huge space station twice with minimal supply and minimal amounts of rebels and allies. And no annoying and stupid elements? Not only can I bring up C-3PO and Chewbacca again - but also the constantly disfunctioning Millenium Falcon and the whining bitch known as Leia. Compared to the annoyances of the original trilogy - Jar Jar Binks actually is a breath of fresh air to me. He might be kind of annoying - but he is never really ruining anything. You might blame him for dooming the galaxy by letting Palpatine be the new chancellor in Episode II, but... that could have happened to anyone, as everyone trusted him. So to blame Jar Jar on that ONLY because he was a victim of the circumstances is.... well, really childish and immature. But to focus on Episode I - Jar Jar Binks is just meant to be there to give us some relief. I can not honestly find him annoying myself. He never gets on my nerves. He gets on your nerves? Fine - but don't pretend like nothing is annoying or stupid or lighthearted or childish in the original trilogy in that case.
* "The battle droids are so stupid and worthless!" They are the most massproduced droids in the entire galaxy and was most likely not even constructed by the most rich of companies. Think about it - we get to know in episode II they have the factory at Geonosis... a planet with intelligent bugs. Sure - they had a lot of allies, and they had enough money to make it THE most massproduced droids - but that is the thing. They are massproduced in HUGE quantities.
* "The actors are awful and their performances are stale and soulless!" Sure - Padme was pretty worthless, and the actor of Obi-Wan did not give his character a proper personality until Episode II. And I can even admit Anakin can AT TIMES be a bit blandish; but not much. But look at Episode IV again; the first movie that is. And I have told haters this before which they respond to with this: "I have - and they are a ton better there even though it's not perfect. At least you feel something with them there!" The actor of Obi-Wan in Episode IV acts exactly as if he literally knows how silly everything is to him - but he goes along with it because he gets payed. I do not get the feeling of him being this old wise experienced Jedi who has been through war and really harsh battles - he acts like if he was letting a kid into a world of magic and wonder. Hell - he could have been a perfect Willy Wonka by acting like he does here. And that's pretty bad as this is... well, Star Wars. Luke, AKA Mark Hamill... come on, are you serious? He acts like a bland generic boy scout hero from the 30's. Han Solo, AKA Harrison Ford... acting like a generic lazy douchebag who doesn't want in on anything. Which I would have been fine with if he was so in a likeable way. But... his attitude makes me feel like he indirectly gives the finger to the audience. And hey - if you think the acting is bad in the prequels... watch the scene when Darth Vader faces Obi-Wan, and he says "Last time we met I was the apprentice - now I am the master.". I dare you to try to look me in the eyes and say that was really good voice acting - because that is the stalest and most soulless line in Star Wars history. The acting overall in Star Wars isn't supposed to be top notch - we are supposed to enjoy their surroundings and the world they are in, and care for the characters even though the performances aren't all there always. And I care for the characters of Star Wars Episode I.
* "The podrace scene is too long, and obviously meant as a promotion of their Star Wars Episode I: Racer video game for Nintendo 64 and Playstation. Also, it's boring!" That's one of the most memorable movie scenes I have ever seen in my entire life, if not THE most memorable one. I know a lot of friends and such who thinks this scene is so great, they want more of it. I can watch it over and over and over again and never get tired of it. If you don't like it, I suppose you don't like racing movies either. And that's fine - but in that case, just leave it alone. It's a nice treat for everyone who loves to watch racing scenes in movies - like me for instance. Also, to quote Carmine DeStefano; it shows us the early steps of how Anakin is an excellent pilot. And what exactly is wrong with that, if I might ask?
* "Too much CGI!!! Freakin' cheap and lazy of George Lucas!" In 1999, it wasn't as cheap and lazy to use CGI. This was actually right before it became a cheap way to go with movies just to sneak away from actual effort. Hell - this is the first movie to have this much CGI, and even to have environments and surroundings being in CGI (if we except Tron, which technically does not count as it was made in a different and unique way). Sure - they could have made a few more creatures as puppets rather than doing them in CGI, as it kinda makes no sense to not see CGI aliens in the original trilogy. But is this really something to be so bothered about? You saw the trailer before you saw the movie, right? In that case, it would go without saying it will be filled with CGI. George Lucas put effort into this movie - I am more than sure of that. Say what you want about him - but he isn't a lazy jerk.
* "What's the point of the prequels when we already know what will happen? It makes them too predictable and lame." Again - lots of things are uncertain and was interesting for me to learn about. And I honestly cared more for the story of Anakin and Obi-Wan than I did about the story of Luke and Han Solo. Also - YOU KNEW THIS WAS A PREQUEL BEFORE YOU SAW IT! Why would you waste your money on something you knew already you will find pointless and lame? Are you dense??
* "The midi-chlorians are retarded and takes out all the mysticism of the Force! It's so insulting George Lucas gave it the explanation the Force is just a bunch of germs in my body!" Hah? What are you even talking about?? Midi-chlorians aren't the Force. Here's a fact from Wookiepedia to help your rage to calm down: "Midi-chlorians were intelligent microscopic life forms that lived symbiotically inside the cells of all living things. When present in sufficient numbers, they could allow their symbiont to detect the pervasive energy field known as the Force. Midi-chlorian counts were linked to potential in the Force, ranging from normal Human levels of 2,500 per cell to the much higher levels of Jedi. The highest known midi-chlorian count belonged to the Jedi Anakin Skywalker (over 20,000 per cell), who was believed to have been conceived by the midi-chlorians." You see? Do I really need to add anything to that? You're mad at midi-chlorians just because you did not understand they are NOT the Force. They help to detect them, and to measure it's potential in each person. Why are you haters always trying so hard to find flaws that doesn't even exist?
* "Shmi is a virgin and still got Anakin? Stop relating it to Christianity, Lucas - I am sick of religious bullshit like that!" Who said she's a virgin? She just said there was no father, and that she can not explain what happened. What if Darth Plagueis is behind it, hmm? AKA, the former Master of Darth Sidious? He could have fucked her and then used the Force to tell her he has not fucked her - easy! We are not told she literally is a virgin - it's just a mystery as of how she could get birth to him. It's kinda funny how you want mysticism in the Force - but when it comes to how Shmi got pregnant? Oh, NOW you want answers huh? Fuck the mysticism all of a sudden, I suppose?
No matter how many times I watch Star Wars Episode I, I never ever get bored of it. Sure, it HAS problems. The plot twist of Padme being the actual Queen of Naboo rather than Keira Knightley (yes, it's actually her) felt a bit too random and odd, and the CGI can at times feels a bit overused as said, it feels like they could have done more with Darth Maul than they did (also find it hilarious no one spots those gigantic "spy" cameras he has to fly around on Tatooine to look for the Jedis for him - seriously, they are as big as one's head XD), Shmi feels a bit too bland and perfectly pure as Anakin's mother, a bit more of jedis and siths (especially siths) would have been nice to expand on the universe more, and I did indeed feel like the acting could at times from certain persons be too underwhelming or bad. But damn - the action scenes are great, the atmospheres are wonderful, the music is perfect, the story is interesting and somehow very proper and natural for the whole main story of the franchise, and I love a lot of the colorful characters. I love Qui-Gonn, I love Watto, I love Sebulba, I love Darth Maul, and I love Boss Nass (even though his headshaking can be a bit... odd). And you know - I find it really funny how there are SO many haters of the movie, despite the fact it's one of the highest grossing movies of all time - and THE highest grossing Star Wars movie of all time. This indicates everyone hasn't just seen this more than once in the theaters - it also means they have bought it on DVD and everything. You haters might say you either want the whole collection, that you like collecting bad movies, or that you even say you "can not believe how bad it is and therefor must watch it again". All that tells me though is that you in secret really love the movie for what it is - but you somehow feel like you need to hate it still, because it's "trendy" and mainstream.
Do you prefer the original trilogy over the prequels? That's fine - more power to you. The mood and style and feeling of the original trilogy is entirely different from how it is in the prequel trilogy. But don't act like the prequels are nothing but pieces of shit and rant and whine and complain about them just because of that. Star Wars Episode I did change a lot of things. It's not worse than the original trilogy - it's just different. It has flaws; but for the right audience, it's a very enjoyable movie. If you think fans of Episode I like me should hang ourselves... grow up and accept the fact that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This movie gets a 10 of 10 from me. Not perfect - but the good stuff is so good here, it overshadows all of the flaws by far to me (if you don't understand the point of giving a 10 of 10 when it's not perfect - you haven't seen Angry Joe's Red Dead Redemption Review and should do so before whining about me doing this, my friend). It also is my favorite Star Wars movie out of all 6 of them, and is something I keep close to my heart. I love all 6 of them (although, Episode II was kinda "meh") - but Episode I really felt like something extra. So please, haters... stop acting like childs, and try to realize the prequels aren't as horrible as you make them out to be. You might prefer the original trilogy by far - but that's not a reason to make people like me feel bad just because we love the prequels as well. We would love to be your friends and hug you - but please stop biting us as soon as we bring up our love for Star Wars Episode I.
There we go... finally, I made a review of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace I think defends it in the best of ways possible. Please feel free to leave a comment to share any thoughts on this review - as long as it's mature and not offensive.
Oh, and another thing - STOP POINTING OUT THE FLAWS OF THE PREQUELS. I know them already, alright? I've seen every single of all the rants complaining and nitpicking about them like small kids. Nitpicks doesn't prove a movie is worse than it is. And my whole point is to tell that not only the prequels have flaws - so does the original trilogy. YES, as many! Don't try to claim anything else.
If you do not understand my review, just don't bother. This isn't a review for haters who will just keep on hating for the sake of hating. This review is meant for openminded people. Understand that, or just leave it alone.
EDIT Just checking some spelling errors and minor things to change... not to mention, I wanted to introduce the review again to those who haven't read it yet.
Sleep had rarely been an issue for Damian. He didn't require much and didn't particularly like it anyway. Sleep meant wasted time, wasted efforts. It meant another weakness, another need he had to satisfy before he could get into more important matters, such as the city at his hands. It meant time away from people, time away from the suit, time where he was lying on a mattress, completely vulnerable, with his mouth hanging open and drool dripping down his chin. Like some sort of mindless ape.
There were only a couple of things Damian actually enjoyed about the REM cycles his body forced him to endure. One, they made him forget things. When he was sleeping, it was easy to stop thinking about concerns of the past, present, or future. Second, they introduced him to dreams.
Now, dreams? He looked forward to dreams.
It wasn't like Damian to "look forward" to much of anything. His typical outlook on life was, "If there's a problem, fix it now" or "If you're uncomfortable, get over it." They were the mottos of his father, who lived completely in the present, never looked towards the future much, and always looked upon the past with such disdain that he rarely looked upon it at all.
However, there was one thing that Damian allowed himself to anticipate with some degree of eagerness.
September. It was always in September that he would get the dreams.
He didn't know exactly what "the dreams" were, if he was being honest with himself. He didn't remember them when he woke up. All he knew was that he had them and that they only happened in September. And they made him happy, if that was the word for it. They gave him far more rest than any of his other nights sleeping. They made him wake up feeling satisfied, like he'd gotten something accomplished, rather than begrudging and cranky, as per usual.
They were odd and mysterious. And, growing up in the way that he had, Damian liked mystery.
Mystery was exciting. It kept you on your feet. And sometimes, it was a lot better than knowing the truth.
"It's been two years," Damian said, slipping on his gloves and leaning against the supercomputer's oversized keyboard. He was in the BatCave, which had hardly changed over the years. There was still a giant T-Rex in the corner, still the top technology, still a group of bats that would fly through now and again. Damian was looking over at his father, who had hardly changed over the years either.
Bruce Wayne was a static man at best. He knew exactly what it was he wanted, exactly what it was he needed, and exactly what it was he had to do. That didn't leave much room for development. Instead, he simply looked changed. His dark hair was showing signs of grey, his brows were furrowed further, and there were more lines and scars etched into his face. But the cowl still fit perfectly on his head, and as long as that was so, Damian's father was going to remain the Bat.
"Two years since what?" Bruce asked, not looking over at his son but instead leaning back in his chair and quietly scrutinizing the computer screen.
Damian shot his father a grim look. But, of course, the Bat wasn't looking at him. He wasn't even trying to remember.
"Two years since Dick died," Damian clarified, without any hesitation, as if he was trying to race the words out of his mouth. The pain attached to them was easier to manage when it came out quick. Like ripping off a BandAid.
His father acknowledged this with an "Mm" and a nod. His eyes narrowed slightly, but that was it.
Damian understood the concept of pent-up feelings. Throw a box around them, nail the box to the ground, conceal it with tarps until it faded to the back of the basement storage room. He'd grown up with this philosophy and had used it well.
But there were some feelings that Damian was too young to pent-up. He was only 20, after all, just barely an adult. Not even drinking age.
And that was why he turned from his father and walked to the other side of the room, pressing a button on the side panel. The wall in front of him slid slowly to the right, revealing the black and red-striped costume that had once been the mantle of Dick Grayson.
"I'm heading out for a patrol, Father. I will be back before dawn." It wasn't a question. Damian had long stopped asking his father for permission to go on patrols. Damian was a young man now, and a very talented one. He could do what he wanted.
Again, the noncommittal "Mm."
Damian hated that "Mm."
August 31st, 2021. 10:45 PM.
Out on the streets, Gotham was like a jewel that had been covered with dirt and dust for years, to the point that it could never again reach its previous shine.
Home, Damian reminded himself, as he did every night. This place was home. The rotting cans of garbage that fell into the streets and rolled along by the cars were all part of his home.
He clenched his fists as he peered out over the city streets from the rooftop where he stood. The escrima stick in his left hand felt comfortable but foreign, like wearing someone else's pajamas at a slumber party. Of course, Gotham was anything but a slumber party.
It was nearly 11:00 and Gotham was relishing in its prime time. Casino slot machines were whirring with life, and already Damian had stopped two bar fights. Stupid, mindless work. He wanted to get his fists into something sturdier, something more than a fat guy who stank of cheap cologne and cigarettes, who couldn't keep his hands to himself.
He needed a real fight. A fight to make this Nightwing gig feel a little more gratifying to the memory of his brother.
"Wouldn't you know. It's BatKid."
Batwoman. Damian had known she was coming before she even said anything. He could practically hear the disdain dripping from her voice. She hated him, would always hate him. Not that he liked her much either.
"Good evening," he replied, keeping his eyes on the street. But he saw, out of the corner of his eye, Barbara Gordon step forward to stand beside him, her arms crossed over the red batsymbol on her chest.
"I don't understand why you don't get your own costume," she stated.
He exhaled. He was used to this.
Barbara couldn't stand seeing Dick's suit on Damian's body. She couldn't stand the fact that Damian even fit into the suit. That was typical. Barbara hated practically all of the BatFamily now, his father included. They hadn't been there to save Dick. Of course, Damian had it in his right mind that Babs probably hated herself too, seeing as she hadn't been there either.
"This costume was available. So I took the opportunity to partake in both a memoriam and a convenience," was his prepared reply, one that he had given many times. He knew how much it bothered her, how much it disgusted her. Honestly, he didn't give a damn.
After a moment of aggravated silence, she changed the subject. "East side of town is rough tonight. Roy is over there already."
Roy Harper. Arsenal. The man was a lunatic, as far as Damian was concerned. He had gone over the deep end ten years ago, in Setember of 2011, claiming that he had lost someone but didn't know who. Someone very close, like a child. His child.
It had scared everyone else to death, but Damian knew the signs of Overworked Hero Disorder when he saw them. Reality slipped through your fingers like butter. It had happened to Father once, back in the days before Damian became Robin.
Harper had gone through Justice League Rehab, as Damian liked to call it, but he hardly doubted the man was completely healed. He had probably just learned to keep his big mouth shut about it.
"Arsenal," Damian corrected Barbara, standing up straight. "We're in the field, Batwoman. We don't use real names," he reminded, as if she was newbie to the hero experience. "I'll call Roy whatever I want to call him," she replied calmly, but he could hear the bite in her voice. She was near breaking point now. Good. Damian would love a fight, especially one over Dick Grayson. For God's sake, it was as if the woman didn't know that Dick had other people who cared about him. And, as much as he hated to admit it, Damian had been one of those people.
It had been that damn grin. The grin that said, "I'm going to tease you and bicker with you and make fun of you and treat you like a kid, but I'm gonna love you and take care of you anyway. Because that's what I'm supposed to do, and more importantly, it's what I want to do."
Dick had wanted to take care of Damian, to be like a father figure, to lead him down a better path. And, being a young and broken child, it had been a very hard offer for Damian to resist.
He didn't grace Barbara with a reply, but instead cast his line and headed out towards the east side of town. He didn't look back to see if she followed. He didn't need her help.
If he needed help (and he wouldn't), he would call the Justice League and see if Superman wasn't too busy being brooding Kal-El to spare a few hands. Good God, that man needed a wife. Or at least a woman. Or someone to keep him from falling back into his bathtub and angsting his time away.
Damian knew he wasn't exactly the King of Optimism himself, but he converted his anger into energy. He took his cruel, unloving mother, his distant Father and his "Mm"s, his murderous brother, his lifeless, wimpy other brother, and his missing, dead brother and surged it through his veins, connecting it to his clenched fists. Superman just threw himself on the couch and whined about that reporter woman dating another man.
As Nightwing flew over his city, he wondered exactly where Gotham had gone wrong. Not even just Gotham, but everything. Even the Justice League seemed strange, uneven. Something had changed. Something had happened, had messed things up.
Or maybe that was just life, Damian thought grimly. It pulled off BandAids as fast or as slow as it liked.
He jumped over a record store and saw the time displayed on a large digital clock that hung from an advertisement sign. 11:30, it read. 30 minutes until midnight, and 30 minutes until September 1st.
30 minutes until the dreams became a possibility.
The thought brought a welcome rush of adrenaline to his system. Something would happen this morning, as he slept. Something indescribably good. This was an utterly obscure concept for Damian, this sort of giddy excitement for a dream, of all things. And not just any dream. A dream he couldn't, for the life of him, even remember.
But Damian had been a prisoner of "obscure" all his life. Sometimes, it took him home.
September 1st, 2021. 4:00 AM.
It was 4:00 in the morning before he walked into his room, absently rubbing the bruise on his left arm and ignoring the stings of his various other (now bandaged) injuries.
Barbara had been right. It had been rough on the east side of Gotham.
In particular, it had been overrun with goons high on fear toxin. Except Scarecrow had modified his formula this time. Instead of making people see fearful things, it made people want to inflict fear upon others. This could be done in a multitude of horrific ways (Damian knew quite a few himself), and thus it had been a rather ugly night. Not to mention each goon had been rigged up with Venom as well, just for good measure. Damian had spent the last hour running scans over files and databases, trying to figure out how the hell Scarecrow had gotten his hands on something as slippery as Venom.
But the call for sleep had been hard to resist.
He sat down on his bed, groaning inwardly but making no outward noise. "Weak," he told himself bitterly, chastising himself for giving up the search after only an hour. "Weak and for what? Sleep. Damned sleep."
He fell back onto his bed silently, looking up at the ceiling. It was covered in tiny, glow-in-the-dark stars that faintly outlined the image of a cat. It had been a practical joke Dick had set up several years before he died, before he bled to death in a winter wasteland, suffering from hypothermia and the beginnings of starvation. It was a horrible way for him to have died. A weird, unexpected, shocking way for him to have died. And all because they couldn't find him, couldn't put the puzzle pieces together. Not quickly enough.
Damian fell asleep staring at that cat, still wearing the Nightwing suit, with its red bird symbol and its lack of the ludicrous blue fingerstripes. He fell asleep thinking of Dick and sank into a dream with her.
September 1st, 2021. 6:00 AM.
She was late.
Why did that make him so jittery? Yes, it had been a year since he'd seen her last, but that didn't excuse the fact that he was pacing around his room. Pacing! It was an absolute insult to his family name, as well as his pride. Waynes didn't pace. They worked through their problems confidently, calmly. Not like some loser nervous wreck who's barely hit puberty and is about to take his first girlfriend on a five-minute date to Wendy's.
Food. He should have gotten food. Damn.
He forced himself to sit back on the edge of his bed and wait. After two minutes, he pulled out his switchblade and started flicking it open and shut. After four minutes, he started absently carving the wood post at the end of his bed, not really paying attention to what he was creating as he stared at the window.
Dear God. This was what the witch woman had reduced Mister Damian Stay-Out-of-My-Face Wayne to. A nervous kid with too much time on his hands, who waited at the meeting place to find out whether or not he'd been stood up.
He rolled his eyes at himself. Weak.
"Put the switchblade away and I'll think about coming inside."
His eyes widened and flew over to the left side of his room, where the other window had been pulled open. Sitting against its frame was a woman.
As usual, there was a split second of confusion. A split second that asked, Who is this woman and why is she in my room? I've never seen her in my life. A split second that reminded him this was merely dream. And then he forgot all of that and dove headfirst into the surreal.
"You're late," he told her, standing up and putting the switchblade back in his pocket. The words were meant to be angry, but they came out sounding slightly breathless. Which wasn't far from the truthhe had lost a fraction of his breath. Over the course of a year, he would sometimes forget exactly how beautiful she was. How good it was to see her.
"That's me. Maybe I'll be like Barry Allen, you know. Since I'm always late, I'll go get struck by lightning and turn into a super speedster," she replied, winking at him and smiling. She pulled her legs over the windowsill and walked into his room.
"Stephanie," he said, looking her over, his mouth caught in some weird cross between surprised 'o' and a grin. She was still wearing the same strange outfit she always wore in these dreams. The mixed red, green, yellow, purple, and black colors. The cross between Batsymbol and stitched "R" across her chest. But he didn't pay any attention to the outfit, other than the fact that it hugged her form in a way that made him feel somewhat dizzy. Her blonde hair curled down over her shoulders and skimmed her scarred cheeks and that was what he stared at. Those scars, that had been such a part of her short life.
She smiled. "Happy September," she told him, as he gently brushed back her hair and let it rest behind her shoulders. "It's been a long year, huh?"
He nodded indiscreetly, leaning in and kissing the jagged scar that ran up to her ear. She laughed, throwing her head back so that his lips were disconnected from her skin and he was forced to look at her. "Good God, Damian. I've been here all of a minute and you're already trying to seduce me. At least say something besides, 'You're late' and 'Stephanie'. It's been a year. Talk to me."
He blinked at this, then shook his head. "No," he replied, his hands hovering by her hips. "No, you talk to me. I want to remember all the characteristics of this past you come from, the tangible and the intangible. I want to know the past before it was disregarded, changed. I don't remember. I want to. While I can."
Stephanie Brown's smile faded into something that wasn't quite a frown but more an expression of empathy. "You won't remember when you wake up. You know that."
"And I do not care regardless. Tell me, witch woman, or I will refuse to touch you for the rest of the night," he told her simply, but there was glint of mischief in his eyes.
She snorted. "Keep dreaming, hotshot. You're 20 years old and alone with a very beautiful woman," she said, emphasizing the 'beautiful' with a raise of the eyebrow. "A very beautiful, older woman."
"By eight years. That's hardly a difference I call consequential." He folded his arms over his chest. "Now, wench. Speak."
She looked him in the eyes for a moment, then smiled. "Okay, let's start with the basics. My name is Stephanie Brown and you're Damian Way"
"I'm quite aware of my own name, Stephanie."
She grinned. "Don't cut me off, jerk. Listen. You're Damian Wayne and you were once a Robin. I was too. Except then I died andwhatever, I came back. Even when no one cared to remember me."
Damian's mouth twitched at this but he said nothing.
"So I became Spoiler, because I spoiled the plans of my father, Cluemaster."
Cluemaster didn't have a daughter, Damian knew that for a fact. He almost protested, but then he remembered. Stephanie came from a different world, an older world. A world that had since moved on.
"I became Batgirl and we teamed up together," she continued. "We hated each other but I think that was just a spark of rivalry. We were evenly matched, you know."
He smirked, leaning against his bed, his arms still crossed. "I doubt that."
"Like I care what you doubt or don't doubt." She stuck her tongue out at him and continued, walking over to his bed and plopping down onto the mattress. "We grew up a bit and you started to realize how utterly lovely I was. Unfortunately, you weren't too bad yourself. I think it was that Wayne-dark skin of yours." Her eyes flicked to his bare chest, almost an after-thought, and his smile widened ever-so-slightly.
"Anyway," she said, lying back onto his bed and resting her head against one of his many expensive pillows. "I think there was some romance along the road there, but it was stuck so far and in between all the fighting that I don't really remember." She shot him a devilish look to make sure he was paying attention. He rolled his eyes. Satisfied, she continued. "Everyone thought we were crazy and neither one of us gave a damn."
"Shut up and listen. Since when were you so talkative? I thought you wanted to hear this story," she said, rolling onto her stomach and looking up at him dryly.
He merely looked right back at her, feigning innocence.
"We grew up a bit more, years passed," she said, crawling over to him and adjusting herself so that her head rested in his lap. "We kept expecting the relationship to end and it never did. So, hey, the only thing left to do was get married, right?"
"Married," Damian repeated slowly, testing the way the word felt on his lips the way his father might test a new weapon Lucius had delivered. He had heard this part of the story many times, many Septembers, but it still struck him in a rather odd way. Like trying Pepsi when you're used to Coke. Not a bad way. Definitely not a bad way.
"Yes, married," she agreed, smiling at him and watching the way his eyebrows furrowed slightly then evened back out, as if he'd come to a conclusion and could now be at ease. It was one of the few "cute" things that Damian did. She had always tried to enjoy it. "So we got married. Then September of that year came along and " Her eyes moved down, her face suddenly downcast. "Something changed. I don't know."
"Lots of things changed." Damian nodded. His fingers gently tangled themselves in her hair, brushing against her scalp. "Arsenal became nothing short of a howling asylum inmate. Superman grew into this dark, unreachable figure that depressed even my father."
"And I disappeared," she said quietly.
"Yes. And you disappeared." His eyes moved down to meet hers.
"It's weird, you know? Not existing," she told him with a half-hearted, bleak smile. "It's weird just wandering through your dreams in September and then falling back into God knows where during the rest of the year."
He continued to watch her but didn't reply.
"It's weird knowing that I once was really here, where you are. That I was your wife. Or, at least, I could have been your wife. If things hadn't of changed."
"You are my wife. You're here now," he stated, as if this was the most clear and obvious thing in the world.
"Yes. I am."
And perhaps it was.
She sat up and turned around, wrapping her arms snugly around his neck. He welcomed this immediately, already knowing what was coming next. He adapted, standing up so that she could wrap her legs around his waist. He pressed his lips to hers without hesitation, enjoying how she was of a decent enough size that it actually took some effort to lift her. Not much, but some. She was tangible, she was weighted. She was real.
She moved her fingers through his hair, which was still slightly damp with sweat from his patrol. He put one hand on her cheek and the other on her hip, moving forward and pressing her back against the wall, moving his lips along the length of her jaw and back to her mouth.
"Dick lived," she whispered between kisses, her voice strained from lack of breath. "He lived in my old reality. Before things changed."
He closed his eyes and stretched his fingers across the small of her back, pressing his lips together as this settled in. Before things changed. Everything was so much better before "things changed".
But perhaps staying the same would have been more painful. Perhaps. All he knew was that this, this right here, was the first of a long string of September nights and it was all he wanted.
He turned around and let her fall back on the bed, his hands against her hips, her legs hooked around his back. He let himself kiss her in a dream that was more real than it should have been, if it were only a dream. But Damian had long since stopped believing they were dreams. There was a door somewhere, he thought as Stephanie's lips brushed his chest as he pulled her closer. A door that could take him back, to where things were right. He was just on the wrong side of the door.
But, until he could find that door, this side would do just fine.
He sank into a dream with her, smelling the lavender scent of her skin and thinking God, I'm married and kissing her over and over again and wondering how in the world he'd fallen in love with her and chastising himself for being weak but honestly not caring. He could chastise himself all he wanted, but, truly, he'd never felt stronger.
September 1st, 2021. 2:00 PM.
"We should have found him," Damian said, his arms crossed as he looked at the Nightwing suit in its glass case, set up like another piece of furniture in the BatCave.
His father didn't reply. Damian had known he wouldn't, because Bruce didn't have a reply. Bruce knew it was the truth, that there was no argument, no back-up, and so he left it as was, hanging in the air between them like a piñata.
Damian exhaled, shutting the case and turning to the side. There were four other glass cases in the cave. One for Dick's original Robin costume, one for Jason Todd's memorial, one for Tim Drake's old Robin costume, and one for Damian's.
He blinked at this for a moment, feeling a sense not unlike déjà vu. As if the picture was missing something, missing something vitally important. Like it required another case, to show off another costume. Someone else who had moved on when things changed.
Instead, he shook his head and turned away. It had only been a mirage, a momentary illusion of feeling.
He glanced back once more, oddly hesitant. Perhaps that was true. Perhaps this feeling was as delusional as the dreams. Perhaps the dreams were an anomaly, something that shouldn't be happening and that could never be changed. Perhaps.
But perhaps not.
It was September. And, for now, that was all Damian cared about.
This is mainly a drabble-ish protest against the many problems with the DC Comics reboot. If you don’t already know them, this story probably won’t make a lot of sense to you, but just know the changes don’t look good. Stephanie is being benched, and that’s what this story is mainly about.
This is another “Star is letting out her feelings through her writing fic.” Huzzah!
I’m secretly hiding behind this story with a cane, raising it over my head and screeching, “How dare you bench Stephanie, DC! How dare you ruin my newly-developed OTP!!”
Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading and please tell me what you thought!
The Batgirl is sitting on the edge of a rooftop, her legs pulled up underneath her and a book resting in her lap. She looks oddly normal, oddly young, oddly human, considering she's such a creature of the night. She's different, this Batgirl. Her eyes are older, her legs longer, and her hair is shorter, coming down to the first fourth of her back instead of the middle.
Nell doesn't recognize her, and it's only then that it begins to settle in. Things have changed around Gotham City.
The book Batgirl's reading is The Scarlet Letter. It's probably a college project, Nell thinks. Mom used to talk about Nell going to college someday, back when there was enough money for Nell to earn a five-dollar allowance each week. But, it doesn't matter, because Nell learns everything she needs from the library or from Colin. Colin's the one who told her about The Scarlet Letter. He read it once. Didn't really understand it, of course, but he told her what he did understand.
It's about a girl who was hated by everyone. She did somethingColin wouldn't tell Nell whatand because of what she'd done, she had to wear a big, bright red letter A on her chest.
Kinda like the Bat Symbol, was Nell's first thought.
Colin smiled at this, and merely shrugged his shoulders. Maybe so.
A siren sounds from a few streets away and The Batgirl's head flicks up, as if she's been caught doing something mischievous. She gently places the book to the side, spine upwards so as to save her spot. Nell takes a moment to internally chastise The Batgirl. Her teacher always says that you should put bookmarks in books instead of spread them out like that. It ruins their fragile frame.
The Batgirl places one hand on the balcony and prepares to stand up.
And then, out of nowhere, there's a flash of red and The Batgirl is tackled to the ground. Nell almost shrieks in surprise, but instead dives further behind the crate she's been peering out from. This is Batgirl, even if she's a new Batgirl. She can save Nell. Of course she can, right?
Nervously, she peeks out from behind the box again and is surprised to see that the newcomer is no villain, no demon of Gotham. Instead, Mister Nightwing has decided to swing by and pay The Batgirl a visit.
Nell hasn't seen The Nightwing in a long, long time.
He's lying on top of the new Batgirl, crushing her with his weight, both of his elbows resting on the pavement on either side of her head. He smiles down at her smugly, as if proclaiming his obvious victory, and at first she feigns defeat. This causes a grunt from Nell, who knows that the old Batgirl, her Batgirlthe one with the big, blue eyes and the full, smiling lipswould never give up this easily.
But then Batgirl gives him a very wry grin, a grin that Nell has seen before, many times. Then she pulls her legs up, places her boots against Nightwing's firm chest, and kicks him off of her.
He lands easily on his feet, laughing now. Nell likes the sound of his laugh; it's pleasant and calming, almost natural. Odd, for a member of the Bat Family. A black sheep, or a a scarlet letter.
"You're reading? On patrol?" he asks Batgirl, scooping up the book and leafing through a few of the pages. He shoots her another grin. "You can be such a nerd."
"Oh, shut up, it's college stuff," she retorts, snatching the book out of his hand, but then she lifts her foot and gives him a playful kick in the side. As he stumbles, she adds, "And, besides, you know I'm not a nerd. I just " She pauses, pretending to think through her words. "I devote myself completely to everything I do."
"Except patrols," he replies, smirking. "There was a robbery a couple blocks away and you completely missed it. You're lucky I was around."
"I saw you on the opposite rooftop and figured you could handle it. You could handle it, couldn't you, Wonder Boy?" she asks. Her tone is teasing, almost mocking, but Nell sees the fondness in her smile.
He leans in. "Yes."
"First night on the job, huh? And no fingerstripes?" she asks, glancing slyly over at his hand, which has made its way up to her cheek.
"No fingerstripes. But I'm likin' the red. You?"
"I personally think it's too flamboyant and you're just trying to compensate for well, for"
He throws his head back and laughs, seeming to know what she's about to say. Nell doesn't understand what's so funny. Compensating for what?
"I thought you were the goody-two-shoes. You shouldn't go around making naughty jokes, darling," he chastises, grinning.
"Excuse me?" Batgirl raises an eyebrow. "You didn't even listen to my whole sentence. You have no idea what I was about to say next."
"Sure I don't."
"Hmph." She winks.
They're in love, Nell thinks excitedly. She can just tell. Oh, goodness. This is just like the time Batgirlthe old, cool Batgirl who saved Nell's lifewas with Robin and Batman, and she went to the old shack by the lake, and Robin
But then her thoughts trail off as Nightwing bends over and wraps his arms around The Batgirl's waist, lifting her feet slightly off the ground. She, in return, slips her fingers around his neck and slides her thumb against his jaw.
And, of course, there comes the inevitable kiss.
Nell watches this, debating whether to giggle or make a disgusted snort. Older people can be so confusing and weird. Nell will never understand kisses, she knows that much. She truly doesn't see the appeal in blindly shoving your lips in another person's face.
Unless it were the old Batgirl's lips. The old Batgirl could shove her lips in anyone's face, and would still look cool doing it. Probably because she would be wearing eggplant, and eggplant always looked cool.
Nell decides to go ahead and giggle, pressing her hands over her mouth. It's only when she hears someone else's scoff that the smile disappears.
Nell whirls around, and sitting thereright there, five feet away!is Robin. He's watching Nightwing and Batgirl with an expression of such utter disgust that his mouth might just fall off his face.
Nell blinks at him for a moment, her back pressed against the crate, her eyes wide. He glances at her absently, then turns his gaze back to the couple. "They've been like that for a while now. It's downright uncivilized," the boy mutters.
"IRobinhow did you get here?" She whispers, partly out of surprise, partly out of awe. Robin! Robin is here! Right beside her!
"I saw you climbing the garbage cans to this rooftop and wondered what you were doing. So I followed." His gaze doesn't move, but Nell thinks his scowl gets a little deeper. If that's possible.
"How long have you been there?" she asks, her mouth still struggling to open and close.
"About seven and a half minutes."
"Iwhy? Do you spy on your family a lot?"
"Only when they're being insipid."
"Tasteless," Robin explains, gesturing towards Nightwing and Batgirl. "Nightwing is choosing to be Nightwing and go with Batgirl."
"That's tasteless?" Nell glances dubiously back at the couple, who are now leaning against the rooftop railing and talking. They look happy, not tasteless. Nell doesn't see how their flavor has anything to do with the matter anyway.
"Yes, tasteless. And stupid," Robin adds. "This new one, she's an absolute idiot. Reading books on patrol. Kissing him instead of monitoring the radar. Flying about grinning like some sort of foolish ape-woman. She's she's nothing like " He trails off, his eyes narrowing. He turns away, his cape sweeping behind him. "It doesn't matter. Nightwing can make all the insolent, childish, infatuated decisions he wants. He is, thankfully, out of my hair."
"My mom says she wants me and the kids out of her hair all the time," Nell comments, jumping down onto the garbage can after him.
"Yes, but that is because you are a child and children are annoying," Robin says, as if this is a concept known to everyone on Earth.
"But you're a child yourself," Nell points out. "What are you, thirteen?"
"That information is classified." He shoots her a dirty look.
"Oh." She slinks back, afraid to upset him. "Sorry."
"Mmph. It's getting late. You should go home." He says this while looking up at the sky, as if there were a giant digital clock made of stars. Or maybe Robin secretly has X-Ray vision, and he can see the Watchtower clock all the way from Earth. This thought makes Nell smile.
He sees this out of the corner of his eye and raises an eyebrow. "What now? Have you made another childish discovery, or perhaps found another romance to spy upon?"
"No," she replies, resisting the urge to stick her tongue out at him. Goodness. This boy reminds her of one of the boys that used to bully her at school. Biting the edge of her lip, she points a finger up to the sky, her soft brown skin illuminated by the moonlight. "Which way is the Watchtower?" she asks, looking over at him.
"Are you trying to get me kicked out of my job, wench?" he asks with an incredibly bitter sarcasm. He rubs at his temples, like he's an overworked adult. "That information, astonishingly, is also classified."
Nell huffs at this, starting to get irritated. Really, the boy could at least try and be nice. But now he's just parading his peacock feathers around like like he's been stepped on or something.
She considers this for a moment, examining his slightly Middle Eastern skin color, his sharp cheekbones, his dark hair and urbane manner. Perhaps he has been stepped on.
Something's bothering him, other than his usual arrogant attitude, Nell is certain of it. So, being the kind girl that she is, she does exactly what Batgirlthe old Batgirlwould do. She plops herself down onto the asphalt and looks up at Robin.
"What's the matter?" she asks. "Wanna talk about it?"
He looks at her for less than a second, but long enough to make his point, and then looks back at the sky. "No."
"Why not? You're angry."
"Yes, anger is a state of being that I am comfortable with. It can be channeled to energy, and energy is good."
"Yeah, if you wanna be no fun! Anger is for people who give up too easily," Nell replies matter-of-factly, shrugging her shoulders. "Batgirl never used to get angry."
Robin snorts. "You would be surprised. I believe I might have known her a bit better, Gothamite."
"My name is Nell," she tells him, adopting her own dry tone of voice.
His eyes widen for a moment, as if the name calls back some sort of memory. Then his usual façade returns and he looks at the sky again. "Mm, yes. Well, I knew Batgirl better."
"Oh, did you?" Now Nell puts her hands on her hips. This is a topic she is specifically touchy about. She considers herself the old Batgirl's one, singular, biggest fan. Now is the time to show off her skills, to display exactly how committed she is. "How could you possibly know Batgirl? You never spent that much time with her!"
At this point, Robin very nearly laughs. The faintest of smiles does make a sliver across his face, but it quickly fades. "I knew her secret identity, Nell. I am sure that qualifies me, at the very least, as a very close confidant. You, on the other hand, are nothing but a conniving fangirl."
Nell could easily get offended at this blatant insult, but she's quit paying attention ever since the words "secret" and "identity" came out of his mouth. They're like trigger words, something that bring about an immediate reaction. Her eyes grow huge.
" You know Batgirl's secret identity?"
"Oh, for the love of" Robin has to sustain the urge to throw his hands into the sky, out of utter exasperation. "Yes, I know her identity. She is a part of the Bat Family, Nell. We know each other's names."
"What is it?" Nell's eyes are giddy with excitement. She looks up at Robin as if he holds the map to the Fountain of Youth.
"I get the idea that 'classified' is not a word in your sadly limited vocabulary," Robin replies, rolling his eyes beneath his domino mask.
She remains looking at him expectantly for a few moments, before realizing that he is not planning on telling her. And there's no point arguing; Nell isn't stupid. She knows this boy well enough after a few minutes of conversation to tell that he's as stubborn as a mule. So, instead of arguing, she simply allows her eyes to narrow and her arms to cross.
"You're really cranky, aren't you?"
"Again, the showcase of your limited vocabulary. 'Cranky' is a word I might have used when I was at the tender age of three."
"You're upset about something, and you just won't tell me. I know it. I can tell."
"Hmph. Let's just sign you right up for the JLA mind-reader program then, why don't we? You seem particularly apt."
"You're mad about your friends, aren't you? The Bat Family. Because everyone's leaving. All your friends. That's it. I know, because I'm mad too." She says this with a decisive, but exhausted, sigh afterwards. Like it's something she's been toiling with for a long time.
It surprises Damianwho, of course, is this very Robinas to how on-the-dot the girl hits it. Again, his eyes widen ever-so-slightly, his lips slipping into a confused frown. How can this girl know?
Yes, she's correct. That's why he's angry. Why wouldn't he be? His entire family, his support system, seems to be leaving him. Dick alone was bad enough, but now Stephanie has to jump on board the Hogwarts Express and sail off to nowhere. To England. To Scotland. To wherever it was she's going. It doesn't matter, the point is that she's leaving at all.
Leaving him with Todd, Drake, the new Batgirl, and his father.
His disappointed, unapproachable, symbol of a father.
"What are you mad about?" he asks the girl, trying to retain his lofty way of speaking, but honestly just being curious. Is it truly possible that, in even the slightest sense of the word, this girl understands?
"I'm Batgirl's biggest fan, Robin. And now she's gone." Nell pulls her knees up to her chest, resting her chin on their tops. Her eyes fall to the concrete. "So who do I look up to now?"
Damian doesn't reply, but instead looks back up to the stars. He doesn't care about the role models of dreaming children. He cares about the family he had thought was finally accepting him. The one where he fits, melds in easily amongst the variety of personalities. And now that two are missing
Nell's eyes move to look at him. "You're used to being the outcast, the different one, and that's why you're angry. You're used to being labeled the arrogant one, the one you stay away from, who points out the problem, who points out evil. The " Nell pauses for a moment, biting down on her lip hard, thinking deeply. Suddenly, her face lights up as she recalls something. "You're the scarlet letter."
Damian raises an eyebrow. "I don't have time for useless book analogies. Make your point, citizen."
Nell shrugs, placing her hands out in front of her as if laying the cards on a table. "With the other Batman, it was easy for you to be the dark one. Now you're with the old Batman, and he's just as dark as you are. You aren't the only rebel anymore; you aren't the scarlet letter. And that bothers you." She points this out as if it were as clear as sunlight.
"And just how would you know that?" he asks, trying to sound haughty but instead sounding accusing. How dare she intrude on him, and try to analyze him in this way? Like he's a book or something, instead of a handsome young boy of ten years old, with a bark and a bite?
"It's kinda obvious, really. You don't like that people are leaving, because you've gotten used to the way you work within them. It's like most people. I don't like moving houses because I don't like having to make new friends," Nell explains.
"Mmph." Damian crosses his arms and turns away, upset at having been so easily figured out.
A few moments of silence, and then Nell says something as equally confusing and yet on-the-dot as before.
"You need a blue letter."
He sighs. "And why on earth would I need a blue letter?"
"To balance out the scarlet one. Blue and red make purple."
"I do hope you mean this figuratively. Because a certain-colored alphabetical indicator will not help my problem." He doesn't like calling it a problem, but there isn't any denying what it quite obviously is.
Nell doesn't reply, but instead hugs her knees tighter. Damian has figured out that this is her way of "putting her thinking cap on." She remains in this position for a few minutes, squeezing her eyes shut and rocking back and forth a bit. As if this helps her pitiful brain waves circulate.
"You need a Batgirl," she says suddenly, shooting her head back up to stare at him. Her eyes dance as she grins. "You need the old Batgirl back! Her well, her costume is kinda blue!"
Damian frowns. "Last time I checked, Nell, it was an obnoxious eggplant, not blue."
"So? Close enough! It doesn't matter; Batgirl fixes everything!"
"No," Damian says immediately, almost fiercely. He turns to look at Nell head-on, his lips curling into a snarl. "No, she has not fixed a single thing in her time here. Especially now that she's leaving. All she has done is ruined carefully thought-out plans, coaxed her way into every argument, stuck her nose in every piece of business, gotten in my way, and"
"Confused you?" Nell interrupts, giggling. "I think she's confused you, Robin. You like her, and you just won't admit it."
This is crossing the line. It's one thing to suggest that he himself, Damian Wayne, of such fine-bred genetics and physical aptitude, is prone to depression caused by others. But it's another thing entirely to openly mock him about his so-called feelings for an accident-prone blonde.
It's safe to say that his ounce of remaining self-control goes flying out the window. He grabs Nell by the throat and shoves her against the brick wall with his left hand. He curls his right into a fist and stares into the little girl's dark eyes. The snarl on his lips turns to something downright horrifying. "I do not like Batgirl. I have never liked Batgirl."
In spite of everything, in spite of her face being inches away from the fist of a superhero, Nell answers with the blatant, honest truth. This is one aspect of the little girl that will continue to astound Damian for yearswhen facing any adversity, any trial or tribulation, Nell will always be the first to raise her hand and lay the truth on the line.
"She made you happy, and that scared you."
A kind of cold, awful clutch finds its way around Damian's heart as he hears Nell say this. It's like hearing your worst secret told aloud to your most trusted friend. The truth is out, the truth is known, and now there is no way of taking it back.
Did Damian know it before? Before Nell said it in such simple words?
Probably. Yeah, he probably did.
He releases his hold on her, letting her small, sweatshirt-covered body fall to the ground with a soft thump. "Go home, Nell of Gotham City. You are neither superhero nor friend of mine and I am sick of your mind games. Your scarlet letters and so forth. I hate classic literature." He says this last sentiment so bitterly that it almost sounds like a lie.
Nellamazing, ridiculous, annoying, stubborn Nellcrosses her arms for the hundredth time tonight and stands her ground. "No. Not until you promise you'll go visit Batgirl."
"Batgirl is leaving."
"She isn't gone yet. You would have said so by now."
Damn it. The girl is smarter than Damian's been giving her credit for.
"It doesn't matter. I am not visiting Batgirl. The woman does not need my company, nor do I want hers."
"If you don't go now, I'll scream. And then the whole city will hear, and they'll think you hurt me!"
"If you do that, I'll kill you."
Nell scoffs. "You can't do that! The Bat Family can't kill people!"
He cocks an eyebrow. "You want to bet?"
"Sure." The dark-skinned girl chews on the edge of her lip, digging into her sweatshirt pocket and pulling out a wrinkled 5-dollar-bill. "Five bucks." She thrusts the paper money towards Damian, smiling triumphantly.
He stares at her palm for a moment, and wonders how on earth anyone could put up with this girl for more than an hour at a time. She's almost worse than Batgirlthan Stephanie. He rolls his eyes and shoves her arm away. "I don't want your money."
"Then you'll go?" Her voice is so sickeningly sweet, so pitifully hopeful, that his stomach churns.
"Yes," he groans between clenched teeth. He wipes his hand down his face, glad that glue has been added to hold his mask in place. "Yes, I'll go find Batgirl."
When Stephanie Brown wakes up the following morning, her window is open. Gotham City is singing its little morning song of screeching wheels and honking horns. Lovely. She should just stand up and start singing "Good Morning Baltimore" or something.
One more day, she thinks to herself. One more day and I'm out of here.
Oddly, the thought doesn't bring her much comfort. So she shoves it away, and pulls herself out of her sheets, scratching the back of her head. The window is open, and that means one of two things. One is that her mom thought it was a nice day and wanted some breeze. But it's never a nice day in Gotham. The other option is that someone visited in the middle of the night and wanted her to know he had dropped by.
Of course, it's the latter. She knows as soon as she spots the note on her desk. It's written on manila cardstock in a scribbled, but still fancy, cursive.
I require a blue letter. Meet me at Littleton Park, 7:00 PM. Dress appropriately.
The culprit attempted to write his entire name, but then crossed it out and instead wrote a cursive "D". Stephanie finds this oddly amusing. She hasn't the slightest idea what a "blue letter" is, or how in the world Damian wants her to dress "appropriately", but she figures she'll go anyway. What can she say? She misses the little demon-child-thing, in spite of his demon-child-thingness. He's Damian, and, God knows, the kid needs some brightness in his life. Especially now that Dick is leaving.
Yeah. Yeah, she'll go.
It's seven 'o clock at night and Damian is sitting backwards on a teeter totter. His arms are resting on his knees and his iPod earphones are cranked up about as loud as they'll go. Not that he still can't hear everything around him. Wayne genetics and superior training, of course.
"Safety Dance" comes on and he irritably switches it to something louder and less annoying. Dick added that song, saying it was "fun" to "work out to." Damian couldn't agree less. The song sounds like Jason Todd, very possibly drunk, singing in the shower and reliving 70's nostalgia. Plus it just reminds him of Dick, and that's enough to send him off the deep end again.
Really, he's beginning to wonder if coming here, to Littleton Park, was a good idea after all. Stephanie is late, as she always is, and his iPod is running out of battery. He feels ridiculous, sitting in his Robin costume in the middle of a children's play area, waiting for an irksome girl.
The truth is, he shouldn't have listened to Nell and he certainly shouldn't have contacted Stephanie at all. It was an insolent, spontaneous thing for him to do, outside of his comfort zone and unlike his usually sharp-witted nature. But Stephanie does that kind of thing to him. She makes him want to try things without thinking. To dive into proverbial shark-infested waters without first grabbing a couple Batarangs and an air tank.
It's enough to drive him insane. He's been raised to be a carefully calculated, well-oiled machine. And now Stephanie says she's leaving, and suddenly his anger, his fuel, turns into something empty. Something that makes him fall apart, like, like
He curses under his breath. He's over-thinking again. Damn it all.
Standing up, Damian throws the iPod into one of his pouches and starts for the park entrance. That's it, he's leaving. Done with this mess, done with this thinking, done with following out the demands of a ridiculous Gothamite named Nell, done worrying, done caring
He stops in his tracks and looks up, towards the source of the voice.
Stephanie is sitting atop the park sign, her legs spread out to their full length, supporting her. She's wearing her remodeled Spoiler costume, the one she's going to use in England.
"Yes," he replies. "Although I believe I didn't ring, I wrote. And you're late."
"And?" She asks, grabbing a hold of the sign and swooping down so that she lands next to him. Lightly, surprisingly enough. He considers making another joke about her weight, but decides to save it for later.
"And I've been waiting." He crosses his arms, like Nell did the previous night, hoping to look somewhat menacing.
"Well, excuse me, mister, but from the looks of it, you didn't have much of anything better to do. You've been sitting there scrolling through your iPod for the past fifteen minutes, haven't you?"
"I could have been"
She sighs, rolling her eyes. That is one modification of the Spoiler costume that Damian likes. He can see her eyes. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? Just tell me what you need from me and I'll be on my way. I don't know what a blue letter is, so I brought you this." She holds out her palm.
In it is an embroidered letter "D", like the kind you put on high school sports jackets. It's a dark, sapphire blue, the color of the Caribbean ocean. "Found it at Hallmark for a couple bucks. You owe me," she says.
Damian stares at the letter for a moment, before slowly taking it out of her hand. He holds it in his own, feeling how light it is. Was this what Nell was talking about? Is this enough of a "blue letter" to balance out all the red that shines brilliantly on his own chest?
He looks up at Stephanie, who is looking right back at him quizzically, obviously trying not to laugh. Her turquoise eyes peek out from behind her mask, shining with the setting sun.
Yes, he thinks. If Stephanie and her blue eyes are added into the equation, the blue letter might be enough. Maybe. He doesn't know how, but it feels right. Perhaps. Damian's never been good at judging things based on feeling.
"What do you need it for anyway?" she asks, putting her hands on her hips.
He turns away and gives a barely coherent grumble. "Apparently I'm a scarlet letter. And I need a blue one to balance it out."
"A scarlet letter? Like the book? Damian, you aren't even married " Stephanie points out. "There's no way you could have committed adultery since, well, since adultery is"
"I know!" he snaps, turning back to look at her. "Don't make it any more confusing than the Gothamite already made it!"
"The girl. Your biggest fan. Nell."
Stephanie's face lights up immediately, her white teeth flashing into a beam. "I love that girl! She called you a scarlet letter?" She shakes her head with wonder. "Way to go, Nell. S'about time someone knocked some sense into you, Dami."
His eyes narrow. "That is besides the point. The point is that I need a blue letter"
"I already gave you one."
"I need more than just a figure."
"I don't understand." And Damian knows she really doesn't. Her eyebrows are furrowed in confusion, her mouth a set line with no teasing smile or knowing laugh. She really just doesn't understand.
His fists ball up in aggravation. Why is this so difficult? Why is it so hard to explain, to comprehend? Why can't he just tell her the truth, like Nell did last night?
"You can't leave," he finally says, and it's out of his mouth before he can stop it. As soon as the words are said, he regrets them. They sound weak and pathetic and everything he has tried so hard not to be. He tries to take them back with more words, but Stephanie replies before he can.
"I'm surprised you even care," she replies, looking at him with no small level of amusement. "I thought you hated me."
"I do hate you," he mutters. In some ways, it may be true. But not completely. Definitely not completely.
"Well then, there's no reason for me to stay. And besides, I can't stay, D," she tells him, sighing and leaning against the entrance sign. "Gotham's done with me for now. There's a new Batgirl. I'm going to college, somewhere where I can actually learn and won't be distracted by a bunch of hormonal Bat-guys."
"You mean guys like Drake." The word 'Drake' comes out of his mouth like a curse.
"Not just Tim, Damian. Everyone. I need to I dunno, get out of here. At least for a while. I'll be back, I know I will. Gotham is my home, after all." She shrugs. "But, you know bat's gotta leave the cave some time, right?" She grins at her little pun, but it slowly fades as Damian doesn't return it.
"You do realize you're leaving me with Todd, Drake, and my father, don't you?" he asks. "Todd is a murderous lunatic, Drake is a tool, and my father is a wordless man who shows little expression or emotion to any of his sons."
Her eyes soften a bit at this last statement. She understands completely. And Damian loves and hates her for it. "I know. I know, Dami, but I promise. You're gonna be fine. Dick's still gonna be around, even if he's not your Bats."
"He will be too busy shoving his tongue down the new Batgirl's throat to pay any attention. If they get married, I'm not attending their wedding," Damian replies decisively, irritably.
In spite of it all, Stephanie laughs. "He's your brother, D. You have to at least buy him a present."
"Hmph. Fine. I'll buy him some comic books so he can escape the living Hell he's allowing himself into."
She shakes her head, still smirking. "I'm loving your support of your brother finding happiness. You are by far the most awful ten-year-old I've ever met."
"And I will stay that way as long as I possibly can."
There's a moment's silence, and Damian watches her, as she pulls her line out from inside one of her pouches.
"Where are you going?" He hates the urgency that slips into his question.
"I just came by to drop off the letter. I'm going home to finish packing and to get some sleep. My flight leaves early tomorrow morning."
"Early, Damian. For God's sake, don't try and stop it."
He frowns. "I'm not an idiot, Brown."
"M'kay, you keep telling yourself that. From personal experience, it works for a few years, and then you just suddenly realize that you've been more than an idiot all along." She shrugs yet again, a gesture very comfortable to her. She momentarily closes her eyes and reveals her silver eye-shadow. Then they open again and it's back to that startling light blue. "I'm leaving now, D. You can say goodbye, if you'd like."
She's leaving. She's leaving now. Just like all the others. And for how long? There's no way of knowing. He's having his back stabbed once again, just like his mother, his father, Grayson, Drake, and all the others.
He's so tired of it.
So he gives her a stab in return. He fights back, like he always has, and lets her have a quick taste of the cold steel that's been pressed against his spine for so long.
"Goodbye, Spoiler." The words are as much a surrender as they are a battle cry.
She blinks at first, as if he's given her a slap across the face. He didn't use any aspect of her real name, and instead addresses her coldly by a new name that she obviously isn't accustomed to yet. A name that she still isn't sure she likes.
Getting over the initial shock, she replies sadly. "Bye, Robin. Enjoy the letter."
As she swoops off into the distance, never turning to look back, Damian has time to realize something. He doesn't know what letter she's talking about. Blue? Or perhaps the scarlet one? The one that burns its hole through his chest and sharpens the anger kindling there?
Yes, perhaps the scarlet one.
He turns away, defeated.
The plane ride is choppy at best, and that's awful for a girl who's traveling over oceans and is used to riding Batplane-style. Stephanie tries to entertain herself with Sudoku, coloring books, and Fruit Ninja, but there are some ways to waste time that just don't waste enough.
And she keeps thinking about Damian, and his stupid "Spoiler" remark.
The brat. The little, absolute brat. Having Bruce Wayne for a father is no excuse. No kid should be so cold. So arrogantly pompous. So "holier than thou."
Especially when they're ten years old and rich and have everything going for them and don't have to worry about college or boys or money or clothes or friends or roommates or food or anything.
She leans back in her uncomfortable chair, groaning audibly. She needs something else to preoccupy her. Something other than Two and a Half Men reruns and crossword puzzles.
She leans down and opens the backpack she brought with her, figuring she'll read another chapter of the book Cass bought her for Christmas two years ago. It's one of those perfect airplane books, that holds your interest for a couple hours and then lulls you right to sleep. Cass knows Stephanie well.
She reaches inside for the leather-bound pages, and instead her fingers brush something coarse and firm. She hesitates, half-worried Dick's thrown in some extra present that's going to embarrass her in front of her fellow plane passengers. Gently, frowning, she closes her hand around the object and slips it out of the pack.
At first, she doesn't understand.
It's a yellow letter. And not just any yellow letter, but a stitched letter "R", freshly torn off of one of Damian's costumes. There's a post-it note stapled haphazardlyquite unlike Damian, Stephanie thinksto it.
My debt is now repaid. I will be visiting you in England this December, whether you like it or not.
That's it. He didn't even take the time to sign the note, but just left her with an inarguable statement. He's coming, and he's coming within the next couple of months. It's not a direct apology, but Stephanie recognizes Dami-speak when she sees it. This is the closest thing to a "Please forgive me" as she's ever going to get.
Tearing off the post-it note, she lets her eyes fall back onto the letter itself. It isn't scarlet. It isn't blue. It isn't eggplant or purple or whatever. Just yellow.
Yellow. Huh, she thinks, and, although she resists it, a tiny smile pulls at her lips.
Wow, this is a monster of a fiction. I apologize for the length, but that’s what always happens when I start out writing drabbles. (Yes, this was originally a drabble. Then the ball got rolling and—okay, don’t judge me.)
So. Am I reading The Scarlet Letter? Yes, I’m reading The Scarlet Letter. Did it inspire a fiction? Well, duh. What doesn’t inspire a fiction? Is this another “Claire-is-letting-out-her-feelings-through-symbolism-and-Dami-emotions” fic? Uhh, yeah. Definitely. I am pretty sure it’s just self-indulgence now, but I hope you enjoy it nevertheless.
And, for the record, no, I am NOT shipping Dick/Babs with this. I am shipping Me/writing a kissing scene that includes the fabulousness that is Richard John Grayson. With fingerstripes, because I still refuse to believe that they aren’t coming back. Kyle Higgins himself wants the stripes back, and as far as I’m concerned, that means they’re still around. (live, little fingerstripes, live…)
Has anyone else noticed my obsession with colors? (And fingerstripes? And generally being insane and talking too much?)
Under his white stormtrooper helmet, Rex's gaze darted from one soldier to another. They ran down the canyon path. Only a few attempted to use the canyon wall for cover. Most ran along the trail, some so close to the edge they sent pebbles plunging into the canyon depths. Just because the rebel base was supposed to be five klicks ahead didn't mean there wouldn't be some sort of ambush
These drafted men made the most inexperienced shiny look like a seasoned veteran. Ever since they'd been forced into the war, Rex had made it his full-time duty to keep the boys safe.
Rex paced himself, running more toward the back of the row. Even with the twisting canyon, they were badly exposed on the trail. It was only wide enough for two men to run side by side and the lack of cover worried Rex. The rebels wouldn't miss an opportunity like this.
One of the higher ranking stormtrooper waved to Rex and the other stragglers. "Get a move on. The captain says those rebels are evacuating their base."
A missile slammed into the trail behind Rex, sending a soldier plunging to his death. Part of the cliff face collapsed, cutting off the group's retreat.
A young soldier shoved past Rex and ran along the trail, as if he feared the ground he stood on would collapse.
A nagging feeling nipped at the back of Rex's mind. It's a trap. Rex bolted after the frightened soldier, who he recognized as Vishi.
"It's a Jedi!" One of the soldiers fired a rocket forward, toward the rebel base. It arced down the canyon. A figure leaped too late and was thrown out of sight.
A few seconds later, an explosion above them, bigger than any missile, met Rex's ears. A rumble followed. Without even looking upward, Rex slammed into Vishi, shoving the boy against the cliff face. Rocks plunged past them, wiping out most of the other men who hadn't been lucky enough to cling to the edge of the cliff. A few boulders slammed into Rex and Vishi but their armor gave them enough protection to keep their bones intact.
Rex held the boy against the cliff wall until the rocks stopped falling and the dust cleared. The rest of the stormtroopers were gone, swept off the path by the rock avalanche. Rex guessed he and Vishi had been on the edge of the chaos. Still, they were both covered in dust and Vishi had a cracked shoulder plate.
"T-thanks, I owe you one." Even though he wore armor, Rex saw Vishi trembling. The boy had no business being in the middle of a war zone. "If you ever need something, I owe you one."
"You don't owe me. I'd do that for any brother." Rex walked past Vishi and along the path, which was now covered with fresh rock. He couldn't go back and something made him want to press ahead. Along the way, he saw one other soldier. The white armor had been crushed like it was nothing more than a meal wrapper.
Vishi bent to check the soldier but Rex put a hand on his shoulder. "He's gone."
"Keep it together, soldier." The last thing Rex needed was for the boy to break down sobbing over his dead friends.
Rex climbed over a few boulders and came to where the path cleared. It had been dropping steadily closer to the canyon floor. Ahead of him, it reached the canyon floor.
A figure sat propped against the canyon wall. Rex froze. Vishi ran into him.
"Stay back. I'll check it out." Rex drew his pistol even though he hadn't killed anything with it in years. He left Vishi and crept toward the body. It was a female Torguta. A chill shot through Rex. He took a few more steps toward the fallen rebel.
She moved. Something shot across the canyon floor to land in her hand. A lightsaber.
She tried to rise but slumped back against the wall with a groan of pain. "Finish it," she snarled.
Okay, dearest Star Wars prequel haters... I want to give you guys one final honest chance, and I will treat you with as much respect as I can.
To quote someone else... George Lucas didn't ruin Star Wars. You guys did. You had certain expectations with the prequels, and they didn't meet up with them. You say they could have done anything if it wasn't so "bad"? So wait... you are saying the original trilogy is better than the prequels? I could riff the living shit out of the original trilogy if I just had the right tools to do so, and the time and patience to... not to mention, the need to.
Let's face facts here. Star Wars aren't flawless masterpieces. Star Wars aren't meant to be deep clever movies. Star Wars are just some fun actionpacked popcorn entertainment. It might have some emotional moments? Yeah, sure. But that doesn't just go for the original trilogy - the end of the final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Episode 3 was pretty damn emotional too. I can compare so much. Jar Jar Binks is annoying? So is C-3PO. Bad acting in the prequels? There's plenty of that in the prequels too. Some effects are bad in the prequels? Yeah, and the effects in the original trilogy are all SO flawless, right? I mean, especially the stop motion Rancor, right? When he grabbed the green pig and also Luke later, I totally felt like everything was there. 100% authentic, man. I can go on and on, but I think I made my point... hopefully. I just wish you could stop whining and complaining. The Midi-Chlorians didn't make any sense to you? It ruined the Force for you? I can not believe how many people misinterpreted this. For the last time; the Midi-Chlorians are NOT the Force. They are there to MEASURE the POTENTIAL of the Force. I understood this even the first time I saw it back in 1999... and I was 11, people!
But I get it. Your hatred makes you blind. And look... it's not really worth it, haters. Nothing should be hated to the extent you hate this. Even IF everything you say would be valid, it's just not worth it. I think Twilight are pretty damn dumb movies - but am I doing what prequel haters does? Not even close. It's because you care so much about the original trilogy? Uhm... how do I put this nicely? THEY ARE JUST MOVIES! I can even make a parallel to Twilight since it ruined vampires to me and many others. But I mean... do I say fans of Twilight deserves to die, like prequel haters says about the prequel fans? No. That would have been unfair, immature and stupid. I remember in Cinema Snob's vlog he made after he and his friends watched Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D, and one of his friends straight out says prequel haters should hang themselves... and he just laughs and makes a small statement that his point doesn't reflect the view on it TGWTG has. He just acts as if it's not a big deal he has a friend being THIS psychotic about it. It's disturbing, people. Let's take another example. Would I ever say Twilight hasn't been bashed enough? No. I actually think it's kinda overdone by now. And hell, the prequels gets even MORE bashing than that. And despite this... Spoony One, AKA Noah, said in his fifth part of his commentary to To Boldly Flee that the prequels haven't been bashed enough. This isn't a character of Noah - this is his own personal point of view, and he is dead serious about it. It's not only juvenile to be like this, but it's also irrational and unhealthy... even a bit psychotic, as I said before too.
Star Wars doesn't belong to you, haters. It doesn't "belong" to anyone but George Lucas, really. And stop acting like the original trilogy means SO much, okay? They are family entertainment. That's right, I said it... and I will say it again - STAR WARS IS FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT!!! It's on the same level as Harry Potter in terms of storytelling and rating and quality. It's just meant to be a really fun and awesome experience... something you don't need to think a whole lot about, not to deep or anything. Star Wars isn't like The Lord of the Rings or such things. It's actually much easier to melt than that.
Do you want to know the whole reason why the original trilogy is so precious to you? Because of it's groundbreaking visual effects. I swear to everything I hold dear - you wouldn't care NEARLY as much about it if it wasn't for those effects. Those are half the reason why the story "works". You come up with such odd and obscure arguments for hating the prequels... like how you felt the lightsaber fights where more authentic in the original trilogy, and more choreographed in the prequels? Uhm... are you serious? The difference between the lightsaber fights in the original trilogy and the prequels is that in the prequels, they are using actual TECHNIQUES. In the original trilogy, they just wave around their sabers in a brutal and primitive way, barely moving their bodies. Not even the slightest bit of tempo - just primeval rage. Or well, except the lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in Episode 4, which just basicly looks like two retired old farts trying to play around with swords acting like little kids.
I love both the new and old Star Wars movies, people. They are all really fun and entertaining movies... well, with the half exception of Episode 2, which I can admit had some painful scenes in it. But come on... the constant argument I keep see popping up for even Episode 2 which I can agree on is kinda bad, is the one single line of dialogue where Anakin says he hates sand. Really now, haters? That little moment was hurting you so much, you have to bring it up again and again? Okay, I can play your game. How about the pointless teasing dialogue between Leia and Han Solo in the original trilogy - Episode 5 especially? "Oh, but that was quirky and memorable!", you say? As for me, I just found it pointless and annoying. Especially since I've always hated the love cliché in movies where we see two people hate each other just to end up loving each other. I honestly couldn't buy when they DID fall in love with each other because of this. Yes, it's as absurd to me as Ron getting together with Hermione in Harry Potter. You guys complain about Anakin and Padmé, but at least I could buy THAT as being a authentic way to handle it. It's not true love, sure - but they can relate to each other, and both have a hard time handling their situations.
What I am essentially saying is that this is all about personal opinions, dear haters. You PREFER the original trilogy? That's awesome. More power to you. But that doesn't make it wrong to also love and even prefer the prequels, okay? Why are you guys acting so spoiled about this anyway, demanding George Lucas to satisfy your own selfish needs? It's his own stuff - he is allowed to do this. Yeah, big shock, right? And again, they are just MOVIES. They can not hurt you unless you let them. You don't like the prequels? DO NOT WATCH THEM. Easy, isn't it? Yes, of course you are allowed to watch them despite hating them and review them and everything - but if you take it so personal and you let your hatred take the best of you, then I would say it's unhealthy for you.
Please, please... haters, you are just making us all feel bad. You make yourselves feel bad for letting your hatred be on such a irrational level, and you make us feel bad for you and for mankind. Is it worth it, really? I don't think so. The Star Wars prequels didn't kill your mom - because a movie is incapable of actually killing people. It can be a contributing factor, but you can't blame a movie for that. The prequels haven't done anything bad. In fact, they expanded on the universe, which lead to some really awesome stuff - such as a whole bunch of new games, not to mention the Clone Wars show. It's you haters who makes it bad with your whining and ranting and bickering. Leave it alone, please. Let us enjoy and love it. We can avoid and ignore your hatred of the movies you say? Sure, but then again, you guys can avoid and ignore the prequels if you hate them so much in the first place.
They are planning on doing Star Wars Episode VII, and now you are ranting about that? Take a chill pill. You don't need to watch it. Why are you even judging it before it's released? We don't know anything about it yet, dangit. Let us fans look forward to it, please. We fans of the prequels ARE nice people, haters. You can be too - I am sure of it. Just get over this hatred already, alright? I can not emphasize this enough - JUST GET OVER IT, PLEASE. Believe it or not, I am a nice and caring person - and I am saying this to all you haters because I want us all to feel good, including you.
Rule 1: Kill them before they kill you. Rule 2: Dont believe what youre told, double check. Rule 3: Three things you should never believe weather forecasts, the canteen menu, and intel. Rule 4: Always double estimates. especially for number of enemy units. Rule 5: Never be completely unreachable. Rule 6: Always wear gloves at a crime scene. Rule 7: Always be specific when you lie. Rule 8: Never take anything for granted. Rule 9: Always carry a knife. Rule10: Never leave prisoners together. (makes it easier to escape) Rule11: Its not stolen, just differently procured. (or confiscated) Rule12: No plan survives contact with the enemy. Rule13: Always have a plan B. Rule14: Theres no such thing as coincidence. Rule15: Always work as a team. Rule16: Guilty until proven innocent. Rule17: Always make sure theyre dead. Rule18: Its better to seek forgiveness than ask permission. Rule19: Always have a backup. Rule20: Always have a backup for your backup. Rule21: Best way to keep a secret? keep it to yourself, or 2, tell one other person. aint no 3d best way. Rule22: Never pull sentry duty on an empty stomach. Rule23: Never mess with a marines coffee if you want to live. Rule24: Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice, ammo is cheap, life isnt. Rule25: Only hits count, a close miss is still a miss. Rule26: Never apologize to the enemy, its a sign of weakness. Rule27: If your shooting stance is good, thats bad, you either need to move faster or check your cover. Rule28: In gunfights, if youre not shooting you should either be: reloading, communicating, or running. Rule29: Always use a gun that works EVERY TIME. Rule30: Use cover and concealment as much as possible. Rule31: Camouflage: shape, shine, shadow, silhouette, sound, smell, and movement. The 6 Ss + M. Rule32: Flank your foe whenever possible. Protect yours. Rule33: Never drop your guard. Rule34: Always tactical reload, then scan 360. Reul35: Not all soldiers wear uniforms. Rule36: Vary your routines, patterns are traps. Rule37: Never call attention to yourself. Rule38: Always carry an extra clip. Rule39: Never say no to bacta. Rule40: Courage is not lack of fear, but an ability to act regardless of fear, Rule41: Always be polite, especially too your enemies. Rule42: Imagination is your most important weapon. Rule43: Never tell the whole truth in a trade. Rule44: A favor is an investment. Rule45: Any crash you can walk away from, is a good one. Rule46: Always read the manual. Rule47: Watch out for things that go too well. Rule48: Be wary of attachments, they can easily be used against you. Rule49: Being hard is good, being hard with superior tech is better. Rule50: You cant raise soldiers with flash-training and sims. They have to come face-to-face with death itself. Rule51: Never lean to the water to get a drink, always use your hands to bring the water to you. Rule52: Verpines dont bounce. Rule53: When in doubt, use P, for plenty. Rule54: The key to a good bluff is not to bluff. Rule55: Never sit in chairs with arms, if you can help it. Too easy for you to get trapped in those. Rule56: Never sit in a corner. Rule57: Never sit with your back to the window. Rule58: Always sit somewhere that you can see ALL the exits. Rule59: Always check for alternate exits. Rule60: If you cant solve a problem, flip it upside down. Look at it from the enemys point of view. Rule61: Never date a co-worker. Rule62: Choose politics or love, you cant have both. Rule63: Never make a promise unless youre sure you can keep it. Rule64: Plan ahead, but not too far ahead. Rule65: A plan made too far in advance is less adaptable and prone to failing. Rule66: Adaptability is key. Rule67: Never anger a Wookie. (or a Hafvian.) Rule68: Ones an anomaly, twos a coincidence, and three is a trend. Rule69: Never go to Darvaria during spring-time without full body armor. Rule70: Plan to live forever, expect to die today. Rule71: Never, ever, ever, get caught in a love triangle. Rule72: Always know who and what youre fighting for. Always.
This is a list I made by combining the rules of: Gibbs' (NCIS) Jango fett, the clone commandos, Kal skirata (star wars) basic marine rules, and a few of my own. It's not done yet, but I thought I'd share what I have so far.
I Love Star Warsa parody of I Love this bar by Toby Keith
We got Wookies We got Gungans Bounty hunters and Humans We got Twileks We got Bothans We got green Rodians And the droids arent allowed in Cantina bars Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I love Star Wars
We got Mynok We got Zabrak Mon-Calamari and Sarlaac And we got small Dugs We got Ewoks Neimodians and star pilots And Corellians brag about their battle scars Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I love Star Wars
I love Star Wars It's my kind of film Just watchin them Jedi fight Makes me wanna be just like them It aint too hard To learn each part Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I love Star Wars
I've seen Protocols We've got Astromechs Storm Troopers and Imperial stiff-necks And we got lovers Like Han and Leia I've even seen a chick Hutt with Jabba And they like to drink their Spice from a big ol jar Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I love Star Wars (Yes I do)
Me: I like Star Trek
Crowd: I like Star Trek
Me: And I like some X-Men
Crowd: I like some X-Men
Me: I like The Lord of the Rings; I like Spider-Man now and then
But I love Star Wars It's my kind of film Just watchin them Jedi fight Makes me wanna be just like them It aint too hard To learn each part Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I love Star Wars
Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm, I just love Star wars
Application of Makeup in Order to Make a Masculine Face More Feminine
This "tutorial" will focus mainly on the face, touching generally on use of clothing for a "total" appearance. I will try to cover things important for part-time and full-times as well.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND - where referring to the differences in appearance, this is obviously not going to be truth for all men. Just like the concept of beauty, the difference between male and female has no exact formula that will work for everyone's face.
ALSO : This is not focused towards Drag Queens or outrageous female makeup - this may be a starting point, but Drag is more a fantasy and though there are some general concepts - something you just need to be creative with, not limited to a set of ideas about.
1. Hair. Current culture dictates, women generally have longer hair than men. Cut of hair is extremely important - the cut needs not only to be "feminine" but to flatter your face. You can have your hair (or wig) cut to minimise a prominent jawline - from what I've seen, curly or wavy hair or hair with layers angling inwards works best. Short hair can work, too, but it's more exacting and if you're really trying to pass, you may want to start with long first unless you have a very feminine face or a very skilled and accepting stylist.
Long hair in a single-layer blunt cut is not very feminine. Shorter, "flippy" hair is feminine, but takes a good deal of work.
Women's hair tends to be lighter than men's - women bleach their hair as it is a biological sign of female fertility in Caucasians especially.
1, A. To apply a wig. Women's foreheads tend to be shorter, so there is really no need to apply a bald-cap. Hair should be slicked back if it is short, and covered, though (to protect the wig - the less you have to wash it, the longer it will last).
NOTE : Obviously, you do not need to follow all ideals to a T, and doing so is not that important - you must simply effectively tip the balance in what the average person sees when they look at you. No one thinks Catherine Zeta-Jones is a man because she has dark hair - it's a complex combination of things that produces an overall effect.
Also, it might be best to get a "perfect" wig or custom wig rather than cut it yourself if you don't have experience cutting hair. A wig that is cheap enough for you to risk cutting it without skill is cheap enough it will look fake and ruin the overall effect you're going for. Using your natural hair is best, but I understand not everyone wants to have it styled to appear feminine all the time.
Oddly, I have found that spiking the hair is feminising - perhaps because of the volume. It is important in female hairstyles that there be "volume" around the face - it makes a HUGE difference than having a limp hairstyle.
2, A. Facial Hair. Obviously, none. Women have "peach fuzz" but this cannot be imitated well. Your best bet is in waxing all facial hair (lasts longer, shaving grows back in hours).
B. Eyebrows. Female eyebrows are more arched and thinner. Also, they should be slightly lighter than your hair colour for best effect (you may bleach - some reputable salons will do this, or you can do it at home if you're very careful, I did it once and to a friend, I'm not blind and neither is she).
If you want to do this temporarily, your best bet is probably in a latex cover for the eyebrow - you can try to "block them out" but it is not always effective for thicker brows.
You can then draw on a new pair (as natural, using tiny delicate strokes to simulate hair, or as theatrically Greta Garbo as you want).
To shape your natural eyebrows, try using foundation to cover up the parts you want to remove to get an idea of how the shape effects your face. The shape should follow the curve of your eyes and 90% of the time, you want to remove from the bottom, not the top (though you may have to to create an arch). You will most likely want to pluck some of them away from the center - generally to about where the sides of your nose are, sometimes less with a very wide nose. Close eyebrows are masculine.
C. Eyelashes. An eyelash curler is actually not a waste of money and makes a big difference. For a subtle look, use brown mascara - or brown false eyelashes. If you have a dark complexion, black will look natural (but not on lighter ones).
Applying false eyelashes is easy. You just dab the latex glue on the part that goes on your face, making sure to get a little extra on the ends and let it dry for about a minute - then apply carefully (I think it's best to apply from the end closest to the nose if you're using a full set - this saves you from accidentally applying that too far away - which looks really weird.
D+E. Moustaches + Beards. A general note for areas with facial hair - if you've only shaved, not waxed, you will have a cool-colour / bluish / greying tone to the skin where the hair grows. Make sure to cover this up well - it's a dead give-away (waxing is best - you can live with no stubble for the few days it takes to grow back).
You cannot adequately cover up a beard or moustache. You may be able to with a latex appliance - flattening the moustache with spirit gum under it - but I've never seen it done, and if it's more than a cm or so of hair, you'll just look lumpy.
3. The Face. General Note : Women of any race are lighter skinned, slightly, than the men. This is a fact. You may with to choose a foundation slightly lighter than your skin tone - but don't go too light or you'll look ghostly in an inhuman way.
A. Forehead. Try shading at the hairline, and shading on the top bone before the temples so they "stick out" less. You may also wish to shade carefully and lightly on the bones of the forehead if they cause "brain bulge" at all, as well as brow ridges if possible.
Longish bangs will make a face more feminine most of the time, as will layers around the face. Hair makes a HUGE difference - really.
Also, if you have a high forehead, you might want to bring the wig down past your natural hairline so that it shortens it. You can use a hairlace hairpiece with natural hair, too, but these need to be custom-made.
B. Eyes. Female eyes are generally more "doe-like". If your eyes are droopy, you may want to refrain from using eyeliner on the top lid - it will make the eye area look smaller. Use a light-coloured or nude-white eyeshadow if your orbit is not very visible - and shade "slightly above the crease" of the eye and shade lightly and carefully above it - but don't use too garish a colour to do so (browns and corals and goldens are nice).
Don't use bright colours if you want to pass or unless you have experience using them. They will draw attention and closer inspection that might "out" you from passing. Don't use much colour on the skin between the orbits of the eyes and the eyebrows - it's too "drag queen" if not done well.
Do not apply too much eyeshadow close to the nose (it brings the eyes together) - stick to the outside areas, you may wish to do a little "cat's eye" "Egyptian eye" flick away from the eye to make them look farther apart. Must be very slight for everyday makeup, and perhaps in brown. You can also shade a bit with eyeshadow.
Apply concealing liquid or foundation under the eyes in the "tired circles" and the area where crow's feet would be / are.
You can use eyeliner under the eye, usually. Depending on the shape of your eye, you may want to not use a lot or any in the middle or it will make the eyes look droopy.
C. Nose. Shade down the sides of the nose, a bronzer is nice for this - I use MAC's "golden" for a lot of shading and it looks very nice. If you use theatrical cream shadow, blend well - this should not be a LOT darker, it needs to look natural.
Highlight down the center, perhaps skipping a prominent bridge.
You may de-emphasise nostrils with shading if you wish (but highlight a tiny bit to look natural). You can also take a brown eyeliner pencil to the bottom of the nostrils and shade a little tiny bit on the outside to make them look more flared if it suits your face.
Most will want to shade a little on the underside of the nose, and a little bit up (don't draw the highlight all the way to the end). Just a bit.
D. Mouth. Pick a natural colour - a blue-pink or a peach are usually good choices. Though red is classic - go for a darker red like MAC's VIVA Glam I, rather than a bright hooker red (hard to pull off and will draw attention usually in a bad way if you're trying to pass).
Get a lip-liner that matches or is slightly lighter (darker is also too "drag queen" to pass). Outline the lips in a feminine shape - don't go more than 1.5 mm outside the mouth unless the skin is very flat and your lips are TINY. It will look more natural if you keep close - emphasise the cupid's bow if you can and the reverse on the bottom lip.
Adding lip gloss (pat down after this or it WILL get on your teeth) will really plump up your lips and make them more feminine. If you get clear you can use a little on any colour lips for a nice shine.
E. Chin. Try to de-emphasise a cleft-chin. Shadow a bit at the bottom very softly to try to shorten a big chin - and at the sides of the jawline. Do not highlight unless you need to for balance.
F. Cheekbones and Jawline. If you have prominent cheekbones, either powder over these / highlight for a rounder look or work with them. Highlight on the top of the cheek bone to close to the nose (this will help make the nose look smaller), if cheek-bones are high and tellingly masculine, you might be able to work with them by extending the highlight downward - cheekbones are attractive on women, but too strong might look odd.
Blush is usually best applied to the "apples" of the cheeks in a vague triangular shape imitating a natural blush. The severe blush on the sides of the cheekbones will tend to look garish (as it does on many women).
Shade the back of the jawline especially.
G. Neck. Shade Adam's Apple (very lightly where the light hits or you'll call more attention to it). Highlight in the space between this and the cords on the neck.
A garment with a collar is best if it's especially prominent.
4. Extras. Fake nails. Not too long or they'll look garish. If they're your own - same thing. Pick a subtle colour like the typical "French Manicure" or a light pink. Push cuticles back (for some reason, men tend to not do this).
5. Body Shape. Stuffing an "old lady" full-coverage bra is best. Some Wonderbras provide a good base (I have a strapless one that holds shape well on its own). If you stuff the bra, use shreds of fabric. I have heard that rice works, too (in bags, silly). Unless you plan on being fondled, it doesn't really matter if they feel realistic - and unless they're giant and you're running a marathon, they don't need to bounce realistically - most women want a bra that makes them NOT bounce.
Don't pick a ridiculously large size. For a 34" chest, a B-cup or even A-cup is natural-looking. For 40" or larger, a C might work - and so on.
Google bra-fitting to find out what "band size" you wear - but the best results are from trying on a lot.
Bigger breasts don't make you look like more of a woman - they are harder to "pass" the bigger they are, and plenty of women aren't crazily endowed.
Waist - you may want to get a sturdy waist-shaper - they sell these many places, they look like corsets. Don't get one that's too short. A corset may be a good long-term investment, but beware of buying one cheaply made.
You may want to pad your hips if you're wearing something that shows them clearly. They sell produces for this, try lingerie shops / the Internet.
You can also "pad" the hips with a pleated skirt if your waist is sufficiently smaller (it doesn't have to be a lot - just a bit).
There are web-sites devoted to instructing one how to "tuck" the genitals so they can't be noticed. It's only necessary if you're wearing something that will show, which depends on your body - a body-shaper that extends to mid-thigh might be fine with a full skirt over it. The healthiness of tucking has been questioned - but you can research all of this via Google. Having seen some Drag Queens in tights - it can indeed be very effective.
6. Clothes. It's really up to you. If you want to pass easier, you may shoot for more neutral colours and more classic and flattering styles (jackets that extend past the hips, full skirts).
Rip out shoulder pads if you get something with them unless the garment is VERY tailored (in which case, you may want to just steer away from it).
V-line necks can work if your bra shapes the right way and the Adam's apple isn't prominent (plenty of women can wear V-necks with no sign of cleavage - breasts naturally fall AWAY from each other - pushing together is artificial.
Pointy-toed shoes will make your feet look bigger. Pick a peep-toe or closed but rounded toe shoe. High-heels will usually make feet look smaller. Only worry about height if you're iffy on passing otherwise or if you're really tall - then again, I think Uma Thurman is a GIANT, and plenty of tall women aren't afraid of towering over men in heels (though many are self-conscious and slouch, but this is unhealthy).
The average female fashion model is as tall as average man.