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iris armstrong (deceased)
ambrose armstrong (older brother, +3)
dakota armstrong (younger brother – deceased, -5)
alfred caldwell (nephew)
emmaline, ophelia and olivia caldwell (nieces)
eventually have a family of his own
being out of pro hockey for good
from the dining table
the sound of silence
sit next to me
live in the moment
i love rock n' roll
years later, you can still remember the first time you met the ice. you barreled toward it, the frozen pond in your grandparents' community, drawn to the dark figures circling and spinning and laughing. your parents called after you, but you didn't even heed them then at two years old. instead you snowballed down the hill and landed face first on the frozen surface.
when another child might have cried out with a wail of pain, yours was one of elation. you pushed yourself up, unsteady as you crawled across the frosty ground before you clambered to your feet. your small boots slid underneath you, but you didn't notice with your wide eyes and warm smile.
your first pair of skates were three sizes too big; they were the smallest on the compound but you didn't care. even at three, you were eager to sweep across that white surface, to slide and stop and be the source of that 'sshhh' you swore you could hear even from inside your parents' car.
hockey was a natural progression. it was wild and untamed, just like you. the sticks, even though they were too big, too, felt right when you wrapped your small gloved fingers around them. and though the aggression of the sport worried your mother, your father signed you up early for a local team when he wasn't able to deny the joy you emanated on the ice and the skill that came as naturally to you as breathing.
heat was your sworn enemy. whenever the temperatures turned up, you were confined to indoor rinks to play the game you loved, trapped like a fish in a bowl that wanted to be out in the ocean. you couldn't run to your grandparents and practice on your own, alone on the pond where you first fell in love with the game because the ice had disappeared, retreated back into the waters that lapped lazily at the soggy banks.
heat, with its scorching, smoldering, flaming, blistering waves became even more of an enemy that night when you were eleven years old. the screeching of the fire alarm woke you in your bed, but it was the warmth from the flames that nuzzled your cheek and chased you to the hallway, down the stairs, and out into the street, barefoot and in nothing but old shorts and a worn out team tee.
before you knew what was happening, your father was holding your brother back, you were holding them, and you could feel the light tug of luna's small hand pulling back your shirt. all you could do was stare at the flames while they ripped apart your house, knowing that your mother and younger brother were still inside. you can still see the flames if you let yourself when you close your eyes, twisting and waving macabrely at you from windows and doors. you can see them climbing, reaching desperately to the sky even as sirens blared and the cold spray of water tried to beat them down.
the way your life would change because of heat when the ice melted, your life changed when fire burned it apart. there wasn't anything left for you there in salt lake city.
you dug in when you moved to new jersey. not literally, of course. it's hard to dig into the ice that coats the floor at the rink that you skate over endlessly. you dug in metaphorically. you twisted your fingers into the earth, pawing through it and carving a place for yourself where you could empty your mind of everything that didn't matter. you let the dirt wash over you and bury you like it buried your mother and brother.
nothing mattered more to you than hockey after that. as soon as your skates hit the ice, you could shed the pain that came with the loss you shouldn't have had to bear so young.
even when you weren't on the ice, you found ways to keep your mind focused on other things than the empty places at the kitchen table and the earth you remembered being so freshly turned at their graves. you practiced your stick handling in the driveway with a tennis ball or a soda can or whatever else you could find, and later moved to the shot mat your dad bought you. you ran sprints up and down the sidewalk, racing against yourself and your best times while gravel flew out from under your feet like a landslide. you found things around the house to lift -be it a couch or a table or your younger sister- and pushed your boulder up a hill. when your mind was on getting better, nothing stuck to you, nothing bothered you.
nothing bothered you until your dad told you that your family was moving again. it felt unfair, leaving your school to spend one useless year somewhere else when you'd worked so hard to plant roots where you were. scouts knew who you were in hoboken, they were watching you and you couldn't count on them to follow you to avalon. you couldn't leave your solidified spot on your team to move to a new school where you didn't know if you'd get out on the ice.
you cracked the doorframe with your anger the way an earthquake splits the ground above it, but it didn't change your father's mind. instead, you hustled for a spot on a new team and took the hour train ride back to hoboken for your old club practices every other night, just so you could stay in sight of the scouts you saw in the stands.
like a whirlwind, you were caught up in your sport. your dedication paid off as you were blown up the coast to boston, picked up as a center for the team while you worked to get a throwaway business degree you had no intentions of ever using.
you were determined to make it to the show and collegiate hockey was a stepping stone there.
despite your focus, you allowed yourself to be a normal college kid. you were swept up to team parties, breezed into bed with the girls there, and played the part you knew the guys expected you to. you were the team beautician, the one who chirped on the ice and off, and with it came a role that sometimes sat uncomfortably on your shoulders, especially when you cut things close and swirled a guy into your closet when your teammates showed up unannounced.
your heart thudded in your chest, adrenaline blasting through your veins as your stomach sank. you hated hiding, but you hated the thought of not having your sport even more.
without hockey, you felt as empty as your vision when your doctor pulled off your bandages. like part of your sight was missing, you felt as though part of yourself was gone.
over and over you laid in your bed, thinking if you had just fallen a different way, had maybe gone for the puck in a different way, had maybe played in a different way, that stick wouldn't have found its way to your eye and your head wouldn't have found its way onto the ice without its helmet.
without hockey, you don't know who you are. so much of your identity was built around it: your hair, your attitude, your schedule, your skills, your future, your past.
instead, you're a man who never dealt with demons in his past, who's never learned how to fully be himself instead of compartmentalizing himself off as different people for different spaces, and who has more free time than you've ever had in your life. and it's not a good combination.
thebasicsriver's presence is a large one, and not just because of his height. his personality is loud and unmistakeable; he's outspoken, he's extreme, he's wild. he's got the personality that a lot would call larger than life and it's something he's proud of. in typical leo fashion, he's proud of a lot of things about himself.
temperamental is a good word for him because he's easily controlled by his passions and whichever way the wind is blowing them. he's self-indulgent, having never really seen the point in denying himself the things he thinks he wants (though he definitely has an internal hierarchy he weighs his wants against). river will go after the things he desires with the force of his whole being, his determination and single-focus propelling him forward. his self-discipline has always served him well when it came to his sport and his career, and he has no qualms telling people that you can only get your dreams if you're 'dedicated as fuck.' he's arrogant and haughty, so he doesn't try to sugarcoat things if he's not in the mood.
like most leos, river is proud and boastful and definitely narcissistic. he easily gets wrapped up in himself and his own world and its problems until someone shakes him back to reality with enough force for the change to stick for a week or two. it isn't that he doesn't care about other people... they just aren't the first ones on his mind when it comes to making a decision and he honestly doesn't know how anyone can be any other way. put... other... people... first???
on the ice, he's known for 'chirping.' that's basically the hockey word for trash talking but it fits him like a glove. he's always been great at running his mouth, and he, without a doubt, loves the sound of his own voice.
though river appears open and welcoming -and is, for the most part- he's an intensely private person that doesn't let many people past his adventurous, playful and fun-loving outer wall. his confidence is hard-won, and something he thinks other people shouldn't take lightly. he doesn't do well with what he feels like are betrayals or slights.
after spending most of the off-seasons during his professional career in avalon with his family, he's back now (for good, though he doesn't want to admit it to himself) after an injury left him without part of his vision in his left eye -- makes it pretty hard to play a fast, high contact sport if you have a major blindspot.
theplatonicriver loves to have fun, and he loves spending his time around other people who have the same outlook that he does. he's loud and gregarious, and he truly believes (and there probably is some truth to it) that the party doesn't start until he walks in the room. he's always down for an adventure or a good time, and his friends tend to be the same way since it's hard to keep up with him if you're a natural homebody or more introverted.
though he's narcissistic, he's a generous and loyal friend. he'll do whatever he can, however he can, to help the people he holds close.
originally from salt lake city, river's family moved to hoboken when he was 11, and then moved again to avalon for his senior year of high school. after that, he went to college in boston and then played hockey for the rangers. so he's not been in avalon full-time since he was a teen (and even then, he wasn't here a lot) until 2017. i'd still like him to have buddies though, whether they're old or new!
theantagonisticriver isn't everyone's cup of tea, and not everyone is his, either. he's loud and brash and doesn't have much time for people he doesn't get along with. he's not afraid of being confrontational, and if anything, thrives on it to a degree so he kind of seeks it out. whoops.
he's more likely to butt heads with people who see the world differently than he does because he's never been good at empathy or putting himself in other people's shoes. plus, he's stubborn as fuck with fire in his chest, which means that instead of letting differences go, he'll shine a light on them, pick at them, and not leave them alone until he feels like the other person has come around to 'his' side, whether it's right or wrong.
hypocritically, he also doesn't like people who won't leave other people alone. if he thinks you're bothering someone, he'll take up for them and has no problem getting in your face even though it'd piss him the fuck off if someone did that to him. oh well.
theromanticthis part is a bit complicated.
if river existed in a relationship vacuum, he'd date whoever he wanted. he's attracted more to a person's spirit than he is their body (tho, he loves a good bod bc who doesn't), which means it doesn't matter to him if someone identifies as male, female, or anything (or nothing) in between.
but, because of the world and culture he grew up in on the hockey scene, he's always acted the part of being just as straight as the other guys on his team despite how uncomfortable it made him. publicly, he's a showboat and a player when it comes to women. privately, and i mean very privately, he lets his heart chase after whoever he wants to. but it's not always an easy road to go because for all intents and purposes, he's intensely closeted, and not everyone is going to want to feel like a secret he's keeping. plus, sometimes the stuff he's overheard over the years can rear its internalized head and make him a little flaky in non-hetero relationships.
so he'll have had past public relationships with women, and potentially have had past relationships with men and people who identify in other ways that he's kept very private and unofficial. regardless of who they were, if river was in any sort of serious relationship with them, he would have brought them to meet his family. they're the only people he's completely open with about his sexuality.
i'd really love for someone to come along and help him in accepting himself fully and owning it proudly, no matter how they identify themselves. we'll see though! for now, he's unattached and enjoying what life has for him when it comes to love
here is where your shipper reply stuff goes!
name & river
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haha, i totally see luna being the one that has to smooth over things river has said or done. tbh she'd be the one standing behind him (and hidden because of his height compared to hers) and would like magically appear from when he says something rude or mean.
she'd definitely be more connected to river in a way that she isn't with ode (no offence odette). because he's closer in age to her and was around more than odette when she was growing up. she would have turned to river and their older brother when she needed explanations for things. sorry river. that might have been a little awkward.
she loves him. all parts of him. and she'd keep telling him that (in the hope that it makes him more open and okay with who he is). <333 i'm gonna make them a text cause it's all my lazy ass will do right now but all the stuff for them is a must!!
luna & river
oh look i have someone else to throw at river! so i have fiona who was, up until december of 2017 when she started maternity leave to have her son, working for the rangers as a reporter of sorts. you know those people who ask questions after practices or after games and travel with the team and just hang around them a lot and get to know them? that's fiona. she's pretty entrenched in the hockey world and has been for a long time — well before she was even a twinkle in her parents' eyes — as a result of her dad having played for like three decades in the league before hanging the skates up. she's kind of a hard ass when it comes to her job, however, she only does it because she cares about the people she works with and i think river would be no exception to that! she pushes, asks tough questions, gives pseudo-ultimatums, but it's all, in her mind, in the interest of being better. can't win that damn stanley cup if you slack off, after all. that being said, given his injury and the retiring post-said injury, i'm sure he hasn't been around the team a lot in the time since then but i can still see these two maybe keeping in contact? she'd just want to make sure he's okay and honestly probably mom him a little because it's what she does feel free to add/subtract/nix entirely but yeah!
fiona & river
hahahahaha guess who didn't forward her alerts from her old parent account to her new one?
but hey I FOUND THIS, but it's just a lil late. but anyway, i like that! it'd be weird but nice to have someone from that world still circulating around in his sphere. bc he's not totally disconnected from it and he never will be, but it's an adjustment he doesn't really want to make so he'll take anything he can get.
and i can totally understand what you mean by her giving them a run for their money and never holding back. river would get it, too!
fiona & river
ehehehe yes it's an odin reference because i couldn't help it i mean what.knowing theo, she'd probably know river the moment he walked into the brewery simply because she watches hockey religiously. like if she were to pick a religion, it would be hockey. she's more a bruins girl than a rangers one but she does have players that she loves and he was probably on her list of players that if they were on her tv she wouldn't turn off the game. she probably saw him take the stick to the face tooplease let him come poke the bear. she needs that. i also realized that they live in the same apartment complex a few minutes ago so it would be hilarious if he saw her or she saw him one night getting home and was like "i know you!" and then a beautiful friendship blossomed from there. eventually it can get to a point where he's just walking into her apartment like "theeeeooooooooo." idk. i ramble. shut me up.@river armstrongtheo & river
'i should hate you on principle, but your pretty face keeps making me come back, feel lucky bucko.' -theo, every time river complainsyes lets do something with them. they're going to be precious little babies i'm gonna wanna smush the faces of.@river armstrongtheo & river
so when i had walt in mind and then read river's shipper, i was like "oh my god, these two." so you beat me to this, but i love that you did.
but yes, even though they have such completely different backgrounds and family units, they are very similar in nature. but i know that walt would just love flirting with river and getting into all kinds of mischief. he's used to people who look like river not necessarily reciprocating, so he'd just love it that river gives just as well as he gets.
i actually like the idea of them meeting through tinder, but maybe recognizing one another from the royal? like the whole "did i flirt with you? did i not slip you my number? because i really should have." cause walt tends to either work or have parties at his place, he doesn't always frequent other bars.
but i'm excited for this.
walt & river