Missed Post? (2018-11-25)

I’m purchasing some things because I’m going to do some DIY nonsense and like… I’VE ALREADY PURCHASED THEM SO THERE’S NO GOING BACK… but also, is this an incredibly dumb thing to be doing at this time and with my current financial situation? O_O

Also, I haven’t even finished my dang witch’s hat yet :/

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Word Prompts (K5): Kiss

Edmundo leans back, away from their kiss. It is reluctant, yes, but still a retreat. Their faces are still close enough that they can share breaths, but the distance means no contact. No heat.

“You’re one of those heroes now,” he says in the scant space between them, near to a whisper, though it’s hardly needed. Beyond the thin walls of the office space, the garage is in operation, the sounds of machines and their mechanics echoing back and forth.

She shrugs in response, tips her hand back and forth. Hero-adjacent would be a pithy, but accurate, response; she’s just not sure it would come out right.

“It’s different than what you were doing before,” he says, leaning even further back which isn’t what she wants at all! But he takes her hands in his and that’s an okay consolation prize, she supposes. “Protecting your block from pendejos is one thing, but you’re on the news now. You’re in bright spandex and everything.”

She crinkles her nose in protest: she doesn’t wear spandex. She just wears normal clothes. It’s not her fault her powers manifests as flowing green lights.

“No, no, you’re right. I’m getting off track,” he says, smoothing his thumbs over the back of her hands. It’s rough and a patch of black smears across her skin, but it’s warm. She likes it.

From the way she thinks this conversation is going, she’s going to miss it.

“You’ll always have a home here,” Edmundo says, and when he leans in, he presses his forehead to hers in a deliberately chaste way, “But you’re outgrowing us, and I can’t keep you chained down.”

She can’t say he’s wrong.

She doesn’t try to kiss him again–they’ve already had their final goodbye kiss, even if she didn’t know it for what it was at the time. But if she tightens her return grip, hoping to press the shape of her hands into his, well. He doesn’t say anything about that, at least.

She kisses Maya because she loves her and, also, Tetsuki might very well never see her again–either because they will be separated on opposite sides of an inter planar barrier or Tetsuki will be dead.

Maya kisses back because she loves Tetsuki, too… but perhaps isn’t sure in what way she loves Tetsuki and thinks that kissing might help her figure it out. And also because, even though Tetsuki isn’t saying it out loud, Maya is more than aware that her best friend may very well die and she doesn’t want to be a last regret in any way.

It is a lot of emotions and concepts for their first, hesitant kiss to convey.

Luckily, it is not also a last and only kiss, and they greatly improve their communication via kisses in the future.

There is no kissing between them. For many reasons, really.

Mainly because intimacy and vulnerability are not luxuries either of them can afford.

Tetsuki has been experimenting with wearing hound-snake venom atop wax coated lips. Azula can literally breathe fire.

And depending on which timeline they’re in, they may be trying to kill each other.

So, no. No kissing for them.

The first kiss of Team Two actually happens between Naruto and Komadori.

Tetsuki does’t understand what’s so embarrassing about it but, then again, as mentioned, she wasn’t actually involved so…

She promises to talk about that mission only once a year at most.

Tetsuki is dripping with river water, mildly concussed, and high off the wave of endorphins that is surviving an apocalyptic, dystopian future when she kisses Kusakabe-senpai for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t scare him off.

~

A/N: A sort of reverse tag of this ficlet.

Word Prompts (W8): Warmth

She began cold, drawing blankets and coats to herself, scarves and spare scraps of cloth tucked into any openings left. She began cold, in a stone cave damp and miserable, the night air harsh and haunting.

She began cold, waiting to heal enough to move–though whether she meant to retreat or proceed, survival by cowardice or honor in action, she could not decide. Could barely consider, really, as she was mourning and in shock and scavenging through the caravan for anything that might help.

She began cold and woke up on fire, feverish and burning alive. No doubt cooking herself by accident, a horrific death on an already horrible day. Her muscles could barely move, she had nested too well, and it took her an excruciating while before she could claw her way out, press her face to the now soothing stone of the cave, lip idly at the trickles of water, cool and sweet.

It took her another half day to find an equilibrium, head muddled as it was, protected but not roasting, and another slow, plodding two days after that to gather and prioritize supplies for a lone girl miles and miles from the nearest civilization.

She does not know what fate may befall her ahead, only that to remain here would be certain death.

“Shh, shh, it will all be okay” she murmurs, hushing soothing sounds, clutching the both of them to her sides. She tries to be confident, to put up a brave front so that her cousins do not catch on, but there is no concealing the trembling of her arms, the hitching of her breath.

They are braver than her, it seems, for they do not respond with anything but solemn nods and a tighter embraces.

Outside their chosen hiding place, the hound paces, its snout peeking in and sniffing deeply. It barks to its fellows, the harsh sound echoed in multiple, the percussion of horse hoofbeats and the voices of men following all the more fearsome.

“Shh, shh,” she can only dumbly repeated, her voice cracking and tears beginning to fall.

“Can we pray to the Moon Mother?” asks Takay, sweet and petal soft.

“Of course,” she replies, as steadily as she can. It might be little comfort at the end of their lives, but for such a gruesome demise as this, surely any comfort is worth it.

Bulan, silent but no less sweet on her other side, helps her shaking hands reach for her beads.

“Moon Mother,” she begins, her cousins parroting the prayer as best as they can remember, “Who watches over us in the sky, casting light upon our dark nights. We pray to thee.”

There are now multiple hounds sniffing at the crevasse, barking madly with bloodlust.

“Moon Mother,” she continues, even as Takay and Bulan cannot, their faces shoved into her ribs, seeking whatever cover or comfort she has left to give, “Who sits amongst the stars, guiding us forever forward to our peace. We pray to–”

A high pitched yelp interrupts the chorus of barking outside, and soon the hounds sound less enraged and more confused. Scared.

She realizes that the hoofbeats and sounds of men have not come any closer. Have ceased entirely. Another high pitched yelp and soon the dogs are retreating, no longer harrying the opening of their hiding place.

Soon after, the forest is deafening in its silence.

Takay and Bulan pull away from her. Their hands still cling to her clothes, but they lean forward now, curiosity outweighing their fear.

A single boot steps into the visible triangle of the forest that they can see. Filthy and worn, but hardy it seems. Beside it drops the end of a staff, which taps twice against their hiding spot.

“I will not stay,” says the figure who has saved them, the voice gruff with what might be disuse. Their savior crouches down, body swathed and obscured by fabric, but unmistakeable as a human woman. “But you are safe for now.”

Ode to 11010201 Redux, Traditions Torn (2018-11-20)

There were an odd number of candidates at the trials.

Normally, this mattered not. Quantity of candidates were less important than quality, and only the best and brightest could join the Premier Witch Council.

But for this particular set of trials, the fact that there were an odd number of candidates was not just surprising but also worrying:

On the full moon after the Premier Gemini Witches died, trials were held to find a new pair of luminaries to replace them.

One candidate had come alone.

“I know what they think of me,” Candidate Chacone says during the final trial, “I know what they said.”

The eleven luminaries remain silent, observing. Judging.

“They think I’ve done something to her, a diabolical thing. Then mutilated myself for more power. An abomination of a Gemini witch.”

Still the luminaries say nothing.

“But she was the one that slammed a wall between us. She’s the one that left me alone, screaming!" 

Some of the younger luminaries at the ends flinch at her tone, but the Premier Taurus Witch at her place in the center merely holds up her hand, settles them.

"My magic wants desperately to harmonize and all I had were the shrieking echoes of myself.”

~

~

For seven hours and thirty one minutes, Luminary Chacone headed the largest, most successful coven in history.

If the knowledge had stayed within their secret half world of magic and marvels, then it would have been a triumph. 

As it is, Luminary Chacone’s actions have brought unwanted attention from the shadowy government organization known as SHIELD.

The magician doesn’t look like anything special, Maria thinks on the opposite side of the glass. Nothing like Loki–grand robes and staff and regal demeanor–but perhaps that had more to do with his alien heritage than his magic.

If Maria had passed by this magician on the street, she wouldn’t even turn around. The magician looks absolutely normal. Absolutely human.

The magician waits, patiently, silently, as she has done since agents escorted her here. No demands for explanations. No pleads to go back. No questions.

How alarming.

This should Coulson’s job. For all that SHIELD is still cleaning up the literal alien invasion, this feels like a peace time interview, or even a recruitment.

But Coulson is dead, and Fury can only trust Maria to do this, never mind that she’s a battle commander and not the deft touch of whatever Coulson was.

Enough.

Maria steels herself and enters, posture impeccable, and the magician reacts by blinking slow and sleepily at her.

“You did something,” Maria begins, a shaky start but not inaccurate, “During the invasion.”

The magician nods, open, “I protected those that I could.”

“More than that,” Maria responds, unable to find words for what she means to say.

SHIELD had experienced losses that day, of course, Coulson one of many. But only from the direct attack on the helicarrier. When the rift was open, monsters from across the universe raining chaos down, SHIELD stood firm. Agents stood back up from hits that should have taken them down, were able to do things that should have been beyond them. For several hours, SHIELD was undefeatable.

The magician huffed a soft but honestly amused sort of laugh, smile curling her mouth though her eyes continued to droop in exhaustion. “A matter of convenient coincidence,” she answers, though Maria hardly had a question formed. “My priority was to ensure that the building would be safe.” Again she laughs, or tries to, “I told everyone to believe that the shield would hold.”

~

A/N: The later bits are related to this long ago Avengers crossover. Just doing some “spring” cleaning of little ficlets and such on my computer.

LE2019 – NOTHING MAKES YOU SHATTER

This is the un-formatted script I wrote for Bindlestiff’s 2019 Love Edition show. Unsurprisingly, especially since I wrote 7/10 pages three hours before the deadline, it didn’t make the cut. Also, this particular script was like pulling teeth and I didn’t stumble on the plot until five pages in so…

I figured part of the problem was that I didn’t have the opportunity to do the workshopping and feedback process (literally the draft I turned in was 1.2, when usually I get to at least the 3rd version by deadline). I don’t know when or if ever I’ll use this script, but I thought it would be fun to share. And while the script itself isn’t the best I’ve done, I quite like the concept even if I didn’t hammer it out fully.

ANYWAY, with all that wishy washy rambling as an intro, how could you resist? 😛

LE2019 – NOTHING MAKES YOU SHATTER

I re-read the Primadonna Girl (Says No Thank You) tag ’cause of the recent prompt fill, and I have got to see more of the Shikako and Ibiki partners in crime scenario, so, uh *rolls dice* 24?

Shikako and Ibiki partners in crime, 24) things you said with clenched fists

Shikako Nara’s Guide To Delinquency and Military Insurrection

(Rule Three: Look underneath the underneath)

Ibiki refuses to look back. Eyes forward with the occasional check of peripheral vision because tunnel vision is stupid and deadly, but otherwise he only looks ahead.

He knows she is following–a strange, suspicious shadow–but he refuses to acknowledge her.

All that matters is the mission.

All that matters is getting back to Konoha.

“I could heal you,” the shadow offers, maintaining a constant distance between the two of them. Closer, he gets testy. Further, he gets wary. This exact distance is irritating, but bearable.

Ibiki does not respond.

“I promise I won’t do anything bad,” the shadow continues then, after a considering pause, “Though I guess that’s what I’d say if I were going to do something bad, so how could you tell?”

“I could tell,” Ibiki answers, automatically defending his abilities, before grumbling at himself. New chuunin rank obviously doesn’t mean new maturity level. He’ll have to work on that, later. In the village. If he gets a later.

The shadow smiles, pleased at finally getting a response. She skips a bit, drawing nearer, but at Ibiki’s increased grumbling, she slows down again, hands raised in acquiescence.

“Didn’t I prove myself in that last skirmish?” the shadow asks, more to the air than to him. He wouldn’t trip up again so soon, and so she’s certainly not expecting him to respond.

In more than one way, she’s right: the team of Cloud nin would have easily killed him had he been alone. Should have easily killed the two of them, really, outnumbered as they were. In terms of battle prowess, she’s definitely proved herself.

The fact that he’s still standing and not bleeding out slowly in the middle of contended territory also proves that she’s real and not just a pain induced hallucination like he had assumed for the first few hours of their interaction.

Of course, that doesn’t disprove the possibility that this is a genjutsu. And a particularly sadistic one at that, given the face that the shadow is wearing.

Eyes forward. Complete the mission, get back to Konoha. Nothing else matters now.

But retreating is one matter, avoiding the truth is another.

Internally, he sighs. Out loud, he says, “Cloud has made many enemies.”

She blinks, surprised that he’s answered even if belatedly, before tentatively offering, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?”

“You sound uncertain,” Ibiki responds, “And that’s reductive. Wars can and frequently do have multiple sides.”

Rather than immediately argue, the shadow hums. “Well, you’re not wrong,” she concedes, before letting them return to a casual silence. 

That’s not how Yoshino would have responded.

Forward. Mission. Konoha.

The shadow is young, though. Younger than Ibiki despite her skill. She takes his words as a learning opportunity, never mind that she must be more experienced than he is.

If she really wanted to sabotage his mission, she would have already done so, and easily. If this were a genjutsu, then he’s already failed. Either way, stubbornly letting his head wounds remain untreated is just stupid.

Ibiki sighs, stops, and eyes the shadow.

She slows to a stop at a respectful distance away.

“What do you know about this?” He asks, lifting the box. Seals cover the outside, an active array, so he hadn’t been able to put it in a storage scroll, but it’s small enough as not to be unwieldy.

“Enough,” she says with a shrug, noncommittal, and he’d almost admire it if it weren’t currently counter to his goals. “If you let me heal you, I’ll tell you more.” She punctuates this with an overly bright smile and a playful flourish of her hands.

“That’s poor negotiation,” he says, because if he’s apparently committing treason by colluding with the shadow then he might as well do so thoroughly and continue their teaching moments. “But I’ll take it.”

Her smile softens, turns more genuine, as if understanding the decision he’s made. She heals him and even gives him supplies to clean up the blood, before lackadaisically swiping a finger across the top of the box.

Ibiki tenses. The sealing array glows briefly before going inert. It unlocks.

“Look inside,” the shadow says, and for the first time she sounds like the battle hardened shinobi she really is, “If you think Danzo should get that, then you’re not Morino Ibiki.”

Ibiki never gave her his name. Somehow, he’s unsurprised.

~

A/N: Finally filled all the things you said prompts! The longest ask box event that just slow bled across literal MONTHS. Sorry for taking forever lionheadbookends!

I’m reluctant to start a new ask box event–or, at least, since it’s mid-November and December is coming up, I’ll probably just do another Ask Box Advent Calendar again in two weeks anyway so a different ask box event now is kinda excessive so… I guess what I’m saying is save ask box prompts for December and I will try to figure out what else to do instead over the next two weeks?