Would you ever write a time travel fic where nothing needs to be changed? Like … like a domestic AU story, but with time travel, in concept? Nothing to prevent, no horrors to avert, just … life, but with a character that can time travel.

I think I’ve hit a point where every time I get a prompt for a concept I’m always just like: wait a second… have I already… seen this before…

And in this case, yes, sort of here, in which rockstar!Gaara goes back in time after both breakups to the day he and his siblings had their first official gig and the same day he met Shikako.

And, well, explained like that, I suppose it doesn’t match your prompt, anon, because while it’s not a horrible crisis, arguably Gaara starts off maybe wanting to prevent the breakups. But he quickly finds that there’s no big mistake he made…

But it’s still not quite what you want, anon, so I went back to the drawing board.

So… “life, but with a character that can time travel.” And again I stumble because my brain just automatically wants to make certain connections. “A character that can time travel” to me is my original character Leanne Peridot from my series Counterclockwise but then again her life is pretty awful. If anything, for her, the time traveling IS the horribly crisis that she’s trying to prevent.

It’s, again, not what you want, anon, so I went at it for a third time, trying my best to stay away from any preconceived notions, and I think I would say it depends on the mechanic/type of time travel. And I came up with two tentative possible stories based on different time travel mechanic/types.

A) The Accidental Rewrite

It’s, as you said, someone who goes back in time not to prevent anything horrible, but it just… happens. And I think, maybe, the time traveller has no say in it. One day they went to sleep the next day it was three years in the past. And the thing is, they didn’t have a shitty life… I mean, could it have been better? Yes, maybe. But it was a satisfactory life.

Except… was it? Now they’re starting to wonder, were they supposed to do something more with their life? WERE they supposed to prevent some horrible thing from happening and they messed up so badly to the point that they didn’t even KNOW about the thing they were supposed to prevent?

And at this point you have to wonder: is it a loop–which makes the time traveller doubt everything about their life–or, which I much prefer, is it just the once. And life moves on.

Because if it’s a loop then that means the looping becomes the center of the story. How the time traveller games the system and what differences they make between lives, not so much what they make of this new chance at life. So I think if I were to do this kind of mechanic, it would very much be a “it happened once and I still don’t know why, and maybe at first I tried to look into it but otherwise I just figured it was my second chance at the three years,” got a slightly better job, maintained my friends and family relationships better, etc. Maybe met a significant other when before they didn’t have one. The time travel is what causes them to change their life and it is a mystery but it doesn’t become their life.


AND

B) The Chronic Condition

(That pun though)

Basically, Counterpoise but without ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS I DO TO MY CHARACTERS. Time traveller slides in and out of different points in time and lives their life out of order from everyone else, but it’s okay because they know people in each era and it’s kind of just like traveling and visiting friends/family except instead of around the world it’s across time.

Maybe at first it is scary. They can’t control it. They don’t know when they’re going or what will happen. But after a while, they grow accustomed to it. They can’t control when they’ll travel, but maybe they can control what era they’ll go to. Or maybe they can sense when they’re about to travel and maybe they can hold it off for a few hours or days just to get ready instead of just getting ripped away from what they’re doing. It becomes easier. Manageable.

And I quite like the idea that a person can always have loved ones even if they don’t see them often or even in the same order. My grandparents meet me for the first time when I am the same age and we are friends, then they meet me as after a few years whereas I am younger. Then they see an old, familiar looking guest at their wedding. Then every so often, I visit them at their house, give gifts to their kids (my parent and aunts/uncles). Then I am born and for all intents and purposes meet them for the first time and they get to witness the stages of my life as I grow up.

Like… who cares if the milestones are out of order so long as the people we care about are there.

So I guess what I’m saying is. Yes, anon, I would maybe write a story about time travel without a dramatic purpose.

Story A would work in any series–original fiction or fanfiction–whereas Story B is just me being nicer to Leanne. Which, I mean, I probably should be nicer to her anyway (because if her entire life is suffering, it won’t be as deliciously satisfying whenever I make sad things happen).

Is there a particular series/fandom you wanted to see either iterations in?

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write a story where the conflict is a bureaucratic fuck-up?

Hm… this one is also a little vague, but not as complex as the last one.

But I think it does also depend on what you mean by the conflict being a bureaucratic fuck-up?

Like… hm… for example: I recently read a fic in which a lower ranked SHIELD agent was in charge of trying to “officially” bring Agent Coulson “back to life.” In the sense that, like most large scale government entities, the amount of paperwork and hoop jumping in order to do something is just ludicrous, and so this character had to go to different departments, deal with typos that threw everything off, file things in triplicate, etc. etc. it was a very entertaining read… it was… ah, there it is: Permit A38 by old_chatterhand

In a somewhat similar vein, I also greatly enjoy Restoration by thehoyden which is a xxHoLic fic about Watanuki having to re-enter society after several years of being the Shop Keeper. And I’ve been rereading a lot of Dark is Rising (by Susan Cooper) fic about Will being immortal and all of his friends aging and dying and leaving him alone its all very sad and lovely.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I would maybe do something that’s less a meltdown/crisis of a bureaucratic fuck-up and more of a sleuthing/journey of discovery in which someone finds some oddities in a file and tries to track it down only to discover that the truth is far more bizarre than even that mistaken form could have expressed.

Kind of like this ficlet

Off the top of my head I have two original fiction series that I think this would work for pretty easily:

1) Counterclockwise. Leanne gets arrested by future police for crimes that she hasn’t yet committed–or, possibly, isn’t intending to commit because unsanctioned time travel might in fact be illegal in the future but since she’s the first time traveller and it’s largely against her will does that count as her committing a crime?

Anyways, there’s one officer in particular that is assigned to her case and in trying to apprehend her, he discovers the secret behind her time traveling (that is, the fact that she can’t even control it yet, but also that she’s far more powerful than any time traveller should be) and maybe the secret behind the time traveler police force. Which is–I mean, spoilers?–that Bastian created the entire force specifically to catch Leanne.

AND

2) Kira Val the Psychopomp series. (I might change the character’s name, but that’s just what everything is tagged as for ease of searching). It would be much shorter and thus more doable than the first one. Basically a school administrator or the counselor or someone tries to track down Kira’s records–since she’s new to the Bellview school district, they don’t have it on file like the rest of their students–and at first it’s difficult just because Kira came from a school within Cadmium City but then when the administrator actually gets her original file it says that Kira is dead. Which. She is kind of…

And it would end with she is called in to discuss this–maybe her aunt Nyx comes along as her guardian–and basically this poor administrator realizes that there’s more to the world than what they originally thought. And I just want it to end like this:

“Forget about this and just go home,” you say, a firm but gentle suggestion, “Spend time with your husband.” He won’t have much time left, you don’t add.

“You don’t have to worry about me,” you conclude, getting to your feet, “But… thank you.”

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Well, I was sort of thinking of the Kyber Crystal and the sword as sort of, well, there’s a semi-tradition of seeing them as almost alive, in-and-of-themselves, of seeing sailing ships, for example, as having personhood. I guess, if I were to narrow it down more, the question would be better worded like so: Would you ever write a story from a very non-human perspective?

Ooooh, okay. So it’s not a human reborn as a non-human thing, I think that’s where I got confused.

It’s definitely a fascinating concept, anon. I like the idea of sentience not necessarily meaning sapience and how there are perspectives in the world beyond human.

Hm… I think if I were to ever write such a story it’d probably be from the POV of a tree, a space ship, or a place–though the last one is specifically fanfiction and more specifically Konoha from Naruto or Vulcan from Star Trek–someplace that gets energy from the people that live there. Either that or a cool family heirloom–a weapon maybe?–that follows its owners down the bloodline/succession.

But I don’t think any of them would be very long. Or, rather, they’d be only a part of another story that is primarily human–or sapient, if we’re talking sci-fi/fantasy.

Hm… here’s something?

~

Watch. Wait. Ever present, eternal.

Today I am created, but I have always existed.

I am infinite and reaching.

The one who will wield me does not yet live. She is the one who designed me.

I will wait. I am already with her.

///

The woman who makes me does not truly understand what it is she is creating.

She has seen me before, but does not know the power that lies within. She thinks me only as metal and glass.

My face is shining, my hands are steady. The gears within my body run smoothly.

I am well crafted. Were I able to speak, I would tell her so. But I cannot.

The woman who makes me will not wield me, but she is skilled and her hands are sure.

My wielder will have the same sure hands.

///

There is a chain.

There is a box lined with velvet.

There is a cold, locked room deep underground.

Silence.

I need not be patient.

She will come for me soon.

///

The woman who made me brings with her a boy. Her child.

Neither of them are my wielders.

But they come to the cold, locked room deep underground.

They open the box line with velvet.

They look upon me and the chain that binds me.

The woman who made me tells her son that I am a secret.

A legacy.

To be passed down until the time is right.

If I could laugh, I would.

///

Generations pass.

The line of the woman who made me visit only to show me to their children, onward and onward.

None of them are my wielder.

Soon.

///

Once, a group of masked thieves enter the locked room deep underground.

They begin to open the other boxes, Empty riches into their bags.

Useless material things.

They are stopped before they reach me.

My wielder is there. She glances my way.

I do not skip a beat.

She looks away.

No need. I am already with her.

///

A woman brings her son to see me.

This boy will die. Not in the way that all of their line die–as a simple matter of age and time. This boy will be killed.

My wielder will be the one to kill him.

Soon.

///

The boy who will be killed by my wielder has grown into a man. He brings with him his own child, a daughter.

My wielder.

But not yet.

The man will die. My wielder will come for me. Then she will kill him.

It is too early.

///

I have already told you what I am.

~

A/N: Surprise! It’s Leanne Peridot’s pocket watch from Counterclockwise.

… so I realize now that trying to do the POV of an inanimate object is probably not helped when said object is capable of time travel/is the concept of infinite time. Whoops.

But it was an interesting little exercise, anon, so maybe I’ll try to incorporate more non-sapient perspectives in my work from now on 🙂

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

How would tetsuki in the bnha universe look like (tho idk if u read/watched it) (could be a prompt or u just rambling. I dont mind either way)

Unfortunately, anon, I haven’t watched/read BNHA but I think I have enough of an understanding to fill this prompt (whether as a ficlet or a brainstorm) so I’ll try my best not to to mess it up too badly.

Tetsuki is no stranger to the hero/vigilante lifestyle–and I’m not just talking about Deuteranomaly. She is originally (yes, even before Trailblazers) a secondary character from my original series Counterclockwise.

Counterclockwise does mainly follow Leanne Peridot’s not-so-kind travels through time, but “before” that happens she was the fifth member of a team of teenaged vigilantes, one of whom is Tetsuki Kaiza, aka Thunderbolt (who I then co-opted for my crazy continuous reincarnations through fandoms series, the poor dear).

Given what I understand of the world of BNHA and what I’ve written in the world Counterclockwise… they’re not ENTIRELY incompatible. Or, rather, if Tetsuki were in the BNHA world, she would have a fairly similar background as in Counterclockwise.

Because the thing is, even without Counterclockwise, I would want Tetsuki to be an older, near burnt out pro hero who has been told to take some time off and recuperate from the godawful mission that caused half of her team to die/go missing. And, of course, they’re hoping she’ll find an apprentice/sidekick to pass along her techniques but mostly they just don’t want to her burn out completely or, worse, go evil.

Obviously, they want her to take on Denki Kaminari as her temporary student, given his Electrification quirk, and maybe she does help train him or give him some tips (honestly, he needs to learn how to increase his capacity, that one hour short circuit bullshit is going to get him killed) but the thing is:

Thunderbolt’s quirk has nothing to do with electricity.

Probably in the BNHA world Tetsuki’s parents have pretty mild/less showy quirks–one of them has psychometry and the other has augmentation/negation or something like that–so it’s very surprising that her quirk is so powerful and multifunctional (yes, she is known for the electricity, but she’s also been seen doing things like casting illusions or forming barriers and such… though most believe that’s her using electricity at such an high level of intricacy that it manipulates light waves or neurons or the electromagnetic charge between atoms?)

Turns out her quirk is simply Remembering.

Given this would be a Viridescent ficlet were I to write it (and I am leaning towards doing so because this is a pretty cool idea, though I should probably learn more about BNHA before attempting it)… I am leaning towards this being one of her lives where she doesn’t remember everything immediately.

More like Externality in that sense (where she remember things gradually or unlocks memories as she needs them in times of stress). Instead of as in Multiphenomenal and that Power Rangers!Viridescent where she just knows pretty much right away, or the opposite with Iron Will and Deuteranomaly where she never really remembers but only has Very Strong Feelings/Hunches about certain things.

Which would give her story in BNHA an interesting progression because it’s assumed, that she’s at the top of her game–ridiculously powerful, an alumni (if UA isn’t a new thing, I’m not sure) who is giving out pointers to the next generation–and it turns out hey, she’s only used her “real quirk” to Remember her previous lives’ abilities but none of the life lessons or friendships or the fact that she’s destined to die before age 25.

And guess how old she is now.

I mean, the main part of it will be her recovering from losing half her team (and Remembering all the other people she’s been close to) and realizing that being close to people isn’t entirely a curse. So her lessons to Denki become less reluctant and she starts to give out pointers to the other students (and hopefully mitigates some of the frustratingly persistent sexism that is shounen series’ handling of female characters ie LET THEM FIGHT) and she becomes kind of like a TA at the school.

And then, like in Counterpoise canon, she goes supernova to protect everyone.

Or maybe, in line with this post about the lessons BNHA teaches, she doesn’t go supernova to protect everyone. Maybe she considers that but is instead convinced to maintain a barrier around the school–which ought to be easier except so much power is needed. And she doesn’t tell anyone, but it’s too much power–it’s draining her too much–and when the crisis is over, it turns out that even though she was able to maintain it her body couldn’t handle it. And so she still ends up dying, but not in a huge flashy way that glorifies self-harm.

~

A/N: Ask Box Advent Calendar is on!

I’m a trans woman and I _Can’t_ be out. It’s not safe. So about the only concession I can make is to grow my hair long. And I caught a glimpse of my shadow out of the corner of my eye today, with long hair just curling up at the ends and … I dunno, my heart just about broke from Want. Would you mind accepting a prompt for a world where Shadows Show the Future? Or something like that?

A/N1: Hey sister, I’m sorry it took so long for me to respond and I’m even more sorry that you are unable to be yourself. But I’m glad that you have reached out, that you have that small comfort to revel in your identity, and I hope that someday soon you will be able to do so completely.

Be strong, be safe, and know that we are here for you. I would love to fill this prompt for you; thank you for bringing it to me.

~

1) Shadows Also Dream: Or, Eerin Nara* is Not a Jedi

There is no Light side, there is no Dark side, there is only the Force.

Eerin breathes, lets the waves of natural chakra wash over him, meditates and centers himself. The sun is only beginning it’s climb into the sky, cold air damp with dew.

This is nothing compared to his Mum’s morning stretches.

Around him he can feel the other students do the same, can feel them harmonize their chakra to each other, to their teacher’s…

… all except for one.

He opens his eyes and meets someone else’s–Ben Organa, Master Luke’s nephew, though that’s not really how he’s supposed to be considered.

Just another student like everyone else.

The sun is still rising, casting long shadows across the ground. His family would consider it strategically ideal.

Ben’s eyes widen in surprise, before he turns away, red creeping along his cheeks. Embarrassment more than anger, but not without the latter.

Eerin closes his eyes–quick so as to avoid Master Luke’s attention, but long enough for what really matters.

A figure in armor, helmet, and cloak. A lightsaber held high over fallen bodies.

There is no Light side, there is no Dark side, there is only the Force. But even then: Eerin doesn’t need to be a user of Light to save lives.

~

2) Counterclockwise (Sundials Don’t Rust): Or, Leanne Peridot Apparently Has More Than One Sister

There are three things about the future Regina knows to be true:

Galileo will never betray her.

Her visions are never wrong.

She will one day kill her father.

That last one has less to do with her abilities and more to do with her determination.

Of course, whose to say how any of that will come to pass.

Perhaps Galileo will never betray her because he will die long before he ever could–their line of work far from safe, and him in the thick of things.

Perhaps her visions are never wrong, but her interpretation of them–lacking context–may very well be.

And perhaps instead of killing her father, he will end up killing her instead. Or perhaps he’ll drink himself to death, or he’ll have a heart attack, or he’ll slip on a wet sidewalk and crack his head open.

She’ll never have that problem, at least. Her eyes are always on the ground, always steps ahead of everyone else just by looking at their shadow.

Until, one day, her father’s shadow changes.

Ah, so she really will kill him one day.

Unless he has another daughter who will beat her to the punch.

~

3) Walking Around (Eyes Wide Open): Or, Sakako Uchiha Does Not See Dead People

In a family of shadow manipulators, it’s easy enough to ignore.

At first.

For the Nara, silhouettes are less about physics and more about discipline and creativity. Despite her name, the Nara genes run strong, and there is no harm in that.

By itself.

But she is still the Uchiha heiress, and whether or not curse of her bloodline is fact or superstition, it still flows through her veins.

The Sharingan. Once it sees something, it can never forget.

But maybe, if she doesn’t understand–if she chooses not to–then it doesn’t matter. Just strange shapes upon the ground instead of messages from beyond.

Mum doesn’t often speak about her younger years–it is in the past, she says, to be learned from but not drag us down–but Sakako understands enough:

Knowledge is both power and responsibility.

Once she takes that step, she can never go back.

~

A/N2: Three different fills! Just trying to get a feel for this ability, because it seems very cool but I don’t know if I fully understand it as a mechanism yet. I might come back to it in the future! 😀

So “Eerin Nara” is the Stars Also Dream equivalent of Kinokawa Nara. Going with the idea that the closest thing SAD!Yoshino had to family was her Jedi Master Bant Eerin, not the Kinokawas who, while very nice, didn’t really understand her.

I have some ideas for what kanji the name Eerin would use, but I’m not sure which is the best. Not that his kanji is important in a writing sense, given I write in English, but I like having that little tidbit of ~flavoring~. Kanji possibilities under the cut for anyone else interested.

Ask Box Advent Calendar is on!

Ee
慧 (wisdom, enlightenment, insight)
影 (shadow, reflection, image, light, trace)
映 (reflect, harmonize, to project, to cast [a shadow])
栄 (glory, prosperity, to shine/glow)

Rin
倫 (ethics, morals)
臨 (to peek through, to examine, to face)
理 (reason, truth, justice)

Word Prompts (J7): Joy

“So angry,” Allen says with his easy, genial smile, a softer version for so early in the morning. He’s fond of her and her brother, still thinks of them as the orphan kids who asked to live in the room above his bakery years and years ago.

“A coffee and pastry would help with that,” she responds, grumpy, but with far less bite than she would with most anyone else.

She’s pretty fond of him, too.

Allen shakes his head, tuts at her; the flour in his hair blends in with the patches of gray and white. He still thinks of her as a kid, but she also sometimes forgets how old he really is.

“You need sleep, not caffeine and sugar. And I need to bake today’s bread, not babysit a brat. Upstairs with you now, your brother’s waiting.”

It’s not Allen’s fault that’s a lie.

///

She hears it a lot–

You don’t look very happy.

Or,

Shouldn’t you smile more, then?

Or, even,

Your parents were pretty wrong about that.

–the last one usually causes her to lash out, parents are a touchy subject for good reason, but it’s not exactly inaccurate.

There’s not a lot in her life that matches her name.

///

The world has gotten a lot stranger in the past year or so. Or perhaps it’s always been strange and only now she’s beginning to notice, only now it’s beginning to resurge.

Regardless, she prides herself on being the best; on being so skilled that rumors whisper maybe something is strange about her, too.

It’s sheer competence, mostly, with some engineering and parkour of course. And luck, she’d grudgingly admit.

Still, she makes a name for herself, one much larger than herself, and for a while she thinks that’s enough.

One night she runs into a man who can turn into a literal wolf.

Luck isn’t enough.

///

She always loves the wrong people.

People who will leave her–whether they want to or not. People who would rather see her in jail than free. People who could never make her happy.

When she meets Ann, she thinks this time will be the exception.

And for a while, it is.

Just a little while.

Ann doesn’t mean to leave her, doesn’t want to leave her, but leave she does.

(A decade later, Joy will realize that even if Ann had stayed it wouldn’t have worked. Normal people falling in love with gods rarely ends happily)

~

A/N: I realize, terribly belatedly, that I should have saved all of my (_7) Word Prompts for some kind of DoS Lucky Sevens thing… because there are a few golden ones (like, N7 Ninja or T7 Teamwork or E7 Emotion or even S7 Sand for a nice Wind Country visit)

Ah well. And, I mean, some of the letters don’t even have seven words so…

In other news: I swear, every time I write something I learn something new about the Cadmium/Counterclockwise ‘verse… Joy and Leanne? Honestly did not see that one coming.

I love all your works and while I did originally come by because of fanfiction, my favorite piece of your work is the one about Doctor Kaiza before she was Doctor Kaiza. I was the one who asked for 18, Counterclockwise and I don’t think I ever told you but I loved that piece. It blew me away and satisfied my curiosity about Doctor Kaiza.

Aw, shucks, you’re spoiling me… (ノ*゜▽゜*)

Actually, thanks for prompting that ficlet, anon, it helped me learn more about Kaiza, too, especially her progression to the woman that she is “today” and how immortality changes people.

Here’s an unwritten headcanon ficlet (are they still headcanons if it’s for an original character?) for Doctor Ellen Tsukiko Kaiza because while she’s still mostly a mystery to me, there are some details about her background which I’ve been meaning to share. Enjoy!

~

Witches don’t like her.

That’s fine. She doesn’t much like witches either. The way they act as if their power actually means anything to her, like thunder in front of a mountain. She was immortal long before the resurgence of magic, ancient before they cobbled together laws and customs; children playing at adulthood.

Little Faye Peridot still hates and fears her for taking away her sister. She’s the oldest luminary on the Premier Witch Council.

Power is not what earns Kaiza’s respect and she’s lived so long, age means nothing to her.

///

Brian becomes her ward mostly by accident. It is one of her many regrets.

If she had been more proactive about it, more clear about her affection for him, more available and open, less cold and objective, would anything have changed?

Probably not. And even so, it’s too late.

If she’s learned one thing over the centuries it’s that the only thing as bad as immortality inflicted on mortals is the ability to time travel.

There be dragons, but at least dragons can be killed.

///

“Have mercy on me,” Nyx says, as elegantly out of place in Kaiza’s clinic as ever, “don’t you have any sympathy for a worried mother?”

It’d help Nyx’s case more if she didn’t sound like she were reading from a particularly bland phonebook.

“If ever I did,” Kaiza shoots back, “I’d have used it up on some other mother in far more need of it than you.”

The list is long, there were tears and threats and fruitless, desperate bargaining. Kaiza has done worse to less deserving mothers, has felt guilt for greater crimes.

“Suck it up, your daughter is going to school, not to war. She doesn’t need me playing guardian angel… And plus, mercy’s not really your thing, now is it?”

No, she doesn’t have any sympathy for Nyx, the best Devil’s Advocate on this plane and the next.

///

She is so old that werewolf pack boundaries build around her, not the other way around. The Delano Pack to the northeast, with the sprawling forests and rocky mountains, the Chand Pack to the southwest towards Cadmium City and the coast.

Her clinic and, by extension, the town of Belleview which also grew around her is not neutral territory. It’s her territory.

Or so the alphas of both packs say, shoulders back and nostrils flared. Ready to fight her, each other, anyone who so much as makes eye contact.

Peace between packs is more important than her growing irritation, but only just.

“You might as well just combine packs. Then there wouldn’t be anymore boundary issues,” she says, exasperated by all the useless back and forth. She may be needling them just a little: she almost wants a fight to break out just so she has a reason to smack them down.

Instead, both alphas respond with considering noises.

In three decades she will be reluctantly impressed by their chosen heir.

///

Every year, on the anniversary of her curse, she gets an envelope from Grey Investigations.

What a waste of paper, she thinks, as she throws it away. Jack should know better by now.

But Jack always was an optimistic idiot.

It’s what got them cursed in the first place.

~

Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!

18, Counterclockwise?

I don’t know how to make things right.
So I’ll just keep pretending
that nothing’s wrong.
(you know that I’m no good)

Ellen meets her two years into her stint of immortality on, of all things, a dark and stormy night. She’s slumped against the back door of Ellen’s small clinic, bleeding out and soaked and unconscious.

Perturbed, Ellen rushes over and feels for a pulse. She is a doctor first and foremost–it defines her above and beyond the curse that will plague her forever (and it’ll be a few decades before she becomes the leader in meta-human physiology)–the cardinal rule guides her still.

A steady rhythm, if weak and beneath cold clammy skin, but not for long with that wound.

The woman startles at the touch, eyes blearily blinking open and taking in Ellen’s face.

“You’ll be okay,” Ellen reassures her, “I’m a doctor.”

“Kaiza,” the woman breathes out, “You cold hearted bitch,” before her eyes fall shut and she goes unconscious once more.

It’s not exactly the smoothest beginning.

Then again, Leanne would argue that this wasn’t the beginning at all.

///

Ellen adapts to her occasional visitor the way a cat might become accustomed to a coyote that hangs around the opposite side of the backyard fence. Which is to say, poorly.

Better than cats and dogs, but not by much.

Later, she will have more than her fill of cat and dog jokes–jaguars and wolves as cooperative as their domesticated counterparts–herding a group of overly dramatic young adults with more power than sense, but for now they have not been spoiled for her yet.

Much, much later she will do it again and wonder why she didn’t learn, but that is for another time.

Everything, it seems, about Leanne is for another time.

For now it is just her and her clinic and her strangely hostile, but helpful guest.

“You won’t want to open that without Nyx,” Leanne says, hand overtop hers, keeping the aged grimoire shut.

Ellen pauses, asks, “Who is Nyx?”

Leanne raises an eyebrow, almost disbelieving, “She’s a devil’s advocate. The best and one of the least cutthroat at that, though you shouldn’t say as such to her face.”

“And I should ask her for help?”

The expression on Leanne’s face would make that a resounding, “No, are you kidding? She’ll eat you alive. And then swindle your soul out from under you.” She looks frankly perplexed, as if this is something Ellen should already know. “You have to make a deal with her, trade something she might want.”

Ellen considers, looks around. She doesn’t have much–she hasn’t lived long enough for her immortality to benefit her; the reason why she even has the grimoire in the first place is because one of her atypical patients gave it to her as payment–unless this Nyx might need medical services?

Leanne laughs, amused by the very idea, before humming, pondering, “Nyx won’t, she’s a demon, but she did have a daughter… Or, she will have one?” Leanne laughs again, “Well, I’m sure you’ll find out eventually.”

///

By the time Leanne meets her for the first time, she no longer thinks of herself as Ellen. She is Kaiza: a doctor, an immortal, and a cold hearted bitch.

She is sitting across the table from a woman with familiar features wrought in an unfamiliar expression. Kaiza has seen Leanne with resignation on her face, but not mixed with fear and fierce yet futile protectiveness. Then again, Leanne never was a mother–never will be, from what she knows of her–and the woman in front of Kaiza is a mother to three.

A mother who has been told she will lose one of her children.

“Not again,” says Leanne’s mother, hands over her face, “I can’t do this again.”

Kaiza lets her come to terms in silence, there’s nothing she can say to make this situation better.

Outside the house she hears a car pulling up, the sound of young voices talking and the slamming of doors. “Mom!” shouts the highest voice, the youngest child. Not Leanne. “We totally owned the other team, eleven to three, and I made four of the goals…”

She drifts into silence at the presence of a stranger in their house. A few steps behind the child are her older siblings, all of them with the same leafy green hair as their mother. Leanne looks so young. So painfully unknowing.

Kaiza is going to ruin her, just as cold hearted as Leanne once accused her of being

“Victor,” says Leanne’s mother, “take Faye upstairs.”

“Wha–but, Mom!” says the little girl, pulling shrugging off her brother’s hand, “What about Leanne?”

“Upstairs!” she snaps, before gentling herself, “Now, please.”

The boy guides his youngest sister, cowed and silent, leaving Leanne standing by herself.

Ah. So that’s what she looks like when she’s afraid.

~

A/N: Some elusive Doctor Kaiza POV. She doesn’t actually have a story of her own, but she does appear in many other characters’ stories as the wise, enigmatic, and–admittedly–cold hearted doctor. [So enigmatic that I apparently don’t have a character tag for her? Whoops.]

Thanks for the prompt, anon! I do love Counterclockwise very much, even if the majority of it is still a gigantic mystery to me.

Number + Ship + (optional) AU –> my ask box

[If anyone else wants to do a softer world prompt that isn’t on the list, you can just send the page id number for the original comic instead.]

Counterclockwise (2017-03-25)

“Hey!” she screams up at the sky, empty and silent and useless, “How long are you going to wait? Haven’t I done enough?”

There is nothing around her, nothing for the sound to bounce back, no echoes just her voice lost to eternity.

She’s reached a new low. Now she does not want an ending. She needs it. And she’s demanding it.

She doesn’t know if there is a god up there, one who will smite her for her hubris or will take pity on her. She’s met people with fantastic powers, people with immortality, people with both. She’s met beings who go by the terms angels and demons. She’s met spirits of long passed people, spirits of ideas, spirits of natural formations. Once, she met a spirit of red crayons who gave her a surprisingly legitimate treasure map after she did it a great service.

But she’s never met a god.

She thinks, if she ever does, she’s going to punch it in its face.

She’s become riskier over the years. Vicious and flippant and aggressive over the eons. Once, she was just some civilian who thought fighting was the arguments she had with her siblings over whose turn it was to do the dishes.

Now she runs headfirst into battles, brushing past a literal invulnerable man and sneering, “Why are you hesitating? What’s the worst that can happen? We’ll die?”

Once, meeting Apex had brought stars to her eyes. Had reaffirmed her confidence that maybe she could one day be hero, too.

Now she is the team’s walking time bomb, all shrapnel and fire and incandescent rage, even he is afraid to follow where she goes.

Sometimes, she wonders, if he had just said something then–years in the future for him, but ages in the past for her–if he had warned her away, would anything have changed?

All these what ifs, more heady and seductive with the growing power in her palm, like coins rattling in a jar, or gleaming at the bottom of a fountain. What if she could just pluck them up and hold them to the sun and wish?

How much more does she need? What is the quota? Or maybe, she thinks, there is none. There is no mystical, mysterious finish line that she needs to cross. There is no time card to punch out, no hours to dock, no sick days or annual bonuses. Seasons barely mean anything to her, she doesn’t know when her last birthday was. She’s beginning to forget what her family looked like.

No wonder Bastian was so mad when they first met: she’s finally on her way to joining him.

Word Prompts (W41): Worry

On her last day in Belleview, she is given three gifts:

From the woman who would one day be her grandmother, she gets a coat. Sturdy leather, satin lining, enough pockets for an entire convenience store. Or an armory.

From the man who would one day be her grandfather, she gets a a key. It is small and easily loops on a chain. The lock it is for has not been made yet.

From the woman who set her on this path–forwards and backwards and against the flow of time–she gets a promise. Doctor Kaiza’s door will always be open to her.

Victor has two younger sisters.

Had.

Victor had two younger sisters, and he will never forgive himself for not taking care of Leanne when she was around.

When he was a child–a toddler, really–his mother gave birth to Leanne. Even before that, during the pregnancy, he was happy about it. He was looking forward to a younger sister. Or so his mother recounts.

There’s a picture of the three of them–his mother tired but happy, Victor absolutely enamored, Leanne red-faced and alive in his small arms–all three of them on the bed.

In less than a year, he doesn’t know why, Leanne was sent to live with his grandparents.

He forgot about her when Faye was born another two years later.

Leanne came back, after their grandparents passed away, but by then he was eleven and no longer enamored by younger sisters.

Another ten years later, she disappeared again. This time, never to return.

Tetsuki knows she’ll die doing this job, only because she’s so goddamned good at it that she’ll never stop until death makes her.

If her aunt–great great great many more times great aunt–is a mountain or a glacier, immutable and immortal, then Tetsuki is an explosion, the strike of lightning, a supernova.

All of her energy used in a brief, blinding lifetime rather than stretched out for all eternity.

That sounds better than being lost to time, slipping through fingers, through memories, transient.

Saving lives, fighting crime, that’s all Tetsuki wants–Anachron isn’t suited to be a vigilante.

~

A/N: hrmph…

Post Word Count: 353, Running Word Count: 3967