Untitled Counterpoise x Leverage drabble (2015-08-28)

Connie is dressed up in her spoiled, barely an adult, heiress persona–with freaking Eliot Spencer as her supposed bodyguard–when she spots a bright shock of messy blonde hair out of the corner of her eye.

“Oh fucking shit,” she curses, turning towards goddamn Eliot Spencer, so her face is hidden from what she is pretty sure is her twin brother and his mentor.

“What is it?” Eliot Spencer, what the hell, asks. If he weren’t constantly on alert, Connie would say he went on alert, but as it is his awareness just heightens instead. He moves in closer to her but doesn’t crowd her, which is greatly appreciated.

“Connie,” Ringo prompts over the comm line, when she continues to curse instead of answering, “What’s wrong?”

“Noah’s here,” she says between gritted teeth, because this sucks. This entire con might fail because her cover will be blown and it’ll be her fault.

“Who’s Noah?” Parker asks, skilled enough to simultaneously indulge her curiosity and break into the penthouse suite of a seventy story tall building.

“My brother,” she admits, hiding her grimace behind her flute of champagne. This is embarrassing and unprofessional.

“Noah? The only Noah on the guest list is…” Alec Hardison says, no doubt pulling it up on his computer in the surveillance van to check, “A Noah Gunderson, junior partner at Stuart and Hathaway law firm.”

“We have different last names,” Connie explains, and she feels stupid because this is something she should have checked before.

“Ooh, that’s him alright,” Zachary hisses through his teeth so as not to bring attention to himself as a waiter talking to thin air, no doubt spotting Noah himself, “I didn’t know he made junior partner, though, congrats to him.”

“Just last month,” Ringo says cheerfully, unhelpfully, “I sent a fruit basket with all of our names on it. God knows he needs the vitamins.”

“Ugh, you assholes can congratulate him in person when he finally spots me and kills this whole op,” Connie mutters.

“Hey, it ain’t over yet,” Eliot Spencer, oh my god, says reassuringly, and she doesn’t even flinch away when he puts a hand on her shoulder. She’s ruined the con and she’s freaking out? So embarrassing and unprofessional.

“He’s right; we can fix this,” Zachary says, grifter mind already flipping through options and strategizing. “You haven’t made contact with the mark yet, and the only person you’ve introduced yourself to as Leona is the VP and she’s already left the party. Get rid of Spencer’s tie, undo the top two buttons of his shirt, and loop your arm through his.”

“Oh god, this is why Noah hates us,” Ringo moans, easily catching on to the plan.

She follows Zachary’s instructions quickly, huddled in close so it’s not too obvious that she’s partially undressing someone in the middle of a formal party. With a casual movement, she drops the tie to the ground and kicks it beneath a table unseen, before turning around and linking her arm through his. In less than five seconds Connie turns from billionaire heiress to high class escort. Just in time, too.

“Connie?!” Her brother shrieks, the epitome of subtlety and class. Mr. Hathaway, Noah’s mentor, turns to look–and probably regrets it, what with the way his face twists at the sight of her. He’s always been extremely awkward around her.

“Well now, darling,” Eliot Spencer, she’s too busy to come up with more epithets, drawls–catching on and playing up his Texan accent–loud enough for her approaching brother to hear, “I thought your name was Rachel.”

“It is,” Connie says, insistent, as if she really were an escort under a pseudonym whose real name had just been shouted across the room, “He must be mistaking me for someone else,” and this time she glares at Noah, as if she really were angry at him for blowing her cover. Which she is, just not this cover.

“Oh,” Noah says dumbly, obviously, before unconvincingly adding, “I don’t know you at all! Sorry about that, you just looked like someone… oh, shrimp puffs!” He says, spotting a tray being carried over by a waitress, “Aren’t shrimp puffs great?”

Zachary and Ringo both sigh, out of relief and exasperation.

“I see acting skills do not run in the family,” Alec Hardison remarks dryly.

No they do not, Connie thinks as she watches her brother awkwardly try to chaperone what he thinks is his sister hired as an escort for some rich pervert. She is so sorry, Eliot Spencer.

A/N: Not an immediate continuation, but it is related to this drabble. Which would probably help make sense of the above drabble. And, again, this is me adapting my OCs from Counterpoise into Leverage.

Gotta get some stuff out of my system.

Untitled Counterpoise x Leverage drabble (2015-08-17)

The phone rings.

Connie, being the closest to the phone, immediately crumples up a piece of paper and chucks it at Zachary’s head in the strange hopes that maybe he’ll pick it up instead.

He is not amused, lobs the paper ball back at her, and goes back to his cup of tea.

The phone rings again.

Connie hisses, head swiveling around to try and find Ringo to pass the responsibility onto him. He is nowhere to be seen.

The phone rings for a third time.

She has no choice. She has to answer it.

“Leverage Incorporated, this is Connie speaking,” she says, voice light and even.

“This is Alec Hardiso–”

She hangs up.

“What the hell, Connie?” Zachary asks, having watched the entire production, “Was it telemarketers?”

“Nooo,” she stretches out the word, quickly backing away from the phone.

This time, when the phone rings again, Zachary is closest. Which means he has to be the one to answer.

It rings.

“Damn it, Connie, that doesn’t count!”

And rings.

“Those are the rules!”

And rings.

“You obviously had it first, you can’t just hang up and run away!”

And rings.

“I panicked!”


“Leverage Inc,” Ringo says, having apparently appeared while the two of them were shouting at each other. Amazed, Zachary and Connie stop yelling at each other, to watch Ringo handle the call maturely.

“Yes, I understand. No, that is within our capabilities. Thank you, I will make sure she knows that. Okay then, we look forward to seeing you in person. Goodbye.”

Once the call has ended, Ringo takes a deep breath, the screeches, “It was the original Leverage team!” ruining the cool persona he had built in the last thirty seconds.

There is a reason the three of them are friends.

“No, fuck you, no way!” Zachary says, clambering over the back of the couch to stand next to Ringo and the phone.

“See?” Connie shrieks back, vindicated.

Ringo nods in complete agreement.

“No, no, no! Fuck you guys, you’re totally playing me!”

“It was Alec Hardison,” Ringo says, not even blinking an eye as Connie, their resident hacker, temporarily swoons, “Their team has a target who owns a vacation house in the city, they wanted our permission to operate here. And asked if we would be willing to help out.”

“Oh my god, hell yeah!” Zachary agrees raucously.

“And he says that Connie’s work on the Oceanus security system was impressive,” he reports dutifully.

Connie’s breathing somehow grows higher in pitch.

“Wait a sec,” Zachary says, cutting into their collective fannish admiration.


“Are they coming here?” He asks, looking around unimpressed. The base of operations for their particular branch of Leverage is a small warehouse with a bathroom and a tiny walled office area. It is strewn with wires, various weapons, a worrying amount of empty pizza boxes and take out containers, and one corner has three dressers bulging alarmingly full of costumes.

They have work to do.


A/N: So this is just a random scene from a fic I’m not going to write which is basically me adapting the Counterpoise team into the Leverage world. I seriously am not going to continue this, I just needed to get this written down because it was bugging me.

So in this Westernized form of them Zakuro is Zachary, Ringo is still Ringo, but Konran goes by Connie because her real name is Conrad. As said before, Connie is the hacker, Zakuro is the grifter/grease-man, and Ringo is the enforcer. Though they do all have skills in each area.

[I will get back to Descendants fic tomorrow. I’m sorry, everyone, I just totally blanked.]

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-30)

This is our legacy, Zakuro thinks, as he watches Riichi-sensei’s indolent composure break to scream at his genin teammates. Anko-senpai and Satsuma-san do not hesitate to scream back.

“This is your fucking Exam, Anko, how do you not know when that bastard sneaks in as one of the contestants. He fucking spoke to you!”

“Don’t push this on me, Satsuma’s the one whose entire genin squad was a sleeper cell of his spies. They might as well have had Sound headbands on, you four-eyed idiot!”

“Riichi’s band of perfect little soldiers could hardly keep their covers through the preliminaries. Talk about not knowing your team–you didn’t even know what your student’s hair color is!”

“You have no right to talk about my team when they’re just cleaning up after the massive steaming pile of shit you call your squad!”

Back and forth the shouting goes, flinging insults and blame and accusations at each other. Yet no one actually says the name which started it all.


Konran, no longer quite as short as she used to be, yet still small enough to fit comfortably under Ringo’s chin–due to their own growth spurts–is huddled there. Her hood and bandana are in tatters, revealing the bright red mess that remains of a once neatly pinned up braid. Ringo, arms still shaking from nerve poison, tries to comfort her as best he can.

We don’t have to end up like them, Zakuro hopes, watching the adults tear open old wounds just to make each other hurt.

He joins his teammates, wrapping around them as best he can, as if so long as they were hidden they would be safe. He removes the shredded headband from Konran forehead, surprised it had stayed on even that long, and replaces it with his own, clumsily tying it in her preferred bandana style. For Ringo, he gently pulls his arms down, rubbing at biceps and forearms, in an attempt to massage away the pain.

It’s still obvious her hair is red, and Ringo’s the medic, not him, so he has no idea what he’s doing, but he tries. He wants to help.

They don’t say anything, both still in shock in their own ways, but Konran grabs the fabric of his shirt and pulls him even closer, and Ringo’s face presses into the curve of his neck and shoulder. Zakuro doesn’t ignore the spots of dampness, but he doesn’t say anything.

Every so often, Ringo gets gifts. It’s just… something that happens; has been happening since he was born and his parents decided to name him Ringo after his late aunt.

His father says they’re from Hatake Kakashi who, despite being an elite jounin, is kind of socially stupid. It’s survivor’s guilt, his father explains, because he was on a team with your aunt.

His mother contradicts: It’ll take a lot more than trinkets to make up for what he–

And that’s when father shushes her, at least when he can sense Ringo. Which, so far, has been every time.

But he can guess what mother was going to say. It’s… well… not public record, necessarily, but next of kin do get more details on cause of death, if not quite the full story. And, well, it’s hard to hide medical records from an entire clan of medic nin.

So, yeah, gifts. And despite what mother says they’re not really what he would call trinkets. Ringo gets a lot of really nice gear–top of the line mesh and weapons and the higher grade soldier pills. Not exactly out of his family’s pay range, but if he didn’t already get it for free, he’d probably end up buying the cheaper stuff for himself.

He also occasionally does get stuff that he would consider trinkets. Little pots of medicinal plants, books and scrolls, non-perishable food, and once, a particularly shiny and colorful rock. Small, inconsequential things, closer to annoying than useful, but he keeps everything regardless.

But… to be honest? He doesn’t think it’s just one gift giver. Ringo can tell which ones come from Hatake Kakashi–they usually follow after the occasions when he senses the familiar electric-bright shock of chakra on the roof opposite his bedroom. They tend to be… pointed, if not practical. If he tears one of his favorite shirts, a new, similar one will be given to him within the week. If he stares too long at the bookstore’s display for the next installment of Tokuina Bubun, then a brand new copy will end up on his windowsill.

But… some of them are really random. He doesn’t use senbon, but occasionally he’ll receive some. He doesn’t use elemental ninjutsu either, but D through B rank water and fire jutsu scrolls fill up his bookshelves. He wonders why water and fire, specifically, but he wonders why ninjutsu scrolls in general so… Or even, occasionally, girl’s clothing. Which is weird and which is the only stuff he doesn’t keep–unless sharing snacks counts as giving away. He passes those onto Konran who takes it with both confusion and aplomb.

So, yeah, possibly two gift givers. He’s not going to say anything, because this has literally been going on his entire life and there’s no need to make it an issue now all of a sudden. But he is curious. And… okay, maybe a little concerned?

Because if one of the gift givers is Hatake Kakashi who does it out of survivor’s guilt (or atonement)… then who is the second and for what reason are they doing it?


A/N: Oh god, I’m so sorry. I said I wasn’t going to do this series, but apparently I’m just a big liar face. So here’s some more Counterpoise! Featuring Zakuro and Ringo this time because, you know what? This series is about more than just Naruto’s twin sister, it’s her story and that includes the people that are important to her.

Aaaand, yes, I am implying that Obito is being a little creepy and giving Ringo gifts he would give to Rin if she were alive. Hahahaha. Are they courting gifts? Are they apology gifts? Who knows?

Well, I suppose Kakashi is also being a little creepy too.

And I firmly believe that Ringo will never refer to Kakashi with anything other than his full name. Always.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-29)

“Okay kids, we’ve got a dead courtier, a missing will, and a highly coveted treaure. Lay it on me,” Riichi-sensei says, head propped lazily in his hand. The four of them are seated in one of the booths of Aomori Teahouse, their usual mission planning spot, each with a cup of chrysanthemum tea steaming in front of them.

Ringo, having lost the daily tussle to avoid sitting next to sensei, goes first. “Incompetent rival,” he suggests with a half-hearted shrug, knowing that first suggestions hardly ever win. By dint of both having less time to think and not being able to compare to other plans.

Konran goes next, “Vengeful servant?” she says, eyes flicking carefully toward their waitress, then the tea pot. It’s a fair possibility, noblemen tend to be entitled assholes, and a servant would only be willing to put up with so much.

Zakuro grins, leaning forward eagerly, because he knows he’s got this one in the bag. “Lost heir,” he says triumphantly, preening as his teammates nod in support.

Riichi-sensei, taking it all in, throws back his tea as if it were sake, and slams the cup back onto the table with a loud thud. “It’s decided. We’ll do the lost heir.”

For reasons which Riichi-sensei refuses to share, Konran has to be the heir. Or, rather, heiress.

“And, anyway, these two can pass off as bodyguards. You, kid? Not so much,” Sensei says, patting the top of her head heavily as if to emphasize the nearly twenty centimeters of height difference between her and her teammates.

For now they’re keeping their identities a secret from everyone but their client, which means face make-up to cover Ringo’s tattoos, colored contacts to darken Zakuro’s irises, and–

“A wig,” Konran demands, quietly but firmly. Her hood is down, which is pretty rare, but even after four months of being a team, they have yet to see her without her bandana.

“It’s just a minor role for a B-rank, kid,” says Riichi-sensei, brow furrowed; he doesn’t understand the reticence.

“If she doesn’t want to, she shouldn’t have to,” Zakuro responds protectively, pulling up Konran’s hood for her. Entirely unnecessary, but kind.

“No one tells Hatake Kakashi to take off his mask,” Ringo adds, equally unnecessary, but just as good-hearted.

“Hatake Kakashi isn’t my subordinate,” Riichi-sensei says, voice gone flinty as it does during the rare serious moments. At his students’ reactions–minute flinch, tightening fists, upright posture–he regulates himself. His voice softens and he tries again, “Blonde hair isn’t that difficult to dye, and it’ll wash right out.”

At that, Konran finally meets his eyes. Bemusedly, she says, “I’m not blonde.”


A/N: Random mission for the Counterpoise team. Uh… spoilers? Yeah, they pass. Hahahahah… 😛

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-26)

“So what exactly is our jounin-sensei’s test? Who is our jounin-sensei, anyway?” Konran asked, matching pace with their longer strides despite shorter legs as the three of them left the Academy building.

As far as Ringo was concerned, Konran was okay. A little weird, a little quiet, and just plain little, but okay. He and Zakuro could have been assigned worse, truth be told. Like that Hyuuga with a stick up his ass–well, all of the Hyuuga had sticks up their asses, but Hyuuga Shikai was an especially snobby piece of shit–or Yamanaka Shigo who lorded his second degree relation to the Yamanaka clan head as if it were a personal triumph.

Or even Inuzuka Mimi who once threatened to castrate Zakuro with a rusty senbon –though, he did kind of deserve it considering he did shave a stripe of fur off her dog partner, Dangan–and had held a grudge against the two of them (Ringo for not preventing it) ever since.

Well, actually, they ended up on the same team. Which wasn’t surprising, considering all three of them were from big name clans; Probably the shoo-in team for their year.

But he’d enjoy being Team Five with his best friend and Konran for however long it lasted.

“That’s the test,” he said, watching but not interfering as Zakuro circled back behind Konran, “We have to figure out who our jounin-sensei is, then we have to find him, then… well. There might be more after that.”

Without looking, Konran ducked Zakuro’s grab at the hood, but didn’t bother to dodge the friendly shoulder nudge that nearly sent the smaller ninja sprawling.

“Hence the walk to the Administrative Building,” he continued, then reached out and flicked Zakuro’s ear, “Hey asshole, quit antagonizing our teammate.”

“Fuck off, Ringo,” he responded amiably, stretching an arm companionably around said teammate’s shoulders, the height difference forcing him to slouch significantly to do so, “Konran knows I’m just playing.”

Ringo knew that, but they had only just met the kid–Konran might not know that.

Rather than shrugging off the arm, Konran jabbed an elbow into Zakuro’s ribs, taking advantage the height difference, then said, “As if this guy could get my hood off, anyway.”

Zakuro grunted at the pain, but was only mildly offended, “You little shit. Challenge accepted.”

As they neared the Admin Building, the air of playful roughhousing dissipated in the face of all the productivity. They had a mission to do, too, one which decided their future.


A/N: I was going to continue but… meh? Maybe tomorrow.

Direct sequel to this Counterpoise drabble from yesterday.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-25)

“You a guy or a girl?” asked the Nohara boy, eyes squinted in curiosity. Konran resisted the urge to check her braid, hairpins, bandana, and hood.

“What does it matter?” said the Yuuhi boy, cutting her off before she could answer, “It’s just a brat that they put on our team to fill the numbers. We’re gonna be automatically failed by the jounin-sensei. I’ll end up in the genjutsu squad, you’ll end up in the medic corps, and this one’ll go straight back to the Academy because there’s no way this kid actually passed.”

“Two years isn’t that much of an age difference,” was all she could think to say in response.

“Hey, fuck you, this is our first graduation year, we’re thirteen not fourteen,” retorted the Yuuhi boy.

“What this jackass means to say is that we’re both just kind of tall for our age. We just look old, we didn’t do a repeat year. And to be honest, it’s like he said, when our jounin-sensei rejects us, we’re not coming back to the Academy for a retry. It’s not your fault, though,” the Nohara boy tacked on the reassurance, though his face could only be called a grimace.

“Oh. Three years difference, then,” she corrected, unsure what to do with the rest.

“Fucking shit, you’re ten? Did they just pull a random brat from a classroom and give you a headband. You haven’t even been in the Academy for very long. Goddammit, I knew Tsuyoshi-sensei hated us, but I thought he’d at least be fucking subtle about this,” as the Yuuhi boy devolved into a cuss-filled rant against their Academy teacher, Konran turned questioningly to her other potential teammate.

“We’re both kind of assholes, really. Tsuyoshi-sensei not hating us would be more of a surprise. Though I don’t think the Academy would let them graduate a ten year old who wasn’t actually ready to graduate. Did you really pass the exam? I didn’t think students that young could take it.”

She shrugged.

“Fair enough, I guess. We’re not exactly making good first impressions. I’m Ringo, by the way. That bastard is Zakuro. You’re not named Ichigo or something like that are you? I’d hate to be known as Team Fruit,” Nohara Ringo introduced, idly waving at Yuuhi Zakuro who was now… looping multiple shuriken through a spool of ninja wire?

“Yeah. He does that. It relaxes him, apparently.”

“Okay… I’m Konran,” she returned, minimally, “And, yeah, I did actually pass the exam. I didn’t really want to take it, but my brother did. And… well… I suppose I passed and he didn’t. He’s… not very happy about it.”

“Older brother?” Ringo asked conversationally.

“No, not really. We’re twins. We were hoping to get on the same team if we both passed. I didn’t think one of us wouldn’t,” she tugged at the ends of her sleeves, she knew Naruto wouldn’t pass, so she had been careful to only answer half the questions correctly. She thought both of them would fail.

“That sucks balls,” Zakuro butted in, literally, the metal plate of his headband knocking into Ringo’s shoulder; Ringo ignored it with the air of long practice. Zakuro’s rage, apparently, burned up completely to leave behind coarse affability, “I mean, we’re all going to fail, obviously, but at least I know you got screwed over in this team arrangement as much as we did.”

She shrugged again, then shoved Zakuro’s face away when it began encroaching into her personal space. He laughed, apparently delighted.

Ringo, with a thoughtful expression, asked, “Why don’t we at least try?”

The other two looked at him curiously, silently asking for clarification.

“Well, I’ve gotten used to this jackass over the years, and you seem decent enough considering we’ve only known each other for less than ten minutes. We don’t have to just take their bullshit. If we’re going to fail, we might as well go down fighting, you know? No regrets,” he said firmly, elbow jostling his best friend beside him, eyes never leaving hers.

Zakuro laughed uproariously, simply adding, “Tsuyoshi-sensei can kiss my ass!”

They looked at her expectantly.

She sighed and agreed with a wry smile, “The Academy can go fuck itself.”


A/N: Apparently Team Five is also the cussing team.

Yes, more Counterpoise… hooray. I’ve named them, too. So… in my head most people graduate age 12/13, depending on when their birthdays are. Zakuro and Ringo (pomegranate and apple) just happen to be on the older end of the spectrum whereas Konran is on the younger end. So Zakuro and Ringo are in the year above Team Gai’s.

Counterpoise drabble (2015-07-24) [2]

Jounin led teams, those slated to actually pass, are designed with specific functions in mind. For example, the Aburame, Hyuuga, and Inuzuka team are for tracking, the Ino-Shika-Chou for, essentially, guerrilla fighting against samurai and bandits. Team Seven has always been for heavy hitters, while Team Nine are for escort missions. That is not to say that some teams cannot fulfill other roles. Ino-Shika-Chou make excellent bodyguards as well, and Team Seven has always been more than just brute strength. Not that their specialties matter for much during lowly D-rank missions, anyway.

Team One is rare, hardly ever created, because Team One is designated for medics. It had been considered, a few years ago, when Yakushi-sensei’s adopted son was on the edge of graduation. But none of his classmates matched his potential for healing, and so a Team Six, general support, was created instead.

A person would think that, with a genjutsu specialist, a medic, and a fuinjutsu user, their team would be made into a a Team Six as well. But the genjutsu specialist has a fondness for traps, the medic has a talent in taijutsu, and the fuinjutsu user has a chakra reserve four times the size a ninja twice her age.

Teams are designed with a specific purpose in mind, whether they fulfill that purpose or not depends on how well they can learn. Team Five, simply known as the retrieval team, requires a little more adaptability than most teams.

Team Four is a throw away designation, a filler team for graduates that aren’t primed to be trained by the elite. There has never been a Team Four that passed. Which, makes sense, considering the bad luck surrounding number four. Superstition might be silly, but no need to tempt fate any further. As it is, the reputation of Team Four being a career killer is enough to ward away any inquiries.

But perhaps it would be better to say that Team Four isn’t a filler so much as it is temporary. There are records, hidden away in the darkest corners of high clearance files, that show activity under Team Four’s name. A mission here and there, never with the same team, much of it still redacted. To those in the know, Team Four is the assassination team. Team Four is an audition for ANBU.


A/N: Uh… so technically Counterpoise is the title for my attempt at a Naruto’s twin!SIOC fic. I don’t really want to pursue it? Or at least, not as it is. I may adapt it into a different fandom or different story. Um.. if you’re curious, though, you can look at my brainstorming lj posts here.

And, also, I was trying to figure out how team numbers work and why Team Sevens always seem to be the huge legendary guys. So, probably, Team Seven is specifically slated for heavy hitters (or, potential heavy hitters).

edit: Tweaking my headcanon for team designations (though not very much, all things considered) given the fact that baby!Itachi was put on Team Two with a boy who basically called himself Tenma Lord of Speed and a girl who, given the awful awful sexism in this series, unsurprisingly got shunted into retiring to become a waitress even though she studied medicine in the Academy?! And while she doesn’t quite match up with the new designation either, it’s better than my original that Team Two was genjutsu. Perhaps she also happened to be the fastest kunoichi and having a healer on any team certainly isn’t a downside.

Team One – Medic
Team Two – Stealth/Speed (Vanguard)
Team Three – Genjutsu/Barrier (Defense?)
Team Four – (code for ANBU trainees/assassination)
Team Five – “Retrieval”
Team Six – General Support
Team Seven – Heavy Hitter
Team Eight – Tracking/Hunting
Team Nine – Bodyguard/Escort/Courier
Team Ten – Infiltration/Siege

So basically, the Academy does actually create genin teams that the students would be well suited for if the assigned jounin sensei commits to it/sees potential/etc. Like with the idea that Dreaming of Sunshine’s Team One would have passed if they had a combat medic for a jounin-sensei (leading to mine and @kuipernebula‘s Team Medic AU. The Academy teachers probably don’t have much say in the jounin assignments, but they can do their best to bundle the genin into appealing bunches (if… that makes any sense) and hope the Hokage wrangles the jounin into place (more often than not, that’s a no)