Untitled (2018-02-22)

The doorbell chimes and Jane, closest to the front entrance, calls out, “I’ll get it!”

She can hear Will’s acknowledgement in response over the carols on the radio, the sound of her brothers arguing about the tree and Bran’s amused laughter.

It’s been years since all of them have been together like this; she is so glad they managed to make it work this time.

Jane opens the door, curling away from the gust of cold wind blowing in, instinctively, she draws her cardigan closer though it is only thin cotton and not much protection.

The woman at the door is equally poorly dressed for the weather–not even a scarf!–but unlike Jane, she hardly seems to mind. As if she were immune to the cold, aware but uncaring of the weather.

For a moment they stare at each other.

“Hello?” Jane asks, which seems to shake the woman out of her stupor.

“My apologies,” the woman says, accent flat and abrupt. American, then, how unusual. “Is Will Stanton available?”

Jane blinks before flushing, embarrassed. Of course. This is Will’s place, after all, of course someone ringing the doorbell would be looking for him at his own flat. And then, she flushes harder.

“Please, come in. Yes, he’s–I’ll just go get him, but please, come in. It’s cold out. Sorry, I’ve been terribly rude, I should have invited you in sooner.”

“Thank you,” the woman murmurs, before stepping inside. Jane shuts the door, grateful to bask in the warmth. The woman does not do the same, as if outside and inside were indistinguishable.

“Jane?” says Will, heading their way before she can go fetch him, “Who’s at the–ah,” he cuts himself off upon seeing the woman.

Something about the air changes, and it has nothing to do with the temperature.

“Maybe you should head over to the others,” Will says to Jane without taking his eyes off the woman, “Barney and Simon were one ornament away from a tussle and we both know Bran certainly isn’t going to stop them.”

Jane, confused and a little relieved, just nods and goes.

She looks back though; it almost looks like, instead of just one stranger and her childhood friend, there were two.

///

“My apologies for intruding on the festivities, Old One,” the woman who is not just a woman says to Will. Then she stops Time.

He straightens reflexively, ready for an attack.

None come.

“It must be important,” he responds. Everything about his life as an Old One is important.

The woman nods, “Important, yes, but not urgent.” Then she seems to change, diminish almost, as she adds, sheepishly, “Unfortunately, I have a flight in three hours and have been busy at a conference up until now.”

The Will who is not an Old One understands–academia is not known for excellent time management, either.

The woman reverts to her inhuman demeanor, “It was also harder to find you, earlier, without the other four Light ones.”

Will can feel a glare form on his face, mouth tight, brows furrowing, “They’re human.”

“And yet,” the woman says simply. After a beat, she shrugs. “A warning, though this is not what I am here for. For all that they are human, they… emanate Light. I do not know if you Old Ones still have enemies about, but they will be able to find your friends easily enough if you do not give them better protection.” She reaches into her bag and pulls out a small book which she hands over to him. “A gift, for the holiday, and to foster amity between us.”

He senses power, but nothing Dark, and so he takes it: a book of wards. Nothing like the Book of Gramarye, of course, but useful in its own way.

“The one who opened the door might be able to use it,” the woman suggests as he tucks it away for now.

The idea of putting Jane–or any of his friends–in danger makes him brusque, “What is it that you are here for? You are not of the Dark, nor are you an Old One. What are you?”

This time it is the woman’s turn to furrow her brows, “I was human once, too,” she says, nearly offended. “I don’t know if what I am has a name, but I have been called the Mountain Who Speaks.”

A little bit of destiny rings in the title. Will nods and understands it as truth.

“You are far from your land, Mountain.”

“That is what I am here for,” says the Mountain Who Speaks, “Something will happen in my land years–decades, maybe even centuries–from now.”

Important, but not urgent.

“And you come seeking an alliance,” Will finishes.

“Yes,” agrees the Mountain Who Speaks, “It will not be the grand battle that you had, for in my land there is no Light and Dark, but there will be trouble, and I would appreciate aid in keeping it contained.”

The first part is confusing, but the last is what alarms him, “You foresee it spreading?”

The Mountain’s expression becomes one of unimpressed skepticism, “I Speak,” she says bluntly, “I don’t See.”

It is Will’s turn to be sheepish. “Ah, of course.” Even amongst Old Ones, Sight was not a common power.

After a moment of understanding, the Mountain says, finally, “I will let you return to your party. Again, my apologies for interrupting. This was merely a courtesy call. I will leave you to make your decision, but I hope to speak with you more in the future.”

She unstops Time, the sounds of his friends–safe and happy and completely unaware of the otherworldly, supernatural alliance being brokered in the cramped entryway of Will’s flat.

Will opens the door so she can leave, neither of them flinching at the cold air that hits them. “Safe travels,” he says, not as an Old One but as regular Will Stanton.

“Merry Christmas,” she says back, not as the Mountain Who Speaks, but as the human she once was.

Which reminds him: “What is your name?” he asks belatedly and with no small amount of embarrassment.

The Mountain smiles, “I am Ellen Kaiza.”

~

A/N: As I said, I’ve been reading a lot of Dark is Rising fic, and a lot of them are set at Christmas. So even though it’s February, here’s… this thing.

And I guess sort of a response to this anon’s prompt for more of Doctor Ellen Kaiza’s backstory? I mean, I’m not saying this is canon for her, but given Will Stanton is also a wise, magical immortal being it resonates pretty nicely.

This is after she’s become immortal, and definitely after meeting Leanne, but still fairly early in her immortality. Within the lifetime of what a normal human Ellen Kaiza would live, basically. 

I don’t know where her title came from, but I quite like it. It’s one of her earliest titles. I’m thinking she got it from the werewolf packs, maybe.

(… hrm, should I make a character tag for her? edit: okay, i made one for her “ellen tsukiko kaiza”)

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

Would you ever write more of Doctor Kaiza’s backstory or how she became so cold-hearted?

Hm… this is kind of a no and kind of a maybe, anon, because I suppose it depends on what you mean?

In the greater timeline of my original fiction universe roughly centered around Cadmium City (which I hope isn’t a real place, if so my bad?) Doctor Ellen Kaiza’s backstory is deliberately meant to be a mystery.

Actually, this kind of relates to this untitled ficlet in the sense that Zelia had three options for an apprentice. Ellen Kaiza had the temperament of a Grey Witch but her power levels couldn’t really compare to the other two candidates.

This is far in the past for the rest of the “current” Cadmium City ficlets–at least a few centuries–and knowing what happened to Ellen Kaiza during this time would be A) a lot of stuff seeing as how literal centuries, B) not as compelling as the “current” Cadmium City ficlets, and C) would detract from her air of experienced, all knowing wisdom and mystique.

I mean, don’t get me wrong anon, those ficlets were fun to write and did help me form a better understanding of both the character and the world as if formed around her, but I think at most that’s all I’d ever want to do with her as the main character: small snippets of her over the long stretch of time, her looking back on events from a stretch of decades or centuries.

That being said, while I don’t think I’ll ever devote an entire series to her as the main character, she is in many other series as said wise mystic and I think the passing of time between those other series is a good a way to get outside POVs of her immortal life. And most likely she will show up frequently in Counterclockwise given Leanne can travel through time and Kaiza is one of the few constants in her world.

So… maybe, anon? Is there something a little more specific you’d like to see of Ellen Kaiza–let me know, I’m always interested in exploring more of the original fiction world.

~

Check out the Ask Box Would You Ever!

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!

Ode to 11010201 Redux (2017-06-28)

“The Premier Gemini Witch is coming to Belleview next week,” Doctor Kaiza said, apropos of nothing.

Zim, carefully organizing all of the potion ingredients in a chromatic gradient, shrugged and gave an uncertain and noncommittal, “Okay.”

Kaiza didn’t say anything further because clarification burned her lungs and withered her soul. Or so Zim theorized.

In her defense, it wasn’t as if he asked for an explanation.

That was a mistake.

The Premier Gemini Witch, capital letters practically audible, was tiny. A good foot and a half shorter than Zim–which, perhaps, wasn’t saying much since Zim was stringy and stretched out like the best kind of grilled cheese–which also put her eye level below Doctor Kaiza’s chin, even.

The Premier Gemini Witch was also surprisingly young.

“The youngest luminary on the council,” she agreed, so absent of tone that it was only fact, not brag.

The weirdest thing about all of it wasn’t that the Premier Gemini Witch had such a large presence despite her age and size, but that Kaiza was giving in to it and fawning over her.

Well, a cup of tea and a lack of paperwork or unimpressed eyebrows was practically fawning from the doctor.

Not even Nyx, a literal Devil’s Advocate, or Azrael–as in, yes, the actual Angel of Death–rated that kind of respect.

Zim seriously regretted not asking for more information.

The Premier Gemini Witch was one of twelve members of the Premier Witch Council. The council loosely ruled over the nation’s magical society: the luminaries weren’t a formal oligarchy, but they did have final say on large scale disputes and enforcement of the few laws that existed in their community. Less elected officials and more justices of the peace.

The luminaries were each the strongest of their kind, regardless of heritage or history or training. The Premier Taurus Witch was the strongest earth witch, an old woman over a century old and nearer to dryad than human. The Premier Sagittarius Witch was the only living being to have traveled beyond the planet’s atmosphere without billions of dollars, teams of scientists, tons of metal and rocket fuel, and a government agency.

The strangest thing about the Premier Gemini Witch was not that she had significant influence over the largest vampire clan in the nation–the two subspecies being notoriously at odds with each other–or that she had never undergone any kind of training before becoming a luminary. No, the strangest thing about the Premier Gemini Witch was that she was powerful enough to become a luminary despite only having access to half of her magic.

Traditionally, there were thirteen luminaries on the Premier Witch Council.

Traditionally, there were two Premier Gemini Witches.

The Premier Gemini Witch–“please, call me R”–would be staying in Belleview for one month.

If ever Zim had seen Doctor Kaiza nervous or flustered it was nothing compared to how she reacted to that news: bizarrely, coyly shy, like a teenage girl meeting her idol. Frankly? Zim was freaked the fuck out.

It wasn’t as if he bought into Kaiza’s emotionless, neutral reputation; he’d be a shitty sort-of student if he did–and her weird rivalry with Grey Investigations could only inspired by a level of pettiness born from the heart–but this was definitely a new side of the doctor that he had never seen before.

“But what is she here for?” Zim asked later, as he rearranged potion ingredients back to their original alphabetical organization under Kaiza’s displeased eye.

It was her turn to shrug, uncertain and noncommittal.

The Premier Gemini Witch was there to meet him.

The Premier Gemini Witch knew his mother.

The Premier Gemini Witch was his mother’s sister.

“I came to this town thinking I would reunite with my sister. Thinking that maybe the broken seal on our magic meant that she was willing to see me–willing to open communication, at least. But a year passed and nothing,” the Premier Gemini Witch–R, his aunt, his sister’s mother–said, voice curled around a heartbroken, resigned sigh.

His dad sometimes sounded like that, too, when he talked about Zim’s mom.

“And so I came to this town only to find that my sister has been dead for nearly a decade and I have a nephew whose magic I share but whose name I don’t even know.”

The Premier Gemini Witch–the second, missing Premier Gemini Witch–was Zim.

~

A/N: just a little redo of the Ot1 series, a different beginning and a different POV. Not as obviously adapted Teen Wolf fanfiction, maybe?

Will get back to Externality, no worries, this was written because I am on my phone and only have data not wi-fi.

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.]

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

Cross Post: Ode to 11010201, Training Wheels [incomplete] (2016-08-19)

A/N: Next couple of days will be incomplete posts set in my Ode To 11010201 series. Most of these were written back when the series was suuuper thinly veiled Teen Wolf fanfiction. Like the characters are so recognizable even though I’ve changed their names and swapped some roles around.

Although, to be honest, Doctor Kaiza was one of my earliest original characters and has always been my frustratingly vague supernatural font of knowledge.

original here. dated 2013-01-12.

~

“Salt?”

“Yes. Your observational skill are unparalleled, have you considered a career as a detective?”

“Well that’s just rude. And what do you expect me to do with it? I’m trying to live a low-sodium lifestyle, get a head start you know?”

“What he means is, why are you giving us salt?” She cut in, glancing at the small pile in her hand. The individual grains are already sticking to her damp palms uncomfortably, but she didn’t want to just upend them onto the work table. That’d be messy, and surely Dr. Kaiza had a reason.

“You asked for a way to use your abilities in close quarters”

“I don’t know why you think I’d know more about your ability than you do. I’m a doctor. Yes, I’m the leading metahuman doctor, but that’s because I’ve built up decades of experience in trial and error. It’s still trial and error. Most of my patients are entirely new generations of metahumans. Your abilities… well, most magic-users’ abilities are from bloodlines. And not necessarily genetics. There’s a family that have magic because an ancestor signed a contract with a demon, they themselves don’t have any genetic predisposition towards magic. It may help if you looked into your family history, obviously it’s not from the Szymanski line, so it must be from the Michalis.”

“Or the Chacone.”

“What?”

“My mother is Michalis, my father is Chacone. Iris must have dropped Chacone when she married John… though, I don’t really understand why considering… well. How that ended up.”

“Riveting.”

“Sorry,”

Counterclockwise (2016-08-04)

“It’s not as if I wanted to leave,” she says, low and quiet, not wanting to disturb the stillness of the room.

Gently, she sets three fingertips against the bare skin of Alphie’s shoulder, who has yet to look at her, lying on his stomach and face turned away into his pillow.

For some reason, he too, doesn’t want to disturb this fragile quiet, he doesn’t jerk away from her touch, merely squirms until she pulls back.

“I wanted to come back sooner,” she continues, because Alphie has yet respond, “I would have, if I could.”

Still, Alphie says nothing. Maybe he wants her to beg, maybe he wants to punish her.

“Don’t–don’t do this, please,” she says, tone turning rough–irritation or desperation?

Or maybe he just wants to hear her voice again–it’s been six years, after all.

She sighs. Even without looking, Alphie can feel the weight of her hesitant seat on the side of the bed moving. Shifting, as if to stand up and go.

Blindly, he reaches his arm towards her, palm up and open. He turns his head to face her, jaw still pressed into the pillow. Still silent.

Don’t leave me, he doesn’t say. Don’t leave me again.

There’s a delicate art to simultaneously being a mercenary for hire, an on-call member of a vigilante team, and a parent, but the simplest method is:

Don’t.

Just give up one of them.

It’s okay to half-ass two things, but third-assing three things is just asking for failure.

Really.

At the very least, schedule the hell out of everything you do, and for god’s sake DO NOT HAVE OVERLAPPING OBLIGATIONS.

Otherwise you’ll end up being hired to fight your own team in the rafters of the school auditorium where your child is acting as Guard #2 in his school play.

And that’s not even the worse time she’s been triple-booked.

The time traveling bit is Doctor Kaiza’s fault.

And Anachron’s, obviously, given that it’s Anachron’s power and all, but Diana still blames Doctor Kaiza for the most part. Anachron is more of a fellow victim in this whole thing.

“Shit!” she screams, picks up a worn and faded floral monstrosity of a couch, and chucks it into the charred wall.

Anachron tries very hard to make herself a smaller target.

“Goddamn. Fucking. Shit!” Diana shouts again, grabs the behemoth of a television set with it’s cracked screen and warped frame and throws that as well. The cables show metal through the melted rubber casing, trailing like a comet’s tails.

Find Anachron. Catch her. Take her watch.

It doesn’t matter if Doctor Kaiza meant it with good intentions–hoping to restore Anachron to her proper time or at the very least stop her endless journey–she still sent Diana on an impossible quest and hadn’t warned her of the possible risks.

“When are we?” she asks, near to a growl. Anachron doesn’t flinch, but her fingers shake noticeably as she reaches for the grimy, soot-stained window.

A few moment’s haphazard cleaning gives a decent enough view to the outside world.

Sky nearly orange, but no sunset in sight; neighboring buildings as destroyed and burned as the one they’re in.

It’s not very promising.

~

A/N:… I guess this means Leanne has another traveling companion besides Bastian. At least temporarily.

Discovering things about my own story as I write random stuff is suuuuper fun.

Counterclockwise (2016-06-05)

Her first words from him were “I loved you.”

His, from her, were “Give me back my watch.”

These instances were millennia apart.

So the miscommunication in their relationship? Completely understandable.

Counterclockwise (the Analogue Not Digital remix)

Or, Bastian’s side of the story.

Alternatively, one person’s sci-fi mystery is another person’s romantic drama.

When two leaders collaborate, inevitably they will clash. Whether that leads to a splintered alliance or an adjusted hierarchy depends:

Mostly, on how desperately they need each other.

A king may have an army, but armies need a general.

It’s a tenuous balance between legend and loyalty, between royalty and history, His Majesty and Boss. But the twins make it work.

“Pick your battles wisely,” the doctor had said, advice as enigmatic and inapplicable as ever.

But she had meant it with good intentions; a warning too far out of time, like the fossils of sea creatures in ancient deserts. Shapes without names.

Under the blanket, curled in a corner, she sits. Waiting for sleep to befall her. The sun shines bright as her eyelids weigh down.

She has travelled three days–two hundred years–without rest.

“You don’t even know me,” she says, but she does not leave and surely that must mean something.

“I know enough,” he responds. I know more about you than I do anyone or anything else in the world, he doesn’t say.

Of the six times she watched her father die, she only spoke to him twice. Her third go around of this tragedy she had appeared only a block away and ran as fast as she could to the intersection of Orchard and Burgundy.

He spotted her, and maybe even seemed to recognize her; his teenaged daughter suddenly a decade older, screaming at him to get down.

It’s not until the sixth time does she realize he was looking beyond that.

“I’ll take that army now,” Bastian says, grin wide, eyes wild–eager to begin again.

“Patience,” Maroon chides, even as she begins contacting the members of her crew. “You can’t rush perfection.”

~

A/N: So I actually haven’t slept in… a while. I dunno why? Actually, no, I do know why–I’m being preemptively nervous about a job interview I have on Tuesday and I figured better to be loopy on lack of sleep during the weekend than during my interview. So here’s some Counterclockwise stuff…

Word Prompts (AA1): +

It’s just basic arithmetic. If one death can save many, it’s logical to sacrifice the individual for the greater good.

Consider also this: two people and one of them must die. But one of them can save lives later down the road, whereas the other cannot.

Wouldn’t it make sense to choose the one who can save others? Exchange one death for another, since both cannot be saved.

If she can do this, if she can pull this off, then maybe the world won’t go to shit.

Right now, Leanne is approximately twenty seven years old and also exactly five years, three months, and eight days old.

Her older self is in Cadmium City, trying not to pass out as she helps Doctor Kaiza stitch her student’s organs back inside of his body, while her younger self is enjoying a relaxing breakfast with her grandparents in the town of Belleview.

Lucky brat.

“Oh god, I’m gonna hurl,” she groans–her older self, that is–behind the paper and elastic mask, trying not to move her gloved hands even though all of Brian’s blood has made everything very slippery.

“You better not, this is a sterile environment and I won’t have you ruining my surgery,” Kaiza scolds without looking up, a trail of neat black stitches following after her needle.

Leanne scowls, she wasn’t really going to, it’s an exaggeration, but she lets the matter drop. Instead, she aims a question at Brian, “Doesn’t this hurt? She didn’t use any anesthesia.”

He smiles, pale and shaky with bloodloss but amused nonetheless, “I have a high pain tolerance.”

In the eyes of society, the best thing for a metahuman vigilante to do is to have many children, raise them with strong moral values, and go around sacrificing their lives for the betterment of everyone else around them.

The second best thing is to die a martyr.

The superhero Griever never got the chance to do the former because he eventually ended up doing the latter before he ever got married.

But Leanne has never been a very good metahuman, much less a good metahuman vigilante, and in this instance she’s not going to let Brian be either.

Whenever she is shunted through time, the first thing she does is try to find a safe place. Whether the the trip is an hour or a month, it doesn’t hurt to have some kind of home base to work from and wait out her stupid pocket watch’s erratic decisions.

Of course, her stupid pocket watch is also very sadistic and likes to make such a notion as difficult as possible.

This time she lands in the middle of a battle that would be almost nostalgic were it not, well, a battle. It’s not her team, nor a villain she’s used to, but she lends her efforts in destroying the robots trying to stab the slower lingering civilians. She doesn’t scream when a massive wolf jumps over her and rips the head off of one such machine, wires still sparking at the end, nor does she quake when a seemingly ordinary young man punches his fist clean through two inches of steel.

No, it’s only after the fight–once the villain has been apprehended and the mass self destruct order activated–that she flinches: when the third member of this familiar-yet-not team lays a hand on a bleeding arm wound, and pulls away to reveal unbroken skin instead.

Alvin Chand she recognizes, both in his wolf form and his human form, though the version she met had more scars and gray hairs. Curtis Ives looks similar enough to his son–or perhaps its the other way around–that she isn’t at all surprised.

But this third man, the one who introduces himself as Brian Odell? Oh, she’s met him before, too.

When she was just a child, crying in a grocery store, and one of the stock boys helped her find her grandfather.

Not as one of the members of her vigilante team’s predecessor.

Who are you, she thinks, as Doctor Kaiza–almost annoyingly familiar to her–herds the team into the clinic. Why have I never heard of you before, she wonders.

Here’s the problem: as far as she knows, she can’t actually change anything.

Oh little things, sure, the kind of minor tweaks and rewrites that changes a punch to the cheek into a dodge and counterattack. The only reason why she was chosen for the team as a teenager in the first place–the only ability her pocket watch had at the time, or seemed to have, anyway. But she’s never been able to change anything major before.

That’s not going to stop her from trying.

~

A/N: It’s not like I actually did anything strenuous today but for some reason I am very tired. So here’s this Counterclockwise installment featuring Leanne (re)meeting Brian Odell. Read about their first meeting here.