I tend primarily to feel the most like writing when I’ve just seen someone else write something (or when I’ve promised someone else I’d write, lol), and I’ve loved what you’ve done with the Sakako and Fear To Tread stuff, and you were the first person I thought of when I came up with this (in the next ask):

Peeling away from your flesh leaves a lot of detail behind. The shape of “You” isn’t the same as the shape of your body; the shape of you grows to fill whatever space it’s given. And when I step away from things, just for a bit, I feel bigger and bolder than I have ever grown inside. But I take the bags beneath my eyes with me, and the scar on my left arm (though I don’t take the arm to go with it). I take my aches and my pains with me; I only leave behind the things that aren’t me at all.

A/N: Not to curtail your prompt again, lionheadbookheads, but I’m getting very strong vibes of Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye as well as that one other time you sent me a prompt about the songs “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning” and “Thunder” and I guess what I’m saying here is that I want to do a Tetsuki Kaiza piece for this prompt, I hope you don’t mind.

Basically, given the whole “who I am is not my physical body” theme, there is a very definitive spiritual over physical and reincarnation message going on here and Tetsuki does do that so… please enjoy?

Viridescent: Or, Tetsuki Follows Her Dreams

She closes her eyes, feels the sunshine warm on her face, and takes a deep breath; the spring breeze carries hints of winter still, cool and slightly damp, but the scent of early blooming flowers layers over that.

Her mobile phone buzzes in her pocket, a staccato vibration, a summoning. The man who pays her income but will never be her Boss, the man who supports her lifestyle but doesn’t provide her survival, the man who determines her waking and sleeping hours but never her thoughts or dreams.

She opens her eyes, raises a hand, and lifts a gun to her temple. Inelegant, but efficient. It reminds her of home.

She pulls the trigger.

She wakes up.

///

She is born in the late autumn months, as both year and century draw to an end. She is born to Fuyuko and Toichi Kaiza in a hospital technically but barely within Tokyo. She is born a wailing, red-faced, and thoroughly average baby girl.

What happens to her after is far from from average.

///

For all that dream-sharing is a largely international industry, it would inaccurate to say that it is one homogenous community. They do not always match official country borders, but there are enclaves within dream-sharing with its own customs and cultures and rules.

Japan is one such enclave.

For the most part, so long as there is no immediate conflict of interest, foreign dreamers may conduct their business without any interference from local entities. This rule is but the second that broadly reigns over the Japanese dream-sharing community.

The first is simply: do not mess with Azuma.

///

The thoroughly average baby girl that will one day be known in certain circles as Azuma does not have a good or even average childhood. She tries to run away from her parents at age six and manages to elude the very expensive private detective service her parents hired for two weeks before getting caught.

Despite the broken arm, it is not the last time she does this. It will be another eight years and twenty or so attempts before she manages to definitively escape her parents’ clutches and that perhaps has equal amount to do with them getting bored as it is with her expertise.

She is searching for people and places that don’t exist anywhere but her own mind, but at least it’s better than staying where she was.

///

Saito of Proclus Global has three executive assistants, all of whom speak a minimum of four languages, are qualified as triple-A certified bodyguards and emergency medical technicians, and have extensive counterintelligence training, among other varied and useful talents.

Though the woman known as Azuma can also be described as such and is frequently seen in proximity of Saito, she is not one of said executive assistants.

Her talents are a little more varied and useful than that.

///

The knowledge she has is helpful–blades and human vulnerabilities the same no matter what, languages and critical training filtering through as needed–but she remembers having powers beyond physical possibility and that’s what ultimately betrays her.

A teenager, no matter how skilled or smart or shrewd, will never be completely safe in the criminal underbelly of a big city. A lone teenager without any ties is a tempting target for many parties.

When they grab her, she fights. Foolishly, she thinks she can win. She forgets she doesn’t have endless lightning at her fingertips, energy bolstering her muscles, superhuman and unstoppable.

When they grab her, she loses. She is just a teenager, and they are a unscrupulous, government funded company trying to pioneer an entirely new method of espionage.

///

Azuma’s patron is a matter of public knowledge. It is not a weakness.

Most professional dreamers in Japan have a primary sponsor–another company, a yakuza family, a government official–and while Azuma’s patron does not have technically have the most influence in Japan, well… Proclus Global. Money is its own kind of power. And that’s not even including what Azuma can bring to the table.

Dreamers in Japan know better than to go after Azuma’s patron. Even non-native dreamers who have heard secondhand of Azuma know better than to attempt it.

Which is why, when Cobol Engineering tries to hire extractors to go after Saito, they are forced to outsource to an unhinged suspected murderer, his loyal point man, and a mediocre architect.

///

The early stages of Somnacin were riddled with problems. Unstable, inefficient, addictive–anything that could have gone wrong, did.

Her body hated every second of it, every drop that coursed through her veins. She spent the next few years in a constantly nauseated state of misery, sick and shaking, more asleep than awake and so terribly weak.

Physically, that is.

Mentally, everything she had lost was regained. The power that eluded her in the waking world flowed easily at her command, the dreamscape the most welcoming place she had been in years.

The other subjects washout–brains fried, suicide, crumbling under the pressure–but she remains. No, more than that, she thrives.

///

Azuma is not an extractor; she is not a point person or architect or chemist either. She can do all of those jobs, of course, but she thinks dividing roles that way is arbitrary and limiting. She is a professional dreamer, with all the responsibilities and capabilities involved.

Her outside reputation is as a forger, though that isn’t quite right either.

Even in dreams, no one can do what Azuma can.

///

Tetsuki is happiest when she dreams.

I’ve been really loving “It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning” by We Were Promised Jetpacks and “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons lately. I feel like there’s a thematic link there (obvious in the song titles), but the songs themselves are quite different. Do you think you can do anything with them (together) as a prompt?

I love both of these songs, lionheadbookends! I never really thought to compare them even though, as you said, their titles are similar. I suppose it’s because of when I encountered the songs (years apart, that is) and again, as you said, the feel of them is quite different; but I’ve given them both another listen with the lyrics in mind and I think I’ve got the link.

Thunder by Imagine Dragons is more easily understood as a song–not that simplicity of meaning makes it less musically entertaining–but as a piece of literature it’s fairly straightforward. An age old story of a kid from a (small) town who doesn’t quite fit, who is going to leave and make it big even though no one really believes in them. It’s almost the same idea behind a hero’s  journey–an internal call to action that differentiates the protagonist from the others in their hometown who are satisfied to stay behind.

In Thunder, it’s the vocalist vs the rest of his town/the world, but in a way it’s also the vocalist vs his own determination–can he keep going and achieve his dreams despite all the negativity trying to bring him down.

It’s Thunder and It’s Lightning by We Were Promised Jetpacks is more difficult to parse. Frankly, I’m still not sure how many people are involved in the story. There’s definitely at least two people: the vocalist and whoever the vocalist is going to guide home. That person is probably also the person whose body was black and blue. But there is probably a third person who is threatening to punch out the vocalists lights.

So as a narrative, this song might be about two teenagers dating and one of them has an abusive parent. Unless it really is just about two people in a rather disastrous relationship. But regardless it’s not really about the story so much as it is about the feeling: there’s chaos and violence and fear and at some point the vocalist decides to leave not out of an actual desire to do so but out of necessity, out of survival and desperation. And on top of that, the vocalist is not entirely sure if outside is more dangerous–it’s night and there’s a storm, no guarantee of safety, but at least it’s not where he is now about to get beaten. Bleak, yes, in comparison to Thunder which is uplifting.

In Thunder, the thunder and lightning is a good thing–a goal to be reached, to become so great that you change the sky, everyone looks up to see you, everyone listens; no one can beat you down. In It’s Thunder and Lightning, the thunder and lightning is neutral–force of nature which the vocalist decides is a better fate than the closer, human violence.

Ultimately what connects these songs, besides their titles, is the theme of leaving a toxic place–maybe to follow one’s dream towards a bright future, or maybe just to escape, braving the unknown to get away from the known danger. Moving on to bigger if not necessarily better things because to stay is to stagnate, be victimized, and die.

But you’re not here for an essay analyzing these two songs, you’re here for what I can make from the analysis as a prompt.

Frankly, lionheadbookends, whenever I see lightning (or thunder) my brain immediately goes to Tetsuki because she’s… well, she’s it for me. Maybe also Kiyoshi Utsugi–who has Lightning natured chakra as well–but given her specific circumstances it’s hard to apply prompts as easily to her.

Tetsuki is my go to OC–my everywoman, if you will–and this prompt could not be more suited to her. But it’s a very different side to her than I normally explore because it’s, well, less fun?

For me and for her, I think.

Because except for her “first life” that is, Trailblazers in KHR, Tetsuki doesn’t really have a toxic home life either because a) her families are kind if not loving or b) she has no home/family.

In her first life, Tetsuki’s parents were neglectful if not outrightly emotionally abusive. They might have possibly also been physically abusive earlier on–leading to Ryohei and Tetsuki taking up martial arts–but nothing that continued for long.

Were I to ever write Trailblazers properly, there would be a scene where, for the first time since the mafia madness started, Tetsuki’s parents came home (they travel a lot, mostly, hardly ever in Namimori which is why she can get away with so much but also where the neglect comes from) and suddenly the badass, cool senpai who will throw herself into this world of Flames and danger is just a teenaged girl who trembles whenever her parents raise their voices.

There would then be a point where–primarily the Sasagawas, but also the rest of the Family–remind her that she isn’t what they say she is, that she’s more than just a burden or an incompetent or whatever they say of her. And she leaves, probably to live with the Sasagawas properly (whose parents have always been quietly preparing for this day, pretty much have everything but the paperwork done to make her their third child) or, depending on the timeline, to a full-time member of Vongola.

So while it’s similar to the prompt idea, unfortunately, that’s not quite enough.

For this prompt I would probably go with a Viridescent–though I’m not yet sure what fandom would best house this particular episode–in which Tetsuki has the memories of her previous lives but none of the powers.

Which isn’t a combination I’ve yet done, I think. I’ve done powers and memories (Externality, Multiphenomenal, the Power Rangers Viridescent). I’ve done limited powers and limited memories (Iron Will). I’ve done powers but no memories (Deuteranomaly). But I haven’t done no power with memories.

I think I might have tried something like that previously in Big Hero 6 but I’ve put myself off of that fandom, unfortunately, and it wasn’t very good to begin with…

Because here’s the thing. In a new world where she has the memories but none of the powers, then that really brings the validity of the memories into question. If she could just randomly manifest lightning in her hand, that’s close enough to proof for the rest of the odd things in her life. But if she only has the memories and no way to prove it than what is inside her own mind, then there’s no way to tell if maybe it’s all just a delusion.

… which perhaps means it’s an Inception fic?

Hrm… but unless she encounters the characters, there’s not much point in her being in Inception given that it’s basically “the real world” but with mental espionage. And considering that, the memories themselves would give her powers as related to everyone else because she would have the best security ever if not also thorough forges or intricately physics-breaking architecture.

Ah, shit, that actually sounds pretty cool though.

So perhaps the fill to your prompt would be the “prologue” to this Inception Viridescent: like, Tetsuki is born in a “normal world” to awful parents who are, perhaps, so similar to her original, awful parents that it puts the rest of her memories into doubt. Maybe there never were any reincarnations or any fantastic powers, maybe it was just a desperate, over imaginative dream of a girl in a terrible situation.

Maybe she tries to run, tries to go to Namimori only to find it doesn’t exist. Maybe her grandmother was actually named Hisae Kaiza, but she passed long ago and certainly wasn’t a calligraphy/magic teacher. Gotham may very well exist, but there’s nothing on the level of the superheroes she knows (Nolan’verse Batman might very well be a real thing, given all of it is ~science~ and, possibly, Ra’s al Ghul’s “immortality” is him doing a pre-PASIV mind restructuring such that his consciousness gets passed onto a newer, younger body).

As far as she can find, none of her memories are real, and yet… she’d rather try to scrape out an existence out there, which may never be as good as the lives she remembers, than go back home which she knows for certain is worse.

And then maybe it gets worse. Maybe she is snatched–this is an awful world, but a lone teenage runaway who thinks she’s more powerful than she actually is will not survive long–and gets experimented on (there’s a new technology and different countries/companies are eager to be the first ones to crack it). She’s a fascinating subject, but hard to break, and so  they get her addicted to Somnacin thinking that will let them control her.

Maybe she escapes anyway, learns of extraction (and inception), of weaponizing dreaming and imagination, and turns her weakness into her strength.

I’m not saying she eventually ends up as Saito’s on-call secret keeper (extractors learn to fear the shadow of this mogul, the one whose mind can’t be broken into) but that is one way of getting her to interact with the characters. Maybe instead of him being “the tourist” it’s her.

Or maybe she’s just another professional dreamer in the world of Inception, dreaming of worlds and lives that probably don’t exist.

~

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Two Messy Misc. Fusion Fic Brainstorms (2015-10-17)

A couple of very tiny brainstorms, such tiny storms of brains… It’s a feast for zombie ants.

1) HTGAWM x Inception fusion

IIIIIIIIIIII… don’t even know? I’ve just been getting a lot Inception vibes while watching HTGAWM? Like especially the parallels between Cobb with Arthur and and Mal then Annalise with Frank+Bonnie and Sam. And, let’s be real, how much more interesting would Inception have been as a movie if it had been Annalise Keating instead of Dominic Cobb (ugh, all his manpain is like mayo on wonderbread).

Anyway so…

How To Get Away With Inception

It’s not enough to be the first. In this industry? You have to be the best.

And the best is Annalise Keating.

Featuring: Extractor!Annalise, Pointmen!Frank+Bonnie,  Forger!Connor, Chemist!Michaela, Architect!Laurel, Jack-of-all-trades?Wes, and Tourist!Asher. (Tbh, I’m iffy on Frank, Laurel, Wes, and Asher’s roles. I do want Wes to not seemingly have a specialty and so the others think he’s just Annalise’s puppy like in canon, but I also want him to be able to do stuff. OH WHAT IF–)

I dunno. I wouldn’t want it to be a one-to-one copy-paste type of fusion/crossover. But there are definitely some parallels between the two that I think it would be absolutely fascinating to explore HTGAWM through an Inception lens.

Like, maybe in a post-Inception world, dream-sharing becomes more legitimate. There are actual firms created in the defense (and intrusion) of minds. It would make sense for it to begin with lawyers–and surely an ex-lawyer would be a better extractor than an ex-architect?

Anyway, it’s a small practice at first, since really all the Keating Four (at the time, Annalise, Sam, Frank, and Bonnie) focus on is defense. But then… something happens with the Lila Stangard job. Something which leaves the mark brain dead, Sam Keating in a coma, and Annalise with a greater grasp of dream sharing than previously thought possible much less attainable.

And so Annalise supposedly stops working–stops helping the rich people of the world build security for their minds. Because now she’s breaking into them instead, extracting has always been more of a lucrative business than securing.

Except then this broke kid comes along and says he may have a way to fix Sam Keating. He’s seen something similar, but not quite. Instead of Lila and Sam, it’s Rudy and Rebecca. And, yes, that broke kid is Wes.

So Tourist!Wes into the mind of Rebecca who may have the key to figuring out how to fix Sam? Ugh, I dunno. Intricate plots are not my wheelhouse.

2) HPxDescendants fusion

Because I received this anonymous ask, and it sort of got me thinking on what I would do in my own HPxDescendants crossover. I’m not particularly motivated to do this one–Once Then Always is much higher on my list–but I figured I ought to type it out than let it stagnate in my head. And it’s not that much anyway:

In line with anonymous’ Harry is raised in Auradon… I was actually thinking it might be interesting if instead of taking Carlos’ place, Harry takes Jane’s or, maybe, is raised alongside Jane as her brother. Like… where best to hide a magical baby than with the baby of one of the most magical beings in Auradon.

But I guess the fic would be a lot about how Harry has been doing accidental magic since he was young and how that twists Jane’s self-esteem because her brother has magic but she (supposedly) doesn’t. But, tbh, I don’t care that much about Jane to the point of writing a Jane-centric HP-fusion fic.

And I guess there could be some interesting conflict/drama about how Harry’s eye color is worryingly similar to a certain evil fairy’s. And so maybe the story is about how people think that there is a good and evil fairy born to every generation then–until Harry’s true origin is revealed–the evil fairy is assumed to be Harry (when in fact it is Mal). I dunno.

I’d go about connecting the two world through magic lore, but I don’t know enough/don’t care enough to create one interesting enough to sustain a fusion fic.

Like I said. Very messy.