The Green Knight, Part 1 (2015-05-05)

The thing about being a mafia assassin is that, once said mafia famiglia stops being a crime organization and starts being a vigilante group, the need for assassinations decreases significantly. She isn’t exactly out of a job, because technically she’s a Guardian, not just any run-of-the-mill assassin (though it could be argued that any assassin isn’t run-of-the-mill, much less one from Vongola, much less one of the Decimo’s guardians), but she does end up having a lot more free time on her hands.

It’s gotten to the point where even the Secchione Sezione (“We are R&D!”) are getting sick of her hanging around and offering to test out their latest and greatest gadgets. She’s also careful not to push too much of her luck with the Foundation. Though the members remain rather fond of her, Kyouya-senpai is still disdainful of any crowding.

She sighs gustily, sprawled out on Hayato-kun’s office sofa which is positioned so perfectly in sunbeam. Uri who, unsurprisingly, tolerates her more than he does his master, is similarly sprawled over the back of the sofa. Yuzuru, her own box weapon familiar, is coiled up in his smaller form on her stomach. At the ensuing silence, she sighs again. The figure at the desk twitches but says nothing.

“Don’t make me do it again,” She warns lazily, fingers tracing along Yuzuru’s smooth, scaly body. He reciprocates by flicking his tongue  along her wrist in a friendly manner.

“Tch, just because you don’t have any work doesn’t mean the rest of us are similarly blessed,” Hayato-kun half-heartedly grumbles, typing continuously.

“Surely there must be something I can do? I’m beginning to become superfluous. You’re going to have an excess of bored Lightning natureds if this keeps up,” She thinks about Lambo-kun who, though much better than he was seven years ago when they first met, is still a force of mayhem. While she’s not quite at that level, she’ll admit to having some destructive tendencies of her own.

Whether he’s thinking the same thing or not, it makes Hayato-kun pause, shudder, and finally look in her direction, “Haru and Spanner are being productive,” Technically, Haru and Spanner are both dual natured Lightning and Storm. But she gets what he’s trying to say.

“But they’ve always been part of Secchione Sezione–”

“–They prefer to be called R&D–”

“And plus, I’ve already been by to see if they’d like my help. And they just turned me away,” She sighs once more, lolling her head around the sofa. It’s a very nice sofa.

“Well if you’re that bored…” Hayato-kun begins, turning back to his screen and sending a file to her contact lenses. As computers, the contact lenses have minimal memory, more suited to operating the aiming system and relaying video feed to the Vongola network. But within the vicinity of said network, it can be used to share small files for convenience. Or out of laziness.

“The Kingsman?” She wouldn’t say their meeting with the Kingsman was a disaster, necessarily. It had certainly gone better than what she had either hoped or expected. But she was sure they were at the level of civility and courtesy rather than beginning to swap favors. Even though the file–more a missive, really, from the one they called Merlin–is entirely in English, her fourth language of fluency, she thinks she gets the gist of it, “Why do they want one of us to take their tests? Surely they know Vongola is going to take priority over anything from them,”

“It makes sense,” Hayato-kun argues with a shrug, “They don’t actually want us to be one of their agents, they want to see what our abilities are. Seeing how far a member of Vongola, Guardian or not, can get through their tests gives them a good approximation of our relative strength.”

It’s when Hayato-kun talks like this, frankly and freely, that makes her realize how much all of them have grown. Six years ago he would have been crowing about how any Vongola member would breeze through such a test; as if being part of Vongola, being part of Tsunayoshi-kun’s famiglia, somehow made a person invincible by proxy. And while the Hayato-kun of six years ago (then still Gokudera-kun) had been willing to speak of his own personal insecurities to her, he would have rather cut out his own tongue than say anything negative of Tsunayoshi-kun (then still Sawada-kun) or his inheritance.

“Ah, is that so?” She demurs, briefly, “What were you thinking of doing with the…” She pauses, unsure of how to phrase it, “… invite?”

“To be honest, I was going to refuse it. I considered sending one of the more combat focused of Shamal’s subordinates–”

“–Kyoko’s minions–”

“But better to not send anyone than give a poor showing. Or worse, reveal Flames to them. The alliance we have with them is still precarious, we don’t want to give them more than we need to,” He continues, disregarding her interjection.

“It’s for several months though, why not send Mukuro or Chrome? They haven’t been as active recently either,”

Hayato-kun looks at her flatly, almost edging towards disbelief, “Because the alliance we have with them is still precarious,” he repeats, “And we do actually want them to trust us.”

Considering how the Mist guardians’ missions usually end up… yeah. She sees his point.

“Does that mean you trust me?” She smiles teasingly.

“I trust you not to fuck up,” He bites back, though a hint of a blush creeps along his face, “And you’re bored. Prendere due piccioni con una fava,”

“If you say so,” She agrees mildly. Which only causes him to blush more.

“I’ll send a confirmation and have the details sent to you. Now get out of my office!”

Oh, Hayato-kun, still so easily flustered. But she decides not to push him, because he did just give her a reprieve from boredom. So she leaves, gently draping Yuzuru over one shoulder, from which he settles himself around her neck with familiarity. For his sake, she tries not have too much bounce in her step; but she can’t help it–she’s excited.



For context: POV character is my OC Lightning Guardian, Tetsuki Kaiza from Trailblazers, a KHR fic I’m maybe not actually writing. She’s a year older than Tsuna/Gokudera/Yamamoto/etc, the same age as Ryohei, and a year younger than Hibari.

Also, “Secchione Sezione” means Nerd Department/Section. The two words sound remarkably similar to me–though I don’t actually speak Italian–so I thought it’d be a teasing/informal way to call Vongola’s R&D. And “Prendere due piccioni con una fava” means “To catch two pigeons with one fava bean,” which is basically the Italian equivalent of “Kill two birds with one stone.”

Naruto, KHR, and Feminism Rant

Sometimes, I like to think about various shounen series–about their blatant sexism–and ponder ways to make it less so while still making sense in canon. In particular I think about Naruto and Katekyo Hitman Reborn, in part because those two are basic world states with glaring plot holes which can be filled in pretty easily without necessarily contradicting anything… and in part because those are two that I already kind of know.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts… in particular, the ones tagged (In)Difference or Trailblazers, you’ll see that they are, unsurprisingly, semi-Self Insert!Original Characters who are female. I try not to make them Mary Sues (though, the idea of a Mary Sue is steeped in sexism), but I definitely do tend to make them treatises of feminism into that respective shounen series.

In (In)Difference, my way of dealing with the sexism of Naruto–that is, literally less than 30% of the named characters are female. [The teams are literally designed that way–one jounin, three genin, and usually only one of those are female.] is by having a kunoichi-only program called “Nae-chan.”

The reasoning behind this is that, in canon, females tend to have smaller chakra reserves and better chakra control. Well, civilians have small chakra reserves and are always dismissed by ninja as insignificant. So Konoha has a program reserved for seemingly forgettable female students with small chakra reserves and high chakra control, “Nae-chan.” They become a hidden-in-plain-sight standing army. Women can go where men cannot… women can go unseen where men cannot. And civilian women are especially invisible.

In (In)Difference, my OC, Kiyoshi Utsugi actually wanted to be a Nae-chan so as not to accidentally interact with Naruto canon characters and make things worse. But her chakra reserves became too noticeable, her control just short of enough, and there were already enough candidates that she was superfluous. She spends a lot of time afterwards still wanting to be a Nae-chan, but eventually, grudgingly, makes peace with herself as the token kunoichi on a jounin-led team.

In Katekyo Hitman Reborn, everyone has Wave Energy and there are seven kinds of Wave Energies. It is canon that people can have different types of Wave Energies, via Hayato Gokudera who is predominantly Storm type but also has Rain, Lightning, Cloud, and Sun. So it is my belief that females tend to have mixed Wave Energies as well, but in more balanced ratios such that there is no predominant type. Because of this, females tend not to be “Guardians” because they can’t be shoehorned into just one type.

Similarly, in Trailblazers, my OC Tetsuki Kaiza has energy that doesn’t match my headcanon typical female levels. She is either purely or at least predominantly Lightning (maybe with some Mist or Cloud). It is canon (manga at least) that both Haru Miura and Kyoko Sasagawa have been shot by a Dying Will Bullet, so their Wave Energies have already been activated into Flames. According to beta canon (that is video/card games) Kyoko is Mist and Haru is Lightning. But it’s also canon that Flame types tend to run in families, and I highly doubt that Haru who loves children would allow for Lambo to fight for his life if she could step in. So I think Kyoko also has Sun, like her brother, and Haru has something else such that she’s not predominantly Lightning–I’m thinking Storm, actually. And for the hell of it, I also want to give Kyoko Rain as well.

In Trailblazers, Kyoko then becomes an apprentice to Shamal since she’s basically a walking surgery with Rain being anesthetic, Mist being surgical tools, and Sun being general healing. Haru, since she doesn’t need to step up to be Lightning Guardian, is more of an inventor–she already makes clothes and it’s canon that she’s ridiculously smart so why not mix the two? Since she is dragged along to the future, she sort of learns from Spanner who already has invented gloves, a cape, etc. But when they go back to the present, they’re more like partners. And so two of the more sexist characters of Katekyo Hitman Reborn who are themselves in feminine non-combatant roles of healing and creating are confronted by female characters who were sidelined into cooking and cleaning cheerleaders in canon.

Anyway, so those are just two ways to make a sexist shounen series somewhat less so. Rant done.