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:


Just give up one of them.

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


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.

Word Prompts (S63): Sorrow (2016-06-18)

A pocket watch flies through the air: the metal simple, shining silver, the edges dinged slightly, the chain trailing like a comet’s tail. It hits the wall with little fuss, nothing breaks, maybe a new dent.

She wants to scream.

Except no one is around to hear–this city is an empty shell, concrete, metal, glass and weeds through the cracks–so she follows through.

“Haven’t you taken enough from me?” Leanne screams, the answering silence roaring in her ears.

“I’ve seen too much, I’ve lost too much!”

She walks over to her fallen watch, kneels in front of it, desperate and gone mad.

“Please, please,” she says.

Just leave me alone, she doesn’t.

Odell… she’s heard the name before. But not in this context. Not as Brian Odell, real name of vigilante Griever, but somewhere else.

Someone else.

“Yasmine,” she breathes, the connection finally made, lightning running through the wires of her brain.

Yasmine Odell, one of the members of the short lived Team Spectra. The doctor. Or, alternatively, the assassin.

Leanne has a scar on her shoulder from one of Yasmine’s scalpels–she’s lucky she got away with only that, though mostly that’s because it was an accident. They had surprised each other.

Yasmine had been equally understanding about the broken nose.

By Yasmine’s first birthday, she had been an orphan.

Faye remembers her sister uncannily well, considering they only had a little over a decade together and Faye lived to see fourteen of them.

Guilt and rage and hope do that to a person’s memory.

So when Leanne appears, looking all of twenty five, Faye can confidently say, “You’ve gotten old.”

Her sister disappeared at nineteen; had shorter hair and far less scars. Didn’t nearly cry so easily, either.

“So have you,” the brat chokes out, taking the seat by Faye’s bedside without permission.

“That’s what over a century of living does to you,” Faye retorts, before generously acquiescing, “You can hold my hand if you like.”

For a moment, she’s afraid Leanne won’t take it. She doesn’t know why–Leanne’s never been intentionally cruel.

Leanne’s hand is so careful to curl around her own, for once Faye the softer and frailer one.

“I’m sorry it’s been so long,” Leanne says, around ugly tears, nose stuffed up.

“Shut up and tell me what you’ve been doing,” Faye says instead of indulging a pity-party.

It’s as if she’s a teenager again; Faye falls asleep to the sound of her older sister’s voice.

She doesn’t wake up.


A/N: Because when I have writer’s block for DoS fic, I bring out Counterclockwise and see what I can do this time to make things worse.

Counterclockwise (2016-06-14)

“Don’t try to be a hero,” Henry said to her once. What is, perhaps, most surprising about it isn’t that he told her this as Henry, rather than his usual Starling demeanor, but that she had learned to tell the difference between the two.

“What?” She had asked, so oblivious then, yet so unwilling to take the advice given to her. This, however, she had listened to even if she hadn’t fully understood it at the time.

“It’s something my mentor Firefly told me, when I first began training,” he explained, as best he could. Someone trained into this life from childhood trying to communicate with a near-civilian, their backgrounds so different. “Our purpose isn’t about being a hero, it’s about surviving what other people can’t. Not because we’re invulnerable, but because we can outsmart whatever is thrown our way.”

He smiled then and Leanne thought–or will one day think–that it may have been the first time he ever smiled at her. And it may be the only time he ever did.

For that moment, he wasn’t the perfect prodigy student of a legendary vigilante and she some random bystander unwittingly blundering onto the team. For that moment, they were–not equals, exactly, but similar. Empathetic.

Like he said, they weren’t invulnerable; didn’t have accelerated healing rates or full-body energy shields. They were both human, trying to survive on a team of powerhouses and meta-humans.

It’s not about being a hero, he had said, it’s about survival.

She wouldn’t fully understand it until after she had stopped being the former, and had been consumed by the latter.

Caleb had been kind to her, when Leanne was first starting out, mostly because he was the most sympathetic to her. Not because they were in any way alike, but because they were so different as to nearly be opposite. And they both knew it.

He was almost literally born to the life of a vigilante: his father had been one and he, along with Caleb’s step-mother, had raised him to be, if not a vigilante himself, then very aware of the lifestyle and what it meant to society. It also didn’t hurt that he was a meta-human from birth–invulnerable, with enhanced senses and strength.

He grew up expecting that he would one day step into his parents’ world, had been preparing for it his whole life, it would seem. Knew the ups and downs of it, but had deemed it–not an obligation, something to be taken up as part of his family’s legacy–but rather a responsibility. Something that he, with his abilities, had a duty to use on behalf of those less fortunate.

Which is perhaps the mindset that he had with her all along. A little unflattering, but probable: it’s not like he had ever been swept up by a random doctor and thrown onto a team with strangers without warning. She had far less knowledge, experience, and capability than him and everyone knew it. But rather than acting superior–though he was, in fact, in all senses of the term–he had tried his best to reach out and help her.

Too bad she had been too stubborn to accept it until it was too late.

Tetsuki? Oh, now, there’s a story that’s hardly worth the telling.

They were like fire and ice, oil and water, cats and dogs; as incompatible as all the cliché sayings one could think of. They were two gears asked to work together, but one was for a clock the other an engine, and all of their teeth merely scratched and jammed rather than clicked in synch.

After time and experience and many failed attempts–mistiming and miscommunication and some embarrassing crashes sprinkled about–they would learn to, if not read each other, then at the very least predict each other’s actions. They were functional, at least, if not compatible.

They never would be friends, but they had been teammates and that meant something more.

Hari is the one who she had been most uncertain about–mostly because he had seemed so uncertain of her in turn. Almost… scared of her, occasionally, which seemed so ludicrous at the time because what could she possibly do to a four hundred pound adolescent lion with the claws and teeth to match when the only thing she had was a wonky pocket watch?

Of course, it took her about ten years–in both directions, coincidentally enough–to realize that it was because her first time meeting him? Was definitely not his first time meeting her.

“There, there, it’s okay. I’m here, Hari, I’m here,” she murmured to the side of a familiar little boy’s head, crouched down so he could wrap his skinny arms around her neck. It was soothing nonsense, she didn’t think her presence could actually make this situation acceptable. He answered her with a sob, but tried his best to muffle it into her shoulder, the fabric of her top already becoming damp with his tears.

The police officers swarming around the scene barely sent a glance her way, most likely too focused documenting the evidence and preventing a crowd to worry about a woman who had managed to calm the only survivor. Or, perhaps, they knew her.

One of the older detectives looked familiar, like the relative of someone she had met previously; or the same person aged several years. After all, she had a brief stint as the fourth member of a vigilante team before her watch had whisked her away. For once it had been fairly chronological, if not entirely continuous: after four months of fighting alongside Apex, Griever, and Silverfang, she had disappeared only to reappear about two years later, a block away from where she was now.

Hari’s crying was tapering off, it seemed, though he wouldn’t relinquish his hold on her. “Shall I carry you, then?” she asked him, and did so when he slowly nodded in return; his short hair ticklish against her cheek.

“Anachron,” the familiar looking detective called to her once she stood, waving her over to join him. It seemed so strange, having people in the past know her by the name she had yet to take up. She hadn’t thought to come up with a new vigilante codename–it had taken her long enough to decide on that one, let alone a second one.

… Although, that would explain why everyone ‘in the industry’ so to speak had looked at her oddly when she announced her choice. To them, it had probably seemed like she had just taken some outdated minor hero’s name and tried to pass it off as her own. Then again, Hari had been rather supportive of her choice so maybe he had known all along.

Considering the weight in her arms, it’s a sound theory.

“Yes, detective?” she prompted, once she got close enough not to need to shout across the crime scene.

“It’s good to see you again, even if under shitty circumstances,” he said, a small smile twitched beneath his mustache, “Thought you had gone for good.”

“So did I,” she said, with a shrug, or as much of one she could manage with a child wrapped around her torso.

The detective nodded, before sobering up, “This is a fucking nightmare, though. The kid shouldn’t have to stay. I know some of the rookies are going to have trouble sleeping tonight.”

Leanne nodded, unsure what else to do.

“Could you keep an eye on him? He seems to like you well enough, and if he is what I think he is, none of my officers will be able to handle him if he acts up.”

She could feel her mouth flatten into a displeased frown. For all that the intent was good, his word choice could be improved, “What do you think he is?” she asked instead of correcting him.

The detective’s own mouth twisted into a frown for a different reason. He gestured at the crime scene, barely visible through it’s partition of yellow tape and police officers. At the other children, less lucky than Hari, with iridescent red scales or feathery wings or even, she noted with a shudder, with skin the same waxy green of leaves.

Some sick bastard building a menagerie of meta-human children. And while, for now, Hari maintained his human form, it wouldn’t be hard to infer the reason behind his presence.

After the pointed silence, she decided, “I’ll bring him to Kaiza’s. He ought to be checked out by a doctor, anyway.” While she doubted she’d up and disappear so soon after a jump, it’d be better if she set up alternate supervision just in case.

“I’ll let Social Services know,” the detective agreed, before dismissing himself and heading back into the fray.

As she walked away, undeterred by officers beyond a few cautious gazes, she heard Hari mumble quietly, “Anachron?”

It’s the first word he said since she found him, surrounded by corpses and uniforms, not a kindness in sight. She gave herself a moment to compose herself.

“Yes, it’s my codename. The one the police use so I don’t have to tell them my real one,” she explained.

“So the real one is a secret, so the bad people don’t find you,” Hari responded and she could feel her heart breaking.

She smoothed a hand up and down his back, the thin material of his shirt soft from being so threadbare. “Yes, something like that.”

He pulled away from her then, but only enough to look her in the eyes. “What’s your real name, then? You already know mine.”

She smiled at him then, tight and painful, and hoped he wouldn’t notice the difference, “You can call me Ann.”


A/N: This is longer than I thought it would be… but I’m rather satisfied with it. Some team fic feels, because… ripping her away from her time wouldn’t be nearly as terrible a fate if she didn’t love her team. 🙂


Man, why didn’t I think of that sooner? It is both ‘not chronological’ which is basically her life and her power, AND you can give her the nickname Ann for both names. IT’S PERFECT!

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 (D30): Distance

In a blank, empty room, Bastian sits.

His arms bound together, his legs tied to the chair. He waits. The fluorescent lights fading him out to a pale mirage.

On the other side of the observation glass, the team watches him. Most of the team, anyway. One of their number is conspicuously missing.

“Where is she?” Bastian calls out, even though he’s not supposed to be able to sense them through the soundproof walls.

Or maybe he can’t and is just talking to himself.

Either way, it’s unnerving.

“Where is she?” he repeats, louder, beginning to shift in his bindings–slowly, calmly, as if testing the strength of it.

Henry glances at his stepbrother, not quite worried, but seeking confirmation.

“It’ll hold,” Caleb says, “I can’t even get out of those.”

“I can’t fry them, either,” Tetsuki adds, because with the kind of stunts they’ve seen Bastian pull off, that’s not something they can entirely discount.

“Where is she?” Bastian asks again, words stretching out, syllables liquid and lazy and patient.

“Shouldn’t she be here?” Hari asks from the corner of the room he’s staked out for his own, back jammed against the wall. Of the four of them, Bastian has hurt him the most–all of Goldheart’s attacks close range and physical.

“No,” Starling answers, briefly and simply, and the rest of the team falls in line.

Until, suddenly, Bastian’s head tilts to the side, listening to an imaginary noise. His mouth stretches into a smile.


The team startles, but Henry always has to be two steps ahead, doesn’t have the luxury of being startled, “Goldheart, Thunderbolt, go out there–if she’s here, take her away. Find out why she’s come, who tipped her off. She should still be at Doctor Kaiza’s now. And send some uniforms in here. Zenith, with me. We’re escorting him back to his cell.”

Hari and Tetsuki move to leave, soldiers following orders; Caleb steps back and to the side instinctively to guard Henry’s flank.

“Leanne!” Bastian calls out again, energized. Eager.

“And make sure they bring a muzzle!” Henry shouts after them, before turning to his stepbrother. In the space between them, he says, ever so quietly, worried and confused, “What is she doing here? She shouldn’t be here.”

Bastian may have hurt Goldheart most often, but the one he’s hurt the worst?

It’s always been Leanne.

Word Prompts (C59): Costumes

In a back alley of a side street in a rundown block of a near forgotten neighborhood is a small shop owned by Regina Monarch. Though, of course, no one knows it as such.

The shop’s sign is constantly turned to “CLOSED,” and the lights of the store room are always off; the door remains locked and the bell forever silent. But upstairs, oh, that is a different story.

Because upstairs is where the magic happens.

“Get out of my room!”

A pincushion sails through the air and bounces–harmlessly, of course, the points of the needles sheathed safely within–off of Galileo’s face. He catches it before it falls to the floor, reflexes and the instincts making it easy.

Instead of doing as bidden, like a contrary cat, he slinks forward, stepping carefully across the floor until he can rest one hip against Regina’s work table.

“Can I see what you’re working on?” he asks, inanely, for he can already see the fabric beneath her hands and the head of her sewing machine.

“No,” she replies, equally contrary, though it doesn’t amount to much.

Galileo tilts his head, trying to decipher the shape and pattern and color. “Is that for me?”

“No,” she repeats, pulling the fabric across the plate and watching the needle stitch in furious jabs. Once finished, she holds it up–the shape of a bodice in a purple so dark it looks almost black. “This wouldn’t really fit your aesthetic, now would it?”

Galileo’s suit is designed to make him look more masculine–broaden shoulders and emphasize muscles–to differentiate the shape of the mercenary King from the whipcord thin Galileo. Which is not to say that Galileo has never needed to put on a corset for a job.

“Who is it for, then? A customer?” Because Regina Monarch’s shop only really serves one entity, and that is the identity that they created together.

“A gift for our new partner,” she says, before carefully putting down the bodice and pulling up a photo on her tablet.

Galileo stares at the blurry shot of a robbery from earlier today, an out of focus green-haired girl slightly off-center.

“Isn’t she one of the heroes?”

Regina smiles, and musingly says, “Not for long, I think.”


A/N: random thing mashed out lalalala

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.

Counterclockwise (2016-04-12)

The day she finally gains full control over her powers is the day she realizes she can never go home. After the immediate stab of despair steals the breath from her lungs, she is left with only complete resignation.

She no longer has a home.

She’s spent more of her life traveling than she lived in her original time. Or, at least, she thinks so.

All she has to judge by is the way her body ages, how many days she can recall living–and there is no telling how accurate that is.

“Don’t I get a phone call, at least?” she asks, needling at the officer the same way his presence always scratched away at her, “Do you even have phones still?”

He remains silent, so she skips to the heart of the matter, “Where is Bastian?”

She has watched her father die six times: the first was when she was just a normal teenager, before she inherited the watch and all the perils that came with it.

Instances two through five were a futile attempt to stop it or, at the very least, figure out what actually happened.

She’d rather forget the last time.

Somehow, Leanne is able to say her goodbyes to two people–though it is not as much a blessing as she would have originally thought.

Faye is an old woman, with grown children and grandchildren to call her own, but it is Leanne who sits at her bedside for her last breath.

Thunderbolt, a lone vigilante now, goes out in a bright explosion of energy that Leanne just barely escapes, crying her eyes out.


A/N: I’VE FINALLY COME UP WITH A TITLE FOR THIS SERIES! WOOOHOO! Now I gotta go back and rename all the previous installments…

Counterclockwise (2016-04-10)

Her life is ruined because of that damned pocket watch. No home, no family, not even a time to call her own.

But some of her best memories are because of that watch, so she can’t truly regret it.

There is a bridge. It is a perilous thing, people more prone to falling than crossing, but still it is a bridge all the same.

She crosses beneath, jumping back and forth from stone to stone across the river.

With a heavy thump, she drops to the floor, sitting against the wall in exhaustion. It is not the best place she’s ever stayed–the walls grimy and the corners of the room draped with cobwebs–it’s small and dirty and empty, but it will do until her watch takes her away.

It takes five months.

She waits: she’s gotten good at that. She’s also gotten good at hurrying and rushing around, but that is just the rhythm of her life now.

Running and stopping across time, a dance which she cannot hear the music to.

Maybe one day she’ll be done–though it’s far more likely she’ll die before that. But it’s a nice dream to have, when the nights are cold and the days stretch long.

Maybe one day she’ll get her life back.


A/N: A bit busy, sorry, here’s some stuff in the Leanne Peridot universe