Do you know the Girl Genius comics? That mention of Shikako humming as she worked made me want to prompt you for them–although asking for a “whole new” recursive AU for this event might be a bit much, lol :/ :)

I vaguely know of it but I’ve never actually read it, sorry lionheadbookends. Actually, I’m only aware of it because I’m a fan of Gunnerkrigg Court (as are you! given your avatar) and there was a card game they did together? But it was a while ago…

I’d be more prepared to do that as a new recursive AU though perhaps not in the same way. Like… instead of Shikako as the humming girl genius, it’d probably expand out to Konoha peeps are those from The Forest (or, at least, Shikako is Shadow) and other characters are from The Court… I dunno, I’d have to ponder it some more…

Oh, could you also do 32 (Wouldn’t Understand), for basically any “from another world” person? I love seeing the ways having a remembered past life from another culture makes someone feel/appear separate from the people around them.

32) things you said I wouldn’t understand

Viridescent: Or, Tetsuki Goes Feudal

“Consider me your private tutor,” says the girl seated at the table beside Kagome’s family. The weirdest thing isn’t that the girl is a stranger and yet has settled in as if she’s always had a place, or that she’s not far from Kagome in age and yet Mama and Grandpa look so trusting of her, or even that she’s wearing a sharp black suit more suited to business men than teenage girls in their very traditional shrine house.

No, the weirdest thing is the way that, when Kagome enters the house after an exhausting and filthy two weeks in the feudal era, Inuyasha just a few steps behind her, the girl doesn’t seem surprised at all.

She can definitely see Inuyasha–the both of them had been flat-footed, hadn’t thought to be wary of strangers in the house proper–but she keeps her eyes on Kagome.

“No worries,” the girl adds, after Kagome and Inuyasha have exchanged an entire conversation of looks, “I’m very discrete and very good at my job.” Mama nods, reassured.

“Which is… my private tutor?” Kagome asks, baffled. It’s true that her grades have been slipping what with all the absences in favor of time traveling, demon-slaying adventures, but getting her a private tutor seems ineffective at best and a hindrance at worst. She’s not entirely sure what Mama is thinking.

“Yes. We’ll make quite the warrior priestess out of you yet.”

The private tutor, Reborn, as she prefers to be called, is only more bewildering the longer Kagome gets to know her. She prowls around the shrine–looking for what, Kagome doesn’t know–barely bats an eye at Inuyasha even when he bares his claws at her, and has set up a makeshift archery range towards the back of the property with an array of targets and an alarming pulley and rope system.

“Traditional kyuudo is, of course, lovely and useful in its own way. An internal core of peace and discipline is nothing to scoff at,” Reborn lectures even as she physically herds Kagome toward the archery range. Kagome, who has just returned home from school after a grueling day of exams, is in no state to put up much of a fight. Nor is she in a state to go through with some kind of archery gauntlet, either.

“But it’s not terribly practical, now is it?” Reborn asks as she finally places Kagome inside of a small circle denoted by a rope braided with paper. “In a world of creatures much stronger than you, the only way archery will be able to do anything is if you’re fast and accurate.” She hands Kagome a bow and steps back to where a series of ropes hang down.

“Hit one hundred targets and protect your circle,” Reborn says, a bright, expectant, and somewhat sadistic smile spreading across her face. She tosses what looks like a water balloon up in the air and catches it; Kagome doesn’t think the water balloons are filled with water.

Kagome tries to back away, out of the circle, and finds that she cannot. “You didn’t give me any arrows!”

“One hundred targets,” Reborn almost sing-songs in response, “I won’t let you out a moment sooner.”

After a grueling several of hours of manifesting spiritual energy into arrows, trying and frequently failing to hit the moving targets, getting covered in slime that somehow reminds Kagome of that one fight against a slug youkai but far worse, Reborn finally breaks the barrier.

Then she breaks out the gardening hose even though it’s late fall, nighttime, and the water is no doubt barely above freezing. “It would be rude to track slime into the house,” Reborn scolds, “Mama already has so much to do. And plus, a warm bath will just be a quick sprint away; surely you’ve had much worse during your travels.”

True, but Kagome’s not used to having to deal with that in the modern times!

“Now, what was your first mistake?” Reborn asks pleasantly even as she blasts Kagome with frigid water.

She screeches at the temperature, “You’re awful!”

“Maybe,” Reborn acquiesces with an easy shrug, “But that doesn’t answer my question. If you really didn’t want to go through this entire ordeal, your first mistake was not breaking the barrier.”

“But you said–”

“I said I wouldn’t let you out until you hit a hundred targets–which took far longer than I would have expected, we’ll work on that–but I didn’t say that you couldn’t let yourself out.”

“But I don’t know how to,” Kagome argues, teeth starting to chatter. Futilely, she wraps her arms around herself for warmth.

Reborn raises an eyebrow at that, an almost disappointed look gracing her face. Then she sighs, shakes her head, and tosses a towel directly at Kagome’s face. “I guess we’ll have to work on that, too.”

After a bath and dinner, right before Kagome tries to speak to Mama privately about the whole Reborn situation–namely, how to get rid of her–the devil herself stops her.

“In comparison to my predecessor, I’m being kind,” Reborn says, in pajamas and bare feet, hair soft and loose and slightly damp–the soft hallway lighting of Kagome’s home and no slime balloons in sight–she really does look like a normal teenage girl and not the youkai sent to torture her in modern times.

The smile Reborn gives this time is rueful, regretful, “I suppose such a standard isn’t hard to beat given he used to literally shoot us with guns–” an alarming statement that she brushes right over, “–but the thing that he messed up from the beginning was never telling his student the intent behind every awful, cruel lesson. I won’t make that same mistake, mostly because I don’t have the luxury to do so.

“He could follow his student in his adventures and if things really got tough, not only beyond the limit but beyond capabilities, then he could step in and help,” at this Reborn meets Kagome’s eyes, “I can’t do that with you. I have to make you strong enough to stand on your own. And I know you have your friends, your own guardians, but they shouldn’t have to worry about protecting you all the time. If anything, you should want to be stronger so that you can protect them, too. Lead them, even.

"If that’s not something that you want, then go ahead. Tell Mama to send me away. I wouldn’t want to teach someone like that anyway.” At that, Reborn steps back, bare feet padding towards the spare room, leaving Kagome alone to process her thoughts.

She talks to Mama.

The next day, Kagome–with only a little complaint–steps into the circle, bow in hand. Mama and Grandpa and Souta all watch from a safe enough distance away, the remains of a  picnic set up as they get ready for the main event.

And Reborn, smiling, bright, expectant, and somewhat sadistic, says, “Because you’ve had a nice rest a good lunch and your wonderful family to cheer you on, now you have to hit two hundred targets!”

~

A/N: … I’ll be honest, lionheadbookends, this prompt was pretty difficult? I started and stopped a lot of different ideas and I’m not really all that satisfied with this one nor do I think it matches the prompt but I got about halfway through and decided this was probably the closest I would get so… here it is. Tetsuki in the Inuyasha world, training Kagome to be a better warrior.

Ooo~ “Things you Said”, you say? I feel like Shikamaru/Shikako are stuck in 24 (clenched fists) right now, so maybe you could contrast that against 6 (under the stars and in the grass) for them?

canon Dreaming of Sunshine, 6) things you said under the stars and in the grass

Shikamaru listens to the rustle of a page turning, feels the prickle of grass against his skin, breaths in the spring air. He enjoys his day.

Shikamaru is young, only a first year student at the Academy, and does not yet know what terrors await him and his sister. (Shikako knows already, though not every one, but that is something she will keep to herself long after those terrors have passed.)

For now, the twins are but children, calm and content in each other’s presence enjoying a pleasant afternoon.

Another rustle of paper, another page turned, a soft excited gasp from beside him.

Normally, curiosity is something that will just lead to more work and so Shikamaru usually squashes it down, but in this moment, fleeting and bright, he decides there is no harm in following it.

“What are you reading?” Shikamaru asks, sliding one eye open and turning his head. Shikako doesn’t like it when there’s too much attention on her, doesn’t like to feel as if she’s inconveniencing anyone even the slightest. Shikamaru has learned to be subtle.

He is rewarded when Shikako turns toward him, book held in her hands, both of them with their backs on the grass and side to side. She holds the book aloft so they can both see the pages.

“The declassified mission record of Tetsuo Utsugi,” Shikako says, indicating the black and white etching of a vast landscape, a small figure standing in the foreground as contrast.

Shikamaru stays quiet, but internally he thinks he doesn’t like it very much. The figure of Tesuo Utsugi is alone in the picture.

“He was a special jounin from before the times of the Sannin who traveled around the continent having adventures,” his sister enthuses, unaware of Shikamaru’s growing, mystifying unease.

“Is that something you want to do?” he asks, because he honestly doesn’t know. Shikamaru’s future is tied to the clan, to the village–his future is set, Shikako’s isn’t. But the only time she’s ever expressed a preference was to join the Academy instead of Shogakko.

Shikako shrugs, their bony shoulders bumping into each other. She lowers the book so it lays on her belly and joins him in staring at the sunny sky.

For a couple of hours, Shikamaru considers the conversation done. They go home, do chores, have dinner, and go to bed; sky long since gone dark, studded gently with stars.

But only a few minutes later, Shikamaru hears his door open, the soft glow of Shikako’s chakra lighting the room. He shifts to make space for her and after a moment she joins him under the blanket. At first she is silent, but Shikamaru is patient.

“If I do want to go on adventures,” Shikako starts, hesitant, “You’ll be here when I come back, right?”

Shikamaru frowns, “You don’t want me to go with you?”

Shikako shakes her head, cheek pressing into the pillow, “They might be dangerous.”

“Then it’s better to face them together,” he responds. The conversation falls into a lull, the quiet and the dark and the warmth lulling the both of them to sleep.

Nearly a decade later, Shikamaru will remember this conversation and realize that Shikako had never actually agreed.

Thank you for the prompt fill! ^_^ I’m not sure why, but I got the feeling of a time travel fic? I really can’t pin down why, tho :/ I absolutely loved the split between the frailty of her body and the strength of her mind.

You’re welcome! I filled it and then worried that it wasn’t anywhere close to what you wanted, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂

I suppose the time travelly vibe might come from the “current physical Tetsuki is frail, but past dream Tetsuki is as strong as ever,” so that back and forth between the two states mimics time travel in a way?

And just my constant love of weird time travel shenanigans leakig through.

(Also, please do send in a prompt for the ask box things you said event! I love receiving your prompts even if I’m never sure I’m filling them properly)

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 got a little snip of a snip to share as a prompt, if you’d be okay with that? I’ve got vague plans to include it in a story later, but no better place to share it than wiith you (I think you’d make excellent use of it, if it sparked some inspiration in you). ?

I would love to see it, lionheadbookends! I’m just a little worried that… well, sometimes whenever I see another author execute a concept before I do I tend to feel unmotivated to tackle that myself, and I wouldn’t want to do the same thing to you. I mean, I love getting prompts, don’t get me wrong, and I would love it if whatever I write helps you turn your vague plans into reality, I just wouldn’t want to overstep my boundaries and discourage you instead.

If you’re not worried about a conflict of interest, per se, then hells yeah send it my way! I tend to over analyze and worry about things others might not, so you can just ignore my own trepidation.

I meant that it wasn’t a “would you ever write” question, lol. :) And I meant “he” in reference to Ibiki. In my mind it went “Aoba talks to Kisuke, who reports to Ibiki, and because of that close interaction, Aoba has to deal with how scary Ibiki is as well as the various deities.”

Oh, okay. That makes sense. 🙂

I think there’d definitely be one point when Aoba is getting menaced by a deity and in his head he’s just like… Ibiki is way scarier than this. And then he’d be horrified by the thought of Ibiki being himself with additional ~CELESTIAL POWERS~ and that’s what makes him flinch.