Externality 7a/? (2018-01-19)

Tetsuki sits sullenly, drained and yet somehow simultaneously full of fury, while a member of Konoha’s Medic Corps attends to the absolute mess she’s made of herself.

In the spirit of synergy that the village loves to espouse, the different departments are intrinsically attuned and linked to each other. In this case, the Medic Corps practical healing lessons are scheduled for just after the Academy’s trimester exams.

The medic in front of her–still a boy himself, only a few years older than her at most–clicks his tongue in disapproval, “You couldn’t figure out a smarter way?”

Tetsuki would bristle at that, but the wash of cool healing chakra on her injuries is far too soothing. She says nothing instead.

“Well, at least you’re not the worst off we’ve had today,” he continues, and she wonders if this is part of Medic Corps training, bedside manner in way of gossip. When she makes a noise of curiosity, he elaborates–no, she wasn’t the worst off they’ve had today. She got away relatively easy in the mayhem of that last battle, a broken nose and a couple of bone bruises being the worst of her injuries.

They had to bring in a Hyuuga medic to undo the Jyuuken blocks on some of the students–but that was to be expected with Neji Hyuuga in their class. What was unusual was that they also had to bring in someone from the Genjutsu Squad.

“For what?” she asks, voice a little nasally sounding despite the healing.

“Rock Lee,” says the medic with a sigh in his tone, a shrug on his shoulders, “He’s as terrible at genjutsu as ever, can’t break them on his own,” he continues familiar and exasperated.

Her first reaction is a wordless wave of guilt.

The second is a realization: the medic is younger than she previously thought

The forehead protector and the Medic Corps uniform make him look older, closer to an adult than the year separating them should provide. He has a purpose, a place in the village beyond just being a mere student.

She wonders if she might also be the same when she graduates…

… if she graduates, that is.

~

A/N: Cameo of another OC for funsies

Externality 6e/? (2018-01-18)

In the orphanage, family is an impossible dream. Adoption an unheard of miracle, passed down as whispers from the older children to the younger in the dark of the night. The closest thing to bedtime stories they get.

But a team is more attainable and nearly as good–better, if you believe the propaganda. Good teammates will be in your thoughts and in your heart, have your back and your trust.

Together, the ideal team functions seamlessly, different parts of a greater whole. Together, the ideal team can easily defeat an army ten times their size.

They are not an ideal team.

They are not even a team.

Frankly, in all the chaos, it’s hard to tell if they’re on the same side.

Tetsuki jerks backward to avoid a hit, only to duck and get knee to the nose while avoiding a set of shuriken from the treetops. They embed themselves perfectly into her opponent’s calf–he howls in pain and she definitely takes the opportunity kick out at his other leg, bringing him down completely–but they could have easily stuck into her shoulder instead.

TenTen’s aim is perfect, but it doesn’t account for allies getting her way.

Naruto Uzumaki learned this the hard way, kunai sticking out of his shoulder until he pulled it out and used it for himself.

The both of them are absolutely filthy by this point: dirt and blood, a fair share of it their own, staining their clothes. Neji Hyuuga doesn’t have this problem–a neat pile of paralyzed bodies clustered at his feet.

There’s so much going on–so many people and weapons and other metallic knickknacks, zippers and buttons and jewelry–that Tetsuki can’t tell if any of them have tokens on them. She doesn’t have the time to more thoroughly search them, either, not when for every opponent she takes down another two pop up.

It’s no longer just the mob they’re fighting at this point–the ruckus of large scale battle attracting the more active and eager of their classmates. Only the light of the moon and the occasional flash bang illuminates the space, with clashing kunai and the scent of blood in the air, it really is like a true shinobi battle.

At this point, it barely has anything to do with the exam, hidden grudges bubbling up easily without adult supervision. Tetsuki herself is not entirely immune to the fever of battle:

“Hey you,” she says to the sensible son of a bitch Komadori. All the warning she provides before punching him right in his surprised face. But tit for tat is not the way of shinobi, grudges are not resolved by simply balancing the equation, and so what should have been a simple surprise hit becomes a prolonged fight.

This time Tetsuki uses everything she has, doesn’t limit herself or conserve energy for running away. Genjutsu falls over him in layers, shrouding his senses, but his memory and practiced motions pull him through, chakra flaring to throw off her efforts. She responds feral, brutal, and so does he.

They are still fighting when TenTen runs out of weapons, the clearing liberally sprinkled with her efforts, and she has to drop into the fray herself. They are still fighting when Naruto Uzumaki and Neji Hyuuga stumble into each other–the latter’s Byakugan deactivated for some reason–and are forced to literally fight back to back. They are still fighting when the sun rises, sky blazing orange, and the exam officially ends.

They are fighting up until Yanagi-sensei and Hinoura-sensei bodily pull them apart, well-rested adult selves easily lifting their exhausted child bodies, and it’s as if she suddenly wakes up.

Her entire body throbs furiously, painfully, adrenaline wearing off and leaving her with the consequences of her actions. She squirms in Yanagi-sensei’s hold to search for Naruto Uzumaki, to meet his eyes and apologize because–she forgot about the exam. Forgot about his objective and the token. Forgot about him.

Failed him.

Externality 6d/? (2018-01-17)

TenTen is somewhat skeptical, approaching with both hands on her kunai–Tetsuki doesn’t take it personally, she knows kunai are more akin to comfort objects than weapons to TenTen–until she reads the crumpled up objective cards:

At Tetsuki’s, she blinks curiously. At Naruto Uzumaki’s, her jaw tightens.

Tetsuki can’t help but to smile at that.

Even if they can’t convince Neji Hyuuga to help, she certainly wouldn’t mind having an expert in ranged weaponry on their side. And it’s nice knowing that TenTen is just as pissed off as she is–their personalities may be different, but their backgrounds may as well be identical.

On the streets, no one gets what they want. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get even.

“Assurance that we’re not here for your tokens,” Tetsuki says, gesturing to the pair of dark purple armbands still on the ground. “Not that we would have been able to get them anyway,” she adds after a slight pause, jerking her shoulder, her chakra-blocked arm swinging almost grotesquely.

“If your fate is to fight half the class then I’m not going to interfere,” Neji Hyuuga states, Byakugan deactivated no doubt due to how nonthreatening she and Naruto Uzumaki are compared to him.

TenTen shoots a glare at him, but stays silent.

Tetsuki can feel her heart crawl into her throat, though she doesn’t know why. This isn’t exactly a surprising outcome.

She doesn’t know what to say.

“You’ve interfered already, asshole,” Naruto Uzumaki says, lifting up Tetsuki’s right arm–so numb she didn’t even feel him grab it. “You could just say you’re too scared to fight. You think you’re great ‘cause you get shit just handed to you in your fancy clan and the teachers kiss your ass? We don’t need help from a stuck up coward like you!”

Tetsuki stares at him in open shock. In her peripheral vision, she can see TenTen do the same.

You can’t just say stuff like that to a clan member’s face!

But maybe having a last name gives him some kind understanding because instead of walking away, figurative bridge burned between them, Neji Hyuuga’s hands dart out in quick succession.

And suddenly Tetsuki can feel the grip of Naruto Uzumaki’s hand around her wrist… before a flood of static sweeps across her nerves, chakra rushing back into her arm without the Jyuuken blocks to hold it back. She hisses in pain.

“There’s not enough time for me to explain how wrong you are,” Neji Hyuuga says, briefly reaching up for the wraps around his forehead before deciding against it.

There is a story there, an open secret of Konoha–the Hyuuga clan is hiding something, but only the upper echelons know what. Even if Neji Hyuuga were the kind of person to share his burden with others, they are barely acquaintances, much less friends.

Maybe in the future.

Naruto Uzumaki twitches, head tilting one way then the other as if in confusion or–more likely, as Tetsuki picks up the sounds herself–in concentration.

Neji Hyuuga is right, there’s not enough time:

The mob is coming.

~

A/N: Whaaaaat? It’s back?

Trailblazers (2017-12-24)

Their romance is nothing like a fairy tale–too steeped in the violence of their work–but it’s real and true and everything Tetsuki wants.

She marries a good man, solid and stable, who makes her feel like she can be a good woman, too, if she just wills it.

Every kiss from Tetsuya makes her feel like the heroine of her very own story.

She loves Komadori, but not the way he hopes for–still, he is dear to her, and her to him, and it is difficult to be vulnerable in a world of war.

She reaches out, accepting his touch, and lets the intimacy speak for her.

He is a good man; it’s unfortunate Tetsuki isn’t the right woman.

Their’s is a lost connection, a hypothetical disaster in the making.

Azula would as soon kiss her as she would gouge her eyes out–they would surely destroy each other.

Maybe, in another life, Tetsuki would even let her try.

Love is soft and sweet again, no longer the clawing desperate creature, thread-like bonds gentle yet firm:

Tetsuki doesn’t need to say how important Maya is when her actions have already done so, words have never been how she communicates with Hiei, and it’s mostly a joke when she threatens to shave off the fox’s hair.

Tetsuki gets used to poison kisses, everything growing green around her; she’s lightheaded from giddiness as much as the toxins, luxuriating in the sensation.

Or maybe it’s the sound of machinery, oil streaked across her skin; or the view of the stars from outside the atmosphere, breathless but not suffocating.

Now she’s a heroine in more than just feeling.

~

A/N: Or, some quick three sentence fic about Tetsuki being in love?

Check out the Ask Box Advent Calendar!

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.

~

Check out the Ask Box Advent Calendar!

How would tetsuki in the bnha universe look like (tho idk if u read/watched it) (could be a prompt or u just rambling. I dont mind either way)

Unfortunately, anon, I haven’t watched/read BNHA but I think I have enough of an understanding to fill this prompt (whether as a ficlet or a brainstorm) so I’ll try my best not to to mess it up too badly.

Tetsuki is no stranger to the hero/vigilante lifestyle–and I’m not just talking about Deuteranomaly. She is originally (yes, even before Trailblazers) a secondary character from my original series Counterclockwise.

Counterclockwise does mainly follow Leanne Peridot’s not-so-kind travels through time, but “before” that happens she was the fifth member of a team of teenaged vigilantes, one of whom is Tetsuki Kaiza, aka Thunderbolt (who I then co-opted for my crazy continuous reincarnations through fandoms series, the poor dear).

Given what I understand of the world of BNHA and what I’ve written in the world Counterclockwise… they’re not ENTIRELY incompatible. Or, rather, if Tetsuki were in the BNHA world, she would have a fairly similar background as in Counterclockwise.

Because the thing is, even without Counterclockwise, I would want Tetsuki to be an older, near burnt out pro hero who has been told to take some time off and recuperate from the godawful mission that caused half of her team to die/go missing. And, of course, they’re hoping she’ll find an apprentice/sidekick to pass along her techniques but mostly they just don’t want to her burn out completely or, worse, go evil.

Obviously, they want her to take on Denki Kaminari as her temporary student, given his Electrification quirk, and maybe she does help train him or give him some tips (honestly, he needs to learn how to increase his capacity, that one hour short circuit bullshit is going to get him killed) but the thing is:

Thunderbolt’s quirk has nothing to do with electricity.

Probably in the BNHA world Tetsuki’s parents have pretty mild/less showy quirks–one of them has psychometry and the other has augmentation/negation or something like that–so it’s very surprising that her quirk is so powerful and multifunctional (yes, she is known for the electricity, but she’s also been seen doing things like casting illusions or forming barriers and such… though most believe that’s her using electricity at such an high level of intricacy that it manipulates light waves or neurons or the electromagnetic charge between atoms?)

Turns out her quirk is simply Remembering.

Given this would be a Viridescent ficlet were I to write it (and I am leaning towards doing so because this is a pretty cool idea, though I should probably learn more about BNHA before attempting it)… I am leaning towards this being one of her lives where she doesn’t remember everything immediately.

More like Externality in that sense (where she remember things gradually or unlocks memories as she needs them in times of stress). Instead of as in Multiphenomenal and that Power Rangers!Viridescent where she just knows pretty much right away, or the opposite with Iron Will and Deuteranomaly where she never really remembers but only has Very Strong Feelings/Hunches about certain things.

Which would give her story in BNHA an interesting progression because it’s assumed, that she’s at the top of her game–ridiculously powerful, an alumni (if UA isn’t a new thing, I’m not sure) who is giving out pointers to the next generation–and it turns out hey, she’s only used her “real quirk” to Remember her previous lives’ abilities but none of the life lessons or friendships or the fact that she’s destined to die before age 25.

And guess how old she is now.

I mean, the main part of it will be her recovering from losing half her team (and Remembering all the other people she’s been close to) and realizing that being close to people isn’t entirely a curse. So her lessons to Denki become less reluctant and she starts to give out pointers to the other students (and hopefully mitigates some of the frustratingly persistent sexism that is shounen series’ handling of female characters ie LET THEM FIGHT) and she becomes kind of like a TA at the school.

And then, like in Counterpoise canon, she goes supernova to protect everyone.

Or maybe, in line with this post about the lessons BNHA teaches, she doesn’t go supernova to protect everyone. Maybe she considers that but is instead convinced to maintain a barrier around the school–which ought to be easier except so much power is needed. And she doesn’t tell anyone, but it’s too much power–it’s draining her too much–and when the crisis is over, it turns out that even though she was able to maintain it her body couldn’t handle it. And so she still ends up dying, but not in a huge flashy way that glorifies self-harm.

~

A/N: Ask Box Advent Calendar is on!

more pokémon stuff? can be related to dos, or something else!

A/N: I was considering doing a “Viridescent: Or, Tetsuki Catches A Pikachu” ficlet–and went so far as to create her, unsurprisingly, all Electric-type team but then I realized that… I have no idea what that story would be. I think I just wanted to make a Pokemon team for her.

I wanted the title to be a little misleading–IS SHE PART OF TEAM ROCKET?–but the answer to that is, no, she just honestly catches a Pikachu for herself and ends up with an Alolan Raichu. And writing a ficlet for the sake of a click-baity title seemed not so much in the spirit of the ask box.

I had briefly thought of Tetsuki being the human touchstone for one of the Electric-type Legendaries–either Raikou or Tapu Koko–and most of her new life is acting as guardian for them because otherwise this world is too… peaceful for her. And that’d be a thing because her team only has five Pokemon and people would ask, where’s your sixth? (Her team would be the following: Zebstrika, Alolan Raichu, Alolan Golem, Galvantula, and Lanturn)

But then altogether it seemed like a little much for what would end up being a milk run life for Tetsuki. Not that she doesn’t deserve a vacation given what I usually put her through…

Other than that my current Pokemon series then would be the DoS fusion and Year With The Moon which is about a different SIOC.

Although I’m not sure what to do beyond that than just bringing them up though…

Hm, I guess here’s some random ficlets from Year With The Moon?

~

Ember exhales, face tilted upward, enjoying the way her breath puffs out in a cloud. For a brief moment she entertains the idea of being a Pokemon, ready to unleash her power at a moment’s notice, before chuckling at her own thought.

Curious, Sandshrew climbs up her shoulder and chitters, nuzzling against her cheek.

She smiles, smooths a hand across her Pokemon’s back, and continues walking, head still tilted upwards. Ahead of her Clefairy skips from footprint to footprint, dancing in the trail of Ember’s brother and friends.

The sky is clear, the moon is full, the stars are bright, and tonight is a wonderful night for traveling with the people and Pokemon she loves.

Yes, this is a good night.

///

She and Misty share a tent, sleeping bags curled together for warmth, whispers exchanged in the close space between them.

It’s nice.

Ember never had many… any… girl friends in Pallet Town, more than satisfied with what she had with Ash and Gary. Daisy was more role model than peer, years ahead of them to do more than act as guide, and so there wasn’t much for her there.

Misty, it seems, had a similar yet opposite problem–too many sisters but all of them older and beyond her.

Ember curls closer, lays a gentling hand on her excited, nocturnal Pokemon, and falls asleep with a smile on her face.

///

Gary is the first awake, a decade of discipline hard to break, but the care and feeding of Pokemon is so much satisfying when they’re your own.

Brock and Misty follow soon after, gym leader lifestyle no easier to forget, while the twins trail after. They lean against each other, practically propping each other up, eyes reluctant to open even as the others tease and berate them.

Breakfast today is berries and leftover onigiri–if they keep up a good pace, they’ll be in the next town by lunchtime and can have a real meal there.

Ember recalls her sleeping Pokemon to their Pokeballs, grumbling half-heartedly at their luck, before stretching, preparing for their journey ahead.

She is happy.

~

Ask Box Advent Calendar is on!

Viridescent: Or, Tetsuki Fights The Power Rangers (2017-11-17)

Her father is a fisherman in a sleepy town between the mountains and the sea.

They are a small family, but one that must work hard for their existence. She has a part time job and tries to contribute to their household of two.

Sometimes her father brings her presents–she remembers owning grander trinkets; jewelry and weapons and treasures that were both–but she likes the smooth driftwood and gleaming sea glass very much.

One day her father brings home a medallion–green encircled by gold.

///

School is school, mundane as ever, and this school is even more so. She keeps her head down and doesn’t act up and so she is invisible.

Being unseen means she can see everyone else.

She makes no friends, but neither does she make any enemies.

This does not hold true forever.

///

In her dreams a new voice appears… perhaps voice is the wrong word.

Maybe desire would be better: intent. Memory. Ghost.

But she is already haunted by many ghosts and so Rita’s rage does not overwhelm her.

///

Mr. Scott used to be drinking buddies with her father.

Used to, because now Mr. Scott is far too busy trying to hold his son back from the brink. Jason Scott is throwing his life off the rails, train wreck in the making, his potential wasted.

Or so her father says. He looks at her with grateful, relieved eyes:

She is not nearly so much trouble.

///

She gets hungry for gold. It gnaws at her stomach, her brain, Rita crooning instead of screeching, and so she decides to indulge.

But why murder and pillage when stealing is far more efficient and fun?

It’s just like stretching muscles long left unused.

///

Whatever language Rita speaks doesn’t translate very well. They are concepts more than words, emotions more than syllables.

And also, alien visual cortexes are different from human.

Yellow is still yellow (energy and recklessness), blue is still blue (loyalty and instincts), green is still green (sharp and unyielding).

But Rita’s red is more like Earth’s orange, pink closer to red, and black more of a dark purple. Or maybe indigo? Or maybe both, she never could tell the difference.

As pigment, that is.

///

She is still invisible–especially helpful now that the town is abuzz with news of the robberies–and so she notices connections bloom where before there were none.

A group where before there were only individuals.

That way lies trouble, she thinks; her father’s relieved eyes.

She turns away.

///

She just nabbed a couple of gold candlesticks from the town pawn shop, crunching into them like carrots as a midnight snack, and so Rita is as calm as she ever will be.

Because of that, the second voice deigns to make it’s presence known. It’s much quieter, beaten down and scared, but perhaps after almost two weeks of keeping Rita at bay it feels brave enough to speak.

Power Rangers, it says.

Energy Warriors, it means.

Flame Guardians, she understands.

///

But Rita’s voice is louder, angrier, and far less sentimental.

Power with a price. With a limit. Synergy–the sum greater than the parts.

The parts nothing without the sum, or so Zordon would have his team believe.

Five is powerful, yes, but not as stable as six.

She wanted independence. She wanted freedom. She wanted.

///

Months pass. The five rangers grow stronger.

More slowly, perhaps, without an enemy to prompt it, and confused at the lack of one, but stronger they grow all the same.

Synergy, the second voice whispers every time she passes one of its fellows

She supposes she can see the appeal of it, but they are looking for a fight, not a friend.

///

After her final robbery within the town–the awful cash for gold place with unfair rates–she realizes she’s made a mistake.

Not with the theft itself–no, she’s a professional… or she was one, once–but with her management of the situation.

The rangers are languishing without an enemy, but if what Rita says is true of the Zeo Crystal then someday there will be others who want it for themselves.

They need to be ready.

They need to be made ready.

///

The mountains are theirs, she can respect that, will not take that away from them. But she’s not going have the battle in the middle of town where casualties and fatalities are just waiting to happen.

The sea, then.

Just as well, it brought her the medallion.

///

Genjutsu against the sleeping rangers is ludicrously simple, but how to make it suitably frightening yet goading is the hard part. Rita and some of her other ghosts are more than happy to contribute.

The Dead Ships. Impending, if belated, doom.

Come stop her if they dare.

///

She announces that she’s going out, surprising her father who is on his own way out for work.

She never goes out, she has no reason to do so.

Fishing is best at night.

“By yourself?” He asks, worried. Then, suspiciously, “On a date?”

Ah, the perils of being the single father of a teenage daughter.

“No,” she says, “I’ll be meeting some people from school. Group project.”

She’s not really lying.

///

With the amount of gold she’s consumed–thefts branching out to neighboring cities–making a simulacrum of Rita is easy. Trusting her with it is far less so.

“There is a line,” she says. “If you cross it I will do worse than kill you.”

“Don’t think you can command me, Earthling wretch,” Rita responds.

They both know Rita doesn’t really mean it, but she definitely means hers.

///

Out in the water Rita and Goldar fight the Power Rangers in their Zords.

The sea froths from the battle, angry, ships bobbing about frantically with the waves.

There is a line.

The rangers form their own–protecting their town, struggling and straining against their enemy.

On the shore, she forms another.

///

Synergy, the second voice whispers.

Not yet, she responds.

Synergy requires trust.

///

Rita is defeated–Megazord something not even she could dream of–and as the simulacrum is slapped out beyond the atmosphere, her voice returns. Muted and exhausted; not exactly happy but… satisfied.

As a reward, there’s an ostentatious chandelier in the mayor’s house that’ll make quite the meal.

She did good, she’s earned it.

///

From her desk right next to Kimberly Hart, she notices the drawing.

She huffs a small, quiet laugh, trapping the noise into her shoulder: no need to draw attention to herself at this point.

A lightning bolt.

The significance doesn’t translate, but still. She’s touched.

///

Every Tuesday after school, Billy Cranston comes to her part time job–the legal one, that is.

He orders the cheapest thing available and sits at the smallest table and does his homework until, eventually, one of his fellow rangers calls him.

He doesn’t tell them why he does this every week. For nearly as long as they’ve known him, this is just something he does, one of his habits.

But she knows the truth: he doesn’t like donuts.

She can keep this secret, too.

~

A/N: Guess who recently watched the Power Rangers (2017) movie!

~Free movies on Delta flights~

I don’t think I’ll continue with this ‘verse. I especially don’t think this will be one of the “canon” ‘verses that Tetsuki goes to, but this fic flowed easily so…

If there are any future non-canon one-shots of Tetsuki going into other ‘verses, I’ll put it under the title Viridescent, too.

Just for fun: “Reforged”. Pairings optional. Tetsuki is reborn in the LoK era, years after her execution.

This is definitely an Iron Will!AU (or, maybe, I’ll steal the title Reforged as the actual run of Iron Will like how Trailblazers used to be named something else, because this title is SO AMAZING) and because of that I kind of want to do a lot of different reborn!AUs.

Like… in one she’s born to Fire Nation parents which is… okay? She’s okay. Definitely. Hell, she worked alongside the Fire Lord (Zuko, that is) she can handle a pair of normal civilians that just happen to be Fire Nation.

Her parents don’t understand why she shivers in their presence, constantly, even in the summer heat. Why she flinches away from too much red fabric and glances longingly, but not too often, at their kitchen knives.

It’s not entirely fear, though. A lot of it is guilt.

She’s about eight when she stops trying and failing to pretend to be normal and tries to get a meeting with retired Fire Lord Zuko.

Needless to say, the royal guards do not find this child’s requests particularly compelling.

Eventually, though, some guard takes pity on her–or gets fed up–and passes on her bizarre message: Tetsuki wants Jet’s hook-swords back.

And it eventually ends up with Tetsuki as Iroh II’s equally (if not MORE) reckless subordinate in the United Forces (she hates the uniform with a passion).

Every so often, she’ll send a letter watering down her adventures to her parents who–while they still don’t quite understand her–are very proud and love her.

Then there would be her being born to Air parents which means… Tenzin?

Hrm… that’s rather too close, isn’t it? Maybe Bumi, but considering he’s also part of the United Forces that’d be running a little close to the previous, wouldn’t it? Then again, that’s just a small similarity. Perhaps she is biologically Bumi’s daughter but raised by a single mother.

Also, I should clarify, Tetsuki isn’t a bender in any of these–even after the Harmonic Convergence.

And so the story is about Tetsuki as a lost link in the chain that is Aang and Katara’s descendants because Bumi had a ~casual encounter~ several years ago. I’m not sure if Bumi knows about her existence, but she definitely knows about his.

Unsure where I’m going with this particular version of Reforged, but that’s the only thing I can think of for Air.

Water would be… well I have two very different ideas for this. One is the more dramatic and difficult to pull off daughter-and-secret-shame-of-Tarrlok. Secret shame because she isn’t a bender, that is. Because that puts a really weird twist on the “his brother was pretending to be a nonbender but his daughter is actually a nonbender and he created/passed a lot of discriminatory laws against nonbenders”

Like all politicians, Tarrlok is a giant hypocrite.

The second is less dramatic but not entirely devoid of it, because in this Tetsuki would be Tahno’s nonbender sister. Who is largely unimpressed by his arrogance and, later, his lack of arrogance due to his lack of bending.

In either, her name would still be Tetsuki but instead of Iron Will it’d be Hand of the Moon.

And lastly Earth… again.

I guess if I went with the dramatic Tarrlok-daughter for Water I could do a similar thing as the Tahno’s sister except instead use his teammate Ming. And, well, he does have black hair and gray eyes. LIKE TETSUKI.

I’ll be honest, I stopped watching LoK before Kuvira appeared, so while I know of some of the other Earth bending characters later in the series, I don’t know them enough to feel like I’d want to put Tetsuki in their vicinity.

I suppose I could do another sort of dramatic Earth equivalent of the Water ones and have her be the daughter of a Metalbending Police officer. But instead of an evil one, maybe just a highly stressed one–like Saikhan?

‘Bend and Break’ for Iron Will (or other Avatar stuff if you want)

Ooh, Iron Will prompts, yay! Thanks, anon!

Hm, let’s see…

The title you’ve given me is very much opposite of Iron Will. Or, rather, an AU!Iron Will in which Tetsuki’s strength of character… isn’t all that strong?

Which would harken to the Fire Nation!Tetsuki AU, but just saying Bend and Break is the title of the Fire Nation!Tetsuki AU is a hug cop out.

So a specific story within the FN!Tetsuki AU… like… outside POVs of FN!Tetsuki while she’s on her travels.

I have two in mind, but I think for a full fic three or more would be better.

So the first one would be Jet’s POV. Because, like in Iron Will canon, Tetsuki does stumble upon the Freedom Fighters, if a bit later, and with her own agenda in mind.

She’s not one of the “founding members,” but she did learn manipulation in the Fire Nation court at Azula’s side, so when she joins them she gains the same amount of influence fairly easily. She doesn’t tell them not to attack Fire Nation settlements/soldiers–frankly, if they can’t handle themselves against a bunch of unruly Earth Kingdom children, they don’t deserve to be part of Azula’s future empire–but she does whisper in their ears ambitions of grandeur. After all, the Fire Nation can easily wipe away tales of fallen squadrons and failed colonies–the Freedom Fighters won’t make a mark like that.

But if they went after the Fire Nation prince? Well… there’s only one of those… and he HAS been traveling around the world on a fool’s errand. Strike the Fire Nation where they’re most vulnerable, she says, end the monarchy before it can solidify their hold over the entire world.

Jet isn’t immune to the idea.

Instead of like in Iron Will canon, where the Freedom Fighters grow and become unwieldy, in this AU, they slim down, become more ruthless. They’re on the hunt for a Fire Nation prince–they don’t have time for kindness among their members, can’t afford to be weighed down by kids who can’t contribute, can’t fight–and soon they’ve been whittled down to a small group. The core members, as it were. Leaner and more effective, which means far fewer people to be betrayed when the truth of Tetsuki’s heritage comes around (of course Zuko recognizes one of his sister’s friends, even if she is wearing Earth Kingdom colors and surrounded by Earth Kingdom teens)

She’s ruined the Freedom Fighters by giving them exactly what they want…

… but before that would be the other POV I have in mind–and I’m not sure why I didn’t say that first, but the Jet/Freedom Fighter POV just had a very nice dramatic reveal to it that it came to mind first. Specifically, the bounty hunter June, aka ZhuEn, Tetsuki’s older sister.

And unlike in Iron Will canon, in which Tetsuki doesn’t reunite with her sister until the last few episodes of the series (or post canon, even) the two of them meet pretty early on in AU!Tetsuki’s travels… mostly because Tetsuki actively seeks her out in the beginning.

Mostly because, while she did have some bounty hunting and survival lessons from their father before their grandparents took her for their own, she didn’t have nearly enough to be effective. And there’s some emotional drama, maybe, because June is just like: my lost little sister has found her way to me but all she wants is to learn bounty hunting and she doesn’t care at all that our father died but I haven’t seen her in years, etc. etc.

Whereas Tetsuki is like: our father made it perfectly clear how much he valued me when he gave me to our grandparents, so I don’t see why I should care about what happened to him, but I just wanted to see if you’d be willing to teach me, I have some foundation, I can pay you if that’s the problem just consider it a strictly business relationship, after all it’s not like you argued much if at all for father to keep me.

And then it’s like, “I was just a teenager, Tetsuki, what could I have done then?” and Tetsuki’s like, “And I was a child–your sister!–you should have fought for me!”

And, really, I don’t think there’s much in the way of resolving it. Maybe June, knowing this is the closest she will ever get to her sister after everything that’s happened, does agree to take her on as an apprentice for a year–which is how Tetsuki gets her training in the AU–or maybe she doesn’t because that’d hurt more, and so Tetsuki leaves immediately because if June won’t teach her then what’s the point of staying, which June immediately regrets?

I dunno. Emotional drama.

I’m unsure who the other outside POVs of FN!Tetsuki would be, anon, but those two in particular fit the “Bend and Break” title best.

~

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