Hi there everyone! Long time, no see, I know. DRL is crazy and has a tendancy to consume me. So, I'm kicking off my New Years resolution of writing more with stories with a response to the Mod's Shuffle Challenge! In addition to the challenge rules, I set myself an extra challenge. Because I've dabbled in many fandoms over the years, I tried to limit myself to the fandoms I haven't written in yet (or only done a couple of small things). Without further ado, I present As the World Shuffles Along Genre: General Rating: PG Time Frame: N/A Characters: Various Fandoms: Once Upon A Time, Ranger's Apprentice, Firefly, Hunger Games, Avatar: The Last Airbender ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Title: Parental Failings Fandom: Once Upon a Time Character: Emma Swan Theme: Mother Knows Best - Tangled Soundtrack Mother knows best, Listen to your mother, It's a scary world out there. Mother knows best, One way or another, Something will go wrong, I swear! ~~~ Tossing around in the unfamiliar bed, she struggles to settle into sleep, the events of the last couple of days catching up with her and making her head spin. She'd never really thought about what had happened to that baby boy from ten years ago. She had, maybe naively, placed her trust in the adoption agency to find him a good home away from the mess that was her life at that time. She'd certainly never thought about the possibility of the kid searching her out, let alone knocking at her door on her birthday wanting her help. Emma let out another unhappy sigh. What drives a child to leave everything he knows to go on a wild goose chase to hunt down the woman who gave him up without so much as naming him? At first, she convinced herself she was taking the kid-Henry-back to get him out of her life, and away from the memories, the responsibility. Then Regina came into it. She control the poor kid's life to the extreme, and the lack of love or even comfort in his small world of Storybrooke struck a chord in her heart. She'd never thought of herself in any way, shape or form to be maternal. So why was she so reluctant to leave this boy? Regina?s manner that only she knows best for Henry... Emma knows damn well parents make mistakes. Hell, she's never really gotten over the mistakes of her own parents. And she doesn't want to remember the things that the foster system taught her about bad parenting. Henry was being crushed by his adopted mother. And she couldn't leave him now. She was far from perfect, but surely she could still try to protect him, couldn't she? Even though it terrifies her. Turning back over again, she eventually settled into an uneasy sleep, her dreams haunted with shadowy figures of knights and running through the woods. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Title: Ashes to Ashes Fandom: Ranger's Apprentice Character: Halt O'Carrick Theme: The Burned Out Village - Mulan Soundtrack ~~~~ Halt was stony-faced as they passed through another empty village, signs of the raider's fire marking the buildings. He was glad to hear silence from his two companions, who had tried to talk his ear off earlier. He was in no mood to talk. While he has considered Araluen home for many, many years, the tug in his heart for the place of his birth remained. The country and villages around Dun Kilty had been the settings for his childhood adventures. A lot of hiding from tutors, as well. To see Clonmel in this ragged state hit him harder than he had thought it would. Not to mention how mad it made him. Tennyson's people had clearly been able to waltz in, Halt saw no evidence of even token protection offered by the King. Although, considering said King, Halt wasn't necessarily surprised. Underneath the cowl of his Ranger’s cloak, a deep scowl etched itself into his face. Logically, he knew that the local knowledge he had of the area, outdated as it may be, made him the perfect choice for this mission. But the thought of stepping into Dun Kilty again wasn’t a prospect he relished. And as to Ferris’ reaction... Well, he guessed he would find out that reaction soon enough. Maybe he could kidnap his younger twin and toss him into the ashes of one of the local villages to make his point. Halt smiled grimly. That, at least, had potential. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Title: Strange Medical Cures Fandom: Firefly Characters: Wash, Simon Timeframe: Intra-series Theme: Yodelling Veterinarian of the Alps – Veggie Tales ~*~ Some would stand in silence While some just scratched their scalps For the curious ways Of the yodelling veterinarian of the Alps. ~*~ “You’re lying.” “No! My hand to God! Geese were juggled!” Simon’s face was distrusting as he listened to the outrageous stories Wash had collected. “But... Why?” The pilot shrugged. “Beats me. I think they were just really, really bored...” Simon hit his head against the table, and Wash heard a quiet mutter from the doctor. “I’ll never understand people out here.” Wash just laughed quietly. “Most of the time, I don’t think anyone understands the other motivations of others,” he gestured expansively with his hands. “Besides, there are stranger things out there.” Simon scoffed, “What, aliens?” sarcasm heavy in his voice. The blonde pilot just grinned. “Who knows? Maybe there is. But I was thinking of the planet where their medicine was... we’ll call it singing.” “Singing,” Simon repeated, scepticism etched deep on to his face. “Well, no. It’s really an insult to singing to call it that. It was some horrible sound they called yodelling,” Wash shuddered. “They claimed it was an old tradition from Earth-That-Was, but it just sound like a horrible racket to me...” He wasn’t surprised to see the doctor’s head slump to the table again. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Title: Swiftly Goes the Day Fandom: Hunger Games Characters: Peeta Mellark Timeframe: Train to 74th games Theme: Twenty Four – Switchfoot ~*~ Twenty four finds me In twenty-fourth place Twenty four drop outs At the end of the day Life is not what I thought it was Twenty four hours ago ~*~ That first night on the train, Peeta spends most of the evening sitting near the window, aimlessly staring at the dark landscape. Logically, he knew he should probably get as much rest as he could, but that was easier said than done. And the rich food had made him queasy to boot. He wasn’t sure if he loved or hated Katniss for what she did. On one hand, he admired her protection of her sister, but on the other hand he would rather be against anyone but her. He didn’t know what to do about her. She at least was oblivious to his feelings. His embarrassment would only be complete if she found that out now. And to think this time yesterday, he was having what would end up being his last meal at home, worried, but not truly believing that his name, or his brother’s would be called out. And he’d happily been watching Katniss Everdeen from afar. Now they were hundreds of miles from District 12, forced together on the way to their deaths. Well, he amended, at least one of us is. He would not be surprised if Katniss was the one to scrape through a District 12 victory after all these years. Peeta Mellark, on the other hand, he rather suspected would be out of the Games before too long. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Title: Stranger in a Familiar Land Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender Character: Prince Zuko Timeframe: Pre-“Day of the Black Sun” Theme: This is Where it Gets Complicated – Doctor Who Soundtrack (series 5) ~*~ Walking around the palace grounds again was something he still had not readjusted to yet. He pretended it was nothing, because despite Azula’s strange generosity in regard to him, he knew she would see it as a weakness which she could exploit. She was losing her mind. He’d always wondered as a child, but that was the joking contempt that a brother had for the antics of a younger sister. That had now been replaced by a sinking dread. Why couldn’t he have been born into a simpler family? One that didn’t have a history of backstabbing and what was shaping up being a sizeable streak of insanity combined with too much power. Wandering back towards the quiet spot in the gardens where he had been with Mai earlier, Zuko tried to school his thoughts into some form of order. He had all ready realised it was time for him to leave, but the details needed more work. He still only had a vague idea of how he was going to be able to get Uncle out of his imprisonment, and where they would go after that. A sparkle caught his eye in the grass. Mai’s hair slide winked back up at him, and Zuko’s stomach twisted in guilt. His departure would not go down well with her, but at least her rage should protect her from Azula taking it out on her. Grasping the slide gently in his hands, he prayed that Mai would distance herself from Azula before she too fell victim to the Princess’ madness.