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  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Story [Multi-fandom] "That Would Be Enough", Ficlets and Drabbles

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Aug 3, 2018.

  1. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, exquisite for Monument. Allura's feelings are beautifully and poignantly portrayed and Shiro's empathy and unfailing support help her not just heal but embrace her aliveness with gratitude. =D=
     
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  2. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    This section reminds of the price these supers pay for being who they are - they can't even blur the rough edges of reality with a little self medication. For Steve, who used to be normal-normal, it seems especially touching.@};-

    Aw, she's superbly fit for this interpersonal challenge - think of the board meetings she's conquered! I like how she takes baby steps to reach an accord - the good kind of accord, that is.

    AC DC Now I'm wondering which one! ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  3. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Loved your first sets, however wanted to immediate highlight such a lovely moment of having Nat able to crawl up the bed between Laura and Clint Barton, and slump there, able to relax finally. That isn't just letting someone into your family, your heart. Great stuff.

    Also loved the familial stuff from Pepper Pott's view, of the effect on Tony of having Peter Parker around the house, then your term of "folding" him into their existence.
     
  4. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Thank-you! These two being mutually supportive and sympathetic will always be my aesthetic, and I will write all of the happy endings for them. Watch me, canon!

    As always I thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave your thoughts! [face_love] [:D]

    I know! If anyone can use a little self medication right now it's Steve. He really does have the weight of the world on his shoulders! =((

    I love how well Pepper and Tony fit together, and they deserve all of the happy endings. Make it so, canon!

    And you know, I didn't even think of which one! Knowing Tony he could make any of them work. :p

    Thanks so much for giving these ficlets a glance! It was wonderful to see you stop by. [:D]


    Thank-you! The Natasha and the Bartons ficlet was one of my favourite things I've written in a long time. There's just such a strong, unique bond between them that I love exploring. The same goes for Tony and Pepper, and Peter too!

    Thank-you for stopping in and leaving your thoughts! I appreciate it. [face_love] [:D]



    Alrighty, I have more to share in just a moment. :D


    ~MJ @};-
     
  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: Alrighty! I'm finally chipping away at the new NSWFF prompts with Lost, then Found. It's wonderful to see such a classic thread active with new life again, and I'm rather ashamed that it has taken me this long to write something in reply. :p

    As for particulars, this duo of ficlets are set pre-canon in my latest fandom playground, My Hero Academia. By now I'm sure that you're more than familiar with my tendency for dreaming up backstories and filling in the missing pieces rather than entirely focusing on the current story, and that's exactly what I'm doing here. Because Gran Torino's methods of 'tough love' training, and everything that is Nana Shimura and her bond with All Might was something that I had to better explore in writing. To that end, I invented a few names that canon has yet to reveal to us, as far as I know, such as Gran Torino's surname, the names of Nana's husband and son, and the name of the sixth holder of One For All. Those are all my own conjecture, as are quite a few of the head!canons found within. But, I could not resist.

    (And yes, these started as a hundred word drabbles - hush, all of you, I know that my ability for rambling word counts has been ridiculous as of late. At least I nipped them off at sorta long-ish mega-ficlets. :p 8-} I consider that a happy compromise between me and my muse - even if I am still toying with the idea of expanding these two ficlets into a half-diary in July for a young All Might origin story. I just love this dear character to pieces, so if the muse cooperates and finishes a few outstanding projects first, that just may happen. I'll know more come June, so . . . stand by. ;) [face_mischief] [face_love] [face_thinking])






    IX. "no greater gift than this"
    (Boku no Hero Academia | Nana Shimura & Toshinori Yagi & Sorahiko Sasaki)​


    Found

    At first impression, Shimura Nana had been nothing but exasperated with the boy.

    Perhaps exasperated was an understatement, in retrospect. His desire to help was admirable, of course, but darting into the fray like that was reckless to the extreme – and especially after she’d taken such pains to make sure he was safe before returning to the burning building herself. It always made her stomach turn when there were children involved in a disaster, and this case was worse than most. When a fire at the Arawareru Alternate-Care Institution was reported to the TFD, she was the first of the Pro Heroes to arrive on scene to assist the local station chief. One For All was all but howling for use within her spirit, erupting out to flood her veins with power in intention for action. She was determined not to fail even a single fledgling soul in her mandate as its chosen vessel. To that end, she most certainly didn’t appreciate when one of the rescued children ignored her clear orders to stay with the first responders and rushed back inside the growing inferno to help his elders save the other children. “I know where Keiko and Daichi hide when they’re scared – I can get them out!” Later, to find out that the juvenile do-gooder was nothing more than a Quirkless kid with delusions of grandeur and no apparent instinct for self-preservation -

    “ - but they were mine to protect, so I protected them! The little ones here trust me; I couldn’t betray that,” the boy somehow managed to sound surly yet contrite and earnest all at once. “I . . .” he added, his voice turning softer, almost bewildered to admit, “my feet moved before I could understand what I was doing. One minute I was safe – one minute you had saved me, and then I was running back in; I couldn’t seem to stop myself.”

    His words gave her pause from the tongue-lashing she’d been more than prepared to deliver instead. Fat, lazy flakes of snow fell from the slate coloured sky above, almost deceivingly gentle next to the wafting grey ashes that still floated on the breeze. The scent of smoke was sharp in her nose from the charred husk that remained of the institution; she’d be hard pressed to wash the odor from her hair for days to come, and the youth before her was just as smudged from the soot. His voice was raspy from inhaling too much smoke while screaming to find the little ones – a brother and a sister with dual Quirks that allowed them to turn invisible at will. The boy wasn’t even out of junior high yet, his now singed school uniform told her, but there he was: holding his ground and daring to refute the counsel of a Pro Hero – and one who had just saved his life twice, at that.

    At first, Nana could only feel an almost maternal sense of irritation rise as she fumed (Takumi's birth had changed so much for her, in so many ways, she was still coming to find), yet . . .

    - stronger than her frustration and annoyance, she could feel her power swell out from its now familiar resting place within her heart. Her inherited Quirk felt giddy, she was drawn short to find. One For All felt overjoyed and expectant, like an ocean tide swelling to dance between the tug of the full moon and its own familiar seashore. A tingling sensation raced across her skin as the light she safeguarded within her spirit ignited to warm her palms against the chill in the midwinter air. With comprehension then slowly dawning, she tilted her head to look him over with a new eye, from his mass of blonde hair and unruly bangs to his tall, lanky build. The child hadn’t nearly grown into his full height yet, she suspected, and he reminded her of a puppy whose paws were still too big for its soft, floppy body. He had a sweet face, she quirked her mouth to decide; someday, he’d be handsome in a Western sort of way. His eyes were very blue, and glinted with a light she thought to recognize, with a light that tugged on a note of kinship deep within her, a note of belonging.

    Her own eyes widened then, imperceptibly so. It wouldn’t be that easy, that apparent, from the start . . . would it? She’d hardly even begun her search; she’d only just admitted to herself that she would perhaps like to find a successor and surrender her power to the next link in the chain of One For All. Now to find that heir here, of all places -

    - but no . . . no. Not so fast. Nana checked the insistence of her power only through a supreme force of will, refusing to let her Quirk sway her any further. She couldn't give into emotion on this, or, at least, not emotion alone.

    But how will I know, Abe-sensei?” she’d asked her own mentor once, long ago. She’d been so young then, so young but eager to know everything there was to learn. She hadn’t thought that it was possible for strong shoulders to bow underneath great yokes then; not yet. “There are so many people out there in the world, and if I make the wrong choice I will fail not only you but everyone who’s come before us! I do not wish to dishonor our legacy.”

    “When the time comes, you will not have to ask that question if the vessel is true,” Akio’s eyes had glittered kindly at her, but his gaze was distant – as if he was remembering something that was then beyond her ability to understand. “But you don’t have to worry, my girl, it’s a choice that you will not have to make alone; we’ll be with you when you do – all of us.”

    Then, Nana had failed to truly comprehend his words – little of a surprise as that was, of course. So much of Abe Akio’s wisdom only made sense to her with the distance of experience and time. What was more than that, she hadn’t been able to see the faces of the previous six vessels in her mind’s eye since the earliest days when she struggled to make the power of One For All her own. But, now . . .

    . . . now, though, she thought she could see her forebearers in the corners of her gaze, with their incandescent eyes glittering in wanting expectation. She thought she could hear them, even, whispering and encouraging and welcoming. The signs were propitious; she could not ignore their call.

    “Young man, what is your name?” Nana found herself asking instead of counseling as she'd first intended. She could feel as the cords of fate wrapped around them both and pulled tight to bind them together. Even before she made a conscious decision, she surrendered to their pull. Abe-sensei, she couldn’t help but fondly remember her own mentor, is this what you felt when you first found me? I had no idea.

    “Oh . . . you want to know my name?” he seemed surprised, even flustered, by that smallest of courtesies. “But you . . . you’re the Seventh Wonder, and I’m just . . .” he hunched his shoulders to mumble, and kicked at the still-hot rubble on the pavement with the toe of his sneaker. “Well, I’m just me.”

    “Don’t be silly, child – we’re bound now, you and I; of course I want to know your name.” I held your life in my hands, and I gave it back, she thought but did not say. Someday, she suspected that he would understand exactly what she left unspoken, if he was who she thought he yet could become.

    “Oh, right, I suppose we are,” the boy blushed all too easily. He seemed to wear every emotion open upon his face in a way that Nana found refreshing. Sheepishly, he rubbed at the back of his neck. “And I’m grateful for that – honest I am. I didn’t mean to dishonor what you did for me by putting myself in danger again.” Then, the polite youth that he was, he bowed deeply from the waist in respect. “My name is Yagi Toshinori, honored hero, though most everyone just calls me Toshi.”

    Nana felt her mouth tug upwards at the corners. What a normal name for an ordinary boy, she was almost underwhelmed to learn. Yet, the power of One For All soared like an ocean wave beneath her skin, leaving her buoyant at the crest of its might. In that moment, gravity hardly seemed enough to tether her to the ground. Within her innermost self, six pairs of knowing eyes turned bright with intention and purpose; it was an understanding that she couldn’t possibly bring herself to ignore.

    “Toshi, then,” she held out a hand and gestured for him to follow. “Walk with me, would you? I would like to claim a moment of your time.” She wouldn’t act on her instincts, not yet, but she would certainly follow down the path they presented; she could do nothing else. “You and I have much in common that needs to be discussed.”

    Toshinori didn’t look like he much believed her – Quirkless, the fire fighter who’d held him back after the younglings were safe had scorned, and a ward of the nation living in an institution instead of with his birth-family, at that. Already, she thought to piece together the beginnings of his story. Yet, that was only the beginning; she was more interested in turning the page for his next chapter. There, an epic tale was waiting to be written, and she suspected that she held the pen to his future.

    “I suppose,” he did not counter her outright, no matter his clear dubiousness. “But I . . . I think that I just may disappoint you, Hero-san. I’m nothing special.”

    Nonsense, she thought. But: “I don’t know,” she said aloud instead. “Let me be the judge of that.”

    No matter his doubts, the boy dutifully accompanied her to the riverside and listened as she shared her story. That fateful meeting would only be the first of many times he faithfully trailed in her footsteps; he would continue to do so for years yet to come, even after she eventually walked far from where he could yet follow.



    Lost

    One thing was for sure: Yagi Toshinori was no Shimura Nana. At least, not yet.

    That fact had amused Sasaki Sorahiko, once. To his eyes, the boy that his old friend deemed worthy of being her successor was nothing more than an overgrown weed of a youngster with limbs that had grown too fast for his body to keep up with and ridiculous hair that refused to stay tamed back and respectful. Toshinori bowed too much; he apologized too much; he felt . . . well, too much. Let Nana sculpt the boy into the world's Symbol of Peace, saving both hearts and minds as well as lives. More practically, Sorahiko made it his duty to make sure that he knew how to use his thick skull and already obnoxiously blooming muscles in the only way that truly mattered: with brute strength applied through relentlessly honed skill and unyielding self-discipline. All the power in the world would amount to nothing without the determination to use it; so, he'd ensure that the boy was able to pulverize anything that stood in the way of his mandate as the eighth vessel of One For All. After all, the stronger the hero, then the stronger the villain was who would inevitably rise up to challenge -

    - but he had to bite back a thick wave of feeling for his thoughts. He couldn't allow his reflections to continue to completion, even within the privacy of his own mind.

    Instead, he reigned in his musings, after Nana’s death (after she was murdered, after she was ripped down like a star being torn from the heavens), Sorahiko was only more resolute in his goals. Nana wanted him to finish molding her young charge into the ultimate hero? Fine; he would. But that didn’t mean he had to be the kid’s friend, and it certainly didn’t mean that he'd pull his punches. If Toshinori wanted to don his fallen mentor's cape, if he wanted to deserve the power that Nana had died believing him fated to inherit, then he would stand up tall against everything Sorahiko threw at him and be grateful that he even considered him worth his effort to train in the meantime.

    A gentle voice, wafting up from the recesses of his being, cautioned him in a whisper. He was being too hard on the boy, he needed to let up, to run a finer line between tough love and unyielding discipline. The child was grieving, at that, just as Sorahiko was. Toshinori's control over his powers was haphazard, at best, as a result while he grappled with the devastating cast of his emotions. If he didn’t let up, that same inner-voice cautioned, he ran the risk of irrevocably damaging the world's best hope for -

    - but All For One would not just let up, Sorahiko grit his teeth to stand his ground. All For One would not hesitate or show mercy because Toshinori was only just a child whose one dependable pillar in life had been torn from him. Instead, All For One would see that weakness as an opportunity to further his own machinations; he'd use his pain to his own advantage. That monster already had the blood of yet another vessel of One For All on his hands, and Sorahiko would be damned if he’d let this little zygote join Nana in the grave after she’d made him promise -

    “Oh, stand up, Yagi,” Sorahiko cracked his knuckles, staring down at where Toshinori was hunched over on his knees, fruitlessly trying to recover his breath. He was wheezing; it sounded as if there was fluid in his lungs, and maybe a broken rib or two. Less impressively, the teenager had lost his lunch all over the dojo floor from where Sorahiko had barreled him over with a Quirk-enhanced blow to his gut. Toshinori spat out bile, and wiped at his mouth with the back of a trembling hand, but didn't say the word to yield the match.

    “You’re the eighth holder of One For All,” Sorahiko swept his hands in a mockingly grand gesture as he circled his student's prone figure, “but you’re letting this bitter old man knock you around like it's nothing. You're an insult to your power, boy. Stand up.”

    “Yes, Torino-sensei,” even so, he respectively muttered. “I’ll do better, Torino-sensei.” He wobbled as he got to his feet, but managed to settle into a passably defensive pose. Sorahiko would give him that, at least: Toshinori always got back up, no matter how badly he was beaten down. His resilience should have been impressive. Instead, Sorahiko only sneered.

    “Hold your fists up higher,” he barked. With another Quirk-enhanced burst of speed he was flying forward again, a merciless blow aimed at the boy’s mouth. “You don’t want me to break that pretty face of yours, now, do you?”

    Toshinori tried to block, but Sorahiko simply caught his fist while moving faster than the human eye could see before jabbing up again with his opposite hand. He struck the underside of his chin, sending his head snapping back with a sick, crunching sound.

    “Too slow,” he scathed. “If I was really trying to kill you, you’d be dead.”

    Toshinori grit his teeth for the scathing critique, his eyes darting about in a futile attempt to follow him, but it was no use. Sorahiko propelled down from the ceiling and threw his weight into kicking with both feet at the boy's back. He felt that same weak rib from earlier give underneath the dual blow of his jet propulsion and gravity, but didn't stop as he pummeled him down into the ground.

    "Dead," he let his voice ring out, releasing his weight only to aim a vicious kick at his side, sending him flying again before he even had a chance to recover. The boy was stubborn, at least, and used his momentum to land in a sloppy crouch. He skidded to a halt, and found his feet. His stance was shaky, and his chest was heaving as he wheezed, but he remained standing.

    Alright then, Sorahiko stared him down without pity: so be it.

    He rushed in again, swatting aside Toshinori's pathetic attempt at a guard and letting his fist find that same, bruised underside of his jaw. “Dead,” he growled. By the heavens above, was this all the fight the kid had left in him? Was this all he could manage to make of Nana's once indomitable power? Her sacrifice would be nothing but a waste if Toshinori couldn't manage to harness her Quirk and become everything that Nana believed him capable of, and that thought infuriated him.

    It was illogical - irrational and unfair and even cruel, that same voice deep inside of him whispered to admit - but for a moment Sorahiko could only see red as he pummeled his student. Nana was dead because she'd passed on her power - her legendary, unparalleled, awesome strength - to this boy, and Toshinori didn't even have the simplemost decency to honor what she'd given him and strike back when struck.

    "Dead," he hissed, ignoring the burning sensation he could feel building behind his eyes. The stinging pressure was only from the rushing wind he generated with his jets, obviously. "You're dead - again."

    Sorahiko, he could still hear Nana's voice in his mind as if she spoke directly into his ear, today Toshi finally managed to use One For All without damaging his hands. He was so proud, you should have seen him! He's taking to this like a natural, even more so than I did, and I'm certainly no teacher like Abe-sensei was. I hope . . . I hope that Master Abe is proud of me, if he's watching. I like to think he is.

    The holders of One For All never saw particularly long lives, Sorahiko grimly reflected, and Abe Akio had been like all those who'd come before him: dead, long before his time should have come. This child was poised to share their fate if he didn't learn, and learn fast.

    Sorahiko, Toshi picked out his hero name in class today: All Might! Don't you like it? It has quite the ring to it - very strong, very trustworthy. He's going to surpass us all, I just know it! Toshi still doesn't see what I see, of course - I have to keep on reminding him that his achievements are all the more special because he's earned his power. This wasn't something he was born with; One For All is something he's fought and triumphed to make his own. I don't think he believes me, not yet, but he'll understand with time - maybe when he's training a successor of his own, someday.

    Sorahiko, he heard again, look! Then, Nana held up her phone to show him a picture of a small plastic card, proudly proclaiming that the nation of Japan recognized All Might as a Junior Provisional Hero. Only a first year student and he qualified for his license against those even two years his senior! You should have been there, my friend - he blew them all away; none were his equal. I only know a few Pro Heroes who can match him in raw ability, and he's not even using his power at a hundred percent yet! Sora-kun, he's going to rewrite every last one of our legends with his own, just you wait. I can't wait to watch him rise.

    And, then . . .

    Sorahiko, Shin and I have discussed asking Toshi to join our family - officially; we want to adopt him. We've just set up our first meeting with the social worker, and started on the paperwork. Little Takumi could use a big brother, don't you think? I just hate that he has to go back to the institution every night - that's no way for a child to grow. I know that he's only a few years shy of eighteen, but if I can give him a real home, even for that little bit of time . . .

    The softness of her smile had nearly killed him, just as it always did. It didn't matter how much he knew that she loved her husband and adored her son, his heart still twisted in his chest to glimpse her joy without sharing in it with her absolutely. Sorahiko had kept his silence for too long for fear of ruining their lifelong bond, back in their younger days, and had thus long since lost his chance to claim any more of her heart than he already did. It hurt, in a way that he still couldn't quite put into words, that Takumi, and even Toshinori were not his as they were Shin's . . . but, well, they were a possibility that belonged to a different life. He felt selfish to the extreme to even covet them while his friend, his best friend, was so giddy before him. To think of the course my life has taken marvels me, her tone had been so wistful, so replete with happiness. I never thought I'd marry - not with my duties as a vessel, and then . . . well, you know how long we prayed and waited for Takumi. Now, to have two boys calling me mother? Isn't fate a strange thing, my friend? A strange, wonderful thing . . .

    Yes: fate was a strange, incomprehensibly cruel mistress. All For One had finally uncovered Nana's true identity only a scant few days after that conversation, and Shin . . . well, his death had put Nana's plans for her growing family on hold, irrevocably. A part of her had bled out with her husband that awful day, and instead of welcoming Toshinori into her home she'd given up Takumi to alternative-care, as well, all to give her son his best chance of survival when her connection to him put him in unthinkable danger from the worst of villains. I was selfish in my love, wasn't I? she'd muttered, numb and unblinking as his casket was lowered into the ground, and my Shin paid the price. I knew better . . . I should have been strong enough to remain on my own. I won't put anyone else in danger for my sake again, not ever. She hadn't had the time to heal from her grief and, perhaps, reevaluate her choices as Sorahiko had hoped she would before . . .

    . . . well, All For One had much to answer for, and he'd continue to walk free from his crimes if this overgrown beansprout of a child couldn't find it within himself to live up to his name and the power he'd inherited to -

    " - and you're dead, boy!" he scorned, ignoring how Toshinori was now dangerously coughing up blood to bludgeon his ribs again. “Dead," he struck with his opposite fist. "You're just as dead as Nana is dead. Only, she died because someone in this room still needed her protection. She died because someone couldn't make their power their own and fulfill the mandate they inherited. What's the point of you having this strength, and being unable to use it when it really matters? Your incompetence sickens me."

    That little voice of sense - of reason and caution and compassion that ever sounded like Nana whispering in his ear - was then completely snuffed out by his grief and admittedly misplaced anger. Yet, Sorahiko couldn't see beyond his rage, his fury and his frustration and his missing, then. His emotions blinded him, and something wet and foreign traced down his cheeks. "She died because she saw something in you, and passed on everything that you don’t even deserve to bear. If her power wasn't wasting away in your useless bones, then she would still be here, alive, to - ”

    - the only warning he had that he finally crossed the line was the low, furious look Toshinori leveled at him before he pulled back a shaking fist. His painfully blue eyes turned white hot and burning, possessed with a light that was more than his own, as he finally hit back and found his target. And he found it hard.

    Sorahiko only knew that he was flying backwards, out through the walls of the dojo and then straight into something even more unyielding than that. He only had a moment to comprehend a brief flash of searing pain before he blinked once, twice -

    - he couldn't have blacked out for too long. Instead, what felt like only a few seconds later, he blinked to awareness to see Toshinori's horrified eyes peering down at him. "Torino-sensei! Torino-sensei! Please tell me that I didn't kill you," he patted his cheeks, desperately trying to rouse him. "I am so, so sorry. I didn't mean to - "

    " - oh, what are you going on about, boy?" gruffly, Sorahiko coughed, tasting blood as it pooled in his mouth. He spat into the grass, and found that he'd lost a tooth in the process. Great, that was yet another one. "You did what you were supposed to do, no matter that it took you long enough," he grumbled. "Why are you apologizing, you ridiculous child?"

    Toshinori's eyes turned wide with horror for his words. "I was supposed to do this?" his voice broke as he gave a wild gesture to encompass their surroundings. "Master Sasaki, are you mad?"

    What nonsense was he spouting this time? For his words, Sorahiko finally forced his still spinning vision to focus - and yes, that was going to be quite the migraine to come later, he already knew from long experience. He thought to recognize the tell-tale signs of a concussion, too, which he had to be careful for this late into his career. He looked, and then his eyes did indeed boggle to see that he was a good few hundred meters away from the dojo now - and the dojo itself would need sufficient repairs, at that. It looked as if he'd been blasted through a tree or two after being hurtled through the wall, and his body had come to a stop only when colliding against the solid concrete of the Arctic Conditions Simulation Building just beyond. Oh, he had more than a concussion, he distantly catalogued all of the places where very real damage had been done to his bones. He'd be spending more than a few hours with Chiyo and her healing Quirk, he was already cognizant enough to predict. The nurse was going to laugh herself silly over this, at that, the meddling old hag. His eating crow as she chastised him would hurt more than the few dozen fractures he currently sported. Careful about kicking cubs, Sora-kun, she'd already counseled him more than once, they remember when they grow into wolves.

    He spat another mouthful of blood, and couldn't help but smile. Good.

    "I thought I killed you!" Toshinori exclaimed again, running an agitated hand through his hair. "Why are you smiling about this?"

    "Oh, you'd have to try harder to end me, boy," Sorahiko chuckled. "Many stronger than you have tried, but I'm still here."

    For his words, Toshinori sighed and visibly rolled his eyes in a rare show of disrespect - one that Sorahiko would have boxed his ears for if he felt any more capable of moving his arms just then. He slumped back against the concrete wall, feeling as all the fight drained from him in a rush. He eyed his student with a sidelong glance, taking stock of his injuries. The teenager had a broken jaw and more than a few broken ribs himself, Sorahiko sympathized with a grimace. As soon as his adrenaline faded, the pain would catch up with him. It seemed as if they'd both be spending the rest of the day in the nurse's office. Wonderful.

    But, just as Sorahiko was judging whether or not he still had the ability to walk unaided, Toshinori surprised him. Grimly, he met his eyes without blinking, and refused to shy away from a painful topic to say: "I know that she's dead because of me. You don’t have to say so aloud. I already have to live with that knowledge every day."

    For a moment, Sorahiko couldn't find his words in reply, he was struck dumb. He felt a curious pang in his chest, a sensation that he'd almost call guilt if he didn't know any better. That too long ignored inner-voice was louder, then, refusing to be ignored; it'd grown beyond a whisper to most certainly sound like Nana. Fix this, Sorahiko, she was merciless to chide. He wanted to scowl in response. Didn't she understand how hopelessly complicated this all was? It was not an easy task she'd placed before him. You were the one who wanted a family - and kids, he fought the urge to shudder. Not me. I'm here to train him - not coddle him.

    “But if you think that I’m just going to give in and give up, then you’re wrong," Toshinori's voice was low, but firm to continue. "You can use me as a punching bag all you like, but someday you’ll land your last blow, and then you’ll never be able to touch me again. I’ll be stronger than anything the world has ever seen; you know I can be, and I will be. I’ll honor what Master Shimura saw in me and be worthy of One For All; I'll see All For One defeated if it’s the last thing I do.”

    There was a determination in his gaze that was familiar, then. In that moment, Toshinori reminded him so much of Nana that it hurt. No matter that he was her son of the heart, rather than of blood, the resemblance was uncanny.

    Sorahiko took in a deep breath, and thought to let his resentment go when next he exhaled. It was misplaced, his anger, all because he couldn't reach the one who truly deserved his rancor. All For One. He ground his teeth together, even as they bled.

    Sorahiko . . . Nana's voice coaxed from deep within his spirit. Finally, he sighed, only just resisting the urge he had to huff outright in irritation. Fine.

    At last, he grudgingly muttered, rather than acknowledging his vow: “Not bad, boy. You . . . did a good job today.”

    Toshinori gaped at him as if he'd just grown a second head, his mouth falling open in shock. That was better, Sorahiko thought as he scowled. He knew how to better respond to that, at least.

    "Did you just say," Toshinori's brow furrowed, "what I think you just said? Maybe you hit me harder than I realized, and I'm just imagining - "

    Sorahiko held up a hand to forestall any more of that. "Don't push it," he ordered dryly. "I'll not repeat myself."

    Toshinori continued to gape, but, "Yes, Torino-sensei," he obediently bobbed his head again. "Of course."

    When he huffed, the sound was most certainly not fond. At all.

    “Sooo," yet, Toshinori still looked uncertain, "is that it for training today, or are we going for another round?”

    For merely the idea of facing another smash like that, all the hairline fractures spiderwebbed through his bones collectively ached at once. He kept his pain from showing on his face only through a supreme force of will. “Naw," he waved a hand in feigned disinterest. "I’ve grown tired of making you spew your guts for one day, Yagi. And you need to see Recovery Girl; your face is swelling.” The entire left side of his jaw was turning an alarming shade of purple, Sorahiko felt another twinge of something that wasn't quite guilt to admit.

    "Oh, yeah," Toshinori held up a hand to gingerly probe at his injuries with a wince. “It doesn’t hurt,” he lied. "Well, too much, anyway."

    “You know, there’s acting tough," Sorahiko gave a rasping chuckle, "and then there’s sheer stupidity. Don't confuse the two. Now come on, you overgrown dandelion, help this old man up. I need to see Chiyo, too - without her, I think that you may have just put me in a body cast.”

    Predictably, the kid flushed for his words. "Sensei," he tried again, "I am so - "

    " - if you apologize one more time, we will go for another round. If we do, your jaw will be the least of your worries when I'm through with you," Sorahiko threatened on a growl. "But, really," he softened his words to comment, "you did good. There's little more you'd benefit from learning today. Rest up, and we'll come back tomorrow to start fresh."

    He wouldn't say it again; twice was already more than enough.

    Somehow, they managed to find their feet and limp down the path in tandem, supporting each other all the way to Chiyo's ward. They garnered more than a few looks from the students and faculty members alike they passed, but Sorahiko stared them all down without blinking, daring them to say anything about how he trained his student. Toshinori's smiles were, perhaps, slightly more reassuring than his glowering, but together they did the trick. Until:

    “You know . . . I miss her too,” Toshinori whispered. Their shadows were long behind them on the path as the sun started its descent. "If I could have given her power back, if I could have saved her . . . I would've. I can't tell you how much I wish I could have."

    A long moment passed between them. Stubbornly, Sorahiko blinked against the burning sensation returning behind his eyes. He had to grit his teeth to hold in an emotion that was then too big for words. Like an anchor, his hand tightened from where he had an arm looped around Toshinori's neck, pressing his fingers into his shoulder in the smallest gesture of reassurance he'd allow.

    "I know, kid," he finally allowed an edge of his grief to fade. It helped, in the smallest way it could, to know that his mourning was shared. Somehow, they'd get through this together. "I know. But . . . that wasn't what she wanted. She made the only choice she could make, for you. Grieve, and then honor her sacrifice with how you live the rest of your life." She loved you, and she gave everything for that love. It's what heroes do for those they serve . . . it's what mothers do for their sons. She wouldn't have had it any other way.

    But that, he couldn't quite find the words to say. Not then. Instead, they limped on together in silence, their shared ghost a bond between them.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    OH, I ADORED THIS! Nana's musings and Toshi's very different demeanors, mixing earnest, with determined, with outspoken. LOL How you can merge and mesh a Han Solo with a Luke Skywalker and get ADORBS! [face_laugh]
     
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  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - Toshi is just the dearest, isn't he?? All with an edge, that's for certain! I'm glad you enjoyed getting to know him a little bit here, along with Nana too. [face_love]





    Author's Notes: Up next, this ficlet was written in an effort to try and jostle my Star Trek muse a little bit! I've been silent with these old friends for a while now, but both an outstanding fic gift I need to finish and a certain someone's upcoming DDC project inspired me to put pen to paper. Hopefully this is just the first of a few ST ficlets I want to clean up and post. :D

    The prompt is from @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, too! Thank-you, my friend, for the prompt, as well as the beta reading! [face_love] [:D]






    X. "One and Together"
    (Star Trek: AOS | Sarek/Amanda & Spock)​

    Steady But Sure


    Their first child, they lost before they even realized they had a child to lose. That didn’t change their grief, of course, and Sarek held Amanda through the maelstrom of her tears all the while trying to reason away the emptiness he felt gouging his own heart. It was illogical, he told himself, to feel so bereft over something that had never been in the first place, and yet . . .

    Well, as he now did with a great many things in his life, he simply accepted what he felt for what was, and let his emotions remain as they were. All there was left to do was allow his grief to swell and process before eventually fading into a dull ache with the passing of time. Eventually, they healed as best they could, and allowed themselves to move on.

    Their second child was planned for, more or less. They built a nursery in their home, and discussed names together. Their child – a daughter – was old enough for T’Pau to come and meld with her fetal mind to welcome her into the S'chn T'gai clan in keeping with ancient tradition. She lived to an age where Sarek was accustomed to feeling the distant, bright spark of her developing consciousness nestled against his own, as if she was a small ember gaining both intensity and warmth from the elder source of his flame. Her thoughts were unformed, but she instinctively knew who he was and sought him out just as actively as she did her mother. Feeling her mind was an experience unlike any other, even when compared to the marital bond he shared with Amanda.

    Sarek . . . he knew that their daughter passed, even before the physicians confirmed the instincts of his heart. There was a mutation in her organs, they only found in retrospect, where her Human and Vulcan genes were simply too incompatible to mix. If they ever decided to try for a child again, the problem could potentially be solved with outside intervention. But that thought was very far away in the wake of their loss. T’Pri, she would have been named; Sarek still remembered the feeling of her mind claiming a piece of his own in quiet, unguarded moments. Her place within his being, even though it was long empty, was a spot he never allowed to fill with anything else; it ever remained her own.

    Their third child, conceived a full two years following the loss of T’Pri, was carefully planned for, with genetic specialists aiding them along the way. With no small amounts of assistance, Amanda now had a 71.211 percent possibility of successfully carrying this pregnancy through to term. The numbers were in their favor, and yet, they were not absolute; the science they’d employed was not infallible. Instead of drawing comfort from the odds, it was that remaining 29.899 percent that had Sarek up when even Amanda finally gave into her body’s needs for rest and was sleeping as deeply as possible in her current uncomfortable state. She unconsciously had her hands clasped over the swell of her stomach, as if to better protect the child she carried within, and her fingers twitched as her slumbering Human consciousness carried her through her dreams. Sarek could not yet find his own rest, and was distantly grateful that his physiology needed far fewer hours than Amanda required. Lately, he found that he had difficulty closing his eyes for sleep; he couldn’t, not when there was too much that could happen in the dark hours when he was unaware. So, more often than was perhaps advisable, he simply didn’t bother searching out sleep for himself.

    Instead, he stayed awake and found the distant brush of his son’s mind where it was nestled deep within his own. The child was already older than the age T’Pri had reached; in approximately fifteen days he would be adequately developed to a point where birth was no longer a dangerous possibility, no matter that a further forty-three days would be ideal. Over the past few months, Sarek had lost count of the times when he’d sought out the boy’s heartbeat and flickering mental presence with his own to carefully monitor his growth as no physician could. He guarded those moments almost jealousy, as if the barest lapse of attention on his part would see this child taken from them too. Such an outcome was . . . unacceptable, and though Sarek knew that he had no control over the unknowable ways of nature – some secrets, science could simply never divine – that didn’t stop him from stubbornly setting his psyche as a barricade around his son and daring the universe to try to take him away before his time. He . . . he didn’t know how Amanda would handle such an outcome, no matter that she said that her heart was strong enough to bear the risk. Humans were an amazingly resilient species, but he wished to spare her any pain that was in his power to do so. Sarek, for his part, though he logically knew that he could, if necessary, recover from another loss, did not wish to go through such an experience again. So, he would do everything in his power to see that their child lived; it was that simple.

    Scientifically, there was nothing to prove that his constant attention was beneficial for anything other than soothing his own roused instincts – those ancient, deeply ingrained tendencies that the tenets of Surak had helped them harness and reason away through self-discipline and cool rationality. His staying awake longer than was healthy to do so and counting his unborn son’s heartbeats both eased his stress and allayed his fears, Sarek stubbornly reasoned; thus, it was a rational action on his part.

    He . . . was nearly certain that Surak would fail to see it that way, but Sarek did not have to explain the privacy of his thoughts to anyone but Amanda. As for his wife’s opinion, Amanda would only crinkle her nose and have a colorful Human saying or two, detailing what Surak could do with his logic, that Sarek did not dignify repeating even within his own mind.

    Instead, he held Amanda closer when he felt their son’s mind light up with sensory awareness. The entirety of his consciousness was interacting with his mother, from brain stem to cortex. Ah, he was sharing her dreams, then. The first time he had felt Amanda do so, he’d known concern: such an . . . active sleep cycle couldn’t have been properly rejuvenating or restful, he'd feared. But, such was part of what made her Human. Since then, Sarek had enjoyed sharing her dreams from the bond between their minds. It was a unique experience; singular, in every sense.

    Would their son dream on his own? he wondered then. There had been no successful hybrid born between their species before, and there were so many questions that he remained curious to see answered. Some questions T’Pau had relentlessly atempted to pelted him with years ago, when first trying to dissuade him from his decision to marry Amanda in the first place. Some of the obvious challenges in raising a child born of two worlds – and two such vastly different worlds, at that – troubled him when he considered them in their entirety. Yet, for the most part he was as intrigued as he was determined to oversee the obstacles in their path. Together.

    Yet, that would only be if this young one had tenacity enough to be born in the first place. That, Sarek could think fondly at least, the boy should have in spades. The one thing that Humans and Vulcans shared in surplus was thick skulls, Amanda had thrown her hands up to say before. Sarek could not wholly refute her words, even if he’d phrase them differently.

    It was a good dream, at least, he assured himself after a brief flicker of inquiry, formless in plot and shape. He only knew that it was bright, and it was happy. He glimpsed something about rain; and, more illogically, a purple hippopotamus that was giving out animal shaped balloons to her former students. Their son’s heart was racing to keep up with everything he felt from his mother’s mind; already his developing psyche was curious to process all that he could about the world he was poised to enter; it was a strong mind they’d created between them, Sarek instinctively felt, and that mind wouldn’t fall to the dangerous rigors of birth so easily. This one, he wanted to believe, would live. Spock, he struggled to assure himself, was not T’Pri . . . he was not the mourned, unformed little spark of life that had fizzled out before them both.

    71.211 percent, he reminded himself. 71.211 percent . . . it was an acceptable number. He’d persevered through less encouraging odds alongside Amanda before; they would simply defeat the naysayers to do so again. It was that simple.

    So, Sarek calmed his own racing heart to better match that of his sleeping wife and son’s. He held his small family close and dipped within their combined consciousnesses to better share the unique experience of their dreams. There, the odds were forgotten, and only the possibility of a future remained, steady and sure.


    ~MJ @};-
     
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Delightful. You have Sarek's voice amazingly, edibly on-target. =D= The poignancy of the first losses makes the 3rd, successful attempt even sweeter. @};-
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  9. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Most excellent! The agonies and joys of parenthood well expressed.
     
  10. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Aw, thanks so much both @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, and @pronker for your kind words! I'm so glad that you enjoyed that last piece. It was such a beautiful one to write, and I'm thrilled to hear that it resonated well. [face_love] [:D]

    Then, this next pair of ficlets is taken from the prompt Noisome in the First NSWFF Prompt Thread. Now, to get my muse cracking on the new ones. [face_thinking]

    And, last but not least, a big shout-out, again, to WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for the beta-reading and the encouragement to post. [:D]







    XI.

    "A Place of Rest"
    (Star Trek: AOS | Spock/Uhura)

    Noisome

    It was an act of desperation, at first.

    Nyota Uhura knew that her temper was fluctuating: smoking and sparking and one match-strike away from blazing, as it were. Her mother had often warned her that she wasn’t fit for company in such a state. It was better if she kept to herself and let her mood cool before unleashing her frustrations on the unsuspecting - and yet oftentimes deserving, she'd like to confront her mother's patient counselling - people around her. She was self-aware enough to knew as much about herself. But, finding a bit of peace and quiet was the entire reason for her ire in the first place. There was nothing that she would have liked better than to find a secluded place to unwind; that was the whole point, really, and she just couldn’t -

    - if Commander Spock was surprised that she entered his office long after proper visiting hours were over, and certainly well after most of the professors themselves had already retired for the day, he didn’t show it. But of course he didn’t; he was Spock. Yet, instead of his poised reaction bothering her, merely glimpsing his calm demeanor seemed to slake the edges of her own agitation. Her shoulders slumped forward, unconsciously relieved, and she breathed in deeply once before exhaling slowly out again. His office was quiet, her senses sang, with only the distant sound of the rain pattering against the windowpanes playing a hushed counterpoint to the nearly soundless rhythm of his typing. She wanted to unceremoniously drop her bags to the floor and flop into the nearest chair to absorb the peace around her like a sponge. Instead, she stood stiffly at attention, and rushed to present her case before he could remind her of the evening hour and turn her away.

    “Professor, would you mind if I studied here for a little bit?” she was blunt to ask, knowing that he didn't appreciate garrulous speech any more than she did. It didn't matter that wasn’t technically her professor anymore, either – he hadn’t been for an entire semester, now, no matter that she still seemed to find reasons to seek him out anyway. She still attempted to be as respectful as she could be, admitting to the boundaries between them before seeking to cross them. “My roommate is . . . entertaining,” she was as quick as she was delicate to explain, no matter that her cheeks darkened regardless for her implication, “and there’s . . . well, there’s no peace to be found in the library with . . . Anyway, the particulars don’t matter, but suffice to say I can’t study there.” Cadet I’m-the-Stars-Gift-to-Women Kirk had chosen to hold his once-in-a-blue-moon study session there, and after ducking his horrible attempts at flirting for nearly an hour she'd finally given up on her own efforts to study.

    Merely the memory of his obdurate propositioning had her wanting to growl and flash her teeth. She just barely kept her emotions from her expression, even as her blood heated to simmer beneath her skin. “And, it’s raining,” she gestured outside, knowing that she was rambling but unable to help herself. She sounded desperate to her own ears, bordering on pathetic, even; miserably, she tried not to wince. “I can’t even sit out by my tree on the quad and study. I can’t go to a café or the common hall in the dorm, because I need quiet to copy over these Romulan micro-verses for Senior Translator Suárez and I just can’t - ”

    “ - Cadet,” gently, Spock cut off her tirade. “All you needed to say is that you require an atmosphere better conducive to your studies than you've since been able to find. There is no inconvenience on my part to provide you with such.”

    “Oh . . . yes, of course,” and there it was: her blush was darkening. Of course you overshared, Uhura, she inwardly berated herself. What a way to present a professional image. “My apologies, Commander; thank-you.”

    “You are welcome, Cadet.” There was a faint twinkle in his eyes to accompany his words, she thought, but that easily could have been from the glare of his computer screen as he turned back to his own work. While she wouldn’t have thought anything out of the ordinary in his expression, Nyota was used to picking out nuances in timbre and tone. If she didn’t know any better, she was puzzled to reflect for a moment, she would have thought that he sounded . . .

    . . . well, amused, in a way that suggested curiosity and intrigue, of course, but also a faint happiness, as well – as if he was satisfied to offer her a haven away from the restrained chaos that was simply the everyday campus of Starfleet Academy. This was not, she felt it safe to assume, a courtesy he would offer many others. She paused only a heartbeat further, her brow furrowing to better pick apart the sound of his voice, wanting to understand its meaning. In the end, she simply shook her head, bemused. She didn’t have enough basis enough for comparison to be certain of her conclusions; her hypotheses would have to remain just that. But, still . . . it had been nice, the idea of his concern.

    Spock turned his attention back to his own work, and she took his invitation to arrange herself in one of the extra chairs on the opposite side of his desk as unobtrusively as possible. Carefully, she took out her PADDs and stylus from her bag, and fixed her comm-clip to her ear. She fought to keep a small smile from forming, feeling as all of the tension from the last few hours seemingly leeched from her shoulders and spine. There, lost in the droning of the Romulan syllables as her coursework began, with the distant sound of the rain and the . . . something that was ever the commander’s presence when alongside her own, she felt her equilibrium return.

    .

    .

    Spock knew that he was alone, working on the floor that night.

    However, there was a glitch in one of the simulator programs for the advanced tactical courses, and he had been asked by the department head to take a look at software. Doing so required both patience and skill to search through the several thousand lines of code for the flaw, but Spock had an abundance of each to see the task accomplished. In his own way, he even found it soothing: the rhythm of the rain and the easy monotony of his work. His body was in a relaxed state, pleasantly occupied and surrounded by no negative outside stimuli, so much so that -

    - he was almost surprised by Cadet Uhura’s arrival. Surprised, but not displeased – or even distantly annoyed, as perhaps he may have been by most others who could have interrupted him afterhours. What was more so than that, he even felt a distant note of concern break through his sense of calm, quickening his heartbeat and engaging his mind at his usual level of awareness once more. She was . . . well, not unkempt, never that, but perhaps frazzled was a more accurate word. Her uniform was damp – no doubt from walking through the rain outside, and the ends of her ponytail stuck to the skin of her neck and her shoulders. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were bright. She spoke in a quick pace, nearly twice that of her usual rhythm, while her breathing was heavy. Her nostrils flared as she drew in each punctuated breath from her nose so as to not interrupt the flurry of her speech. She was angry, then, Spock recognized – frustrated, and unhappy.

    Interestingly enough, he could feel his sense of concern rise to see how moved she was from the cool professionalism he was used to her exhibiting in the classroom. Perhaps even more noteworthy, he felt inclined to right whatever wrongs he could on her behalf. He found, after a moment's self-examination, that he had the distant desire to solve the underlying issues causing her unrest.

    “My roommate is . . . entertaining,” her words were rushed to elaborate, and yes, Spock surmised, that required no further explanation, “and there’s . . . well, there’s no peace to be found in the library with . . . Anyway, the particulars don’t matter, but suffice to say I can’t study there.” For whatever . . . impediments she found in the library, the memory of it was enough to move her to true anger. Spock was surprised when he felt an echo of the emotion resonate in his own chest. Just who, he thought to instinctively know, was bothering her? And yet, he bound his own . . . uncalled for emotions away underneath a strict band of logic once he understood them for what they were. It was not his place to wonder, nor were interpersonal conflicts something he could solve for the cadet. (Unfortunately.)

    “And, it’s raining,” Uhura gestured outside to conclude in a tone of voice that Spock could only describe as miserable. “I can’t even sit out by my tree on the quad and study. I can’t go to a café or the common hall in the dorm, because I need quiet to translate these Romulan micro-verses for Senior Translator Suárez, and I just can’t - ”

    “ - Cadet,” gently, Spock cut off her tirade before she could say anything more. His decision was made as soon as she first asked for a place of quiet to study. "All you needed to say is that you require an atmosphere better conducive to your studies than you've since been able to find. There is no inconvenience on my part to provide you with such."

    It was surprising, in of itself, just how honest those words were. He meant them truly.

    “Oh . . . yes, of course,” curiously, her blush only darkened for his affirmation. Clearly, she regretted the several words she'd resorted to when only a few had been needed instead. Yet, Spock found that he didn’t mind her speech – as rambling as it may have turned – in the slightest. To the contrary, even, he could acknowledge. “My apologies, Commander; thank-you.”

    In reply, there was nothing more that needed to be said than: “You are welcome, Cadet.”

    And he turned back to his own work.

    Yet, no matter that Uhura was indeed unobtrusive in her presence as she took out her coursework – as he knew she’d be – he found his own productivity slowing to a perplexing rate in her presence. He still made his way through the lines of code, of course, he was not that . . . distracted. Yet, he found that his attention was drawn to his companion more often than not. The ends of her hair were curling as they dried. He stared at the hollow of her neck as she shifted more than once, and wondered at his level of awareness. She muttered under her breath as she made her way through the Romulan verses, and her voice stirred something inside of him – the language was alike enough to Vulcan, in a way, that his ears flicked towards every turn and inflection of her timbre and cadence. She had, he acknowledged, a most pleasing voice.

    But that was yet another thought that he pushed back underneath the iron bonds of his logic. His eyes widened, imperceptibly, to wonder where the impulsive admittance had come from in the first place. Ascertaining the root of such thoughts to better cease them at their inception in the future would become the subject of his meditation that night and for many days thereafter.

    His distraction was unacceptable; and so, he narrowed in his focus with all of his considerable mental acumen, and didn’t look her way again.

    And, yet . . .

    The combination of the hushed quiet, the rain, and the gentle sway of her voice . . . yes, Spock could admit, if even to himself, that the particular lightness of his heart and the pleasantness of their combination would certainly have to be explored further . . . and then reasoned away, certainly.

    Yet, until then, Spock didn’t mind the peace for what it was. Instead, he simply accepted it, and carried on with his work.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Like Nutella on strawberries, like Nutella with a spoon, only! [face_laugh] Yum! Her discombobulation is so understandable with Gaila's "entertaining", Kirk's "I'm so irresistible, I can't stand it" style of flirting [face_mischief] and the rain. I love their inner musings - hers on how just being with him calms the frazzle, and him, finding a strange sort of serenity in her company and being able to provide a literal and emotive haven. I just love these two, like eternally! Like duh. ;) [face_love]
     
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  12. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Magnifique, Mira! What a wonderful juxtaposition of both Nyota and Spock POV of the same interaction. I was quite enamored of your skill with each of their voices. From Nyota's rising anger and frazzled-ness. :p to Spock's keen eyed for the details of Nyota's appearance and its meaning, I was captivated. Spock said frazzled. [face_laugh] Even in his head, Spock said frazzled. ;)

    Okay. As much as he was not present, Kirk is all over Nyota's present emotional state. Though he may not be the sole reason, he plays a huge part. I applaud how you revealed not only Galia's promiscuity (eventually Kirk) and Kirk's direct propositioning, which imagine was exhausting to defend against. Well done. It also played well in Spock's deductions about her agitated nature and how he wants to assuage it.

    Such a good sentence. :) I need the calm of Spock in my life. [face_nail_biting]

    That's Spock for you. Another excellent sentence and character moment.

    I loved the description here and the following unsettling of Spock's focus. [face_love]

    This dialogue is so very Spock. I enjoyed the line in both sections. Zach Quinto was in the house. [:D]
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fangirl flails! [face_laugh] So, so drooliciously true. :* :*
     
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  14. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Aw, thank-you! [face_love]

    Everyone has their point of enough is enough, and Nyota certainly reached hers after that maelstrom! But that's one of the things I really appreciate about her relationship with Spock: he completes her, even when - or especially when, I should say, she needs a shoulder to lean on. He's a safe harbor for her to simply decompress in. That's crucial to any good relationship, in any form, and they have that and more in spades. [face_love]

    That said, I'm stoked that you enjoyed this, my friend! Especially as you are the uncontested captain of this good ship. [face_mischief] [face_love] [:D]


    [face_laugh] Well, Spock is half-human. [face_mischief] ;) I didn't even remember consciously using the word until you pointed it out, and now I am inordinately amused as well. :p [face_laugh] But! I thank you for the kind words, and for this very thoughtful comment. It really made my day. :D [:D]

    Yep, you're spot on. And, as much as Nyota has sensitivity for Gaila's physiology, and understands that Kirk's flirting is mostly harmless, it's still exhausting when she's looking for a place of academic refuge, first and foremost. You made a point about sexual harassment that I completely agree with - even constantly propositioning after a lady says no can be irking to deal with, even if Kirk would be mortified to think of himself that way, and Nyota's understandably tapped. [face_plain]

    Don't we all?! :D And also, thank you so much for pointing out the actual nitty gritty writing bits you enjoyed in this and the next few selections you made - that's invaluable to me as an author. [:D]

    And I especially thank you for that last note! It's hard to get Spock's voice just so - especially when writing him in an emotional situation such as this one, and I'm thrilled to hear that it rang true when reading. Thank-you, my friend! I really appreciate the time and thought you put into your comment. :D [face_love] [:D]



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  15. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: And here I am, finally writing for more of the new NSWFF prompts! I have ideas for all of them, but this first one ended up being long enough to post on its own. It's Stranger Things based, and an unofficial gift for @brodiew to apologize for that last part of his official fic-gift that I still have to finish up and post. [face_blush] Thank-you for your patience, my friend! And, in the meantime, enjoy. I hope I do these characters the same justice that you do time and again. [face_love]






    XII.
    "I'll Be Your Sword and Shield (and you'll be mine)"
    (Stranger Things | Mike Wheeler/Eleven)


    Slam Dunk


    If Mike Wheeler would've known there was going to be a co-ed gym class that day, with both the guys and girls of Hawkins High’s ninth grade class sharing the court together, he would have stayed home.

    He was nothing special when it came to sports, none of the Party were – except for Lucas, of course, who could just shut-up about everything, by the way. At the very least, running for his life against inter-dimensional monsters and corrupt government agencies had honed his sense for danger; his instincts were just the edge he needed to keep from looking completely ridiculous. Still, that edge wasn’t enough for him to avoid Vincent Carter, who seemed to have it out for him. Seriously: the jock kept on checking him into the sidelines every time the teacher’s back was turned, even when Mike wasn't involved in the play. The ignominy of that was made all the worse when the mouth breather kept on flexing his ridiculous muscles and flashing his orthodontist-perfect smile at El every time he one-upped him.

    And, well, that was the other half of Mike’s problem, if he was being completely honest.

    Like with every other new experience since making her debut as Jane Hopper, El didn’t understand why her friends hated gym class. There were a few mean girls who gave her issues, sure, but for the most part she loved the chance she had to learn new games and play with her friends. Max and El made a good team, and they were standing toe to toe with the more athletic boys without El using her powers. But to see his girlfriend – his girlfriend, the word still made him feel like there was soda pop bubbling up in his chest – in those, well, those short shorts, after her legs had turned even longer over the summer, was admittedly distracting. He couldn’t help but watch the way her halo of honey-brown curls bounced in her ponytail, with loose strands flying free from her scrunchie to stick to the glistening skin of her neck. She was a vision, even when sweaty and messy, so much so that Mike understood how Beren felt when looking at Lúthien, and he -

    - well, Mike didn’t consider himself a creeper when it came to girls, and he wasn’t trying to perv on El, but she looked really, really good.

    That fact, unfortunately, hadn’t escaped the attention of the male population of their class – and even quite a few of the upperclassmen beyond. No matter that El – amazingly, unbelievably – had eyes only for him, the dogs continued to sniff. They didn’t care that she already had a boyfriend, or even a scowling Chief Hopper waiting beyond them all with a loaded gun and authority to use it. A part of Mike – the part of him that still felt small whenever his father sighed: what to do with you, son? or burned when the bullies tore up his campaign notes or flinched when he was called freak dweeb frog-face – was waiting for El to wake up and realize she could do so much better. She had the world at her fingertip, she’d someday understand; all she had to do was snap.

    And the guys, of course, were making sure that she knew her options. If El ever decided that she wanted something more, Mike would understand. He'd been her choice when she had nothing; now, the world was open with possibility before her. That thought weighed heavily on his mind, so much so that he was distracted when -

    - he was checked, and flew out of bounds to hit the ground hard.

    He blinked, his vision spotting black for a worryingly long moment as Vincent gave a mean laugh. “Hey, watch where you’re going, nerd – you bounced right off me there.”

    Mike scowled, but got to his feet again. El, he noticed, was staring his way, distracted from the flow of the game in her concern. He shook his head and gave her a thumbs up, which she only looked dubious to accept in answer. He grit his teeth, determined to make a good showing for himself this once, even if it killed him.

    But, in the end, he didn’t have to worry. Because when Vincent rushed El, trying to get the ball from her – a condescending: “don’t worry, I’ll go easy on you, doll,” given in a smarmy voice that was stuck between cocky and flirty – he suddenly went flying back when she held out her forearm to block and defend herself. From there, no one noticed as she tossed the ball to Max, who leapt up to dunk it in the basket with a whoop and crow of: “How’s that for you, dollface?”

    Vincent’s friends moved to help him up, all laughing to see their star athlete taken down by a girl, but he shoved them back with a thunderous expression as he climbed to his feet unaided. But he was wary of El as she stared him down, and he'd lost his interested leer - unsurprisingly, he was a guy looking for a little missus with stars in her eyes for her big strong hero; he couldn't handle the idea of a girl being his equal or even more. Loser, Mike thought unrepentantly, you don't know what you're missing. But, at the very least, Vincent had gotten the message.

    “What? He bounced right off me,” El’s eyes glittered impishly to parrot when he raised a brow at her: no powers was first, second, and third on Chief Hopper's list of Don't Be Stupid Rules, after all. But that thought fizzled out as quickly as it formed when she gave that little dimpling smile that Mike loved so much. When she stood up on the tip of her toes – she wasn’t the only one who had a growth-spurt that summer – to kiss him quickly when the teacher wasn’t looking, Mike couldn’t help the grin that stuck to his own mouth, and stayed there.

    He may not have won the game – not even close, but he felt like a winner anyway. Like Lúthien, El had made her choice, and he wasn’t going to take that for granted. Instead, he would just cherish everything that meant in the meantime.



    ~MJ @};-

     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Mike's voice is so wonderful. He's so ardent and possessive without being yucky. His voice reminds me of darling Ronen's. So "who me?" [face_laugh] Yes, you. The lady with class and taste loves you, with reason. [face_dancing] El can more than put Vincent Carter with his smarmy attitude in his place. =D= A marvelous use of Slam Dunk. :D
     
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  17. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I totally agree with @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha! I really enjoyed your Mike pov. He is juggling a lot of emotions in this once. Being bullied, but know he has the girl. Questioning whether the girl will still love him as her 'options' become apparent, allowing his hormones to ogle her (and justly so). I also thought the start was well played as Mike worried about how his athletic limitations would look to everyone.

    I love this line because it shows is innocence as well as his burgeoning sexuality. And, it's funny. [face_laugh]:p

    Vision of Millie in this scene on the show. Very well done. I can totally see El's confidence growing as her command of langue and socialization go forward. [face_mischief]
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Thank-you! Mike's was a new voice to write in, but he just adores El so, so much, and she in return. I adore their relationship in every form, and it was fun to write this little ficlet in reply. I'm glad you enjoyed. [face_love] [:D]


    I know that Freshman year is hard enough anyway, let alone topping it off with everything these kids have been through! Mike really is juggling quite a bit, but he has El, against all doubts, and he has his friends. Everything is going to be okay from there. [face_love] You do such a wonderful job with his voice that I'm glad that you enjoyed this! This was new territory for me, but in a fun way. :p :D

    [face_laugh] Oh, poor Mike! He's at that hard age, caught between a sorta innocent puppy love with El and more grown-up feelings. But they'll figure it out together. :p [face_love]

    Thank-you! After everything these kids have been through, they deserve just easy, normal moments like these. I'm glad you enjoyed. [face_love] [:D]


    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  19. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Author's Notes: Alrighty! I wrote this next ficlet in a flurry of words over coffee this morning, so it may not be as polished as I'd usually like for my work to be before posting, but I had to get this off my chest. This is an Avengers mini-fic, but it's written more to follow up my Antman & Wasp: Make the Man viggie I wrote way back when, rather than being Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame compliant. Actually, it's more Infinity Wars/Endgame defiant in an: opps, my hand slipped while typing and everyone lived happily ever after kinda way. o_O [face_mischief] There is nothing but purely cathartic, silly fluff from here on out. You've been warned.

    Also, as this is now officially an AU, there aren't many SPOILERS here except for a few minor details, and the name of a new character. But, if you don't want to be SPOILED whatsoever, then stop reading here.


















    Still here? Awesome. Let's go! :D





    XIII.

    "In the Works"
    (Marvel Cinematic Universe | Tony Stark & Ensemble)​

    Tony Stark had only been out for the morning, the morning. It’d been a simple idea at first: drop Morgan off at the Facility for a few hours while he took care of a few things downstate in Manhattan with Pepper, and then he’d swing back by to pick her up again. Maybe then he'd even chill and catch up with the team for a few hours before he returned back home with his family. When he instead had Friday alerting him that Protocol: Nanny I-IV had been tripped, he’d left Pepper in the boardroom and raced off as fast as he could to investigate, even donning his armor for the first time in months to cut his commute time down to mere minutes. He knew that his daughter wasn’t in any true harm’s way – he had protocols in place for that too, and she was surrounded by the Avengers themselves, which included the force of nature there was to be found in one Natasha Romanov when there were children to protect – but he had to see for himself. Friday had specifically mentioned a fire, and that could mean anything. How, his mind raced to boggle once the entryway swished open, had the clean and tidy lab he’d left behind, with his clean and tidy daughter to match, now be so obviously in the post stages of an experiment gone wrong? There were the tell-tale marks of an explosion blackening the walls, and there were puddles on the floor and on the work benches from where the sprinkler system has gone off as a precaution. Morgan herself had soot staining her cheeks, his heart leapt to notice, never mind that she seemed to be – and Friday did a quick scan when ordered to confirm – in one piece and no worse for the wear when he looked her over.

    Good, she wasn’t hurt. That meant that he could skip straight to the part where he demanded to know just what had happened.

    Yet, his thundering was to no avail when two pairs of brown eyes, one dark and intense and the other hazel and bright, clashed with his own, and he was stared down without remorse.

    “Lila’s graduating next month,” Morgan started, all almost ten years old going on thirty with her sass and her hands propped on her hips. His daughter had a withering cast to her gaze that Tony was going to say was all Pepper in her DNA and not just karma turning right back around to smack him in the face with his past sins. Obviously. He knew how to give credit where credit was due.

    “We knew exactly what gift we wanted for her,” Cassandra Lang crossed her arms over her chest to continue, “but after you said no - ”

    “ - and after her stuffy old grandpa said no,” Morgan jabbed her thumb back at Cassie and turned her nose up as if her opinion on Hank Pym was more than apparent (which Tony was not going to be proud of – until later, of course), “all for no good reason - ”

    “ - you just bypassed me entirely and went to him?” Tony ran a hand through his definitely graying hair before giving a noisy sigh through his teeth. “Banner, buddy, how could you?”

    “Well, technically, they bypassed you and went to him,” Bruce somehow managed to hunch over as if being a near eight foot tall, half-hulked out green wrecking ball of muscle didn’t mean a thing. He meekly twiddled his thumbs, clearly fretting for the idea that he’d crossed some unseen parental boundaries. Honestly, if Tony hadn’t been able to fix his friend by now, he didn’t think he ever would. But, he was then more interested in the way Peter Parker threw his hands up and held them there like he was cornered by the law after trying to flee the scene of a crime.

    Huh: how fitting.

    “Oh no no no: not guilty, Mr. Stark,” the young man – and now official Avenger – waved his hands wildly in alarm. “The girls said they wanted to make a gift for Lila, and, you know, I was cool with that. Lila’s awesome and all and she deserves a totally sick weapon like her dad’s. I was helping them design trick arrows, but not ones that would explode.”

    “Um, I may have helped add the last part – you know, the exploding bit,” Bruce interjected to admit. “But, I honestly thought they had permission - ”

    “ - Banner,” Tony sighed again, “why do you think they’d have permission for something designed to cause this much destruction and property damage when they’re not even old enough to drink?” Peter gave him a strange look for that, but Tony would not be called out for hypocrisy just then – it was called character growth. “And just look at my lab,” he threw his hands up, well knowing that he was channeling Howard Stark to a T, then, but unable to wholly help himself. “You know what we’ve tampered with in our time, right? And it’s an arrow that quite literally blows up in your face? Really, take some pride in your work and - ”

    “ - okay, okay. I hear you, Tony. But, Lila is set to go through SHIELD training, right?” Bruce furrowed his brow. “She’s going to be one of us soon, and I just thought that maybe she was starting early with the accessories. Nat didn’t think anything of it, so I didn’t either.”

    “Et tu, brute? Or et tu, Nat, should I say?” he whirled, just in time, to see the devil herself walk into the lab. As always, Natasha's stride was languid with a deceiving nonchalance as she folded her arms over her chest. She arched a red brow as she took the scene in, and then pointedly came to stand by Bruce’s side.

    “Oh,” she waved her hand, clearly unimpressed by his attempts to be the only responsible adult in the room, “let the girl have a few exploding arrows, Tony. It’s nothing worse than anything we were getting into when we were her age.”

    “Uh, speak for yourself, Miss Romanova. When I was her age, I was - ” Tony began before snapping his mouth shut and thinking the better of what he was going to say. Morgan was there, after all, and if her stare was withering when she thought that he was in the wrong then Pepper’s was ten times worse. Easily. “You know,” he blithely amended, “it doesn’t matter, strike that -”

    “Thank goodness,” Bruce muttered under his breath.

    “ - and whatever . . . ” Tony ignored his friend to gesture up and down at Natasha, “terrifying things you were up to as a newly unleashed Black Widow don’t count. The Cold War’s over, hate to tell you, sweets.”

    Natasha shrugged, little impressed. “The kids are growing up, is all I’m trying to say. That’s not a bad thing.” Her voice was gentle, pointedly so; Tony didn’t like the nuanced implication of her timbre in the slightest. He made a face: that wasn't what this was about, at all, and he was insulted that she even thought that he was having difficulties with letting go as their next generation stepped in place to surpass them. No, he was proud of that, he was proud of them – ridiculously so. Morgan and Cassie and Lila and Peter – even Wanda and Vision’s terrifyingly supernatural twins and Shuri and Bucky’s brat – were poised to be their guardians of tomorrow, and, with them, the future safety of the world was as bright as it was assured. But, if they thought that he’d stand by and let them throw themselves into the truly dangerous, awful world that was waiting for them even a second sooner than was necessary -

    - Natasha’s eyes glittered with mirth as she stared at him; the corner of her mouth quirked upwards. Tony hated everything she just said without saying a single word aloud. He disagreed, entirely.

    “Besides,” Natasha turned away from him and raised her voice to address everyone in the still smoking lab, “Clint already commissioned Shuri to fill a quiver for Lila. Sorry, boys,” she shrugged her shoulders when the scientists in the room all turned to gape at her, “but she’s Lila’s favourite for a reason.”

    “Huh,” Bruce was thoughtful to muse, “you know? I should have see that coming.”

    “What? How?” for that pertinent piece of intel, Tony’s eyes boggled. He fought not to twitch at the insult that had been done to him and his fellow men of science. “Clint didn’t come to me? But I’m his teammate! We’ve literally fought wars together. What’s more than that: I’m the foremost inventor of our generation, and I have decades of creating morally questionable weapons of mass destruction under my belt - more so than Her Highness has even been alive. I figured out time travel, for God’s sake. For a couple of arrows, even Hank could figure out how to pull his head out of his - ” but he stopped himself right there. Acknowledging his competency was going too far. Hearing his near slip of tongue, Natasha grinned at him like the cat who got the canary.

    “I don’t know,” no matter that he was a burgeoning scientific mind in his own right, Peter was happy to nod his head and add, “it makes sense to me.”

    “Of course it makes sense: Aunt Shuri is a genius,” Morgan breathed to add, her eyes wide with adoration. Other children had pictures of superheroes or pop stars or movie characters up on their bedroom walls, but Morgan held one Wakandian princess and cutting edge engineer as her idol and inspiration. For that, Tony was not jealous . . . at all. Nope. No siree. “Really, we should have gone to her first,” she turned to Cassie to say.

    “Obviously,” Cassie nodded smartly, and Tony felt the knife in his chest twist. He was Uncle Tony, and he’d always been her favourite; always.

    “Really, Stature?” he held a hand to his heart, as if it was bleeding out. “C’mon, you’ve always been my girl!”

    “But Shuri is Shuri,” Cassie beamed as if he couldn’t possibly disagree with him on that one most obvious statement. “Don’t worry, though, I still love you and Grandpa Hank and Uncle Bruce and even Pete here. I have room enough in my heart for all of you.”

    It wasn’t enough, not nearly. But Tony had no choice but to grumble and take what crumbs he could.

    “I don’t know, she’s my favourite,” Morgan, however, had no qualms about twisting the blade even further. She gave a smirk that was way too on-point for a nine-year-old, her dark eyes sparkling up at him.

    That was it: “You’re grounded,” Tony deadpanned. “No science for a week, young lady, for having no taste whatsoever. I raised you better than this.”

    Morgan, in answer, very maturely stuck out her tongue. Equally as mature, Tony made a face right back. Usually, this was where Pepper stepped in.

    But, when Pepper wasn’t there, they had Bruce. And Bruce, sometimes, knew just what to say: “Or,” he held out his hands in a placating gesture, calling for peace, “just to throw this out there: we can each make our own gifts for Lila. You know . . . as a little bit of friendly competition between geniuses?”

    Oh, Tony was instantly on board: this was so happening. The princess was going down, once and for all. (Ignoring, of course, the little voice in the back of his mind that wondered if he’d finally met his match; he’d never admit that out loud, however. He was Tony Stark.)

    “Oh yeah,” he rubbed his hands together. “Exploding arrows are so last season. C’mon,” he snapped his fingers, “Project: Legolas 2.0 is a go. Friday,” he called for the AI to link him to his servers as he started drawing in the air, “Daddy’s ready to crack a few eggs.”

    “Um, just throwing this out there,” Peter neutrally tried to interject, “but what you said earlier about responsibility and creating weapons only for a certain age bracket - ”

    “ - well I’m not making anything that has the capability of exploding, duh,” Tony rolled his eyes. “And besides: her dad signed off. I can’t control what goes on in the Barton household; I can only raise my own kid. So, let’s go.”

    And, with that, they settled down to business: namely, helping create the most ridiculously tricked out set of arrows in the history of archery. It was just like old times, but even better, when Morgan sat on the workbench right next to him and chattered in his ear with her own ideas as he sketched and fabricated. She already had a mind for physics and a knack for applying complex mathematics to practical forms, and she caught on quick as he explained his process to her. There was a reason she was already speeding through primary school, and admittedly bored with the whole process, after all. Cassie, a Berkley hopeful herself to carry on the Pym legacy, too listened with wide eyes and eagerly imputed her own thoughts. Tony couldn’t help but smirk to undo a few lines of Hank’s teaching while he was at it – he’d see that the great minds of tomorrow were brought up right.

    It was, after all, he couldn’t help but think with a smile, nothing but a bright age they had to look forward to.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] The snark, the wonderful affectionate snark! =D= I loved every word. :* :*
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - Thanks for the kind words, my friend! I'm glad you enjoyed. :D [face_love] [:D]





    Author's Notes: Whew, DRL has really swept me up and away this month, but I was able to sit down and write a few ficlets and now I have something to share. My inspiration this time around was the MMM Spoonfuls of Mush prompts. I have three out of five ready to go right here.

    These are Marvel based, again. The first ficlet can just be viewed as a missing moment from canon, but it also sets in nicely with my "all our winters to pass" Sif/Loki & Ullr 'verse, which is definitely where my heart was. [face_love] The second ficlet is another missing moment set between films, and a continuation to my original Shuri/Bucky ficlet in the first set. Way back when, @brodiew prompted me to continue on with the baseball theme, and while I was never able to finish a proper vignette, this is definitely the direction I was aiming for. It's honestly more an excerpt than a ficlet - someday I'll have to finish the whole longer piece in its entirety! Then, the third and last ficlet is pretty much the one perfect thing that Avengers: Endgame did that I had to, of course, write more for to better explore. So, if you are still trying to avoid SPOILERS, then ficlet #3 is not for you. Got it? Awesome. :D

    Now, that said . . .






    XIV.

    "all you battle-worn"
    (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

    Fond Memories (Pre-Captain America: Civil War | Sif & Steve Rogers (Steve/Peggy, Sif/Loki))

    It was, in all, a pleasant evening. The food was delicious, hearty and rich – Italian, she was told, which Sif would have to recommend to the master of the feast upon returning back home to Glaðsheimr in Asgard. The wine was decent, dry and red, although admittedly weak to her palate when compared to the Álfish vintages she better knew. That point was one that her companion for the evening could ruefully agree on, and they found their stride when she promised to bring a flagon of mead with her when next she visited Midgard. He was easy to talk to, Captain Rogers, and she enjoyed his company – though she would little relish admitting as much to Thor upon the morrow, of course, who was just as bad as an old crone with his matchmaker’s schemes. Beyond that, Steve was handsome, which certainly did not hurt, though in a chiseled and golden way that didn’t usually catch her eye – though, perhaps, that was all for the better, she thought with a stubborn sense of defiance. Most importantly, the first Avenger had a good heart; he was as innately brave as he was proven in battle, and there was an earnestness about his character that would have, perhaps, shone beyond all else if it wasn’t tempered with such a lingering sense of sadness. He was, she could not help but think, a bright light hidden underneath an occluding shade; a star muffled by the very nebula that had once succored its glow. He smiled, freely and easily, and yet the expression never quite managed to reach his eyes.

    Sif wondered, more than once as the evening passed on, if Steve could say the same for her. It’d been years by now, she was frustrated with her heart when it continued on with a disinterested beat. She should have healed enough to entertain the idea of taking a suitor anew. If she couldn’t enjoy one simple outing with a good man, with the best of men, even, then how could she ever possibly hope to move on enough to -

    “ - would you like to dance?” she interrupted her thoughts with the same swift surety of stepping into a bout of steel, gesturing to where a scattered few couples had left their meals behind to dance. Beyond the tables, there was a space cleared before where a quartet of brass and string instruments had struck up a compelling chord for just such a purpose. Big band and swing, the Man of Iron had said when he first recommended the restaurant, his teeth flashing in that too-sharp grin that usually nettled her ire. For nostalgia's sake, ‘eh, Cap?

    Yet, while the suggestion had been her stubbornly taking a stand in front of her own ghosts – refusing to remember years of sneaking away from Odin's hall to find the ways of the palace that were open to the light of the stars and the illuminated byways of their mother Yggdrasil’s branches instead, where they ever danced in secret – she was not prepared for the stricken look that Steve turned on her in reply. It was as if she’d struck him. He sucked in a breath, and closed his eyes; he did not immediately open them again.

    It only took a moment for her bewilderment to shift to comprehension. It was such a simple thing she suggested, and yet . . . oh, was that it, then? Something deep within her struck a kindred beat. She . . . understood.

    Once her awareness was set, it was then a deeply engrained instinct to stand as a shield when a brother-in-arms was felled. She would not put him through turning her down – or worse, suffer him accepting her hand out of some mistaken sense of chivalry or honor. Instead, she stood and gently led him away from the table. They left, walking past the twirling couples and the music from Midgard’s history, and escaped into the newly fallen night beyond. Still lost in the grips of his memories, Steve hunched over once they were free from the restaurant as if to protect himself from a physical pain; his face was twisted in a grimace. Watching him, she knew that they would end this evening as friends, and nothing more. Yet, that was acceptable to her; it was a friend that Steve needed now, most of all.

    Sif would never call the air of Manhattan fresh by any means – instead, the ever present smog of mankind’s crude industry stank in her nose and itched in her lungs; she could never suffer this crowded isle for too long – but Steve took in several deep, cleansing breathes. Surrounding them on all sides, the close, chaotic harmony of New York swallowed them with noise and light and such frenetic life. It was, she could not help but think, an unbearably alien place, this city. If it was for her, then it must have been all the more so for him. Once, in a different time, this had been his home.

    “I’m sorry,” he finally stammered when he’d recovered enough. “I don’t know what came over me.”

    Liar, she thought, but was not as unkind as to say so aloud – never mind that she would never have held her tongue with him.

    Instead, she squeezed his hand, giving him something tangible to anchor himself onto, and bid, as gently as she could, “Would you like to tell me about her?” Her invitation was as sincere as she could make it – the offer to unburden his heart to the relative anonymity of a new friend. “There is a her, right? Your lost love? If you wish to tell your tale, then I would be honored to listen.”

    When Steve finally looked up to meet her gaze again, his eyes were very blue in the glow of the city lights; very blue, and knowing. “I’d like that,” he said, softly, but then with greater confidence. “But only,” he gave a small, quirking smile that she imagined was as much of his before as it was now, “if you tell me yours.”

    It was a lancing pain she felt for his words, but one, she suspected, that promised of healing to come. After all, Sif acknowledged with a thought that was as tired as it was bitter, there was no one else she could really speak to about this. Not even Thor.

    So, they turned to follow the line of the boulevard, hand in hand underneath the eaves of the skyscrapers, and gave their memories a voice together.


    .
    .

    Tangled Emotions (Post-Black Panther | James “Bucky” Barnes/Shuri & Okoye)

    As much as the world had changed, some things remained the same.

    No matter that these Dodgers weren’t his Dodgers, and the great monolith of a stadium around him wasn’t Ebbet’s field, by far, there was a unique feeling that always accompanied a live baseball game. It was something in the air: the scent of popcorn and hotdogs, and the breeze that swept over the open, sunlit space above the diamond into the stands; the sound of the strike of a bat and the calls of the umpire and the guiding notes of the theater organ; the roar of the crowd when their favourites both triumphed and failed. It was history, purely American history, in a way that Bucky could appreciate more so than most.

    When it turned out that this year’s World Series involved the Los Angelas Dodgers (Los Angelas? Of all the things that made Bucky’s imagination boggle after struggling to reclaim his mind for himself, that had taken the cake) facing off against the New York Yankees in a match of historic proportions, he couldn’t help the old spark that ignited. He’d listened on the radio with Steve – following the Depression, they hadn’t nearly been able to afford tickets – that horrible day when they were robbed of the series in ‘41. They’d both caused such a ruckus for Keller’s double that his mother had sent in Becca to shush them, promising that she’d find work for them in the shop beneath the apartment if they couldn’t keep it down from distracting the customers. Later, they hadn’t been able to contain themselves when Gordan’s successive double had driven in two of his teammates to score, cementing the Yankee’s lead and their inevitable loss. They’d both shelved cans for the rest of the day for the ruckus they caused – Ma Barnes never did utter an empty threat, but the punishment had been worth the crime.

    Shuri gleaning tickets for him behind home plate for game seven – a surprise, really; he thought he was just escorting the princess to Oakland for another trip to her outreach center – had been one of the best gifts he’d ever received. This wasn’t their first time attending a game together, of course. Early on during their trips to America she’d surprised him with tickets, wanting to know what all of the fuss she’d seen in his memories was about. “Besides,” she’d approved, “you have great taste. If I’d have to choose any team to root for, even without you, it’d be the one that gave Jackie Robinson his start.”

    What a season that had been! He’d since gorged everything he’d missed about his beloved team in the meantime, and how he wished that he’d been there for the showdown against the Yankees in ‘55 . . . and not, wherever he’d been locked away and experimented on, instead. Steve had been ten years in the ice, then; he’d missed that season too. They’d both been mourned for dead with nothing left for his family to bury. But Bucky wasn’t going to think of that – not here, not now . . . not when he so clearly had his new beginning and a second chance at life standing right there before him.

    “I think I understand why you enjoy this sport,” Shuri approved after that first game – a riveting match between the Dodgers and a rivalry he was beginning to throw himself into against the San Francisco Giants. He’d spent as much of the game cheering and critiquing the new names and numbers on the diamond as he patiently showed Shuri the ins and outs of the game. Baseball was a test of both skill and strategy, not merely a fast, constant application of brute athletic force like with so many other sports. She caught on quick, but that wasn’t surprising – there wasn’t anything that was outside the reach of her mind’s ability to comprehend. Whatever she wanted to learn, she soon mastered. “You have a nice smile, James,” she’d only added later, her voice soft as they returned to Oakland. “It was good to see so much of it today.”

    It is easy to forget, sometimes,” Okoye had added after Shuri walked ahead of them to meet with her aides, “that you were little more than a youth yourself when you were taken, no matter how long ago that was. Today was . . . pleasing to witness, Ingcuka.”

    The same as always, Okoye attended the game alongside them. But she was there first and foremost as a Dora, protecting a member of her royal family, rather than a fan. Though she dutifully wore a blue jersey and baseball cap, and even had a comically oversized foam finger on her hand that Shuri had insisted on, her face did not lose its mask of striking intensity, not even once as she stared down the crowd rather than the game itself. She raised a brow in a look that was equal parts bemusement and exasperation when Shuri’s taunts towards the Yankees grew louder and more creative with each passing inning – a sight which Bucky could only feel his heart swell in pride for – and then glowered at him as if this side of the princess was all his fault. It was an accusation that he could only shrug his shoulders for; he’d happily plead guilty on those counts.

    Besides, he couldn’t help but think: Shuri looked amazing. The bright, Californian sun gilded her dark skin with gold, and the beads in her braids clicked together in a merry jingle as she jumped up and down in joy. The white of her jersey and the pale blue of her torn jeans glowed on her, and, in a style that was very her, her clunky platform sneakers clapped against the concrete in time with her hands as she clapped. She looked happy, Bucky was content to see – happy and beautiful and blindingly bright and -

    - but he was canny enough to recognize the twinkle of stars growing in his eyes. And he wasn’t twenty years old before the war anymore, inviting his sweetheart of the moment to hang on his arm to grab an ice cream at the ballpark. This was the Princess of Wakanda, and second in line to both the throne of the most advanced nation in the world and the powers of the Black Panther itself. Beyond the political position she already held, she was one of the greatest – or perhaps even the greatest – scientific minds in the world. She was beautiful and young with nothing but dazzling white shining from her ledgers. He’d never call her soft, though – never that. There was a strength to her that was breathtaking in its intensity; she was a warrior just the same as her brother. She’d taken him apart and put him back together again, for which he’d always serve her faithfully for, and yet . . . he was technically a hundred years old, with a patchwork mind and an inhuman body. He had so much blood on his hands, no matter that control of his hands hadn’t been his own, and . . . well, he’d never even graduated high school. He couldn’t, not when he was his father’s only son, and there were his sisters’ little mouths to feed. Back then, America had struggled to hold its head above water, and he’d learned to swim to keep from drowning. They just . . . they came from two different worlds. Literally.

    Even so, that didn’t stop him from staring as she cupped her hands over her mouth and hollered: “Don’t let that bum past you, Miguel! Sweet Bast, do you call that defense?” when another Yankee clipped the ball on a fast pitch and managed to make first base ahead of the tag, pushing his teammate on third in for a score. Bucky couldn’t keep a dumb sort of grin from quirking, even as his team took a hit on the diamond below. It was just . . . good, this moment: the sun and the game and Shuri. He was just happy that she was happy, and -

    - of course, it was nothing more than that, Bucky told himself as he, in turn, felt Okoye’s eyes boring into him. The Dora’s stare was close – too close, he felt, and way too knowing. He didn’t like the look in the slightest, and so, he steeled his expression, refusing to give her anything to find. He’d only just carved out this place for himself, and he wouldn’t risk his new home for anything.

    This wasn’t 1941 anymore, he sobered to remember, no matter how much this felt the same. And yet, he couldn’t help from feeling a little bit like the young man he’d been, then and there with her, in the smallest of ways.


    .
    .

    Pleasant Surprises (Avengers: Endgame | Steve Rogers/Margaret "Peggy" Carter & James "Bucky" Barnes)

    Steve Rogers was not used to the universe giving things back. Well, not without conditions, at least. Fate always managed to twist the answers to his prayers, inverting what he wanted most into pale copies of his initial wishes. He'd lost Bucky that awful day in the cold north of Europe, but he got him back, decades later, in the form of the amnesiac Winter Soldier. He had to put everything he’d gained in his new life on the line to hold onto what was left of his old friend with both hands – his place amongst the Avengers, and his friendship with Tony. He'd lost Peggy, too, only to meet her again as an elderly woman on the cusp of her days. She’d lived a good life without him, all with a beloved husband and children and grandchildren and even great-grandchildren; she'd secured a lasting legacy as a founding member of SHIELD. Even now, he could remember the weight of her casket on his shoulders as he helped carry her to her final resting place; they never did get to have their dance together. He’d lost himself, even – he knew what he was sacrificing to keep the world safe when he set the Valkyrie on its course. In the end, super serum or not, he was just a soldier, and if that meant that he wasn’t going to come home so that others could live, well . . .

    . . . that’s exactly what he'd signed up for when President Roosevelt called for men to march against the Axis powers. He'd fulfilled his commission with pride, and he'd do the same even if he had a chance to do it all over again.

    Yet, even his death hadn’t gone right. He’d woken up after being lost in the ice, only to find that he’d left 1945 far, far behind. Everything had changed around him, in so many overwhelming, even impossible ways. The world he’d opened his eyes to wasn’t the same one he’d laid down his life to protect, and he’d never wholly adapted to his new surroundings; not quite.

    Yet, now, he had a chance to change all that. He could change everything, even if only just for himself.

    I know what you’re going to do – but don’t worry, I’m not gonna try and talk you out of it.”

    I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about, Buck.”

    “Sure you don’t.” No matter the shadows that had settled in his old friend’s eyes, the glint that accompanied his teasing remained the same. The wry, playful quirk of his mouth was just as familiar. “You know, you’re still the same bull headed kid in the alley who didn’t know when to quit. Some things never really change.”


    A long moment passed, heavy with knowing. How many times had Steve wished for the chance to say goodbye to old friends before? Yet, now that he had his moment, he didn’t know what to say. “Do you . . .” he started, slow and awkward.

    “ - want you to find me?” as always, Bucky knew him well enough that words were unnecessary. He looked down at his hands in answer, his vibranium fingers clenching alongside his organic hand. “I don’t know,” he sighed. “For the people I hurt . . . for Nat, and for Stark, even . . . yeah: I want you to find me. Put me down like a dog if you have to; change everything. But, I’m kinda selfish, you know? Because, here, at the end of everything . . .” his gaze shifted, and Steve followed his eyes to where the Wakandian princess was sitting on the rope swing just beyond the house, talking softly to Wanda and young Cassie Lang. Her laughter sounded like bells, even across the distance, and her teeth flashed white as she smiled. “Well, I have more than I deserve,” Bucky simply shrugged to finish. “I understand if I can’t be this lucky every time around.”

    A long moment passed; the sunlight glittered over the water as the trees swayed in the breeze. It was peaceful here, away from everything; Steve more than understood what had drawn Tony to build a home for his family on this serene plot of land.


    You know,” he continued, “if this works, when I’m gone they’re gonna need a - ”

    - if you even try to give me that shield, Stevie, I’ll make you eat it – and you know I can,” Bucky grumbled, but there was a firmness to the line of his mouth that Steve knew better than to cross. “I’m part of the past,” his voice turned heavy to mutter. “I’ve got too much weighing me down. That shield is a symbol I ain’t worthy of.”

    You’re worth this shield and more, at least to me,” Steve was surprised by how low a tone his voice struck to match. His words were fierce, no matter how softly spoken, but he meant every one of them. “You signed up first to serve, long before I could – remember?”

    Bucky did nothing but look at him in answer. Maybe he believed him, maybe he couldn't - not yet. But his mouth quirked into a smile that was sincere enough in reply. “Hug Pegs for me,” he said instead of acknowledging his words. “And you’d better name your first kid James don't think I won't be looking.”

    Steve couldn’t help the strangled sort of sound he made in reply. He tried to laugh, but his lungs were too heavy to fill with air. “You’re assuming that a lot is going to go right to get to that point.”

    “Am I? I don’t know,” Bucky’s tone was dry as he rested a hand on his shoulder. “The universe owes you one, buddy – go on, and take what you deserve. Be happy; live out your days with your girl and enjoy the peace you fought for – that’s how all these stories deserve to end.”


    Now – somehow, unbelievably – he was here. All of the Infinity Stones were returned to their original places in time and space, and he’d tampered with so much – so much – along the way. Some of it, he would have to wait and see how it turned out; he could only hope that his meddling was for the best. Yet, for the rest of it . . .

    Well, now, he only had his own timeline left to fix.

    The air was bright and sweet and clean in a way that just wasn’t possible almost seventy years in the future. Fittingly, it was newly summertime; the trees lining the street were green, and the flowers in their beds were fully in bloom. It was a picturesque neighborhood, happy with the sounds of children playing and the enticing smells of an evening meal wafting from one of the open windows. He tucked the scribbled address back into his uniform, and sighed to admit that she’d made a place for herself after the war – a good place. She’d be happy, even if he left history well enough alone. And, yet . . .

    After a lifetime of service, Steve couldn’t help but be selfish about this one thing. It was the bravest thing he ever had to do: walking up to her door and knocking. It felt like tipping over a precipice and falling, hearing the latch turn and the heavy wood pull back. He was holding his breath and waiting for the plunge, when -

    - time and distance had dulled the memory of just how beautiful she was, Steve thought, dazzled all over again. He was left dumbstruck, just like the first time he’d seen her at Camp Lehigh. Her large, dark brown eyes widened in amazement and she sucked in a breath. Her hand flew up to cover her mouth, and she took a step back. He could only imagine how shocking this was for her: seeing a ghost at the door, with extra lines to his face and a pall to his eyes to suggest that he wasn’t quite the same man that she’d long thought for dead. Where exactly in time had he landed? he was fuzzy to wonder. Was he three, even five years after the end of the war? More? She’d already grieved him by now; he knew that she’d healed and was moving on. Was it right for him to open up this wound all over again when it'd clearly already scarred?

    Yet, it’d been that long for him too, and he still wanted – no, he needed – to go back to where they had left off. It was all he wanted from here on out; no other future could ever possibly hope to compare to what they could have had, together.

    He didn’t have to wonder for overly long if she felt the same. Her eyes were luminous as they filled with tears, and she sucked back a sob before it could escape. But she was Margaret Carter, his amazing, strong, beautiful girl, and she recovered herself first to say, “You’re late, Captain,” in a voice that was tremulous with restrained emotion.

    His shield made a dull, thudding sound as it fell to the porch; he didn’t even bother with closing the door behind him. Instead, Steve stepped forward and wrapped her in his arms before she could wholly give into her tears. Nothing in that moment was more important than holding her. Finally, he let himself exhale a breath he’d been holding since the ice took him, he was home. And, from here on out, home he would stay.



    ~MJ @};-
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  22. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Sif with Steve -- in Fond Memories -- very poignant as they give voice to their mutual sharing of loves still held dear. @};-

    Tangled Emotions -- wonderful bit of recapturing a gentler time. [face_thinking]

    Pleasant Surprise, with Steve and Margaret --
    Steve stepped forward and wrapped her in his arms before she could wholly give into her tears. Nothing in that moment was more important than holding her. Finally, he let himself exhale a breath he’d been holding since the ice took him, he was home. And, from here on out, home he would stay.

    I need hardly say how MUCH, MUCH reunions like this resonate. [face_dancing] [face_dancing]

    ^:)^
     
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  23. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    I liked how Sif stood as a shield for her companion, in full warrior mode. Also, thanks for the Endgame glimpse of a happy, happy ending/beginning for Cap. It's worth it, coming to these boards to see.[face_good_luck][face_love]