tallulahgs: (Posing Gum and Mew)
[personal profile] tallulahgs
[Title] Improv Battle
[Fandom] Jet Set Radio
[Rating] PG (some violence)
[Notes/Summary] The GGs' first offensive hasn't gone so well.

Beat’s feeling kinda strange. Not… bad-strange. No. Wait. Actually, maybe it is bad-strange. The sunlight’s very, very bright, and the air tastes so much of bus station petrol he feels kinda sick with it. Maybe he’s gonna be sick. He hopes not. Gum’s next to him, clutching him by the arm and dragging him along and he’s going with it, not sure if he can feel the wheels of his skates on the ground or not. She’s shouting at him to keep moving. He hopes he’s not gonna be sick, because Gum is cool, and Tab is cool, and they’re trying to make a gang together and if he just randomly barfs they’ll probably reconsider.

“Down here,” Gum yells, and there are steps ahead of them and Beat’s like watching himself, watching himself jump and land on the banister and grind down. He doesn’t think too hard about how he can be watching himself, because he’s definitely struggling with the whole feeling-his-feet thing. He stops feeling them and –

Sprawled all over the steps. Grazes and cool air on his arms. Cool air and… hot. He glances at the heat and it’s red. It’s really red. Like he messed up and tagged his own arm instead of the wall.

“Oh,” he says to Gum, “I remember.”

“Great,” she snaps – she’s biting her lip, her face is very clear in the sunlight, pale skin and a smudge of paint on her cheekbone and a line of shadow from her helmet – “Can you remember to run now?”

The Beat who managed to grind on that banister also manages to stand up and is dashing like it’s no big thing. Beat can’t tell if he’s that guy or not. Sometimes he is and he can feel his legs aching and the sun on his skin and sorta sick. Sometimes he thinks he might not be. Gum stays the same, though, next to him, white dress bright in the light. He keeps expecting her to dash on ahead and leave him, but she doesn’t. The half-pipe bends round, it’s full of shade. It’s so cold he almost keels over but Gum snaps at him, “Don’t you even –” and he follows her voice and the white of her dress back into the sunlight.

She stops and they stop so fast that it throws Beat to the ground. He’s sitting on concrete, back against a warm curved wall. Damn it, he’s feeling sick again.

Gum is pulling off her gloves. White gloves, speckled with paint. She’s folding them up and then all at once she’s grabbed his arm and she’s pressing the gloves against the wound. It’s like she makes it disappear but only for a moment. Then the red starts to come back through. She’s squeezing his arm hard. Her palms are warm. Under the cloth he can feel the blood oozing. It tickles.

They’re sitting in the half-pipe. They were tagging up the bus station.

“I got in a knife fight with a Love Shocker,” he says, out loud to check it’s real.

“No,” Gum says. “You got stabbed by a Love Shocker. Knife fight is only for people who actually had their own knives. You should’ve gone straight in and headbutted her.”

“Then I’d probably’ve knocked myself out. I’m not one for the… fighting arts.”

“No shit.”

The gloves are bright red. Gum’s fingers are blotchy with it.

“I ruined your gloves,” Beat says, wondering if that’s as bad as random barfing.

“No, the Love Shocker ruined my gloves. And our takeover. I hope the cops busted her.” She glowers at him. “Okay, you look a bit less… woozy. I thought you were gonna pass out.”

Beat says, “Yeah, I did too,” which means he must still be feeling a bit weird, 'cause he wouldn't have admitted that normally. He can feel blinking more than he usually does. Gum is still squeezing his arm. And he can feel his feet properly now, can wiggle his toes inside his skates. Feeling his feet means he can feel his heart racing and the sting from the grazes and the delayed-action-but-suddenly-actually-quite-bad pain from the freakin' knife wound.

“Okay,” Gum says, “what we're gonna do is, we're gonna get up, and skate back to the garage, nice and easy, and Tab's gonna be there, and I can hand over the being-a-grown-up shit to him. In the meantime I'm gonna keep holding your arm like this 'cause otherwise I'm gonna have to take off my bra and tie it round. And I'm not gonna do that. If we get jumped by the cops again I don't need to be worrying about my boobs on top of all else.”

Beat can't tell how he's supposed to react about a cute girl mentioning her underwear but he thinks Gum's actually kinda freaked and blurting stuff out too, so he just nods and says, “Sounds like a plan.”

“Right. Let's make it happen.”

It's not til they're rolling down the middle of the half-pipe together that he thinks how slow they're moving, and how she basically dragged him all the way from the bus station. And she stuck around not knowing if he was even gonna be able to walk, and the cops pouring into the square from all over.

“Hey,” he says.

“You're not gonna pass out on me, are you?”

“No. Wanted to thank you for saving my ass back there.”

Gum takes a deep breath, blows hair out of her face, laughs. “I had no clue what I was doing. Still can't believe we're not in handcuffs right now. I was just thinking, okay, the blood's not coming out like a fountain, so it'll be fine, right...

“Looks like we make a good team,” Beat says, daring to hope, and she grins, and says, “Damn straight.”

[Title] The Pact
[Fandom] Azumanga Daioh / Battle Royale
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] At the start of ninth grade, the girls get to talking about what they'd do in The Program.

It wasn't until half-past ten, when they'd eaten most of the snacks and Tomo was starting to look thoughtfully at the piles of scary movies she'd brought round, that Chiyo got brave enough to ask her question.

“So... did you guys ever talk about... um... what you'd do if you... if we got picked for the Program?”

She expected Tomo to roll her eyes and say Duh, of course... you're such a kid or Yomi to answer as if she couldn't believe anyone wouldn't know, but everyone just kind of went quiet. Yomi glanced away, pushing her hair back behind her ears; Tomo chewed her lower lip; Sakaki sighed; Kaorin swallowed.

“Not here I didn't,” Osaka said. “Me and my friend back in my old school, we did a bit. On account'a how I thought it was in eighth grade they put you in it. Didn't know why no one else was worryin'...”

Tomo snorted. “Oh yeah, what was your plan? Fall asleep and hope when you woke up it would all be a dream?”

“Yep,” Osaka said, hugging her duvet-wrapped knees. “I mean I'd wanna to be the winner but you know I ain't very good at runnin', so I don't think it'd work out.”

“Pah,” Tomo said. “Come on, if we got picked I'd be the winner.”

“What? Why the hell would you be the winner?” Yomi demanded.

“Oh, come on!” Tomo pointed to herself dramatically. “Do I or do I not have winner written all over me? I'm tenacious, beautiful, ruthless, resourceful –”

Loud,” Yomi said over her. “Loudest girl in the class. Which means girl most likely to be discovered by whichever of our classmates turns out to be a psycho in training.”

“Besides,” Kaorin said, “if anyone here's going to be a winner, it's Sakaki.”

Sakaki blinked like she didn't know that she was the tallest and scariest girl in their grade, not just their class. Chiyo still couldn't quite believe they were at a sleepover together. The thought of facing Sakaki in the Program made her stomach go icy.

“Okay,” Tomo said, nodding. “I'll allow Sakaki's a contender, but when it comes down to it...”

“Shut up, Tomo,” Yomi said, hitting her with a pillow. Then, to Chiyo, “Actually, you know what, I did talk about it. Tomo and I, when we were in elementary school – remember, Tomo? We agreed we'd find a place to hide, wait til we were the last two –”

“And battle it out,” Tomo said, pointing skyward. Lowering her hand, she continued, “Why'd you ask, anyway, Chiyo-chan? I mean... to be honest we don't talk about it. It's like... it's not going to happen, so why bother?”

Chiyo tugged at her hair, feeling a little silly now, but they were all waiting for her to answer, so she said, “My mum and dad are worried about it.” I'm worried about it, she didn't say. “Just... they could see it was best for me to be moved up to ninth grade, but I guess they're a little scared, too. Just – just in case the worst happens.”

“Hey, yeah,” Osaka said, frowning. “That's not okay, them putting a ten-year-old in the Program. You oughta be exempted.”

“Ooh, maybe that means we're safe because we've got Chiyo-chan,” Tomo said.

“Dream on,” Yomi said. “I don't think it works that way.”

“But it's not going to happen, though,” Kaorin said.

“No,” Tomo said. “Course it's not.”

In the silence, Sakaki said, “If we did get chosen... we should protect Chiyo-chan.”

When they all looked at her, she turned a bit red, but her voice was as steady as ever as she continued, “Osaka's right.”

“So, if we did – if we did end up in it, we'd all band together to protect her,” Kaorin said, nodding. “Oh, wow, Sakaki, that's awesome.”

Chiyo could feel herself turning red now. “Um, I didn't... you don't have to do that! I didn't mean you to... um... I mean if it did happen then I'd be fine! Really!”

They all looked at her now, rather sadly.

“Yeah, you're right,” Yomi said at last. “We can't just let you get murdered.”

“Nuh-uh,” Osaka said. “Wouldn't be right.”

“Well, I dunno,” Tomo said. “I mean, it is survival of the fittest – hey, I never said I wouldn't help!” she said as Yomi shoved her. “I'll totally help! If it comes to it you'll be easier to take down when it's just the two of us!” She stuck out her hand into the centre of the circle. “Team Chiyo-chan!”

“Team Chiyo-chan,” Yomi said, shaking her head but putting her hand on top of Tomo's. Sakaki followed suit; Kaorin placed her hand over Sakaki's; Osaka murmured, “Team Chiyo-chan,” to herself and leant in to add her hand. Chiyo could feel herself still blushing. She wouldn't ever admit it, but this was actually making her feel a bit less scared.


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