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[Title] Becoming a Legend
[Fandom] Gitaroo Man
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] U-1 kind of misses having superpowers.



For ages, playing the guitar is okay but it's nothing to what it used to be. U-1 tries not to complain about it too much – well, to most people he can't complain about it at all 'cause it's kind of difficult to explain that you miss the times you could turn into a superhero and shoot lightning bolts every time you played a chord – and if he complains to Puma, Puma just gives him some kind of smug wisdom about learning to live with realistic dreams or whatever, and then U-1 demands to know why he's still a talking dog and who said he could make his home here anyway and by the time they've had that argument again he's forgotten his original point.

But. This is years later, when he's actually got good at the guitar, and he's in a band at college, and sometimes the whole being-Gitaroo-Man thing seems like a dream. But they're on stage and they're playing a mix of cover versions and some of their own stuff, and some of the audience actually know that stuff and kind of like it. And they play one of their old favourites, Theme of Legends (and yeah, U-1 thought of that title) and... it sounds like the way they it did in their heads. Like the solos and the backbeats and the highs and the lows come together like they were meant to, and it flows. It just flows. U-1's not thinking about how things used to be or how he'd like things to be, he's just following the rhythm and setting the world alight with it and it's only when they're done that he realises he's panting and sweating like he just ran a race and the audience have been singing along for the entire thing and now they're going wild like this is a sell-out stadium tour. And it's nothing like shooting lightning bolts while something tries to kill you but at the same time it's deep-down familiar and he knows down to his bones that what happened before was real, and that, in a completely different way, it's happening now.



[Title] Problem Children
[Fandom] Battle Royale / X-Men: Apocalypse
[Rating] PG-13 for language and mention of violence
[Notes/Summary] Hirono Shimizu has been recruited to help end the world. Which should be incredible, but is perhaps not all it's cracked up to be.



Hirono didn't expect that being literally one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse would involve so much... waiting.

She's sitting on a rock in some random desert trying to light a cigarette and ignore how every particle of metal around her (and there are a lot of them) is there and just itching to be called forth and turned into a blade. Like, okay, that's what she does – when she needs it, she finds a knife in her hand, and leaves behind her a trail of missing door handles and wrecked taps and collapsing barbed-wire fences – but she never notices the... the possibilities. This is like a song stuck in her head, or her ears ringing. Apocalypse supercharged her and at first she thought it was amazing but now she's actually kind of missing normal. Well, her version of normal.

She finally lights up before the sandy breeze snuffs it out, she takes a drag, and then Shou is sitting next to her, grinning: “Hiro. Fancy sharing?”

“One: it's Shimizu to you. Two: fuck off and die, you'll have your own smokes somewhere...” Actually, maybe not. Shou's wearing some kind of extremely tight-fitting black snakeskin catsuit that Apocalypse made for him and it doesn't look like there's any pockets. Typical Shou. Okay, she's in something that looks like jeans and a tank top and feels like Kevlar and it’s the coolest thing she’s ever worn but it's still got pockets.

“Mean.” Shou pouts, but he doesn't go away. Hirono resists the urge to blow smoke in his face, seeing as they are on the same team right now. Not that she'd have expected Shou Tsukioka, the gayest man ever to sashay past a camp of pink tents, to have been assigned end-of-the-world duty.

“Wouldn't have thought this is your scene,” she says. “I mean, where's all the glitter and topless men?”

Shou winks. “Oh, trust me, our lord and master is quite buff under that ancient armour...”

“He's blue and possibly an alien and literally the Apocalypse. You cannot be perving over him.”

“You underestimate me.” Shou rests his chin on his hands and gazes across at the rest of their team. Some distance away, Mizuho “Dungeons and Dragons is my life” Inada, whom Hirono hadn't seen since they were both in school and she was shaking Mizuho down for lunch money, is dressed in full medieval Joan-of-Arc black armour and practising strikes with the giant blue flaming sword she can apparently just... conjure from the air. Huh. Lucky that didn't manifest until after junior high.

And up on one of the crags, Hirono can just see their blue alien lord and master talking to Takako Chigusa, who Hirono has never been scared of before but who's got this... look in her eye and… smashed in the heads of every single orderly when they busted Mizuho out of the loony bin. Not that Hirono’s got anything against violence, but Takako was… hunting people down and it was –

“So,” Shou says. “How are you finding it?”

Hirono chooses to frown and say, “This smoke? It's good,” and Shou tsks, slaps her on the arm. “Silly bitch. You know what I'm talking about.”

“You know what, I forgot how much fucking metal there is in every goddamn rock,” Hirono snaps, and nearly says how it's screaming at her to rip it free and make it fly through her hands into blades and scour the world clean and that's kind of unnerving actually, she may be able to make it rain needles but she's sane about it.

Shou pats her. “Poor darling –” and she kicks him on the ankle: “Shut up. What the hell did he do to you, anyway? I thought you could already see through anything.” Which is fucking funny. God’s clearly on her side if the only guy she knows with X-Ray vision isn't interested in how she looks under her clothes. Sucks to be a hot guy, but Hirono figures they could do with a taste of their own medicine.

“Well, I suppose for me it's just a new prescription,” Shou says, watching Mizuho twist and swing her blade and shatter another rock. “I could see all of this before, but I suppose he's opened my eyes. Like our little Warrior Princess over there... I can see every vein in her, you know.”

“Ew.”

“Your lungs are quite beyond the pale, you know.”

“Stop eyeing up my insides, for god’s sake. Why exactly does he want you around? Are you supposed to be spying out the nuclear launch codes?”

Shou leans closer to her – he still smells of perfume, even out here, even now – and whispers: “Oh, didn't you know? If I can see things, I can change them.” Hirono wants to inch away from him but she makes herself stay still and roll her eyes as he carries on, “If I watch and I want then it happens. I mean... that's always the way it's been, but now... I could stop your heart just by looking. If I needed to.”

Right. Okay. So that’s why Shou's going along with this. Because that whole camp, arch, nothing-means-anything act isn't an act. Nothing does mean anything to him. She looks round at him, and he smiles at her, because he fucking knows that she knows.

Apocalypse and Takako are walking back towards them. Mizuho sheaths her sword into thin air or whatever the fuck and runs over to him, trips, on her knees clutches at him. She's babbling something about light. She's usually babbling something about light. Her eyes are very wide and she doesn't blink much and Hirono's prepared to bet whatever she's seeing doesn't match up with reality even an inch.

So Shou's a psychopath and Mizuho is out to lunch and Hirono is remembering (fuck Shou and his talk about veins) that blood's got iron in it and that is twisted even for her. And Takako...

So Hirono never had much time for Takako. Takako liked to think she didn't give a fuck about anything, but the most rebellious things she did were to dye her hair, refuse to talk about girly shit, and have no friends except one Hiroki Sugimura, nice-guy kung-fu champ and, in Hirono's opinion, a dork. (Okay, she classed most guys who weren't psychotic as dorks, but Sugimura was like a walking shonen manga protagonist come to life.)

So now Sugimura's dead, and Takako’s dressed in black from throat to wrist to ankle and her hair is blood red, and she chased down all those people and crushed their skulls with a crowbar back at the mental institute and she smiled a little bit afterwards and then hasn’t smiled since, has just stared coldly out at the world, deadly pale and giving the impression that if you breathe too loudly she will – snap. In some way. And Hirono doesn't know why she's bothered, because all Takako can do is run crazy fast, and Hirono's prepared to bet she knows more about fighting dirty, but...

Just she looks at Takako and then she finds herself actually wanting to focus on all the metal around.

“Quite the transformation,” Shou murmurs.

“So she's got an even worse attitude than she already did. Big fucking deal.”

“So I know even less about physics than I do about bio, but I seem to recall that when you get things going at high speeds, all kinds of shit can happen with the laws of reality. I'm calling it, Hiro. Chigusa's going to run the world to a standstill, and all us three will have to do is mop up the remnants.” His breath against her hair. “It's going to be amazing.”

Hirono stubs out her cigarette and finds herself scrabbling for another one. Okay, so she has basically spent her life hanging out with people your mother wouldn't like and plotting to do stupid shit. But she can't help feeling that this time things have maybe gotten a little out of hand.



[Title] Growing Up Together
[Fandom] Malory Towers
[Rating] G
[Notes/Summary] Bill and Thunder have always been together.



It's a frosty morning and the grass is white-green. Thunder is swathed in his horse-coat, swishing his tail as though he's impatient. Bill clambers over the fence and he trots towards her, his breath clouding against the sunrise.

“Don't you start lecturing me,” Bill says to him as she strokes his nose. “I think it was jolly nice of me to come outside with it being this cold. I might have wanted to stay curled up in bed.”

Thunder snorts like he doesn't believe a word of it, which he shouldn't if he's been paying attention for the last fifteen years. Fifteen years. It sounds an awfully long time when you say it that way. She can remember standing on the fence and looking at the new foal in the field, and her brothers laughing and saying how the two of them would need to grow into each other, and she can remember Thunder being tall enough to look her in the eye and then look down at her, and she can remember dressing in her school uniform for the first time, and then all the times, and then the last time, but there are a few photographs of the two of them when they were both littler, and she can't believe how small they were. Sometimes she feels like she's changed beyond all recognition, and sometimes she feels like her life has flowed and changed around her and underneath it she isn't different at all, but Thunder has always been with her, always glad to see her, always hearing every spoken and silent word she directs to him. He follows her now as she walks towards the stable. “I suppose you're getting towards distinguished old gentleman stage now,” she says to him. “Not that you seem so. But then, I suppose I don't seem particularly like a grown-up to you either.” He snorts again, as if he's laughing.

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