Hi, everybody! This is where I'm going to be posting all of the YJ fic requests I fill unless they meet a certain word-count requirement (2k or over). These are pretty much all from Tumblr, but I am always game to get prompts and requests on here, too. If you've got one, shoot me a PM.
I really, really loved this request when I saw it, and I'm sorry that I kind of ran away with it and made it less about the specified maneuver and more about Kaldur and Artemis's friendship. I suppose this can be read as slightly shippy to the squinting eye, but I didn't intend it to be that way.
Zuei is Atlantean simply for "of." I used this to describe those… sword things that Kaldur uses, as I saw them as an extension of him rather than a weapon.
Requested by solati on Tumblr.
When Kaldur was a boy, he was taught that to exist in the water is to be a part of it, and not a separate being. The sea is an enveloping, embracing mistress who allows no strays, and she ought not to be struggled against as though she is an opposing force.
The first time he came to the Surface, his king showed him a river that flowed into the waters from which they had come, and there were fish moving through it, flashing with speed in the sunlight. Kaldur had first thought that the fish were swimming, but his king told him that they were not: they were merely being carried, and the only way to follow or catch them without disrupting them was to be carried with them. Kaldur did not understand at the time. Now, he thinks that maybe he does.
When Kaldur moves, he allows his tattoos to carry him, the same way water carries its inhabitants. He breathes slowly and deeply, and oxygen is strange and heavy, but he does not allow it to be an anchor. He is a bottomless ocean, and when he brings forth his zuei – which are not so much weapons as they are extensions of himself, cool and incandescent currents rushing through his arms – he pretends that he is beneath the surface and being lifted and let down again by the sway of his home, and even gravity in all of its harshness cannot keep him from surging and sweeping in battle, silent and calm like the world where he was born.
He has come to realize that his Team does not fight or move through their world in this way. They are grounded, and set in their ways like stones, and when they move they are similar to Surface things, weighted and stifled. Sometimes he feels sorrow for them, for how must it feel, knowing that one cannot be carried as he is? How must it feel, knowing that all movement must be forced, as though if they do not keep themselves standing at all times, they will collapse?
There are moments, however, when he doubts their fixation to the ground – brief, brisk moments that he wishes to gulp down and turn to life within his chest, as though it will make them last without end.
M'gann, when she truly flies – with no destination or direction – is light and tranquil like the surface of a lake in the stillness of moonlight, and he can feel the way the air around her grows fluid when she decides she no longer must continue the illusion of breathing. Superboy leaps into the air, and he does not know when he will touch the ground, and in these instants of feeling lost and adrift, he becomes one with the belly of the skies that he touches. Wally allows himself to run, to run without stopping or inhaling, and Kaldur feels no resistance between his and Wally's tides, for the boy is being carried not only by the world around him, but by his own love for senseless, fearless movement. Robin is an acrobat, a fluttering, silent creature who dwindles in the air and slips through the shadows like late-night fog. When he leaps and backflips, he knows no gravity nor limitation, and he soars, just as the gulls soar with the waters even though they do not swim beneath them. And Artemis, when she does not permit the cumbersome entrails of her past to anchor her like a carcass to the ground, is the most weightless of them all, so weightless and so carried that she closes her eyes as she tosses herself through the air. There is something, though, that Kaldur can sense – an inescapable bitterness that causes her to whip around, lashing and slicing through her surrounding aura with a virulency he dares not try to understand.
Kaldur is stunned by the radiant agility of his Team, when they choose to grant themselves the ability to embrace it.
He has created movements – maneuvers – with all of them. He teaches Artemis how to suppress her rancor in battle to allow herself to move as though she is almost Atlantean in her concentrated, spellbinding grace. He is proud of her, for she glides as though she is a creature of the deep and uncharted waves, mysterious and unforgiving. He is proud that Artemis is able to forget her regrets and become the sea, and he is glad that she reminds him of the world he left behind when he came to the Surface. He tells her stories of his youth in Atlantis, and she listens with attentive fascination, and it feels pleasant to recount the mysticism of his life with someone who will hear him without instead hearing the inscrutable foam of the beaches. Artemis teaches him to laugh and to not be afraid, and he teaches her to smile and to repent of nothing that will drag her to the floor.
The two create a maneuver for their battles and he calls it maneuver seven until he can think of a more original name. They do not touch in any way, but they move in tandem, all of their attacks distant and serene, and when they punch and kick and jump, they do so with the delicate liberation that comes with being underwater. They are two mirror images, creating the same movements, and sometimes, when Kaldur looks over to his left and sees Artemis copying him with her sinewy grace and subdued empathy, he does not feel alone, for the ocean has touched another – and this mutual touch will connect them, just as the horizon connects day and night.