Author has written 3 stories for Avatar: Last Airbender, Inheritance Cycle, and Legend of Korra.
Home page: separated now muawhahaha
10 favorite animes
1. Ookiku Furikabutte, 2. Natsume Yuujinchou, 3.Chihayafuru, 4.Hikaru no Go, 5.Kekkaishi, 6.Nodame Cantabile, 7.God?!Save Our King! 8.Fate Stay Night, 9. Card Captor Sakura, 10. Ano Hi Mita Hana No Namae o Bukutachi wa Mada Shiranai,
10 Favorite Cartoons
1. Avatar, 2. Monster Allergy, 3. Danny Phantom, 4. Fairy OddParents, 5. Kim Possible, 6. Jackie Chan Adventures, 7. Xaolin Showdown, 8. Gargoyles, 9. X-men 10. Ghost Busters
Fanfiction I am looking for feel free to pm if you know any that fit these descriptions
Longer then 5k words
Decent Grammar and has actual plot
-Draco Bashing fanfiction I don't mind super Ron but no super Harry.
-Ron Timetravel fanfiction -Only Ron travels back! Group doesn't count - Doing it all over again by ultimate emperor
-A fiction where Ron is an animagus but Hermione and Harry isn't or can't become one. Found one, Ron is a Weasel (white weasel)
-A ff stories that features the summoners, summoning eidolans, guardians spirit, espers, from other versions
Etc Yuna summons Ramuh. Leviathan. Garnet/Dagger/Sara summons Siren. Would love it if there was no OC summoner but OC summoners are acceptable as long as the main summoners summons a eidolans, guardians spirit, espers from another generation
Church Camp Preacher- People always ask me, where is the proof of your God. I have never answer them as they aren't open to hearing if they had to ask. But everywhere I look I see nothing but proof. My question is, How can there be not a God?
Edmund Burke- People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.
Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by the supreme ordinance of a parental Guardian and Legislator, who knows us better than we know ourselves, as he loves us better too. Pater ipse colendi haud facilem esse viam voluit. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
Desperate Housewives ending quote -It is said that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for a good man do nothing. But most people forget if a good man does nothing, he is no longer a good man.
Experience is an excellent teacher. But her lessons can be expensive.- Anon
For a Hermione quidditch fanatic see HiBob Draco Malfoy the-boy-who-lived-series. Who answers Professor Sprout question in herbology with "What does it matter, it can not fly."
"This is barbaric! This is no way for grown men to settle…oh, fine! Let's just pull out our swords and start banging away at each other, that'll solve everythingElizabeth Swann -Dead Man's Chest.
The choices make up history by Hyssopus"…. I saw my friends killed, my family killed, my world ended in red. I hate that color; I despise it, but… I am bound by it. I swore I would live, I would thrive and I wouldn't let their lives be in vain. I will fight to my dying breath for my new home, so that too won't be red and gone." Minato Namikaze survivor of whirlpool.
Wand Cores by Lydia-kitten "It disturbs me how the winners write history, now and always. And how when the second world war had ended, no mother dared to mourn her nazi son, no wife her nazi husband, how no one dared to cry for the loss of these human lives. Perhaps I have become wise,..." Harry Potter after the war.
Two Sides of the Same Coin by Ten Toes
"I don't have any friends. I'm hoping that I may get one next year, or maybe the year after that. If that doesn't work out, it's not too bad. The other kids have started letting me play with them, now that Dudley lets them alone and that's a lot of fun. It's more than I've ever had before and if things stay like this until I change schools, it's still good enough."-Harry
Bran stopped and looked down at Harry, concerned. "Are you sure it's good enough Harry?"
He watched the boy bite his lip, his face so serious.
"Yes. Sometimes, it's not good to want things, to want too much…to be greedy. Good is enough, enough's alright."-Harry
Out of the Night by Raining Ink
From a lecture by Severus Snape, commonly given to young Hogwarts students of the Dark persuasion left under his dubious care:
What is it that we seek with our traditions and our ceremonies and our holidays? They have been repeated for time immemorial, but that is hardly a good reason to continue with something. We gain a greater understanding of the world around us certainly, but it is not so much greater than well-learned Light wizards. We have the chance to use a rawer, more essential brand of magic. All of these things connect us to one another. But are they worth the persecution, the dead mothers and fathers and children and lovers? Are they worth hiding forever in the shadows? Are they worth the burden of knowledge that we bear that no others dare to share with us?
I am not always so sure. But I know why we have these things. I know the ultimate goal. We practice our ceremonies and our traditions, because once in a very long while someone has a chance to reach out and touch the fabric of magic itself. Even more rarely, someone has the potential to achieve an incomprehensibly magnificent unity with it. We do not dare to hope that such a thing will happen to one of us, but we live on the wisp of a dream that someday, some Dark wizard will find that true unity that has been lost for so long. And in so doing, they will change everything.
Harry wasn't Harry anymore. He wasn't anybody or anything. He was everyone and everything all at once. His own powerful magic had mixed completely with the ambient magic in the room until there was no ending or beginning to it.
It lasted less than a moment. The magic receded into the usual background hum of the world, and Harry fell limply to floor next to the still burning water. He knew what had happened to him in an intellectual way. He had asked for his magic to be joined to the magic of the universe…and it had happened. In a big way. But he couldn't understand it or even feel it now that it was over. He felt tears flowing freely down his face, but he made no effort to stop crying. It had been exquisite. He knew that much.
Quote from Eating Out, movie
Joey: You're not being very positive about this?
Gwen to Kyle: This is okay this is one of the reason I am called a bitch. Because I tell it like it is. Kyle, Reality. Reality, Kyle. You are not in Mark's League. You aren't a total K9 but you are a K5,
Mark: Gwen come off it,
Gwen continued: Mark's isn't a K at all, your chances of ever scoring with someone like Mark? Zero. Nothing. El Nacho.
Mark: Gwen Stop..
Gwen: Live with it! Move on.
(dot) intimations (dot) org/fanfic/
I place it here mainly because I keep forgetting where is that awesome Merlin story where Merlin has to grow an oak tree and fight elves? Well its above you are welcome to check it out to of course if you are not me that is? Is this making any sense? I am staring to sound like Jaye Tyler. Kudos for those who know her.
From Kick in the Arse
As Jenny watched Margaret pull out a switch-blade and started running, knowing she would be too late when the Granger girl's screaming confused her. That malignant look on her face did not go with the voice of a scared little girl, screaming in fear.
The next few seconds were a bit too fast for her to follow but she had seen Margaret actually lift in the air by a well placed knee. By the time she pulled Margaret off of Granger the crazy bint had a switchblade through her hand and Snowhite was liberally bleeding from her face. Wait. Was Granger actually using Margaret's blood to make herself look hurt worse then she was? What the fuck? She let Margaret drop to the ground and looked at the girl. Her forehead was bleeding, her shirt was slashed open and the ruddy knife was still in her arm. Jenny never saw anything so bloody insane in her life! She could understand Snowhite going completely insane she took a line of white earlier that day and that impaired ones judgement on the best occasion. But this girl was just plain wrong. And scary as hell.
She looked around, the idea that she should have been long gone dawning on her.
And there it was. Adults running over. The man that was taking snapshots of children playing raised his camera in their direction and started taking photos. The rest of the girls we scattering, and look! It's a bobbie running down the street and here she was, two injured and bloody girls at her feet. The absurdity of the situation and the impending ruination of her life made her groan. "Oh bloody hell my case worker is going to give up on me and send me straight to jail this time."
Granger looked at her for a split second and then threw herself into her arms yelling "Thank you" over and over. Only, in between thank you's she had whispered in her ear. "Play along and I'll not only get you out of this mess but make you into a local hero."
A chill wen't' down Jenny's spine. Part of it was fear and part of it was hope. She might actually have a future. Perhaps she could even keep her soul and only pay in blood. She doubted that someone capable of pulling off what she had just seen would accept less.
From Kick in the Arse
A centaur in his prime stepped into the clearing. His human half was strong and muscled and his horse half was black and shiny. His tail flickered nervously.
"Now there Hagrid. You wouldn't shoot a friend?" a deep strong voice intoned in an amused tone.
"Oh, It's you Ronan. How are you doing?" Intoned Hagrid, relaxing.
"I am well. What are you looking for in in the forest with two foals?" The centaur inquired curiously.
"There's sommat fishy goin on around these part. Something is Hunting unicorns. The children would help calm it. These are Harry and Hermione, students at Hogwarts. Children, this is Ronan, a Centaur."
"Ah, students. And do you learn well in your Hogwarts school?" The centaur asked.
Harry shrugged, still staring awed at the centaur.
Hermione just nodded. "We do, there is much to learn in the Hogwarts library. The classes too I suppose, even if they go a bit slowly for my taste."
The centaur nodded in agreement. "Learning is good. You should not be too hasty to skip any lessons. Steady learning is best." he intoned sagely before looking up.
"Mars is bright tonight."
"Yes." intoned Hagrid. "Listen Ronan, have you seen anything unusual in the forest, the hurt unicorn perhaps?"
Ronnan sighed sadly. "The innocent are often the first victims. Mars shines brightly tonight, more than it has for some days."
"Ah, I understand but did you see a dark presence perhaps. Anything unusual? Said Hagrid. "In the forest I mean."
Ronnan looked at him for a long moment and then shrugged.
"The forest holds many secrets." He said finally.
With hardly a noise another centaur stepped out at the far end of the clearing and approached. This one seemed more warlike to Hermione then the other. Probably the large bow strung across his shoulder and large, long knives resting on it's flanks.
"Ah. Bane good evening." Said Hagrid to the newcomer. "Have you seen anything unusual tonight."
Bane stepped up to Ronan and looked at Hagrid for a moment then looked up.
"Mars is bright tonight. Unusually so."
"Well, um, yes, I meant in the forest." Haggrid tried to explain more clearly.
Hermione frowned and looked up trying to see what was so different about Mars. Centaurs couldn't be misunderstanding Hagrid that badly. She found it easily enough and it was shining brightly with a nice, red sheen. She squinted trying to figure it out and for a moment something snapped into place and she could see it. The vast expanse of the solar system, just like in the documentaries and the dusty, cold red planet, spinning peacefully, a small storm raging across a portion of it's equator. Phobos and Deimos were on the far sides of their orbit. reflecting light back at the earth. A comet skimming across it's atmosphere. A part of her shied away from the distances involved and retreated into that safe place it could go to hide from the big uncaring universe.
"No wonder it's bright. Phobos and Deimos are reflecting light back at us. And there's a small comet skimming Mars atmosphere. If it crashes it'll make a big fuss and perhaps even rain, probably feed the storm something fierce. And even if it passes on it will have left some water to the planet. A one more step to a new life I guess" She commented absently to herself, remembering some fiction she read on transforming Mars. She paused for a moment realising what she was saying and the the moment passed. Her eyes stung painfully and she stumbled averting her gaze. She rubbed at her eyes and opened them carefully blinking spots from her eyes. Had she really just turned her eyes into telescopes? No. She must have been imagining some of it. She couldn't have been orbiting Mars. That was just silly. She smiled at her imagination for filling in the blanks and shook her head. That was probably it. Her brain was not wired for magnification and she dreamed up the detail.
In the mean time the two centaurs looked at her wide eyed. Finally Ronan spoke.
"The twin sons of war look down on us. A calamity that may leave the chance for a new life behind." He nodded sagely. "Yes. It fits, even though your wording is unorthodox."
Hermione looked back at him thinking about the mythology, and some understanding of how centaurs spoke. "Mars is bright tonight. I see."
From Foxhound by Kraken's Ghost
The copy-nin watched curiously as she lugged a large object up and set it on the side table while ignoring the wails echoing in the room. Kakashi stared at the vase and its contents before letting out a choked-off laugh.
"Ino-san, that's an interesting selection you made," The jounin said, his eye nearly watering with the effort to restrain his laughter.
"What can I say? A unique present for a unique personality…And fashion sense," Ino replied with a smug look on her face. "Think he'll like it?"
"Like it? He may ask you to marry him," Kakashi replied, while reaching over to straighten a flower that had come loose.
Ino's present was a large vase. It was also a heavy vase, as she'd made the mistake of filling it with water before she left her house. It wasn't the vase though that was the source of the jounin's mirth and the stares she'd received walking to the hospital (though Lee could take part of that credit considering he had half-carried her in his mad run to see Naruto.)
Orange. Ino had filled the vase with flowers the same gaudy, tacky orange that Naruto loved so much. She had every kind of flower imaginable in the vase with their only similarity being their color. She had wisely (and correctly) guessed that Naruto didn't know a thing about delicate flower arrangements, so she'd just thrown something of everything in. Ino figured he'd only see the color and the thought behind it, so it wasn't like she'd have to waste time carefully choosing and arranging the bouquet like she would with a customer. The only thing that Ino had put in it that wasn't orange was a single, medium sized sunflower which rested at the top of the bunch. The whole thing was a terrible eyesore, with the magnolias, daises, and lilies all clashing with each other and the cheery sunflower. Nobody sane would be caught dead even looking at it.
Obviously Naruto would love it beyond words.
From a game of lost and found by daisuketeddy
"Hey Suyon… did you know that Hikaru claimed Honinbou Shuusaku as his Master?"
Suyon stared at Yongha with surprised eyes, task of getting ready for bed completely forgotten. 'Hikaru? Since when has Yongha started calling Shindou by his given name?'
Disregarding the silence from the other boy, Yongha continued talking in a distant yet strangled tone.
"'Shuusaku is my Master'… that's what he said to Akira-san. He even admitted that he was angry at me during the Hokuto Cup for I had dishonoured his Master's image. 'Master'… can you believe it? And yet, I can… God Suyon, have you seen his Go lately? Read his kifu?"
By then, Yongha had turned away from the window and was now facing Suyon. Suyon sucked in his breath when he looked up at Yongha's eyes. He didn't remember seeing such painful desperation in those cocky eyes before. And yet, there were admiration and even reverence in them. Somehow, these soulful eyes made Yongha seem more human than he normally did.
'For Shindou… those emotions are for Shindou,' Suyon realized suddenly with a jolt. 'Don't tell me… what he wants… Shindou?'
Unaware of Suyon's shock, Yongha continued, his hands slowly clenching tightly the towel around his neck.
"He plays… plays so much like Shuusaku, his self-acclaimed Master. He even claimed this relationship openly, and yet no one refuted him. In fact, most of them actually acknowledge it, like it's true. Did you know that Touya Koyo-san even bought a book of all of Shuusaku's known kifu for Hikaru?
"So many people, pros even, have tried copying masters of the past, and yet they could never fully play like those legends. But Hikaru, Hikaru plays like he is the reincarnation of Shuusaku himself with all his brilliantness. Maybe not to Shuusaku's level, not yet, but he's slowly reaching there. Watching him play… placing those stones on the goban, the moves, the play, it's nothing but pure, unadulterated beauty."
From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Secret by Muchcoffee
Harry hated spiders. He also hated ants, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, and any other kind of bug that one might find in England, but spiders were the worst. Harry had long ago written an entire declaration against any bugs that found their way into the cupboard. Sadly, Vernon had found it a few months ago, determined that Harry was involved with some bizarre religious cult, burned the paper, and locked Harry in the cupboard for three weeks. Luckily, Harry had managed to pick the lock before he surrendered to the spider-willies completely, thus gaining freedom during the night, while the Dursleys were sleeping, and access to the bathroom (and refrigerator), which Vernon had overlooked. Still, Harry missed that declaration (called, formally, The Declaration of Capital Importance Against Crawly Things). It had gone like this:
1 Thou shalt not possess more than four legs at any given time.
2 Thou shalt not crawl on or touch any part of my clothes or person.
3 Crawlest thou in, crawlest thou out! None of this web-building business shall be tolerated unto thee.
4 Thy fear of the Loud, Strong Sucking Tube Plugged Unto The Wall shall remain!
5 If thou do try to hide beneath my own bed, socks, or various other paraphernalia, thou shalt perish with indeed more vigor from my motive and more screeching of my own than if thou did not surprise me, hark there!
6 If thy form is smaller than a match-head, I shall squash thee presently.
7 If thy form is fractionally larger than a match-head, I shall fetch unto thee my Loud, Strong Sucking Tube Plugged Unto The Wall.
8 If thy form is remarkably larger than a match-head, I shall flee from thee in terror.
9 Warned be thy beady faces, thy undesirable heads! Come thou into that house which does not belong to thee, comest thou never out except in the form of garbage, amongst several other discarded items!
Without those words of comfort, Harry felt unprotected from the spiders. Unknown to the Dursleys, he spent most nights on the couch in the living room after they had gone to bed as to escape the creatures.
Antithesis by Wind Whisperer
"I performed a spell on Lily and James the next day – the Alienare Curam spell."
"I've never heard of it."
"Few have; there is not often an application for it, so it for the most part has become lost in tomes, only interesting as a theoretical perspective," explained Dumbledore. "It is a minor compulsion spell, which nudges the Potters' thoughts in the direction of Eric. It was a useful tool to keep them attentive to and aware of Eric at all times; with attention comes love, and with so much love directed toward their son, Eric is sure to be raised correctly, to become the savior we need."
"Interesting," commented Severus. "But how does this tie into Lily's actions toward Harry?"
"To work correctly, the spell must transfer love and attention from another source," said Dumbledore. "I used Harry as that source, because I knew they would be extremely attentive to their other son as well; surely there would be extra to spare for Eric. He was the best choice, because they were unlikely to care for someone else, besides Eric, of course, as much as they would for Harry."
Severus' brows were furrowed. "But why would you do something like that, Albus? Normal parental affection wouldn't suffice?"
There was a long, painful pause.
"You don't know what it was like," Dumbledore began softly. "I knew that the child of the prophecy would have extraordinary magical potential, that he would be the next great wizard of the century. When I visited a young Tom Riddle, all those years ago at his orphanage, I didn't know he would be the next dark lord. But having seen how he turned out, I am forced to blame the lack of attention, affection, and love in his life."
Dumbledore rose from his chair and began to pace wearily around his office, looking older than ever.
"I had to assure that the next magical prodigy would not become a dark wizard, would not follow that path. Instead, I needed him to be the lightest of all light wizards – the epitome of good. For this he would need so much love and affection from his parents, and I, as powerful a wizard as I am, cannot create love or affection. So I borrowed it. I spelled them to use an extra dose of the affection they would have given Harry, and instead transfer it to Eric."
"Ah. It's so ironic, is it not, that I may have done precisely what I had intended to prevent? I never dreamed that Harry's powers would be at the same level as Eric's; that two magical prodigies would arise. And now he has dark tendencies, just as much as Eric leans toward the light."
"You may have created a rising Dark Lord, Albus," said Severus
Harry amidst the Vaults of Stone by NothingPretentious
"I've never played Quidditch or seen it played, and don't particularly want to," he said, more sharply than he usually might have. "I read part of a book about it and had to give up, it seemed so incredibly pointless. It results in nothing lasting, nothing of worth. It's probably not much good for exercise. And I can imagine a hundred things I'd rather do for entertainment."
"You- what- I- I don't believe it! Quidditch is the best game in the world!" Ron said angrily. "You can't say things like that!"
Harry shrugged. "If you enjoy watching burly men swoop around on hard rods, touching balls to shafts and beating things and chasing each other's tails, that's fine. It's not my concern, yes? Yes."
"You're weird," Ron said
From Every Silver Lining has it Cloud by Diresquirrel
"Hello Sunnydale," said the Mayor. His usual jovial manner was subdued during the broadcast. Standing behind him were Colonel Hennessey, Dr. Amelia Chung and Angel. "As most of you know I am Richard Wilkins the Third, Mayor of Sunnydale. Here we find ourselves in the most difficult position of our lives as we and our town have been somehow transported to another world. This is difficult for many to understand, but you only have to look out your windows to see the mountains to know I speak the truth. With this in our minds, you can understand why I am declaring a State of Emergency."
"As of this moment, all military reserves from all branches of the military are currently activated and will report to the Sunnydale Military Base as 8:00am tomorrow. I am also activating all former military officers regardless of age who will then report to Colonel Hennessey at the same time and place. During this state of emergency, the police are coordinating with the military to keep us all safe. School will resume on Monday as normal for grades K-12 and both the University of California, Sunnydale and Sunnydale Metclath Private College. So enjoy the short vacation."
"However, we are actually in a good situation all things considered. We now have electricity back on, thanks to the local military base and we have fresh water being pumped in from the lake to our north thanks to the Sunnydale Fire Department. Our next problem is food."
"Modern American society was not designed to survive this kind of tragedy, and we have our supermarkets stocked full for now, but we do not know what the future holds. As it is, we are extremely lucky to have retained the hills with our Citrus orchards and vineyards. There are several farms with animals that have survived in the plains.
"We are currently seeking people with experience in farming, agriculture, and related fields to report to the Center for Agricultural Studies at the Winslow building at the University of California campus. We are collecting samples of plants to add to a seed bank. Also anyone with experience in Animal Husbandry and breeding should report to the Sunnydale Zoo where we are coordinating the plans for animal farming.
"Conservation is the word of the hour. Save everything you have that will not spoil. Save seeds, root stalks and other pieces for the agriculturalists. Waste not want not please.
"Our next issue is rather dire as well. Due to the limited stores of fuel in the Sunnydale Military Base, I am requisitioning all diesel stores within the limits of our transported area. The generators run on diesel fuel, so any and all will be used to power the city until such a time as we can find a different power source. Which brings me to our next problem.
"We need people with engineering background or have talents in this field to report to the Jameson Engineering building. When they are assembled they will be given the task of finding the best solution for the energy crisis. This may involve the breaking down and transporting of the Sunnydale Hydroelectric Dam to a new location.
"Geologists and other Earth Scientists should report to the Geology department at the University campus.
"This next request is going to sound outright strange to some people, and possibly make you question my sanity. Considering the situation I'm perfectly sane. Would everyone with experience with magic and witchcraft please report to the Liberal Studies Hall at the University campus. Once again, please take the request with a momentary suspension of disbelief.
"Though I am sure some of you have heard the rumors, we are not alone in this world. When a team of military personnel were sent out to explore the outlying regions, they were attacked by a native hostile species with has a significant resemblance to the extinct earth species australopithecines, which were found in Africa. Lucy would be a famous example, found by Dr. Leakey. The picture to my left is an enlarged photograph of the creature. They attacked the recon team in great numbers, but were chased off by these creatures. These new assailants look human except for their skin, lack of hair and their height, somewhere around twenty feet tall. These are also hostile to us."
"This is not a hoax. We have also met other, friendly natives. These six are currently being treating for wounds they received saving our brave young men in battle today."
"We are not at risk at this time. We have patrols on the outskirts with radios who will give us plenty of warning if any other hostiles are spotted.
"Tomorrow please tune in again as we will have an update on the current situation. If there are other updates before then an alarm will sound on FM 102.9. Otherwise nothing will play on that station. Please keep a radio turned for any emergencies."
"Thank you and goodnight."
The mayor nodded and stood up from his seat.
There was a hush in Sunnydale for some time afterwards. Then people began buzzing with activity. Some were questioning his decisions, others praising them. Some just accepted the situation as it was. Others were preparing what they needed for tomorrow. A few were gaping after seeing the images of the "natives."
"Oh, my god!" screamed Warren as he dropped his welding torch. He had been working on his latest robot girlfriend. This one would be the best yet. The last one got stuck on three phrases and he was tired of hearing "Chicken Pudding Eats Cuddles, Honey" over and over again. But that wasn't important now. He and his friends had been playing Dungeons and Dragons for years and he knew an elf when he saw one. Or two according to the pictures. And one was a Dark Elf.
"Honey are you okay?" his mother called down the stairs.
"Sorry mom! The mayor's speech!"
"I know hon, just be a little quieter next time," she said from the top of the cellar stairs.
"This is-wow, I mean, wow," he stuttered. Andrew was going to flip.
Andrew did flip. After watching the mayor's speech, he ran to his room. His family looked at him strangely, even his nerdy older brother. He threw open the closet door revealing shelves upon shelves of Dungeons and Dragons books with a framed and autographed image of the Holy Creators: JRR Tolkien, George Lucas and Gary Gygax. Andrew fell to his knees.
"Thank you Gary Gygax for preparing me for this moment!"
He was still praying to the makeshift shrine when his brother knocked on the door the next morning.
Stranglehold by The Impala
Abby was sitting cross legged staring at a large worn book, an excited look on her face. Tony crouched next to her holding a large bag of salt and looking confused.
"Okay, okay, Abbs. Serious demonic mumbo-jumbo. I get it," Tony was saying while still staring at the salt bag. "What I want to know is what's with the salt?"
"Ghosts, Tony," Abby replied as though it was the most obvious concept in the world.
"Ghosts?" Ziva asked as Tony and Abby looked up at the three agents' arrival. "What does a large quantity of rock salt have to do with ghosts?"
Abby sighed. "Don't you guys know anything?" she said, shaking her head. "Salt is supposed to repel ghosts."
"Abby, ghosts aren't real," McGee interjected, in some vain attempt to bring logic back into the conversation.
"Says you," Abby replied huffily. She then turned to Gibbs, "Everything in their trunk is right out of urban legends and ghost stories, Gibbs. Silver bullets, Latin exorcisms, stakes, salt. If there is a story about a supernatural being, then they have what you need to kill it. And this," she continued, pausing to hold up the old book she had, "seems to be some kind of monster encyclopedia. Has information on all sorts of paranormal tales and folk lore. It's amazing."
Harry Potter and Morrighan's Gift by Adrence
"So Harry is in your world?" Hermione questioned quietly, her eyes focused intently on the girl adjacent to her. The younger figure nodded, noticing the odd glint in Hermione's eyes. "And one of us has to die?"
Again the girl nodded, although this time she hesitated momentarily, wondering where this was going. The older Hermione sat quietly, her mind whirring with possibilities. The smaller figure shifted in her chair, nervously biting her lower lip, fingers twisted in tangles almost painfully.
"What are you thinking?" she finally asked, her curiosity overcoming any fear of the older witch. Brown eyes glanced up and she could see they were moist, although no tears escaped them.
Hermione made no move to answer the question posed; she was in a world of her own. Despite the peace that she had obtained studying in the library, she hadn't forgotten her past nor had her loyalties changed in the slightest. Harry was still her number one priority.
She recalled the last few months of her life leading up to her suicide and she felt a familiar heartache. She had tried to learn if death could be cheated, if Harry could be brought back. She had made many futile efforts to find the resurrection stone, despite its dangers. And when all that had ended in failure, she had prayed for the first time in her life. That too had failed, thus extinguishing the little hope she had clung to. What was the point of living if there was no one to live with? And now… now she had a way back to Harry, a chance to live the life she had yearned for and to save the lives of her comrades that she had been unable to save in her own world.
"Are you ok?"
Hermione smiled bitterly. "When have I not been?"
The younger girl did not know how to respond and so kept silent, warily eyeing her older version. Soon she asked another question. "Are you thinking of killing me?"
The older witch was startled by the bluntness of the question but then a wry grin appeared on her face. "I am considering it, yes."
The younger Hermione did not move. Her expression remained the same although there was tension in the air and in her posture. "I think… I think that's a reasonable idea."
Hermione's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "You do?" She asked. "Why?"
"Because it's the most logical course of action. You're a powerful, knowledgeable person so you should live. You can actually change things, make a difference."
"And you can't?"
"I can. You're living— er… well, proof of that. But I'll take time. I don't know much about wars but you do. You're a fighter; I'm the girl who has the potential to be a fighter."
Hermione stared. And stared. And stared. She was stunned. 'So this is what altruism is…' she marveled internally
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 2
A left, two rights, and they were behind the solid wall of a bakery. No houses too close, due to the risk of fire - and no one would be surprised at a few stray drifts of smoke. "Nephew. Breathe."
"Breathe? I don't need to breathe, Uncle! If we've got enough, let's get our supplies and get out-"
"Lee," Iroh said, very deliberately. "I believe, as your master, when I tell you to breathe - you breathe."
Shock, painted on Zuko's face. Betrayal. Anger- Shoulders slumped in resignation, and Zuko breathed.
That won't hold long, Iroh reflected. Attack, and he will fight. It's what he does. What he knows. But if I maneuver elsewhere…. "When I was a younger man, I dealt with soldiers who had once been captured by our enemies. Who had not been… treated well." He grimaced, recalling how he had been then; proud and fierce and not nearly as kind as Zuko likely imagined. "And I did not treat them well. I had not lost what they had lost, and I did not understand."
"Uncle," Zuko said stiffly, "soldiers in the past aren't important. Not compared to soldiers who might be here, right now-"
"They are important," Iroh interrupted. "You are important, nephew."
Zuko eyed him warily. "I'm not a soldier, Uncle."
"Not in name," Iroh admitted. "But you were confined, and harmed by those you had no choice but to obey, and unable to free yourself, without aid-"
"Don't talk about my father like that!"
"And when you thought you had won your freedom," Iroh bore brutally on, "your nightmare returned, and threatened you with new chains. I have seen this fear, nephew! I knew it in their hearts. I know it in yours!"
"I'm not afraid of her!"
Quick as a striking snake, Iroh moved. "I am."
Wrapped in his arms, Zuko sputtered incoherently.
"She is skilled, and she is deadly," Iroh said, voice low. "She haunts your mind, and you cannot rest. But you must, nephew. Remember when we visited the Northern Air Temple, years ago." Zuko had vowed to search every Air Temple for traces of the Avatar, and his nephew never spoke lightly. But even a scarred, angry teenager had seen the wisdom in keeping Ji the Mechanist's work for the Fire Nation a secret. This was not the first time the pair of them had traveled in Earth Kingdom brown.
Yet that was only hours, to search quietly, Iroh knew. This has been days.
But he could not falter. Zuko needed his confidence, now more than ever. Exile was crushing to the soul; exile with the threat of agonizing death, far more terrifying.
"Lee and Mushi are but simple refugees," he said, voice deliberately steady. "To be always on watch, always searching for an enemy in the shadows - it marks us. And we must be as two leaves in the forest. It is the only way to survive." He held on tight, rubbing at too-thin shoulders. "I am here. I will not abandon you to her again."
"…I'm not afraid of her." A low, bitter whisper.
No, Iroh thought wryly. Not so much as you are of everyone, my nephew.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 2
"And if you had been there, and Zhao had overpowered them? What would you have done?"
"I'm not a traitor!"
"No, you are not," Iroh nodded. "I do not believe you ever could be. No matter what you chose."
Zuko was shaking his head, as if to drive away pain. "It doesn't matter now. She's gone."
Something in Iroh's heart eased, recognizing the truth. "You would have helped the Moon."
"I wouldn't have helped the Avatar!"
"I said nothing of the airbender, nephew," Iroh said deliberately. "Two who fight for the same cause are not always allies."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 3
They'd found out the hard way that if he wanted to do anything more than just ease pain, he needed a fire to draw from. Using hot rocks, or even just his own fire, would work - but it left him dizzy and staggering, on his feet only through sheer will to keep moving until Uncle found a spot for him to collapse for the night.
No. If they wanted to keep this up - if they wanted to keep moving, keep alert - he had to have fire. And as long as their little pot of fire stayed out of sight of curious eyes… animals didn't ask questions.
"True," Uncle allowed. "But you were also kind to the creature. Even when she tried to bite."
"She didn't like me. She didn't lie about it." Zuko shrugged, unwilling to look at that thought too closely. "People are crazy."
Ironic, that the blow Ozai had meant to shame his son forever, shielded him here. So long as no one looked too closely.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 3
"He was going to kill me." Zuko swallowed hard, closing his eyes. If he didn't look, he wouldn't see. If he didn't look, he could pretend his uncle didn't hate him. Just for a little longer. "That's what Azula said. But she always lies."
"Please." And there was a tremor in Iroh's voice that made him want to curl up and hide. "Start from the beginning."
Tell the truth. That's what Ping needed, wasn't it? Uncle's always looked after me. He should know.
He shouldn't have to stay with a monster.
Eyes shut, fists clenched, Zuko looked back into memory. "It started after we - heard about Lu Ten. Father went to meet the Fire Lord…. Azula wanted to hear what they said, so she pulled me behind a curtain to listen. Father… he said your line was ended, and he had heirs, he should be the next Fire Lord." Zuko swallowed. "I don't know what happened next. Grandfather was mad. I was scared. I ran away."
Iroh sighed. "But Azula did not."
"She - she came into my bedroom later. She said-"
"Dad's going to kill you. Really, he is."
"-She said Fire Lord Azulon was angry. That… that he told our father he should know the pain of losing a firstborn…."
"Oh, Agni," Iroh whispered.
Suddenly, that horrible Agni Kai made far too much sense.
How long have you wished him dead, brother? How long?
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 3
"Other nations are not bound as we are," Iroh acknowledged. "And they do not risk their lives, when those bonds are broken."
"So if Azula posts a reward for traitors, they'll believe it." Zuko muttered something under his breath, almost too low to hear.
Iroh stifled a rueful laugh in a deliberate cough. Three years aboard ship might have been good for his nephew's spirit, but they had wreaked unholy havoc on a prince's vocabulary.
Perhaps he will listen, now. If I am subtle. "It is not impossible. We have been gone for some time. It is likely Fire Lord Ozai has considered that any illness of mine," or yours, "might have been hidden by our crew."
No, worse luck. "And while it is rare, some firebenders have survived."
"General Jeong Jeong," his nephew nodded grimly.
"I know of others." Carefully. "Sometimes, when you are trapped by two bonds, one must break. From need, from fear… from finding one's loyalty was gifted to one not worthy of it, and you must take it back." Listen to me, nephew. Listen, and heed.
"I know where my loyalties are."
"As do I, Prince Zuko." Unfortunately.
Patience, the elderly general reminded himself, as he had for years. Fire wishes to burn through the enemy - but you must be like water, wearing away stone.
Easy enough to tell himself years ago, when searching for the Avatar had been a fruitless quest. With the airbender returned, and Sozin's Comet on its way… things were beginning to become difficult.
At least we have not seen the bison since the North Pole-
Zuko stopped. Stiffened. Dropped to one knee to study the road.
Stood, with a tuft of familiar fur.
If there had been a spirit in front of them, Iroh would have set it on fire.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 4
"Which is why he won't," Zuko said grimly. "He's an airbender, Uncle. He thinks flying can get him out of anything. He's not going to do the smart thing, and retreat. He's going to find a spot for an ambush, and he's going to wait. Only he's not going to ambush her. He's going to talk."
Iroh was silent a long moment, considering that. "Do not take this the wrong way, nephew… but I hope that you are wrong."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 7
"Get some rest, nephew. If we move too slowly in the morning, I fear we are destined to meet that most unpleasant woman again. And some destinies are best avoided."
With a snort of laughter, Zuko pulled the covers over his head.
Smiling himself, Iroh turned the bit of wax over again, recalling Zuko's stricken look as the candle flared in the wake of their argument. I know I can rely on you, nephew. But I think, wherever we hide, we will need shutters.
Small enough price to pay, for that glimmer of hope on Zuko's face.
That was the boy I knew, years ago. The one I thought I had lost with Lady Ursa.
How very odd, that speaking of the Avatar should bring it so close to the surface….
No. Not the Avatar. That Aang is a child, expected to do the impossible.
Only for the Avatar it was possible. Or so legends said. Even the boy himself seemed to think so.
Still. Why should that strike home with his nephew, who truly did have an impossible task…?
His Zuko. His dear, shy nephew, who worked so hard and loved them all so fiercely, years ago. Who failed so often, but struggled onward, because he had hope.
He never believed it was impossible.
Iroh let out a quiet breath, resisting the urge to pound his head against the wall. Zuko needed his sleep.
Yet another true proverb: there is no fool like an old fool.
All this time - all this time! - he had thought Zuko's quest driven by pure, stubborn determination. A burning need to take the cruel fate, the punishment, that had been unjustly laid on him, and force it down Ozai's throat.
I was wrong. It was never about rage.
Not rage as most knew it, at least. Not the bitter anger driven by hate. No; this was a brighter, purer flame, and which burned all the more desperate for it.
He loves his father. And so the task must not be impossible.
And if he fails, again and again… it is not because it cannot be done. It is because he is as Ozai has always told him he is. A disappointment. A failure. No true son of the Fire Lord.
Not a punishment; not to his nephew. A gift. A poisonous, terrible gift, that Zuko had taken to his heart. For it was a gift from his father, and what else could he do?
Spirits. What do I do?
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 7
Besides, it wasn't like he'd had the right to expect anything else.
Silly Zuzu, Azula's voice crooned as he walked. You know nothing you love is yours to keep.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 12
"Now, we work on falling."
Professor Tingzhe coughed quietly. "I believe you were going to cover dousing fire?"
"I am," Lee stated. "It's connected. You shift how you fall, so you don't get hurt. And that's part of how you shift a flame's energy, so it goes out."
"A bit counterintuitive," Tingzhe mused. "I'm used to impact being used to break things… though I suppose this would be breaking a fire's energies." He inclined his head.
Lee nodded back, and glanced at the two younger children. "Like this. Watch." Quick as that, he tipped over onto the futon, landing with a soft thump before he curled back onto his feet, light as a cat-owl. "See?"
Jinhai stared. "Erk?" Suyin managed.
"Don't worry. I'm here to catch you."
Over and over they fell, until Suyin thought she was too breathless to move. But she wasn't, quite; Lee had her fall twice more, before nodding her off the futon, and sitting Jinhai down by the candle. "Now we try the tricky part. Breathe. Feel your heartbeat." He waited for her brother's shy nod. "Reach out. Not with your hands, with your feelings. Reach for the flame. It's like a little heartbeat. Feel it?"
"Wow," Jinhai breathed.
This, I can't do, Suyin thought wistfully, watching. Had the flame flickered when Jinhai focused on it? She couldn't be sure.
"Do what I do." Lee reached out a hand, holding it flat and level. Jinhai mimicked him, glancing at Lee's calm face. "Now," Lee said quietly, "Push down. Just like pushing your fall into the futon, so it doesn't hurt. Down, and out."
"But it's alive!" Jinhai dropped his hand, horrified. "No! I won't hurt it-"
"Jinhai!" Lee's voice didn't snap, but it cut through panic like a knife. "You can always light another fire."
"Fire is everywhere. Lamps. Candles. Stoves. All kinds of places. There are lots of fires. But you only have one Mom. One Dad. Jia, Min, Suyin - they can't stop a fire if it gets out of control! You can. You have to." Lee stared at her little brother, deadly serious. "I know it hurts. I know you don't want to. But that's what being responsible is. Sometimes, we have to do things we don't want to, because our family needs us." He rested a hand on Jinhai's shoulder. "Do you understand?"
"…I guess so," Jinhai whispered.
"Good. Now follow me." Lee held out his hand again. "Down… and out."
The flame flickered. Guttered. Snuffed, a wisp of gray smoke snaking upward.
Jinhai burst into tears.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 13
Meixiang hesitated, and sighed. "Suyin. Do you know why Jinhai - your quiet, shy little brother - hugged a boy he'd only seen once?"
"Well, I…." Suyin's voice trailed off, as she thought about that. It made sense. Didn't it? Why wouldn't Jinhai trust Lee? Lee was-
Suyin jerked her head up to meet her mother's gaze. "Lee feels… safe." And that didn't make sense. It didn't make sense at all.
"Oh," Meixiang whispered. Put her knife down, and reached over to hug her daughter close. "Oh, my brave little girl. I didn't know."
"Mom?" Why did her heart feel all fluttery, like this was scary and important as Mom telling her about being alone with boys and why not to do anything unless you had dragged him home to meet armed parents first?
"The strongest dragon rules, but he also protects." Meixiang's gaze searched hers. "Fire is loyal. All its children are. First to your parents, and then to your family. After that, your loyalty is your choice. Be careful who you give it to. Breaking it will break your heart." She looked down, pale and worried. "For a firebender… breaking it kills them."
That sounds crazy. But it wasn't. Suyin could feel it wasn't. She'd rather die than hurt her parents, her brothers, her sister. Wasn't that why she'd fought so hard to keep Jinhai hidden? She'd rather die-
The thought had been there, gnawing, ever since Lee told them about Jet. That's what a pygmy puma did, when something went after her kittens. She'd hiss and slash claws and try everything else first. But if that didn't work….
"Mommy," Suyin whispered, and clung to her.
"I know, sweeting. I know." Meixiang rocked her gently, stroking her hair. "That's why I want you to pay attention to your lessons with Lee. Because if some bastard comes after you, or any of us - I want you to be the one who walks away. Maim him if you have to. Kill him if you have to. Live." Another hug. "And remember what I told Jinhai. If there's trouble, real trouble - find Lee, or his uncle. They're great names. They will protect you."
"Lee's lord didn't protect him," Suyin sniffled.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 15
"That poor girl," Shirong murmured, thinking of Lee's reluctant confession. The waterbender might not have given the gory details… but he could fill those in for himself. Unfortunately.
Such things had happened once or twice during the siege… but no more than that. Prince Iroh's response to outrages on civilians had always been swift, just, and ruthless. No plague-spirits spread in his wake.
Just fire, blood, and ash, Shirong thought darkly. Half the world they've conquered, and they just won't stop. Spirits, I hate them.
Yet he'd found hate was a very two-edged sword. He'd hated the Fire Nation so much and so deeply, mourning his people's losses, that he'd been driven to understand them - all the better to destroy them, if he had the chance. He'd studied, delved into archives, attended interrogations of the very few firebenders captured alive….
And one dusty afternoon in the university library had shaken him down to his bones.
Honor. Duty. Benevolence. Respect. Courage. Honesty. Righteousness.
The founding principles of the Fire Nation, according to writings left by Avatar Kyoshi herself.
It didn't change anything. He still hated them. Still intended to keep their army from disturbing the hard-won peace of Ba Sing Se. By any means necessary.
Yet deep within the hate, there was something… he didn't know what to call it. But it felt oddly sad.
A colonial waterbender is truer to their principles than their own soldiers. Shirong snorted at the irony.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 22
"Aang is naive. He has little grasp of the differences in customs between nations, and appears to believe that any custom he disagrees with may be flaunted without thought or fear of reprisal. Breaking a prisoner's parole he gave my nephew. Teaching Katara combative waterbending in secret at the North Pole, when women were not permitted to learn. And here, in Ba Sing Se, invading the very palace to see the Earth King." Iroh shook his head. "I do not say he did not have reason to do so. The Avatar had no reason to know my nephew was honorable. Katara needed to be taught. And Kuei needed, badly, to know the truth of his city. But every time he has acted, Aang has been amazed that there were consequences."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 23
"But you didn't think Zuko was working with Azula even before that. Why? She's his sister."
"She wants to be the heir," Toph said bluntly.
"Yeah. We get that-"
"No, you don't," Toph bit out. "This isn't want to like, I want the last berry-cake. This is, cut off my own hand to get this."
"Eww." Sokka shuddered.
"I don't get it," Aang said after a moment, patting Appa's side for comfort. "Why does it matter so much? The monks said your body was the house of your spirit, and you should always honor that. Why would you hurt yourself just for a title?"
"Were the temple elders just a title?" Toph shot back. "They were going to take you away from Gyatso; that's why Katara said you ran away. And I don't blame you one bit. Anyone who tried to take me away from you guys, I'd squash him." She slapped her palm with a fist. "But they thought they could do it, because they were the elders. It's not the title Crazy Blue Fire wants, Aang. It's the power. Some people... they're just like that. They're scary to be in the ring with. They don't just fight a good fight and learn from it. They do anything to win. Even cozying up to you for months, so they can jump you when you finally turn your back." Toph puffed a loose strand of hair out of her face. "The Fire Lord's heir has a lot of power. Azula wants it. She's not going to help Zuko. Ever."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 24
Airbenders are pacifists, little girl. Have you thought about that? Do you know what dagger is drawn at your back, and his, every time you fight?
No, the waterbender didn't know. She couldn't even guess. She would have crafted her battle strategies against firebenders based on facing Zuko. And the Avatar would never have hesitated to fight Zuko. Master airbenders, the ancient scrolls said, knew the truth from lies...
And the disgusting truth about Zuko was, he never wanted to kill anyone.
A slash of the Avatar's airstaff sent Long Feng flying into a wall. Bone snapped.
Sacrifice one tile to win it all; Azula saw the airbender flinch from the injury, gray eyes seeking out the young girl who mothered him-
Cool and calculated, Azula stepped into the line of Katara's water whip.
The world slowed.
Water arced at her like ribbons of ice.
Azula breathed deep, calm as the heartbeat before flashover.
The airbender saw oncoming death - death about to be dealt by someone he loved - and leapt into the air to escape reality. Turning his back. Just for an instant.
Flames blasting her back out of the arc, Azula parted yin and yang. And let cold fire fly.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 25
Coughing, Zuko sat up.
"Sparky!" Toph lunged.
A trembling arm caught her, allowing her to support him, even though she felt his confusion. "Who are you?"
She almost slugged him.
Iroh cleared his throat. "Some confusion is not uncommon, with this... illness. Nephew? Do you remember where we are?"
"...You're not Uncle Kuro." Chilled and worried, Zuko wasn't letting go. Even if he did feel weak as a boiled noodle. "Where's Shidan? I've got to go, it's important-" Coughs cut off his words; his arm slipped free, as he tried to hold himself upright.
"You are in no condition to go anywhere," Iroh said firmly, moving in to put a supporting arm around Zuko's shoulder. "Rest, and heal."
"But they're going to die!" Zuko tried to struggle, making no headway against Iroh's grip. "Let me go! When Shidan finds me - well, you better not be here when he does!"
Which didn't sound like Sparky at all. Toph grabbed for a flailing arm. He's not fighting like Sparky, either. More like... a kid? "What's wrong with him, Uncle? Who's Shidan?"
"Shidan of Byakko, I think," Iroh said, distracted. "Nephew. Nephew, please! We will send a messenger hawk. Who is in danger? Where?"
"A hawk won't get there in time. Shidan can! Please, let me go! I have to warn Gyatso!"
Gyatso? Toph thought, bewildered. But that's-
Iroh drew in a sharp breath. "Uncle... Kuroyama," he said softly. "Of Byakko."
Zuko stiffened for a glare; it was ruined by more coughing. "If you... know him? Then you know who's going to be landing... looking for me. Let-"
"Kuzon." There was a sad certainty in Iroh's voice. "You have done all you can. Rest now. Please."
"Kuzon?" Toph repeated, beyond confused. "But - he was Aang's friend-"
Zuko gripped her sleeve. "You know Aang?" Desperate hope laced his voice. "Have you seen him?"
Okay, this was too weird. "Uncle?" Toph said warily.
"Wait," Iroh murmured, almost too low to hear. "We do know the young airbender," he went on, louder. "He is missing, then? He is a nomad."
"No; no, he left a note, the elders did something stupid, and he-" Zuko cut himself off. "We've flown everywhere he usually goes, we haven't seen Appa... but it's got to wait, you don't know what's going to happen, the hurricane that wiped out Joetsu last year, they're- It's crazy!"
"The Fire Sages blame the Air Nomads for the storm," Iroh said grimly. "And Fire Lord Sozin has not spoken against them."
Toph's jaw dropped. "They did what?" Zuko thinks it's Fire Lord Sozin's reign? Why?
"It happened some months before Aang disappeared." Iroh sighed. "Kuzon. Your uncle... left you in our care. You are ill, and... I do not think Shidan will be here, not for some time. The Air Nomads are great travelers, I am certain Gyatso has heard this ugly talk-"
"It's not just talk anymore!" There was an awful catch in Zuko's voice; if she touched his cheek, Toph knew her fingers would be wet. "Please, the comet's coming. Someone has to warn them!"
"You learned of the attack." Quiet pain, in Iroh's voice, as he gathered Zuko close. "Kuzon. I am sorry. I am so sorry you came too late..."
"I - didn't." Zuko's voice was uncertain, hunting for memory. "We were there. Gyatso - he went to talk to Shidan alone. Well, not talk, but... Then he said, go. Aang - somebody he could trust, still out there, still-" He swallowed a sob. "I wanted to stay! I wanted to help..."
"You did help," Iroh said firmly. "You gave your word to Gyatso, and I know it was a comfort to him. You never stopped searching."
"But they're g-gone..."
"I know," Iroh said softly, easing that broken voice back to sleep. "I know. Rest now, Kuzon. You have done what you could. Now, the task falls to another."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 28
Footsteps, following him. He tried to ignore them, feeling that fire flare whenever blue threatened to come near. And it was hard to think, but even if none was better than one, one was definitely better than lots, and there was a reason he shouldn't just burn everything blue to ash, he knew there was...
Rain and waves and only one breathing behind him. Sand was wet under his sandals, sliding chill along his tabi where unwary steps had scooped grains over his feet. Wind laughed in his face, and he loved the wind, why did he want to burn it now?
Move. Get the poison out.
This wasn't fighting. This was pain, and no kata could be enough.
Closing his eyes, he could almost smell a feathery mane, a touch of friend, feeling-pain, sharing-pain, share, show.
A deep breath, and he lunged into the dance.
I shouldn't be alone...
But there was no flash of red scales to echo his movements. No rumbling breath to warm him, to remind him someone watched, and cared. There was only the dance. The way dragons cried.
Slowly, aching, the chill loosened its grip.
Heartsick, Zuko brought the dance to its circling close, staring up into raindrops. Spirits, he still wanted so much for something to burn...
It's sand. Nothing will get hurt.
Relaxing his stance, he reached up with fingers and chi, one swift stroke down to catch the mist of lightning carried by even the mildest drop of rain...
Rain blazed, falling water wreathed in opalescent fire.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 31
Third - that you want vengeance for your mother, and you believed the truce was preventing you from that.
I would never prevent you from taking proper vengeance for your mother.
Let me specifically define proper vengeance, in the Fire Nation. Bluntly, it does not include me, Uncle Iroh, or anyone else currently on Suzuran. We did not do it.
...Yes, I have checked everyone's service records to be sure. Outside of my original crew, no one here has even been near the South Pole. Or wanted to. It's cold down there.
That stipulated, vendetta is an honored and honorable tradition among my people. Once murder has been testified to and confirmed by a great name, a man does not rest under the same sky as his father's killer, nor a woman as her mother's. You have every right to seek out those who dealt the blow, hunt them down, and end them.
That would be the ideal. The reality will be trickier, given the current status of war between our peoples. I have consulted with Uncle and Captain Jee, who are more familiar with the technicalities. It is tradition that a certain amount of trickery and misdirection is acceptable and allowed in vendetta. Therefore, note the enclosed documents. One has your grievance under your correct name, and ours; keep it safe. The other notes you as Tomoe of the colonies near Gaipan. That you may show openly, anywhere in the Fire Nation or its territories. If pressed, claim it is a sword-name, taken to avoid discord with your clan while you hunt. That should satisfy most authorities. It is no guarantee of safe passage; you'll have to rely on your own wits for that. But it is a legal, binding document, and it makes your vengeance lawful.
This is not a gift. This is not a favor. This is your right and duty as the child of a murdered mother - and my obligation, as a great name who knows of injustice.
And there, of course, is the trap.
...Of course there's a trap. We're enemies. I know that, even if I hope we may be honorable ones.
You want to invade the Fire Nation, so Aang can fight the Fire Lord. These documents won't make even an idiot blockade commander let an army through... but a small strike force could enter, disguised as your retinue. Or a scouting party; given how little information I know you have on the Fire Nation, intelligence on your enemies would be a very good idea. There is no time limit on vendetta. So long as your target still breathes, you can search the whole damn nation looking for him.
Aang is not going to want to do this.
Aang was raised by monks. I have studied the airbenders' teachings. (Don't look so surprised. Know your enemy.) They don't believe in vengeance. They don't believe in killing. This works a lot better when you can fly away from all your problems. When you can't - you've seen the Southern Air Temple. So have I.
Aang will not want to do this. Even though it's the smart thing to do. The honorable and just thing to do.
But then, my people's argument with the Avatar has always been about justice.
So. I have threatened your tribe again, by offering you vendetta in the place of a tribeswoman's vengeance against all the Fire Nation. I have threatened Aang again, defying his ideal of peace to present your cry for justice. I may have even threatened the memory of your mother, for now you know you have a choice in how you avenge her. Or not.
Now you can hate me.
-Zuko, son of Ursa, and Fire Lord Ozai.
Folding the letter with numb hands, Katara looked up to silence.
"How could he?" Gray eyes were wide and horrified. "How could he do that to you? Revenge is a two-headed scorpion-viper; all it does is poison you! You have to forgive, and let it go-"
"Let it go?" Paper crumpled, before she pressed it into Toph's grip. She could feel the sea surging around her. "Let him go?"
"The past is gone. You have to let it flow away," Aang insisted. "Guru Pathik says love is never destroyed. It's always reborn as new love. How can you want to take someone's life, when what you lost will always return to you?"
The world grayed.
My mother. My mother is gone forever.
And Zuko understood that. A firebender, Ozai's own blood, her worst enemy in the world-
Knew there wasn't any forgiveness. Just blood, so the dead and her own pain could finally be at rest.
"I don't know you," Katara whispered. "I don't know you at all."
Water roared with her heartbeat, and she felt Toph's fingers desperately brush hers-
And fell forever.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 32
"Fire's not tied up with family. Fire is loyalty."
Sokka groaned. "Yeah, we know, everyone in the Fire Nation is loyal to the-"
Aang was almost ice-pale. "You mean... Zuko, he..."
"Thought he was going to die saving us." Toph's words hit like blocks of stone. "Die. Not 'cause Azula would kill him. 'Cause even if maybe he lucked out and got her first - his own fire would kill him." She swallowed, eyes moist. "He disobeyed the Fire Lord to save you."
"He knew." Sokka felt faint. "He knew?"
"He's a great name," Toph bit out. "Yeah. He knew." Small fists clenched. "Kyoshi made the great names be loyal to the Fire Lord. If he says fight, they have to fight. If he says peace, they make peace. If he says kill the Air Nomads..."
Aang sat down, hard.
Kind of wish I could pass out, Sokka shivered. "You mean, in the tent, when Zuko..."
"He told you," Toph said bluntly. "He knows what Kyoshi did to his people. He doesn't want it to happen to anyone else."
And he already missed dying once, the sarcastic part of Sokka's brain quipped. What else could Aang do to him?
Right. Zuko had thought he was going to die, but he hadn't, because Iroh-
Oh, spirits. No.
"Mountains fight," Sokka got out, horrified. "The wave clans... they must have been the healers. Kyoshi-" He couldn't say it.
"And with no healers, people in the tribe-" Asiavik shuddered. "Tui and La. The boy wasn't kidding. They went insane."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 34
Kuei swallowed, briefly closing his eyes. "And I am the Earth King. I am responsible for more than just our city."
"I'm not a general, sir," Bon said steadily. "I never will be. But I know spirits. And spiritually, you are the heart of the kingdom. If you move against our enemies, the earth itself will feel it. And it will act."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 34
That's the pity of being an earthbender. If the ground opens up and swallows you, nobody thinks it was an accident.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 34
And another Dai Li, last seen fleeing with her now-deceased brother...
Azula's eyes narrowed, and she shot out of the throne to stalk up to Shirong. Stared at him. Felt at him.
He feels like fire.
Impossible. He was Dai Li. An earthbender; everyone attested to it. True, some of the agents might have Fire Nation ancestry, but-
He doesn't feel like that little fool downstairs. He feels like fire. "What are you?" Azula snarled.
Lip torn, one eye already bruised and blackening, Shirong didn't even try to distract her. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Truth. She could see it, in that fey, steady gaze. A look that reminded her of-
The crack of her slap shattered the silence. She stalked away, hands shaking with rage. How dare he look like Zuko; about to die, and knowing it, and beyond any mortal doubt that he was doing the right thing. How dare he?
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 34
The hairs on his neck went straight up, as something glowed through the audience room floor.
Chains clashed and rattled, passing through ephemeral robes like so much jade mist. Passing over the dazed boy sprawled on the floor, gasping for breath stone and spirit had denied him-
Shirong didn't dare look closer, not now. Not with jade-mist robes whispering through air, drifting about a female figure whose unbound hair was peppered with ashes, and whose blind white eyes leaked tears...
Falling to her knees before the empty throne, the spirit keened.
Grief struck Shirong like a thunderbolt. No hope, no warmth, no life. Nothing but gray chains of despair; all was set awry, time itself was out of joint. They were grieving, had been grieving, would be grieving forever...
The Palace is empty.
No king dwells within these walls.
The Palace is lost, lost; a haunt for cat-owls and creeping things, to finally wear away as dust in the wind...
The wail vanished. She vanished. Leaving only poor, shattered mortals, trying to breathe life back into their battered souls.
"Qiè gù gōng yōulíng Shirong whispered.
A spirit no Dai Li had ever trained to defeat. That no Dai Li had ever wished to see, she had not been seen in thousands of years...
She who only appears if the Imperial Palace is abandoned. If no king rules here, Shirong recalled. The spirits will not recognize Azula as our ruler. No matter what the cost.
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 36
The train howled past, an endless stretch of windows and frightened faces and fire.
Bemused, Yakume waved. Especially at the first car, where a pair of earthbenders who looked like father and son were bending the train faster in a distinctly nonstandard fashion. And where light glinted off knives a gold-eyed girl held ready to throw at any who might block their way.
Endless heartbeats later, they were gone.
Staring down the tracks after them, Yakume shook himself. Glanced at Lu-shan, who stood frozen, mouth gaping. "I take it you saw Guard Huojin?"
Speechless, Lu-shan stared at him.
"That's what I thought," Yakume murmured. And had to shake his head in disbelief, wanting to laugh at the sheer audacity of it... and rage, that such wild brilliance blazed for the other side. "Iroh's heir, in all but birth."
"I- but- he-!" Giving up, Lu-shan flung up his hands.
"He was born of the line of Sozin, and he will die of the line of Sozin," Yakume said, trying to keep his voice steady. "Spirits. They burn so brightly."
"You want to get in the middle of that?" Lu-shan sputtered.
"They are great names." Yakume heard the longing in his own voice, and didn't try to dampen it. "Who would not want to follow?"
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 51
"I'm adopted." Piandao had to chuckle, remembering that hair-raising night after he'd forcefully impressed on the military that he was retired, and staying that way. "A word of warning, young man. Never let yourself become help in a domain where a ghost wants someone to take care of her people."
He still remembered that midnight, waking to Temul's considering gaze.
"My kin are scattered. My domain is unguarded. Byakko sends aid - but they are not Kuzon.
"You need a home. And Shu Jing needs a great name."
Embers by Vathara quotes Chapter 58
"Because if you had mastered earthbending..."
She knew that tone. That was Zuko's I'm about to break things tone.
But he's buried in rock! What can he - do-
Heat. Flowing through the ground, like walking near a slow fire.
"...You would know your mistake." Shidan inhaled, and breathed. Stone poured from him like boiling water. Toph took quick steps back, heat rolling past her face like an open oven, carrying the scent of burned soil.
Shidan flowed out of the hole in the path, a graceful sweep of arms catching up molten stone into a dragon of lava between himself and a gaping Aang- Shidan breathed out, and lava crackled into cooling stone.
"All earth here remembers fire," the dragon growled. "Every boulder. Every tree. Every leaf blown in the wind. Every drop of water on these islands! All, born of the fire mountains and their struggle against sea and sky! This land is Fire!" He lowered his hands, steam hissing from his breath. "And I am a firebending master. Do not cross me, boy. I have no more patience with foolishness."
Aang shuddered. "You- but- Jeong Jeong never-"
"Jeong Jeong was not standing on an active volcano," Shidan said dryly.
rahmi now on ao3 awesome Sam/Dean slash where they are sort rebirthed. Updated 4th feb 2013.
http:// wondering-why-i.livejournal.com /41497.html#cutid1 evil Female sam, I love it. Its sinfully good try it, you will regret reading it because you will never be satiated again.
http:// hkath.livejournal.com /506072.html?page=1#comments really short but something not to be forgotten. Like the coins you toss in wishing well even though you don't believe in them anymore. A tribute to days lost and what could have been.
http:// glasslogic.livejournal.com /12180.html#cutid1 archive of length Sam/Dean Stories
Stages of Hopeby kayla silverstorm whose works came into my life like a hurricane, spinning me round and round, till left was right and up was sideways,
but in the madness that was the circle; I am happiest, and my life hollow without.
"Once upon a time," she said slowly, with real weight behind the words, and Remus wanted to groan in frustration. He didn't have time for fairy tales! He needed to find out more about their visitors. But when had any of the dimension travellers ever cared for their needs?
"Once upon a time, there were four children. One boy that had only a toad as a friend. One boy that had grown up in an ocean of red hair and never really learned to swim. One boy that had been hidden away in a cupboard. And one girl that spent all her time in an enchanted castle made out of books. When their chest cavities were ready to release their hearts into the wild, they met on a journey. It was, of course, a magical journey."
"The magical journey would take them to a magical castle, where they would find their true family, and of course they were excited. But what they didn't know was that it was also taking them towards a monster that had been lying in wait for years, hiding in the woods and sniffing for tender young hearts it could devour. And that while their journey was carrying them closer and closer to the magical place, the monster was scenting for them, closing in.
"On their journey, the four children met two other girls, one that was the seventh daughter of a seventh son, and one that could see things no one else could. Both had been laughed at and so very lonely, but their chest cavities, too, were straining to release the hearts they'd grown, and so when they met the three boys and the girl, they were not afraid. They did not know that all hearts must break, you see?"
"But then the monster came, and it roared and roared, and huffed and puffed until the magical castle was blown all to pieces, and all the boys and girls were tumbling helter-skelter and lying on the grass like dolls without their strings. And the monster stomped up to the three boys and the three girls, and in a terrible voice it shouted: 'I am the Great, Evil Monster, and you six will not stand against me! I have eaten your fathers and mothers, I have eaten your brothers and sisters, I have eaten your friends, and you can do nothing to stop me! Your power is not great enough!'"
"But the boy who'd only had a toad as friend stood firm, and he released his heart, and it was a heart of strength. 'I will stand against you, even though I'm just a small boy,' he said.
"And the boy who'd grown up in a sea of red hair stood firm, and he released his heart, and it was a loyal heart. 'I will never leave my friends,' he said.
"And the girl who was the seventh daughter of a seventh son stood firm, and she released her heart, and it was a heart of courage. 'I will fight you till the end of the world,' she said."
"And the girl that could see things others couldn't stood firm, and she released her heart, and it was a heart of vision. 'I see you,' she said, 'And I'll never forget what you did to us'.
"And the girl that had lived in an enchanted castle made out of books stood firm, and she released her heart, and it was a heart of wisdom. 'I'll trick you,' she said. 'All your power is no match for cleverness.'
"But the monster laughed at them, and it reached out for all their hearts and crushed two of them, and would have crushed them all, when the last boy stepped forward.
"'No,' he said, and stood firm. And he released his heart, and it was made of the greatest love the world had ever seen. 'This love is your death, monster' he said. 'And we will die together.' And he embraced the monster, despite its terrible teeth and claws, and his love burnt hotter than the sun, and together they died."
Triskele by Shulik
That is, of course, until she runs into Stiles skulking around the edge of the woods behind her. Literally runs into.
She’s sure that he’s trying to be stealthy and from the ridiculous way he keeps stepping onto the balls of his shoes, he might even be qualifying in some alternate universe where she hasn’t been doing this for as long as she has and where her survival doesn’t depend on her being able to stay silent and alert at all times.
She watches him from behind the trees, staying silent as Stiles creeps closer to the periphery of the clearing- where the lights from the back windows of the B & B don’t quite reach and where she knows her own window is.
How exactly he’s still managed not to become werewolf food, Faith has no idea, but with his pale, innocent good looks and the way he keeps licking his lips as he scans the area- there’s a dark part of her, the demon that whispers about violence and blood, that understands exactly why Derek had looked at him the way he had.
For Christ’s sake, the kid’s even wearing a red hoodie.
“What are you doing?” Faith finally interrupts the weird crouching shuffle he’s got going on. She doesn’t have time to deal with precocious teenagers and also, somewhere out there- Derek’s probably feeling his creeper status being threatened.
Stiles shrieks, flailing into some kind of half fighting stance, arms swinging wildly before he manages to take a step back, a second before Faith can stop him- which she’s going to, her hand’s already reaching out but Stiles’ foot has already managed to snag on the branch and he’s going down hard.
Faith steps closer to him, frowning as he pants on the ground. “You alright kid?” she extends her hand.
“Ow, yeah-“ Stiles rubs at the back of his head before looking at her hand, carefully. Faith can practically see the little wheels turning in his mind before he finally accepts it, wrapping his clammy fingers around hers and then oofs in surprise as she stands him upright in one quick movement.
“So?” Faith asks again, crossing her arms in amusement as she watches Stiles flush. He keeps trying to get the leaves off him, swiping away at random places on his person even once he’s more or less clean again. “What are you doing?” Faith asks again.
“Haha,” Stiles chuckles nervously before barrelling on, “you’re really strong. You must work out a lot. And also, eat a lot. Like, we all saw you downing that breakfast yesterday but I don’t know whether you were just especially hungry or that’s something like your regular portion size in which case, I have got to say, that your metabolism must be amazing. Slayer metabolism,” he pauses, looking thoughtfully somewhere in the direction of Faith’s middle, “speaking of slayer metabolism, do you guys age normally? Because you look young, but you must be older than Derek. Closer to Peter’s age in fact, but haha, it’s not like I’m calling you old. Peter’s old, and kinda skeezy. And you’re not,” he says earnestly, “you’re very beautiful, in that dangerous ‘I can murder you with my bare hands kind of way’, which I can’t decide whether it’s a slayer thing or a Hale thing or it might be both. Is it both?” Stiles asks and then stares at Faith like he’s honestly waiting for her answer.
Oh dear god, Faith thinks in horror, this is like Xander and Willow’s lovechild standing in front of her.
“I think,” she says faintly, “you should probably lower your sugar intake, is what I think.”
Back-up Plan by janonny
Stiles gasped and shook in a corner of the attic, curled up with his knees pulled to his chest and his face buried in his arms.
Biting off his body parts. His fingers. Stiles squeezed his hands together, fingers feeling weak at the thought of the werewolf biting them off. All of them. Stiles choked down a scream of terror.
There was no more time. He couldn’t be a coward anymore, because he knew that if they came in a second time and… did what they said they would, he wouldn’t be able to keep any secrets from them. Experience had proven that true, even when Gerard didn’t have time to get creative. All these werewolves had was time. And a human to play with.
Stiles couldn’t be brave with them. He couldn’t be brave in the face of torture, he wasn’t strong enough. But he could be brave in here alone.
Stiles dug out the package he had found, lying squashed under a musty cushion. It was a plastic pack, opened and with half of the squarish brown pellets gone. On the front, there was a picture of a rat, lying on its back and a warning against ingestion by pets or humans. Stiles hands shook as he poured out a few pellets onto his open palm.
Rat poison wasn’t the fastest, most effective way to go. But Stiles didn’t think he could go through with any other way. He had considered the window, breaking the glass and using it to open a vein. But if he didn’t do it right, the spilled blood would attract the werewolves before he was dead, and then he wouldn’t have a second chance at this. Staking himself in the chest had the same problem, and the truth was that he probably would miss his heart or he wouldn’t be able to make a wooden leg from the chair or desk sharp enough to finish the act.
The safest bet was rat poison. He couldn’t remember which type did what, but he knew the most common was an anticoagulant, and it worked by causing internal bleeding. He had remembered reading an article about a suicide case, and it had sounded slow and painful. But he was desperate now. If he took enough, it should work faster. His fingers shook as he picked out a couple pellets.
He chewed and swallowed the first one, not even tasting anything through his shocked daze.
Stiles’ biggest regret would be that his dad would have no idea what really happened, what caused the distance between them and the reason for this final, horrible ending. Stiles always thought he would have the time to fix things with his dad when everything calmed down. But he was shit out of luck, and it was his own fault. His poor, poor dad. He couldn’t imagine how his dad would take this, finding out how Stiles had died, how he would be going home alone, to an empty house with echoes of a dead wife and son…
Stiles had to stop thinking about his dad, or he would stop doing what needed to be done now.
He spared a moment’s thought for his friends, because he owed them that much. Scott, his reckless best friend who didn’t always know what he was doing, but always had his heart in the right place. He hoped Scott kept safe, he hoped someone helped him through the shitstorm that was a werewolf’s life. And there was Lydia, one of his good friends now, after all his time spent pining. She would always be his favorite girl, smart and beautiful as she was, even after he had let go of his crush on her once he started up with Derek instead.
God, in this desperate moment on his own, Stiles could admit to himself that maybe his relationship with Derek could have been more than just casual. The intensity between them, their constant push-pull that worked so well sometimes. Fuck, Stiles hoped that Derek wouldn’t blame himself for this, because Derek was great at finding ridiculous ways to shoulder the guilt for everything. If only Stiles had more time to sort out things between them.
But what was one more regret to add to a long list? He wouldn’t go to college, he wouldn’t see his best friend get married, he wouldn’t hug his dad again…
Stiles finished the last pellet, crumpling up the empty package. His throat felt dry and sore, while his stomach roiled. He didn’t know how long it would take, after eating so many. But his fate was sealed in any case. It was almost freeing. Even if the werewolves came in for another round before he was dead, he knew the final outcome of it all. There was nothing more permanent that they could threaten him with than death.
That didn’t mean he still couldn’t be tortured of course. But it was fine. Ultimately, rat poison was Plan B, in case Plan A didn’t work. Stiles was going to die, but he wasn’t going to go alone. He would take down a couple werewolves with him at the very least, and give them something else to think about rather than picking on the weak human.
He took a deep breath and moved towards the back of the room, looking for the old heater he had seen earlier. It was going to come in handy.
Stiles was starting to feel nauseated and dizzy when he heard a crick on the stairs. He had no idea if it was all in his head from the stress of the situation or if the rat poison really was working already. He had no way to track the time — they had taken his phone, and he wasn’t wearing a watch — but it was probably time for another round of torture.
Well, if they were going to come get him, they needed to come in fast for his plan to work. So Stiles smashed at the wall with a leg he had broken off from the old desk. Then he screamed, before darting into place beside the cabinet by the door.
As expected, the footsteps coming up the stairs suddenly sped up. Then the door was being shoved inwards, which was perfect, because attached to the doorknob was a long string of wool Stiles had unraveled from his sweater. The thread tugged hard on the pail that was balanced on top of the cabinet. It was tilted towards the door, propped in place by books, and at the hard yank by the string, the pail toppled all the way off the cabinet towards the inside of the doorway. Its contents spilled over the werewolf who had just barged in, even as the pail whacked him in the shoulder.
He froze, probably not identifying yet that he was covered from shoulders to knee in gasoline that Stiles had extracted from the old heater’s tank.
Stepping out from beside the cabinet, Stiles threw several clumps of paper that he had lit on fire at the werewolf. A couple missed, but the others hit the werewolf in the chest.
He went up in flames.
Stiles leapt back from the sudden heat and the screaming werewolf. He held the broken desk leg in front of him to attempt to fend off the werewolf in case he came forward, but the burning werewolf was screaming and stumbling backwards. He took one more step back, and was suddenly pitching down the staircase.
The werewolf’s screams were joined by another, higher pitched screaming, before it morphed into a roar. Holy shit, was that the Alpha? If she had been coming up the stairs, then the first werewolf would have slammed right into her, and the fire could have caught. This was better than Stiles expected.
Holding his makeshift weapon tighter, Stiles pocketed the lighter even as he braced for more werewolves to come charging upstairs. It was a good thing Stiles had managed to get the lighter. He’d seen it on the table when they’d brought him downstairs for the first round of beating, and injured as he was, Stiles had aimed himself at the table for the sole purpose of palming it. The move had paid off. It would have been terrible if he had tried to start a fire using lessons from his Boy Scout days, especially since he had been kicked out of the Boy Scouts for not paying attention.
Plan A was working much better than he expected.
The scattered piles of papers that Stiles had arranged in front of the door were on fire as well, which had been his aim. Smoke inhalation was a much faster and surer way to go than rat poison, and in such a small, enclosed room, it might not be far off. Hopefully, it happened before the fire spread to him, because he didn’t relish the idea of going the same way as that werewolf and most of Derek’s family. Fuck, this was going to suck so bad for Derek.
What Stiles hadn’t expected was for the staircase to be burning as well, and how quickly the fire was spreading. There was a lot of wood in this house, but he hadn’t realized how quickly it would all go up. The doorframe was on fire, spreading to the walls. The floor was definitely on fire, and he was surprised that it was burning so quickly as well. He had worried that the werewolves might charge through a burning door to get to him, depending on how much they wanted the information he had. It was hard to predict people who could heal faster than normal. But there would be no charging into the room via the staircase if the staircase was gone. Stiles slumped into an old rocking chair. Looked like he didn’t need the rat poison after all.
If he was lucky, the whole house would burn down. Maybe it would take a few other werewolves with it. Regardless, his pack would be alerted to the fact that something was wrong. Maybe his dad wouldn’t have to find out about the rat poison, wouldn’t have to think that Stiles was depressed and he didn’t notice.
There went the cabinet. All that paper and dust was probably delicious food to the growing fire. Wow, Stiles was anthropomorphizing the fire now. Not a good sign of mental stability. Maybe he could blame it on smoke inhalation. The room was starting to fill up with thick gray smoke, and Stiles’ eyes were stinging. Breathing was getting a little difficult, but worst of all, the fire was spreading quickly through the floor. Stiles rocked in the chair, gripping the arms, and closed his eyes. He tried to ignore the heat from the growing fire, tried to breathe slowly and stay calm. The floor would probably collapse soon. He hoped he went quickly. He hoped he didn’t burn for too long.
The Eyes Have It by Shana the Short
There were certain things, in Konoha, that one simply knew never to do. One was call an Akimichi fat. Another was to underestimate a Nara. When the Uchiha Clan was still alive, it was completely taboo to mistreat cats. Only a fool would call the honor of the Hyuuga Clan into question.
Poaching from Inuzuka territory, it went without saying, was flat out suicidal. Their bestial nature only augmented their naturally protective behavior, creating a potent backlash of concentrated fury. Kiba was at least able to focus on the situation at had; Shino had heard whispers of berserker blood that would have needlessly complicated the situation.
There was a cautionary saying about the Auburame Clan as well; they never forgot, rarely forgave, and if you were lucky and prayed very, very hard, their vengeance would be swift and they would disregard you afterwards. Shino felt his colony lock onto the wayward female he had planted on his wayward teammate, and felt the pettiest, most vicious part of him roil up and crystalize into a stubborn resolve.
When he found out just who was responsible for this mess, his vengeance would not be swift, and they would not fall to the back of his mind. He would not forget, and if there was so much as a scratch on Sakura…
Well, forgiveness was never going to be an option. But he'd find a way to be even nastier about paying the culprit back tenfold.
The Lives Worth Saving by cywsaphyre
From his spot a few steps away, Inoichi surveyed Team 10 and the red-haired Jounin, and decided that accompanying the group today was one of the best decisions he had ever made. He eyed his daughter's hand tucked in a friendly manner in the crook of Haruki's arm as she continued to tease Asuma and debated the likelihood of the redhead shaking her off.
Earlier, while Asuma had slept, Haruki had simply heaved a resigned sigh and left him to it. Instead, he had moved away to help his daughter and Chouji as they continued their attempts at chakra control. Chouji had steadily gotten better and better, inching his way up the tree as the minutes ticked by, but Ino had only managed to get about halfway and no further. Two hours into the exercise and Inoichi had almost seen her frustration manifest a physical form when Chouji finally reached the top and flopped down on the ground for a breather.
In this, he and his daughter were the same, at least when he had been her age. He had been every bit as impatient and easily frustrated as Ino was now and that usually made itself known through an explosive temper. Inoichi had tensed when, after dozens of attempts and even more dents in the wood, his daughter had finally whirled on the sleeping figure of Shikamaru, mouth opening to vent her pent-up anger. He had often blown up at Shikaku and Chouza as well whenever he had failed at something multiple times and he knew Ino was no different.
But to his surprise, Haruki had cut in before Ino could say a word, and had asked the strangest thing.
"Azalea. What does it mean?"
Inoichi had had a hard time keeping the confusion off his face, and his daughter hadn't even bothered trying.
"What?" She had snapped, her ire obvious in the tone of her voice, and Inoichi had inwardly winced at the rude attitude directed at Haruki.
But the redhead hadn't even seemed to notice and merely cocked his head as he repeated his question. "What does an azalea mean? You work in a flower shop; you should know, right?"
Ino had pushed away a few sweaty bangs before snapping irritably, "Temperance, or to take care of yourself for me. What does that have to do with anything?"
Haruki had only shrugged and nodded at the tree. "One step. Go on."
Ino's brow had furrowed even further but had obeyed after a moment of hesitation, taking a step onto the tree so that she was standing sideways at the very base of the tree trunk. She wobbled a little and her arms flailed, and Inoichi had been sure she would fall again, but Haruki had quickly continued with another question.
Ino had automatically answered, having been drilled on the many different types of flowers since she was a little girl by her mother, and she had steadied against the wood as her mind focused on something else. "Humility and constancy."
Haruki had nodded and motioned for her to take another step.
"Wealth and pride." Another step.
"Perseverance, dignity, and nobility." And another.
"Childishness or cheerfulness." And yet another.
And so they went; Haruki would toss out the name of a flower and Ino would counter with its meaning, and Inoichi could only watch in amazement as the red-haired Jounin talked his daughter down from her rage and up the trunk of the tree. Her two teammates had sat up at this point, watching her progress with quiet astonishment.
Finally, just before she had reached the top branch, Haruki had paused in his long list of flowers, head tilted back to maintain eye-contact, and offered a small smile up at Ino.
"One more then. A solidago?"
Ino had grinned, sweaty and smudged with dirt from all her failed attempts but had crowed triumphantly, "Success!", and had taken the final step, bringing her level to the highest branch of the tree.
Haruki's face had relaxed into a wide grin, hands still stuffed into his coat pockets as he rocked back on his heels. "Well, look at that. It seems like you can do it after all."
Inoichi had found himself smiling as well as his daughter's grin threatened to split her face. She had carefully made her way down the tree again, her steps much more sure and steady than before, and then she had bounced over to the redhead and thrown her arms around the Jounin in a grateful hug.
Haruki had frozen, flinching minutely in surprise, and Inoichi had almost frowned when the redhead glanced over at him with something akin to uncertainty. He would've thought that Haruki had been worried about his reaction if it wasn't for the fact that his long years as an interrogator had helped him pick up the confusion and discomfort and distress in the man's stance, as well as the silent scream for help in his eyes.
Inoichi had seen those emotions in some shinobi, not many, but enough to recognize it. He usually saw it in ninja that had been out on the field for too long and had forgotten what friendly human contact was like.
Inoichi had seen it before, but only ever in the war veterans after the Third Shinobi War.
He had straightened, mouth opening to tell his daughter to let go now because he had gone into the minds of some of those veterans and had seen a wrecked and ravaged world, desolate and dying, and if they weren't reintroduced to human contact in slow steps, it could (would) cause a breakdown or worse.
But Haruki had surprised him again when his body had forced itself to relax and an arm had circled around Ino's shoulders in an awkward hug, one hand patting her back before pulling away.
"Thanks!" Ino had exclaimed brightly, none the wiser as Haruki had smiled easily down at her, all the anxietyfearpanic hidden safely away from prying eyes.
"Don't think too hard," Was all the redhead had told her. "You were just concentrating too much chakra before, and it was dragging you down."
The Adventures Of Harry Potter, the Video Game: Exploited by michaelsuave
"Ha Ha! Run Run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the Jumping Fool Man! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!" Harry cackled in glee as he took two fast sprinting steps and then began to jump.
As Harry disappeared down the street, and Dudley and his gang fell further and further behind, all they could hear was the mad cackling of Harry Potter as he bounced out of sight.
And throughout the neighborhood, the people of Surrey just shook their head at the small strange bunny-hopping child who lived at number 4 Privet Drive.