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Xmas Drabbles 2009 Master Post 1

Finished all the Christmas request drabbles from 2009!  They are now gathered in two master posts (couldn't fit them all in one) to make them easier to read.


agentlerain 
Prompt: Tenipuri, Superman!Tezuka


The glasses were all that protected his identity. And Echizen kept trying to steal them.

It shouldn’t have been so difficult to avoid those grasping hands, either. He had super-speed, super-vision, super-hearing and super-reflexes, after all. But apparently he didn’t take into account Echizen’s uncanny ability to regularly stun him into a stumbling, awkward, ordinary human with just a mischievous glance.

Luckily, he had the height advantage. “Not here.” He tried to sound stern, but Echizen rolled his eyes and crossed his arms.

“It’s just an interview with the monkey-king. I don’t even know why you insisted on coming.”

He came because Atobe had noticed. Had noticed that every time Echizen got himself into trouble – and Echizen got himself into trouble a lot – Superman would fly to the rescue. And Atobe had become obsessed with finding some way to defeat Superman.

To Echizen, he said, “To make sure you behave yourself.”

Before the expected retort to that could arrive, the door opened, and Oshitari waved them in. “He’ll see you now.”

They left the carpeted hallway, and entered the office. It was larger than most people’s entire apartments, and opened on to a luxurious balcony, still under construction. The interior, however, was already completed and furnished. Everything smelt of crisp newness. Behind a dark teakwood desk, Atobe sat in a high-backed leather chair, fiddling with a gold-plated fountain pen.

“Echizen,” he greeted cordially. “…And Tezuka as well.” His tone grew cold. “Fascinating piece you wrote last week on Atobe Corp’s new mining ventures.”

“Environmentalism is popular at the moment,” he replied nonchalantly. If the extra scrutiny prevented Atobe’s goons from intimidating the populace of the nearby town, well, that was just a bonus.

Echizen smirked. “You’re the king of a tower of monkeys. If you’re going get offended over every piece that turns up in the paper, you won’t have time to do anything else.”

Atobe tensed, but the smile on his face remained pleasant. “You’re right, of course.”

Tezuka cut in. “Why did you request this interview?” What Tezuka really wanted to ask was why he requested Echizen, especially if he was going to get annoyed over Tezuka’s much milder editorials. The only thing Echizen enjoyed more than writing stories about Superman was writing stories about Atobe Corp’s latest public relations blunders.

“After the recent string of… unfortunate mistakes the company has made, I thought you might enjoy the opportunity to write about a positive achievement.”

“Which is why you’ve invited us here,” Echizen remarked, sounding bored.

“That’s right. What do you think of our new building project? It’s going to be the tallest skyscraper in Metropolis,” Atobe informed them haughtily.

Echizen made a small sound in his throat, and muttered, “The one in Dubai is going to be bigger.”

Atobe tensed again, but continued on as normal. Unusual. Normally he’d be calling Echizen a cheeky brat by now. “This will be Atobe Corps new headquarters. The lower levels will also contain a shopping mall, a hotel, and a wide variety of recreational facilities.”

“And when’s it going to be finished?” Echizen asked dutifully.

“In the not too distant future. We’re aiming for an opening early in the new year.”

“Right.”

“It’s also so large, the building is going to be assigned it’s own postcode,” Atobe added smugly.

“Over-compensation issues,” Echizen mumbled, just loud enough to be heard but quiet enough to deny it.

Tezuka fought back a smile, and then froze.

In the distance, he could hear a cry for help.

“Excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom,” he interrupted. “Will you be alright on your own for a few minutes, Echizen?”

“Take your time,” Atobe answered for him.

…He resolved to be quick. And being Superman, Tezuka Kunimitsu could be very quick indeed.

He entered the elevator, checked for security cameras- then in the blink of eye, had bundled off his clothes, now dressed in the distinctive blue and red leotard and cape. He removed his glasses, folded them up in his shirt, stowed the bundle and the instant the elevator door opened, took off – nothing but a gust of wind to the people he passed by.

It didn’t take long to find the source of the cries. A red-haired woman, partially trapped under a trailer. There’d been a car accident. The one screaming for help was her friend. He could already hear the wail of an approaching ambulance siren.

“Superman!” The cries rose. “It’s Superman!”

He took in the scene carefully. The woman was having trouble breathing, and was already going into shock. The ambulance was close – getting her unpinned now would be safe. He gripped the trailer, gently eased it up, and set it right again. Others rushed in to tend to the woman. The ambulance pulled up, and the paramedics came running onto the scene.

Cheers erupted around them. “Thank you so much, Superman!” Tezuka smiled and shook the offered hands, accepting the well-wishes gracefully. Really, he’d done nothing special here today – given a little more time, the gathered people could have done this themselves if they pooled their strength.

Then, all of a sudden, he heard a whisper on the breeze – a shocked, a wistful…

Tezuka.

He whirled, eyes zeroing on the source.

Back at the still under construction skyscraper. Atobe, standing alone on the half-finished balcony, sharp eyes staring over the edge. Echizen. Falling, wind whipping his dark hair, eyes screwed shut, braced for impact. Braced for death.

Tezuka broke the sound barrier. Several windows nearby cracked.

It didn’t matter. He scooped Echizen out of the sky, being careful to slow his momentum first so the mere act of catching didn’t leave any bruises or broken bones. Then they were flying lazily through the air, the slight reporter cradled in his arms. He was trembling, and his fingers clutched at Tezuka’s shoulders, but he made a good show of being unaffected by his brush with death.

So good, in fact, that Echizen glared at him. “Che. Stalker. I didn’t cry for help.”

“You never cry for help,” ‘Superman’ agreed.

“I had it under control.”

“You were falling from a height of seventy stories,” he pointed out.

“…Are you sure you should keep rescuing someone who’s made it his mission to find out your true identity?”

“You haven’t succeeded yet.” Then, because he couldn’t resist, he added, “Are you sure Tezuka isn’t going to beat you to it?”

Those golden-brown eyes lit up with a fiery determination. Instead of addressing the question, though, he remarked, “You know Atobe just did it to get more information on you. You shouldn’t be so predictable.”

Tezuka wouldn’t have said anything. As Superman, he said, “I think you’re more important.”

Echizen flushed, then demanded, “Hey, let me down already.”

Dutifully, he dropped Echizen by the base of the skyscraper. People were applauding nearby. “I have to go.”

“Course you do.” Then, “I’ll find you out one day.”

Tezuka would have ignored the remark. Superman smiled. “Good luck.”

Then he disappeared, dashing at top speed to recover his clothes. A moment later, a slightly ruffled Tezuka Kunimitsu came walking out of the building. “Echizen? How did you get down here first?”

Echizen’s face lit up with a sly grin. “It was Superman. I think I’m getting close to finding out his true identity.”

“Is that so?” Tezuka asked.

A self-satisfied nod. “But first, I think I’m going to write an article on Atobe Corp’s construction safety standards.” The grin turned vicious.

Tezuka pretended to be confused, but inwardly felt like matching the expression. This was why he liked Echizen best. At the end of the day, he was more interested in beating Tezuka Kunimitsu to the scoop of century, than actually finding out the identity of Superman.



ixtey 
Prompt: Tenipuri, Tezuka/Ryoma, SeigakuMart AU


“Thank you for shopping at SeigakuMart, please come again,” Tezuka intoned as he handed over the change. The elderly woman smiled at him.

“Such a nice, polite, young boy. Keep working hard,” she said, and tottered away with her bags.

Tezuka thanked her again, and spent a moment staring into space – the cashiers were empty of further customers. Two rows down, Oishi and Kikumaru were chatting, but even though he was supervisor, he didn’t bother to tell them to stop. Only a small handful of shoppers wandered the store – there was no harm in allowing them to dull the boredom of manning an empty register.

Tezuka jerked to attention when two 24-packs of grape Ponta thudded onto the conveyor belt. “Hey.”

“Hello. Welcome to Seigaku Mart.” Tezuka paused. He recognised this customer – probably still in high school, short, dark hair and large, round, mesmerising golden-brown eyes. He was a new regular, turning up like clockwork the past couple of weeks. He also somehow wound up in Tezuka’s register every time. They never spoke beyond the usual exchange, even though the boy would stare at Tezuka in a slightly unnerving fashion as he checked the items through.

Normally Tezuka was too professional to comment on purchases, but he’d been wondering about this customer for a while, and his curiosity drove him to break their mutual silence and ask, “Is this your favourite?”

He smirked, but didn’t answer the question directly. “This place is only shopping centre that sells it in bulk.”

Tezuka knew that wasn’t true – the shopping centre down the road sold everything in bulk. His honesty drove him to say as much, even though that meant losing yet another customer.

The boy shrugged. “I don’t like that place.” Then muttered something about monkey-kings under his breath.

Tezuka didn’t reply – just scanned the drinks, and accepted the money.

The ice had been broken, apparently. “My name’s Echizen Ryoma.”

“Tezuka Kunimitsu.”

“I know.”

At his quizzical look, the boy pointed at his shirt. “Name tag.”

Oh.

“Actually, I’m looking for a part-time job,” Echizen said as he fetched the change, leaning on one elbow and cradling his chin – he was still short enough to do so. “Any openings?”

“I don’t think we can help you here. Things have been slow since Hyotei opened a super centre down the road,” Tezuka explained quietly.

“Che.” He accepted the change, but lingered. Then, somewhat brazenly… “What time do you get off work here?”

Tezuka froze. Was he…?

The boy gestured to the two heavy cases of Ponta, nonchalant. “I need someone to help me carry it home.”

Tezuka looked around. The other registers were still empty, but he could see some of his other coworkers peering at him from the cover of aisle 3, whispering and smiling behind their hands.

It was nearly the end of his shift, and he wouldn’t be missed. “Oishi, lock up for me tonight,” he called, and turned back. “Consider this a customer service.”

Echizen smirked. “See? Seigaku Mart is way better.”



monarchist 
Prompt: Bleach Tenipuri crossover AU, Tezuka and Ryoma as shinigami, fighting with swords instead of racquets.


Tezuka drew his zanpakuto. He needed no words. The ryoka would go no further.

The boy smirked, and slid into stance. “Che. This won’t go the same as last time.”

No, it wouldn’t. He could see that by the light in the ryoka’s eyes. Echizen Ryoma. The human child who was still inexplicably a shinigami even though Tezuka had destroyed those illegal powers. Who had, in fact, managed to defeat his lieutenant, even though only a matter of weeks ago he’d left him in the streets of the real world to die.

However, no matter how hard he trained, Tezuka held hundreds of years of experience over him.

As before, he flash-stepped. Aiming for the same point. He would end it quickly.

Except… his zanpakutou was blocked.

His eyes widened, and Tezuka spun away, knocking the strike aside. A thread of his haori floated to the ground, and Echizen Ryoma smirked.

Indeed, it was best not to get careless.

They flash-stepped, the pace of the fight increasing. Echizen met each blow, the clash of zanpakutous ringing in his ears. Truly the boy had good instincts, a battle sense that, properly developed, would be the jealousy of most shinigami. Any captain would be proud to have him in their squad.

Unfortunate for him, Tezuka’s shikai release was the perfect foil for it.

“Zero-Shiki,” he murmured.

The ryoka moved to block his sword, but then stumbled forward, hissing. He turned to look back at the wound in his shoulder, staining the bandages wrapped around his torso red once more.

Tezuka struck again. The boy dodged, this time, but it still sliced a shallow gash in his side.

And again. Echizen whirled, guarding his back. “Heh. So that’s how it works.” He slashed the air, knocking the attack back. “A strike that looks like it’s coming from the front will come from the back. Not bad.”

…Interesting. He’d seen through it already?

Tezuka retreated.

“You’re pretty strong after all. I guess it was too much to hope I could save this for the finale.” He pointed his zanpakutou at him, and spiritual pressure began to build around them. “Are you watching carefully? I’m going to show you my Bankai.”

Arrogant to announce it so brashly. “Impossible. Shinigami train for decades to reach bankai.” He wasn’t talking down to the child. Merely stating fact.

But the spiritual pressure grew, there was a burst of blinding light…

Then the dust cleared, and Echizen Ryoma stood there, looking no different at all.

No, that wasn’t quite true. His eyes, Tezuka noticed. They’d turned golden. And his zanpakutou had turned the colour of blood.

Echizen raised his crimson sword, and brought in down in a violent sweep. “Drive, Samurai!”

The ground shuddered, and the sky was painted with golden light. Tezuka flash-stepped away, and stared at the destruction he’d barely avoided.

A strike that rent the earth in two. The power behind it sent chills down his spine, but Tezuka was far too experienced to let his shock show.

This ryoka was impressive. If only the circumstances were different…

But there were rules. Just because he had his misgivings, did not mean he could allow himself to throw the fight. That would be the height of dishonour.

“Going to take me seriously now?” Echizen asked, zanpakutou propped against his shoulder.

Tezuka doubted that was all there was to the bankai. Just because the released form looked ordinary, did not mean he could risk becoming careless. He couldn’t afford to allow this to continue. As a courtesy, he would show the ryoka the power he’d worked centuries to possess.

“Very well. Bankai.” His sword vanished. “Enter the zone, Phantom.”

The sky darkened and the spiritual pressure built, the gravity of it pushing down upon his opponent, slowing his speed, crushing him against the earth like an invisible hand.

Most shinigami crumpled under the lightest touch of his bankai. Echizen Ryoma staggered at first, but remained stubbornly standing. Tezuka expected as much.

Then the sky began to fill with meteors.

And the ryoka smirked as though it were a challenge.



firedraygon97 
Prompt: FFVII, Genesis/Cloud, jealousy, time-travel-verse.


Genesis halted in the hallway.

He should have been tipped off by the absence of other SOLDIERs. Every time the two came face to face, you couldn’t clear the area faster even if you threw a grenade into the room. But he hadn’t truly believed it until he’d seen it. Sephiroth, making small talk with Cloud Strife in the corridor.

“How did your mission go?”

“Fine.” The response was clipped.

Awkward silence. Then, “How is your training progressing with Sergeant Kunsel?”

“Why do you want to know?” came the immediate challenge.

“You were working with materia in the Training Room… before.”

Moody silence.

“Your collection is… impressive. All mastered, and that looks like a Summon materia. Those are quite rare.”

More silence. Then, Cloud stated, “It’s nothing special. You’ve mastered plenty of materia, too.”

Genesis’s fingers curled into fists.

“I’m surprised you noticed.”

“I don’t miss much when it comes to you,” Cloud muttered darkly.

Indeed, Cloud missed nothing when it came to Sephiroth. Even now, as the General caught his eye and nodded greeting to Genesis, Cloud showed no sign of registering another presence. As always, others did not fall into his focus. From the very beginning, he thought only of Sephiroth. The tension, that all-consuming hatred… a soul corrupted by vengeance.

Genesis had grown more tolerant of his rival now that he’d been brought down a peg or two, but it rankled him that even in this Sephiroth found a way to usurp him, monopolising Cloud’s attention just by being in the room.

Perhaps he could have still endured, if it stopped at just Sephiroth. But no. There was SOLDIER Second Class Zack Fair, too. Initially, he approved of Angeal’s Puppy befriending Cloud – the boy had good taste in company, and anyone you spoke to would say that Zack Fair was a kind and loyal friend. But why had Cloud chosen to entrust his first name to that SOLDIER before anyone else? And it didn’t escape his notice, either, the way Cloud watched his fellow Second with haunted eyes when he thought no one was looking.

Cloud was his saviour.

They were not deserving.

He could bear it no longer. Before Sephiroth could open his mouth to say anything further, Genesis swept forward, seizing Cloud by the arm. “Come, Sephiroth, let us avoid temptation.”

“Genesis. I had no intention-” Sephiroth began, but before he could complete his sentence, Genesis had whisked the blond SOLDIER away.

Thankfully, Cloud did not argue, stumbling along after him. “Genesis?” he asked, sounding confused.

They eventually wound up in the Equipment Room, and Genesis released him.

“What was that about?” Cloud asked, glancing back towards where they’d left Sephiroth standing. “Not that I’m angry, but-”

“Look at me,” Genesis hissed, grasping the blond by the shoulders. “Stop always looking at Sephiroth and just look at me for once!”

Then those stormy blue eyes turned, finally, to truly, honestly, look at him.

Genesis sucked in a breath.

There it was again. He hadn’t imagined it. That flash he’d seen in Wutai, and again when he’d first spoken to Cloud after his arrival at ShinRa.

Understanding.

Genesis had never been understood before. Certainly Angeal tried, but there was a difference between comprehension and empathy.

It was absurd, of course. But Genesis was sure of it. Cloud knew what it felt like to be rival to a man you could never hope to match, shared the frustration he felt, comprehended the pain of being used and thrown away by people he’d sworn allegiance to.

“…What’s wrong?” Cloud asked, still staring at him with those eyes that stripped away his every defence and saw his weaknesses and accepted it. Those same eyes that had seen him at his very worst in Wutai, and still found something worth saving.

Genesis’s hands slid down the coarse purple fabric of the blond’s uniform to drop to his sides.

When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end, The goddess descends from the sky. Wings of light and dark spread afar, she guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting...

“…You just wanted to discuss Loveless?”

Genesis waved a hand dismissively, and headed back outside. “You didn’t appear to be enjoying Sephiroth’s attempt at conversation. It was a painful thing to watch. I figured I would spare us all the embarrassment of letting it drag on any longer.”

Yes, he was satisfied with this. All Genesis had to do was remind himself that even though the blond’s attention might be monopolised by Sephiroth, he was the one Cloud had chosen to save. And that was what made it bearable.



blauerschnee 
Prompt: Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Gokudera/Tsuna, “Ohmygod Tenth, it’s SO BIG”.  I might possibly be talking about a gun here, no matter what the fic indicates. 'Cause mafiosi should have guns.


“HIIEEEEE, REBORN, WHAT’S THAT DOING HERE?” Tsuna screeched, pointing at the floor as one might if they’d just discovered a venomous spider the size of a basketball sitting there. A venomous spider the size of a basketball, wielding chainsaws.

“No-good Tsuna. What kind of Mafiosi would you be without a gun?”

“But-but-but… guns are illegal in Japan!” Super illegal. Tsuna didn’t know anyone who had one! Expect for Reborn, of course. And Lambo, if you counted bazookas. Tsuna definitely counted bazookas.

A crash. Thudding down the hall. A bang as the door burst open. “TENTH! I heard screaming! Is everything okay?”

“Ack! Gokudera!” He frantically dragged on a shirt, and hopped into his pants. “Knock first!”

“You don’t need to be so modest, Tenth! Here, let me help you with your buttons-”

“It’s fine!” Tsuna slapped his hands away. What was he doing here so early in the morning?

“Don’t forget to put on your gun harness, Tsuna.”

“The Tenth got a gun?” Gokudera brightened. And by brightened, Tsuna meant his wide grin was now accompanied by visible sparkles in his eyes.

“I did not get a gun!” Tsuna hastily corrected. “Reborn, get rid of it!”

“You’ll need to get used to it sooner or later, Tsuna.”

Gokudera, meanwhile, had finally noticed the gun resting on the floor. “OHMYGOD TENTH! IT’S SO BIG.”

“I know, Gokudera.”

“As expected of the Tenth!”

“That’s the problem!” Tsuna said desperately. “It’s too big!” Reborn had brought in a semi-automatic weapon nearly half as long as he was tall. “I can’t take that to school! I’ll be arrested as soon as I leave the house!”

“You can hide it under your clothes,” Reborn said.

Impossible. Completely impossible! “Can I even carry it?!” It probably weighed more than he did!

“Don’t worry, Tenth! I’ll carry it for you!” Gokudera chipped in.

“I think that kind of defeats the point, Gokudera.” He wrung his hands. “Why do I even need a gun, Reborn?”

“Stupid Tsuna. The same as any other Mafiosi. For protection, or course!”

“Why do I need more protection?” he despaired. “Aren’t my Guardians already enough?” Too much, even?

Reborn turned to look at Gokudera. “I don’t know, Tsuna…”

Gokudera leapt to please. “Don’t worry Reborn! I’ll be all the defence the Tenth needs!”

“Even when he’s asleep?”

“I don’t need to sleep! I can guard the Tenth always!”

“Even when he’s showering?”

Gokudera blushed, but stammered, “O-of course! I already stand guard!”

Tsuna didn’t need to know that.

“Even when’s he’s going to the toilet?”

“HIEEEEE, Reborn, wait!” Tsuna cut in. “That’s… not really necessary! Don’t you just… have… um… something smaller?”

Half an hour later, Tsuna left the house with a much more reasonable concealed pistol and realised how absurd his life had become. He’d just agreed to carry an illegal firearm, to get out of carrying a much larger illegal firearm.

Gokudera looked strangely disappointed, though no doubt relieved that he could still sleep at night.



sillk 
Prompt: Tenipuri, 50 First Dates, Henry!Tezuka, Lucy!Ryoma.


Tezuka waited patiently in the kitchen, drinking coffee, reading the daily paper, and waiting for Ryoma to gather himself enough to come out. He’d been careless this morning – Ryoma had woken up first.

Those mornings were always awkward. It made him feel seventeen all over again.

Once he’d extricated himself safely from the bedroom and left Ryoma with a photo album and a Himalayan-cross kitten – one of Karupin’s offspring – cradled in his arms, he could safely predict what would happen next. Ryoma would sit in the room, mulling things over quietly for the next hour, petting a kitten until he felt brave enough to venture outside.

It would have been a lot more difficult if Ryoma were the hysterical type. Tezuka remained thankful for small mercies.

The door creaked open. Ryoma had changed into his day clothes. Not a pyjama day. A good sign. “Hey.” He stared openly.

Tezuka met his gaze evenly, and let him catalogue the differences, then offered, “Would you like breakfast?”

Ryoma shuffled over to the table. “Yeah.”

Tezuka served him a Japanese-style breakfast, and settled down across from him. He didn’t bother picking up the paper again.

Ryoma only got a few bites in before he put his chopsticks down. “I guess I’ve already asked you why you put up with this.”

Tezuka nodded. “There’s no shame in asking again if you feel like you need to hear the answer.” He would answer that question every day for the rest of his life if he had to.

A fierce shake of the head. “No… it’s just…” He stared at the tabletop, then blurted, “What about my parents?”

“They’re well. They live nearby, if you want to visit them.”

Ryoma frowned. “When did I last visit them?”

“Two days ago.”

“Oh. I guess I’d rather not, then.” He looked down at the kitten mewling and rubbing against his ankles. “Who decided on naming her Pocari?”

“That was you. Although you originally wanted to call her Ponta.”

Ryoma stared, then smirked. “But Pocari was okay by you?”

“…It seemed like the one less likely to cause confusion.”

Ryoma’s smirk grew, then disappeared again as he glanced down at his plate. He took a few more bites. Tezuka waited for the next question, which came every day without fail.

“…What about tennis?”

“You still play.”

“Not professionally, though.” Bitterness.

“No,” Tezuka agreed. “Mostly just against your father and I. Sometimes a one-day tournament. It’s a difficult to commit to anything longer term.”

“What about today? Can we play?” He sounded desperate. He always sounded desperate.

Tennis-playing days were the worst days. They’d started out well - Ryoma’s body would remember where his mind forgot, but as the months and years wore on, the difference still grew too great. Tennis was as much a mental game as it was a physical one, and Tezuka had seen every play Ryoma had fifty times over – even the ones he invented on the spur of the moment. As the game progressed, he could see that realisation taking hold, could see the swelling bitterness as Ryoma wondered how many times they’d done this before, and whether there was even any point to trying to think of anything new, and how bored Tezuka must have become playing the same tennis match a thousand times.

Tezuka never threw the match, though. He’d done it once, out of kindness, and the look of betrayal on Ryoma’s face had hurt more than a thousand normal matches.

“The weather report says it’s going to rain today,” Tezuka informed him. “I thought we’d go to the movies instead. There are some new ones out I think you’d enjoy.”

The idea interested Ryoma – it always did. If he were less conscientious, Tezuka could park him in a room and let him marathon all the new movies he knew to be favourites every day. To Ryoma, he would always be watching them for the first time.

Ryoma licked his lips. “But… tennis…”

“Tomorrow,” Tezuka promised. “We’ll play tomorrow.”

It would be easy to lie. Come the next morning, Ryoma wouldn’t remember his promise. But they’d play anyway. Tezuka would never allow himself the easy way out.



searisme 
Prompt: FFVII, The Fifth Act, Genesis/Cloud.


Cloud was almost certain he was being stalked.

He’d expected some degree of surveillance, coming into ShinRa as he did. Just because he hadn’t found any cameras or microphones in his room didn’t mean he was free from scrutiny – there were cameras everywhere else in the building, after all.

It didn’t feel like the Turks, though. He probably wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss if it were. It was in the details – the sensation of eyes always on the back of his neck. Extra potions and ethers in his locker in the Equipment Room. New bottles of sword polish resting on the bed when he got back from a mission. Anonymous poetry sent to his PHS.

Perhaps ‘stalking’ wasn’t the right word.

He didn’t have a fan club, right? He was only Second Class. And even then, he’d never heard about any of the fan clubs actually getting on to the SOLDIER floors.

It couldn’t be Sephiroth, either. He’d know if it were Sephiroth.

“You okay, Cloud?” Zack asked. “You’re kind of jumpy today. Jumpier than usual, I mean.”

“Yeah, fine,” he replied shortly.

“Not going to lop off the General’s head if you see him?” he teased.

“Not if he sees me first,” he muttered under his breath.

Zack looked concerned at that, so he ran a hand through his spikes, and assured his fellow SOLDIER, “It’s fine, Zack. Really. I’m going to head back to the barracks early, okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, maybe for the best.” Zack still looked spooked by his candid threats against Sephiroth, and Cloud was reminded once again that he was still dealing with an idealistic teenager, not the battle-hardened First of his memories.

Sephiroth was nowhere near the residential floors, so Cloud walked the halls with confidence. That confidence quickly eroded when he spied his door, slightly ajar.

His fingers immediately sought the reassuring grip of First Tsurugi. Someone was in his room.

Creeping closer, he strained his ears. No voices. Only one person. Average build, from what little he could see. He could take them.

In one smooth motion, he drew his sword and threw open the door. It hit the wall with a bang.

Cloud froze in the doorway. When he’d seen someone in his room, he never expected them to be wearing a red leather coat and be holding a brand new bottle of sword polish.

“Genesis?”

“Cloud.” The SOLDIER First blinked. “You’re back early.”

It was as good as an admission. “You’re the person who keeps leaving sword polish in my room?” he asked, stunned.

Genesis looked embarrassed at being caught out for all of five seconds, before drawing himself up and taking a theatrical bow. “At your service.”

“And the ethers and potions in my locker?”

“Those too,” Genesis confirmed, completely nonchalant.

Unbelievable. “And the messages to my PHS?”

“The poetry didn’t tip you off?” he asked sceptically.

“It wasn’t Loveless,” Cloud defended.

Genesis scoffed. “Contrary to popular belief, my knowledge of literature extends beyond one – however sublime – poem.” He placed the bottle of sword polish on the bedside table, then removed the abnormally shiny knife pilfered from the cafeteria and held it in his fingers like a dirty rag. “…You’re the paranoid sort, aren’t you?”

Cloud wasn’t about to use sword polish left by an unknown benefactor on his beloved First Tsurugi without testing it first. He flushed and looked away as Genesis casually tossed the knife in the bin. “Why?”

“The sword polish?” Genesis asked. “A sword with that many parts must need a lot of care. Finding good quality polish in Midgar can be difficult. I thought you might appreciate it.”

“But why the poetry?” Cloud asked, still bewildered.

“It helps me relax. Apparently it’s not so effective for you.” He snatched up Cloud’s PHS, fumbling with the keypad before tapping out the numbers. “There. You have my details. It’s not anonymous anymore.”

How did Genesis get his details?

Oh. Angeal. He kept forgetting they were friends.

“But the potions and the ethers…”

“Yours broke, after all. I didn’t see you make any move to replace them.”

It was very generous. Too generous. He’d heard that Genesis had an odd sort of mother-chocobo streak, but it shouldn’t be applied to him. “You don’t need to do all those things. You don’t need to thank me for… before.” The First might regret his kindness later, after all, when Cloud finally killed Sephiroth.

Genesis didn’t acknowledge his words, instead guiding him down by his shoulders to sit on the bed, as one might an elderly professor. “I was concerned.”

Cloud was still torn between relief that his stalker wasn’t anyone dangerous, and confusion that it was Genesis. “You shouldn’t waste your concern on someone like me,” he muttered.

“On the contrary. There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess.
Hero of the Dawn, Healer of Worlds.


Genesis took his right hand, stripped it of its glove, and cradled it between his palms, fingers sliding across the bare skin, moving on to knead the muscles in his forearm. “I’ve seen you. You’re always so tense. You never drop your guard, not even for a moment.” He took the gloves off, running his fingertips across the bare flesh. It prickled under the unfamiliar contact. Genesis moved further up, massaging his shoulders. “Always, always under tension,” he murmured. The shoulder guard came off, and was laid reverently on the bedspread.

His muscles ached, but slowly loosened under the attention. Cloud slumped against Genesis without really meaning to, forehead resting against the SOLDIER’s chest, unable to stop the low groan escaping from his throat.

“No SOLDIER can continue like that indefinitely.”

It was true. He was tired. Stressed. Afraid. Worn thin after months of hardship, facing old ghosts alone, confronting his nightmares in the flesh.

“You look like you’re about to break.”

He craved any kind of friendly touch, any kind of reassurance, the opportunity to just stop thinking for even five minutes. So when Genesis’s fingers left his wearied shoulders to cradle the sides of his face, he did nothing. And when the auburn-haired SOLDIER leaned forward and captured his mouth in a soft kiss, he quietly complied.

Slowly, the tension bled from him, as Genesis ran his talented fingers across his back, methodically soothing the tightened muscles. His sword harness was unbuckled – his shirt pulled over his head – and Genesis pressed his lips against his bared skin, worshipping his collarbone with gentle reverence.

Though no oath is shared between the lovers,” he murmured into the crook of his neck. “In their hearts they know they will meet again.

And Cloud wrapped his arms around Genesis and desperately clung on, as though the SOLDIER in his grasp was the last thing he could rely on in the whole, cruel world.



ii_crack 
Prompt: Tenipuri, Seigaku baseball AU, Tezuka/Ryoma as the battery.


Bottom of the eighth. Two outs, runners on first and second.

Tezuka considers the batter in front of him. He’s an enormous, doe-eyed brute – Echizen will have a generous strike zone to work with. They’ll need it – he’s one of Hyotei’s power hitters, with the double distinction of being on clean up duty.

He signals. Echizen nods, almost imperceptibly, but otherwise his expression remains as impassive as Tezuka’s. He has a good poker face.

The wind-up. The throw. The ball seems to float. Kabaji swings. The ball slaps into Tezuka’s mitt.

“Strike!”

Going for a big hit, then? In that case, a screwball to the top right – make him pop it.

Wind-up. Throw. The bat clips the ball. “Foul!”

Tezuka frowns. Kabaji’s getting a hold of the screwballs.

Best not to be careless. He signals. Echizen throws a slider.

“Strike!”

Two outs, but the batter doesn’t look worried. Maybe they should go for the fast ball. He eyes his pitcher, scuffing his toe on the mound, checking that the dirt’s still compact.

Echizen’s only thrown five fast balls so far in the game, but with that small body, one fast ball is worth about half a dozen screwballs in stamina. Tezuka’s been saving them in case the game went past the seventh inning – unlike Hyotei, they’re a small team, and against this batting line up they can’t afford to swap in another pitcher. The worst part is, Hyotei has realised it. They’ve been driving up the pitch count as much as possible since the fourth inning, and it’s starting to show in the flush on Echizen’s face and the sag in his shoulders between pitches.

No choice. They’ll go for another slider. Tezuka signals. Echizen frowns, but adjusts the ball in his mitt, winds up…

Tezuka’s eyes widen, and he leaps to catch it. “Ball!”

Kabaji doesn’t even blink. Echizen tugs down his cap, and stares at the ground.

Tezuka frowns. Echizen never throws wild pitches.

Momoshiro yells encouragement from the outfield and Kikumaru is telling him, ‘Don’t mind!’ from first base.

Tezuka calls Time Out. He waves the others back, and approaches the mound.

Pitchers are delicate creatures. Echizen’s never shown any sign of nerves getting to him before, but then, this is their first official game playing together, and it’s against Hyotei. Anyone would be anxious.

“Give me your hand,” Tezuka orders.

Belligerently, Echizen thrusts his hand out. Tezuka grasps it, running his thumb across the back. This small hand, calloused from years of practice to refine control, is the hand that will take them to Koshien. Echizen blushes and looks at the ground.

It’s not cold at all.

“We had agreement,” Tezuka says, tightening his grip.

“He was going to hit it,” Echizen retorted. “He’s getting used to the sliders. You should have asked for a fast ball.”

He always knew this would be a problem. Echizen has the whole team playing to his tune, even the other seniors, but Tezuka refuses to back down. “We have an entire inning left. Maybe more if it goes into overtime. You’re not thinking about the whole game.”

“Che. I can do it.”

“Don’t be stubborn,” Tezuka scolds, fingers tightening once more. Echizen winces, and he gently releases his grip. He feels like a bully, clad in his catching gear and towering over the freshman, but it’s his job to watch the pitcher, to make certain he doesn’t get overtired, to keep him calm and from making mistakes. His shoulder aches in memory. He learnt his lesson the hard way, and he refuses to be the sort of catcher who lets that happen to his pitcher. “Trust me.” When Echizen still doesn’t look convinced, he adds, “I’m going to ask for another slider. You’re going to throw a slider he can’t hit.”

Like a dream, it works. Echizen’s eyes light up at the challenge, and finally, he nods.

“Don’t be careless,” Tezuka reminds him, and heads back to the plate. He crouches down and waits for the ball that will always go exactly to where he places his mitt.

Echizen winds up. Kabaji draws back. The ball whistles across the pitch, then drops at the last moment. Kabaji hits air.

“Strike! Three outs!”

“Mada mada dane,” Echizen declares with a smirk as they head back to the dugout.

Tezuka shakes his head

Echizen is rude. Cocky. Selfish. Forgets about the rest of the team, and forgets to consider his own limits just as regularly. Refuses to give up the mound, is always late to practice, and shows no respect for his senpai.

Tezuka wouldn’t have it any other way.



ojuzu 
Prompt: Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Squalo/Yamamoto, genderswitch.


“I’m not going to lose to some flat-chested little bitch!” she’d taunted.

She’d fought for her expertise. Oh, they’d laughed to begin with – ‘how can she swing a sword with those breasts in the way’ they leered, right up until the moment she separated their heads from their bodies with a flash of cold steel.

Yamamoto had laughed in response, too – but a girlish, carefree laugh that Squalo hadn’t indulged in since she met the Ninth’s adopted son. And she made those long legs work for her, dancing around her strikes with deceptive ease, until Squalo had to concede she possessed talent. Strength, too – supple muscles hidden under the blouse of her uniform, able to parry strikes and hold locks with deceptive ease.

As the loser, Squalo is forced to admit that. She thought she’d taken care of that school already, but she’s invigorated by the knowledge that there are still sword styles to conquer – sword styles that evolve. And she’s going to make certain that Yamamoto is going to be the person to rise to the challenge.

Not for the Vongola. For her. Because as chauvinist as those mafia pigs could be, she’s as staunchly misandrist – except when it comes to Xanxus, of course, but Xanxus is different, Xanxus doesn’t see her as a woman, he sees her as a tool, a weapon, and even if she’s being used she doesn’t mind because she believes in him and knows how great he is because he’s able to look past her gender and her age and recognise her skill – and she won’t accept anyone other than Yamamoto as a rival. So lanky, tomboyish, innocent little Yamamoto with her bob of a haircut should hurry and catch up and then they can have a rematch.

She leans over, long white hair spilling over shoulders, leather pants creaking, and she knows the camera is getting a generous look down her ample cleavage but she can’t resist any opportunity to rub it in the face of that flat-chested tomboy – though she suspects that Yamamoto enjoys the sight instead of being jealous of it, but that’s okay too. “So study these carefully, and you’d better have them all memorised before the Varia return to Japan, or I’ll slice that pretty head off!”

She blows a kiss at the camera, then hits the ‘stop’ button. There. That will motivate the little minx.



umarekawareru 
Prompt: TWEWY, Joshua/Neku, of course! AU in which the Game is all about beating as many Reapers as possible at Tin Pin and racking up victory points in order to come back to life. Bonus points if it's somehow AD!verse, oh man.


“Yoohoo! Players! Over here!”

“Steroids is calling us, Neku,” Joshua said with a smirk. “Are you just going to ignore him?”

Neku eyeballed the enormous Reaper. “How many points do we have today?”

“Five wins so far.”

Joshua sounded far too happy for someone in their situation. “Let’s go for it. We’ve got to get as many points as possible.”

“Whatever you say, dear.”

Neku grumbled internally as they trooped over to ram-crotch. The massive brute grinned maniacally as they approached.

“You kids ready to slam?”

“You’re going down, Reaper scum!” Neku challenged.

Joshua tucked his hair behind his ears. “Hee hee.”

Yeah. You tell him, giggles.

“Let’s slam!”

Five pins each. If they won, they’d get the Reaper’s pins and a victory point. If they got enough victory points by the end of the week, they could come back to life. But if they lost…

If they lost, they were dead for good. That was kind of bummer. If only he’d…

No! He couldn’t give in to the emo urges! They still had a chance! Tin Pin! The light of his life! It was going to save them! All they had to do was defeat enough Reapers at the game, and they could come back to life!

“Argh!” Higaishizawa recoiled. “Impossible!”

“You lost fair and square, big guy,” Joshua gloated – even though he hadn’t lifted a finger. “Hand over the pins.”

“I won’t forget this!” The Reaper threw the pins to the ground.

And everyone told him he was wasting his time on Tin Pin.

Neku crouched to pick over the wares. “Hey, they are some really rare ones in here.”

“Dibs on the rainbow pin,” Joshua piped up.

Of freaking course.

“Do you always have to be so… you know… gay?” Neku asked flatly.

“Aww, Blue, I didn’t know you cared.”

…He was still calling him that? Seriously?

“Anyway, we’ve got to keep looking. We need more points, and there aren’t any more Reapers around here.”

“I know a place,” Joshua said, heading past Pork City. Neku followed along, for lack of any other plan, until they reached some kind of creek.

“This is…”

“Shibuya River,” Joshua provided. “It stretches 2.6 km between the Miyamasu and Tengenji Bridges, but really, it’s a river in name alone. It has no real source, and is awfully shallow. It’s been converted into a drain way now.”

“You mean a sewer.” He eyed it critically. He didn’t remember a place like this in Shibuya, but it certainly looked sinister enough to be hiding Reapers.

“Like a channel dividing this world and the next,” Joshua commented breezily as he waltzed in like he owned the place.

“The Styx of Shibuya. Creepy.”

“It’s a common misconception that Charon ferried the dead across the Styx. That was actually the river Acheron. The Styx circled Hades, the realm of the dead, nine times, forming the boundary between Earth and the Underworld. Fascinating stuff.”

“Yeah, fascinating,” he deadpanned.

Joshua just smirked at him, and headed deeper into the darkness.

They walked through the gloomy pipe for some distance. It soon became difficult to see. “Hey, Josh, I don’t know if-”

An unfamiliar voice. “Who’s there?”

No way! There really were people down here?

“Players? You hectopascals must be zetta stupid, risking your necks on a zero probability gamble!” Manic laughter. “I like your style! Let’s Slam!” He moved into the light, pins brandished like weapons.

“Wait, I know you…” The realisation dawned upon Neku like a breaking tide of horror. “You’re Dr Pin!”

The Reaper grinned. “You’ve heard of me? Not such an binomial loser, then.”

No way! Dr Pin? Dr Pin was a Reaper?!

“Haunting the sewers again? I’m surprised you’re not out challenging the Players when there’s a Game on,” Joshua remarked.

Neku whirled on his partner. “You knew? Why the hell would you bring us to challenge Dr Pin?” He was all for victory points, but wasn’t it smarter to seek our weaker Reapers and take them on instead?

“The better the challenge, the sweeter the rewards, right, Blue?”

“….I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while…Are you high?”

“Just shut up and play, dear.”

Not like he had a choice, now that they’d wandered straight into the Reaper’s den.

The Reaper cackled. “Ready to face MY brilliant creations?! I’ll crunch you inverse idiots into fractions!”

He clutched his pins and grit his teeth. This was going to be the Tin Pin match-up of his life! “If we win this, Josh, I’m killing you.”

“Neku, dear, we’re already dead.”


Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
ixtey
Jan. 18th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)
Awesome! *starts reading the ones I've missed, nevermind that exams are tomorrow* XD
agentlerain
Jan. 18th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
It's late and that usually doesn't matter for me but it's been so hot. I'M GOING TO READ THIS TOMORROW AND FLAIL AGAIN AT HOW MUCH AWESOME THERE IS IN THESE TWO EPIC POSTS. But lastly, or firstly, which story was the best fun to write? *__*
sinnatious
Jan. 20th, 2010 10:18 am (UTC)
Good question! Probably either crysaliz's xxxholic prompt, or Monarchist's Bleach/Tenipuri one. They both pretty much wrote themselves with hardly input on my part. :D

Which was your favourite? :D
agentlerain
Jan. 20th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
*__* There were quite a few crossovers that I didn't know so I didn't really read them. Hmmm, I laughed so hard for the SM one, but maybe my Superman!Tezuka prompt? *__* I squeed badly for that one! ♥

(Reminder: Bring tennis balls and wristband? and Shibuya dress!)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 18th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
cashier Tezuka + customer Ryoma = one Tezuka to go
ixtey
Jan. 19th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
IAWTC. HARD. :))
eleature
Jan. 21st, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
GAWD! The promp from FFVII, the Fifth Act with Genesis and Cloud.

I think I love you! I never even imagined a working relationship between Genesis and Cloud before I stumbled across your fic, but by golly, you make it work.

I feel all warm and mushy inside...
enzettochan
Apr. 27th, 2010 11:08 am (UTC)
Love em, just love em all. Especially the Superman!AU one since I just got down from a Superman/Batman kick.

Anyway I can bribe you to write more on that?? *hinthint*
ynyuki
May. 16th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
<3<3<3
Just find out your livejournal from ff.net.

You are amazing. I can't believe how your portrayal of the characters fits them so well in so... un-canon situations. Beautiful descriptions, amazing dept in character development and hilarious dialogues.

Your fics made my day <3
sinnatious
May. 16th, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
Re: <3<3<3
Heh, thanks! We're even, your comment made my day! :)
love_michiyuki
Aug. 19th, 2012 03:20 pm (UTC)
Wow, just wow!
I have this really stupid grin on my faec right now!
But at the same time I feel really touched by how much emotion your Genesis invests into Cloud.

Thank you so much for these awesome stories ♥
sinnatious
Aug. 20th, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
Thank you for all of the comments! ♥
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )