[Fandom] The Demon Headmaster
[Notes/Summary] Lloyd and Dinah are going to university. Their mother is worried. Harvey knows she doesn't need to be.
Harvey didn't see why he had to be the one trailing through the shops to buy cheap saucepans and oven gloves when it was Lloyd and Dinah who were going to be taking it all to university. Maybe this was why they were both spending so much time out of the house.
After forty minutes of maybe we should buy casserole dishes, you never know if they'll come in useful and but what about salt and pepper shakers? and I'm still really worried how Lloyd's going to cope with doing his own laundry, Harvey had had enough.
“Mum. Stop it. They're going to be fine. They don't need... whatever that is.” He squinted at the label. “A lemon squeezer.”
His mother put the lemon squeezer back on the shelf and gave him a rueful smile. “I know. I know I'm just worrying.”
Harvey wanted to tell her that Lloyd and Dinah had both survived things far more horrible and frightening than Freshers' Week, but of course he couldn't. So he put on his best reassuring expression and said, “Loads of people go away to uni each year and they're all fine.” Of course, it was more than likely that Lloyd and Dinah would uncover a plot to take over the world and SPLAT would have to work together from several different university campuses while still getting to lectures, because this kind of thing kept happening... but Mum wouldn't exactly find that helpful to know about.
“I know,” she said now. “And I know Lloyd will be fine.”
“Wait, it's Di you're worrying about? Di who's smarter than all the rest of us put together?”
“Well. You know.” Mum picked up the lemon squeezer again, put it back, frowned at the egg whisks instead. “She's not used to things like... university life. If she and Lloyd were going to be at the same place he could keep an eye on her, but... I mean, peer pressure is even stronger when you're away from home...”
“Mum. It's Dinah. Dinah who spends every New Year's on a twenty-four hour code-a-thon. Dinah who goes to parties with a book. Trust me, no one's going to talk her into doing something she doesn't want to do.” He wanted to add, even the Demon Headmaster, who can actually make people do whatever he wants, couldn't stop her ruining all his plans, just to make Mum see that this really wasn't anything scarier than usual. But of course he couldn't, so he said, “Now can we please stop buying them stuff they don't need and go home?” Luckily his mum laughed and tried to ruffle his hair like she'd done when he was little, so he figured that was a yes.
[Title] The Soul of a Slayer
[Fandom] Buffy the Vampire Slayer / His Dark Materials
[Notes/Summary] Xander and Willow are a little surprised by Buffy's daemon.
“So... the Slayer thing,” Xander says one afternoon when they're all sitting out on the grass trying to pretend math class won't be starting in fifteen minutes. “How's that work with daemons?”
Buffy frowns. “We still have them. We fight the undead, we don't become them. See?” Rocky is on her lap, panting, and she scratches him behind his ears. Well, she digs her fingers into the fluffy fur of his head and aims for the slightly fwoofier parts.
“No, I meant... like, had he fixed by the time you, uh, got the call?”
“I guess what he means is...” Willow was holding back a smile – “If you'd told us we were gonna meet someone called the Slayer, we'd have pictured someone with a daemon that's a little... little more...”
“Like a bear maybe,” Xander said. “Or a wolf. I mean not that there's anything wrong with your... doggy-thing –”
“Hey, he's a Pomeranian,” Buffy said, giving him a stern look over Rocky's head. “He's a real thing. There are actual dogs out there that are this... fluffy.”
“That's the thing. I hear Slayer, I don't think... fluffy. So... I mean, is he who you were or who you are now?”
“He... he fixed when I was... thirteen or something.” Buffy was trying not to say that sometimes Rocky felt like the only thing that hadn't changed; that no matter how many divorces or house moves or stakings or near-death experiences she went through, there was still a tiny fluffy ball of fur at her heels or with his head and front paws sticking out of her bag or licking her nose when she was crying. Instead she just kind of blurted out, “So. Uh. He didn't change again. That'd be a big giveaway I'd got given a destiny, right?”
“Or you had some kind of endocrinological disorder making you go through puberty backwards or something.” Willow's rat scurried over her shoulders as she leant over to look more closely at Rocky. “I think it's kinda cool. Like... you're Buffy and you're fluffy... but also you can kill things with your little finger if you want to. Hey, is Rocky super-strong too?”
I guess. I've seen him get punted into a wall and shake it off, huh, Rocky? And he's pretty fast. I reckon he could hold his own against –” She pointed at Xander's boxer dog, who whined and looked hurt.
“Hey, Sunshine has quite enough practice being beaten up, thank you. It comes with being called Sunshine. No, it comes with being a dog that looks kind of badass but is in fact called Sunshine. And is attached to me. At least no one's expecting your fluffball to do anything but look cute.”
“Right,” Willow said. “Element of surprise and all.”
“He's really good with ankles,” Buffy said.
Rocky showed his teeth and chimed in, “You get in at the right moment, the vamps go down like boom.”
“And he's travel-sized,” Willow said. “And c'mon, Xander, no one wants to hang with someone who's got a bear. Way too high-maintenance.”
[Title] Wrong Place, Wrong Time
[Fandom] Akira (manga)
[Rating] PG-13, mainly for language
[Notes/Summary] Kaisuke wishes other people's bad choices weren't coming back to bite him.
After a while it looked like Kaneda wasn't coming back, and Yamagata's aggrieved yelps at the cut on his hand trailed off as he focused on absently squeezing it and spitting on the wound.
“Maybe it’ll make a cool-ass scar,” he said.
“Great, another one?” Kaisuke didn’t exactly want to sound off at him, but the evening had gone from bar crawl to brush-with-death-via-collapsing-water-to
Yamagata didn’t seem that bothered by the grouchiness. “Reckon we should go after Kaneda?”
“Nah. We won’t catch up with him now. ‘Sides, we should keep our heads down.”
Yamagata rolled his eyes. “Cops’re so fucking dumb they’d believe anything.”
“Yeah, but not ‘the water tower just fell on our heads for no reason, honestly officer, and we definitely didn’t pitch a brick through the window, it just smashed when we looked at it’.”
“Huh. I guess.”
“And I don’t know about you but I really don’t wanna get hauled off to court. I mean juvie’s bad enough but they said, they’ll try us as adults if we piss them off enough.”
“When’d they say that?”
“This morning. When the principal was yelling at us. You weren’t listening.”
“Point is –” Kaisuke hugged his knees to his chest; it was getting cold in the alleyway – “Going to adult jail’d suck balls. I mean, best-case scenario I’d be getting pounded on. Worst-case I’d probably get murdered by some crazy guy with a knife made out of a toothbrush.”
He was trying to be flippant but the thought of it was making him even colder. Sure, you learnt to duck and cover and fight dirty when you were not only a delinquent but a shorter-than-average one. But jail’d start to grind you down after a while, right? Not just everyone beating on you, but it’d be like living at school with no opportunity to smuggle in beer or skive if you thought you could get away with it. Just… petty shit, and walls everywhere, and people getting off on power trips.
And the point was they hadn’t even been doing anything this time. It was Kaneda who’d made the moves on that girl and pissed off her boyfriend. It was Kaneda who’d spotted the weird wrinkly kid – and it was the kid who’d been wandering around a motorway at Ground Zero getting himself almost run over. Kaisuke wasn’t the one who’d made bad choices here.
“Chill out,” Yamagata said, shoving him a bit. “They’re not gonna pin it on us. I mean if they did, they’d have to have evidence, and then there’d be proof it really did just all happen on its own. And… so what if we do get busted for it? Big fucking deal. We’re not wusses, we can handle shit, right?”
He shifted position, sending an empty beer bottle rolling across the ground. “And even if people did try to beat on you ‘cause you’re short, I’d bust their chops for ‘em. So’d Kaneda and the others.”
Mostly when Yamagata brought up some complicated reasoning like this, Kaisuke’d point out the obvious holes, because that was just kind of how they were. He was the short smart one and Yamagata was the tall dumb one who was nevertheless good at coordinating anything involving violence on motorbikes. Still, right now, someone who was tall and dumb and believed in the power of violence was kind of good to have around, seeing as it was really cold now and he thought he could hear rats further down in the dark and they had to stay put until all the sirens died down.
“Right,” he said, and managed a smile. “Thanks."
[Title] Crying in the Dark
[Fandom] The Hunger Games
[Notes/Summary] Post-canon. Katniss tries to work out what being a mother means to her.
She doesn’t mind being woken up. She’s used to being awake in the small hours, whether because of nightmares or hunger or being too scared to fall asleep. She is sitting on the edge of the bed and the baby is warm – surprisingly warm, hot skin against her – snuffling slightly as she feeds. Peeta is asleep. He woke up when they heard the first cry, mumbled something like do you need me, but she whispered, No, and it was true.
This is something that feels real. Her and Peeta and a child in the dark. The child is hungry, and Katniss is giving her food. That’s something she’s used to, as well. And when a baby cries you can usually fix it. A baby is usually crying for a good reason. Sometimes they’re not – sometimes they’re crying for no reason and they won’t stop – but Katniss does that enough herself that she can hardly blame someone else for doing it. She sets her teeth and walks up and down and up and down trying to soothe the sobs, trying to fix whatever it is. It’s tiring and the sound shreds on her nerves and it feels like it lasts for hours but she’s good at putting up with things.
(Peeta called her on it. He told her that she didn’t need always to be the one who never gave up, and to give their daughter to him and go and have a break and something to eat. She reminded him that he hated hearing the crying and he said that didn't mean he didn't get to listen and she needed to stop trying to prove something. He was right but she still found herself sobbing while she ate some bread and cheese because she'd thought she was done with needing people.)
She isn’t so good with children once they start talking. She feels stupid trying to talk down to her son, or pretending she’s interested in singing the same song to him for the fifteenth time. Peeta is better at it. Peeta is good at being likeable.
Prim was good at being likeable.
I do love him, she said to Peeta. I do. I do. I’m so scared something will – I don’t know how to play, is all, you know I’m terrible at faking it –
Make sure you tell him, Peeta said.
Katniss prefers showing.
But she took her son walking in the woods, and he stared in fascination and the look in his eyes was the same as hers.