Scent. a Haikyuu!! fanfiction pt.23
Scent. a Haikyuu!! fanfiction pt.23
Art by @a-zebra-was-here on deviantart
I drew back for a second and eyed the man sitting on my treatment table.
“Are you actually complaining right now?”, I asked in a tone that might’ve sounded nice to an outsider, the guy twitched and shook his head.
“I told you not to go crazy on the extra practice sessions”, my gloved hands prodded at his shoulder blade, “does that…
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Just wanted to announce that I finally broke back into piaj yesterday and wrote 2.4k woot 🎉🎉🎉
Mind you it's not ch23, it's like. Section 9 or something. But still!!
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unfortunately, chapter 22 will not be out this weekend. since it is the last important chapter and it’s kind of...complicated, I’m taking my time with it to make sure its at least somewhat good.
definitely next week though...
Unless I split it? Should I split it? Hold on, I gotta think for what is more narratively satisfying.
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From: Chapter 23: "The Sixth Key", Season 2
By: Alan Huynh
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so I googled “how to pronounced llewellyn” and the results that came up said that it was a welsh name (also apparently it’s not that hard and almost pronounced how it’s spelled), but I thought the Kaelish were based after the Irish? Are the Kaelish supposed to be a combination of all the celtic cultures?
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A story isn’t a story without birds and other animals. heehee
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From: Chapter 23: "The Sixth Key", Season 2
By: Alan Huynh
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Togashi’s Comments from the Table of Contents (1990-1994)
WSJ #14 to WSJ #23 (1994)
Volume 18: Chapters 159 to 167
ᐊ Volume 17: Chapters 149 to 158 Volume 19: Chapters 168 to 175 ᐅ
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°14 (March 21, 1994)
★ Chapter 159. "How They Spent Their Year: Hiei, Part 1" (それぞれの一年 飛影 前編 の巻 , Sorezore no Ichi-nen: Hiei - Zenpen)
Table of Contents:
"Thank you for the many Valentine's gifts. I can't send gifts in return, but I'm grateful." - Yoshihiro
T/N: "Okaeshi" (return gift) is a gift-giving custom in Japan. It’s almost an obligation for having received a gift from someone to give an okaeshi, a present in return, to express your gratitude. In Japan, on Valentine’s Day, women give chocolates to men and a month later, on March 14th, the White Day, all the men who received presents must return the favor.
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°15 (March 28, 1994)
★ Chapter 160. "How They Spent Their Year: Hiei, Part 2" (それぞれの一年 飛影 後編 の巻 , Sorezore no Ichi-nen: Hiei - Kōhen)
Table of Contents:
"Late at night, there were only me and a black person on the platform of a certain station. I felt like I went on an overseas trip for about 5 minutes." - Yoshihiro
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°16 (April 4, 1994)
★ Chapter 161. "How They Spent Their Year: Kurama, Part 1" (それぞれの一年 蔵馬 前編 の巻 , Sorezore no Ichi-nen: Kurama - Zenpen)
Table of Contents:
"In these days of approaching spring, I feel sleepy and drowsy every day, both when I'm working and when I'm not......" - Yoshihiro
🇯🇵 春が近づいている今日この頃、仕事している時も 、 それ以外の日も 、 眠い眠い毎日が...... 〈義博〉
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°17 (April 11, 1994)
★ Chapter 162. "How They Spent Their Year: Kurama, Part 2" (それぞれの一年 蔵馬 後編 の巻 , Sorezore no Ichi-nen: Kurama - Kōhen)
Table of Contents:
"The first volume of the previous serialized work "Ten de Shōwaru Cupid" has been re-released by Home..." - Yoshihiro
🇯🇵 前連載作 『 てんで性悪キューピッド 』 第①巻がホーム社より、再び発売されています…。〈義博〉
T/N: "Home" is a subsidiary company of Shueisha. "Ten de Shouwaru Cupid" is Yoshihiro Togashi's serial debut work, serialized in Weekly Shounen Jump from its 32nd issue in 1989 to its 13th issue in 1990. The chapters were collected into four tankoubon volumes between January and November 1990. A wideban re-release was published in three volumes from March to May in 1994 by Home Company. A bunkoban version was also published in two volumes on November 15, 2002.
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°18 (April 18, 1994)
★ Chapter 163. "Raizen's Last Wishes" (雷禅の遺言 の巻 , Raizen no Yuigon)
Table of Contents:
"Back at home for the first time in three weeks. Gah...I rented and didn't return four videotapes. 24,000 yen in overdue fees........." - Yoshihiro
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°19 (April 25, 1994)
*Not related to YYH, I just wanna say that a new serialization of Nobuhiro Watsuki started from this issue: "Rurouni Kenshin". I am also a fan!*
★ Chapter 164. "Yusuke's Gift" (幽助の土産 の巻, Yūsuke no miyage)
Table of Contents:
"On Friday, March 25th, 1994 at 9 p.m., I thought: Mizuno, listen up, don't talk, alright?" - Yoshihiro
🇯🇵 94年3月25日金曜午後９時にオレが思ったこと。水野、いいからお前は、語るんじゃねェ。 〈義博〉
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°20 (May 2, 1994)
★ Chapter 165. "Visitors" (来訪者たち の巻, Raihō-sha-tachi)
Table of Contents:
"It's my nature to deliberately see detestable things. Therefore, I will definitely fight with Shinji in "Itadaki Street 2"." - Yoshihiro
🇯🇵 大嫌いなものはあえて見るという性格です。ゆえに“いたスト2”では必ずしんじと戦います。 〈義博〉
T/N: Itadaki Street 2 (Fortune Street 2) was published by Enix in February 1994 for the Super Famicom. It was the first game in the series to introduce elements from the Dragon Quest series. Shinji is one of the playable characters.
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°21・22 (May 9・16 , 1994)
★ Chapter 166. "Demon Plane Unification Tournament" (魔界統一トーナメント の巻, Makai Touitsu Tōnamento)
Table of Contents:
"I counted how many steps I walked a day. April 5th, 32 steps. I didn't leave the room except for the toilet and bath." - Yoshihiro
🇯🇵 1日何歩ぐらい歩くか数えてみた。4月5日 、32歩。トイレと風呂以外は部屋を出ず・・・ 。 〈義博〉
➤ Weekly Shounen Jump N°23 (May 23, 1994)
★ Chapter 167. "Tournament Prelims" (トーナメント予選, Tōnamento Yosen)
Table of Contents:
"I don't have any plans at the moment for the Golden Week. One thing I do know is how harsh my physical condition will be after the GW." - Yoshihiro
*On September 2, 1994, Volume 18 (Chapters 159 to 167) was published!*
▼ Togashi's comment from the dust jacket of volume 18. Translation by VIZ Media.
ᐊ Volume 17: Chapters 149 to 158 Volume 19: Chapters 168 to 175 ᐅ
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Pitts deserves more love 🥺❤ the real MVP
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chapter twenty-three: flight or fight
“Every couple that loves each other very much will fight at some point.”
-my dad about 14 years ago
Sam kept the sheet of rice paper close to her as Cliff walked her across the street. Even with the closeness to the San Francisco Bay, she believed it would snow at any given moment from the heavy dark blanket of thick clouds over them; meanwhile, she held onto his hand with her free one. Every so often, she took a glimpse down at the paper and the rose scrawled in soft pencil. Even as a young guitarist, he could draw quite well, as if he had been doing it for years.
She thought about the recent drawings she had made, namely the ones she made for her first tier drawing class, and she struggled with shading with the graphite pencils. Alex filled it in even with a bit of the graphite and he was able to resemble to a genuine rose, complete with those pointed petals and a pair of fine little leaves. His penmanship was quite neat but still scratchy with the rush of an autograph.
“You with me?” Cliff called back to her as they reached the street corner. Sam lifted her head in time for the curb right before them, and they stood side by side. She kept the paper next to her chest. She wondered why Alex didn't mention the fan club given she had sent in those papers two months before and thus they could've had enough time to give her something as a member of their new club, but then again, he was in a hurry and he needed to be home.
No sooner had that thought crossed her mind when she recognized Alex himself right across the street, and with the yarmulke still upon his head as well. He stood at the curb as if he awaited a ride from someone, or the city bus back to his place. Cliff saw him as well, and even though they had no ride themselves, he waved at him to grab his attention.
“Hey, Alex!” he called after him, and his voice echoed over the pavement. “—Alex!”
But Alex kept on going towards the other side of the street, way out of earshot. He walked at a brisk pace past a small blue car parked at the curb. A little beige car rolled towards him the stoplight across the corner, and he almost broke into a run towards it. He stuck his guitar case into the back seat first and then he slipped into the actual seat itself.
“He probably didn't hear you,” she assured Cliff, and she tucked the rice paper into her coat pocket. As long as she didn't forget it was there. “Anyways, where are you taking me?”
The car up ahead drove way and Cliff turned his attention to her.
“Right over here,” he pointed up the block. “Alex running up there brought my attention to this restaurant here. I was willing to call them from a payphone but that little nondescript car right there at the curb beat me to it, though.”
He held onto the crown of his hat as he led her into the cozy restaurant. She spotted an elderly couple and a young woman nestled in a booth on the far side of the room: the woman resembled to Cliff from the look in her eyes. She pointed them out once they made their way over to them.
The bespectacled white haired man wrapped in a heavy sweater then stood to his feet and turned around, and showed Cliff a big beaming smile.
“Hey, Dad,” he greeted Ray Burton, who put his arms around Cliff.
“What a surprise!” he declared as part of his own greeting.
“I recognized Con's car at the curb,” Cliff explained as he stood back a bit, “and I wanted to come on in and show you what I brought.”
He turned his attention to Sam, and Ray gasped at the sight of her.
“Is this that little girl you were telling me and your mother about?” he asked his son in a broken voice.
“Darling Samantha from New York,” Cliff introduced her, and Sam held out her hand for him. “The art student who already has a bit of a reputation with us, Anthrax, and also Stormtroopers.” Ray put his hands on either side and then he brought her hand to his lips for a little kiss.
“A friend of Cliff's is a friend of ours,” he told her with a little twinkle in his eye. He then gestured for the two kids to join them at the table in the corner.
Connie had a lovely heart shaped face and her dark hair sat flat upon her head much like with her brother. She was a bass player herself but she hadn't the same confidence as him.
“I hope you can do something with it, though,” Sam assured her.
“Cliff is the true artist,” she replied with a shrug of her shoulders. “There's something empowering about being his eyes and ears, though.”
Jan whispered something into Cliff's ear right then and he nodded in response, complete with a lopsided little smile on his face.
“Eyes and ears but not the whole dead body, though?” Sam joked as she held her water glass close to her lips.
“Not the whole dead body, exactly!”
“If the dead body starts playing an instrument, I'll be impressed,” Cliff retorted as he took a sip of his black tea.
“Like bass?” That brought a laugh out of Ray and Jan both. But Connie gasped and Cliff almost gagged on his cup of tea. Sam paused for a second. It was something meant to be innocuous but she had no idea that would bring the whole conversation to a grinding halt around her. She brought her hands to her mouth and she could feel her face growing hot.
“I'm so sorry, I didn't mean—”
But then Connie burst out laughing, albeit a nervous laugh. Ray reached across the table so as to touch her hand and Jan shook her head.
“Oh, no, it's okay, sweet heart,” she assured her. “We've learned to laugh at pain! It's brought us a world of good for the better part of ten years now.”
But every so often she looked over at Cliff, who showed her a look of disdain whenever he got the chance. And she knew she had to pay for that joke as it came in the form of a glass of sparkling apple cider spilled onto her jacket pocket. Frantic, she brushed off the cider with her napkin as she remembered that rice paper was inside of that pocket.
She bowed into the ladies' room to wash it off all the way with paper towels and a bit of cold water. She wadded the paper towel in her fist and then she took the paper out of her pocket and she held it up to the pale bathroom lights. Not a single blemish one, but the graphite on Alex's name began to fade, perhaps from being in her pocket for so long.
She had to better protect it as she tucked it away in her pocket for a little while longer.
Cliff was silent for the rest of the evening and their dinner with his parents and his sister. But it looked as though he had let it go given he never mentioned that joke one time, and in fact he offered to buy Sam a plate of cake for them to split after dinner. Ray and Jan both insisted on slices of cake for each of the three kids. Connie vowed to find something for Sam if not for Christmas then her birthday.
“Oh, shit, that's coming up here, isn't it?” Cliff asked her right then.
“My birthday? Yeah. The twenty first. I'm turning twenty one believe it or not.”
“Good thing we got the sparkling cider then!” Ray chuckled with a raise of his crystal glass.
By seven thirty, the Burtons let Sam and Cliff loose back on the street, where they spotted Ruben and Esmé's car posted by the venue. They flashed their head lights of them and they hurried up the street together. Sam had completely forgotten about the joke as they returned home to Reno: they had had dinner already but Esmé wanted them to at least try the new cake they had brought home with them from San Francisco.
Indeed, it would be a full ten days of treats and all manner of food courtesy of the parents, but Sam didn't mind in the least. She was on vacation with her boyfriend and in what better place than the area she grew up in: if she returned home with a few extra pounds, it was all worth it.
The day after Christmas, she showed him her old school near the north side of town. They sat inside of the back seat of the car as she pointed out all those old buildings and the old courtyard in the center of it all.
“The onslaught of memories right now,” Esmé remarked at one point.
“There's just so many,” Sam agreed with her as they reached the far corner outside of the campus. “Almost too many memories to think about!”
A couple of days later, the four of them made another day trip over the mountains to the Bay Area, but that time it was for the first of Metallica's shows before the new year. Sam noticed the waist of her jeans and the bottom of her long sleeved shirt both fitting her a little bit more snugly than before, but at the rest stop in the mountains, she walked along the wet pavement towards Cliff with a bit of a sashay to her step, and he returned the favor with a wink and a mischievous little smile.
She also noticed Lars and Kirk both looking at her more than usual as well before the show after he had whisked the four of them backstage. Ruben made a joke about how they had the best seats in the house but it was confirmed. Given the whole set stood wide open under a series of lights, they found they sat right next to the stage with a full view of James' long blond hair as it sprawled down his shoulders; of Kirk and his long black curls in the vein of the tentacles of an octopus; of Lars and his wild jerky movements all around his drum kit; and of Cliff himself as he towered on one side of the stage, complete with those big bell bottoms over his boots. They plowed forth with the vast wall of noise, but Sam noticed something different about them.
Maybe it was the size of the stage, or maybe it was the lack of glances to each other, but they seemed a little more distant from each other in comparison to Legacy, Anthrax, and the Cherry Suicides.
She began to wonder if everything Cliff had told her about him and Lars started to ring true as he hardly looked over at the big drum kit for the entire show.
They only played a small set, but it was enough to for her to start thinking about their tour with Anthrax in a few months. The stagehands waved him off and he caught up with Sam and her parents right there. The four of them ducked out to the backstage area and ultimately, the back door.
“Cliff, that was incredible!” Esmé declared over the roar of the crowd, but then again, it might have been the leftover whirring from all the noise within Sam's ears that made her think the crowd was still going.
“I definitely wanna see you guys again,” Ruben agreed as he pushed open the door.
“Wait, don't you all wanna come along backstage and meet everybody?” Cliff asked them.
“That's so lovely of you, but it looked like it was gonna snow, though,” Esmé replied.
“Yeah, I'm sure you know how that road gets when it snows,” Ruben added, and he held the door ajar enough to let in a sliver of a street light to the otherwise dark spot. “I mean, we've got chains once we get back into Nevada—”
“Oh, absolutely! I'll just tell the three of them that we're going, though.” Cliff then hurried back to the dressing room to do just that and also to fetch his hat. Meanwhile, Ruben held the door for Esmé and Sam. The snow was upon them as they piled into the car there at the curb together: Sam shivered and rubbed her arms, even though she had on her jacket. That piece of rice paper still in her pocket.
“Yeah, we better get a move on,” Ruben declared as he took a glimpse in the side mirror. “Is that him?”
“If he's got a hat on, I would think so,” Sam told him. The door next to her swung open and Cliff slid into the back seat with that hat upon his head. Without another word, they drove away from there and headed on over the freeway. A four drive and the clouds over them menaced with that orange glow of snow.
“We're doing another show on New Year's Eve,” he told them at one point. “But Sam's leaving tomorrow, though.”
“Yeah, I am,” she replied as she huddled closer to him there in the back seat.
The four of them were silent for a little while longer, at least until they reached the top of the mountain summit and the snow still hadn't begun yet. Ruben said something and Esmé chuckled at it. Cliff then turned his attention back to Sam.
“Stay with me,” he begged her in a hushed voice. “Please stay with me.”
“But my life is in New York!” she said: it was a bit difficult given her ears still whirred from the noise of the show and whirred even more from the noise of the road, but she managed to keep her voice down low.
“But I want you with me, though,” he insisted. “Please. Sam, please, stay with me.”
“You'll have to come to New York then,” she pointed out.
“I don't really want to, though—as much as I love it over there and as close as it is to me.”
“But you can do it, though,” she insisted. “You can move across country.”
“I'd think it's hard, though,” he resisted.
“It is, like it take a bit of adjusting, but it also isn't, though. You get acquainted with the weather changes and the three hour time difference pretty quick if you let it.”
“But I can't really leave the Bay Area, though. This is my home, and you hailing from California, it'd be like a home coming of sorts.”
“Going to New York was a home coming of sorts,” she continued, stubborn.
“Well, I don't know if I can keep doing this long distance thing,” he confessed.
“Why?” She frowned at that.
“Because it's long distance,” he explained. “I want to be closer to you.”
“We can work it out, though,” she consoled him.
“But how can we work it out is what I'm asking. Neither of us are willing to leave our homes for each other. I think that's fucked up.”
“It is fucked up. But it's the truth about the both of us, though.”
They both fell back into silence as Ruben and Esmé chatted about something in the front seat before them. Her parents had lasted that long and yet they still spoke to one another as if they were the only best friends they ever needed in life. They were the only best friends they ever needed in life.
She glanced over at Cliff and she had no idea what she was doing wrong right then.
It was a four hour drive but they managed to make it back home to Reno in time before the next snowstorm from the lake slammed into the area. A black sky and a gust of snow riddled wind later, and Sam and Cliff returned to her old bedroom for one last night before she returned home to New York City alone. Sam set down her purse and she draped her coat over the back of the chair. She began changing her clothes when Cliff took a seat on his side of the bed. It was going to be a long distance thing and she had no idea if it would last given the entirety of the distance. She hesitated for a second and she watched him take off his boots and his bell bottoms.
“I also don't know how our parents would react to one of us having a spouse from either coast, either,” he confessed in order to break the silence.
“What do you mean? I thought your parents liked me.”
“They do. It's just—” He hesitated as she slipped on her pajama bottoms.
“I don't know if they like your sense of humor, though,” he replied in a small voice.
“What—What you still thinking about that?” she demanded.
“Yes,” he answered, nonchalant.
“I was just making a joke, though!” she declared. “I even apologized to your dad and he told me it was fine. Connie even took it in stride!”
“Yeah, it might be fine by my parents and my sister, but that doesn't mean I'm fine with it.”
“Cliff, I was trying to have a laugh at that!” she said, heated. “I figure that, since it's winter time, it's a good time to laugh at things that make you feel otherwise somber. And your family is willing to remember Scott in a fond light, too. You're making a huge deal out of something that can probably help you.”
“Yeah, but sometimes it can be in poor taste, though,” he pointed out. “And hey, at least I didn't let my dark sense of humor out of the bag at the worst possible time over Christmas dinner.”
“Oh, my god, will you let that go already?” She was scorn. “I apologized to Connie and she told me it was funny. But I didn't know it would hit a nerve like this.”
“Oh, come on, you know how difficult it is for us to talk about Scott's death,” he retorted.
“No, I didn't?” She had to stifle a chuckle at the sound of that. “Also—us? It's just you, Cliff!”
“And it's not funny!” he exclaimed.
“I wasn't laughing right then? Hey, you know what? I'm not the one who laughed like a maniac when I got that wine on my blouse and I was freaking out it soaked through my coat, onto that little piece of rice paper that Alex gave me.”
“Yeah, but I'm not the one who pulled that kind of petty tasteless shit in front of your parents, though, Samantha,” he jeered. “Petty, tasteless shit when the wound is still raw.”
“Yeah, well, I'm not the one who lied about going on tour with Anthrax, Cliff!” she spat, and then she stopped herself. That took him aback at first, and then he frowned at that.
“Wait, how'd you know they were coming with us?” he demanded.
“Joey told me,” she blurted out.
“Joey told you? When did he tell you?”
“Last month. We had coffee together and he told me that you guys were going on tour with them. What I want to know is why didn't you tell me you were going tour with them?”
“Because we had no idea if they actually were, Sam!” he insisted. “And that shit's confidential, too, I'm sure you know about that.”
“Well, of course but—”
“But you still lied to me about it, though,” she continued on. “You could've at least told me about it and then maybe I could work something out with my classes.”
Cliff kept the frown firmly plastered across the face, and he tilted his head to the side a bit.
“Wait a minute,” he started in a low voice. “Are you seeing Joey behind my back?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” she argued.
“You met up with Joey for a cup of coffee,” he recalled, “are you seeing him behind my back?”
“No! Why would I do that?”
“Because he's a New Yorker! That's why you don't want to leave New York, isn't it?”
“No—Cliff, what the hell, no!” she stammered. “I told you clearly that I'm not leaving New York because I have school and I went there for a reason. It has nothing to do with you or Joey. And now, let me ask you something.”
“Surprise me,” he commanded with his arms folded across his chest.
“It's perfectly okay for you to lie to me but not for me to do it to you, too?” she demanded in a single breath and with her hands pressed onto her hips. Cliff nibbled on his bottom lip and he watched her with a stern look on his face. She had him right there.
“It's okay for you to lie to me and slack away, but it's not okay for me to do it back to you?” she repeated.
He never replied. Without another word, she rolled her eyes and she crawled into bed next to him. She reached up and switched off the lamp on the nightstand, and the room engulfed with tense darkness.
“Your lies are not comparable to mine,” he pointed out in a low voice. Sam rolled over onto her back and she glared up at his dark silhouette, still upright before the headboard of the bed.
“When have I ever lied to you?” she demanded to him.
“No, I'm not talking about you,” he clarified, “talking about my own lies.”
“What the hell does that even mean? When have you lied to me about something so serious that it can compromise our relationship? Besides the fact that you don't trust me?”
“It means—it means—” He could hardly speak, and Sam rolled her eyes again and she turned back onto her side. She sighed through her nose and closed her eyes. She didn't hear Cliff's answer and she didn't care, either.
She especially didn't move a muscle when he touched her hip and whispered, “you're getting soft. I like it.” right into her ear.
She fell asleep and she awoke the next morning ready for the return to New York.
She didn't even give Cliff a good morning kiss or anything of that nature upon her waking. Ruben offered to drive Cliff back home to the Bay Area given the snow had melted away enough to make that drive solo; Sam took to the back seat with her arms folded across her chest. Every so often, Ruben peered into the rear view mirror and he knitted his eyebrows at her. When they reached the airport and climbed out the cold crisp snowy morning, he turned to her with a concerned look on his face.
“Is everything okay?” he asked her in a low voice.
“We got in a big fight last night,” she replied right into his face. “He's lied to me about some things and I don't know if he trusts me. Like he basically admitted to me that he doesn't trust me.”
“Well, honey—every relationship has its speed bumps from time to time,” Ruben explained, “like your mom and I have had our share of arguments when we first got together. But after a while, you learn from each other's mistakes. I can hope that Cliff learns his lesson and he can learn to give you what you want. My best advice is to convince him to trust you. Keep showing yourself to him. Show him how you feel when you get the chance.”
Sam swallowed and then she nodded her head in response to that. Ruben put his arms around her and she lay her head against his chest for a minute, but it felt like a blink of an eye. They followed Cliff into the airport, towards her gate near the far end of the shiny white corridor. Ruben gave her one last embrace before he let her go back home to New York.
She picked up her things and she strode past Cliff towards the gate.
“Sam!” he called after her, and she turned to him with a stone cold expression on her face.
“Will you at least come back here to visit before we head out on tour with Anthrax?” he asked her.
“I'll come back when I feel like it,” she scoffed at him as Ruben's words remained firmly in mind, and she turned away from him.
“Will you come to any of the shows this spring?” he called after her. She stopped right in her tracks. She had promised Joey that she would for them at the Northeastern dates, but after the night before, she had no idea if she was willing to do it for Metallica.
“I don't know. We'll see.” Without another word, and without a kiss goodbye, Sam wheeled around and she headed on down the gateway to the plane, which at that moment felt as though it awaited her. She took her seat next to the window, once more behind first class. She folded her arms across her chest and sighed through her nose.
The first flurries of snow floated down from the gray sky overhead. Cliff was still in there and although she knew he couldn't see her, she couldn't help but feel that he could see her. Sam sighed through her nose as she kept on thinking about what her father told her. He needed to know the truth. He deserved the truth.
The one question that hung over her head was could she even tell him the truth once she landed back in New York.
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i survived another year
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ok so whenever i remember the fact that yatora literally thought yotasuke was mori i feel like i need to lie down for a minute, like that part will kill me when its animated
OMG YEAH I WAS FREAKING OUT
is he ever going to see her again? i miss them :(
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Wind and Shadow, Part Three
Author’s note: Hello, fans and critics! Just a couple of things I should mention before I leave you to this next chapter. First, this chapter is dedicated to my friend, fellow Buddhist, and beta reader, Walter, on whom Valdr is based; you always had a thing for elves, my friend.
Second, I’m moving in two weeks! I don’t think this will cause any disruption to my posting schedule, but I thought I should let you all know. On the off-chance I don’t have the next chapter up on Monday, come hell or high water, I’ll have it up on Tuesday. Take care, and enjoy!
The remaining flight passed uneventfully. Though the space beneath Nebulosa’s plumage was warm, Meline felt the air cool and thin. Selva fell quiet, though if either Ella or Meline spoke, she replied. When Meline touched her cheek or her hand, they were still warm.
“Silvercloud is right ahead,” Nebulosa eventually called. Despite herself, Meline stood. The world below was silver and black, the air stabbing cold. Ahead was a low-floating cloud. As they came closer, its fluff resolved into hills, a twisting spire into a tower. It shone almost white in the moon and starlight.
“Please remain seated with your line taut behind you during landing.” Nebulosa swept her wings wide, and descended on Silvercloud in a smooth arc. Closer, Meline could see lights coming from one of the hills and the tower before she sat. A few powerful backflaps, then one muted swish of powerful wings, and Meline lurched as Nebulosa touched down.
“Please disconnect your harness and leave your cord in a fully untied situation,” Nebulosa called back, turning her head.
“Right. Thank you.” Meline was glad her stomach could sit still again.
“Thank you, Nebulosa,” Ella said.
“Thanks!” Selva struggled with her knot as Meline and Ella undid their harnesses.
“Remember to use the big feathers,” Ella said once they’d freed Selva and were climbing down.
Meline felt Ella’s strong arms about her waist as she descended the last few inches. When she was down, she gave Ella a peck on the cheek.
It’d been a long time since she’d stepped on a cloud. The feeling was…
“It’s so solid!” Selva said. “But fluffy?” She grabbed a bit of cloud. “And cold!”
“We’re very high up,” Ella said, “even though this is quite low for a cloud. The air gets colder and thinner the higher up you go.”
“And it’s solid because Valdr has lived here for…” Meline looked to Ella, who flashed ten fingers twice, and then five, “twenty-five thousand years.”
“I’ll just be off to the owlery,” Nebulosa said, having finished straightening herself up. “Come find me when you need to be off.” And she flapped away to the tower.
“Come on,” Ella said, gesturing to the hall. Selva took Meline’s hand. Meline looked down; suddenly the eyes under the cap looked solemn. Meline gave Selva’s hand a squeeze.
From the rolling field where they landed it was a short walk to Valdr’s hall, cut into the side of a hill. They hit on a path partway, and followed it to the door, which was dark cloud—nimbostratus? Meline’s cousin Erald lived on a cloud back in Fey, he’d probably know—with a silvery pull-cord to the left. Ella reached up and pulled.
One bell rang. Then two, then four, until a huge ringing of bells announced their arrival in a thousand voices. They fell silent the instant the doorknob turned.
A she-elf, who must be Dian, opened the door. Her silver hair rippled as if in a wind, and a few lines were lovingly carved into her fine features. Though under average height for an elf, she was easily two heads taller than Ella. Her true age showed in her eyes; almost black, but with a glittering wisdom the years had polished. Her mantle was simple, but well-made.
“Hello, Ella!” she said, spreading her arms. Her hug looked feather-soft. She turned her head as they parted. “This must be Meline,” she nodded as Meline bowed, “and…” she must’ve caught the flicker of movement as Selva zipped behind Meline. She crouched down. “… you must be Selva.”
Selva peeked from behind Meline’s cloak. “Go on.” Meline set a gentle hand on the back of Selva’s head. She took a step forward.
“‘lo.” She dipped into what was probably a curtsy, but her voluminous cloak made it look like her knees buckled for an instant.
Dian smiled, and inclined her head. “Hello, my dear.” She looked up at Ella. “Valdr is getting a few things ready. Won’t you come inside?”
“Thank you,” Ella said. She stood aside, letting Meline follow behind Dian. Meline felt Selva’s hand slip from hers as she switched to Ella.
“You can leave your things here,” Dian said, indicating the bronze hooks fixed to the wall. Meline was warm by the time she had her cloak and mantle off, as well as her leg-warmers and boots.
“Your scarf, Selva?” Meline, about to follow Dian down the passage, turned about. Ella had a hand on Selva’s two, which were affixed to her scarf like glue. Selva shook her head, burying it deeper in the thick fabric. “I thought you said it was scratchy.” Selva just buried her face deeper.
Meline stepped forward, and touched Ella’s shoulder. She knelt down. “Selva?” An eye peeked out. “You can take your scarf off when you’re ready. Just give it to me when you do, alright?” A small nod.
“But—” Meline gave Ella a slight shake of her head, and squeezed her shoulder. Ella sighed, gave a half-exasperated smile, and brushed Selva’s hair before she stood. Selva took her hand again.
“In case Valdr forgets,” Dian said as she led them down a wide corridor, “I’d like to thank you for the herbs. His heart is doing much better now.”
Meline shook her head. “My pleasure. He’s a friend of Ella’s, after all.”
Dian’s eyebrow flicked up. “So how long has it been?”
“We’ve been together sixteen years.” Meline felt herself glow.
“Ah, young love,” Dian led them down a fork to the left. “Valdr and I met some fifty thousand years ago.”
It put things in perspective when a love lasted longer than you would probably live. “Were people even people yet?”
They came to a doorway covered by a sheet of embroidered deep-black. Dian put one hand to her chin as she held the curtain aside. “I… don’t know. We were still in Fey then. By the time we crossed over, people were very much people.” She gestured for them to enter. “I’ll be back shortly with a bite to eat. Valdr should be here momentarily, I know he heard the doorbell.” And she left them alone.
Three lanterns hung over a low wooden table, reddening the walls, and bookshelves. A fire crackled in the hearth on the opposite wall. The pale embroidery of the rug flickered against the velvet it was stitched into.
Selva hardly glanced at the books. She walked to the table and sat on the side closest to the fire, trying to make herself as small as possible. Meline, after a brief look at the bookshelves, sat beside her. Now they were here, Meline was less certain this was a good idea.
A faint smile on her face, Ella came and sat on Selva’s opposite side. “Did you know,” she said, leaning forward, “that using words of power is like removing the cloth to see the table underneath?”
Selva looked back and forth between the two of them, looking as baffled as Meline felt. “What?”
“The difference is when I name a thing,” Ella spoke a word of power, and the ring on her right index finger untwisted itself, forming a fairy key, “I can choose its shape.”
“What are you getting at, dear?” Meline said, absently running a hand through Selva’s hair.
Ella unspoke the word, and the key became a ring again. “Much of the time, saying you’re scared gives shape to the thing you’re scared of. However frightening that shape might be, a shapeless fear is worse. Name your fear, look it in the face, and you can conquer it.”
Meline quirked an eyebrow. “Also,” she stopped stroking, though her hand stayed on Selva’s shoulder, “if you can name a fear, you can talk about it with someone, and they can help you conquer it.”
Selva looked back and forth between them. She hunkered down lower. Meline shared a look with Ella that meant “maybe that was too much.”
Selva cleared her throat. “I’m—”
There was a scratch at the curtain. “Hello? May I come in?”
Meline almost laughed; Valdr—it could only be him—sounded exactly the way he had in her head.
“Of course,” Ella said, tapping the table with a knuckle. “This is your hall, Valdr.”
“Thought I’d ask,” Valdr ducked through the doorway. He was tall even for an elf, dressed in a bliaut of deep blue silk. His nose hooked, his ears curled out almost like horns, and his dark brow shaded a pair of luminous eyes. If Dian’s were old, Valdr’s had seen the stars before the first moonrise.
Ella rose and gave him a gentle hug; the top of her head hardly reached his waist. “How are you?”
He returned the hug; if a hug showed one’s soul, Meline doubted she’d ever met anyone so kindly.
“I’m well,” he said, looking over at the table. “And do I see two new friends you’ve brought me?”
Ella smiled; Meline had rarely seen her so relaxed. “Come,” she wound her arm about his, “let me introduce you.” Meline rose as Ella brought Valdr in her direction. “This is my Meline.” She’d definitely never been this relaxed. “She formerly lived in Wild Rose.”
“Oh, yes,” Valdr said. Meline bowed. “you needn’t,” he said. Instead he took Meline’s left hand in both of his. “I’m glad we finally meet, Meline.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
“As am I,” Meline said. “Um,” she grasped for words, “it’s been a while since I walked on a cloud.”
Valdr nodded. “The air is thinner up here, but cleaner.” He removed one hand from Meline’s and held it to his chest. “It’s better for my lungs.” He gestured for her to lean closer. “Ella has hardly written of anything but you for sixteen years. I don’t need the wind to tell me you’re someone special.”
It took Meline several seconds to realize her jaw had dropped; the only reason she realized it then was because Ella leaned over and pushed it back up. Meline gave her a gentle swat.
Valdr sat, and Meline and Ella resumed their seats. He leaned forward. “And this must be Selva.”
Selva squeaked, poking her head up over the edge of the table. “’Lo.” Meline almost didn’t hear her.
“Hello. That’s a lovely dress,” Valdr said. “The red sleeves and the cream go well together.” Another, slightly higher-pitched squeak. Valdr leaned back, speaking to the whole table. “Dian should be in shortly. Shall we start after?”
“Yes, I think,” Ella said after she looked for Meline’s nod. “Are you hungry, Selva?” Her stomach gurgled before she could reply; the “mm-hmm” that followed was barely audible. Meline bit her tongue.
Shortly thereafter Valdr rose as if summoned. Hardly a moment later, he and Dian each came in carrying plates of fruit, bread, and sweets. Valdr had an earthenware teapot in one hand, with several mismatched cups.
They set the platters on the table, and handed each of them an empty plate. “Help yourselves,” Valdr said, after a quick offering of the midnight meal.
“Which cup, Selva?” Ella asked.
Selva hemmed and hawed. “The bumblebee cup.”
“Ooh, good choice,” Valdr said, selecting the preferred cup. “Do you like honey in your tea?”
“Yeah.” Selva carefully took both plate and cup, and set them on the table with hardly a sound.
But for the chewing and sipping, and the fire’s crackling, it was quiet. It seemed to Meline there were both a thick worry in the air, and yet also a calm. As she ate and drank, they seemed almost to fight, but… it was the most un-violent battle Meline had ever witnessed. Anxiety crackled, a static on the edge of Meline’s awareness. The serenity did not attack, yet the former retreated, curling and locking in on itself, a drafty rock in an ocean of peace.
Unaware that she had closed them, Meline opened her eyes. Selva looked more relaxed than she had all night. Her eye flicked to Valdr. He looked to be quietly enjoying his dinner, his eyes closed. One cracked open to meet her gaze. Meline quirked an eyebrow. He nodded.
They finished, and Dian cleared the plates away, leaving the tea. She touched Valdr on the head before she left. He clasped her hand for a moment before she left the room.
He sighed. “Much better.” He stretched. “A full belly quiets the soul.”
“I suspect everything here quiets the soul,” Ella said.
Valdr set down his cup. “Selva,” he said, “I would like to start with something simple. Could you take a deeeep breath and hold it for a moment?”
Ella gave her a nod. Selva took a breath so big her cheeks puffed out.
Valdr whispered. The lanterns dimmed. The shadows about the edge of the room… didn’t grow, so much as come forward. They collected about Selva, thickest about her chest and throat, and just above her right eye.
Valdr peered at her, then reached across the table, and set thumb and index finger over her eye. Meline stared as he pulled away, and the shadow came free. He held it in his
hands, and spoke a word of power. The shadow contorted like a broken twig, quivered, and… relaxed? Valdr raised his hand and blew until it was gone.
“You can breathe out now,” he said, and Selva released her breath in a whoosh. Meline looked. Her eyes widened. She could see the shadows still clinging to Selva.
“Valdr is a dark elf, Meline,” Ella said. “Shadows are to him what metal and earth are to you and me.” A light blinked on in Ella’s head. “It’s too bad your deep-black hasn’t cured yet.”
Valdr turned his gaze to Meline. “You work with deep-black?”
Meline rubbed her neck. “I usually make clothing out of it. Most wouldn’t expect shadows to be so warm.”
“No, indeed,” Valdr said. The enthusiasm in his voice—and hands—was transparent. “Shadows and darkness… they are so important to life, can be so enriching, and yet we fey, who live in the night, more often think of spiders and monsters when we think of darkness.”
“There’s scary things in the dark.” Meline turned to Selva. It was the first contrary thing she’d heard the child say.
“There can be,” Valdr admitted. “There can also be quiet, and peace. For people, darkness means rest, to regain their strength and heal themselves. Darkness can serve a similar use for us.”
“How?” Selva’s tone sounded like she was trying to hide her curiosity.
“Before I explain,” Valdr said, “I would like you to use a word of power to conjure a small flame.”
Selva looked at the floor, blushing to her roots. “I can’t.”
“Oh?” Valdr hmmed. “You don’t have to tell me why. But I just removed a shadow clinging to a blockage in your magic. So, you might be able to, now.” He leaned forward. “We could try a little exercise, if you like.”
How Valdr knew Ella used that exact phrase when she gave Selva a new word to practice—which without exception produced giggles of anticipation—Meline didn’t know. But Selva changed from—poorly—pretended indifference to honest curiosity. She nodded.
“Take another deep breath, though,” he smiled, “it doesn’t have to be down to your toes.” Selva did so. “Now, cup your hands and hold them out from your face like this.” He held his own out like he was cupping water. Selva imitated him. “Now, when you breathe out, think firmly to yourself, ‘I will not burn’. Breathe out now.”
Selva did so. Nothing happened. She looked at Valdr.
“This time,” Valdr said, “when you breathe out, say ‘fire’, while firmly holding the words ‘I will not burn’ in your mind.” He nodded for her to proceed.
Selva inhaled, and as she opened her mouth, Meline felt the world change; Selva had spoken. Bright in the still-dim room, flame licked at her lips, pouring gently out, so soft they were hardly visible.
The air began to ripple, the flames growing and snaking. Red at first, then orange and gold and even white.
They collected in Selva’s hands like a bouquet.
“Don’t seek for control,” Valdr gently said, “just let them flow.”
Selva twitched. A shadow Meline hadn’t noticed fell from her. The flame ran like a river into her hands, dazzling and… warm. Not hot, as they had been at first.
“Open your eyes, Selva.” The kindness in those words could have melted Meline’s heart. She looked at Selva as she opened her eyes. Tears streamed down the girl’s cheeks. There was such wonder… Meline’s vision suddenly blurred.
“Now, like setting down your spoon when you’ve finished a delicious soup,” Valdr said, “let them go.”
Selva closed her mouth, and the fire gradually died… wilted would be a better word, but as the bouquet in her hands deepened to red, it opened like the most beautiful flower. And then it was gone.
“That was very good,” Valdr said, a joyful grin on his face.
“That was amazing!” Meline said, unable to keep quiet any longer. Selva, tears still running, looked in her direction, and then looked over to Ella.
She’d covered her mouth with both hands through the entire exercise. As she lowered them, she gave a rambunctious sniffle. “I am so… so very proud of you.”
Selva’s face crinkled up, and before anyone could move she threw her small arms around Ella, burying her face in Ella’s chest.
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((Thanks for your patience! Work had been hectic last week, since I even had to work on Saturday. As I don’t have the brain power to write replies/starters, I’ll just be lurking. Asks are welcome, too!))
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From: Chapter 23: "The Sixth Key", Season 2
By: Alan Huynh
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American Demon chapters 23 & 24
Click to see the rest of the snark & image descriptions.
The Mind’s Power Over the Body
Part 23: Into the Spotlight
Story summary: They only ever had each other. It had been that way since high school, ever since Elianna transferred to dreary Arlen and took Jonathan under her wing. They go separate ways for college, and when they're reunited at Arkham Asylum professionally, Elianna comes to find that they've both changed during their time separated. Can she look past the promise of danger and stay by Jonathan's side as they slide further and further into the darkness while she grapples to come to terms with the truth about herself? Can she accept what needs to be done in order to hold onto the only person who holds any meaning in her life? This is a very self-indulgent AU that draws from several different canons of the DCU and ignoring others, starting in the Batman Begins Nolanverse. This will follow the plot of the movie, although the timeline has been very slightly tweaked.
Word count: 1340
To say that Elianna was furious at being sent away was an understatement. To be left out of something big like that, combined with the fact that she was still a little wary around Falcone's men, made her blood boil. She understood that what was done was done, and she couldn't change it, but that didn't mean she had to be happy about it.
"I'm assuming you all have access to a safe house or something somewhere?" She pulled off her mask and pushed her hair back from her face.
"Yeah, it's here in the Narrows. Hopefully, they won't think to look close by," said the man driving, Axel, referring to the police sirens blaring from somewhere behind them.
"That's fine, but drive around for a bit to make sure we don't have a tail," she ordered, looking out of the passenger side-view mirror.
"The boss said to get you safe quickly." El felt a familiar rage flare up inside of her, and she lashed out without thinking.
"He isn't here right now, which means I'm the boss," she snarled and grabbed the man by the ear, yanking hard. He cried out, more out of surprise than pain, although it did hurt. "I may not be the one paying you, but I can gas you just as easily. It's easier to hide one person than it is to hide four. Argue with me again, and I won't hesitate to make examples of all three of you. Do I make myself clear?" She finished, stroking the ridge of the beak on her mask almost longingly. She hadn't gotten to gas anyone yet, and at the moment, there was nothing she'd rather do more.
"Y-yes, boss," the driver winced. The woman beside him didn't invoke much fear on her own, but even if she couldn't gas him, the fact that she was Scarecrow's girl made her a force to be reckoned with.
"Good boy," she said in a sickly sweet voice, releasing his ear and letting him continue driving without distraction. The two goons in the backseat (Aleksi and Sam) shifted uncomfortably at her outburst, noting not to make her angry.
After driving in aimless, confusing turns for almost half an hour, they finally made it to the safe house, which was only a five-minute drive from the asylum. The group rushed inside, checking their backs as they darted into the dilapidated apartment building and up two flights of stairs to their unit. One of the thugs produced a key and let them inside, at which point Elianna immediately turned the television on to the first news station she could find.
"—locally renowned psychiatrist and Arkham administrative representative, Doctor Jonathan Crane, who seems to have had a violent psychotic break. He has been subdued by the GCPD, apparently with the help of Gotham's new vigilante, the Batman himself. Crane has been sedated and admitted to Arkham. His motivations remain unknown."
El's heart dropped to the floor, leaving her too shocked to be angry, and the remote clattered to the hardwood at her feet. Her mind raced, unsure of what to do now that Jonathan had been locked away. He was the brains behind the organization; she was just along for the ride, pretending to be important.
What was she supposed to do now?
She collapsed onto the couch, staring at the television in shock.
"Boss?" The tentative voice pulled her back to the present slightly. "We're going to get him out." The unspoken leader of the trio of men assured her, his hand landing on her shoulder again. She nodded stiffly, gathering her thoughts.
"Yeah. Yeah, we will. Axel, Aleksi, Sam, I'm sorry for snapping at you like that in the car," her voice came out quieter than intended. "I'm very grateful to all of you for helping us. And it looks like we got to you just in time."
"It's alright, nothing we ain't heard before. Do we have a plan?" El shook her head.
"Not yet. And I don't have any connections that would help us here." She had thought for a moment to call Harley and ask her, but she had just gotten her "career-making case," and honestly? They weren't close enough for El to persuade her to break the law for her.
No, besides the thugs around her, she was alone. The thought made her throat feel tight, and she felt the tiniest of pricking at her eyes. No! No crying, especially not here. It was time for her to step up and take charge.
Her mind drifted back to memories of her busting Jonathan out of the chapel and stealing him away in the middle of the night, only barely getting away from Granny. This was just like that. He was locked somewhere horrible, and she was the only one who could do anything about it.
Decisively, she retrieved the remote and turned the TV off, returning to her feet.
"It's okay. Between the four of us, we can figure something out by tomorrow. It doesn't have to be pretty or particularly clever; we just have to get him out. I mean, if Zsasz can escape, I'm sure Jona-uh, Scarecrow can." The men nodded in agreement, ignoring her slip. "Come on, does anybody here know anyone who can help?" At that, Sam, the youngest of the group, perked up.
"I've got a cousin, crooked cop!"
"Okay, that's a good start, Sam, but I think we're going to need someone a little bigger than a cop. We can build on that, though."
"No, he's a...shit, what do you call 'em? He's some officer for a SWAT agency; his unit will do anything he tells them."
Ah. That was good news. El could feel the gears turning in her head as she thought through her timeline.
"Okay...okay! That's perfect actually, can you call him? We'll need the whole squad to avoid too much suspicion, but we only need a couple to go inside first." Her mind was racing, a mile a minute as she put the pieces together
"What's the plan, boss?" Axel leaned forward, elbows on knees, eager to hear this plan. All things considered, he couldn't help but like working for her so far. She had only threatened him once, followed with an apology, and had included the men in her scheming. He didn't know much about being a good leader, but it seemed like she did.
Besides, if she liked them enough, she might be able to get them to safety before the end of Gotham.
"We're going to wait until tomorrow night. The police will be questioning him right now. Besides, our benefactor won't arrive until tomorrow, and we can't go without his supervision. Sam will get his guys involved; they're going to go in and take care of the night guard and disable all security." She had been pacing the small living room, but here she stopped and faced her men. "We're going to let everyone out. There are plenty of violent criminals inside, that will be more than enough for a distraction. From there, the SWAT uniforms will blend right in, and we just need them to make sure our man gets out and has his mask."
"Sounds simple enough." Aleksi nodded.
"Exactly. Nice and easy, and I don't think they'll be expecting anyone to bust him out so soon." She nodded in agreement. "Okay then, Sam, why don't you give your cousin a call, explain the situation, and we should all get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be big," she sighed. "And that's an understatement."
While Sam was on the phone, Aleksi went about making sure the apartment was secure, and Axel sought to scrounge up some food for them. El took the opportunity to familiarize herself with the old apartment. The building itself seemed mostly abandoned except for maybe a few squatters. El made a mental note of that in case something went wrong. It could be a good temporary shelter, at least.
Hopefully, they wouldn't need to use it again.
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I feel like I need a hug after writing that chapter. I've been a little on edge all day. Plus I've been out in the sun all day which is always hard on me. Maybe writing some happy Daisy and Seb scenes will make me feel better?
Yep, fluff makes it all better! Maybe some other stuff as well.
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