Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: Bullet (Crossover)
Fandoms: Final Fantasy VII, Sailormoon
"Look, I'm telling you; swords are better than guns."
Vincent sighed; he didn't get headaches, but he thought this might have been a headache situation. It might even have been a migraine situation. "Why do we always have to have the same argument every time we talk?"
Kunzite set his glass down. "Because you never admit I'm right."
"Just because you have a Freudian complex over your sword, doesn't mean it's a better weapon," Vincent said dryly, looking off into the crowd and hoping that someone would notice that Kunzite was talking at him again. Some hope. The other three tennou all had their backs to him (he suspected that wasn't a coincidence); Barret was dancing with Marlene (actually, she was standing on his toes, but it was still dancing); Yuffie and Cid were doing something that looked like pogoing; Cloud and Tifa weren't even in the room any more; Cait Sith and Red XIII were having a massive discussion with Luna and Artemis (probably over the stupidity of humans, genetically pure or otherwise). Vincent looked at the clock: if Kunzite hadn't shut up in five minutes, he'd go and find Mamoru.
Kunzite was now looking distinctly annoyed. "I do not have a Freudian complex. I simply think this is a better weapon than some clumsy firearm. Look-" He pulled the sword out of its sheath and laid it on the wooden table, where the light played along its crystal blade. Vincent looked at it dispassionately.
"It's pretty," he said.
"Pretty?! Look at its lines; look at that edge, I could cut you with that edge and you wouldn't feel anything, you'd just bleed," Kunzite stated with a smile.
"I generally feel like that any way," Vincent said. He inspected the sword for argument's sake, then looked up again. "It's long, it's heavy, it's a pain to carry around. Good for ceremonial purposes but not much use if you have an enemy that fights dirty. I'll admit daggers and knives are useful, but this..." He shook his head.
"Cloud uses a sword and I don't see you telling him it's impractical."
"That's because, firstly, Cloud doesn't tell me my guns are useless and secondly, Cloud is Cloud. Despite everything, he manages to wield that sword with some finesse; who am I to tell him it's impractical?"
Kunzite rolled his eyes. "Oh, but I'm different."
Vincent took a sip of his mead. It filled his mind with summer flowers and other times. He let it linger for a moment, then swallowed. The burning kicked in and he put his glass back down. "I knew another man who loved a long sword..."
Kunzite snorted and drank his wine. "And did you have the same argument with him?"
"No, he was a psycho; that's why I avoid long swords. People who use them are usually psychotic; or, as I said, they have a Freudian complex."
There was a low growl of frustration. "For the last time, I do not HAVE a Freudian complex-!"
"And the other man said he wasn't psychotic; denial is an ugly thing." Vincent got up, stepped over the bench, then turned and shot a hole in the wall without a word. The sound echoed around the room in the sudden silence. Vincent could feel everyone's eyes on his back. Kunzite, to his credit, hadn't even flinched. Vincent smiled.
"A bullet gets everyone's attention," he said, leaning forward and picking it out of the wall. He stored it in his pocket for later use. People were murmuring, unsure what was going on.
Kunzite suddenly smiled and leaned forward, templing his hands. "Hey, Vincent - are you psychotic?"
Vincent looked at him for a moment; then he smiled back. "I'm not sure."
"That's all right then," Kunzite said with a laugh, and put his sword back in its sheath.
Title: Aftermath of Scars
Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: Mental Breakdown (Crossover)
Fandoms: Sailormoon, Fruits Basket
Version: Manga (Both)
Rating: PG-13 (for self-harm)
Rin hated being in this building. She hated the smell, she hated the beeping of the machines, she hated the fact everything was either white or off-white. There was no life here. There was only pain and life struggling to escape the clutches of death.
She'd wanted to die. Why hadn't they let her?
She stared down at the bandages, wrapped around her arms in almost decorative spirals. They were soft. She could almost like them, except they were physical evidence of life, of the barrier separating her from that sweet oblivion, when she would change for the last time and nothing could stop her.
She tried not to think of him, but it was all she could think about. That and getting out of this cage. Being here made her sick. Ironic.
The door opened and she turned her head automatically. It was the new doctor. The handsome one. He was married, of course, the handsome ones always were. Taller than average, thick hair, deep blue eyes. He moved quietly, with a grace that hurt her inside.
"How are you feeling today?" He always asked that, but at least it was a genuine question, and she felt she could answer him honestly.
"Crap." She turned her head to the window. It was a square of blue today, so vivid and beautiful that she felt like crying. "I want to go outside. I'd feel better if I was outside."
He crossed to the window and opened it. A breeze slipped in, kissing her cheeks and forehead. She closed her eyes, accepting the caress, wishing that it was strong enough to go through her hair, kiss away the trapped feeling, the dark smoky thoughts that invaded her mind. It even made her scars feel better.
"I'm sorry, Sohma-san; but you've run away so often, I think it would be very difficult to let them agree to that."
"Someone could come with me, I wouldn't mind," she said quickly, although she would mind, it would be like having a halter around her neck. She'd want to run away even more, she'd want to leap over the fence and scream at this hulking building.
He was silent for a long time. She opened her eyes slightly. He was looking at her chart. Then he put it back, catching her eye before she could look away. "How are your arms?"
"They ache," she said sullenly. "I want to scratch them."
"Good," he said, smiling slightly. It was like sunlight, that smile. "That means they're mending." He hooked her, wouldn't let her look away. "You do want to get better, don't you?"
Rin was tempted to try and make him smile again, but she wouldn't try, she wouldn't. "Maybe," she said, pressing her lips together. She didn't want anyone to know her thoughts or feelings. They were hers and she would keep them.
"The sooner you get better, the sooner you can leave," he said calmly. "I know you want to leave, everyone knows that."
She turned over, showing him her back, giving him a silent dismissal. He sighed to himself and went to the door.
Her voice was low, but he recognised a cry for help when he heard one. He turned his head, looking at the long lump in the bed, the dark hair straggling over the mattress, like waves in a river. "Hai?"
"Don't forget about going out." Her voice was stubborn, hard as rocks. That was Sohma Izumi - a layer of softness quickly dissolving to reveal the hard will beneath. He respected that will. It was responsible for her survival, though she didn't know it. Her mind might be broken but her will remained whole.
"I won't forget," he promised, and closed the door behind him.
Title: Nostalgia For Heroism
Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: 80s Cartoons (no, I didn't mispell, we don't use the apostrophe in British English)
Fandoms: Sailor Moon, Azumanga Daioh, Thundercats
Yomi had to wonder why, having finally got away from Tomo, she got stuck with a roommate who was almost exactly like her. Well, perhaps Aino Minako wasn't quite as bad as Tomo: she could have her girly moments, her quiet moments. Actually, Yomi could deal with Minako's energy, but Minako's beauty demanded a different kind of tolerance. It was a little difficult to be around a girl who had thick, shiny hair, a flawless complexion and never gained weight no matter how much she ate (which, in Minako's case, was a lot).
Nevertheless, they had one thing in common: a fondness for 80s cartoons. Yomi was a fan of old-style anime, but Minako had a fondness for Western animation. Yomi knew for a fact she had all the She-Ra figurines and collected Rainbow Brite plushies. It helped that Minako had a good visual memory; just looking at a screencap could spark off a wave of nostalgia. Yomi was often amazed that Minako could remember everything about an episode she'd seen once, yet she could forget her umbrella after being reminded five times.
One day, Minako flew into the room, hugging a padded envelope to her chest. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes almost crazy in their brightness. Coupled with the envelope, this could only mean one thing: Minako had been browsing E-Bay and found another forgotten classic. She closed the door. "Yomi-chan... oh, Yomi-chan, I can't believe it. Finally."
"Finally?" Yomi repeated. "How long have you been searching for this one?"
"Nearly six months," Minako said with a triumphant sigh. "I have all the video tapes except this one." She slit the top of the envelope and took out the case with a flourish. "Behold: Thundercats: The Movie!"
Yomi sat up, closing her book. "I know that!" she said, amazed, taking the case out of Minako's hand and staring at the half-forgotten figures. "I always wanted to be Wily-Kit..."
Minako smirked. "You free for the next hour and a quarter?"
"Are you a chocoholic?" Yomi retorted, handing it back to her. She closed the curtains and dimmed the lights while Minako put the video tape in the player, tapped at various buttons and crooned to the machine in a soft voice that usually persuaded it to work for them.
Then they both sat on Yomi's bed, backs against the wall, transported back to their childhood. Coloured light flickered over their faces and they giggled occasionally over the script. Yomi grinned: she'd forgotten how much she loved Snarf. And Wily-Kit now reminded her a lot of Tomo. Was that why she'd wanted to be her?
As the battle began, Minako sighed softly. "I always wanted to be Lion-O," she said. "I always wanted a Sword of Omens."
"Why?" Yomi whispered.
Minako shrugged. "I've always liked swords..." There was a distant look on her face, as if she could see things that were invisible to other people. Yomi didn't ask any more.
Title: Kindred Spirit
Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: Fire (Crossover)
Fandoms: Sailormoon, Magic Knights Rayearth
Version: Canon (in between visits for Hikaru)
She would always remember that day. She'd felt somehow lonely, cut off from this world without being able to get to the other one. Rayearth. Her secret place. It wasn't the same here.
Hikaru hurried up the steps of Hikawa Jinga and passed under the tori gates. A wind blew over her face and even though it wasn't her element, she felt soothed. There was something about this place that gave you a peaceful feeling. She pushed her hair back behind her ears, smoothed her skirt, then walked forward. Paper prayers fluttered on the branches of trees and a miko in white and red emerged from the shrine.
"Welcome," she said. "May I help you?"
Hikaru stared at her for a moment, admiring her long shining hair and clear eyes. "I would just like to come inside and pray for a little while," she said, bowing. "I have a lot on my mind."
"Of course; follow me." The miko turned and Hikaru followed her into the shrine. It was dark inside, the air damp and heavy with incense. Hikaru's eye caught a flicker of orange and she turned, her body yearning.
"Are you all right?"
The clear voice snapped Hikaru out of her trance and she turned away from the beckoning heat. "I'm sorry. I just... I like fire," she said with a little laugh. "It makes me feel better."
The miko stared at her for a moment, then smiled. "Me, too." She reached up and rang the bell. The sound vibrated through Hikaru's body. She put her hands together and closed her eyes. She could feel the heat from the fire moving over her skin, soothing her as the wind had done. She could feel the miko watching her, but she didn't mind. There was an understanding in her gaze.
Fire needs shelter sometimes. We both know that.
Hikaru opened her eyes and sighed a little. She was back. She was really here. It wasn't so bad, really. Not when you could meet a stranger and understand them like this. She looked up. The miko smiled at her.
"Come again," she said.
Hikaru nodded, a silent promise, and went back out into the world again.
Title: The Sheep and The Rose
Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: French (Crossover)
Fandoms: Sailormoon, Yami no Matsuei
Hotaru had a secret. She could see dead people.
Well, it wasn't that much of a secret, her family knew; and they weren't really dead. They were beyond death. They weren't even really people. They were Shinigami, angels of death. Psychopomps was the name that Setsuna had given them, the ancient Greek name for those who guided the souls of the dead. Hotaru didn't really care about what they were called; she cared about them. They were her people and it had been such a long time since she'd been in a body to talk with them and find out how the system was working.
Of course, living in Japan meant that she saw a lot of Japanese shinigami. They walked along the street, they waited at traffic lights, they stood under the trees in the parks. Hotaru got to know them quite well as she grew up; she learnt their faces, their names, their favourite places and songs. Tsuzuki, Watari, Hisoka, Tasuki... she would whisper the names to herself while doing her homework or walking to school. They were like a litany, her own private prayer. They helped her and occasionally, she helped them. She had a gift for finding things out, for sensing when things weren't right. It wasn't like Michiru-mama's mirror or Rei-san's fire-gazing. It was something she felt in her gut, in the earth and the trees and the people around her. She was so tightly bound to the cycles of this world, she couldn't help knowing when something was out of sync.
In return, they helped her with little things. Hisoka helped her with calligraphy, carefully avoiding any physical contact. Watari "helped" her with chemistry and physics, often expounding with great excitement on experiments that just wasn't possible on the mortal plane; he reminded her of her father, her old father, the good father. She didn't see Tasuki that much, but he was always willing to help her with maths and her finances. Tsuzuki was different. He might just sit there and talk while she drank her tea and read her book, or scoff sweets, or tell her about his sister; or he might suddenly take her pen and draw something for her, point out where she'd gone wrong, explain something so clearly that it would almost glow. His favourite subject was Foreign Literature, and he would point out all the themes and ideas in a book without a single blink. Hotaru sometimes counted on him turning up, especially if a book was complicated. It wasn't cheating exactly... after all, he wanted to help.
"Problem?" he'd ask, sitting in front of her with a kind smile.
"I don't understand this," she would say, pointing at the page. He'd take the book, scan it with those purple eyes, then launch into an explanation that was often very detailed yet always clear.
Right now, however, she didn't need him. This book wasn't difficult at all. This book was beautiful and sad, it reminded her of that other life in some way. She murmured the words over to herself as she read them.
Mais pourquoi parles-tu toujours par énigmes?
Je les résous toutes...
She blinked, coming back from the desert and the snake, back to the café and the purple eyes smiling down at her. "No," she said slowly. "Not this time. Have you read it?"
Tsuzuki tipped his head and looked at the book cover. "Le Petit Prince," he read out loud, then nodded. "Yes. I remember reading that. In Japanese, but I did read it. It was my sister's favourite book, so we used to read it together." He sat down, almost sprawling, his long frame stretching through the chair rather than resting in it. Hotaru watched him tip his head back and close his eyes for a moment, as if he was tired. Of course, that wasn't strictly true. The shinigami didn't feel fatigue like humans; they needed some rest, of course, but they could go without sleep for many, many days. Hotaru envied that. Her body was better now, but it was still mortal, still prone to failure, despite the power hidden inside.
Tu viens d'une étoile.
"Sad, isn't it?" Tsuzuki said, ordering his hot chocolate with the flick of a finger. "I remember thinking that there wasn't much hope; all that journeying and he finds out that what he wanted was right back home."
"I don't think that's true," Hotaru answered, thoughtfully. "There's still hope; he has hope and so does the narrator. If he didn't have hope, he wouldn't have gone back." She lifted her grey eyes and gazed at him. He thought again how calm and steady her gaze was, fathoms deep and eons old. It was comforting in a weird, wordless way. The hot chocolate arrived, capped by a lacy mountain of cream, and he scooped it off with a small sigh of enjoyment, letting it melt on his tongue.
"Do you think the sheep ate the rose?"
The question was sudden but not unexpected. Tsuzuki swallowed the last of his cream and breathed in the smell of melted chocolate, pondering his answer. He couldn't remember what he'd thought before, but he knew what he thought now.
"No, I don't," he answered, smiling at her.
Hotaru nodded at him. "Moi, non plus," she said softly.
All French taken from Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Title: The Royal Sibyl
Author: sea_thoughts aka Starsea
Theme: Royalty (Crossover)
Fandoms: Sailormoon, Tenkuu no Escaflowne
Version: Manga, Crystal Tokyo (SM); Anime (TnE)
Tohku hanarete'te mo,
Anata to ikite
I love you.
Even though we're far apart, separated,
I can still live with you.
-- Hikari no naka é by Yuho Iwasato/Yoko Kanno
"It couldn't work out."
Setsuna looked at the young girl who sat across from her, long limbs loosely folded together. Her brown hair was cut in a bob, ending just above the nape of her neck; she wore practical diamond studs in her ears and a watch on her left wrist. Apart from her height, there was nothing particularly striking about her on first glance.
"Why do you say that, Hitomi-chan?"
Hitomi turned her head, her eyes dark and pained. "Stop it. Stop acting like you know nothing. You know why it couldn't work out, Setsuna-san. Or you wouldn't be here, talking to me."
There was silence for a moment. Hitomi looked out of the window again. It was a beautiful day in the new city of Crystal Tokyo. She admired the public gardens' spread of green and pink and brown, the glittering buildings that turned blue and white as clouds passed over the sky.
The words were unexpected and she looked at her interviewer curiously. Setsuna was looking at the table, her expression preoccupied. "That was insensitive of me. I apologise. I know that Van Fanel is a king. But that fact alone does not forbid a relationship between the two of you."
Hitomi closed her eyes for a moment at the name and sighed. "It's not just that. We come from different worlds. Literally. You know that as well! And... people on his world feared me. They say the Mystic Moon - Earth - is a cursed place and that makes me a cursed woman. Also, my... my sixth sense exploded there. It became so strong. It was dangerous. For a long time, I thought that was all he wanted... my power." Her cheeks turned pink. "Even when he proved it wasn't... oh, there were so many obstacles. I had a life back here. I had my friends and my family. And he had a whole kingdom to take care of and rebuild. Besides... he has the pendant. I gave it to him so nobody else from this world would... be brought there by accident. If he wants me... he has to call me." She looked up, biting her lip.
"Would you go?" The wine dark eyes were so sympathetic that she wanted to cry. "Even though it's a completely different world? Even though he's a king?"
Hitomi swallowed. "He's my king," she said softly. "I don't want a happy ever after. I just want him. Kingdom and all."
Setsuna opened her mouth, then closed it. "Yes," she said, looking out of the window. "I understand."
There was nothing more to say