Fanfic Recommendation 46
My Fanfics :
Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:
Cissnei’s Path 46 – 49 (Tv Tropes)
A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic
Summary: Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.
Whirlpool Among the Eddies 25 – 28
A Naruto Fanfic
Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.
A Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime. So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving… Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.
Team 7 Ascension: Line in the Sand 8 – 10
A Naruto Fanfic
Summary: After rescuing Kakashi, Team Seven thought things would be looking up. But life’s never quite that simple, and lines in the sand don’t hold for long when a squall comes along. The world rushing over the precipice of sanity, vigorously at that, doesn’t make it any easier. [Sequel to Blood Wings]
A FSN Fanfic
Summary: “With swords that aren’t yours, with skills that aren’t yours, for dreams that aren’t yours. Your entire existence is a lie!” – “Then I’ll show you that even fake dreams can become reality.” A different choice, a different path, a different FATE. Shirou/Multi
A FSN Fanfic
Summary: Sometimes, the tiniest of changes can have the greatest impact on the world. One chance encounter goes in a new direction, and the course of the Holy Grail War is irrevocably changed…
Power Games Chapter Epilogue (Alternate Reading Site)
A Nanoha Fanfic
Summary: There’s no such thing as happily ever after. Life goes on – even dearly bought. All Precia’s plans may come to nought as shadowy actors take to the stage. But nothing unmasks a man like his use of power. Second of the Gamesverse series.
The Trinity – Book 7, Interlude 2
A FSN / Harry Potter Fanfic
Summary: A retelling of Harry Potter books with the titular character, alongside two other ones readers didn’t really care about, being replaced by three characters (Shirou EMIYA Archer, now known as Shirou von Einzbern; Takara Aozaki Daughter of Shiki and Ciel Aozaki from Tsukihime, with her name unchanged; Jester, with his name becoming Galen Salvatore) from one of his earlier works. With Neville Longbottom being the one of whom the prophecy speaks after an infant Harry Potter’s death at the hands of Lord Voldemort, they are trying to fix what is left of the world they knew from books and movies, to have a place to live.
A FSN / Sekirei Fanfic
Summary: It has been five years since the horrors of the Fifth Holy Grail War, and Shirou Kotomine, Executor of the Church, is being sent to Shin Tokyo to oversee the area. When a series of happenstances cause him to find his birth family and a secret battle royale between alien babes, he decides to do what he does best. Let’s just hope there’s a city after he’s done. An In Flight spin off.
A Worm/ Dishonored Fanfiction
Summary: When Taylor went into the locker, she drew the attention of two beings. One offered an absent thought, and a broken tool that wasn’t even meant for her. The other took a more personal approach.
Intrepid: Interlude: Elsa – 12-06
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way.
A Show of Force 2.5 (Alternative Reading Site)
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: In a world where Eden managed to land safely, Emma Barnes seeks strength to put Taylor in her place as she triggers with Oni Lee’s power. Enter Wyrm.
Hunter: Sophia (6) – Taylor (18)
A Worm/ Bloodborne Fanfiction
Summary: Taylor becomes a Hunter and stalks the streets of Brockton Bay every full moon. Gangsters beware, and let all Fear the Old Blood.
A Worm x FFXIV Fanfiction
Summary: Taylor Hebert is a girl with myriad problems. Fore amongst these being that circumstances have conspired to not grant her powers during her darkest moment in a certain locker. Bereft of an escape from real life or of distraction from her pain, she begins to give up hope. But sometimes hope and power come from unlikely sources. Sources that may just have a reason for bestowing the might of Gods upon a mortal.
With the Ring: Fool’s Canon 3 – Triumph of Will (Tv Tropes Page)
A Young Justice Fanfic
Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.
A Digimon Fanfic
Summary: The War is over, or so it is thought. For the Digidestined, life goes on, but with digimon emerging once more into the real world, the world will change once more. Divided they fall, but a new generation of heroes, the Tamers, will rise to unite against the new threat.
A Percy Jackson x DanMachi Fanfic
Summary: At the end of the Second Titanomachy, Percy found Hope to be in short supply. With Kronos unstopped, his friends dead or dying, and the gods falling one by one, it was hard to believe they still had a chance. But when Hestia sacrifices herself to give him ‘Hope’, there’s no reason not to take it, even if it costs him his life. But when he awakens… Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?/Percy Jackson and the Olympians crossover
Calling Card (Psyren x FSN -Nasuverse): Arc 1 – Chapter 3
I rise to my feet as I breathe in the cold air that has the aftertaste of metal. It was cold, even for Autumn. Probably had something to do with the ashen sky, not a bird in sight.
Looking around, I find that I’m in a set of ruins of some kind. I want to say it’s the archery dojo, considering I see that the school is a broken pile of stone and rubble just across where I am. How many years into the future am I for all the wood to be missing, having rotted away?
I stumble out of what was left of the school grounds and head towards the road to my home. I had no idea if it is still around, but the state it’s in will at least give me some insight into how much time has passed. And it’s closer than going to the Church or the albino brat’s castle. If I have to admit it, a part of me hopes that the Tohsaka Estate has been reduced to rubble, but my priority is finding a way to get back to my own time.
The road feels softer than concrete and asphalt should be. Almost like the ground beneath it is quicksand or silt. The buildings made of stone are leaning as if exhausted, some half-broken and others toppled over. Those made of wood are missing entirely.
Looking at all of this, I can’t help but wonder if there are any people left alive in this environment. It feels too cold, the scent of metal lingers in the wind, and the only light is the silver rays that break through the clouds from above. I don’t think plants can survive in it.
The white-thing, Nemesis Q if I had to guess, had spoken before in my dream about embracing power to change the future. Assuming it plucked my soul from my body, displaced my existence through time, and then dropped me into the future, what did it expect me to do here to get back? What power did it mean that would allow me to change it?
Why is Ayako involved in this at all?
Too many question and not enough answers.
I keep walking until I spot something moving on the path ahead of me. It looks like an animal at a distance, a dog sniffing the ground with some kind of black growth on its head. I decide to walk through the rubble of another home that had been along the path to mine, leaving it to scrounge for rats or whatever it ate to survive for however long the world had been in this state.
No sooner than I walk through the rubble do I hear an inhuman screech that makes me jump. I look back to the source to see that the dog is closing in on me. What, is it hungry enough to try and eat me now?
I decide to run. I won’t be able to fight against it without some kind of weapon or rock. But I trip before I can make it three steps because I’m wearing the club uniform, and the footwear isn’t made for running through terrain like this. By the time I can climb back up to my feet, the thing I thought was a dog is close enough that I could make out the details better.
That thing can’t be called a dog anymore, even if it was once upon a time. It’s pale white, a black orb on its head in the place of where there should be eyes. There looks to be gills of some kind on the sides of its neck, with some kind of silvery build up crusting it. Its mouth opens into four parts like a peeled fruit as it faces me.
Then it screams.
The moment it does, I fall down again from what feels like being hit by something invisible that passes through me. The shriek did something to my ears and bones, leaving me hearing a ringing and feeling my insides shaking. I couldn’t get my bearings fast enough to run or even sit up straight as it trots over, grabs my hem, and starts to drag me with ridiculous ease.
It’s taking me away. It’s taking me somewhere and there’s nothing I can do. I… fuck that!
“Get off me! Let go!” I flail. I scream. I force myself to move however I could. At best I’m no different than a giant worm that’s struggling in the maw of the bird that caught it.
It still works. The dog-thing releases my pants from its grasp. Then it aims its mouth up towards my head, peeling it again into four parts. It’s going to scream again and scramble my brains more thoroughly this time, isn’t it?
I close my eyes on reflex and cover my ears in time for a muted explosion to sound out. The force of it washes over me and covers in a blanket of something like dirt or dust. There was so much, so abruptly, that I thought it had decided to bury me as I was. I cough violently, cracking open my eyes to see that the dog-thing was missing.
Instead, Ayako stands in front of me, covered in what looked like patches of ashes with her clothes ripped in certain places and damaged. On her left arm is a black-gauntlet of some kind with a wrist-mounted crossbow on it. She’s panting, her chest rising and falling quickly as she stares down at me with eyes that have rings of exhaustion around them.
Again, she looks pissed. “You called the number.”
It wasn’t a question. “I… may have memorized it.”
“IDIOT!!” she yells abruptly as the crossbow gauntlet vanishes and she mounts my stomach. My body still feels out of sorts and I can’t move well-enough to stop her from grabbing me by the lapels and pulling my head up towards hers.
“Why? Why would you do that?” she demands, shaking me with every word. “I warned you! Do you know what you’ve done!?”
“I—” She lets my head fall down before I can even get the words out to give her an answer. The ground hurts from the impact, driving my eyes to close on reflex. Fire pools in my chest at the abuse when I came here for her sake in the first place. “What’s the big idea….”
I trail off as something wet hits my cheeks and I hear the near-silent sobs. They quench the fire as I open my eyes to the sight of Ayako struggling not to cry. Sitting on top of me, with her head angled down and her shoulders limp, her eyes glisten with tears.
Her voice shakes as she softly whispers, “I don’t want to see someone I know die again.”
…She looks pathetic like this. Really pathetic compared to how she normally looks and acts. It doesn’t bring me any joy seeing her like this.
The sound of a distant shriek brings an end to her tears as her body stiffens in alarm. She twists her head towards the source, even with the half-standing walls and buildings in the way. Then she wipes her tears and gets off of me.
“We need to leave before the hound and catcher arrive.” She lifts me up with ease, hoisting me like a bride in her arms. “They heard the previous one shrieking and are on their way here.”
“Come on, this is just embarrassing!” Her arms feel like they can give out at any time and she still looks exhausted. “You’re going to drop me!”
“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Ayako tells me with an edge in her voice. Then she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Her arms find new strength and she braces me tight against her body. It feels like she’s burning up on the inside.
Then she moves.
The world becomes a blur of short-lived colors and sights as they pass us by. The wind rushes past my ears and drowns out every other sound. This speed is foreign yet familiar, almost like I’m being carried by Rider.
She carries me through a web of ruined buildings and structures, the last remaining monuments to the people of Fuyuki for all I know. It’s only when we reach a district somewhere between the Big Bridge and the school, filled with more commercial buildings, that she jumps through a second-floor window without glass in it and sets me down on the ground.
“Okay,” she sighs. “Hopefully you’re the last one. I don’t think I can make another trip right now.”
“Last one?” I look around at that and see a shadow move around a corner. A familiar bed of blonde hair comes into view. It’s Gai Gotou from class. “What are you doing here?”
“He’s another idiot who got himself a card,” Ayako says as she leans her back against the wall to the left of me. “Straight from Nemesis Q itself.”
I can’t keep the surprised look off my face. “How?”
He scratches his cheek. “Well, I heard that Kane was looking for one and I thought that I could get one for her. But the one guy I found who had it wanted to charge a ridiculous amount for it that I couldn’t afford. So I ran around looking for any that may have been left around at the payphones when I got a card this morning, in a dream. The ringing wasn’t that bad for me though when I answered it on my way to school.”
“… Seriously?” The skepticism in my voice is thick. “That’s how it happened?”
“That’s the reason that I told you not to look or think about the card at all.” She massages her temples. “Just knowing about it can put you in Nemesis Q’s sight when it starts recruiting, and in this mission alone it invited around twenty people who had an interest in the cards or Psyren this time.”
“I take it they didn’t make it?”
She shakes her head. “The Taboo, creatures like the hound that caught you, killed all of them so far. I tried to help and warn them, but they didn’t listen and the number of Taboo have swelled compared to my last trip. The people who die here have their bodies drop dead back in the past and the card disappears, so it seems like Sudden Death Syndrome struck them.”
I frown at that. It’s only been a few hours since she went missing. “Your brother said you went missing this morning in the Club. The morning session hadn’t ended before the ringing nearly split my head in half.”
“Time moves differently between the past and the future,” she claims. “Or at least it feels that way. I left home this morning, an hour before I normally do, when the ringing started to grate on my nerves. Drifters who have been awakened get a warning ahead of time compared to new recruits, to put our affairs in order, so I knew it was coming since the club meeting yesterday.”
So that’s why she ran out yesterday. She heard the call coming in and went to make arrangements. The Student President being absent this morning likely had something to do with that—all the evidence points to him being involved in this too as a Drifter.
“And how long have you been here?” Gai asks.
“It’s been over three or four days on my end. It’s hard to tell since clocks, watches, and other electronics don’t work properly. I can only go by when it’s light out and when it’s dark, and since people keep popping in I have to stay alert and kill any Taboo I find so they don’t keep killing everyone.”
Ayako lets out a long sigh and her throat muscles shift as she takes a moment to just breathe. “Shinji, you said that it felt like your head was splitting, right?”
“Yeah.” The thought alone makes me want to take a migraine pill. “I didn’t hear anything before it just hit me all at once. It got so bad that I couldn’t stand and blood came out of my nose. I had trouble thinking straight.”
“Usually, when it gets that bad, it means that the time is almost up to answer the summonings.” She opens her eyes and stares at me with her brows furrowed. “Another minute or two and you would have probably had an aneurysm.”
So I went from assured death to nearly being dragged off by the banshee dog or whatever it was. Lucky me. But Gai said he answered just after he woke up, so does that mean the summoning has a priority even among the same group?
Or was Nemesis Q punishing me for skirting the rules with Sakura and telling Emiya where to look. “So how do we get home?”
“We have to complete the mission Nemesis Q gives us,” she says. “The objectives change depending on what Nemesis Q wants, and there’s no way of knowing that ahead of time. If it’s a recruitment mission like I think, then we have to stay until all of the people with cards answer their summonings or die from trying to ignore it. Then we’ll learn the location of the gate through a vision in our heads and have to make it… there….”
She slides down the wall as she trails off, until she’s setting against the bottom. Her legs are splayed out like she’s lost all strength in them, and her breathing hasn’t settled either. It looks like she’s about to pass out.
I crouch down next to her and grab her shoulders. “Don’t fall asleep yet, we still need answers.”
“I… I just need a few minutes of rest.” She grabs my wrist, but her fingers are so slack that they barely cling to them. She’s even struggling to keep her eyelids open, and failing . “Just… stay here until then. Don’t… try… and leave…”
Her eyes close. Her hand slips from my wrist and falls to her lap. Her head leans to the side.
She’s out cold. “Tsk. Of course you fall asleep now of all times.”
I take a seat next to her. She won’t be any good to anyone if she’s tired. I’ll let her rest for a while.
Gai goes to the window and stares out of it for a moment, his brows closing in while he works his brain to think about something. “I’m having trouble believing this is the future.”
“I bet the others who came here before thought the same,” I say. It makes sense if you didn’t know things like that were possible. If I hadn’t been part of the Holy Grail War, or combed through the library at home as a child, then I probably wouldn’t believe it either.
But, while it’s been a while since I’ve read that stuff, I know for a fact that there should have been some way for this sort of thing to have been avoided. How far into the future are we so that all the safeguards failed and magi allowed this to happen? Fifty years? One hundred?
What could have caused all of this?
I look back over to Ayako and see her ash-covered body lying defenseless. If she’s been here for days, she could have been hurt. I carefully run my fingers along her skin, where the patches of ash clinging to it are. They wipe away with some effort to reveal unblemished flesh.
Good, she wasn’t hurt after all. It would have been a waste to have gotten involved only for her to die next to me because of a wound I didn’t notice.
Gai clears his throat. I look up to see he’s giving me a disapproving look with a frown. “Not cool, dude.”
“I was checking her for injuries.” I really was.
“Right, and I—WHOA!” His words turn into a surprised shout as Nemesis Q appears out of thin-air in the middle of the room.
This is its doing. This is a sick game of some kind that it’s putting me through. When I think about all the pain to this point, my body moves on its own to grab it and force it to take us back.
It ignores me as I pass through its body. There’s no physical presence at all. While I tumble onto the floor, it goes over to Ayako and gives her that same inquisitive look that it gave me, as if judging her worth.
It points towards her and the world zooms out until we’re further in the air, overlooking the ruins of what was once Fuyuki. A quick glance behind me reveals the Shinto district looks almost like a desert of silver sand. Then an image appears in my head of a payphone half-buried beneath the remains of a building and sign.
“Escort the Drifter to the checkpoint to clear this round and be rewarded with the power to change this future.”
Then, as abruptly as we were taken away, we were back in the same spot. Had we even left in the first place? Or was it something like remote-viewing? Nemesis Q is gone before I can even ask.
Gai shakes his head to clear it. “That…. looked not too far from the school grounds. I think I’ve seen that payphone in the Mount Miyama Shopping District.”
“That’s in the direction we came from and a little north.” If that’s the case, Ayako can get us there in a matter of minutes. I gently shake her shoulder to wake her up. “Rise and shine, we need to go.”
She doesn’t move.
A pang of worry stirs in my chest and I try again. “Mitsuzuri, wake up!”
Her only response is heavy and labored breaths.
I reach for her face and feel her cheeks burning. Her forehead is the same. It clicks and my chest tightens when I realize why it appeared now. “That son of a bitch!”
Gai comes over. “What’s wrong with her?”
“She’s burning up.” I had thought her movements before was from using Magic Circuits and figured the activation caused her body to feel so warm while she carried me and afterwards. But I was wrong. The sweat and her breathing being so labored while she’s unconscious say otherwise. “She’s got a fever and it probably won’t settle while we’re here.”
He tenses. “Seriously?”
“The words it told us were ‘Escort this Drifter’ weren’t they? If she could move on her own, Nemesis Q wouldn’t have phrased it that way because she could just run with the both of us given how easily she carried me. It was addressing us. And she said that Nemesis Q had been recruiting this round and we’re likely the last ones left.”
“So… it’s testing us?” he figures.
I nod. “With her life on the line as the wager. Either we get her back in time or she dies and we remain stuck here.”
June 2016 Grim Tales Update 4
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/a-slight-pause-before-gluttony/#sthash.KUtU7R1w.dpuf
Begin Again 10-08
A chapter in which Jerkens are weird, Flick’s feelings are conflicted, and Sean was simply saying what she was thinking.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
It was Friday evening, not long before track courses were supposed to start. I was standing on the beach with Columbus, the twins, and Sean. The five of us were staying well away from Avalon and Shiori, because, well… things were just a little bit intense between the two of them right then. Slightly.
Shiori landed hard on her back, sending sand from the beach flying in every direction from the impact. A second later, she jerked her body to the side, a bare instant before Avalon’s gauntlet-covered fist hit right where she had just been. Before my roommate could recover from the miss, the dhampyr girl shoved herself up with one arm, kicking both legs out to clip Avalon’s face before throwing herself into an expert back flip that brought her out of her prone position and into the air, landing easily on her feet.
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Begin Again 10-07
Whiplash. Ouch. Though it does explain his approach. You don’t screw up that badly twice.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
Approximately three hundred and forty-seven thousand showers later, I was relatively free of the stink. Even that was partly due to the special soap that Sands had provided. Apparently whatever she and Scout had made that nasty smelling stuff in the balloons out of, it reacted badly with most other normal cleaning agents. So anyone trying to scrub it off that didn’t have the special soap was in for a bad time.
Yeah, the twins and the boys had detention. They had all of the detention. A month worth, not counting the week of Thanksgiving. The headmistress had graciously agreed to a pause in their punishment for that week before it would continue. Partly because the twins had provided more of that special soap.
Gaia had to know what we were actually doing, of course, even if she wouldn’t be sure of the specifics until Avalon found a…
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June 2016 PPGD Update 2
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/she-almost-didnt-mind/#sthash.epM1xmj7.dpuf
Begin Again 10-06
On Romance, Videogames, Legacies, and Conspiracies, all wrapped up in a single package.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
Okay. So I liked boys. And I liked girls. I understood that much. I was kindof confused as to why I’d never noticed my attraction to girls before, but maybe that sort of thing happened. It wasn’t like I was some kind of expert at maturing romance feelings. So whatever. Boys, girls, I like them both. Great.
But how exactly was I supposed to tell anyone that? Like right now. I was practically walking arm in arm with both of my female crushes. Both of the girls that I actually liked liked were right next to me and I had less than zero idea of what to do about that. I kind-of-sort-of thought that Avalon might have been purposefully teasing me, and I knew that Shiori saw me as at least a friend. But every time I tried to turn my brain toward whatever the next…
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Tiger & Might – Chapter 2
Tiger & Might – Chapter 2: Shaping Up
Izuku Midoriya felt like his muscles burning beneath his heated flesh as he slowed his pace to a crawl, after passing by Mister Kaburagi. It was the weekend and they had come out early in the morning for him to assess the boy’s physical condition. To that end, the older man had gotten himself a clipboard and stopwatch to time how long he could run, after seeing how many pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats he could do with a break between them each.
His leg muscles finally gave out and he fell to his knees on the grass. A stinging, acrid heat bubbled up in his stomach. It surged up from there into his chest, and through his throat to force itself out of his mouth.
“There, there,” the veteran hero said as he patted Izuku on the back while the boy vomited. “Take a deep breath and then take a drink of water afterwards.”
Once he finished vomiting, Izuku moved his aching body to the bench. There he took a seat and drank from the bottle. The ice-cold liquid soothed his throat while Mister Kaburagi gave him an overview of his performance.
“Overall, you aren’t in too bad a shape for a boy your age,” he said. “However, it isn’t exemplary. More than strength or speed, you lack the endurance and stamina needed to be a hero. It’s no good if you’re out of breath by the time that you arrive at the site of an incident. By working on that first, we can increase how much you can do at any given point of time.”
“So I need to run more?” he guessed.
“Among other things to improve your cardio, you need to balance out strength-building and stamina-building,” he explained. “And while that covers the physical aspect of your training, you’ll also need to work on improving the way you move as well.”
“You run with your heels instead of the balls of your feet, which is detrimental and puts unnecessary stress on your body. Over time that stress will build up and then break-down your body. We’ll cover that once you’ve recovered, so simply rest for now.”
“Will that be enough to help me test into U.A.?” The school had revised the entrance conditions that stated you needed to have a Quirk to enter the Hero Course, which was what he was aiming for. And, as the national school, several of the greatest heroes got their start at those sacred grounds of learning.
“Aiming high, huh?” Izuku nodded to the question. “That’s good. Dedication to helping others, critical thinking to solve problems, having a belief in yourself, and loving what you do—these are four things you need above all else if you want to succeed in being a hero. You need to strive for it without reservation and aim as high as you can, while putting your talents towards that goal as well.”
“Talents?” Izuku’s eyes closed partway as he tried to think on that. “But I’m not really talented in anything—ow!”
“Everyone’s talented in something,” Mister Kaburagi said, after he lightly tapped his clipboard against Izuku’s head and gave him a reassuring smile. “There’s something that you’ve worked on because it was something you loved to do, right?”
“I like observing heroes and taking down notes,” he offered.
“Then simply hone and dedicate that towards being a hero as well,” the veteran hero continued. “It’s not something I can tell you how to do, but you’ll figure it out somehow. Just use everything at your disposal to save the lives of those in need of help, understand?”
“Understood,” Izuku said.
With that said, Mister Kaburagi took a look at his rather large wrist-watch. “Then keep resting up for another ten minutes. After that, we’re correcting your running on the concrete path. Leave your shoes behind.”
Inko Midoriya stared in slight surprise as Izuku used the thin chopsticks to scoop up every last grain of rice in his bowl, to the point that the sound of chopsticks scraping ceramic filled the air. Her son hadn’t exactly been the most reserved when it came to eating, but it was the first time she had seen him so ravenous. He finished the bowl in record time and then asked her for another one.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you so hungry, Izuku,” she said, filling the bowl again with a smile. “Then again, you are a growing boy.”
“I’ve been working out more so that I can apply to U.A. in two years,” he said. “I had to do a lot of running in the park today, and I’m going to have to start building up my muscles. I’ll probably have to start putting my allowance towards getting weights too.”
“Is that so?” Inko’s smile fractured a bit as she handed back the bowl. It went unnoticed as he began to eat again with the same zeal as before.
She could still recall that day with the doctor and the night that came afterwards. Her son had been told that he didn’t have a Quirk, despite the fact that she and her husband had both had Quirks that had been passed down from their families.
When Izuku had been born, Inko and her husband had wondered which of their gifts he would inherit. While telekinesis over small objects and breathing fire weren’t amazing by most standards, there were a lot of risks involved for a child. Doubly so if he had somehow gotten a power from them both by chance—thermal movement could cause no shortage of problems.
It was good that he had no other medical complications, but being born without a Quirk was a rarity these days; in fact it was mostly the older generation that lacked them among the 80%. If everyone having a Quirk was “healthy” for lack of a better term… then what did it say for him not to have one?
Inko could only imagine the teasing that he would go through at his age for not having one, especially when all his friends had them. It would make him stand out from the others, but she was hopeful that as he got older it wouldn’t matter.
Not all careers were reliant on Quirks, since they were too varied for that. He could be a fireman, or a police officer, or even a salary-man. But…then he asked if he could be a hero like All Might, a figure who he admired above all else.
At that moment, her grief and guilt all came rushing out of her and tears flooded from her face. She apologized to Izuku over and over again, sorry that the gift that was supposed to be passed from parent to child was nowhere to be found.
Since then the stress hadn’t been good on her or the marriage. But Izuku seemingly bounced back. That was what mattered.
So Inko forced her smile back into place and continued eating her with child.
After dinner was over, Izuku returned to his room to finish his homework. It proved a bit challenging with how his legs were throbbing. They were still sore from all the running, but he supposed there would be no gain without pain.
He recalled Mister Kaburagi’s words from earlier as he turned on the computer. If he does have a talent then it would be his observation skills when it came to heroes. He just needed to think about how to apply to heroics on his end and refine that to the utmost limit of his ability. The most obvious step would be to relate it to what he was doing at the moment—movements.
Opening the drawer of the table that his computer sat upon, he pulled out the other notebooks that he had compiled over the years. There wasn’t much order to it since he began jotting down what he noticed about the heroes whenever he could, so it took him a minute to flip through the different pages before he drafted a list of heroes to look for videos online—specifically heroes who had a focus on agility.
If he noticed a pattern between movements then he could learn to emulate them, as long as their Quirk didn’t bolster that specific power to a higher degree than what he was capable of. Even if he couldn’t emulate them, he could at least recognize them should the need arise.
Observe everything, he thought to himself. No detail is meaningless, no matter how small.
Those would become words he’d live by from that night on.
Kotetsu leaned forward at the table meant for two as he basked in the subdued atmosphere and dimmed light of the bar that doubled as a Jazz club. He was awaiting an old friend, having already ordered their drinks. He closed his eyes to just listen to the soft music playing until he heard her take a seat.
“You’ll fall asleep if you close your eyes for long in a place like this, Old Man” the familiar voice said.
“I’ll have you know I’m still spry for a man of my advanced years,” Kotetsu said as he opened his eyes. Sitting opposite him was Karina Lyle, a former hero-turned-music teacher. She’d aged gracefully over the decades, with her light brown hair now white to match that of her children and grandchildren, who inherited the color from her late husband and their powers from her. Every so often they met like this, sometimes with Nathan. “I’m in peak health in fact.”
“Is that right?” She smiled just slightly enough to say that she knew something. “Then why did Kaede tell me that your doctor contacted her about how you’ve been showing signs of nutrient deficiency?”
He grimaced lightly. “I just need more Vitamin E and C. It’s nothing she needs to worry about.”
“You should take better care of yourself, Old Man,” she said with a note of kind mirth in her voice. “Kaede worries about you living alone as is. You rejected her offer to move in again, didn’t you?”
“Mmm…” She was a good girl, wanting to look after her father after all the times he couldn’t be there for her growing up. But he didn’t want to intrude in her life to that extent. “No sense in burdening her by forcing her to look after an old-timer like me. Not when I can look after myself.”
She didn’t press him further on it. “Just don’t forget about Tomoe-chan’s piano performance. Her sister and brother are all coming, as well as her nephews. It’ll be a family event and Kaede wants her grandfather to be there too.”
“I have it marked on my calendar.” It was still hard to believe his little girl had little girls of her own, one of whom had twin boys. Oh how time flew. Clearing his throat, Kotetsu’s voice lowered to a more serious tone. “How have things been going with your daughter and grandchildren? Have you had any luck?”
Karina froze for a moment. Then her lips slowly pursed into a slight frown and she gently shook her head. “She still hasn’t forgiven herself for what she did to Shouto. And he hasn’t visited her once since then, despite my efforts. As for the legal issues… no, it’s not going well.”
Her hands balled into fists on the table so tightly that they were shaking. She had been trying to gain custody of her grandchildren after her daughter’s marriage turned sour. But the lawyers were very blunt about the hurdles she would face trying to take custody away from their father.
Enji Todoroki had both his reputation and legal team as armor. Her word against the Number 2 Ranked Hero would be a losing battle and bring her daughter’s actions to light, a mistake that she made in a moment of weakness. Plus, she was trying to keep things quiet to spare the children from any more exposure than necessary—it would only make things worse to no avail, and they didn’t need that.
Kotetsu placed his hands over hers. She looked up and met his eyes. “Getting angry won’t help the situation. Just do what you can for all of them right now. An opportunity will surface in time.”
The shaking stopped as she took a deep breath and then put on a soft, if fragile smile, just for him. “Let’s drop the unpleasant topics for now and talk about something else.” She slipped her hands from beneath his and reached for her glass. “How have you been keeping yourself busy these days?”
He leaned back at the question and gave her a wry smile. “I met an interesting kid that asked me to teach him how to be a hero, despite not having a Quirk. He managed to convince me to help him shape up, so I spend most of my days doing that instead of staying cooped up in my room.”
“He must be quite the child then,” Karina said, grabbing the neck of her glass with one hand and holding it up. “If it’s something you’ve decided then I’m sure you’ve thought it out as much as you could have. Just don’t push yourself too hard. I remember Kaede mentioning you threw your back out playing with your nephews a few years ago.”
Kotetsu grumbled under his breath at that. But he didn’t dispute it. The twins had been the ones to get Kaede’s ability from their father, to copy different powers for a limited amount of time—one could copy Emitter powers and the other could use Transformations.
He quickly shifted the conversation to a different set of topics and, like that, the two former heroes spent the night catching up with one another….
[-CHAPTER 2 END-]
Series Review – RWBY Volume 1
Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Roosterteeth
What exactly makes an anime? Despite the variety of genres and visual styles, anime remains an all-encompassing classification. The next three videos will focus on a series that has created an endless debate on what is and is not an anime. It is obviously heavily inspired by the magical girl genre as well as the powered high school genre. One point keeps being brought up, it’s not an anime because it was not made in Japan. To me, it is a similar argument as the difference between whiskey and scotch. At the broadest level the difference is merely because of geography. Of course, the differences become greater the deeper you go, but it doesn’t really mean anything in the end. It might not be an anime on a technicality, but I will treat this show as I treat any other series. Of course…
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Begin Again 10-05
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
“Tell me something. When exactly did you decide to turn traitor and destroy our entire civilization?”
Rebecca Jameson, all less than five feet of her, stared with wide eyes at the figure looming over her. Which, to be honest, was really only possible because of her own diminutive form. Wyatt’s (of course it was Wyatt) scrawny figure didn’t really tend to do much in the way of looming most of the time.
“No answer, huh?” the enthusiastic security guard that happened to be my half-brother pushed on in the face of the girl’s utterly bewildered stare. “Didn’t expect old Wyatt to catch onto you so quick, did ya?”
It was the end of dinner that evening. Columbus, Shiori, and Sean were all sitting with me on one side of the cafeteria, finishing up dessert. All of us were watching the action going on two tables away.
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June 2016 Sugar Bits Update 1
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Calling Card (Psyren x FSN -Nasuverse): Arc 1 – Chapter 2
The moment I touch it and feel the glossy texture covering the surface, I can’t deny it’s real. The dream had been real. That… white-thing and its words were real. What did I get myself into?
I pick up the card and turn it over, expecting to see the same number as before. Instead, there’s a list of rules to follow:
1.) Those that possess this card and traverse time are known as “Drifters”.
2.) Those that still have a value on their card are known as “Active Drifters”. It is best for Active Drifters to keep their cards on them at all times.
3.) Active Drifters are required to respond in a set amount of time if they hear the ringing in their heads. The intensity determines the urgency, and failure to respond in time will lead to death.
4.) Active Drifters that die in the future have their bodies die in the present.
5.) Drifters that attempt to speak of matters directly related to their mission to non-Drifters will be judged by Nemesis Q to deem if they are allowed to. Any further attempt after the initial warning will be considered a violation and lead to instant death.
6.) Drifters are still bound by the rules, even if their value is used up.
7.) Rules may be changed over the course of time.
Who came up with these rules? How is it even possible to travel through time?
Damn it, I need to get this to Emiya. But if it was a violation of the rules then would I really die? Maybe I can just slip it into his bag at school? Before I can think on it further, a soft rapping noise comes from the door.
A softer voice follows. “Nii-san, are you awake?”
“Yeah.” I put the card under my pillow as Sakura takes that as a cue to stick her head inside of the room. I see she’s dressed to go to Emiya’s place already. “You’re heading to that idiot’s place this morning?”
She nods. Good. Then I can give her the card to hand to that idiot and have her tell him to look it over carefully.
I reach under the pillow to pull out the card. But the moment the words begin to come out of my mouth, my mind and body freezes in terror. The thing-in-white is standing there now, right in front of my eyes, like a semi-transparent ghost.
“Nii-san?” Sakura’s head tilts as she looks at me. “Are you okay?”
It’s standing right in front of her, yet she doesn’t notice it. Can she not see it?
The white-thing raises a finger. It waves it back and forth. Then the barbed wires around my brain and heart shift, digging the points that had settled into place deeper into them.
“Nnnghhh!” I release the card to hold my hands over my head and heart, fingers digging into them as though to pull out the wires. They’re hurting me in warning, telling me that death is the result of what I plan on doing.
Sakura enters the room and stops by my side at the sight of my pained face as they tighten further. “Nii-san, are you okay?”
I lie to her. “…I’m fine. It’s just heartburn from the restaurant.”
The white-thing lowers its finger. The pain stops. Then it vanishes, its message delivered well-enough.
I breathe easier once it disappears. But my fear remains. How did it get into my room? Didn’t the Old Worm have some protections into place around the manor?
Sakura reaches out and touches my head, feeling the sweat that dotted it from the fear.
I brush her hand away. I couldn’t be sure if it judged giving her the card, speaking to her about the card, or having her deliver the card was a violation, but it’s safe to say that those options are off the table. She’s useless to me here. “I’m fine. Just leave me alone and go to that idiot’s place.”
Sakura looks like she wants to say something again, but falters when our eyes meet. She merely nods silently and then walks out of the room. The door closes softly behind her.
The hurt look on her face at the end makes my stomach churn, like I’ve kicked a puppy. But I have to be careful, even if it means not putting up with her misplaced gratitude. I can’t go into this blindly. I don’t want to die for someone else’s sake like this after everything—especially not because I decided to try and help someone else for once.
…I need to find Ayako. She has to be a Drifter since she has a card as well. She’s the only person I can be certain has one, so I need to find her and have her explain everything to me.
Ayako isn’t on the school grounds by the time the morning session of the Archery Club is about to end. Not only that, but the Student President isn’t here either. The card feels heavy in my pocket when I think on how the connection couldn’t be more blatant.
Then Ayako’s brother forcefully opens the door to the Club Captain’s room. He’s still in his school clothes, so I assume he just arrived. Without any preamble, he marches over, grabs me by my lapels, and shoves me into a wall.
The impact causes several of the pictures and certificates to fall to the ground as he yells, “Where’s my sister!”
“That’s what I want to know!”I try to push him, but apparently monstrous strength runs in their family. “What are you blaming me for!?”
“She didn’t say a word when we went home last night because of whatever you said to her. Then she was gone by the time I woke up. What did you tell her?”
“Nothing that would have done that,” I tell him. “Now let me go!”
He doesn’t. Instead, he pushes me against the wall even harder and the back of my head feels the sting of it. That’s when a firm hand grasps his right wrist and pulls it away from me.
It’s Emiya. He’s standing there in his school uniform, with Sakura in the doorway. He must’ve been coming to see her (or she told him about this morning) when the commotion caught his ears, and now he’s playing the hero always. Not that I’m complaining this time.
“That’s enough,” he says. “Picking a fight based on assumptions doesn’t solve anything.”
Ayako’s brother lets me go in order to pull himself free of Emiya. He doesn’t get free even with both hands. Not until Emiya willingly loosens his grip of steel.
Then Sakura steps just past the frame of the door. She still has that look on her face from this morning, but this time it’s directed towards him. He looks away from her and then storms out of the range itself.
I rub the back of my head. “Honestly, he just comes in and blames me for it without any proof….”
“Shinji.” I turn my attention towards Emiya when I hear the undertone of sharpness in his voice. The last time I heard it was months ago, but I remember it as clearly as I do the piercing look he’s giving me now. “Do you know what’s happened to her?”
I catch the underlying inquiry. He’s not asking ‘Do you know what’s happened?’ but ‘Did you do something to her?’ instead. I should’ve expected that much.
My teeth grit as fire rises in my chest. “I don’t! The talk I had with her was about her slacking off in getting Sakura into shape to take over the club. She said that she was going to talk about it with Fujimura today before she ran out. That’s all!”
His eyes make it clear that he doubts me, despite being someone who usually believes whatever he’s told. He remembers what happens with Rider and the lie I told him back then about Ayako. But he doesn’t say anything with Sakura there. He still believes that she’s not involved in this side of the world.
I temper the fire inside my chest, speaking softer this time. “It’s the truth… I wouldn’t do anything to her after she visited me in the hospital. I’ve been different since then. You’ve seen that much, haven’t you?”
I can tell he wants to believe it when his expression softens slightly. But doubt is still there. The past doesn’t go away. Whether or not he’s forgiven me for what I did back then, he hasn’t forgotten it.
He puts his hands into his pockets. “Just to be safe, I’ll ask Fuji-nee if she’s heard from her, or if her parents have called in her absence. If she has gone missing, we should start looking into it. Keep an ear out in case you hear something.”
I struggle not to pull out the card in my pocket and hand it over as he turns to leave. This is the perfect chance, but I remember the pain and warning a few hours ago. I can’t tell him about the card, the white-thing, or the message I heard….
But, if I recall what the rules on the card were, then I might be able to give him something else to work with. “Try asking the Student President.”
He turns back to me at that.
“The Student President might know something,” I explain, crossing my arms. “He’s been hanging out with her in their free time from what I’ve learned, which is a bit off since he shies away from women. I was going to ask him if he knew why she was so tired all the time myself today, but he hasn’t shown himself. When you consider he’s normally one of the first ones through the gate in the morning, and the fact that they’re both missing at the same time….”
Emiya regards me for a moment. Then he nods in silent agreement before heading back out of the range. He’d look into that much.
That left me alone with Sakura like this morning. Only this time the white-thing doesn’t appear to finish what it started. It looks like my guess is on the money. It’ll only appear when directly related to the matter of the cards and the future.
I notice Sakura staring at me for a moment. Did she doubt me too now? It wouldn’t surprise me. She’s been the main victim when I was at my absolute worst. There’d be something wrong with her if she didn’t have doubts.
“I’m trying to be different, Sakura,” I tell her. “I won’t go back to how I was. Not to you or him or Ayako. I promise.”
Her eyes soften, and a small smile forms across her face. “I know, Nii-san.”
That’s when my head starts ringing.
No. Ringing is too soft a word. It’s more like a piercing shriek that drags the tip of a dagger across my brain.
The point digs into the brain matter, radiating pain instead of blood. It takes away my breath, takes away the ground, and leaves me staggering as the world tilts beneath me.
Sakura reaches over to catch me. “Nii-san!?”
I break her hold on me and lean against the wall. At least I think it’s the wall—no, I’ve slid down the wall. I’m on the floor, barely upright with my back against the vertical surface as Sakura looks down at me.
My eyes catch crimson staining her outfit where my head had been briefly. I reach up to feel something wet coming down from my nose. Blood stains my fingers when I pull back.
The sound intensifies again. A cry feels like it escapes my mouth. Sakura’s mouth moves as well, but no words can be heard over the noise.
I can’t think straight like this. It feels like if the pain gets any worse my brain will explode too. I need make the call or else I’ll die, but I can’t with Sakura here.
I feel my mouth move and hope that I’ve told her to go get the nurse. She looks uncertain for a moment. Then she gathers herself and runs out the club room to do so. Good. That buys me a few minutes.
I pull out my phone. The number is still saved in the Contact’s list, so I have to assume that’s the one to call. Before my brain splits open from the pain, I press the Call button when the Psyren number is highlighted.
The white-thing abruptly appears in front of me. It leans down like a bird scouring the ground for a worm, peering at my downed form with its head craned. Almost like it’s judging me. Its head nods and it reaches down and digs its talons into my brain—into my soul.
Then it pulls.
The ringing stops. My head clears. My eyes stare up at the ashen, cloud-covered sky.
So this is the future.
Begin Again 10-04
Spanish Werewolf Uncle… okay.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
(Please note that there was another special commissioned mini-interlude released yesterday. If you missed it, click the previous chapter link above to read it.)
“Oh man, if that’s the plan we’re going with, I hope you’ve got some clothes you don’t mind losing.”
It was the next day, and I was out on the grounds with Sean. We were both drinking ice water while we played with Vulcan. The boy was shaking his head at me while he continued. “Cuz I’ve smelled that stuff, and it ain’t gonna come out without some help.” He raised his glass to me before taking sip as ice cubes clinged together.
“And getting help from the staff would mean admitting I was there,” I confirmed. “Don’t worry, Sands made that part really clear. Unfortunately, she also said it’s the best idea she’s got, and I don’t have a better one.” Shrugging, I…
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Mini-Interlude 2 – Avalon
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
(The following is another mini-interlude. For information about what that is and how they are commissioned, please see the mini-interlude section of the donations page here)
“I miss the tree.”
Avalon Sinclaire stood on the balcony of her adopted mother’s apartment, looking out over the jungle in the distance. Her voice was soft, barely loud enough to reach her own ears, let alone anyone else’s.
And yet, as she finished whispering, the young woman heard movement behind her. Gaia stepped out onto the balcony as well, putting her hands down to lean against it while casting her own gaze out into the dense foliage. “It must take some time to grow accustomed to living among such heights. I’m not entirely certain that I could adjust to living in a city built at the top of a tree.” Turning her head slightly toward Avalon, she added in a…
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June 2016 Grim Tales Update 3
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/so-hungry-im-starting-to-see-things/#sthash.RpoA4yB9.dpuf
June 2016 Grim Tales Update 2
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/ghost-to-coast/#sthash.cyURmMnz.dpuf
Begin Again 10-03
Is it me or does she have an easier time making friends with people she doesn’t know she’s related to?
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
(Please note that there was a special, commissioned mini-interlude a couple days ago. If you missed it, click the previous chapter link above to read it, as well as an explanation for what exactly it is. This note and the one on the mini-interlude itself will both be removed after about a week.)
“Can anyone tell me when the unification of Germany officially took place?” Professor Dare spoke while standing beside her pristine white board. Her eyes moved over the class, and I saw the small smile cross her face as she focused on the single hand that was in the air. “Besides Miss Moon, that is.”
Two seats in front of me and one over, Vanessa lowered her hand. As usual, it had shot into the air the very instant the professor (almost any professor really, not just this one) finished her question. It had gotten to…
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Mini-Interlude 1 – Shiori and Columbus
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
Ahem. What is this, exactly? Well, it’s a bit of an experiment that I’m attempting in response to a specific reader request. The following is not a full chapter. The idea is that any reader may at any time commission a sort of ‘mini-interlude’ consisting of a scene or interaction or whatnot which would normally remain ‘off screen.’ In this case, the request was to see the conversation between Shiori and Columbus when she tells him the truth about herself. In the future, that can be any particular scene as long as that scene won’t end up spoiling future plot developments (for example, you can’t request to see a scene of poor Professor Pericles being murdered just to find out who did the deed). Basically think of these scenes as being stuff that fleshes out other characters. They’re scenes that provide an actual detailed look at conversations and…
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Series Review – Grimgar of Fantasy & Ash
Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of A-1 Pictures
I am beginning to get tired of the virtual-MMO trope just because of the sheer number of shows that use this setting. It’s one of the reasons that I have not watched the current run of Re: Zero even though I know that I’ll probably like it. So this is a long way of saying that this will be my last virtual-MMO anime review for a significant length of time. However, my attitudes toward the genre have not dampened my enjoyment of the show that I am reviewing this week. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash turned out to be a highly enjoyable show that had a slightly different take on the genre. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.
Grimgar follows a group of people as they try to adapt and survive in a fantasy world. Scores and…
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Begin Again 10-02
You’d think they’d have some sort of record of what powers you gained from certain Alters, like a beast index in videogames.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
Hard as it was to believe, even after everything that had happened, it was only around noon when we got back to Crossroads. Something about that seemed absurd. We’d visited another world, befriended an alien race, helped them prevent their own genocide, invaded a fortress stronghold, and discovered part of the secret behind the Bystander Effect itself. And now, after all of that, it was just barely lunchtime?
Apparently Gaia had covered for us by saying that she was going to be taking us on a little field trip. I wasn’t sure how many details she provided, but in the end what it amounted to was that we weren’t in trouble for missing classes. She also made sure we had the rest of the day off to recuperate. Which was good, because even with my enhanced stamina, I was wiped by that point. I ended up crashing hard…
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June 2016 PPGD Update 1
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/can-dreams-avoid-electric-sleep/#sthash.ZcFFWaTZ.dpuf
June 2016 Grim Tales Update 1
Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at: http://snafu-comics.com/swmcomic/got-that-grinning-green/#sthash.OdklJjeO.dpuf
Tiger & Might – Chapter 1
Tiger & Might – Chapter 1: I’m Going To Be A Hero
Izuku Midoriya sucked in a sharp breath of air as he gently prodded his forearm with the tip of his ninth notebook on hero facts. It was bruised, courtesy of Katsuki Bakugo. That was the price he’d paid for just pointing out that he should be more careful with his Quirk. All it would take was someone getting seriously hurt because of it and his goal of being a hero would go up in flames from a black-mark on his records.
They’d both wanted to be heroes as children, and it was one of the only careers that allowed for the use of Quirks like his in public—being able to generate explosions from his sweat had very limited uses outside of combat. As prideful and egotistical as Katsuki had gotten after getting his powers, Izuku still didn’t want him to lose his chances of being a hero because it.
If he did, then there was no telling how badly he’d take it.
Unfortunately, Katsuki’s temper was as explosive as his Quirk. Not only had he’d hit him in the arm hard enough to knock him onto the ground for it, but he’d told him that he was the last person on the planet who had to right to tell him that. After all, without a Quirk what could he do?
As he walked the solitary path through the park, a winding stretch of concrete surrounded on both sides by a sea of viridian-green grass, Izuku’s mind drifted back to that day when the doctor said that he would never get his Quirk. He had the extra joint in his toe that indicated that he didn’t likely have the capacity for powers like Quirk-users after the Third generation, and none of his family had the luminescent glow present when they used their powers to show they had a heritage power that might have a delayed awakening.
Out of all the people he knew, he was Quirk-less. He was the only one who wasn’t special. He was the only one who was worthless, like Katsuki said.
The thought made his body shake as he tried to hold back the tears. He could still remember his mother crying that day, apologizing for bringing him into this world without a gift. Without a means to be a hero like All Might—the man who inspired him to become one himself.
Those weren’t the words I wanted to hear, Izuku thought as he clamped his eyes shut to stop the stinging tears and clenched his teeth. Mom, those weren’t the words I wanted to hear.
It was a moment of weakness that moved his arm, spurred on by the lingering resentment of his mother’s tearful apologies and the taunting of his oldest friend-turned-bully. Without a thought, Izuku flung the notebook—the culmination of his efforts at becoming a hero, filled with facts and details about others heroes—as far as he could away. No sooner than he had done so did he regret doubting his dream even for a moment, despite what he told himself.
It was only compounded when he heard the sound of someone letting out a surprised sound. Izuku’s eyes snapped open to see that he had accidentally hit an older gentleman. He was dressed in a white vest and black pants, with gray hair and a goatee to match that was split down the middle.
“Now what’s this…?” the older man wondered aloud as his aged fingers rubbed his head. The black-and-white newsy cap that had presumably been on it was on the ground. In his other hand was the notebook, which he turned back-and-forth.
“I’m so sorry!” Izuku said as he ran over and picked up the hat. Frantic fingers dusted it off as he apologized over and over, chastising himself inwardly for doing that. “I’m really sorry! I didn’t know you were there!”
“No harm done. Everyone makes mistakes.” The man placed the hat upon his head before opening the notebook and taking a look inside. “You’ve got an eye for details. You must really like heroes huh?”
“I do….” His right hand nervously rubbed his left forearm. “I wanted to be one when I got older… but I can’t.”
“Oh?” The older man closed the notebook and titled his hat up with the edge, revealing pale-golden eyes that had lost their luster due to age. “And why’s that?”
Izuku looked down to the ground as he spoke. “I don’t… have a Quirk.”
A moment of silence passed between them at that. It was filled by the ambient sounds of the rustling grass that swayed with the passing breeze. Then the man laughed softly, a gentle rumble in his throat from it.
“It’s not that funny…” Izuku mumbled when he felt a light tap on his head. He looked up to see the older man was handing back his notebook with a gentle smile.
“Since when does having powers determine if you’re a hero or not?” he asked the younger boy. “The powers are only a tool that makes the job easier. They don’t define what it means to be a hero.”
“Do… do you really think that?” Izuku asked cautiously as he accepted his notebook back. There was a fleeting feeling of hope in his chest. Even if they were the words of a stranger, they had been among the first that weren’t belittling him or decrying it as impossible.
“Are powers really what the word ‘Hero’ has boiled down to today?” The older man ruminated as he dug into his pocket. “Back in my day, things were different. Powers didn’t define you, but the values that you upheld them with. Even when my powers began to decline, I remained a hero until the end.”
His words left Izuku wondering just how old the man was. He was definitely older than his mother, so he couldn’t be part of the Fourth generation of Quirk-users. And if he was talking about “power-decline”, that was a condition that usually happened to the First and Second generation Quirk-users, with a scant few cases in the descendants who inherited their powers. That made him in his mid-60s… or older.
“Ah, here we are.” Aged fingers pulled out a card of some kind and held it out for him to take. “Here you go.”
Izuku took it cautiously and took note of the details on the card. The picture had a man in a white and blue costume and the words ‘Wild Tiger’ on it. On the back were stats and a brief summary of him. “I don’t think I’ve heard of this hero before.”
“Then it gives you something to look up later and add to your notes.” The old man gave him a pat on the shoulder and then started walking down the path. “Do your best, kid.”
Izuku watched the older man depart down the path before looking back to the card. He… supposed it couldn’t hurt to look it up, could it? It wasn’t like he had anything else to do at the moment.
Plus, the man’s words gave him a fleeting feeling of hope that he wanted to hold onto.
It turned out that the reason he hadn’t heard of Wild Tiger was because he was a hero from just after the Second generation of Quirk-users were born, over half-a-century ago. Back then powers weren’t commonplace among the population. Those who had them were called NEXTs—Noted Entities with eXtraordinary Talents.
It was only after the Third generation that more people started developing powers, whereupon the mutation found in the left-toe became clear. Legislation passed and, rather than the term NEXT being used, they were simply listed as “Quirks”. The fact that the card was in near-mint condition meant the old man had obviously cared for it over that time period.
Then again, watching the vintage footage of the man standing in his broken suit as the mind-manipulator threatened a girl, made it clear why. Though he had drastically shrunken due to his advanced age, without a doubt the older man he had run across was Wild Tiger himself back when he was in his prime. He was Kotetsu T. Kaburagi, a veteran hero of Sternbild City.
Back then heroes were the stars of a reality television series program. They were somewhat famous until roughly two years after the revelation that the person who established the system had been orchestrating crimes to bolster its popularity. Sternbild City had been stricken by a massive tidal wave and sank into the sea shortly around that time, with the death-count in the tens of thousands.
Wild Tiger, the ‘Crusher for Justice,’ was quoted stating that saving lives above all else was the duty of the hero. To that end, he ultimately drove the first sponsor he had bankrupt. Yet, despite being seen as a laughingstock, framed for murder, chased down by his friends, and becoming the first public case of “power-decline” to be recorded after he’d been reduced to nothing but a minute, he’d continued to dedicate himself to being a hero.
He proudly declared he would do so even if his powers died out entirely.
If that was the case… then, could he teach Izuku how to be a hero too?
The thought left him shaking in anticipation and hope. If someone who lost his power could continue to be a hero until the collapse of the previous hero system, then could someone who was Quirk-less be a hero? He had to know.
So Izuku made up his mind to ask him as soon as possible.
Since Izuku didn’t know how to find the veteran hero, he went back to the park every day. Arriving at the same time each day, he waited for hours on end in the hopes that he visited it again. It was only after a week that they crossed paths again.
“Oh, if it isn’t the boy from last week,” Mister Kaburagi said jovially as he approached. “How have you been…”
“Izuku Midoriya,” he offered as he brushed his palms against his pants. His heart was starting to pound from how nervous he was now, leaving them sweaty as a result. “You were the hero on that card you gave me, weren’t you? Wild Tiger of Sternbild City?”
The older man nodded. “Been decades since someone’s called me that, but you guessed it. I guess that means you looked me up after all.”
“Yes, I did.” His body went rigid as he stood up straight, chest out from steeling himself. “I went over all the footage I could find of you and the other heroes of Sternbild. I was moved by your comments on being a hero and I wanted to know if….”
He took a deep breath and then bowed his head in supplication. “I was hoping you could teach me how to be a hero despite not having a Quirk!”
The veteran hero blinked in mild surprise silently for a moment. Then he rubbed his chin in thought before looking around. His eyes came to a stop on a nearby bench and he gestured to it.
“Let’s sit down for a bit,” he said. “I’m not as spry as I used to be, and this seems like it could be a long talk.”
Izuku followed him over to the bench. The wood creaked as he sat down with his hands in his laps. Mister Kaburagi sighed as he sat down next to him and then cleared his throat.
“Now then,” he started. “Why do you want to be a hero? When did you make that decision?”
He took a moment to gather his thoughts, while the older man simply sat there patiently. It was as if he had all of the time in the world. “When I was a little boy, there was a video that I loved to watch online. It was All Might’s debut to the world, where he saved over a hundred people. I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to be a hero just like him.”
“What was it about him that made you come to that conclusion?” he asked.
“It was how cool he looked,” Izuku explained. “Going through the fire without fear and a smile on his face, he helped others without worrying what would happen to himself. I told myself that once I got my Quirk, I was just going to be just like him. Then I learned that I wouldn’t and…”
Mister Kaburagi lowered his hat over his eyes as Izuku trailed off. “Mmm…” A low rumble bubbled in his throat before he exhaled and spoke. “Honestly, the issue isn’t whether or not I can train you to be a hero. It’s whether or not you’re trying to be one for the right reason. If you’re willing to hear an old man’s woes for a bit, let me tell you a story?”
Izuku nodded silently and shifted his posture slightly forward, to listen better.
“When I was 10, back when I couldn’t control my powers properly and hated them, a hero once told me that my powers existed to help others,” Mister Kaburagi said. “As the years went by, I came to believe that and thought the best way I could do that was by becoming a hero. The ‘Crusher for Justice’ they called me, because if it meant saving lives I would crush whatever was in my way.”
That much Izuku knew. Of all of the heroes, he had the highest overall property damage total. It literally drove his former sponsor into bankruptcy.
“As time went on, the point-system and sponsorships made it so that the act of being a hero became a spectacle.” A frown appeared on his face at the last word, as if he found it disdainful. “It devolved to a competition among them when they should be focusing on saving lives, and I found myself in a place where my ideals weren’t supported. I wasn’t cool by any stretch, but I still loved the fact that I could be a hero and couldn’t see myself doing anything else….”
He looked up from the grass ahead as he trailed off, towards the sky above. “However, it had a price. My duties as a hero left me unable to witness my wife’s final moments. My daughter grew distant from me because I couldn’t always be there for her. And then, despite our best efforts, Sternbild sank beneath the waves and took just about everyone with it—including most of my friends.”
As he spoke, Izuku noticed he looked so much older than he had before. Or rather, he looked his actual age. The wrinkles become more pronounced, as if his very flesh was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to fall from the bone and collapse.
“To be a hero, I had to give up so much and spent a long time never being respected for it,” he admitted. “It stressed my relationship with my family, it put a strain on my body, and it cost me time that I could never get back. And, in the end, I lost my city and friends whom I miss to this day.”
“I’m… I’m so sorry to hear that,” Izuku said to him, regretting asking him now. The fact that he hadn’t been active after Sternbild City fell could have just as easily have been grief as it was that the former system collapsed. “I had no idea you went through so much when I asked you.”
The veteran hero shook his head slightly. “The thing is, my story isn’t likely to be very special. The times have changed and I may not be a part of the hero community anymore, but I’m sure that the others who have taken that role have also suffered something similar as a result. They put themselves on the line against dangers that others shouldn’t have to face, being the first ones to respond and likely the first ones to die. After hearing all of that, do you still want to be a hero, despite being powerless?”
Izuku looked away as the pale-golden eyes fell onto his green pair. They were deeply tied into the question that was asked, and he didn’t want to show him any doubt or hesitation. Despite the fact that it crawled up his spine the more he listened to him.
“If it’s just helping people, then you would probably do well as a Police Officer or Investigator,” the older man said. “For someone without a Quirk suited to heroics, it’s an option that’s not appreciated nearly enough but necessary. Investigation is often the key to solving cases that can’t be stopped with brute force.”
There was a tense, prolonged period of absolute silence between them as Izuku actually thought about it. Was he really willing to die for this? Was he willing to risk watching as other heroes died next to him, allies and comrades? Even without anything special to back up his wishes, would he still be able to throw himself into danger?
“…When I think about it, being a Police Officer would be a more realistic thing for me,” he admitted after he’d gathered his thoughts a minute later. It would be somewhat safer since when a villain ran amok it was the heroes who rushed into the fray before they did. And since Quirks weren’t allowed to be used as a weapon, he would be on even-grounds with everyone else. “In fact, I could probably do well in that sort of field. My mother would certainly be happier that way.”
Mister Kaburagi closed his eyes and nodded his head sagely. “That would probably be for the best—”
“However, I don’t want to settle for that,” Izuku abruptly added, jumping up to his feet. “Somehow, deep inside, I know that if I don’t pursue my dream of being a hero… if I simply took the closest thing to it, I would regret it.”
That was the crux of it. Izuku didn’t want to simply stand back and say, ‘we need to wait until the heroes arrive’ when someone needed help right away. He didn’t want to stand back and watch as others put their lives on the line first when he could do the same. He wanted to be at the very front to ensure that he could do everything in his power from the start.
“Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a hero,” he continued, looking down to his palms. “Even when the doctor told me I wasn’t likely going to develop a Quirk. Even when my mother cried when I asked her if I could still be a hero without one. Even when my classmates mocked me for aiming so high when there was nothing special about me. I…”
His fists clenched and looked straight into the pale-golden eyes, unflinching in his resolve this time. “I wanted to be just like All Might, a hero who arrives first to help save lives and inspire others with a smile. I wanted to be a hero because it’s the best way I can think of to save lives, even if people laugh at me for trying when I don’t have a Quirk. Even if they say I can’t do it, even if they mock me for chasing something so distant, I won’t waver. I want—no, I’m going to be a hero!”
He was going to become one, without a doubt. He would stake his pride, his dreams, and even his life on it.
“I’m going to be a hero,” he said again. No, not ‘said.’ That was too soft a word.
He declared his intention once more. “I’m going to be a hero, and I’m going to be the best one I can. That’s why I came here every week and waited to find you again. That’s why I’m standing here now. I want you to—ow!”
The aged hero had cut-off his decree with a flick to his forehead. “That’s enough,” he said, a soft smile pinching his lips. “If you had said ‘yes’ right away, I would have walked off right then because you weren’t taking it seriously. But the fact that you put so much conviction into your voice even after all of that means that you’ve decided to act despite the consequences. Nothing I could say would change your mind, so I may as well take responsibility.”
He perked up at that. “Does that mean you’ll train me?”
“I’ll give it a shot.” The older man rose to his feet and stretched his back. “I can’t promise that you’ll be an official hero, but I can train your body to where it’ll be able to match your determination. It’ll be harder than anything you’ve done to this point, and if you give up halfway then that’s that. Can you sacrifice your time and effort into training; even when there’s a chance you’ll still be unable to become a hero because you lack a power?”
“It’s not a sacrifice when that’s what I want,” he said. “It’s an investment towards my dream, nothing less.”
The answer brought a grin to the veteran hero’s face that made him seem a decade younger. “Good. Ambition is the key to success, and you’ve got plenty of that.” He reached up and rustled the boy’s hair. “We’ll start tomorrow, after I’ve come up with a training regimen. I won’t go easy on you either.”
Izuku beamed with a bright smile. “Yes, sir.”
Later that day, as he arrived at his small apartment home, Kotetsu Kaburagi felt a fire burning within him in a way that it hadn’t in a long-time now.
The resolve in the boy’s eyes, the way his voice grew tempered as he made his decree, and the way he kept his back straight and unwavering as he declared that he would be a hero without any doubt—even if for a mere moment, it had been enough to get his heart pounding in a way that it hadn’t in a few decades now.
He flicked on a switch and light illuminated the walls and shelves that housed photos of times that had long since passed. There were pictures of friends and comrades and family that he had outlived when Sternbild City ceased to exist. Remnants from the last time he truly felt alive, when he could help others without reservation.
Kotetsu hadn’t been completely honest with the kid about what happened to Sternbild City and its sinking. What happened wasn’t a natural disaster, but a manufactured one courtesy of Ouroboros. They had been the one to bring their city down, an alliance of villains backed by a NEXT capable of wielding multiple powers—and stealing them.
Nathan had been the only one who had seen it with his own eyes as the man stole their powers and killed them. He had also been stripped of his flames, describing it as having a part of his soul ripped out, and it was only by chance that he had been swept away by the rushing water. That was why he lived to tell about it while Kotetsu and Karina were handling the evacuation.
Finding Barnaby’s body floating in the water, empty and lifeless, had been the breaking point of Kotetsu. Something had died in him that day with his partner, and he’d settled for simply existing and growing old with his memories as the last things that he treasured along with his grandchildren and daughter. But now… he didn’t have to settle for simply housing the memories and values he held dear.
In the end, maybe the reason that he had decided to help the boy was because it was the last chance he would have to do something useful before he died. It was a final chance to impart his ideals on what it means to be a hero to the newest generation. It was a final chance to honor their memory beyond pictures, immortalizing it as a legacy itself.
Izuku Midoriya was going to be a hero with or without his help. That much was clear from the veteran’s point of view. But Kotetsu would ensure that he had all the tools possible to do it.
No matter what.
[-CHAPTER 1 END-]
Begin Again 10-01
I don’t know what’s more revealing this chapter: the sheer number of plots or the tangled family tree.
Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium
“Well,” Columbus announced a few minutes later as our group stood in the room we’d been directed wait in while Gaia sorted out a truce between Nicholas and the Meregan. “That just happened.”
“Yuuup,” I drawled absently, keeping my eyes on the opposite wall as I thought about what the man had said. My mind was reeling, hadn’t stopped reeling since Nicholas had finished his pronouncement.
Not that he’d had much more to explain beyond that, only that these Seosten had, for some unknown reason, created the effect that made most of humanity incapable of recognizing or remembering Alters.
After that very brief exchange, we continued standing there in the room in relative silence for another minute or two, each of us lost in our own thoughts. I couldn’t begin to understand what Sands, Scout, and Sean might be thinking. They’d been raised in Heretical society, so the…
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