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Deadlines. Oh, how Langston Parker hated deadlines. They always seemed to crawl toward him at first, picking their way leisurely through weeks of plotting and typing and revising and retyping; but then they suddenly screamed, “BOO!” and leaped out from behind his computer monitor to torment him through the final weeks leading up to publication. His editors loved setting them. He was all too adept at breaking them.


He leaned forward in his computer chair, squinting at the screen through eyes clouded from lack of sleep. Four empty mugs stood at easy reach around him, resting on stacks of discarded manuscript. Stacks that were growing taller with every passing hour when they should have been shrinking – the Day of Reckoning was a mere seventy-two hours away, and he still had fourteen chapters to write.


The bags under his eyes twitched, as though encouraging the lids above them to close. Parker blinked them into submission and rested his fingers on the keyboard once more. They spit out a sentence: “And, taking her warm hand in his, he brought it to his lips and kiss it…”


“Excuse me, Mr. Parker.”


He gasped and spun around. He hadn’t thought Margaret was home yet—


There was no one there.


“Please correct your error, Mr. Parker. It is irritating me, which is not something that you should desire to happen.”


He scanned the sentence and caught the mistake. Kissed, he typed instead. Then it occurred to him that a disembodied voice had just ordered him to fix a grammatical mistake, and that he had obeyed. This was not like him; hearing disembodied voices, that is.


“Thank you,” he said hesitantly, just in case.


As he had expected, there was no answer.


Parker turned back to the screen. His fingers flashed across the keyboard once more. “’Oh come away with me.’ she breathed. ’Come away and let me be the one you spend the rest of your life with.’”


“Now I am irritated. There are no less than three errors in those two sentences. If you do not find them, then I shall become angry. My anger is even less desirable than my irritation, Mr. Parker.”


Panicking slightly now, he stared at the sentences. “There’s nothing wrong,” he ventured. “They’re fine.”


There was a silence.


“Mr. Parker. Fix them now, or you are a dead man.”


Cold terror, spurred by caffeine, gripped Parker’s heart. He read and reread what he had written, searching frantically for the mistakes, but they eluded him. “Where are they?”
he cried.


“You have five minutes, Mr. Parker, or in the name of English grammar I will personally purge you from the annals of literary history.”


He leaped up and darted about the room, throwing open doors, flinging cushions aside, but could find no one. “Who are you?” he shouted. “Why are you doing this to me?”


“Those who cannot use proper English have no business writing in it. I would suggest that you correct those sentences now, by the way; you have only three
minutes left.”


Parker raced back to the computer and sat down, his hands trembling on the keys. But he still could see nothing wrong with what he had written. “Please,” he moaned. “Tell me what I did wrong.”


“If you cannot see it, then I do not see why I should correct you, only to allow you to poison the English language even further than you already have.”


“But – but I have editors for this!” he cried. “They’ll find it! They’re there so I don’t have to focus on this!”


There was a silence that carried in it more hostility than any words Langston Parker had ever heard.


“So.” The voice was cold. “That is how you see it. You don’t have to use proper grammar, because there is someone else to do it for you.” The air swelled, and the voice suddenly seemed to come from all around him, pressing against him like a tangible force. “It is imbeciles like you who are responsible for the sickening decline of one of the great tongues of the world! It is you who made English the laughingstock of the Indo-European language family! It is you who has destroyed the credibility of the written word as a preservative force! In a thousand years, one could read your book and believe through your idiocy that there is nothing wrong with a dangling participle! With a comma splice! With a split infinitive!


Parker cowered against this grammatical onslaught. “What’s an infinitive?”
he cried.


“Mr. Parker.” Now, every word was a blatant threat, filled with a righteous fury that seemed to emanate from the air itself. “I have been lenient until now, but that statement completely shredded any integrity as a writer you might have had in my eyes. You have a single minute to redeem yourself. If you do not manage to correct your errors in that time, then you will meet your final deadline. And no editor will be able to save you.”


Parker broke down and wept. “You’re an illusion!” he screamed. “You’re an exhaustion-induced hallucination! A waking dream! I don’t believe in you! I don’t believe in you!
I don’t-“


“Thirty seconds, Mr. Parker.”


“No! No!” He snatched at an empty mug and flung it at the monitor. It plunged through the screen in a shower of sparks. With a whirr, the computer died. “You can’t kill me because you don’t exist! There’s no way for you to really kill me!”


“Your time is up. Let it be known that the last sentence you ever spoke contained a split infinitive – a fitting epitaph for your miserable, word-butchering existence.”


The atmosphere seemed to gather at a single point beside the couch, thickening to give the voice a body: a blurred conglomeration of text, fonts weaving back and forth across a humanoid form that stepped forward menacingly. A very real sword appeared in Times New Roman, its point brushing across a vengeful Century Gothic smile.


“Come and meet your final deadline,” it said. The sword flashed, blood splashed like spilled ink, and Langston Parker died on top of his own misspelled work.


The sword faded, and the being bent over Parker, its mouth questing for the ink that smeared the pages on which he had fallen – but before the errors could meet its tongue, its head jerked up as though it had heard its name called from far away.


Its eyes narrowed into Courier slits. “Rice,” it hissed, and faded back into the air, leaving Parker’s body for the coroners. All it took was the page containing his last ill-fated sentences – food for the journey.

So mebbe it's more humor than horror, but whatever. XD This is a story I randomly wrote about Editor-Sama, who, for those of you who don't know me well, is the rather terrifying, grammar-obsessed persona who inhabits my mind. Other people have muses. I have a serial killer.

XD Tell me what you think. This is the first time I've ever given her anything resembling a corporeal form. This might actually be part of a series; with me, there's no telling, though.
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This episode is a sexy collab with awesome peeps- :iconkris-wilson: and :iconskinpupcoss: from zee Cyanide and Happiness crew.
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“Protecting My Devotion”/
“Loss of Me”
from Final Fantasy IX
lyrics by Joseph Blanchette



This is a tale, a tale of a man,
iron of glove, and blade in his hand.
Devoted his life to false faility,
duty or death, and blind loyalty.

This is the way, he remained to this day,
`til a young woman showed him the way.
Made him realize, he had his own will
his inner self doubt he was able to kill.

I’ll give my life to thee,
my love for all eternity.
And though it may be hard to see,
You grieve for the Loss of Me
If we separate and then,
I’ll fight a thousand men.
Just to be by your side,
with my courage and pride.

This is a tale of the Queen’s Royal Guard,
who over the years, her heart has grown hard.
Lives out her life, on the Queen’s behalf,
choosing the drawn out war beaten path.

This is the way, she remained to this day,
‘til a bold knight, showed her the way.
Made her realize, to speak her own mind
and the soul underneath was both gentle and kind.

I’ll give my life to thee,
my love for all eternity.
And though it may be hard to see,
you grieve for the Loss of Me.
If we separate and then,
I’ll fight a thousand men.
Just to be by your side,
with my courage and pride.
This was one of the first song lyrics I wrote. It's from the game "Final Fantasy IX." It can be used for 2 peices. One is "Loss of Me" which is generly played when Beatrix is around. The other is is "Protecting My Devotion," which plays during a important part, but I can't explain because of spoilers. It's a more upbeat version of "Loss of Me.
"
This song is best when used with "Protecting My Devotion" because it feels more like a song a bard would sing.
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The Art of Fu: A Legend Begins

I've been lucky for a while.

As a little kid, I wanted to get picked for something in class and the teacher just happened to pick me. I got the winning run in a little league game because the other team committed seventeen errors in a single play. A prize machine once paid out all its tickets to me.

It didn't happen with everything. And sometimes, on the things I wanted the most, it never seemed to work. But when I was really focused and relaxed, it was like things bended my way. It got really weird when I wanted a personal fridge in my bedroom and it just appeared one day. So far as my mom was concerned, I'd had it for years.

I thought of my friend with black hair instead of blond hair (like he always wanted) and he came to school with it one day. I always happened upon the biggest secrets in Zelda, I never died in any of the bullet hell shooters I loved, and I always won in matches verses friends.

I was humble about it with all the dirty looks I got. I tended to keep to myself with a small circle of friends. But I could tell my friends were a little…annoyed sometimes.

My martial arts film friend took a different look at it. He would always tell me that I needed to see "the Old Master" in town to develop my skill.

The Old Master had a real name but most people figured it was Douglas or something normal like that. The Old Master never gave his name. He lived on a hill far in the woods. It had been years since anyone said they had seen him.

After my friend proposed this idea, my other friends quickly picked up on it. I also heard them discussing holding big game tournaments while I was gone. I weighed the idea for a while and figured, since it was the summer and I didn't have much else to do, I would at least give it a try.

I took a walk into the woods, to the place where everyone said the Old Master lived. At the end of the dirt path, I saw the hill with steps cut into the side. The steps were small, barely large enough to plant your foot and almost as far apart as my legs could reach. I peered up but couldn't see the top.

I looked it over, wished I'd packed my brother's old hiking gear and tried the first step. Then, I heard a ding beside me. I turned and saw stone doors sliding open. Out stepped an old man, less than five feet tall. He had what looked like nose hair sideburns along his cheeks (though I hoped that wasn't the case) and a long beard on his chin to his chest. What caught my eye was that his hair (even his facial hair) was brilliant blue.

The same was true of the hair on his head, which was pulled into a tight ponytail at his neck. He was looking away from me and cracked his back like someone splitting a table. He sipped from a coffee mug with what looked to be Bugs Bunny on the side and tapped his pink sandaled feet. He also wore a lavender velvet bathrobe. Other than those oddities, he looked the part. He seemed very old with wrinkled hands but his motions were quick.

Before I could clear my throat, he asked, in a voice deeper than I expected from his small frame, "Why are you here?"

I paused a moment and tried, "Because fate led me here."

He turned from his coffee and scowled at me. "Don't be…a wise ass. I just boot out man who was sent to me by 'fate' last week."

I grimaced and said, "I have this skill. And my friend says, with training, it could really develop into something powerful."

The Old Master eyed me with his dark, steady eyes. "You realize how stupid that sounds?"

I admitted, "Yeah…but I didn't really have anything else planned."

The Old Master's eyes narrowed. He cracked his neck like the slice of a knife and approached me. He set his coffee mug at his feet and looked me in the eye.

I held steady as he reached out and put his hands around my head. His grip was tense. His skin felt strange, like it was tingling next to mine. He brought his head close, his face bulging with veins. He took a long breath in and exhaled.

Then he yelled at the top of his lungs. My ears rung for a moment.

He let go of my head and picked up his mug.

Poking a finger in my ear, I asked, "So what was that for?"

The Old Master shrugged. "It usually scares away the morons and those here on a bet. Guess you're for real. Come on…"

I walked with the Old Master to the steps. He gestured up them with his mug and said, "First test to see if you are worthy of my training. See you at the top." Then he walked back to where he emerged.

I leaned over and watched the hill open in front of the Old Master. I could hear an elevator ding and groan. I was tempted to ask him for a ride to the top but I figured that would not be a good move.

As soon as the mountain closed up, like those sliding doors in Star Trek, I took a breath, eyed the climb, and cracked my neck.

The first couple of steps weren't too bad. I remembered to lean forward so I didn't tumble straight back and to certain death once I got higher. I clawed at the dirt a little when my knees wobbled. I took each step carefully and tried to relax.

I knew my skill was there. I just needed not to think about it and focus on moving upwards. My progress was slow but I soon discovered moving sideways like a mountain goat removed a lot of the problems. It also meant I had an eye-twitching view of the ground way down below me.

I kept going despite feeling wobbly and soon made it over a crest and onto flat land. I panted and laughed to myself as I scanned over the area.

I could see a two-story house in what I could best describe as old, Chinese-style. Although I'd honestly never really seen one of those, except in movies. It had dark tiles with ends poking out at the corners. The roof wasn't particularly ornate, nor was the house itself. It had windows like a normal house. The end I saw was open. What I could see inside looked normal as well.

I took a breath and saw the Old Master approach through the opening. He had a glass of yellow liquid in his hand and was sipping from a straw. He paused in front of me and sighed.

"I guess you are serious. Fine then. But you will abide by my rules. Do you agree?"

I blinked and naturally asked, "What are the rules?"

He scowled. "Do you agree?!"

I grimaced and nodded. "I agree."

He nodded back. "Good start. Rule number the first is --- you will follow everything I say and obey my commands fully. Rule number the second….remember the first. Rule number last…seriously, remember."

That sounded pretty simple to me. Then he said, "Rule number the addendum…you buy all the groceries. And I will addendum any rules I deem…necessary."

I held onto a sigh and nodded. He beckoned me inside. The kitchen looked relatively modern. It even had a fridge and a blender as well as a nice table and a ceiling fan. The next room was a spacious living room with a blue couch, flat-screen TV, and a massive shelf full of DVDs. My eyes arched a little when I noticed all the video game consoles and classic games on a separate shelf. I could identify most of them.

The Old Master turned around, set his drink on a small table, and said, "Are you READY?"

I paused a moment, looked around, and nodded cautiously. He grunted and moved over an NES which was already on. He turned on the TV to reveal Super Mario Bros. 3 paused with Mario on the fifth world airship level. Sky World. He folded his arms and said, "Begin!"

I blinked and unpaused it. I hadn't played this particular level in years so it took a couple of tries. But I soon cleared the airship after taking care of Roy Koopa. I sighed with relief.

I got ready to play more but the Old Master plucked the controller from my hands. He paused it again and stroked his facial hair.

I waited as he walked around me. After a moment, he said, "You did very well."

"Cool. So, is this video game part of my training? Something I'm familiar with to help with focus and concentration?"

The Old Master raised his bushy blue eyebrows. "What the heck are you talking about? How would I guess that? I'm not a mind-reader. Not yet."

I pressed my lips together for a soft 'hmm' before asking, "So then you use video games in your training regularly?"

He shook his head. "I do not."

"Then why did I just play that game?"

He took a deep breath. "Because…I was stuck on that level for three days and it was annoying."

I massaged my forehead and wondered if all this was a bad idea. "Then when will my training begin?"

His eyes focused on me, even more intensely. "No one can be told when their training begins. They must begin the journey themselves."

I scratched my neck a bit. "I suppose. By the way, my name is Kyle Mason."

The Old Master gave me a steady, calm look. "You may call me Tang Fu. I am the master of Fu...and Fu is a part of my spirit. Kung Fu was barely a twinkle in the cosmos when the first Tangs had Fu. Fu is all. Fu is time. Fu can awaken all things. But it can take a long long time. Are you prepared for that commitment?!"

I sat up a little more and nodded vigorously. He watched me a moment and then put the NES aside. "I have a spare room with a roll-out bed. It is quiet and simple."

I figured my accommodations would be simple, so I was fine with that. He set up a few addendum rules. No unauthorized visitors. No loud music (which wasn't in his collection. I noticed he had Megadeth and Hammerfall CDs). Most of it seemed fine. I was here to learn my skill and this 'Fu' stuff. I could deal with some eccentricities. It was odd how much his accent seemed to randomly shift from almost-none to heavy.

Then, he added, "And you must abide by the stick."

"The stick?"

He went upstairs and returned with a long, thin wooden stick. I tensed and asked, "A punishment stick?"

"A reminder stick. Pain in small, precise doses can serve to keep the mind focused. And it makes a really fun sound when swung."

He demonstrated. The sound was halfway between a whip crack and an angry rattlesnake. He had me put out my hand. The stick flicked out. I didn't feel anything at first. Then it burned. Really really burned. Shaking it didn't help. Then it was gone.

For some reason, when the pain cleared, it felt much easier to concentrate than before. He added, "This will be a big part of your training and keeping you focused."

I stretched a bit and took a long breath. "So, this means my training has started?"

He lowered the stick and leaned his head. "Uh...yeah, I suppose so. But not because I told you!"

"Right. Any other lessons you could…impart, Master Tang?"

Tang raised an eyebrow. "Not 'Master Tang'...that sounds stupid. Like a weird cartoon character. Just Tang...or Tang Fu. And I don't have wisdom on command. I'm not a fortune cookie machine. But…you may reflect on this…"

He folded his arms and cleared his throat. "Sometimes...a lesson comes wrapped in many truths...and not truths. And you must decide."

"So I need to…." He darted the stick out and flicked me on the ear. It didn't burn quite as much as the first time but it lasted longer.

"Reflect! No "need to" thiiiis or thaaaaat. Time with reflection."

My shoulders slumped a little. This certainly wasn't going quite the way I hoped for. "Is there any good way for me to avoid getting the stick?"

Tang leaned his head back, set his face, and said, "Duck."

"Duck? As in avoid it?"

He gave me that look again but didn't flick me. "No, cook some duck for me. New addendum rule. You prepare all the meals. And you must wear a special item when you do it…"

He walked upstairs again. I wondered what was coming next. To my surprise, he brought down a pair of tall, soft rabbit ears attached to a headband. Hesitantly, I asked him, "Is this part of my training?"

He snorted. "If you were a cosplay hostess in a café. Mmmm…Ah yes…That was a good trip…" His gaze blanked for a moment. I waved a hand in front of him and he came back with a comment of, "Bunnies mean a lot to me…"

I slipped the ears on. They fit, barely. I wondered at first at the smile on Tang's face. It looked like he was ready to laugh at me. But there was something else in his look. I really hoped it was pride. Then, he sneezed and the look went away. I had to admit the ears were a little dusty.

I looked back towards the kitchen. "So, where's the duck?"

He gestured with a fanning hand and settled into the couch by the tons of shelves. "Lower fridge to the side. It's all ready. Try not to overcook it."

After a few wobbles, I found a positioning of the ears which felt the most comfortable. It was awkward but not bad. It did force me to concentrate on how I walked and moved. Every step I took required conscious effort to keep the ears from feeling unbalanced. I wondered, after all, if this was part of my training. As Tang slurped his drink, I had to have my doubts.

I opened the lower area of the fridge and peered in. A brown, living duck raised its head at me and fluffed its feathers. It had a knit, blue hat on its head. I pulled back from the door, sighed, and glanced around for the cleaver. I found one in a drawer and figured I might as well do it quick so I wouldn't have to think about it.

Out of caution though, I said, "It's not dead."

I could hear Tang jump up and look into the kitchen. He began to speak then he looked at the cleaver in my hand. "What the…were you trying to kill Douglas?"

I set the ears down on the counter along with the cleaver. "You…wanted duck."

He waved his hands with a snarl. "It's leftovers in a little baggy on the side!"

I looked beside 'Douglas' and saw a little baggy. It was a little odd to have a living duck next to a bag of duck meat.

After retrieving the baggy, I had to ask, "What's…Douglas doing in there?"

Tang sighed. "That's his home. And don't you dare take his little hat off. He hates that and he's a chomper when he's mad."

Tang mostly explained that Douglas was an 'arctic duck' he'd rescued. At least he didn't have the stick with him.

Tugging on his longest lock of blue facial hair, Tang sighed, "Alright. For this time only…get out of the kitchen before you kill something." Tang cursed under his breath in a foreign language. It took me a moment, but I soon realized it was Klingon. I wasn't very good at Klingon though, so I headed back to the other room and took a place on the couch. I checked to see that there weren't any other living things hidden around.

Leaning back to look at the rather nice ceiling, I had to wonder if I'd used all my luck with the journey up the steps. I didn't feel like crying but I felt confused, concerned, and not at all any better off here than I would've been just sitting in my room and playing video games by myself. Leaving would require walking out through the door I just came in and down those horrible steps. Or figuring out where Tang's elevator was.

To preoccupy my mind from concerns, I looked around the house a bit. Past the living room area was a narrow hallway. There was one restroom on the left with a tub and a fuzzy toilet. The soap was lavender-scented.

The elevator was rather conspicuous on the other side of the hall. I found of a couple of storage rooms, a book room with quite a bit of shoujo manga, and what seemed to be a small zen garden.

I walked up the stairs and soon found what I figured was the spare room. It was decent. About the size of my bedroom at home. It had a nice window view through a pair of oaks I saw before which were desperately clinging to the edge of the hill.

I didn't get much further before I had a sudden burning sensation on my neck and Tang's voice saying, "I said leave the kitchen…not go wandering. I like giving the whole tour!"

I followed him and the stick back to the room with the TV. He had prepared, in a surprisingly-short time, a steaming feast of duck and veggies. He showed me a scrawled recipe to memorize for when I would be cooking.

I ate cautiously as he turned on the Cartoon Network. Tang seemed to eat cautiously as well but noted, "Smacking of lips would not be an insult…" I made a bit more noise while eating to show my appreciation. The duck was good. I just found myself a little unnerved eating it as Douglas slowly waddled into the room. The look in his eyes seemed almost accusatory.

Halfway through the meal, Tang muted the sound. "I am sorry. It is not often I share this place with anyone…human. Many have said in the past that I am hard to be around."

I gave a quick little nod. Tang glared and muttered, "You didn't have to agree so swiftly…But I shall endeavor to my best effort… to show those many that they were wrong."

That in itself didn't seem to change much. Tang Fu still yelled through dinner and made pointing proclamations while telling me of all my errors. But I felt better.

And Tang still went through with the tour. He noted that keeping things clean would also be a responsibility wherever I went in the house. At the books, he aimed a finger and said, "You may borrow one book at a time. But remember…no dog-earring pages…no food or drink near a book…and don't you ever DARE bend a book on the spine!"

I assured him I shared many of his pet peeves and noted, "I'm a collector of a lot of things. I know how to take care of stuff."

He eyed me a moment and gave a nod.

We returned to the area which I figured would be my area and Tang told me as much. He said I was welcome to bring things from home. "Especially games you may own of…particular interest."

I wished I'd brought my own air mattress but the roll-out looked nice enough. Tang's bedroom was the nicest room so far. He bed looked really soft and he had what looked to be a meditation area set to one side. I saw in front of him there on a spare mat.

Tang rested his wrinkled hands on his legs and breathed out.

"Meditation always brings energy. Good for training. Now…tell me more about your abilities."

I told Tang all my experiences with my luck. He didn't interrupt me at any point, he just stroked his blue facial hair and wore the same, unshifting expression which sometimes looked a bit between concentration and constipation. When I was done, I looked to him expectantly.

He rose from his mat and said, "Excuse me a moment…"

A master bathroom adjoined the bedroom. He closed the door behind him. A few minutes later, I heard a flushing sound and sighed.

Tang returned, cleared his throat, and said, "After due reflection, I see you have much skill. You are untrained but nothing I can't shape into a force of strength and good."

Then, I saw a little twinkle in Tang's eye. "How would you like to see what I can do?"

"Absolutely." I leaned forward on the floor, waiting from some super-fast fight move or manipulation of energy or something.

"Then close your eyes."

I paused a moment but did as he said.

A few moments later, a different voice said, "Open them." The voice sounded so small, soft, and young.

I opened my eyes to a kid, who looked about twelve, standing there with long, flowing blue locks. I assumed it was a girl, or a very girlish boy. She had her arms folded just like Tang and wore a flowing purple dress with short sleeves at her shoulders, a slim form, and a wavy hem ending at her smooth knee. Her socks were long and a light shade of lavender. She brushed at her flowing locks.

"Tang?"

"Noooo….I'm his niece…Of course it's me!" Tang's glare sure felt the same on a younger, girlish body. And her voice grated the same way after that moment of softness. "I am a twelve-year-old girl."

I widened my eyes. "You mean that old man form was just a ruse and you're actually a little kid with mystical powers?"

Tang gave a cute little scowl. "Physical forms are not all that important with the right energy. I am all that you see. I am me. I am Fu…The name can be male or female…and is convenient in all forms."

Fu sat not quite as daintily as I expected for her shape. She folded her arms again. "You may always ask any questions you wish. Except about the color of my underwear! That's private!"

I shook my head and assured her, "Don't worry, Fu. I don't think of you that way in the least." The glare Fu sent me in response to that looked particularly annoyed. She grumbled, "I do have an older form. She's really…developed. But I find this one most relaxing."

I reassured Fu that she was very pretty. I thought for a split second that there would be a moment like from an anime where the younger girl character blushes from the comment of an older boy in a harem sort of show. Instead, Fu leaned her head back a little and said, "Naturally. I am very beautiful. Dainty like a flower. Smooth like silk. And just as quick as always."

I gained some amusement from the idea of hearing Fu say that in his once-rough voice. My amusement showed in a slight smile. Fu glared and drew the stick from wherever it was hiding within her dress. She set it down and said, "But I am slower to annoyance like this. And I have much to teach one as rough and untrained as you. We begin now…"

Fu started me off with breathing exercises for concentration and the rabbit ears returned. Although I had to wonder about them as girl Fu had trouble hiding little snickers as she gazed at them on my head.

Like before in the kitchen though, they were a distraction for my wandering mind to keep my focus up. I felt like I was actually getting somewhere. That first training session was short because little Fu wanted to watch the Powerpuff Girls on DVD. After that, we played Super Smash Brothers Melee (Fu vented for a bit about the changes in Brawl).

During that time, I tried to replicate the focus and wins from competition with my friends. I felt the same as I did then but Fu got all the lucky saves from falling out of bounds. Fu hung on despite a very high percentage. I was KOed several times in a row. And Fu used Pichu to beat me.   

As the victory theme played, I pondered about what other questions to ask Fu. She gave a big, girlish yawn. The light was dimming out the doors and windows. Fu mentioned to me, "If you want to bring anything for the night, you better get it now."

I had packed a bag at home but at the time I wasn't sure if I even had a chance of finding anyone out in the woods. I had to ask, "Can I take the elevator down?"

Fu rubbed her little neck and grunted. I assumed that was about the same as a 'yes'.

It felt so quiet walking home at dusk. At home, mom listened as I told her the situation. Of course, I did characterize Tang Fu more favorably than honestly. She told me to stop by at home if ever needed anything. I gave her a big hug.

I made sure to pack in plenty of really interesting games from my collection. I made sure I had enough everything I could imagine needing for the stay and packed my favorite pillow and toothbrush.

The walk back took longer in the growing night and with all I was hauling. By the time I'd gotten back to the house in the woods and made my way up the elevator (I'd found the wall was motion-activated), I felt pretty tired.

After setting my stuff in my room, I looked for Fu. She was curled up on the sofa with her arms under her head and her legs tight against her. I was tempted to reenact another cliché by carrying her to her bed and tucking her in. But, knowing Fu, she was liable to boot me in the face and whip out a stick by the time I put my arms around her.

Instead, I did a couple of quick stretches and exercises. By the time I was done, Fu sat up and looked around. She watched me a moment and said, "Physical exercise is good for relaxation. Tomorrow, I will show you a number of new exercises for releasing your abilities. For now, what time is it?"

I quoted the time for Fu and she immediately got up and started a new video game (Turtles in Time). I joined in for a bit until I started to get drowsy.

As I was playing, I felt a weird sensation. I was incredibly relaxed. Some of the feeling of exercising remained with me. The actions of jumping and fighting in the game also seemed to have an effect on me. I felt somewhat detached, as though floating in my own body.

Then, a sudden tension pressed at my forehead and nose. It was a little like having a sudden cold, but not sore. Instead, it was like there was a force inside my head, like something that wanted to get out.

In that moment, I looked over to Fu and wondered what it would be like if she actually acted like a girl her age. My vision rippled a little and Fu's expression changed. She smiled a little wider. She actually giggled.

I paused the game suddenly and she pouted at me. "What'd you do that for?"

"Are you okay, Fu?"

She wiggled her feet and said, "Yuppers! But I really really wanna beat this level, so can we?"

Hesitantly, I nodded to her and we worked our way through it. After we finished off Bebop and Rocksteady, Fu jumped up from her controller and did a little dance. She twirled in her dress. I asked her again if she was okay.

She gave a little smirk this time. "Oh? And why wouldn't I be okay? I'm just acting like a girl my age…"

I tensed up for a sticking that never came. Fu cracked her neck and said, "That was very good…for a beginner. I almost changed because of it. But I decided to play along. Now, I have an understanding of your energy focus. It is very much like mine."

I listened but understood very little about what Fu talked about. It was all very abstract and weird and metaphysical. She paused and I asked, "So is this 'Fu' thing kinda like the Force?"

Fu sighed to herself. "Actually…yeah. That probably work better. Only don't go assuming you're the Chosen One or anything. A lot of people have it but they don't wake up to it. So it is probably mere, dumb coincidence that we met. "

Through the rest of the game, I didn't have any further flashes. I was getting very tired and I had a lot of quick deaths. We didn't make to Krang or anywhere near the end of the game. I took a shower first and got ready for bed. Fu was still up with Super Mario Bros. 3.

I tried the roll out. It smelled of lavender. Really nice. Nothing like I expected for something stuck in the corner, almost like it had been prepared for me in advance (unlike the dusty ears). I did ponder whether I somehow unconsciously willed all this with my luck or maybe Fu willed me here because he was lonely.

I paused to think on it but rejected either option. Before long, I was asleep.

I didn't remember my dreams and next thing I knew was the word, "Breakfast."

Tang was standing over me, returned to old man form. I was a little disappointed to see his wrinkled features. He seemed to notice my disappointment as he remarked, with narrowed eyes, "Sorry I'm not as pretty today."

I blushed bright, which was apparently all Tang wanted. He laughed and added, "But seriously…breakfast. I want eggs…over easy. And don't try to take them from Douglas. He's currently male…" I made a note for the rest of Tang's breakfast.

After washing up and dressing, I made my way to the kitchen. Since my brother had always made breakfast and was ever eager to teach me about cooking, it wasn't all that hard. I made something similar for myself with the resources in the fridge. And I gave a little salute to Douglas. He turned his head and glared, bill aimed out.

With both plates in my hands, I walked back to what I considered the gaming room. My eyes widened. Fu was sitting on the couch and she was a girl again. Only she wasn't a kid. She was about my age.

Her hair was still blue and just as long. And she was dressed in sky-blue flannel pants and a t-shirt. The pants looked like the kind someone would wear just out of bed. They were very nice with the mature curve to Fu's hips and her slim legs. Her t-shirt had a high neck-line but the shape of her chest was unmistakable. Naturally, I thought of video game characters to compare her look to. Kula Diamond from King of Fighters sprung to my mind first. Maybe a bit older but close.

Fu brushed her hair back and said, "You better not drop my breakfast…and no eyeballing my boobies!" Her voice was actually still the same as Old Master Tang. The oddity of the situation struck me right then.

Breakfast went as well as could be expected with my curiosity about Fu's new form and my paranoia that a punishing glare or a stick to the head was next.  

Without preamble, Fu said, in Tang's voice, "I relax best in my other form but I use this one as well sometimes. I have many."

I chewed slowly and tried to focus on my meal. "When did you first discover your skills?"

Fu eased back in the couch. "During the Battle of Red Cliffs."

My eyes widened. I knew my Chinese history. Mostly from playing versions of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dynasty Warriors.

I stammered out, subtracting in my head, "You're over 1800 year old!?"

Fu laughed and gestured with a fork. "No! I was playing an old video game…and I had this moment…of what can only be described as perfect epiphany. All the world seemed to crystallize into perfect harmony. Like all of heaven was singing. And I beat the game…no problem. But…it took time to master my new skills. Time and patience, as I have said. As 'Fu' is."

After breakfast, Fu rose and beckoned me to rise as well. She faced me and looked me in the eye. I took such an effort not to look her over that she started glaring at me. She put her hands up and said, "Stop…you have my permission. Look and get it out of your system!"

I looked all over Fu's cute form. Several minutes later, Fu grumbled, "Done yet?!"

Eventually, I was.

Fu gripped my hands while facing me. Together, she showed me some tips for meditation. They ranged from stillness to tension. She explained that action worked as well as inaction for focusing the mind. That fit with my experience playing through the video game when I had a flash.

I breathed. I flexed. I even did a little scream session with Fu till my ears were ringing like yesterday.

After that, Fu gave me some books to read. Some of it was poetry. Some of it was manga. And there were even a few strategy guides. Reflecting on the complexity, and yet simplicity, of Street Fighter combos, I found myself floating again.

I settled into it. I let it consume me. Fu had left me alone in my room and I couldn't hear anything else. Not even the expected bird sounds outside. It was like being in my own little world. I breathed so slowly. I concentrated so precisely.

Looking in the corner carefully, so as not to break my focus, I found the rabbit ears from the day before. They found their way to my head despite the fact I couldn't remember picking them up and putting them on. The balance required felt like one of those superpower moments in animes and games. It all flashed.

But not like the last time. And not like the times before. I felt like I was reaching a new level or level-up. I stretched out for it without pressing myself. Like extending my arms, I touched it. I glowed. Everything glowed with light. The light had the tint of a rich field of grass. I embraced the light and it flowed all over me.

As the light began to fade, the sounds returned. Everything else snapped into being.

I stood and smiled. Then something else happened.

I felt it first like a little tickle down my spine. Then it felt like something had sprung a leak and phantom sensations were spilling out all over my body.

I felt a wave that seemed less to be flowing out than stretching inwards from my fingers and toes and radiating towards the center of my body. My fingers seemed more energized and the tingle in my toes was refreshing as well.

I let it flow further inward, though I doubted I could stop it. I looked to my hands. They seemed to undulate inwards, smaller. A few of the fingers shifted in length. My wrist narrowed as well. I could move it a little but I didn't feel the urge to move it more than that.

The undulation spread up my arms and to my shoulder. They looked so soft and small. I noticed down below that my legs had become bare. My pants were gone. None of this seemed to worry me at the time but I felt a rising concern that I couldn't quite place or express.

At my waist, I felt the undulation flow outward at my hips, shifting into the kind of perfect hips I'd seen on Fu. My waist sucked inward and so did something else...something much more important.

The tingle radiated over that area with sensations I'd never felt before. It felt very relaxing right then.

The sensations in my arms joined the ones rising at my waist. A lime skirt fringe formed at my waist and slipped to my knee. The rest of the dress stretched upwards.

What came closest to breaking my relaxation was the pressing sensation of my chest against the dress. The tingles gave me a slow shiver, slipped up my neck, and dissipated into the air above me.

When they rushed out, I immediately returned to my senses and sought out the nearest mirror. My scampering was accompanied by clear, uncomfortable jiggles and a flurry of green locks flowing around my face. And the rabbit ears tumbling on the floor behind me. I left them for the moment.

The mirror confirmed a few suspicions. I was shorter and female. My face was smooth, similar to before, but thoroughly feminized to resemble a girlish version of my dad with a few touches, like mom's dimples and the curve of her nose. My teeth, unfortunately, felt about the same, filled cavities and all.

What stuck out more than anything else, quite literally, was my chest. 'They' were well below the absurdities of Taki and Ivy from Soul Calibur, but were far above what I'd seen on mature Fu. Peeking under my dress, I gulped. I immediately thought of Litchi Faye Ling from BlazBlue.

My hips also looked like something from a video game. They swelled out so much and showed especially in the slim dress I was wearing. I squirmed a bit when I realized that not only had my groin changed to match all the rest but the underwear I wore was a bit too snug.

After some adjustments, I braved my way out of the restroom and down to the game room. Fu was still there. She'd shifted into little girl form again. The expression on her face made me think she'd expected this to happen.

She said, "Didn't expect this. Not so soon. Suppose it is confession time then…"

Fu took a deep breath. "I was an old man, long into my training when I first unlocked my skill. But my first form…not even consciously-formed… related to my essence. The blue of my hair related in some way to my aura or something…like that. My youth related to….whatever influenced that. Uh…but the point is…that first form…I remained in for a good while. Till I learned how to change my body on my own. No matter what after that…I always had blue hair."

It would've been nice for him to tell me about that earlier but I sighed and nodded. "Well, if I got to this point faster, maybe I can get to the shifting skill faster?"

Fu pulled out a Wavebird controller from behind a cushion. "You better get on it. Unless you don't mind being known as 'the boobie lady'." Fu gave a little smirk.

I winced and wondered again if Fu could read my mind about the Litchi thought. Then again, she probably had all versions of BlazBlue somewhere.

Before we settled down to a game of Smash Brothers, Fu shifted the reality of my clothes. Some of my new clothes looked like something which could go with the ears in a fetish café. But Fu did give me plenty of comfortable outfits.

With some good support for my chest, a loose top, and some soft pants, I was ready to begin the next leveling up of my luck. As we sat down, Fu handed me the rabbit ears. I half-wondered if Fu included them as a distraction so she could further hand me my ass. But her expression was calm and friendly.

Her next words were, "Although, I hope you get on it soon…because no way you stay here rent-free forever…Of course, I do have a couple laptops and a good webcam. And there are plenty of people out there willing to watch the right cosplay for a price. Green hair, a cute fuku, and that figure…"

I eyed Fu and she chuckled in her little voice. I grimaced at first but then I smiled and put the ears on. "Plenty of people also wouldn't mind a cute girl with blue hair and the right cosplay."

Fu snorted. "…How do you think I pay for things around here? Douglas lays golden eggs when he's a girl duck? No way! But you know…they might pay more for two cute girls in matching outfits…"

I laughed and steadied my ears. Fu chuckled in her own little way and said, "Later. For now… let's go so I can teach you in how to be schooled by Marth's counter!"

I have been lucky for a while. And I still am.



So ends…The Art of Fu: A Legend Begins.

Next time…

Douglas sails over.

"No sequel! QUAAAAACK!"
This was a lot of fun to write. It kinda spiraled beyond the original kiriban request by :iconsolarismaid: though it still has all the elements they requested.

I really enjoyed it although I think I used all my best jokes in the first half...although it's okay. I wanted it to be funny but not every moment of it. I wanted to give the characters breathing room too ^^.

This is another story rife with references. ^^
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Rose Lalonde is not familiar with adults. Her mother only invites friends for "tea" on occasion, and they all might as well be the same woman. They form a blurred parade in her mind, a never ending procession of socialites toeing the line of middle-age. She sees their different outfits, different press-dried hairstyles, but always, always that same copy-pasted smile fresh from the school of passive aggressive knocks. Oh, what a charming dress, I remember having one like that as a little girl. Oh, you're still writing your little stories? Good for you, it's good to spread out of those dark little horror books you always read. Little, little, little- always the operative word.

Mr. Egbert is different. For one thing he is, as his name may suggest, a man. Her experience with older men is almost non-existent, and from her point of view they might as well be a different species from her entirely: silent, rugged beasts stalking jungles of business suits and automobiles. He does indeed own both, but he doesn't seem dominated by them. He doesn't seem dominated by any particular thing, except perhaps his extensive collection of harlequins.

That's what he's showing her right now, as she offers polite nods and John pulls faces by her side. Another person might have not believed that so many figurines, paintings, and statues could be composed based around one subject-but all she can think of is her mother and her silly wizards.  Well, alright, that's one similarity.

But he's something different entirely from her mother.

She picks it up when he compliments her dress—a modified version of her old black velvet ensemble, with a white bib collar. She casually mentions she's fixed it up herself, opening herself to about a dozen snarky comments her mother could have come up—and all he says is "you knit?" Before she knows it, she's talk animatedly about John's gift and her assorted modified outfits.

By the time dinner rolls around John sarcastically mentions how he should bring his dad for their next date so he can ask her how she's doing, and she blushes. Stupid. How long had she been rambling? Stupid, foolish…and yet, Mr. Egbert had been nothing but polite about her trusting openness. Polite, bringing up her hobbies in order to let her talk as much as she wanted, and not a snarky comment to be found.

In short, he had been kind.

(suspicious)

They sit at the table, the meal laid out in front of them sumptuous- but suspiciously sweet-free. She has an amusing mental image of John standing behind him in the kitchen like a stern teacher trying to catch an unruly pupil cheating. And that's when the questions roll out, all the tried and true inquiries she's run into dozens of times: what does she want to do when she's older (preferably something in psychology), how she's doing in school (almost depressingly well), and so on, and so on.  On the surface she gives polite answers, in her mind she dissects his words from every angle.

And nothing.

No ulterior motive, no silent adult in-jokes, no sarcasm. His questions sound hand-picked from a parenting magazine, but apart from their blandness they're well intentioned. He doesn't prod her one-syllable answers for more information, doesn't push—although, since John is more than eager to fill in her blanks, ("psh, older nothing. She's already giving the teachers advice!") perhaps it's unnecessary.

In short, he had been understanding.

(suspicious)

And when dinner is over and the three sit on the couch lazily listening to the news, John asks him if they can go to his room so he can show her the video game Dave sent him. Rose's ears perk at this, for she has a feeling that this isn't the only game he wants to play—after all, the younger Egbert had been paying more attention to her dress than his father had.  And without raising an eyebrow he nods, letting two teenagers just barely finding their hormones stay in a room. Alone. Far from his eyes or ears.

In short, he had been trustworthy.
(very

suspicious)

Rose Lalonde is not stupid. She knows what to do with unfamiliar data: analyze. And before the pair reaches the top of the stairwell, she reaches her conclusion:

it's a trap.

...

"Wait, what?" John turns away from the searing graphics on the computer screen to look at her. "He's doing what now?"

Rose sighs, smoothing her skirt primly. "It's very simple John. Although I would hate to imply that your guardian would have sinister motives, the facts are that it's impossible for someone of that age to be so shamelessly kind to a teenager. Your father is very obviously trying to get me to lower my defenses, in order to perform a symbolic dissection of sorts— he wants to see if this frog is suitable for the son he is so proud of."

John's mouth twitches—he seems conflicted between smiling and frowning. "Rose." And his voice comes out so solemn she almost laughs. "You are not a frog."

"…That is so far from the point it's helping Dave render JPEG artifacts in Houston. Speaking of which," Rose squints at the wild mishmash of colors on his screen. "What on Earth is this game, anyways?  The music could be used to kill a small dog."

"Oh, I dunno, some conksuck indie thing. Whatever it is, I'm probably losing." He frowns. "Aw crap, I think I caught on fire! Or maybe I'm being eaten by a bunch of red pygmies. " Resetting the game, he leaves his hand tapping thoughtfully on the desk. "But seriously Rose, I think you're overthinking things. Dad seems to really like you! And even if he does have sucky taste in decoration and is a mindless slave to the Crocker crone, he's not that bad a guy."

"While that may be true…"

"Yeah?"

She blows her pale bangs. "It just seems unnatural…I mean, I suppose I understand being polite, but…why nice? Why nice to me?"

John rolls his eyes. "Oh, I dunno Rose, maybe it's cause for all your doom and gloom you're a nice person? A GOOD person? Maybe it's cause you're smart and polite and interesting and those are usually GOOD things?"

He pauses, she blinks. For a moment the two hover in a somewhat shy silence, until he turns to her with a kind (if sheepish) grin. "Maybe you just deserve better than you think you do."

Rose's face may be impassive, but she can feel heat rising in her cheeks. "…flattery aside, John, I'm waiting for when the other shoe drops. I am missing something." John simply sighs and shakes his head, turning back to the computer.

Rose shifts in her rolling chair, bare feet swishing gently at the floor. Could he be right? Could it be possible that a parent could be so supportive and sincere? And if that was the case…well, where could she get one?

She sighs, laying her cheek in her palm. Maybe she did misread him. She hated to think she was losing her touch, but tonight both Egberts had surprised her. The elder had proven himself to being an upfront, non-passive aggressive (!), caring parent. And John…well, it turned out John really had wanted to show her a laughably awful game. Strangely enough, she was finding herself more disappointed in that than her failed psychoanalysis.

"Hey." The voice pulls her from her thoughts. "Besides him being…like, nice and everything, what is it that makes you so suspicious?"

"Too trusting," she says immediately.

"Huh?" He talks without taking his eyes from the screen. Somehow he's gotten the hang of the game. "How?"

She gives her eyes a slight roll. "Well, the fact that we're here right now is a good starting point. Mother wouldn't have…actually, no, she would have let us be in my room alone, but she also would be popping by every five minutes. Dropping off sarcastic little cookies, smiling that condescending little smile..." Oh dear, and now she has a case of the littles as well. "But then there's your father. I'm willing to wager that if you were to march downstairs and request I spend the night, he would give you nothing but a single, masculine tear and the old family heirloom."

"The Colonel Sassacre book?"

"A condom."

John's shoulders jolt, and his character dies nosily in an explosion of Technicolor gore. The game forgotten, he inclines his face very, very slightly towards her. "I…don't follow." He's blushing.

Rose leans back in her chair, eyes on the ceiling. "Well, John. Usually, one has his reasons for inviting a lady to his room, and typically those reasons, even those not involving contraception, are not to try and make each other's eyes bleed via 'conksuck' gamery."

Seconds pass in silence, and Rose begins to worry that's she's insulted him. But when she brings her gaze back to meet his, she is surprised to find a very shrewd expression on the boy's face.

The screen is black.

"Well, Rose." He slides his chair close to hers, the definition of suave. "Usually, one doesn't go being all passive-aggressive towards their awesome boyfriends. But," he leans close, voice going faux-baritone. "For you, I'm willing to overlook sUUDAUGH-."

THUD.

Apparently his swag has been too much, for John's face meets the floor, the movement simultaneously sending Rose's chair wheeling backwards. "John?!" She leaps up. "Are you alright?"

"Y-yeah." He picks up his head with a sheepish grin, and Rose leans down to help him to his feet. "I'm fine, I was just…kinda maybe trying to do something I saw in a movie once."

"…Ah. Color me shocked."

John pouts, but before he can respond she gives him a gentle kiss on the mouth. "I appreciate the gesture, if not the originality." Rose pulls back a bit, pressing her forehead to his and looking into his eyes. "Let's forgo the rising action for the moment, shall we?"

Too dazed to reply out loud, he simply nods with a goofy grin.

They drift to the bed. For a moment they can only look at each other with somewhat nervous smiles, only to break the silence with a simultaneous chuckle.  Surprisingly it's John who takes the initiative, leaning in with a quick kiss, as if he might lose the nerve at any moment. Rose's hands go up in surprise, only to find their place on his cheeks.

She loses herself in the haze of the kiss for a moment, closing her eyes as her mind goes blissfully blank. The contours of his mouths are slowly becoming familiar to her, lips, teeth…tongue, that's certainly new. Her fingers move to tousle messy black hair, making a pleased noise rumble from his throat. John leans in further, so far that they tumble backwards onto the bed.

He pulls back a moment to look down at her, almost as if in shock, almost as if just realizing 'oh yeah, you are my girlfriend and not some amazing dream.' Slowly he grins, almost sultry, and tilts his head to gaze at her over his glasses. "Wow," he says in his best Bruce Willis drawl. "I'd ask you for a light, but looks like you've already lit my fire."

She…stares at him, eyelids lowered.

"No no, wait," he flusters, "…okay, well you're definitely the Seer of Light because you've seared my..." Stare. "Wait, no, because you've lit..." Stare. "No, 'cause...cause...h-hey, quit laughing!" He sputters indignantly, seeing her shaking shoulders. A blush blooms in his cheeks as the chuckles bubble out of her lips. "This is my best material here!"

"My word." Rose manages to put a staunch on her laughter with a near-perfect smirk. "To what do I owe such an honor?" She claps a hand to her mouth in faux-awe. "How many hearts have your words broken? How many starving children run to the streets to offer their starving backs as your soapbox? Why, John, I am….truly, truly touched."

"Oh, HA, Rose. All of my HAs." He rolls his eyes with comic exaggeration. She smiles, suddenly sitting up so that their eyes are level. With a pointer finger she closes his jaw mid-retort.

"I'm already your girlfriend, John. I would say that pickup lines are fairly redundant at this point."

"They're not pickup lines, they're just…!" John's eyes dip. "Just…lines. I dunno, it just feels like I should say something. I just want …oh jeez, this is so corny and you will make fun of me for the rest of our lives." The blush in his cheeks darkens, even touching his ears. "I want to make you as happy as you make me."

Her mouth opens but no words come. For a moment she can do nothing but blink. "I…" Oh lord, and now she's blushing. "Well…I would assure you that you're doing a fairly spectacular job, but I have severe doubts that I could make you as happy as you do for me. As you just did."

"A-ha!" He beams with triumph. "So it did work!"

Rose sighs, giving her head a little shake. "So it did. You win this round, Egbert." Despite herself she smiles. "Claim your reward."

And he does, leaning in so they sit against the headboard. As they kiss one of her hands meets his to lace their fingers together—because the sappiness levels of this night weren't high enough, oh no.  She sighs in her head, half in exasperation, half in happiness. He really was corrupting her.

Minutes pass in content silence. After a time John takes his hand from hers, moving it to place it on her upper arm. The fingers twitch a little there, feeling the soft black material of her sleeve, and slowly his hand scoots to her shoulder, just barely touching. Then lower…lower…

Her eyes snap open in surprise, and he suddenly pulls back, shamefaced. "S-sorry! Is that not-? Oh geez, I'm sorry, that was total-!"

His voice trails away when she guides his hand back to the curve of her chest. A moment of startled blinking later he gets it, and his face lights up. He moves back in eagerly.

Things become slow and warm. His kisses turn slow, almost dreamy, his hand giving gentle rubs. Rose shivers, bringing her own hand back to tangle his black hair. She opens her eyes slowly, wanting to take a moment to gaze intOH MY GOD MR. EGBERT.

For what feels like an eternity he simply stands there, his head just emerging from behind the door. Rose freezes like a rabbit in the eyes of a wolf, her mouth going stiff against John's. And the boy goes on obliviously, kissing and feeling her right under the gaze of his dad. At another time, another place, Rose would have been practically bouncing in her seat at the opportunity to analyze the situation: the unwilling heir, disdainful of the loving father, taking his lady right under the enemy's eyes, a beautifully, nearly Oedipal puzzle…

And yet, somehow, she cannot summon the excitement.

Seconds stretch into hours. Rose's eyes feel as wide as dinner plates, her mouth attempting to form thoughts without a lick of success. Mr. Egbert simply stares. And stares. His face is totally impassive—he might as well not have eyes or a mouth for how much emotion Rose can pick up from him. And finally…time seems to fall back into place, and he steps back. The door clicks shut without a sound.

"…Rose?" John pulls back from her with a frown of concern. "A-are you alright?"

"…" She blinks, as if coming out of a trance. "I…sorry?"

"You stopped all of a sudden…and you look really pale!" He bites his lip anxiously. "Are you feeling okay?"

"No…I mean, no, I feel fine." If "fine" meant "seized up in mortification, eyes still stuck in a saucer-sized stare." She shakes her head. "I'm just…"

"Did I…like, come on too strong or something?" he stutters, bowing his head in a flustered way. "I'm sorry! I just thought you were liking it, a-and, if you didn't I'm really-!"

Oh god, why did he have to be so sincere?  "No, no, please don't apologize, it's not your fault, I…"

"What?"

"…may I lie down for a moment?"


...

The moment apparently lasted longer than she had intended, for by the time Rose awakens the sun has disappeared. Thoughts untangling themselves from the snarls of sleep, she blinks groggily at the darkness. Gradually she comes to an understanding of the situation:  this is not her room. She is still at John's house, specifically, in his room, specifically, in his bed—specifically, in his arms. He holds her close under the sheets, his cheek against hers, chest falling down and up in gentle breathes. Realization washes over Rose slowly, synching up well with the deepening color of her face, and she quickly sits up-

-or makes an attempt to, for as she tries to pull away from John he shifts in his sleep, tightening his hold on her.  For a moment she just lies there as he clings to her, nuzzling her temple.

She sighs. "John."

"mmnghf…"

Rose turns her head to him and taps his forehead with her own. "John…"

With a slight snort he stirs, blinking dully behind his glasses. "Uh…oh…"  It takes him a moment to register the girl in front of him. "…oh." After a moment of surprised (if pleased) silence, he gives a slightly drowsy grin. "Eheh…good morning, I guess."

She ducks her head a bit, concealing most of her face under the sheets. "...evening, you mean. I…I'm assuming I fell asleep?"
"

Yeah, you kinda did." He chuckles as he straightens his glasses. "I actually wanted to watch you and I sorta...joined you "

And she's suddenly thankful for the cover of darkness. "Ugh." She buries her face under the blanket. "You are so—tell me, why are you so insistent in converting me into such a saccharine dope? You're sweet enough for the both of us."

He laughs. "Aw! Well, believe it or not, you're sweeter than you thi…"

Rose frowns, peeking out to find John frozen with a look of vague horror.
"

Sweet…"

"J…John? Is everything alright?"

"The smell." His eyes bulge with horror. "Oh no. OH NO. Oh god, I told him, I TOLD him not to-!" In the space of a second he's untangled himself from the sheets and is on the floor, running out the door. "Daaaah, dammit Dad-!"

She's left utterly perplexed on the bed. Rose straightens up, and after a moment she can hear the sounds of an argument downstairs. Curiously, she picks herself off the bed and walks to the door… to be immediately hit by a powerful, sweet scent.

The scent of baked goods.

...

In the kitchen she finds John gesticulating furiously at his father, his words mangled by utter disbelief. But even with his sputtered angrish, its clear what the source of his annoyance is—the enormous, decadently-frosted cake that stands tall and magnificent on the kitchen table. Mr. Egbert's face is oddly complacent, as if he's used to John's impudence about baked goods. He simply goes about the kitchen, cleaning up various utensils and ingredients all while John goes on with his rant of oh my god you said you weren't and I can't believe you did this when she was still in the house she is going to see this and she will think we're a family of weirdass baking friars or something and AGAIN with the cake what IS it with you and CAKE MAN it's like-

"Excuse me."

The two look up at her. Rose shifts her weight from one foot to the other. "Is…is that red velvet?"

Mr. Egbert smiles.

...

"You know, aside from the color, this is quite good."

"Mmph."

"Did you know red velvet isn't actually a flavor? It's actually just chocolate cake with copious amounts of food dye."

"Suuuper."

Rose smiles, nibbling the bite of cake as she looks over at the table. She's impressed—all this time she had been fearing that John's father was…well, not foolish, but someone too simple or sincere to conspire against their child. Thankfully, her initial theories had been proven correct--for all his kindness, Mr. Egbert was still an adult.

And she has to admit, she's impressed. Even her mother, with all her little antics and displays, had never been able to come up with something like this. And as Rose's eyes skim the frosted message across the cake's top-

(SON—CONGRATULATIONS ON THE COPPING OF YOUR FIRST FEEL

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU)

-she can't help but give a shiver of awe. She truly is dealing with a pro.

"either Rose or Dave are going out with John, and meet Mr Egbert for the first time

and Mr Egbert is so straightforward and NICE to them it completely freaks them the fuck out. Adults aren't supposed to be so supportive and nice and easy to read damnit what is going on"

spoiler: I wrote 3700 words just to make that cake possible
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 Whilst sucking jam from his fingers, BB found himself curiously watching a group of girls following the prodigy, L, around the library. He felt confused and somewhat irritated, seeming the girls offering cards, letters and even sweets to L, which he happily took. He hadn't really thought of the significance of that particular day; what was so important about February 14th?  When L had finally chased the last of the fawning girls off, he sat in his peculiar manner in front of B, who looked up from his usual jar of strawberry jam, to see L smiling sort of goofily at him. B cocked his head curiously to the side to the side “What is it, L?” he asked, his red eyes flickered with the curiosity he felt. L blinked once, twice, and his smile faded a little.

“Don't you know what day it is?” he asked. B felt even more confused than he had previously. “February the 14th,” he responded simply, surveying the elder prodigy for any hint of an answer. He cocked his head further, sucking a clump of jam from his fingers. L let out a soft sigh, and thoughtfully chewed his thumb nail. “It's Saint Valentine's day,” He responded, slowly. B managed to cock his head even further, to an almost painful looking angle as he stared inquisitively and eerily at L; L blinked, staring into the red depths of the younger prodigy’s eyes. “It was the date of death for Saint Valentine in Ancient Rome, and it is suspected it was to supersede the Roman mid-February holiday. It's since become a day where people express their love for each other by giving candy and other sweets.” He explained, chewing on his nail again while he thought.

“What is love?” B asked cautiously. L stared at him, his black depths unblinking.

“It's said to be a… feeling that is experienced when people care deeply for someone in a way that suggests more than a mutual friendship.” L stated, carefully wording his sentence. His pale cheeks had flushed a light pink.

“You mean like this?” Before L had gotten out a ‘Like what?’ in response, B had planted his lips against L's firmly and closed his eyes. L’s cheeks burned and flared up in a deep crimson, which he hoped wasn't visible to others within the library. Unfortunately, it has been blindingly obvious to many. L hesitantly returned the impromptu kiss, but it wasn't long before B broke it and gave a sort of an awkward smile. “Like that?” He repeated. L nodded in disbelief. “I think I love you, L.” B whispered, offering his treasured jar of strawberry jelly to L.

“I... I think I love you too, B.” L stammered, taking only a small amount of jam before dotting B’s nose with it.
Disclaimer: This is a non-canon boyxboy fan-fiction based on Death Note. If you do not approve of that sort of content, turn back now. It is non-sexual and has no inappropriate content whatsoever, so don't worry about your virgin eyes, 'kay dearies?

That being said:

I wrote this a few years ago when I was around 13 in about 2008 and have just edited it in 2013 to make the wording flow a little more fluidly than it did before and to try not to change tenses and titles for Beyond Birthday as much as I did before. I used B, BB, Beyond Birthday, etc. and it was likely confusing for readers.

I also added a little more intelligence into it, as I don't think L would have just dived head first into this without using some sort of intellect. So there's a liiiittle more thought put into it rather than a child smashing a Barbie and Ken together being like 'Now kiss!' or the Mike Tyson alternative: [link]

Death Note and it's characters(Beyond Birthday and L Lawliet) rightfully belong to Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
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You sighed as you took a seat silently at the large table. You sat where you were told to, not because it was your girlfriend who told you to do so, but mainly because everything inside this house mansion looked so very expensive. The draft that drifted sleepily through the open window toyed with your (h/c) hair. Annoyed at this, you brought your hand up to smooth it over and flatten it back out so it didn't look messy. You usually didn't care much for appearances, but whenever you came to hang out with Mugi, you felt like it was important  to look your best. You weren't rich or anything, but just by hanging around Tsumugi, it was pretty easy to tell that her family was.

Your attention snapped back to reality when you noticed the beautiful blonde haired girl pouring some tea into the cup sitting on the table in front of you. You noticed Mugi was wearing a loose, light blue dress that went down to her knees. It suited her very well. She smiled her usual pretty smile when you nervously mumbled a thank you. After she poured some tea for herself, Mugi took a seat next to you.
"It's such a pleasure when you come over for afternoon tea, (f/n)-kun." Mugi started as she took a sip from her tea. Nodding back as you reached out for your cup, you noticed your hand was shaking. Quietly willing it to stop before your girlfriend noticed, you replied.

"It's very nice when you invite me over. I hope it's okay with your parents." After she placed her cup back onto the table she hastily shook her head.

"Oh yes, of course! It's always nice to have people over. Usually you have to book any visiting a month in advance, so to be frank, I'm very surprised that father lets you come visit without any warning." Clutching the beautiful tea cup with a floral pattern on the side, you slowly brought it to your lips and happily took in the hot liquid inside. It tasted really good, just like all of the tea Mugi prepares.
"Wow, this tastes even better than your usual tea, Mugi-chan." You gave the light haired girl a smile when she blushed at your compliment.
"Thank you (f/n)-kun…" You stole a glance behind you, noticing her eyes light up when she looked past you and smiled. Spotting a tall male with a clean tuxedo on and a smile on his face. Noting that he was a butler, you instantly sat as straight as you could. You tensed all over and tried to appear as natural as you could when he put two plates down in front of you and Mugi.
"Here you are my lady. A slice of cake each, for you and your boyfriend." Mugi waved her hand around, embarrassed slightly.
"Oh, thank you!" The butler gave a quick bow before exiting the room.

Your mouth watered a little when you saw the slice of strawberry and cream cake sitting ever so beautifully atop this plate. Lying delicately on top of this delicious throne of sponge cake was a perfectly ripe and juicy strawberry. Hearing your stomach rumble, you shook your head and forced yourself back into reality when you noticed Mugi offering you a fork.
"Oh, thanks." You accepted her offer with a sweat drop and turned back to the heavenly looking cake on the table. The cake looked so tasty, but you could not wait to eat that strawberry. Clutching the fork tightly in your hand, you could feel yourself shake when your girlfriend took a small bit of her own cake to eat it. Licking your lips, you slowly moved your hand forward, deciding to conquer the red fruit atop first. The best part of the cake. Your stomach growled once more in anticipation as your fork was nearing the strawberry. And then it dropped.

You only saw a flash of silver and light skin and then it was gone.

The strawberry was gone.

Panicking a little, you turned to Mugi, whose hand was over her mouth as she chewed on your strawberry intently. Eyes snapping to her cake, you noticed her strawberry was gone also. She planned this.
"Mugi!" Her voice was muffled as she spoke with her mouth full.

"Whaf isf it, (f/n)-kun?" You took in a deep breath and attempted to compose yourself. Mugi's sapphire-blue eyes sparkled as she waited for you to reply. This wasn't like her usual self. Mugi was very well behaved and mature so you never expected her to do something like steal the strawberry off of somebody's cake. She obviously wanted something and was trying to provoke you. You just had to figure out what. Looking up, you noticed Mugi was staring at you intently. You mumbled a little, threatened slightly by her glare.
"Dammit I wanted to eat that strawberry."

Feeling a blush quickly spread across your cheeks as you leaned closer to Mugi, you heard a slight gasp escape from her lips. As you moved forward a little more, you closed your eyes and kissed her. She didn't move back or try to stop you. Squeezing your eyes shut tightly, you could feel Mugi lean into and put her hand on your shoulder. You savoured the feeling of Mugi's soft lips pressed up against yours. Suddenly realizing you were out of breath, you broke the kiss and took a large, exaggerated breath. You looked up to see Mugi staring the other way, her face a bright red. Your face became hot again as you licked your lips.

Strawberries. Success. Is what it tasted like. You felt yourself smirk, when you saw Mugi's mouth moving.
"-ted.…" Raising an eyebrow, you leaned back into your seat.
"Pardon? Did you saw something?" You questioned. The blonde girl turned to you and stared at you with her intriguing, bright blue eyes.

"That's not what I wanted, but that's okay too."
Tsumugi Kotobuki X Male! Reader
>/////< Well, that didn't go as well as I wanted it too. Ai Fuyuumi (Blush) [V1] Ah well~ Mugi is so fabulous, so it doesn't matter. 

I really liked it when Mugi stole Mio's strawberry, so I decided to make it better~~~ XD Shouko-Blush (Baka to test) 

This is a quick one shot for :iconrangeralex:  ! I hope you like it~ I did my best~

I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it~! :3 
Please enjoy, all and any feedback are appreciated~! ;3
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"Alfred Jones! You put poor Matthew down now before someone gets hurt!"

The young Alfred still ran and jumped cheerily, ignoring the red-faced Brit that scolded him. He didn't bother retaliating with the usual "you're not the boss of me"; he was too busy laughing. Matthew, who was sat on Alfred's shoulders, held on tightly, afraid that he might fall.

"Alfred!" Arthur didn't bother to chase after him, because he knew he wouldn't be able to catch up with the playful boy.

"A-Al, maybe you should listen to him…" Matthew squeaked, tightening his grip on the American.

"But it's so much fun!"

Alfred came to a sudden stop, barely avoiding a collision with the tall man in a blue coat that stepped before him. He looked up at him, recognising the flowing blonde hair and slight stubble immediately.

"Aww," he whined. Matthew peered up from his glasses and smiled.

"Francis!"

"Matthew, it's time for your French lesson."

"Oui!" the small boy chimed, climbing off of Alfred and standing beside him. Arthur had made his way over to the boys, not sparing Francis a single glance.

"It was good seeing you again Matthew. Alfred, go clean your room. And no TV for the rest of the night."

"But Matthew can't go, my head will get cold!"

Both adults stared at the boy skeptically. Matthew blushed and watched his feet shyly. "What are you on about now, Alfred?" Arthur sighed.

Alfred smiled widely, proudly announcing "Canada is my hat!"

"Alfred! Canada is a country, not one of your own personal items. Stop being so ridiculous."

Francis pried his eyes from the bemusing sight of a ticked-off Arthur and took Matthew's hand, "Come along, Matthew."

Matthew waved as Francis began to lead him out the door, "Bye Alfred. Goodbye Arthur."

Alfred pouted and slinked into the kitchen to grab a snack while Arthur was busy seeing their guests off, "Goodbye Matthew." Francis looked over his shoulder, flashing Arthur a soft smile. Then, he was gone.

Arthur rolled his eyes, calling the French man a quite rude name in his head. A smashing sound from the kitchen startled him and he rushed into the kitchen, knowing what he was about to find.

"Alfred!"



"Hey Mattie, climb up onto my shoulders."

"H-huh?" Matthew's eyes widened as Alfred stood up from the park bench and bent over slightly before Matthew to allow him to jump on.

"I want to give you a piggyback ride. You know, like I used to."

Matthew blushed, "I'm not sure if it's appropriate now. We're two grown men."

Alfred glanced over his shoulder, smiling widely, "Come on, it'll be fun. You're my hat, remember?"

Matthew cringed. He hated that; it made him feel all the more insignificant. It was bad enough that most countries totally disregarded him. But then again, if it made him Alfred's something…

He looked around them. The sun was shining over the green trees and the lush grass. It was far from quiet, with the sound of the wind whistling through the trees, rustling their leaves and chasing the squawking birds from their nests. There was no one to be seen, and so, very reluctantly, Matthew climbed onto Alfred's back. Apparently that wasn't good enough, because Alfred hoisted him up onto his shoulders.

Matthew clutched on tightly. It was almost frightening how high up he was; both he and Alfred had grown to be fairly tall men. Alfred held onto Matthew's legs to keep him in place; the weight wasn't a problem. He started to walk slowly so as not to lose balance.

Matthew gradually relaxed. He wrapped his arms around Alfred's neck and rested his chin atop of the smiling man's head. He hated being "America's hat", but right now, he forgot all about that.

'Alfred, I love the view from here…'
28. The view from here

I'm not sure if Alfred and Matthew are brothers in this or not, but it's open to your own interpretation. Arthur and Francis aren't lovers yet, but Francis certainly wants to be.

This one had Alfred/Matthew written all over it. Is there a more popular/common slash name for these two other than AmeriCan? I like it better than some of the others, and hope that the capital 'c' makes it obvious of which pairing it is.

Obviously the first part (written in italics) is like a flash back to when they were kids. Oh and I don't agree that Canada is just America's hat; I think Canada is cool and deserves more recognition. I'm not trying to offend any Canadians by that statement.

And no, there will not be a sequel featuring Alfred wearing Mexico as a beard...
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A Small World

Chapter 7


---------------

I took a step back, gripping my chest. It felt as if the room was spinning a hundred miles a minute.

No. Absolutely not. Impossible! It was impossible! My dad was not abusive! He never hurt me! He never… hit me… at least. He… well… he had always acted like he wanted to hit me but always held back. He had tried to only once because he was drunk. But… since it was that once, I forgave him. He couldn't have seriously thrown a bookshelf on top of Kieran. Kieran couldn't have been my brother! Wouldn't I have known if I had a brother? And… we looked nothing alike! This made no sense!

"Kieran," Cyrus breathed, taking a step forward.

Kieran, shuddering intensely, went to grab for the doorknob but the sweat forming on his hand made it slip off the metal and he lost his balance, falling onto the carpeted floor.

"Please," He pleaded, as my father took another step closer to the helpless blonde. "Stay away from me. Please, don't hurt me!"

"Kieran," My father reached his hand out slowly. "I won't. I—"

Suddenly, Amir flung open the door, probably hearing the commotion, and gripped Cyrus' wrist tightly, forcing it away from Kieran. Amir slammed my father hard against the wall, wrapping his strong hand around his neck.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" The thug hissed, scowling at the dark-haired man with venomous eyes. "You don't EVER lay a hand on him. You got that?"

"He's my son," Cyrus protested, grimacing at Amir, staring at him with the same intense look in his eyes. "I have the right—"

"You have no right!" Amir pulled Cyrus off the wall and then slammed him into it, once again, knocking the breath out of the older man's lungs. "People like you deserve to die!"

"Stop," I whispered, putting my hands over my ears, tears filling my eyes. One of Noah's arms had wrapped around me in consolation as I inhaled, my head spinning with confusion and fear. "Please."

"Do you want me to stop them?" Noah whispered quietly, in my ear, his breath warm and sweet.

How would Noah be able to stop them? Looking down, I recalled some fragments of the story Kieran had told me. 'He used to be one of the strongest members of our gang.' Now was the time to see if that story lived up to its full potential.

I nodded with desperation, tears spilling over my eyes, running down my cheeks. As Noah let me go and walked towards the quarreling men, my eyes drifted off toward Kieran. He was staring at me with wide, tear-filled, eyes, his chest rising and falling, coarsely. I held out my arms and he scurried over to me, jumping into them, crude gasps escaping his throat. I held him tightly as he hid his face in my chest, murmuring words that I couldn't decipher over his blubbering sobs.

"You're a sick person!" Amir's voice was booming with anger and he was repeatedly slamming my dad into the wall, with as much force as he could.

"I'm," my dad whispered, his consciousness dwindling. "I'm not…"

"Amir," Noah's stern voice cut in like a sword. "Let him go."

"This guy hurt Kieran!"

I gulped at the penetrating glare that Noah dispatched. It was as if he was a totally different person. I had never seen Noah give off such a dangerous vibe. But yet, I still felt safe, like nothing in the world could cause me harm. I wondered if that's how Kieran felt with Amir.

"No! He's going to get what he deserves!"

Noah wrapped a hand around Amir's wide arm, his glare unwavering.

"I'm giving you one last chance to listen to me."

The silver-haired man grinded his teeth together and then, moments later, released Cyrus.

"You're lucky you came in," He whispered, turning his back toward them. "He would've been killed."

I stared with wide eyes, my grip on Kieran tight and shaky. So it was true. Even Amir was intimidated by Noah.

"T- Thank you," Cyrus sighed, looking up at Noah with grateful eyes. The brunette glared at my dad, pointing a tan finger at him.

"You're not off the hook," he snarled, shooting auburn daggers at the dark-haired man. He nodded and awkwardly looked away. I felt Kieran's body still shaking in my lap and I kept my arms around him protectively. I couldn't believe it. I had grown up, looking up at my dad as some role model, even after him and my mother divorced when I was 5.

It was only until 2 years ago that we had reunited. When I saw him, though, it was as if I was meeting a stranger. He looked so much different than he did 13 years ago. Instead of the short, straight hair he had when I was little, it had grown down to his shoulder blades and was pulled back into a loose ponytail. Dark circles had formed under his eyes but I never knew if he had them before. As a toddler, his eyes were always covered with shaggy bangs. He never cut them short, no matter how much my mom complained how ridiculous he looked.

And that's what always started the fights. My mother would criticize my father, he would criticize my mother and then it would just blow up into this enormous argument over something pointless. Sometimes, their fights would get so bad, they would start hitting each other, and one day, mom just couldn't take it anymore.

---

My mother walked into the living room as I lay on the couch with my dad, watching the morning cartoons. Her arms were crossed over her chest as she blurted out, "I want a divorce."

I, at the time, had no idea what a divorce was, but from the looks on my parent's faces, I could tell it was not a good thing.

"What?" My father laughed, no humor could be found in his voice. "You can't be serious."

"Does it look like I'm joking?"

She stared at the bruises that caked her arms and looked up at Cyrus, her eyes low and sad. My father's hands gently reached under my body and pulled me off of him.

"Fine, then," His voice was like ice, filling the room with an uninvited chill. He stomped up the stairs and a few moments later came back down, accompanied by a large suitcase. "I'll be back for the rest of my things tomorrow."

"Daddy?"

I ran up to him, tugging at his pants' leg, staring at him with innocent eyes.

"Daddy," I repeated. "Where are you going?"

My father kneeled down in front of me and kissed my forehead, gently.

"Carson," he whispered, putting his hands on my shoulders and looking into my eyes as his welled up. "I doubt I'll get custody so I'm going to say this now. I love you, son, and I always will. Don't ever forget that."

And with that, he stood up and left the house.

"Daddy?"

I ran for the door, my breathing becoming uneven.

"Daddy!"

I was screaming now as my mother grabbed me, from around the waist, restricting me from any advancement. Sobs escaped my throat as I tried to escape my mother's arms.

"DADDY! DON'T LEAVE ME!"

"You're better off without him," My mother shrieked, over my redundant cries. "He's gone!"


---

My eyes opened slowly, focusing on a blurred figure hovering over me.

"Carson…"

The image cleared and Noah was staring at me, his features impersonal.

"N- Noah," I whispered, sitting up. He put his hands on my shoulders and pushed me back. My head hit the pillow, softly and I stared at the brunette with wide eyes.

"What are you—"

"You need to rest a bit longer," Noah stated, his eyebrows creased in a stony glare. I nodded, relaxed a bit and closed my eyes. Had that meeting with my father been a dream?

"Noah," I breathed, gripping his hand. "I had this insane dream—"

"It wasn't a dream," Noah interrupted, pulling his hand away. My heart contracted at the coldness in his voice. "Your dad's unconscious on the couch and I made Amir and Kieran leave. You fainted, probably from the shock of finding out that, well, one, you're dad has some abusive tendencies, and two, Kieran's your brother. That must be a lot to take in."

I stared at Noah. So the whole thing did happen. But what was up with him?

"Are you ok—"

"I'm leaving," Noah interrupted, once again. My heart started racing with paranoia.

"What?" I grabbed the brunette's arm before he could get up. "What do you mean, you're leaving?!"

"You'll be safer without me here."

"That's not true!" I screamed, grabbing his arm with both my hands. "I can't lose you!"

"You don't understand—"

"Stop! Stop telling me I don't understand!" I sounded hysterical, but I couldn't stand losing Noah, especially now. "Are you an idiot?! Don't just up and leave me without at least telling me why!"

Noah stared at me, his facial expression impassive, but his jaw was set as if he was holding back an aggravated scream.

"I'm just like Amir," The gangly brunette muttered. "Maybe even worse."

"S- So you're a thug," I whispered, shakily. "So what? What does that have to do with us?"

"I told you," Noah hissed. "You don't understand. I'm not just any thug. It was only a couple years ago that I was head of a gang. Amir was part of it. I have murdered people, I've done… horrible things that I regret. I eventually realized that I couldn't live my life as some mindless killer. I left the gang and then I met Alana, who let me stay with her as the rumors spread that I left town. I slowly changed my ways as I became more docile, got a real job, and tried to forget the past. But the day I saw Amir attacking you, the aggressive part of me slowly started to edge back into awareness and it hasn't gone away since."

I gawked at Noah, unable to speak.

"B- But—"

"Carson, listen to me," Noah demanded, his voice sounding irritated. "Word's going to spread. The local gangs are going to find out about my return. You won't be safe with me around. I need to go."

"Wha--?" I jumped for Noah as he began walking away. "You idiot! Don't go! Please!"

"I'm sorry," Noah whispered. "I have to keep you safe. I couldn't live with myself if you got hurt on my watch."

Something snapped within me. Anger boiled up, like a ticking bomb setting off inside me. My head was spinning, my mind vacant of the data that made me function right. It was as if my body and mouth moved all on their own, a separate person. My hands came forward, aggressively pushing Noah back, toward the door. His eyes watched me with confusion.

"I hate you!"

No. I love you.

"Get out of my sight! I never want to see you again!"

Stay here. I don't ever want you to leave.

What the hell was I saying? I didn't mean it! I didn't mean any of it, but I couldn't stop these words from pouring out of my mouth.

"You don't mean that," Noah mumbled, sadness filling his voice. "Take it back."

I stared at the ground, unable to answer, my lip quivering.

"Please," Noah begged, moving forward and holding his hands in mine. "You didn't mean that. Carson, I'm just trying to keep you from getting hurt."

I'm already hurt, Noah.

"Get out," I whispered, ripping my hands from his grip. Noah's eyes widened in shock, his hands falling to his side hesitantly as he stood, awkwardly frozen mid-step.

"Carson—"

"GET OUT!"

The brunette lowered his head, clenching his hands into fists.

"Fine," He growled, coldly, opening the door. "If that's what you want."

I stared as Noah slammed the door shut behind him, harder than necessary.

Once he was gone, I threw my hands to my head and slowly sunk to my knees as tears streamed down my cheeks.

"Damn it," I whimpered, setting my jaw. "What have I done? Noah..."
Phew *wipes sweat off brow* This... man... intensity..

:iconimseriousplz:

Hang in there, Carson... Hang in there. You got a lot on your plate...

---

Chapter 1: [link]
Chapter 2: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]
Chapter 4: [link]
Chapter 5: [link]
Chapter 6 (Part 1): [link]
Chapter 6 (Part 2): [link]
Chapter 6 (Part 3): [link]
Chapter 7: [link]
Chapter 9: [link]
Chapter 10: [link]

Editor: :iconrandomperson77:
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A Small World

Chapter 6, Part 1


--------------

"W- What?" I stared at the blonde boy with wide eyes as he looked down at me with tear-filled ones.

"My dad became extremely abusive after my mom died," Kieran began. "Before, he was a really great dad. He never laid a finger on me. Would never make me do things I didn't want to. But things changed. My mom was hit by a drunk driver while she was crossing the street when I turned 16. My dad was so traumatized by the whole thing; he just snapped under the stress. He started getting into drugs and alcohol. We were pretty good with money. He owned a huge company but it didn't stop him from getting into shit."

---

"Kieran!"

My eyes widened as I heard my intoxicated father stumble down the stairs. Shit! I wasn't prepared for him to get drunk right now. Before I could do anything, a shaky hand clamped down onto my shoulder.

"Kieran." I gulped and slowly turned to face him.

"Y- Yes, dad?"

"Go to the city and pick up what I asked for."

"Dad… you don't really expect me to get your drugs for you—" My father pushed his hands against my lips.

"Sh! Sh sh sh!"

He wrapped his arm around my shoulder and eyed me.

"Y'know, I work my butt off for you so do you think it would kill you to help me out just a tiny bit here?" I peeled his arm off of me and stepped back.

"No, You're an idiot!"

Dad flinched at my shout, and I immediately regretted it when I saw the expression of rage on his face. He raised his arm and I shut my eyes in anticipation. The back of his hand connected with my face, the force of his anger sending me flying back into a bookshelf. Books and other objects rained down on me. I cried out in pain, holding my arms up to shield myself from the collapsing furniture.

"You ungrateful brat!" My father roared, picking items up off nearby tables, and chucking them at me in fury. I cried out as the bookshelf landed on top of me, knocking the breath out of me.

"Dad," I choked out, tears blurring my eyes. "Help me! Please! I can't breathe!"

"You should stay there and suffer!"

"H- How could you say something like that? You used to be the best dad. Why did you have to turn this way?"

My words, it seemed, had hit my father like a ton of bricks. In seconds, the weight was lifted off of me and I was pulled up onto my feet.

"I'm so sorry, Kieran. I—"

I couldn't let him finish. I held back sobs as I whipped my hand across his face. He gasped out and stared at me in horror.

"I hate you!" I screamed, pure disgust eminent in my voice.
Pushing him out of the way, I sprinted toward the door, clumsily tripping over fallen furnishings and broken items.

"Kieran—wait!"

I ran toward the door with uncanny speed for someone who had just been smashed into the floor by a bookshelf. I wanted to get as far away from him as my feet could carry me; away from that repulsive man, away from the pain he delivered.

Soon, I wandered into the city. My heart was beating at a rapid pace as I roamed the dimly lit streets. My father had always told me horrible stories of things that happened in the city at night. Walking through an alley, my eyes nervously scanned the area. It was well past midnight, there couldn't have been anyone out.

I let my sore body lean against the grimy wall and slide to the ground.

"What the hell am I doing," I whispered to myself, my lips quavering.

My hands gently trailed over my face, feeling the lumps and cuts that had formed there. Tomorrow I would have monstrous bruises.

"Where am I supposed to go?"  Going back to that dreadful place would only result in more beatings and consequences. But staying here, I would have had to live on the streets. How could I survive like that?

I sat there, in the deserted alley; the only sounds were my choked sobs. Suddenly, someone grabbed my arm, hoisting me onto my feet.

"W- Wha--?!" I choked out as the stranger began dragging me down the street with impatience.

"Come on," The man's gruff voice yelled with apprehension. "Pick up your feet and move!"

What was this guy's deal? My heart raced as he tightened his grip with every step.

"N- No! Stop!" I ripped my arm from his grasp and turned, running the opposite direction.

I hurdled around a corner and came face to face with a lofty, robust man. Four other guys stood behind him, each one holding a make-shift weapon. The man I was staring up at had a bat over his shoulder.

"Oh?" He exclaimed with interest, grinning evilly. "What do we have here?"

The stranger who had grabbed me in the alley seized my arm and shoved me behind him.

"You'll leave him be if you know what's best for you," He threatened.

I stood behind him, peeking around his back, curiosity getting the better of me.

"Amir? Ha! You actually think you have the guts to kill me?" The man protecting me was brawny, packed with muscle, the thug before us towered over him, smiling smugly, still, my protector didn't back down.

"If it means keeping this boy safe, then yes." The blood rushed to my face when he said that. Why did he want to protect me?

"Oh shit!"

My eyes glanced up as the hoodlums started backing up, terror on their faces. My defender held a pistol out, aimed at the leader's face.

"Go," He ordered.

They all immediately turned and ran the opposite way, terrified. Raindrops began falling as we stood there in silence. All I could do was gawk at this so-called 'Amir' whose back was still toward me.

He… he saved my life.

"H- Hey…"

"Are you an idiot?!"

I stepped back, staring at the man in confusion.

"What?"

"Why is someone like you out here so late? You could've gotten killed just now!"

"Whoa whoa whoa," I put up my hands in protest. "What do you mean by 'someone like you'?"

"I can tell you aren't from around here. Anyone who lives in the city knows better than to ever come in this neighborhood at these hours."

"W- Well I didn't know," I whispered, inaudibly. Tears blurred up my eyes once again as that horrible memory started replaying in my mind.

"H- Hey," The man whispered. "Don't cry."

I sniffled and wiped my eyes.

"S- Sorry," I stuttered. "I'll go. Thanks for helping me out."

I turned from the stranger and began walking away, even though I didn't want to. I felt grateful towards that man but I knew getting involved with someone like that was not a very good idea.

I gasped as I felt strong arms unexpectedly wrap around my shoulders.

"Come with me," Amir whispered.

I looked over at the silver-haired man, my eyes searching his face but he was emotionless. Was he serious?

"D- Don't mess with me," I stammered, turning my red face away from his but I didn't push him away. I didn't want to. For some reason, being in his embrace, I felt safe, like nothing could cause me harm.

"I'm not messing with you," he insisted, squeezing me tighter.

"I don't even know you."

By now, our bodies were drenched with water from the proceeding down-pour, but I didn't care. I didn't want this moment to end.

"Do we have to know each other?"

"Shouldn't we know each other's names at least?"

"Hello," He said, keeping his arms around me. His mouth moved next to my ear and whispered, "My name is Amir. And yours?"

"Kieran."

"Well!" The lanky boy released me and sniffed, looking down at me with a superior grin. "I'm delighted to have met such a modest, young gentleman!"

He bowed so perfectly that he actually did seem like a noble, apart from the messy, spiky hair going out in all different directions, the t-shirt and jeans, and the tattoos. His act caused me to burst out laughing. It seemed so out of character. Amir chuckled and offered his hand.

"So," He began, with the same, proper accent. "Could I provide you the decency to walk you home on this scenic, starry night?"

I began laughing all over again as we both glanced up at the cloud-covered, storm-filled night.

"If that's how you want to put it," I replied, smiling and taking his hand. "Then I guess."

"Ah!" He exclaimed, throwing his free hand to his forehead, dramatically. "What a charming answer! You take my breath away! You have such a way with words!"

I scoffed and looked away but I couldn't help but smile. I was already feeling better. He made me feel like there wasn't a problem in the world. But that soon changed as I realized something.

"Amir," I whispered.

The silver-haired man looked down at me, his face emotionless, once again.

"I don't have a home anymore."
Chapter 6! There are going to be a few parts to this chapter because I need to get through the backstory of Kieran and Amir! and I also need to add in the reason for Amir's thug move in the beginning >:I! So there's a lot of shizz-a-dee-doo-dah goin on there ;o!

Preview Pic: [link]

Chapter 1: [link]
Chapter 2: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]
Chapter 4: [link]
Chapter 5: [link]
Chapter 6 (Part 2): [link]
Chapter 6 (Part 3): [link]
Chapter 7: [link]
Chapter 8: [link]
Chapter 9: [link]
Chapter 10: [link]

Editor: :iconrandomperson77:
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