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Idiot boys

Sep. 7th, 2018 12:31 am
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Honestly, Tezuka and Echizen are sadly communication-impaired, most of the time. It’s just that they’re communication-impaired in /really complimentary ways/.

Also, they managed to ambush me with an actual discussion of why Echizen is so messed up, internally, even if it did take Ryuuzaki-sensei intervening. Ryuuzaki-sensei rocks the world, in addition to having been a stone fox when she was younger.

Today’s snippet:

“You already know how to stop losing, Echizen,” Tezuka-san said, quietly. “You train to become stronger. It may take longer some times than others, but as long as you don’t stop it will work in the end.” He didn’t smile, but the steadiness of his eyes, meeting Ryouma’s, felt better than all the encouraging smiles in the world. This wasn’t just encouragement. This was something Tezuka-san really believed.

And something he really believed Ryouma could do.

Ryouma took what felt like the first breath in a while, and nodded. “Okay.”

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This is definitely been a couple games of serious personal growth for Zaizen! Of course, it usually /is/ personal growth on the menu for anyone playing Echizen, but this time it was just the cherry on top of a whole round of having his assumptions adjusted. Zaizen has done quite well, especially for such a snippy, hot-tempered little thing.

Today’s snippet:

Echizen had five games to Hikaru’s two, and he could feel the burn in his muscles that said he’d reached nearly as far as he could and still walk at the end of the match. Hikaru bounced the ball a few times, considering one more time whether he couldn’t take advantage of his service game and push further, but… he’d never been one for flashy, specialized shots. There was no special way he could spin his serve that would save this score. He bounced the ball one more time, hard, and gripped it with all his strength. His game had always been like Echizen’s; a game that relied on breadth of knowledge and evenly balanced strengths.

Echizen was just better at it.

Hikaru shook off the surge of disbelief and anger that came with that thought, fairly practiced by now. Maybe he couldn’t win this match, and maybe he wasn’t as insane as Fudoumine’s brash speed-player, to drive himself to dropping while he tried. But there was such a thing as going down fighting.

He looked over the net at Echizen, and while that smile was still there it was a bit less annoying, somehow. Bright and knowing, yes, but a friendlier knowing. Even welcoming, maybe. Hikaru narrowed his eyes and nodded back, just a little. And then he cast the ball up and served, hard and precise.

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I have to say, I’m really enjoying Shiraishi, since re-tuning him. When the point of Nationals was “only Fun Tennis is good!”, well, Shiraishi was kind of a victim of the moralistic point the author wanted to make. But when you take that away and think about what kind of person would, not just be good at, but also enjoy a style based on perfect form… well, you get someone who’s kind of rolling his eyes at all the muga-types and their histrionics.

Today’s snippet, case in point:

“Fuji,” Shiraishi said, quiet enough that maybe only the two of them heard, under the cheers from Shitenhouji. He held out his hand, and Shuusuke moved forward, automatically, to take it, mind still full of static. Shiraishi caught his hand and shook it firmly. “It was a good game.”

A harsh breath of a laugh yanked itself out of Shuusuke’s chest. “I suppose it was, from your side.”

“So start sooner, next time,” Shiraishi returned, coolly. “Now that you know how.”

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Now here’s something interesting. The more I write inside Fuji’s head, the clearer it is what Echizen is giving the team. Without ever knowing it, of course; at this point in the story Echizen is still honestly a little twitchy about how this /team/ thing is supposed to work, especially thanks to being mega-twitchy about how this losing thing is supposed to work. But, yeah. You can see it form where Fuji’s standing all right.

Today’s snippet:

The score pushed itself to the front of his mind again, and he had to take a moment to wrestle it back. The fact of it remained, though; he was down one game. He frowned down at the court as he bounced the ball, feeling the comforting jolt as it returned smartly to his hand. He needed to get one of Shiraishi’s service games from him. He needed…

The image of Echizen rose in his mind, of those expressive eyes narrowed with ferocious determination, of Echizen throwing himself against someone’s shot over and over and over until he found a way over, under, around, or through. Shuusuke’s mouth curled in a helpless smile. Yes. Maybe he needed some of that.

Needed to attack.

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I swear to god, Fuji Shuusuke is the biggest pain in the ass of all the Tenipuri muses to get POV out of. That said, once you hit his wavelength, he’s very voluble! In a… slightly disturbing way, but that’s Fuji all over.

Today’s words:

He closed his eyes and took a long breath in, letting it out slowly. Took the score and set it aside, in his mind, on a shelf for later. Took the nagging knowledge of Tezuka’s eyes on him, watching and waiting and quite probably hoping, and put that on the shelf too. He would act like that packing away was real, until it became real. He took the slick feel of Shiraishi’s tennis, in his thoughts, and held it on mental palms, let the new openness of his thoughts flow out to his body and re-settle his stance. He didn’t need to encompass Shiraishi’s game. All he had to do was meet it, play against it. What happened then–he shoved the surge of nerves relentlessly back onto its shelf–well, that was what they were playing to find out.

It would be interesting, to see.

When that thought finally came to the fore, Shuusuke smiled and opened his eyes.

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Today I finally got splashed by one of the little weirdos who somehow think canonicity has anything at all to do with fic. In this particular case, that Roy/Ed was OMG WRONG because Ed marries Winry at the end of canon. Which, on the one hand… did they somehow think I /missed/ that? That, I don’t know, I somehow just hadn’t realized, and would obviously repudiate my own story if some ‘kind’ soul just informed me? (Newsflash: the answer is no.) And on the other hand… seriously, what the fuck has that got to do with the price of Roy/Ed in fandom? (Additional newsflash: always high.) This is /fanfiction/. Say it with me “fan-fic-tion”, which is very different from “can-on”. You can hear the difference right?

Fortunately, a brisk smack on the nose with a rolled up newspaper dissuaded them, but I’m still having to pause and shake my head over the very idea that anyone, even tiny, under-socialized fanbrats, could possibly imagine that “that’s not canon!” would ever be anything but laughable, as a response to fic.

No, it’s not canon. That’s the /point/.

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My life is currently packed into approximately 150 boxes. Loading tomorrow. Half a Xanax and a stiff Cosmopolitan are barely restraining my urge to screaming panic. Useful information: moving gets more stressful as you get older/more invested in Your Stuff. Imma go breathe into my trusty paper bag, now, and commiserate with the cats about how ACK this all is.

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So, I was just checking up on the dates of the Ann Arbor art fairs, this year, to be sure I could ask for them off from my shiny new job, and wandered from there to checking out whether The Earle is still in business (yes) or the Del (no) or Seva (yes), and wandered, as it were, down Main St. from there to see how The Ark is doing these days, and then I had to close my office door and cry into my keyboard for a while, because /I remember that place/, and omg I’m going /home/.

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Dec. 5th, 2017 03:06 am
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Okay, so I’ve finally gotten around to watching more (by now most) of the D. Gray-man anime, which does actually pick up nicely once you get past the filler of Season One.

And I finally got to Hallow.

And holy shit. All of a sudden, the Allen/Kanda vibe is turned up to eleven. Enough so that I’m seriously considering going back to the manga to check and see whether the first-series writers were deliberately weighting their interactions toward the enemy end of frenemies. Or, possibly, whether the Hallow writers are just shoveling on the fanservice. I mean, it could be either, but the change is sharp enough that it has to be one or the other.

Not that I’m complaining. *grins*

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Okay, so… I’m not promising anything, here, but the bunnies for today, my day off, have been tugging me back to my Tenipuri Nationals re-write. And I think I know why I stalled so hard on this one. It was trying too hard to keep the relatively decent parts of Nationals canon. Which, to be honest, /don’t fit/ after you’ve fixed all the howling moments of WTF.  So, now I’m doing another editing sweep to refamiliarize myself which what I actually did, and contemplating the possibility of, um, Seigaku losing. I mean, everything else I could fit in reasonably well! But let’s face it, Konomi did not make a good narrative case for Seigaku being able to actually win against Rikkai, not with Yukimura at even half-strength. *frowns at the story* If they do win, the momentum to that point nearly demands that it be, essentially, by luck. Which is fine, but /that/ demands a follow-up, and oh god I don’t know if I’m up to re-writing the Invitational arc. 

Eh, for now, let’s just look at the next bit. Which is Atobe’s arc! And Atobe is /always/ fun to write, especially when he gets into it with Sanada. 

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Okay, this one sounds fun. Favorite characters in 10 different fandoms.

1. Fullmetal Alchemist. Roy. I mean, Ed is huge fun to write, and so is Al when he gets his snark on, but Roy is my most reliable fic-fodder character, plotting creature that he is.

2. Prince of Tennis. Probably Yukimura, with Rikkai as a whole coming close second. They’re just so much fun to write about as a team; tasty dynamics everywhere, especially with the angst-lever to crack it all open.

3. Bleach. Hm. This one is actually a little difficult. I mean, in absolute terms, Rukia, but, again, mostly Rukia in relation to Ichigo and Orihime and Renji. Close second place is split by Byakuya and Hirako Shinji, despite the second’s late appearance.

4. Kuroko no Basuke. Kuroko, hands down, often in relation to Kagami, but also in relation to the other Miracle-idiots. No one can lay the straight-faced smackdown like Kuroko.

5. Angel Sanctuary. Mad Hatter, with Kira following close behind. I have a soft spot for complex motivation, in case that wasn’t obvious.

6. Naruto. Kakashi, closely followed by Sakura, albeit usually in the key of “omfg, move over and let me drive” given that canon gives them both a pretty raw deal, character-development-wise.

7. 07-Ghost. Frau. I also have a /huge/ soft spot for Teito and Ouka, and everything they might make of their world, but Frau is the most fun to play with.

8. Katekyou Hitman Reborn. Gokudera is entertainingly highstrung, but the more I dug into it, the more Squalo showed up with a bagful of plot and emotional porn. 

9. GetBackers. Kazuki, especially in relation to Saizou, Toshiki, Sakura, and Juubei. Also with the emotional porn and fix-it urges.

10. Nirvana in Fire. Lin Shu/Mei Changsu, yes, all the way. A type, I can haz it, and it’s called Magnificent Bastards.

In conclusion, I clearly like the ones who smile politely all the while they’re getting a nice, iron grip on everything around them. Though also the ones whose central motivation is devotion. 

Consider yourself tagged, if you’d like!

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So, I finally get the Jingrui and Yujin’s Political Adventures story out the door, and promptly the Yuwen Nian bunny starts flipping its ears at me again. So back I go to re-watch bits of episodes to nail down a few facts. And I happen to breeze past Consort Yue putting on her poor-pitiful-me act for the Emperor and recommending Consort Xushu stand in the Empress’ stead for New Year. Wherein she mentions that Xushu has raised a grown Princess.

And suddenly I’ve got Linyang (lin as in jade, but quite deliberately gesturing to lin as in forest as in Emperor’s then-best-buddy Lin Xie), age 40 or thereabouts, waltzing around my head, trying to figure out exactly what subject prince she got married off to, and picking out livery colors for her ladies in waiting, and very quietly rolling her eyes over being stuck as chaperone for Nian until the banquet because Liyang looked about to cut someone when /she/ was suggested.

I mean, yes, my unofficial motto for this whole arc is Women Being Fucking Awesome but really. One line! *bangs her head on the desk*

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Cross-post from my archive.

Fandom/Arc: Nirvana in Fire, In Every Time and Season
Characters/Pairings: Jingrui/Yujin, Lin Shu | Mei Changsu, Meng Zhi, Xiao Jingrui, Yan Yujin
Summary: Jingrui is finding himself drawn back toward a military position, after fighting at the northern border, and Yujin follows along, as he always has, despite his own reservations. Along the way, the two of them get into trouble, politics, and eventually a deeper understanding.
Meta: Drama with Politics and Romance, and also a Sprinkle of Porn, I-4
Wordcount: 18777

Very few of Yujin's reservations had ever held up in face of Jingrui's smile. Not when they were little and stealing sweets off Aunt Jing's table (with her amused connivance, Yujin had realized years later); not when they were a little older and Jingrui had dragged Yujin everywhere after their glamorous, if also sometimes alarming, older cousins; not when they'd come of age and Jingrui hauled Yujin out onto the roads to wander the country with that very same smile. He could barely imagine leaving Jingrui's side, at this point. So there was really nothing else to do but elbow him back until they managed to shove each other into the shallows, laughing.

Candles Lit at the Doors )
branchandroot: pen with burning ink (ink burns)

Cross-post from my archive.

Fandom/Arc: Nirvana in Fire, In Every Time and Season
Characters/Pairings: Jingyan/Shu, Lin Shu | Mei Changsu, Xiao Jingyan
Summary: Jingyan is figuring out why Lin Shu likes to be held tightly, in bed, and in the process shakes a few truths loose that he didn't expect.
Meta: Porn with Characterization, I-4
Wordcount: 1110

Perhaps this wasn't something he would have expected of xiao-Shu, but that didn't mean he couldn't put the pieces together when they were in front of him—and he was more than willing to oblige.

The Yellow Season )
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And here’s where I run into problems with anything that moves Jingrui’s relationships to somewhere they are not currently: Jingrui takes things at face value. He’s not dumb or unsophisticated; on the contrary, he observes quite accurately that, for example, Su Zhe does not particularly like (or suit) working for Prince Yu. But it’s Yujin, not Jingrui, who spots that maybe Su /isn’t/. Jingrui is trusting to an alarming extent, considering his family.

This suggests to me that both sides of his family, and in fact everyone else of his acquaintance, have deliberately kept him out of Serious Business concerns, and have probably done so from day one. It further suggests that, despite that, he’s gotten regular confirmation that he’s valued and loved. Watching the way he interacts with everyone except the Marquis, even while things are falling apart and blowing up, I think we can bet on this–there’s been a feedback loop there, his whole life, in which Jingrui is open hearted and is therefore cherished by his family, and therefore keeps being open hearted and trusting, and is therefore sheltered, and so on.

Which means that Jingrui probably also has a tendency to go with the flow and trust that everything will turn out, until or unless he’s whacked over the head with something that is clearly Wrong in some way. (Jingrui inspires me to use capitals, too.) So shifting his relationship with Yujin, especially if we assume Yujin has been taking some trouble to be a bit misdirecting thanks to his fear to screwing things up, is… going to take some work, let’s put it that way.

I do find it interesting that Jingrui apparently idolized Lin Shu (at least, Yujin says he was the one always running after Lin Shu, and dragging Yujin along), and keeps idolizing him, even in disguise. Jingrui might not /do/ the incisive insight thing, but he does seem to /respect/ it, very highly. (One possibility here: that he notices this characteristic as it comes out more strongly in Yujin.) I suspect part of Jingrui’s youthful cousin-crush was also that Lin Shu was already in the military. Jingrui gets the warrior thing from both sides of his family, both the in-system and out-system versions. I suspect the military is genuinely Jingrui’s career goal, insofar as he has one; the camaraderie of soldiers, as presented in the story, seems very like what Jingrui values in his relationships, and it’s what he’s been raised to. (Alternate possibility: Jingrui and Yujin’s squads can’t take the pining any longer and set them up.)

So, if Yujin is currently Prince Ji’s understudy, I kind of think Jingrui is Meng’s. The trick will be moving them both toward a little conjoint personal development when both characters have so much inertia built up in their current positions.

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The latest story is stalled in the way that usually means there’s something about these characters that I don’t know yet, so let’s think out loud for a bit about Yujin. (It may be Jingrui, but we’ll start with Yujin.)

The first thing that comes to mind is that Yujin is seriously Prince Ji’s understudy, which in turn suggests immediately that Yujin’s sunny smile is a bit of a front. This is not actually surprising, given that Yujin’s family life kind of shafted him. He’s the son of a woman his father didn’t love, and has been pretty roundly ignored by his father all his life. No matter how well-adjusted a kid is, that leaves a mark. I also note that Yujin is the one who says Lin Shu was impatient with the younger kids and not fun to be around, and that Jingrui was the one who dragged them both after Lin Shu all the time. Yujin preferred Prince Qi.

Now that’s interesting. Because Yujin is clearly reasonably smart, and very observant; he follows along with all the complicated plans easily. But he preferred the significantly older Prince Qi to the brilliant and older but still part of his own generation Lin Shu. So, yeah, I’m checking the box for “dad issues” here, and running on the supposition that Yujin has basically been hungry for any kind of father figure (which probably also ties into his friendship with Prince Ji).

And I have to wonder whether Yujin’s social-butterfly mode isn’t a way of reassuring himself that, whatever’s wrong with him (because of course he thinks there’s something wrong with him) it can’t be /too/ bad, right? You can see hints of this anxiety in what he says when he comes to thank MCS for fixing his family–thanking him for /allowing Yujin to be properly filial, which he’s been failing to do/. Of course Yujin frames this as all his fault, and I don’t think that’s purely down to cultural convention.

Yujin is a very accomplished fighter (in the top ten of the tournament, survives the attack on the spring hunt) and quite willing to follow Jingrui around the pugilist world, but he has no contacts of his own there. He also isn’t the understudy of any of the military types, so I’m guessing that the military was never an ambition of his. Instead, he’s following as closely as possible in his family’s diplomatic footsteps (put another check in “dad issues” I’m thinking) which may, therefore, be both his hope and his interest. He’s definitely the one who reads people best, identifying right away when someone is having a one on one and dragging Jingrui away, setting up Prince Ji to witness Wei’s escape, etc.

Interpersonally… well, here’s where he gets slippery. Because Yujin seems to have no personal friends or connections besides Jingrui. He’s cut off from his family, for most of the series, and his social activities center, not to put too fine a point on it, among paid companions. He’s socially adept, but I’m guessing that he’s going to have some problems with any kind of mid-range relationships (not father or Jingrui but not courtesans either). And if there’s the slightest hint that something he does might injure his relationship with his father or Jingrui, he’s almost certainly going to strike that off the menu of options rather than risk it.

…which suggests that it’s /Jingrui/ who’s going to have to make the first move, oh god. Because Yujin will /never risk it/. That’s it, right there. *headdesk* Oh, this’ll be such a pain. Okay, need to think about Jingrui next.

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Cross-post from my archive.

Fandom/Arc: Nirvana in Fire, In Every Time and Season
Characters/Pairings: Cai Quan, Eunuch Gao, Gong Yu, Jingyan/Shu, Li Len, Lin Shu | Mei Changsu, Liu An, Mu Nihuang, Nihuang/Shu, Shen Zhui, Xia Dong, Xiao Jingyan, Xiao Xuan, Zhao Wei
Summary: Lin Shu and Nihuang settle into life at court, in the field, and in Jingyan's home while Lin Manor is repaired. The rest of the court may need a few stiff drinks to recover from the process, especially once a complex political scandal breaks in the middle of it.
Meta: Drama with Politics and Porn, I-4
Wordcount: 22852

Now Jingyan returned his gaze, steady and serious. "Even though you hoped to be done with being the strategist, after Prince Qi, my brother's, and Lin's and Chiyan's names were restored?"

For a long moment, he was silent, because that had been true. "I did finish with it, though," he said at last, slowly. "And I returned to my old self, my own world, long enough to die there. I thought that would be the end of it, and I still believe I was right about that. This," he swept a hand around, at the palace, at the ministers and officials and ladies moving through the halls and gardens, each intent on their own ends and ambitions, and the three of them in the middle of it all, "this is what comes after that end, another new life." He gave Jingyan a tiny smile. "Now, what I can do, all that I can do, is for you and with you, nothing held back. That's as it should be, and I have no wish to be done with it."

Red Heart and White Sword )
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The little mildly-kinky Jingyan/Lin Shu porn story demands to be titled “The Yellow Season”. I would like it to be understood that I do not /normally/ make dreadful puns or linguistic jokes in my story titles, so perhaps this can just be considered, I don’t know, truth in advertising or something?

Is it too late to not use Taoist color symbolism for the titles in this arc? It is, isn’t it? *sighs*

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…where you get to the end/climax and realize that you have to go and write another, interstitial, story in order to make it make sense.

*bangs head against the desk a few times*

And now I have to come up with names for all the builders/renovators! *goes to pull up Wiktionary again, and also the history of courtyard houses*

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Seriously, she’s just the most sarcastic little thing. Especially when she’s doing the espionage part of her job, and /most/ especially when she’s dealing with stupid men.

Not that one can blame her, to be sure.

Today’s snippet:

And all the while she cooed and snuggled at this fool, she held close in her heart the memory of Dong jie-jie’s teeth flashing as she bared them in a fierce grin the day Gong Yu had gotten past her guard during morning training, the hardness of her eyes when they’d finally pinned down when Qing Li’s south depot had started losing goods–just a year after the man beside her had gained his current office in the Ministry of Revenue. Even more than that, the sober confidence in her voice when she’d told Gong Yu to return to the capital without her and close this half of the net on her own. She made her smile bright with that memory and poured more wine.

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February 2019

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