Rin laughed, shaking his head. He crouched down, and picked up a little grey cat that was digging up the royal soil. The cat looked him in the eye and then meowed indignantly, trying to push Rin away with his paw. "Forget about the cats. I don't mind the cats. They can... they can stay here, it's not a problem. And for fuck's sake, call me Rin, it'd be weird if you didn't. But you've kept me waiting! Are you really going to blame the cats for that?" Rin pouted, and held the grey kitty next to his face, so they could both pout at Makoto. As if cued, the grey kitty let out another pleading meow, although he probably was just trying to tell Rin to get off of him.
Makoto flushed, and then he smiled broadly. "I'm so relieved! I was afraid... a *royal* summons and all. But Rin is still Rin. That's great."
‘You didn’t find me, you know,’ James Tiberius said, speaking around the food in his mouth. ‘I found you.’
‘That is an accurate assessment of the events as they transpired on the away mission,’ Spock agreed.
Whatever James Tiberius had expected Spock to say, he had not anticipated a frank confirmation of the truth. Human socialization—as Spock had observed its overarching patterns, through his time at Starfleet Academy and specifically during team-building exercises for prospective active-duty officers—placed excessive significance on matters of ego. Perhaps James Tiberius had assumed that Spock would value the comfort of his ego above adherence to fact.
‘However,’ Spock added, ‘it does not address the specifics, in which you attempted to overwhelm me with a hypodermic needle.’
The third or fourth time John heard it, the music thrummed in his mind and he felt the notes begin to move through him, making him part of the song. On the second chorus, he started to hum a quiet counterpoint to Sherlock's melody.
The reaction was immediate. Sherlock stopped singing so suddenly that the music carried on for a few notes without him before dying out, and he spun on his heel to glare at John.
"Now that you're alright, I will," she vows. His heart stutters as she rises to lean in and press her lips against his jowl, leaving a kiss on his fur.
He looked up, and up. The man was tall, with long red hair, red eyes, and a face he recognized from his mother's faded photograph. He swallowed.
"Are you Sha Gojyo?" he asked.
The man frowned. "Yeah. Who're you?"
He took a deep breath, a step back, and shot his fist forward into the bastard's stomach as hard as he could.
"We're friends?" Clint asks. He sounds suspicious, in a way that makes Tony want to break something.
"You are a brave warrior," Thor tells him solemnly.
She always draws them the same way, not creating the image so much as perfecting it.
Cyclops tilted his head, and he almost had an expression for a moment. It faded like a ghost in sunlight. "Maybe."
'That's why I'm counting on someone very gallant offering to come with me.'
Merlin's gaze falls on Gwaine, and he pinches his lips together, like he thinks there's something for Gwaine to decide.
'I'm in. Of course I am,' Gwaine says. 'But – we'll be gone days. We can't very well leave the prince asleep in your room. Camelot'll notice he's not where he's supposed to be, not to mention Gaius doesn't need his glasses to tell you've Arthur in your bed.'
Gwaine looks up as the bar on the stall door lifts, and he struggles to pull back on the mask of his composure. It slips away along with his breath when Merlin sidesteps in, and he doesn’t have a chance to catch it again because Merlin’s staring at him intently. Then Merlin is stepping forward and holding Gwaine’s face in his hands.
A hand came to rest lightly on his shoulder. Cloud didn't even flinch. Even though they had made not a sound, he knew his visitors were there. "It's nothing you've done wrong, Spike. You were never sent back as a punishment."
The voice, male and full of sad humor, was as familiar as the touch, and Cloud wished he could lean into it. But past experience told him that if he tried, he would fall, and the voice and touch would vanish.
“Nil,” he said too quickly. He knew nothing about the boy, except a column full of figures that marked them as an ideal match. If there was anything more than luck on the Department of Compatibility’s side, Arthur might, whether he liked the idea or not, fall in love with the spouse they’d found him in their extensive database and remain happily married until the end of his days.
It sounded good, in theory—it had supposedly worked for generations—except when a secret army of druids and seers, and your clairvoyant half-sister, said you were destined for an indomitable union with a warlock, a man with magic, and this union was Albion’s only hope in restoring the balance his father had destroyed.
"Shh, Willow, I'm sure you father will love you. He might not even know of your existence. What's his name?"
"Seeley. Seeley Booth." Willow managed to say between her sobs.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Duo, Your Grace."
"That's an odd name."
"So they say, Your Grace, but I like it."
An engaging grin caught Heero by surprise and, unaccountably rattled by it, he thought irritably that the shinigami had very free manners.
Haruka frowned and carefully put her walkman away. Normally, she wasn't concerned about other people. She had enough problems herself.
/Does she have such a bloody life, too? But she looks so rich!/
The taller girl stood up and was determined to go over to the smaller girl to ask her.
At that moment the sea green haired beauty raised her head and two deep blue eyes looked desperately into dark green ones.
/She looks so lonely - just like me.../
Both swallowed hard.
"This is why not," Heero said in clipped words.
Wufei blinked. "What?"
"Trust," Heero said simply. "The 'cure' takes trust. And you don't trust any of us. We're just your captors, right?" He retreated, looking dismissively away and wiping his hands off on an extra piece of dressing.
Wufei opened and closed his mouth, glaring helplessly at the other boy for a moment. Heero was right. He *didn't* trust them. He had no idea where they were taking him. He especially didn't trust Duo, who seemed a little too close to psychotic sometimes for Wufei's comfort. And Quatre was constantly giving half-truths, while Trowa had lied to him for two years. Why should he trust Heero any more than he trusted the rest of them?
"I'm leaving tomorrow."
"I don't understand." Arthur blinked. "Leaving where?"
Merlin peered at the fire pensively. "Gaius has taught me everything he knows. I'm going to the forest of Ehdrina to study with the Druids."
Arthur spluttered. "But – Merlin, that's not till you're at least fourteen!"
Merlin lifted an eyebrow in a fair imitation of his mentor. "Arthur, my birthday was two weeks ago."
"If you trust me with your stuff." Callen said with a shrug. Rule number nine: don’t leave anything with anyone that you might want to keep.
"I trusted you with more last night." Jared pointed out quietly.
"Still, you barely know me." Callen argued quietly.
Jared's eyes softened as he looked a Callen. He raised his hand to gently cup Callen's cheek. "I know enough. I trust you, G. If you're going to run off with any of my stuff I can't really stop you. I'd probably be more upset that I didn't get the chance of a second date." He paused. "Unless you ran off with some of my cookware. Then I'd hunt you down to get it back."
Callen laughed softly. "I'll leave the cookware, then."
"Promises, promises." Jared said with a roll of his eyes. He leaned in and gently kissed Callen on the lips. It was chaste, short and close-mouthed, but it was probably the sweetest kiss Callen had ever received.
"Oh wow, you're right, sorry," Bolin said, looking immensely guilty.
General Iroh second-of-that-name, youngest general in the last five hundred years, prince of the Fire Nation, shining beacon of hope to all. And, apparently, remarkably skilled at making the man he was falling for feel completely horrible.
"No, we don't."
"I didn't know how to tell you this, but I'm pregnant. You know my father would never approve of me having a child out of wedlock! He'd come after you with the shotgun, Gus. Is that what you want?"
"Seriously, Pete, shut the fuck up," Cute Hat Boy mutters, trying to turn Pete around to face the front. But all of Pete's attention is focused on Frank, who is now on his feet in the aisle, trying not to fall over as the bus bumps.
"Get on!" he shouted over the engine noise. "You're busting out of here!" He held one arm out to the man, who finally seemed to be shaking off a bit of his daze. Wide yellow eyes blinked at him, then darted back to the circus workers turning their direction now. Then, tentatively, one three-fingered hand clutched Logan's arm and the man swung himself onto the bike behind Logan.
Logan balanced and took off, bursting onto the packed ground the tents had been raised on, shooting past the circus guards now shouting angrily at them. He chuckled as several ran for their trucks. "Hang on tight!" he called over his shoulder.
Richie smiled. "What are friends for? I mean, besides telling everyone at school about how I was heroically battle scarred rescuing a kitten from a tree. In a rainstorm. In the dead of night. With merely the clothes on my back."
"That'll have the ladies crawling all over you," Virgil agreed, and then coughed. "Or, uh, you know, whoever."
"Okay, Pops." Oops. His father was staring at him. "Um.. make that, 'hi Pops?'" Virgil adjusted Richie's glasses and tried to stamp down the full-body blush he knew Richie was capable of and that he could feel creeping over him.
Ando and Hiro gaped at this Napoleon, who spoke Japanese and had an Emperor's name (and, apparently, the self-confidence to match it).
It is true. Dr Simpson chokes on her vodka - a waste; very sad - and Dr Kavanagh turns pink, but it is true.
"No, no," he continues. He has thought about this. "His research - unpredictable. Everything else? You know answers already."
It's not really that different on the Enterprise, at first; people still look at him and see his age first. He knows that he'll prove himself to them if he hasn't already, but right now he can still hear people whispering things like "cute" and "adorable" and, worst of all, "*kid*" when they think he can't hear, and he's getting sick of it.
"You know," he said, trying for casual and not quite making it, "the Fat Man pays the bills. That means he makes the rules." Another step forward, another step back.
"Really?" Step, step. "That's it? That's...the whole reason?" Fawkes kept slinking forward.
"That's just Uncle Bertie again. Why?"
"No, no," Gloria shook her head, feeling slightly frustrated, "there are two men in the picture. They can't both be Uncle Bertie."
"Totally," Shawn says. "All that's in the history is a series of office pranks, some of them pretty impressive. Half the reason I wanted to come was to figure out how he got Dwight's stuff into the vending machine. How awesome would it be to do that to Lassiter?"
"Your Mum gave you all those wrappers?" she said. Neville looked up to see her apologetic look.
Ray didn't really have a pot habit, but there were times when a little mellow was called for and while doing a conglomerate tour like Warped, those times were almost sure to come around.
"Never happen." She looked at the sketches hanging on the wall. "These yours, Steve?"
Mizuki blushed when she realized she was rubbing Sano's tie between her thumb and forefinger. She jerked her hand back, and took a hasty step back from the door. Sano was in their room. Sano was in their room, and he was... Mizuki pressed her face into her palms and whimpered.
My thought won't stick together properly, they keep falling a part, but I manage to think – oh, that's why he's so covered up, he's deformed. I don't care though, not at all, not when my Dad's bleeding on the ground and this man's just saved both our lives.
'Hey,' he says. 'It's okay. You're safe.' He takes my hands. His skin feels tough, like leather. 'Let's wash this off.'
Clint shrugs, sheepish. "Seemed sort of appropriate to me."
Coulson chuckles and carefully pulls the mug out. It's white, porcelain, the kind of novelty item you pick up in a gift shop somewhere. The words 'World's Greatest Boss' are printed on one side, but someone has taken a purple sharpie and crossed off 'Boss' and replaced it with 'Handler.'
"We're not," he said, and there was such a palpable sadness in his voice that she could tell that he wished it was otherwise.
"Are you – are you like he is?"
"Nobody is like he is." He looked over toward where Hal was dutifully dancing with a dowager at least three times his age, and she could see the admiration mixed with longing in his eyes.
Lorne's first urge is to make him do laps, make him hit the mat face first and do twenty reps with his hand tied behind his back, because you just don't talk about your C.O. that way, but he reigns it in when he sees Bellson's face turn an angry red. "Shut it, Private. Hit the showers."
"Then why did he just tell me he never wanted to talk to me again?" Maybe Asami knew what was going on. She did see Bolin on a more regular basis than he did, and she had to have spoken to him in this past week.
Asami looked puzzled though, not exactly raising his hopes. "That's weird."
Again, he shrugged.
"Maybe it's for the best. It seems like no one thinks I was very good for him anyway." He stood, intending on going back to the ship and getting some sleep.
Heero had said that they should draw straws to decide who was commanding officer of the Gundam Pilots. Duo swore that he'd fixed it somehow and thrown a fit. But Chang Wufei insisted that it was legitimate.
"Heero, you fixed that draw. I saw you."
"Yes I did and you will keep your mouth shut about it. Can you really see Duo or, most especially Quatre, in prison? I've been in prison all my life. I can handle it."
[sequel is Segue (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3863131/1/ ) & Building a New Life (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4131175/1/ )]
Javert nods. He seems to have admitted the argument that the road is too long for this silence. "The poor will always be with us."
"But whosoever welcomes a little child in my name, welcomes me."
"Even the devil can quote scripture to his purpose," Javert says, rising to the challenge.
"Well, I want to be close to you. I care about you. I, well. I love you." Fraser held Ray's gaze with some difficulty. He felt exposed, laid bare, but he would not weaken his declaration by avoiding Ray's eyes.
The rest of us turned to look at the rabbit as well. We were all as curious as Mikey I guess.
Usagi hesitated for a moment. He bit his lip and lowered his head in thought, tensing slightly.
He gave his head a slight shake, more to himself than to us before he took a deep breath, looking up and meeting our gazes once again.
"Those are my swords. Raphael just helped me make them."
"s'o'ds" Donnie attempted to repeat the word. When he reached out to touch them, Leo allowed him to play with the handles as the blades were safely sheathed. The next thing that came out of Donnie's mouth left both of the older turtles speechless.
"I make, Daddy!"
Leo could only stare at Donatello as the young turtle reached into the pocket of the sweatshirt he was wearing and pulled out a piece of wire that had been crudely bent into the shape of a heart. The blue-masked turtle could not decide whether or not to correct the child for calling him 'daddy'. When Donnie's face began to fall into concern, Leo almost missed it. Lucky for him, Raphael had his back.
"It's a wonderful heart, Donnie. Isn't it, Leo?" Raph laughed again as he recognized the wire from the toaster that Donnie had been caught taking apart before they had found some real toys for him. Apparently, the little moppet had nicked off with part of the appliance.
Leo was snapped back to the present by the sound of Raphael's voice. "Yes." He said slowly, looking Donatello in the eyes. "It is a wonderful heart. Thank you."
Raph's eyes came back into focus as he found Leo's katana still poised mere centimeters from his neck.
"Yeah. Right" Raph muttered as he pushed the offending weapon out of his personal space. "Let's get back to it."
He brought up his sais and tried to forget the black dot that had just bounced across his vision moments before, watching for his brother's next attack.
"Computer, locate Doctor Leonard McCoy."
"No crewmember by that name is currently serving aboard the ship. Please specify your inquiry."
Jim's mind was reeling, and his heart was beating fast in his chest. It couldn't be. If this was a prank, it was the most elaborate Jim had ever seen. But they weren't going to get him with it. He knew Bones was aboard the ship, trying to make him believe that he wasn't was simply a ridiculous idea.
"Computer, list current posting of Starfleet officer Lieutenant Commander Leonard H. McCoy, Starfleet identification number 0422-16-09B, authorization code Kirk 77429Alpha."
"Invalid inquiry," the computer politely informed him. "Invalid identification number. There is no record of a Leonard H. McCoy in the database."
Jim took a step back from the console, staring at it as if it was going to make sense if only he stared hard enough.
Her mouth was dry and her hand was shivering where it was still touching Shego. She swallowed and tried to picture the consequences that Shego spoke of, but it was all wiped away when she realized that Shego had put her hand over hers.
"Yes," she said again, "for my mother – there is no price I am not willing to pay. Please, help me get her back."
[sequel to "The Touch of Green Fire"]
"Get it together Possible," she hissed at herself. "What's wrong with you? It's just Shego. Get it together. She'll make it. She's the strongest woman you know. She'll make it. And if she doesn't... *It's just Shego*."
She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths until she felt her emotions settle and the pain in her chest recede.
[sequel is "The Healer's Touch"]
"Stop it with the sorry," Clint says gruffly. "We've done that, I've forgiven you, it's cool."
Phil opens his mouth, presumably to protest, then closes it again. "Okay. It was really decent of you to stand up to them, though. You're a good big brother."
Clint's heart kind of *spasms* at that. It's awful; it makes him feel *awful*. "I'm not his brother," he snaps, way too loud, and can't make himself look at Phil for the rest of their wait at the counter.
"Birds don't have names." The voice, which had been sharp and angry the last time Phil had heard it, was flat, exhausted, probably trying to sound even.
"Well, I'm not calling you by your number, so you can give me your name, or *a* name, or I can think up one."
The Bird just shrugged—impressive, really, given his bindings. Coulson flipped through his mental catalogue until he came upon the first bird of prey he could think of and said, "All right, we'll go with Hawk."
"He does." The well-documented Captain Jack Sparrow attended to the state of his cuticles with the sort of smug satisfaction I usually associated with well-fed cats and well-married young ladies. "And it's official, Commodore. So you'd want to stop picking at the seal, or you'll be destroying a Crown document. You know what you get for that."
"Oh," he said, surprised. "We have, haven't we?"
"Well, now I'm not sure." Arthur popped another chestnut in his mouth. "I could never have a friend who could be so stupid."
"Nor I one who could be such an arse," Merlin replied, eyes twinkling. Arthur elbowed him playfully.
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