Beginner level taijutsu: you kick somebody Advanced level taijutsu: you kick somebody super hard Master level taijutsu: you kick somebody into the planet’s stratosphere, jump above them while they’re still going, and kick them back down to earth.
Beginner level genjutsu: you make yourself look like someone else for five minutes. this is useless if a hyuga or uchiha is around. Advanced level genjutsu: you can make someone else look like another person to all of their friends for five minutes. this is useless if a hyuga or uchiha is around.
Master level genjutsu: you can trap someone in their brain, torturing them for hours, and they feel all the pain and suffering as if it were real. this is still mostly useless if a hyuga or uchiha is around.
Beginner level ninjutsu: Fire spell. Advanced level ninjutsu: Firaga spell. Master level ninjutsu: You create fire in the shape of an ancient god dozens of stories high and bring its burning fists down upon your enemies, annihilating anything in it’s path.
Beginner level fuinjutsu: you try to make an explosive tag without killing yourself in the process. Advanced level fuinjutsu: you try and make a seal that holds objects in a pocket of space time without killing yourself in the process. you then use the tag to carry your luggage Master level fuinjutsu: you hand a person a note that says ‘i can do what i want’, only the note is actually a seal that instantly brainwashes them upon looking at it so you can do what you want. you can do whatever you want. you place a seal on a building and it is all sucked into an equivalent of a black hole. you can rip people’s souls out from their bodies and damn them into super ninja hell indefinitely. you can summon an actual death god to hang out with. you can carry your entire house in your wallet. you can do whatever you want
Mulder landed on her couch with a thud, groaning
loudly as the cushions settled beneath him, taking his weight and cradling his
tired bones. Flinging his hand over the back, he waved his fingers haphazardly
in Scully’s direction, “it’s not Christmas yet, right?”
Scully, unlacing her boots and dropping them by
the door, the sound loud in her quiet apartment, “I think it’s the 23rd
but it might be the 24th but I am 90% sure it is not actually
Christmas Day yet.”
“I hate layovers and plane changes and Chicago in
general and wherever the hell we were in Arizona.”
“I completely agree and I’m just warning you that
I’m getting in the shower in two minutes. You can nap, eat, do a jig if you
want but if you leave, lock the door and if you have to pee, do it now.”
Dragging her bag behind her down the hall, she called back to him, “minute and
He stood, shuffled to the bathroom, did his business,
then took the time to hang up his coat before moving to the kitchen to start a
pot of hot water for cocoa. He was mixing some concoction of sour cream and
cheese and had a half-frozen hot dog hanging out of his mouth when she returned,
toweling her hair and dressed comfortably in her flannel pajama pants and
thermal shirt, “is that dinner?”
As he answered her, the hot dog dropped from his
lips to the counter, “yeah. Want one?”
Watching him pick it up and take another bite, she
smiled, “Yes, but I think I’ll heat mine up before I eat it.”
“Your loss.” Bumping hips with her as he scooted
by with his dip and bag of tortilla chips, “back in a second for drinks. Do you
want tea or hot chocolate?”
“Tea and you want the chocolate, I assume?” Seeing
him nod, “I’ll bring them in when I’m done.” After they’d eaten their way
through the bag of chips, the dip, two hot dogs apiece and two cups of tea and cocoa,
Scully yawned, one leg tucked under the other, her body curled against the
armrest, “I need to go to bed.”
Mulder looked at his watch and saw it was after
11, “it’s almost Christmas Eve. When are you going to do your tree?”
Her eyes half-shut and dropping fast, she flopped
her head to the back of the couch, “tomorrow? Today? Right now? Yesterday? I
have no idea. I just know that I can’t see straight at the moment.”
He’d been watching her longer and longer blinks
for quite awhile now, “How about you go to bed and I’ll lock up when I leave
and then I’ll call you really early tomorrow and make you get up and decorate
your tree? I won’t let you sleep in or anything.”
Too tired to argue and tell him not to call her
under any understandable or wild circumstance, she shut her eyes completely
instead, snoring within heartbeats. With a whimsical lip curl, he removed her
mug, then carefully lay her down on the couch, doing the whole clichéd ‘gently
placing her head on a pillow and tucking her in with the throw afghan’ thing.
He would have made fun of the actions had he been watching a movie with that
plot but instead, he ran a finger over her forehead gently and fighting the
urge to kiss the track of his finger, he carried the dishes to the sink.
Then he set up the tree for her, being ninja-like
in his silence, relying on his glowing watch to tell which letter was on which
branch and which branches went on which level. The lights followed and once
that was done, he decided, maybe, he would just sit down for a minute, possibly
close his itchy eyes for a second before heading home.
Yeah. He fell asleep.
Aware of movement, his muscles instinctively
tightened, waiting, needing to be prepared to stand, fight, bludgeon whoever
was invading Scully’s living room, then, he heard an all-too familiar sniffle.
Slowly opening his eyes, he watched her lean over, select an ornament, stare at
the tree for a moment, bend the hook, reach out for branch, hang the
decoration, study its placement, nod, then do it again.
He really could have watched her for hours but
instead, after a minute, he shifted in his chair, then in a low voice, “need
To her credit, she didn’t jump, knowing somewhere
in her subconscious that he was awake and watching, “sure. Should I turn on the
Standing, he came over beside her, “nope. I like
it just like this.”
A few ornaments later, “thank you for putting the
tree together for me and doing the lights.”
“I was awake and figured why not.”
Quiet again, they worked steadily until the box
was empty and the tree was laden. Stepping back to survey their handiwork,
Scully moved her arm enough to tap his thigh with the back of her hand, “are
you going to your mom’s for Christmas?”
Figuring a lie was appropriate for 3am, “yeah, I’m
driving up there tomorrow afternoon and I’ll stay through the 26th.”
“Good but don’t forget, if something changes,
you’re welcome to come with me.”
Taking her fingers in his tentatively, he squeezed
them, letting go quickly, “thanks. Tell everyone Merry Christmas for me, would
She missed the touch more than she expected to, “I
“Merry Christmas, Scully.”
“Merry Christmas, Mulder.”
He looked down at her before turning her by the
shoulders, “go to bed. I’m going to grab a snack, then head home. I’ll lock the
With eyes burning for sleep again, she didn’t
argue, instead giving him a one-armed hug before unplugging the tree, heading
down the hall with a slurry ‘g’night’.
Calling his goodnight back, he dug in his coat
pocket, found the package he’d unearthed from his glove compartment before they
came upstairs and hung the Snowman Woodstock in the center of the tree.
Satisfied with himself, he darkened the living
room, grabbed his granola bar and headed into the night, shivering yet smiling.
My Mom loved romance novels, and she urged me to read one that she thought was really quality.
“But Ma,” I said, “I don’t like romance novels.”
“I know that. But if you find a story that’s of quality, it will speak to you no matter what the trappings or genre of it are. The basics of a good story are the same, and you can’t be put off by details.”
I thought this over, and then I told her, “you know, Mom, I’ll make a deal with you…I’ll read the romance novel you recommend if you read some of my issues of Daredevil by Frank Miller.”
Oh boy, asking Mom to read superheroes didn’t go well - especially a series with Ninjas. My Mom’s favorite books are about the struggles of a family over several generations in the antebellum south. The last comic she ever read was Little Lulu back in the 1960s.
My Mom is a sharp bargainer, so she said she’d just read a few issues, and the both of us started reading what the other had. I gave Mom several issues of Daredevil, starting with #168 (the introduction of Elektra, when Miller’s run really gets good), 169, and 170.
What Mom said was true: romance novels aren’t made for me, I’m not the target audience, but I was drawn in and I finished it really fast.
A week later, Mom finished the issues of Daredevil I gave her and was like, “hey…could I see what comes next?” And that’s how I got my mother to read every single Miller issue of Daredevil. @brenda-is-reading@intimeofperil