What in Davy Jones’ locker did ye just bark at me, ye scurvy bilgerat? I’ll have ye know I be the meanest cutthroat on the seven seas, and I’ve led numerous raids on fishing villages, and swindled over 300 wenches. I be trained in hit-and-run pillaging and be the deadliest with a pistol of all the captains on the high seas. Ye be nothing to me but another source o’ swag. I’ll have yer guts for garters and keel haul ye like never been done before, hear me true. You think ye can hide behind your newfangled computing device? Think twice on that, scallywag. As we parley I be contacting my secret network o’ pirates across the sea and yer port is being tracked right now so ye better prepare for the typhoon, weevil. The kind o’ monsoon that’ll wipe ye off the map. You’re sharkbait, fool. I can sail anywhere, in any waters, and can kill ye in o’er seven hundred ways, and that be just with me hook and fist. Not only do I be top o’ the line with a cutlass, but I have an entire pirate fleet at my beck and call and I’ll damned sure use it all to wipe yer arse off o’ the world, ye dog. If only ye had had the foresight to know what devilish wrath your jibe was about to incur, ye might have belayed the comment. But ye couldn’t, ye didn’t, and now ye’ll pay the ultimate toll, you buffoon. I’ll shit fury all over ye and ye’ll drown in the depths o’ it. You’re fish food now, lad.
You know who did the teen hero thing right? Kim Possible, that’s who. She never messed around with that secret identity thing or with not letting her parents or friends know what she was doing so she never had to deal with, “Oh, I’m gonna miss this important family event to save the world” or, “What’ll happen if my friends find out my secret identity?” bullcrap. It was like, “Mom, Dad. I gotta go deal with this Drakken sitch,” and they’d just be like, “Have fun. Tell Ron we said hi.” She had that hero/personal life balance thing on lock. I aspire to have my life as in balance as Kim Possible.
Andrew Joseph Minyard doesn’t know a thing about Nathaniel Wesninski until he’s sent to kill him.
That’s perhaps more unusual than one would suspect, knowing Andrew. His general disinterest is well known, but he has a personal stake in knowing the movers and shakers of the magical families on the East Coast.
Know your enemies, and all that. Andrew didn’t used to have those, until he met Kevin Day and finally picked a side that wasn’t himself and his best interests. Now he kills people for righteousness, or what the fuck ever.
“The Wesninskis have a new leader,” Wymack tells them, hands folded on his desk like this is very serious news. “It’s Nathan’s kid, apparently. He’s cleaned house. Or it might be more accurate to say that he wiped the old circle off of the map entirely.”
Like he always does, Kevin goes pale at the mention of one of those families. Wymack flicks him a glance before continuing, “It’s not immediately clear where he stands on the old family alliances, but it makes sense for us to move now while he’s unsettled.”
Andrew can see where this is going already. “I didn’t realise we were killing off children now.”
Wymack shoots him a level look. “He’s twenty-two. Barely younger than you.”
“Well, I suppose that’s alright then,” Andrew replies agreeably. “When do I leave?”
“Hold on. Didn’t he kill his own father?” Nicky cuts in. “Shouldn’t that require a little more investigation than ‘when do I leave’?”
Dan waves a hand. “He’s a mage. Killer or not, he won’t be able to protect himself against non-magical weapons.”
“Don’t worry Nicky. I don’t like to be too well prepared,” Andrew says. It’s not meant to be soothing.
That’s how he ends up crawling through an upper-storey window of the Wesninski mansion, cursing mages and rusted locks. The house is probably warded - Andrew couldn’t say. To him it’s just like breaking into any other house.
What he does notice is the complete emptiness of the building. While mages don’t often have non-magical defence - and Andrew would be a lot less successful if they invested in some attack dogs, or even burglar alarms - they do generally at least have people. But every room he passes - soundlessly, of course - has its door flung wide open to display its total emptiness.
Every instinct he has is screaming. For a moment, he wonders if Wesninski has cleared out of the house entirely. But, despite the limited information for this trip, Andrew knows Wymack wouldn’t send him on a wild goose chase. The mage is here.
He creeps down the stairs, sticking close to the wall. It’s a broad staircase, gaudy even in the near-darkness. Apparently the elder Wesninski had more money than taste.
The lounge is no more elegant, and still empty of people. Beyond it, though, light falls from the doorway. Andrew creeps towards it, palming one of his knives.
Apparently, all his quiet was wasted. The person through the door is waiting for him - and this, having met Nathan, is definitely his son.
Twenty-two he may be, but Wesninski looks like a kid. With his fair falling into his face as he slouches against the kitchen island, he looks nothing like someone who could have killed Nathan and the entire rest of his circle in one fell swoop. Any tracery of magic in him isn’t detectable to Andrew though - for all he knows, the air could be singing with it.
The only giveaway that this man isn’t as normal as Andrew is the curling tattoo emerging over the collar of his t-shirt. It’s a mage-mark, and it’s large. Even Kevin, the most powerful of the Foxes in terms of sheer strength, doesn’t have one that extends so far across his skin.
“You’re AJ Minyard,” Wesninski says. He looks excited about that. Andrew didn’t realise he was a groupie. It’s the danger of being a contract killer - being known by your signature. Andrew is Andrew, except when he’s AJ and earning his keep in blood.
“Usually, your kind is throwing spells by now,” he replies blandly. Not that it ever helps them.
“That would be a waste of time, though. Wouldn’t it?” Wesninski says. “You’re immune.”
Well then. “You’re smarter than you look,” Andrew informs him.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you’re so successful,” Wesninski shrugs. “I need to send a message to Kevin.”
Wesninski isn’t following the script. Andrew glances at his watch - usually they’d have gotten past the initial failed attempt to blast Andrew off of the face of the earth with magic and moved onto either running - unusual, mages didn’t like to run - or begging. “Do I look like a messenger to you?”
That earns a thin smile. “Oh, I’m sorry. Is that demeaning?”
“If you think I’m here for that, then you’re confused,” Andrew says.
Wesninski throws his arms wide. “Well, go ahead then. You know I can’t fight you. And it’s not like I can run.”
Fuck’s sake, Andrew didn’t come here for a conversation. Still, though - he throws a glance at Wesninski’s legs. “Too lazy for it?”
“Not exactly. I know you probably don’t care for magical theory, so the short explanation is that right now I can’t leave this house. Hence wanting to speak with Kevin. The best I could do is hide in a closet, and I can’t imagine that would deter you.”
“As sob-stories go, you might want to try ‘but I have children and a wife’,” Andrew advises.
“As if that would help me.” Wesninski rolls his eyes. “That’s fine. I wasn’t expecting you to help me for free. I’ll give you something you want in exchange.”
Andrew really should have just killed him instead of saying a word. Corpses are so much less trouble. He raises an eyebrow to signal that his patience is wearing thin.
“If you want a chance at getting anywhere near Riko Moriyama, you’ll help me,” Wesninski says.
That’s an interesting offer. “What makes you think I care about that?”
“Do you think it isn’t common knowledge in the upper circles about what happened between him and Kevin?” Wesninski says. “Plus you’ve been working your way through all the high blood families over the last year. I figured a Moriyama must be right up there on your wish list. Particularly that one.”
He isn’t wrong. “I’m not here to make a deal with you.”
“Are you sure about that?” That smile again. It’s really a wonder someone so irritating hasn’t been killed already. “I have access to the Moriyamas now, whether they like it or not. I think you’d like to make use of that. Better move fast, though - you aren’t the only one who wants to kill me.”
Riko would already be dead if he were easier to get to. And Nathaniel now has his father’s seat on the council, even if he killed for it - succession is muddy and ugly amongst mages at the best of times. He’d hardly be the first to do it that way.
He’s right. Andrew could use that. Getting into Castle Evermore is difficult, and Nathaniel has a free pass through the front gates. If he could smuggle Andrew inside…if he were willing to do so…
“What’s in it for you?” Andrew asks.
“What, you mean besides you not murdering me tonight and me getting out of this fucking house?” So sardonic. “I don’t like the Moriyamas any more than you do, Wesninski blood or no. I don’t care if I die, as long as Riko goes first.”
It seems their interests all line up. Andrew can deal with Riko at last, and might even get a shot at the other Moriyamas in the process. He smiles a little bit, feeling his face cracking.
“Well, Nathaniel. Looks like you might be useful to me after all.”
Wesninski makes a face. “I go by ‘Nate’.”
“I really don’t care,” Andrew tells him. “I would say ‘wait here’, but I suppose that’s irrelevant, isn’t it? I’ll come to you.”
The with a message or a knife is unspoken but clearly implied. Nathaniel - Nate - smiles thinly.
“Better hurry,” he says. “Offer ends if I’m dead.”
Pistols at Dawnthis is me reaching and you wanting to run
Sakura Haruno is fifteen years old when she betrays Konohagakure.
Itachi remembers it clearly, because that was the day his brother came home from the end of the war, blind in one eye and and an unconscious, bleeding Naruto slung across his back.
He stayed in the hospital for three days, watching over his older brother and his teammate. As it turned out, Sasuke’s blindness was reversible, and Naruto’s injuries, though severe, were never life-threatening. It was either by virtue of Tsunade Senju’s medical prowess or the sloppiness of the enemy nin that both survived, and Itachi wasn’t sure to whom he should be more grateful.
But the third bed laid empty like an unspoken question.
When Itachi worked up the courage to ask, Naruto’s expression crumpled like a house of cards, his heartbeat spiking on the monitor. Sasuke turned his face away, staring out the window with his single unbandaged eye, his raspy voice guttural - angry and sharp.
“She said she was tired of following orders.”
The realization lanced through him, that it was Sakura Haruno who nearly carved his older brother’s eye out, who was responsible for the fresh scars on Naruto’s body. Disbelief permeated him; it was also Sakura Haruno who single-handedly sustained and healed their vanguard, Konoha’s crucial push into Kusagakure. It was Sakura Haruno’s fists that destroyed the Kannabi Bridge and cinched Konoha’s victory. And years ago, it was Sakura who-
Memories of the emergency room, the murmurings of overworked medics and nurses, slowly unfurled in his mind. As he sat there, next to his father and mother, wondering if his aniki, the heir to the clan, would lose his prized doujutsu, if the fourth Hokage would lose another family member, he anchored onto the whispered hope.
If they had cut deeper, the Hokage’s son would have died from blood loss.
If they had managed to swipe any lower, Uchiha-sama’s eye would be beyond saving.
Sloppiness, indeed. Eleven-year-old Itachi sits in his plastic chair, and witnesses the break of Konohagakure’s infamous Team Seven. Naruto’s beeping heart monitor punctuates Sasuke’s deafening silence, and everything comes to a quiet and terrible sort of sense.
Itachi learns, as he enters ANBU and rises quickly through the ranks, to detest violence. Moreover, he learns to hate war. Seven years later, Itachi is still cleaning up the consequences of the Third Shinobi war. There is no justification for such wide-scale destruction and needless death. Entire villages are left ravaged, wiped off the map, caught in the crossfire. Vagabonds who have no place to call home form dangerous criminal rings. Orphanages are near to bursting with not enough resources to feed the children through winter. Ninja villages that were on the wrong side of the war still rumble in discontent and increase border activity.
Among the muddy waters, Konoha intelligence catches wind of an group more sinister and organized than simple B-class missing-nin.
And then, one by one, the jinchūriki end up dead.
When Minato summons Itachi to his office, he doesn’t expect Senju Tsunade to be there, with a thunderous scowl on her face.
“I need you to meet our spy,” the Yondaime says without preface. He sifts through the paperwork on his desk until he comes across the scroll he wants, “at this disclosed location. You are to go alone.”
Itachi takes the proffered missive and unravels its contents. The rendezvous location will be at the destroyed Kannabi Bridge. Behind his porcelain mask, Itachi’s lips tighten, and an uncomfortable picture starts to form in his head.
His scroll erupts into flame, until there’s not even ash left.
“I was not aware we had a spy in Akatsuki,” and then he adds belatedly, “Hokage-sama.”
“This is our first direct contact since they were implemented,” Tsunade answers. She steps forward and gives him a look that could level mountains, “Let me be clear here, Uchiha. Nobody but the people in this room knows about this. If you compromise-”
“What Tsunade-hime means,” Minato interjects, and her teeth click when she snaps her jaw shut, “Is that this mission is of paramount importance. What our mole will reveal will determine how Konoha will react. As our top agent we’re trusting this task to you.”
Then, Minato smiles his smile that he thinks is disarming, but really, just reveals the lethal shinobi he is underneath.
“You tell no one.”
Not your superiors, not your clan, not to Sasuke, and not to Naruto.
Itachi hears his orders loud and clear, and disappears in a wisp of smoke.
He has it figured out by the time he arrives at the rendezvous point an hour early, so it’s no surprise when he finds one Sakura Haruno resting underneath the shade an oak tree.
There a sort of quiet tragedy about her, but that air disappears when her eyes flutter open. They are chips of ice, drilling into his porcelain mask as if she could divine who he is underneath. It’s been nearly ten years since he’s been face to face with her, and a selfish, indulgent part of him wonders if she ever remembered the little boy she saved once upon a time.
Sakura takes her time rising from the ground, brushing off her garish black and red cloak. Itachi stands still and watches her movements. She moves deliberately, hands out in the open and not hidden by the cloak’s sleeves. Though Sakura has become infamous enough that every hunter-nin in any country knows she can kill without use of hand signs or a weapon. Tsunade had been thorough in her training.
Days before this meeting, Itachi thought of a thousand ways of how their conversation might go. There’s a certain anticipation that had been building within his chest, squeezed tight like fist when he sighted her. There were questions he wanted to ask that went beyond his station. He wondered if it would be cruel to tell her about her old teammates. How Naruto talks about her like the war took her, how Sasuke talks about her none at all. He wanted to tell her about how Konoha has been without her there - because if she was willing to forsake her home in order to protect it, shouldn’t she have a right to know? All these thoughts swirled in his mind as Sakura squared her shoulders to fully face him. Then, she speaks first and shatters all his imagined expectation.
“You are ill.”
He smothers his natural instinct to flinch. Sakura cocks her head infinitesmally, staring at his chest as if she truly could peel back his layers and see the disease festering there. He finds it more ironic than amusing that with just three words she’s revealed his longest kept secret. Not even his clan knows. She flicks her eyes back to his mask when he doesn’t reply.
She moves forward - glides really - towards him. Her tread is silent as she sidesteps the bridge rubble now overgrown with moss and lichen. She pulls back her billowing sleeve, revealing her pale, slender wrist and brings her fingertips just below his collarbone, where his black under armor meets his ANBU vest. His Sharingan flares in response, but it’s not combat chakra that envelops her hand.
Her healing chakra feels the same as it did ten years ago, and unbidden, he closes his eyes as it sweeps through his chest.
“Breathe in deeply,” she says, and he does. Itachi can immediately feel the difference, how his breath doesn’t sound wet or hitch in his throat.
“Hold it,” Sakura murmurs and he opens his eyes to find a small wrinkle in her brow. His Sharingan reveals to him what the naked eye doesn’t; the striations of green in her eyes, the faint spatter of pale freckles, how her lashes are more dark pink than brown, the stray candyfloss hairs caught in those same long, delicate lashes. She has a faint scar on her right cheekbone and Itachi clenches his fists to keep from touching it, to see if her skin is as smooth as it looks.
He breathes out slowly and wonderment seizes him. The pain is gone. He feels sharper now that he doesn’t have to divert his energy in suppressing his symptoms.
That’s twice now, he wants to say but doesn’t in risk of sounding foolish.
“It’s gone,” he says instead and lets his gratitude shine through in his tone.
“For now,” Sakura murmurs, and lets her hand fall away. There’s a crinkle in between his black armor and vest. A note.
“Whatever reasons you have for hiding that,” she taps his chest once, looking up at his mask, “Is surely not worth your life.”
He has no words to rebut her statement without sounding childish, so he inclines his head once.
The first threads of dawn filter through the canopy and Itachi has a strange premonition that this will be the last time he will see her. The lines seem deeper on her face as she turns away.
“They’re well,” he blurts, and stops her. After a pause, he says in a quieter voice, “They miss you.”
He doesn’t need to say any more. Over her high collar, he can see the ice in her eyes melt. She gives him a small smile, like spring breaking through winter’s frost. In that moment, as she coalesces into cherry blossom petals, he wishes fervently, vehemently, naively, that somehow, some way, he could bring her home.
When Itachi goes home that night, bone-weary and tired in places he can’t name, he brushes off his family’s concerns and goes straight to bed. He lies there, blanket drawn to his middle and hands laced over his chest. He stares at the rafters of his room, the dust motes floating in the moonlight cast from his windows. He closes his eyes and sees petal pink and mournful spring green eyes. He remembers the grace of her hands when she pressed her delicate fingertips against his chest. Healer’s hands. Never had he knew a more subtle tenderness until that day.
And when he slips into sleep, he dreams of what he had wanted to do differently. He dreams of curling his fingers around hers, to see how she might fit in his hand. To feel her skin and see if she was as cold as she pretended to be. He dreams of what he wanted her to do. To mention the day she saved him as a child, that it was a memory that she thought of often. He wanted her to speak his name, wanted to know how it sounded in her lilting, womanly voice.
When Itachi wakes up the next morning, he is once again Uchiha Itachi of Konohagakure. He slips on his ANBU uniform, piece by piece in methodical silence. His vest, his armguards, shin guards. His tanto is strapped to his back. He pulls his bone white mask over his face and flash-steps into the cool morning, towards the Hokage’s Tower.
The Yondaime is waiting for him.
But he pauses.
Itachi grips the scrap of paper Sakura had slipped into his vest, its weight like lead in his fist. He unfolds it and drinks in her elegant handwriting. It details the other members of the Akatsuki organization, and their goals, their targets. The kind of information his comrades have died for.
He should go to the Hokage right away. He should be reporting this information so the village can mobilize, gather allies, and strike before the start of another war even begins.
(No more tragedies, no more orphans, no more Sakuras.)
At the bottom of the note, there is a single emphatic line, different from the almost clinical tone she had listed the information.
‘Protect him, please.’
The air leaves his lungs.
He is eight again, Sakura’s long pink locks flutter in his peripheral, surrounding him with a pleasant floral fragrance despite the wear of war. There’s a wide bandage on her cheek. The rush of adrenaline still lingers in his system. His would-be kidnapper lays unconscious among the wreckage of felled trees. The scent of splintered wood and churned dirt is thick, but Sakura’s gentle knuckles under his chin draw his attention to her face. Her regard and concern is a heady thing, and there isn’t quite a word to describe the clarity and verdant of her eyes. He is eight years old again, and her concern is novel and strange, but not unwelcome. Her thumb brushes against the cut on his brow, the healing chakra cool and soothing. He almost protests when she withdraws her touch, but her eyes keep him silent. They are kind and compassionate and Itachi is starved of those things - he drinks them in greedily.
“Are you okay?”
Itachi is eighteen again and he is an ANBU operative for Konohagakure. He’s sworn his complete loyalty to his village and to his Hokage. Haruno Sakura is a traitor and an S-class missing ninja. His mind flips through the cold, impersonal facts about her listed in the Bingo books. Her appearance, her height, her known jutsu, her last known appearances.
It doesn’t mention how the green of her eyes changes in filtered sunlight. It doesn’t mention the fragile line of her shoulders, weighed down by the burden of being a double-agent. Doesn’t mention what breaking the trust and love of her friends cost her. Not the kindness she still harbors, not the unwavering loyalty to her village that turned its back on her, not her stalwart and unerring sense of duty.
As Itachi steps through the threshold into the Yondaime’s office, he draws a line in his mind. The dream he had, the memory of her saving him as a child, the grace of her hands as she cured his illness with a single touch - those are the things he allows himself, private and ensconced from reality.
He tells himself, as he crosses the room with long, purposeful strides, not to think about what ifs. Naruto is the village’s strongest soldier, and its biggest liability. He’s also the Yondaime’s son, Minato’s only surviving family. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to protect him, not after Kushina died and left the fox to their child.
Itachi crushes his emotions as Minato reads over Sakura’s note with a grim face. He doesn’t dare hope for anything more, doesn’t think on how she’ll never be able to come home. War is coming again - it’s a sentiment he can read in the lines of the Hokage’s face without him even parting his lips. What is one stranded spy’s life in lieu of a village’s worth? Of a son’s?
Itachi knows the answer, and tries not to feel bitter.
Something that’s been on my mind a lot lately is how a lot of people fundamentally don’t understand the reality of anti-Semitism. Here’s the thing: aside from Israel, which is a tiny speck of a country, there’s no country in the world where Jews are more than a small fraction of the population. We’re talking less than 1% most places, and a whopping 1.8% in the US.
It would be one thing if no one bothered us, but Jews have been discriminated against, oppressed, and murdered consistently for millennia all over the world. There’s this idea that Jews control the world, but first of all, that’s an anti-Semitic trope that you should be very wary of believing, and second of all, if there are Jews in powerful positions, it’s probably in large part because we’ve had to grab as much power as we can to protect ourselves. Even then, many times throughout history, it wasn’t enough, and we couldn’t count on the people around us to help. 6 million Jews were murdered while much of the world stood by, and that was far from the first time people hadn’t cared enough to help.
That’s why it makes me feel so sad and isolated when anti-Semitism is left out of the causes by people claiming to fight for marginalized groups, as it was at the march I went to yesterday and very often is. It feels like we’re on our own again, and do you understand how few of us there are? We can’t save ourselves alone, and it’s absolutely getting worse in many parts of the world.
This is an issue in itself, but it also connects to how people see Israel without taking into account what it means to many Jews. Israel as a state literally exists because the world felt bad about letting the Holocaust happen. Many people, including my grandparents, moved there because their neighbors in other countries had turned their backs or even helped in the murder of their families and friends. My mom visited Israel recently and she said she heard so much more French than she used to there. That’s because the increased anti-Semitism in France has caused a lot of Jews to no longer feel safe there, and so they moved to the only place where they could escape that. A lot of Jews would be perfectly content living in other countries if they didn’t face so much anti-Semitism there.
That’s what it comes down to, that Israel is the only place in the world where Jews are not a tiny minority that faces at best unconscious prejudice and at worst outright violence from other citizens. But even then, it’s a place where there is a danger of violence, and much of the Arab world wants to wipe Israel off the map entirely. Think about how that feels, knowing that a lot of people think the only place where you can completely belong shouldn’t even exist.
I think a lot of Americans have strong opinions of Israel without knowing anything about the history or current reality of the region, which is a whole separate rant, but what I think the colonialist view that a lot of people have misses most is that this isn’t a case where a colonizing power can withdraw back to their home country. This is a case of people who have no other home country, or whose home countries have made them feel that they don’t have a place there, or who have been kicked out of so many countries they no longer have a home. This is a very important and very overlooked point to understand.
I also think that a lot of criticism of Israel is rooted in anti-Semitism that people don’t even realize they’re playing into, like the Jews rule the world trope or the downplaying of how the hatred of other Middle Eastern countries for Israel a) influences the situation & b) is based on hatred of Jews, and it’s frustrating that people don’t see that. As you yell about privilege, make sure you realize your own in being able to not see subtle (or sometimes really not subtle) currents of anti-Semitism in the way people talk about the world. That doesn’t mean there’s no valid criticism, but criticism that doesn’t take into account the complicated reality of the situation is counterproductive because it just makes Israel feel more attacked. (I’m looking at you, UN.)
I have a lot more to say, but I’m running out of steam, so in summary:
1. Please remember Jews when you talk about fighting oppression, because we not only don’t rule the world, but we’ve been fucked over by it too many times to count and there aren’t enough of us to fight anti-Semitism on our own.
2. Check your privilege and really think about what it’s like to be a religious/ethnic minority that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of the world’s population and yet disproportionately hated.
3. Acknowledge the role of anti-Semitism in both how the world views Israel and how Israelis and many Jews feel about the country, because they really can’t be separated.
(Written by my sister and posted here with her permission.)
I know what you are now. I think I knew before, but, you know, after I sent that kid to the hospital, years ago, they said I had an anger problem, but that’s not true. I was angry because of something else. Something I’d lost. Trying so hard since not to be angry. Got me all defenseless, and I lost more, and more, and more… that’s not getting better. I want to be angry. When I ran home from college, on the bus I had this dream, or maybe I saw it out the window, last leaf on the tree finally blown off. I’m so scared, all the time, and the fear *hurts*. Feeling like everything is over, was over long before I got here, so long, hiding, or trying to outrun this. I get it. This won’t stop until I die, but when I die, I want it to hurt. When my friends leave, when I have to let go, when this entire town is wiped off the map, I want it to hurt. Bad. I want to lose. I want to get beaten up. I want to hold on. Until I’m thrown off and everything ends. And you know what? Until that happens, I want to hope again and I want it to hurt. Because that means it meant something. It means I am… something, at least. Heh. Pretty amazing to be something, at least. […] I know this won’t save me in the end, but I don’t need it to save me forever, I just need it to save me now.
Hey everyone!! BLAH!!! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted, I’ve been a little down in the dumps and struggling with motivation. But here’s a one shot I wrote for a couple challenges, hope you like it!!
For @not-moose-one-shots Bethtastic 6K Writing Challenge my quote was “Gee, Mom, I guess you’ll have to send me to a military school to straighten me out.”
And for @highonpastries Pastries 250 Celebration my quote was “Why it is always you three in charge whenever the world goes to shit.”
Dean x female hunter, reader insert
Word Count: about 1750
Warnings: none really… canon-typical violence, sassy reader & Dean back and forth, kissing, brief reference to nookie, but no actual SMUT
Quotes are bolded in the text
Here’s my masterlist for more stories! The next chapter of The Hunt That Changed Everything will be out soon too, I’m almost finished with it, so be sure to get caught up! XO
Great. Freaking fantastic. Leaned up against your car, you grumpily kicked at a rock, sick of waiting. You only came to help with this stupid hunt because Garth begged you to… but you weren’t going to be happy about it. The last time you’d worked with the Winchesters you found yourself being used as vamp bait.
That part hadn’t been so bad, but the fact that the Dean had practically failed at noticing you were a woman when the time came to blow off some steam pissed you off bad enough to bail promptly afterwards. He shamelessly flirted with you the entire hunt and you even shared a brief but passionate frencher at the bar afterwards. But then the bastard had disappeared from the bar after only one drink while you were in the bathroom. It’s not like you’d expected a relationship or anything, but you heard through the grapevine that he was up for a good time and you were rather disappointed you didn’t get to discover exactly how good for yourself.
Well, there would be none of that on your part this time. He had a chance and had blown it and you weren’t really one for fresh starts. As the black impala came roaring up the dirt road, you moved around to dig in your backseat, trying to ignore your body’s involuntary reaction at seeing and hearing that damn sexy car approaching, knowing who was behind the wheel. You rolled your shoulders and cracked your neck side to side getting yourself into work mode as the muscle car pulled up next to your cherry red, beefed up ‘74 Ford Bronco.
“'Bout time,” you commented loudly as Sam and Dean exited the car, a dark haired man in a trench coat folding out of the backseat behind them. “Was starting to wonder if that POS had you stranded on the side of the road somewhere, but it must’ve just been Dean’s grandma driving,” you snarked as Sam walked up to you, grinning ear to ear at the insults you were already slinging his brother’s direction.
He knew that something had happened between the two of you on the last hunt… something that has resulted in your prompt departure the morning after you finished up. Dean, of course, had given him nothing more than a pissy, “Shut up, Sammy,” when he’d asked about it.
I know what you are now.
I think I knew before,
After I sent that kid to the hospital
They said I had an anger problem,
But that’s not true.
I was angry because of something else.
Something I’d lost
Trying so hard since not to be angry
Got me all defenseless.
And I lost more, and more, and more…
That’s not getting better
I want to be angry
When I ran home, from college,
On the bus I had this dream
Or maybe I saw it out the window
Lost leaf on the tree
Finally blowin’ off
I’m so scared
All the time
And the fear *hurts*!
Feeling like everything is over
Was over long before I got here
So long, hiding
Or trying to outrun this
I get it.
This won’t stop
Until I die.
But when I die
I want it to hurt
When my friends leave
When I have to let go
When this entrie town is wiped off the map
I want it to hurt. Bad.
I want to lose
I want to get beaten up
I want to hold on
Until I’m thrown off
And everything ends
And you know what?
Until that happens
I want to hope again
And I want it to hurt.
Because that means it meant something
It means I am…something, at least
Heh heh ha heheheh heh
Pretty amazing to be something, at least
You know I can’t understand you, right?
Oh shut up already!
I know this won’t save me in the end
But I don’t need it to save me forever
I just need it to save me now
So if you’re gonna kill me right here
Then do it
In honor of a few new people following this old tumblr I’ve decided to quickly post a few stories I have from other places on the internet. Enjoy.
“Help save Terra? Help save Terra? Sir, sign a petition to save Terra? You, you there! Human! Sign a petition to save Terra?”
Hank Miller looked up, bleary eyed, from his drink. A young, idealistic looking quextal male shoved a dataslate under his eyes.
“Terran, won’t you sign a petition to save your planet?”
The human grunted noncommittally and shoved the slate away, waving over the hotel bartender to fill his glass again, and attempted to shove the thoughts of the quextal to the back of his head. An impressive feat really, quextals look like a remarkably ambitious blue furred bipedal dog had the brilliant idea of mating with an anteater.
Rather, it was an impressive feat until the data-slate was shoved under his nose again, jarring Hank’s wrist and nearly causing him to spill his cheap xeno-brand knockoff whiskey wannabe. Which, while it wouldn’t have been used to clean toilets in a human bar, was the closest Hank could get to something remotely familiar tasting in this ass-backwards corner of the universe.
“Fuck off.” He grunted, and tried to turn his attention back to his drink for a third time.
“C'mon man just sign the damn petition. We have to protect Terra!” Hank sighed, placed his xeno-whiskey down on the table, turned, and half turned towards the seven foot tall quextal.
“Look pal, I ain’t in favor of your stupid fucking petition, for reasons I think I just made clear, namely, that it is a stupid fucking petition. Now please let me drink my stupid knock-off whiskey in peace.” His short speech given, he turned for what he thought was the last time back to his drink.
“Why don’t you wanna help man? It’s your fucking planet isn’t it?” The quextal demanded in its both low pitched yet somehow irritatingly whiny voice.
Hank took a deep breath, slammed the faux-whiskey down on the table, turned, and stared the xeno in the eyes. Despite being seated and nearly a foot shorter while standing, Hank still managed to give the quextal pause.
“Listen to me you little shit and listen good. That’s not your fucking planet to save. It’s ours. We were born there, not you. When your species was communing with nature and figuring out your precious fucking place in the fucking ecosystem, we were barely scratching out a living. When your arrogant species had developed a per-fucking-fect system of getting into orbit, and were busy singing your way into spacecraft we were busy not dying.
"Mother Terra is a stone cold bitch. A lot of scholars like to call it ‘resistant to developed life’ which is code for 'it’ll chew you up and spit you out’. When we were shat out onto the cold, uncaring surface of our bitch mother we were scared hairless primates barely able to understand who we were. We were born without teeth or claws, without armor or fur. You were breast fed your worlds gifts, not a poisonous fruit in sight. We tore open the breast of our mother and took what we needed, because she wasn’t going to give it to us.
"Did we fuck her up? You bet your ass we did. We plundered the bitch for all she was worth and then some. She birthed a race of vicious primates and we turned on her in our fury. We pockmarked her with explosions and tore her with mines, we burned her forests and plundered her oceans. We razed her surface all the while desperately outrunning her wrath. Storms that could wipe this bar and half of this godforsaken planet off the map. Waves that could drown cities, human cities mind you not these pathetic bend-in-the-wind deathtraps you xenos call cities. We fought earthquakes that could swallow coastlines, and you haven’t the faintest fucking clue what an earthquake is do you?”
Here the quextal tried to butt in.
“Of course I know what an earthquake is you arrogant-”
“No you don’t you pup, now shut up and listen. You think you know what an earthquake is because you read about it in a book. I grew up on that bitch earth, in a place known for earthquakes. I know what a real goddamn earthquake feels like, it feels like judgement day has come and the world is ending.
"We fought storms and waves and earthquakes, we fought fires that set half a continent ablaze. We fought and fought and fought and finally we said 'fuck it’ and gave dear old mom one last kick in the teeth, nuked the hell out of eachother, and fucked off that godforsaken rock forever.
"Not five years later your expeditionary fleet comes in, tells us we’ve 'lost our planetary mandate’ and that they’re placing our home, our planet, under quarantine from us. We can’t do a damn thing about it because we’re still reeling from leaving home, still reeling from the knowledge we’re not alone in this universe, still reeling from the deaths of millions in atomic fires and the throes of Terra both. Billions of us, adrift in space. We just barely manage to colonize Mars and Europa in time to save our species, because we 'lost our planetary mandate’.”
Hank leaned over and spat onto the floor.
“That’s what I and every goddamn human thinks of your precious planetary mandate. Fifty years later, half a century of the most hard-core terraforming known to the most esteemed scientific minds in the galaxy, and the Galactic Council is considering letting us back onto our home planet. Considering it, as though they weren’t the most imperialistic bastards we’ve ever known and trust me you fuzzball we’ve known some fucking imperialists.Considering letting a few of us live on our bitch mother again, and an entire goddamn movement arrives to try and say we can’t go back yet, it’s not safe, we’ll destroy our planet again.”
Miller stood up, swiped his wrist-pad against the counter to pay for his drinks, and placed his coat back on.
“How dare you tell us what we can and cannot do to the bitch. We’ll heal her up, but because we want to not because you and a dozen species like you told us to. We’ll take care of the hag in her old age, but don’t you think for a goddamn second its because of your precious 'Galactic Council’. It’s because despite the fact that she’s a hag, and a bitch, and the worst mother in the goddamn galaxy, she’s our mother. And I swear by all that I hold dear, Whiskey, John Moses Browning, Sergei Ivanovitch Mosin, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and the United Terran Republics, if you space-communists keep us from taking care of our mother how we see fit, I will make it my life’s mission to eradicate your government and your way of life.”
Brigadier General Hank Miller, UTR Marines, stood up, and a half dozen of his staff stood and followed him.
“And if one day she dies, when she comes to hell, she can bite me.”
There are bodies in caskets, sitting in the foyer of the building. Sixteen, to be exact. Tsuna knows. He’s counted them, again and again, praying that he’s wrong.
Sixteen of his men and women are dead. Sixteen.
“We will deal with it,” he recalls hearing Timoteo say. A brush-off. Meant to comfort. We will avenge them. But… he doesn’t. There’s no immediate revenge taken on the family who did this - a family they had been negotiating with mere moments before.
A family Timoteo insists on still negotiating with.
Tsuna runs his fingers along the fine edges of the caskets. He pricks himself on something sharp sticking out of an edge, and watches numbly as blood runs down his fingertips. He doesn’t feel pain, just shock. Just more numbness.
There’s something bubbling in the depths of his chest, like heartburn. It takes him a long time to realize what it is.
Not anger - anger is mild, anger can be deflected. This thing tearing itself up in his ribcage is genuine, fierce, rage. The kind that starts softly, comes walking up on someone silently, and then suddenly has its fingers in their neck, gripping them, refusing to let them go until they pay it forward.
And oh, Tsuna wants to pay this rage forward. Wants it bad enough to tremble, to press the bloody fingertips to his lips, to bite at his nails and suck the blood away as red blooms into his field of view. His blood is rushing away, and there’s nothing but rage left in him now.
If Timoteo cannot - will not - protect his territory, then Tsuna will take the crown from him and do it himself. Young he might be, but he is ready. He can feel it in his bones. He is ready. He will be king, and anyone that stands before him today will get mowed down, left to die the same way they left his men to die.
Sixteen. He wants his pound of flesh.
And he will have it, one way or another.
When he goes up to his room for his weapons and his armor, Reborn takes one look at him and goes to tell Timoteo. That’s fine. His tutor isn’t a coward - he’s not trying to tattle, only warn. Tsuna doubts the old man will listen, but its worth a shot.
When he gets downstairs again, both the Varia and the Ninth generation are waiting. Tsuna doesn’t even let the old man speak. He lets his Sky burn, and watches as everyone in the room, even the Varia, stop what they’re doing.
“You either move,” Tsuna says, softly. “Or I eviscerate you where you stand. You are with me, or you are against me. There are no other options. I am out of patience with your reign, Timoteo. Give me your crown, and step aside.”
Timoteo looks shell-shocked. Probably because he wasn’t expecting his soft-hearted grandson to suddenly turn into a monster capable of rending people limb from limb.
“Now,” Tsuna says, voice cold and harsh, eyes narrowing as his Flames burn, burn, ready for war, within him. “Get out of my way.”
And they do. And the Varia, after a brief look at Xanxus, follow him.
Sixteen bodies. He will have his pound of flesh and more. He will have them all.
There is no aftermath. In the space of one night, sixteen mafia Families are wiped off the map. Tsuna rips one out like the disgusting parasites it is, and they scream names and faces and plans of revenge, and so Tsuna goes and tears out another, and another. Always, the Varia follow, slaughtering and killing. Xanxus almost looks uncertain after Tsuna tells him they’re going after another. But he doesn’t object. He falls in line, and he guards Tsuna’s back.
It takes him until morning, stumbling under the shower spray after vomiting into the toilet, watching the putrid blood, dirt and other things rinse away beneath him, to realize why the number sixteen feels familiar.
Sixteen families for sixteen individuals. There is the balance, struck at last. The debt has been wiped, the account paid. Those men can rest now.
Tsuna closes his eyes, leans against the shower wall, and allows himself to bury his guilt.
true to form, i was trying to write something else and this story wouldn’t leave me alone. ao3 link.
Summary: During the Reaper War, Calvin Kosta reflects on his relationship with his son.
It is two months after their son leaves for Andromeda that the Reapers descend on Earth. Blame is cast, fingers pointed, neither lasting long. Silence soon descends on the megalopolises and London is disconnected from the world.
“Do you really have to go?” Joelle asks, hugging her son, her child, her only child so fiercely it’s as though she believes the embrace will change his mind. “It’s so hard, just—knowing we’ll never see you again.”
They’ve had this conversation a million times, but it still doesn’t mean Liam doesn’t cry. He knows what this means to his parents – especially to Mum – but he has to do this. The opportunity to make a difference, a real difference, is too much to pass up. “They need me,” he says, finally pulling back, but it doesn’t stop Joelle from making her last stand.
“I need you,” she insists, and Calvin sees his opportunity to intervene. Places a hand on his wife’s shoulder, claps a hand to Liam’s.
“She’ll be safe with me,” he promises, flint-brown eyes focused on his son’s face. “You know what you have to do, son. There’s a whole new galaxy out there.”
Hi! Because pipelines and the oil industry are so detrimental for the environment, but Canada, specific provinces especially, receives a lot of revenue because of those resources, what is a solution? Should we stop those industries altogether and lose jobs/revenue? Is there a better way?
The solution is to keep oil production at its current level, not expand it. A lot of environmentalism isn’t about shutting down the oil sands (that would destroy the economy), its just keeping it at 2016/2017 levels, and then gradually reducing it once other energy sectors are able to take over (i.e. a transition). If we do this our climate change goals can be made, oil jobs will remain while we invest heavily in renewables. Oil pipelines don’t just transport oil, they allow industry to export more of it.
If we have any hope of reducing the worst of Climate Change, we have to keep a substantial amount of oil in the ground, and that means we must resist projects like pipelines that will expand operations. Otherwise we are risking cities being wiped off the map, millions of deaths and billions of refugees. These things will happen if we continue the status quo.
Also it should be pointed out that oil & gas investments are very poor job creators. Renewable energy jobs generate many more jobs for the same price:
Nine thousand people passed away in the earthquake of 25 April 2015. Houses,heritage sites, livestock and businesses were destroyed. Beautiful Langtang was wiped off the map, the entire village. Nepal is still coping. People are homeless, politics still chaotic. “Philanthropists” from Amreeka have now safely landed to another new trend tormenting some other black/brown community.
I want to thank all the wonderful Tumblr-folk I tagged in this for contributing to one of the best reads I’ve had in a while. I would also like to apologize to those whose contributions I might have missed.
I wonder if, in superhero universes, the villains ever get contacted by
those “Make a Wish Foundation” and similar people.
I mean, the heroes do. Of course they do. Kids who want to meet
Spiderman or Superman or get to be carried by the Flash as he runs through
Central City for just thirty seconds.
But surely there are also the kids, who - because they are kids and
sometimes kids are just weird - decide that what they really, really want is to
meet a supervillain. Because he’s scary or she’s awesome or that freeze ray is
just really, really cool, you know?
The heroes would be so weirded out by it. The villains with codes of
ethics would totally band together to force the villains without one (should
they be the one requested) to do their part for the cause.
But imagine the person who has to track down the villains and organize
Like, the first time it happens, no one actually thinks it’s possible,
but one of the newbies volunteers to at least try. They get lucky, the kid
wants to meet one of the villains who is well known to have a personal code of
ethics (eg one of the rogues), and it takes them weeks to track the villain
down to this one bar they’ve been seen at a few times, plus a week of staking
out said bar, but they finally find them.
So they approach the villain, very politely introduce themselves and
explain the situation, finishing with an assurance that, should the villain
agree, no law enforcement or heroes will be informed of the meeting.
The villain, assuming it’s a joke, laughs in their face.
At this point, the poor volunteer, who has giving up weeks of their
time and no small amount of effort to track down this villain, all so a sweet
little girl can meet the person who somehow inspired them, well, at this point
the employee sees red.
They explode, yelling at this villain about the little girl who, for
some unknown reason, absolutely loved them, had a hand-made stuffed toy of them
and was inspired by their struggle to keeping fighting her own and wasn’t the
villain supposed to have ethics? The entire bar is witness to this big bad
villain getting scolded by some bookish nobody a foot shorter than them.
When the volunteer is done, the villain calmly knocks back their drink,
grips the volunteers shoulder and drags them outside. The bar’s patrons assume
that person will never be seen again, the volunteer included. But once they’re
outside, the villain apologizes for their assumption, asks for the kid’s
details so they can drop by in the near future, not saying when for obvious
reasons. They also give the very relieved volunteer a phone number to call if
someone asks for them again.
A week later, the little girl’s room is covered in villain merchandise,
several expensive and clearly stolen gifts and she is happily clutching a stack
of signed Polaroids of her and the villain.
The next time a kid asks to meet a villain, guess who gets that
Turns out, the first villain was quite touched by the experience of
meeting their little fan, and word has gotten around. The second villain
happily agrees when they realize it’s the same volunteer who asked the other
guy. Unfortunately, one of the heroes sees the villain entering the kid’s
hospital and obviously assumes the worst. They rush in, ready to drag the
villain out, but the volunteer stands in their way. The hero spends five
minutes getting scolded for trying to stop the villain from actually doing a
good thing and almost ruining the kid’s wish. The volunteer gets a reputation
among villains as someone who can not only be trusted with personal contact
numbers but who will do everything they can to keep law enforcement away during
The volunteer has a phonebook written in cypher of all the villain’s
phone numbers, with asterixes next to the ones to call if any other villains
give them trouble.
Around the office, they gain the unofficial job title of The Villain
The heroes are genuinely flabbergasted by The Villain Wrangler. At
first, some of the heroes try to reason with them.
Heroes: “Can’t you, just, give us their contact details? They’ll never
even have to know it was you.”
The Villain Wrangler: “Yeah sure, <rollseyes> because all these
evil geniuses could never possibly figure out that it’s me who happens to be
the common thread in the sudden mass arrests. Look man, even if it wouldn’t get
me killed, it would disappoint the kids. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the
kids would you?”
Heroes: “… no~ but…”
The Villain Wrangler: “Exactly.”
Eventually, one of the anti-hero types gets frustrated, and decides to
take a stand. They kidnap the Villain Wrangler and demand that they give up the
contents of the little black book of Villains, or suffer the consequences. It’s
For the Greater Good, the anti-hero insists as they tie the Villain Wrangler to
The Villain Wrangler: “You complete idiot, put me back before someone
figures out that I’m missing.”
Anti-hero: “…excuse me?”
The Villain Wrangler: “Ugh, do I have to spell this out for you? Do you
actually want your secret base to be wiped off the map? With us in it?
Sugarsticks, how long has it been? If they get suspicious, they check in, and
then if I miss a check-in, they tend to come barging into wherever I am just to
prove that they can, even if they figure out that they’re not being threatened
by proxy. Suffice to say, Auntie Muriel really regretted throwing my phone into
the pool when she strenuously objected to me answering it during family time.
If they think for even one moment that I’ve given them up, they won’t hesitate
to obliterate both of us from their potential misery. You do know some of the
people in my book have like missiles and djinni and elemental forces at their
Anti-hero: “Wait, what? I thought they trusted you?!”
The Villain Wrangler: “Trust is such a strong word!”
Anti-hero: “Wait, wha-” <slumps over, dart sticking out of neck>
The Villain Wrangler: “Thanks. I thought they were going to hurt me.”
Villain: “You did well. You kept them distracted, and gave us time to
follow your signal.” <cuts Villain Wrangler free>
The Villain Wrangler: <rubbing circulation back into limbs> “Yeah
well, you know me; I do whatever I have to. So I’ll see you Wednesday at four
at St Martha’s? I’ve got an 8yo burns unit patient recovering from her latest
batch of skin grafts who could really use a pep talk.”
Villain: “… of course. Yes… I… yes.”
The Villain Wrangler: “I just think you could really reach her, you
Villain: <unconsciously runs fingers over mask> “I… yes, but,
what should I say?”
The Villain Wrangler: “Whatever advice you think you could have used
the most just after.”
Villain: <hoists Anti-hero over shoulder almost absently>
The Villain Wrangler wasn’t lying to the Anti-hero. They know that the
more ruthless villains would not hesitate if they thought for one second that
the Anti-hero would betray them.
But this is not the first time the Villain Wrangler has gone to extreme
lengths to protect their identities.
Trust is a strong word. The Villain Wrangler earned it, and is
terrified by what it could mean.
My first official Deadpool headcanon is this. This this this.
Okay but this whole concept actually makes a lot of sense, because
villains are a lot more likely to be disfigured/disabled/use adaptive devices
(bc ableist tropes), so of course, say, a child amputee is going to be more
interested in the villain with a robot arm who almost destroyed New York than
the heroes that took him down.
Also, imagine one of the kids gets better, and a few years down the
line becomes a villain themselves, except their crimes are things like
smuggling chemo drugs across the border for families that can’t afford
treatment, or stealing from corrupt businessmen to make donations to
underfunded hospitals (idk this turned into a Leverage AU or something) and
every time the heroes encounter her, they’re like “oh no. she’s getting away. Curses.
Welp, nothing we can do.” Though it isn’t that she can’t take them on; bc of
course once the villain from way back when found out what she was up to, he
started helping/training her.
“I thought they just hired someone to dress up and pretend to be you,”
she says, amazed, when he reveals himself. “I didn’t think they actually got
the real you!”
Every year the Villain Wrangler gets a very expensive gift basket from
And for the kids who don’t get better the villains are there too, they
show up to every funeral, they bear too small coffins on their shoulders and
the heroes stand aside
They are fierce with grieving families assuring them that their child
will not be forgotten, and they don’t balk at negative emotions, they don’t
tell people to be strong or “celebrate their child’s life,” because these
parents have every right to their grief and anger
And the lost children are never forgotten. Flowers appear on graves during
birthdays and anniversaries, heroes find pictures of those kids and they
carefully take them down and ensure they’re delivered to the villain’s cell,
and a few villains can be seen with friendship bracelets wrapped around their
wrists the cops have learned not to try and take them off
They are fierce with grieving families assuring them that their child
will not be forgotten, and they don’t balk at negative emotions, they don’t
tell people to be strong or “celebrate their child’s life,” because these
parents have every right to their grief and anger
And then one day, one of the evil geniuses who happens to specialize in
inducing bizarre genetic mutations meets a young fan who was born with a rare
genetic disorder that is slowly killing them, and realizes that they can help.
Another, who created their own exosuit, talks to a young fan and suddenly
understands how much the technology that they have built for themselves could revolutionize
quality of life for people with muscular dystrophy, or paraplegia, or other
disorders that confine people to wheelchairs with little mobility.
A third thinks of a way that their nanobots could be used to detect and
remove cancer cells when their fan, who had been in remission, writes to say
that the doctors have found a new metastasizing tumour.
Then shortly after, an evil genius specializing in cloning is contacted
by an old colleague asking if a suitable heart couldn’t be grown for their
young fan with a congenital heart condition who needs a donor.
Suddenly, a pattern of villains offering (and marketing) their insights
and resources to improve medical science starts to arise. Many who had
previously been operating on society’s fringes are shocked to receive public
accolades, research grants and job offers from major companies because of their
A grassroots movement arises advocating for imprisoned villains with
appropriate qualifications and/or experience to have access to resources to
conduct research for the public good. The Second Chance Rehabilitation Project
(It is an open secret that only people who have been vetted by the
Villain Wrangler are allowed to join, because the Villain Wrangler has by now a
meticulously set up method and intelligence network to run background checks
and character references through ensure that none of the children wishing to
meet their role models get hurt.)
This is all soooo good, but I wonder what effect this has on the
villains. Like, can they really wreak indiscriminate havoc when they know the
kids that worship them might be in the area? Like, what if they attack a shopping
mall and it just so happens that Annie’s mom ran in for a pair of shoes or
something? What then?
So what you’re saying is that there is now an organization of henchmen
who do round the clock, exhaustive research in order to make sure the villain’s
plan isn’t going to ruin the life of some kid. Just imagine some aunt getting a
call from an unlisted number.
“I swear I am not a bill collector ma’am. It’s just. Well. Ok and I
swear I am not a stalker even if this is actually going to be a very creepy
phone call, but you said you were going to the mall at four? Is it possible you
could reschedule or postpone that trip for about an hour? That mall is way too
close to…well. It just wouldn’t be safe. I could wire you some money, and you
could go to the much nicer mall one town over? Would that work for you? No? You
are calling the police? Yes. Yes that is the sensible thing to do. Definitely
do that. You have a nice day, ma’am. Tell Marcus Doctor Evil says hello and to
have a nice day.”
And then the poor minion has to call the villain and explain why
robbing X bank isn’t a good idea that day.
“Yes. Hello. Sir? Oh good I caught you before you left the base. Look,
Marcus Smithson’s aunt is going to be near the blast radius for that job you
have scheduled so-yes. Yes I am aware that rescheduling is going to be a lot of
work since most everything is already set up, but….but, sir think about poor
Marcus! She’s his favorite aunt, and the woman refused to ‘reorder her life
around some crazy mastermind’. ……no…..no, please do not kidnap the aunt, sir.
It’s terribly rude. Yes I realize you weren’t going to keep her or doing
anything other than drop her off at an alternative location, but, well,
citizens frown upon that sort of thing and….yes….Yes, of course. You have a good
day, too, sir.”
And they turn to their coworker and are just like “So if I don’t come
in to work tomorrow it’s because Doctor Evil threw me in his dungeon and/or
sent his hellhounds to maul me. Please remember to send help.
But but but… what happens when one falls through the cracks? When Lord
Dominion or whatever does a typical baddie thing but then Penny’s new best
friend gets caught up in the damage and Lord D didn’t even KNOW Penny had a new
bestie so how was he to know? But now the kid is devastated and it’s all his
fault? I mean, how does that even shake out?
Penny SWEARS REVENGE! Lord D is distraught but also somewhat proud. He
sends Penny a very sincere apology and also a bunch of tips on how to execute a
proper vengeance plot, in case she decides not to accept the apology. He sends
henchmen to spy on her, and he keeps the surveillance photos of her sitting in
her room, plans and schematics strewn all over her desk. He puts them in his
wallet and brags to all his villain friends that one of his kids is taking up
scheming, look at her go, she’s already started on pattern analysis of his
latest heists. He’s so proud. Later this month he’ll show up on her way home
from school so she can have her first Confrontation.
There will inevitably be mistakes and tragedies.
Penny is an intelligent kid. She catches on to the spying henchmen
pretty quick and bribes some of them to her side with snacks. That first
confrontation does not go like Lord Dominion expected because Penny has minions
(minions that are using his OWN WEAPONS against him, even)
Lord Dominion is the proudest villain ever, even if he did almost lose
an ear thanks to the impeccable aim of a nine year old with a grudge. He does
let the laser blast graze him just so he can have a scar to show people because
that girl is a villain after his own heart.
He doesn’t want to ask his villain rivals to help her out because that
would imply he doesn’t think she’s capable of eventually growing strong enough
to kick his ass. Turns out Penny already thought of that and has mailed letters
asking for advice to Lady Sinister, Lord Dominion’s long time, mostly friendly
rival. (She mailed a letter to Lord D’s arch nemesis, but man. Heroes are
always trying to make you do The Right Thing. Penny doesn’t have time for the
high road. Plus, the low road has lasers.)
Lady Sinister thinks Penny is the best thing ever and while she has
mostly stopped kicking Lord D’s ass, she still breaks into his hideout to sit
in his favorite chair with a glass of wine and brags about her new favorite up
and coming villainess. (She doesn’t warn Lord D about the attack rabbits she
agreed to train for Penny as a favor, and for obvious reasons, she is going to
be a bystander at the next confrontation, filming everything on her phone to
post the dark web so all their villain friends can see this)Being able to say
that one is involved with the Project begins to look really good in parole
hearings. The Villains involved perform their own quality checks on one
another, because if one of their kids got hurt, then all of their kids could
potentially lose out, and the ones that are serious about the Project are not
having that. (Also, the ability to collaborate with other geniuses is the most
interesting thing to happen to most of them since losing to various heroes, and
most consider the intellectual stimulation to be worth putting up with the
ridiculous egos and inevitable personality clashes that arise.)
Reformed Villains come out of the woodwork to advocate about better mental
healthcare, and support systems. Savvy universities and private labs quietly
take their advice, setting up better mental health supports and laboratory
safety standards to prevent the Brain Drain caused by losing their less stable
scientists to the Costumes.
The Villain Wrangler watches all of this develop with a smile.
Their plan succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
I’m so down for these posts that assume the best of people instead of
Okay, this part caught my attention: “…the Villain Wrangler has by now
a meticulously set up method and intelligence network…to ensure that none of
the children…gets hurt.” Which led me to the heartbreaking realization that one
DID. Get hurt, that is, by the villain they idolized.
And all I can think is that the Villain Wrangler didn’t call in the
heroes. They didn’t call in another heart-of-gold villain. No. The VW rolled up
their sleeves and went after this person themselves. This project is their
baby, after all. If they get the accolades for the successes, they must also
shoulder the burden of the failures.
The VW hunts down the villain that crossed the line. Their punishment
is swift and horrifying; no hero would have the stomach to mete out justice in
such a way, and no villain would have the desire to get quite that much blood
on their own hands.
There’s. So. Much. Blood.
The Villain Wrangler never forgets. They increase security, increase
the hours and background checks, they increase the graveside visits to the
child they failed.