New Chicago is a labyrinth of argon, steel, circuits, and blood, each in every color of the rainbow. Roxy Lalonde shows up on its doorstep with a suitcase, a sniper rifle, and an assignment to guard the second most important person in the world: Jane Crocker, Heiress to the Crockercorp fortune.
With a war raging on the Empire's borders, there shouldn't be anywhere safer than the capitol city. But between rebel attacks getting more and more ambitious and the Heiress' increasingly erratic behavior, Roxy finds herself in the middle of a dynastic conspiracy that threatens everything she's ever known about the world and her place in it.
Bookmarked by ivara
13 Dec 2018
She would let it go. She was the Heiress, and she was his superior by innumerable counts, and it was her prerogative and obligation to let it go.
Her visor flickered. For an infinitesimal moment, a pair of words blazed across her screen, immediately vanishing thereafter.
A heavy weight settled into her right hand. She looked down, and found she had decaptchalogued her Red Skaia War Trident. At six feet long, it reached over the table, and held a blue-and-white crystal orb at its base; the prongs were hard enough to cut steel.
She blinked, and then shook her head violently, captchaloguing it. Odd. She hadn’t accidentally decaptchalogued anything in years, and besides, it wasn’t like she needed it — unless —
But she wasn’t going to actually hurt the man, of course. Not physically. That would be incoherent, and cruel, and disproportionate to the crime, and — and an awful lot of horrible paperwork, besides.
She would just . . . punish him. Just a little.
“Roxy,” she said, clearly, and Roxy looked up sharply from where she’d been ogling the chocolate fountain. “Would you like to take a walk, dear?”
“A walk around the building.” Her voice came out silken and dispassionate, and she tried to inject it with a bit of warmth, for persuasion’s sake. “You’re owed a fifteen minute break every few hours, I believe.”
There wasn’t really any need to send Roxy out of the room, for this. But there also wasn’t any need for her to see Jane succumb to petty quarreling, or to hear more of Jane’s family scandal than absolutely necessary. It wasn’t that her opinion mattered, per se — it only seemed a bad first impression to make, on the first day of their arrangement.
“I am? I don’t think I am.”
“Roxanne,” Jane said, calmly. “Take a walk.”
Roxy wasn’t stupid. She went.
The wind rushing up over Lake Michigan battered Roxy with full force when she left the building.
Five caegars says she’s killing someone, Hal said, as soon as she was over the threshold. Ten caegars says she fights dirty. It’s always the sweet ones who fight dirty. You see that fork she was packing? That thing could take out half your intestine with a well-placed jab. And it looked heavy, too. Gotta have biceps like a fuckin’ subjugglator, that woman.
Roxy dragged a hand over her nose to keep it from running and huddled against the wall, rubbing her shoulders. “She’s not gonna kill him.”
Would you bet five caegars on it?
She said nothing.
A newsfeed began to play on the side of the building opposite them. The Condesce featured in this one, draped sideways on her throne with one leg hooked up over the arm, giving the camera a bored glare. A violetblood interviewer sat beside her, gils fluttering wildly with nervousness.
“Do you,” he said, and then clearly had to take a moment to compose himself. “Do you have any comment, your Condescension, on the unfortunate, recently no-longer-living state of Archagent Tiroga?”
“Yuh,” she said, and her voice was as seadweller as they came, deep and warbling and not at all human. She was so old she came from a different evolutionary branch in her species’ history, evidenced in the uncanny, low set of her eyes, in the long, pointed shape of her face, the leathery, not-quite hair texture of the black mass that drifted around her head. Seadwellers, on the whole, looked like people that had adapted to live amphibiously; the Empress looked like something that would feel at home in the Mariana Trench.
“He fucked up.” She tossed her head, and the resultant shockwave radiated out through her mane of hair. “So I offed him. Lesson for ya: don’t fuck up.”
“Oh.” Roxy scanned the room again. It was populated entirely trolls, indigo-up, in the same style of clothing as them. “Earth didn’t have trolls on it in 1928,” she said, frowning. “That was pre-conquest, I’m pretty sure of it.”
“That would be right,” Jane agreed easily.
“So what are all the highbloods doing here?”
Jane sidestepped a waiter. “There’s a fine line,” she said, “between complete immersion and complete artifice. Most patrons looking for an ‘immersive’ experience aren’t actually looking for it at all — they’re looking for the line. Let’s say a violetblood wants to have brunch amidst some long-lost landmark of human culture; that doesn’t mean she wants humans involved. Do you know what I mean?”
“Guess so,” Roxy said, thrown off by the fact that Jane had used the word ‘humans’ with the comfortable distance of someone who wasn’t one.
Jane blinked several times in quick succession.
“I am beginning to realize,” she said, visibly distressed, “that I understand less than half the things you say."
AU: Lu Ten never died at Ba Sing Se, and Fire Lord Iroh rules the nation with an iron fist. Zuko is merely the son of the second prince, overlooked by his more talented younger sister and can only dream of the day when he will be finally allowed to prove himself in battle. When Lu Ten returns, triumphant, with the Avatar and his Water Tribe companions in chains, Zuko is put in charge of their imprisonment. But he soon learns that things are not what they seem with both the child Avatar and within his own family. And soon, Zuko will have a decision to make. How much good can one overlooked nephew to the throne do?
Bookmarked by ivara
10 Dec 2018
27 Nov 2018
Sero nods. “It’s the chance of a lifetime, really,” he says. “We want you to date Bakugou, for the sake of his reputation with the press. Some public appearances, a few ‘candid’ photos. For at least a couple of months.”
“Bakugou sent you to ask me to date him?” Kirishima asks, baffled.
“Of course not. We, his people, are asking you to date him. He’s going to have to get on board, if he wants his career to survive. And in the bargain, Riot will get all sorts of publicity, because their lyricist will be dating one of the industry’s hottest stars. A win for everyone.”
Bookmarked by ivara
09 Dec 2018
It’s sort of nice, just lying there beside him. Kirishima has never dated anyone all that seriously, before. The time he’s spent with Bakugou has now thoroughly outlasted any of the strings of dates he’s been on with anyone else. And now, it’s like Bakugou has honestly opened up to him. Like he would have if he and Kirishima were really dating.
“Thanks for telling me,” Kirishima says, sincerely.
“Like it matters. You’re not going to be on my side.” He says the last of that snidely, mocking Kirishima’s earlier words.
“But I am,” Kirishima says. “I mean, I don’t want to kill Midoriya or whatever it is you’re after, but I get you, man. And if us doing— you know, this—is going to help you get the roles you want, I am so for it.”
“Yeah?” Bakugou drawls, “And what the fuck’s in it for you?”
Kirishima can think of a lot of things. Because he’s selfish, and even if all of this will mean nothing, in the end, he’s enjoying this time with Bakugou. He likes being with him.
But the first thing that makes it out of his mouth is no grand declaration. “Well, you know. I get to take credit for you not being terrible at kissing, now.”
Red rises from Bakugou’s neck up to his temples, like the temperature rising in a thermometer. Then he shoves Kirishima off the bed.
06 Oct 2018
The very first time Izuku raised the dead, he assumed his success was because the internet guided him through the process.
Necromancer!Warlock!Izuku AU that is going to involve a prodigious amount of Western mythology and folklore because why the hell not. Modern witchcraft rules apply.
Bookmarked by ivara
06 Dec 2018
Her mother sends her a letter, after. We cannot help you, Imelda, it says. You are the consequence of your actions.
"This is not my fault!" Imelda shouts.
Imelda Rivera (b. 1899 - d. 1969), a story that includes but is not limited to: the finest music school this side of the Santo Domingo, three traveling musicians and the mess they made of love, the twice-cursed assassination of Venustiano Carranza, all the patron saints, and ninety-six ways a man can try to cross a bridge.
Bookmarked by ivara
25 Nov 2018
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he whispers rapidly, trying to shake his hand out. “I’m not a thief, I swear to you, I was only borrowing them! I was going to return them, no harm done!”
Incredulously, she looks him up and down, head to toe.
He looks too, uncomprehending. “Sí?”
“We washed them,” she stresses. “That’s why they were drying, and you would bring them back in worse condition than you found them? That makes twice the work for us! That’s insulting!”
“I’m —“ His mouth works fishily. “Wait, you would … rather I steal them?”
Los Consequela and Papá Figaro expect them to go north to Jalisco. They’ll have weeks before anyone even thinks about missing them, and longer still before anyone tries to look. That’s long enough to change their fortune a dozen times over.
“You did it,” Héctor corrects. “Ernesto and I would have been fine, you’re the one who had to be brave. And clever.”
Softly, she says, “You’re right, you know.”
“Well, yes,” Gabriel allows, magnanimously. Then, “about what?”
“You’re the only one who gets to decide.”
He rolls upright.
Imelda meets his eyes, and after a pause, he smiles, crosses his legs, and passes her a bottle.
“There’s a saying we had in my camp,” he says, and toasts her. “May God grant you longevity, so you may meet the thing that changes your mind.”
“Haven’t you got them yet!” she flashes at the villistas, to cover for it. “I wounded one of them for you, it can’t be hard! And I want my knife back!”
“They’re not — ?“ says one of the men. His mustache is long, well-oiled.
“No, they’re just musicians,” answers the soldier who’d dragged Imelda in. A moment later, their packs and instrument cases thunk on the ground beside them. The pinto mare spooks, and tries to hide her entire bulk behind Imelda.
Héctor draws himself up.
Gone is the uncertainty and the uselessness from the campsite, the Héctor who refused to move forward or back because one meant leaving Ernesto and the other meant leaving Imelda. A Héctor who has them both is a Héctor who can do anything.
“Just musicians!” He feigns indignation. “Amigos, we are more than just musicians. We are entertainers.”
He flashes them a smile: all teeth, friendly and cajoling.
“And that,” he draws them in, Ernesto on his right, Imelda on his left, “is why you should hire us!”
“What you’re playing. Is it new? We’ve got to play it here, Héctor, they’ll eat anything up. Agustín wants to know what we’re doing for the radio show on Saturday — have you thought about it?”
Héctor cannot tell what the moonlight does — all of it is centered in the sparkle coming off Ernesto’s eyes.
“I don’t want this on the radio,” he tells him, and puts his hand over the bridge of the guitar like he can hold it in. “I don’t want to play it for a crowd.”
Ernesto peers closer at him, and grins.
“A secret?” He tugs self-importantly on his lapels. “Another love song, is it? Very well, how will I wear it?”
“It’s for Coco,” Héctor says softly.
And there’s a moment, a truly terrible moment, when Ernesto’s face goes politely blank.
It’s like peeling back a bandage and finding a wound even worse than you left it; Héctor watches with a growing pit in his stomach as Ernesto mentally unravels their encounters backwards, looking for who could have made this impression. Like somehow when he took Héctor out of Santa Cecilia, it was like he was pulling him from that watering hole all over again, fish-mouthed and gasping for air — whoever he’d been before that moment simply didn’t matter, in Ernesto’s eyes.
Like Héctor hasn’t thought of himself as married from the moment Ernesto put a hand under his face, like he hasn’t wanted to belong to Imelda from the first moment he heard her sing “Gloria” in the Consequela courtyard. Like he hasn’t spent the last four years of his life wanting to try because of them.
Then it clears, a visible little shake of oh, of course, and Héctor would almost think it hadn’t been there at all, if not for the fact he still feels it, tidily inserted into his ribs and dripping blood: Ernesto forgot about his daughter. Ernesto forgot.
“Oh, that’s sweet of you,” he says. “There’s a market for lullabies, somewhere.”
If the first great theft of Imelda’s life was to steal herself and her brothers out of San Juan Albán, and the second was stealing herself and Coco from the brink of poverty and disaster, then the third great theft of Imelda’s life is this:
She steals Ernesto de la Cruz, the greatest musician in Mexican history. She puts him in a box.
She buries him.