I've picked a word for every letter of the alphabet. Comment to claim a word and supply me with a character, pairing, or group; I'll write a tinyfic based around the word in question. Once someone claims a word, it's taken. I'll only do one tinyfic per word. But that leaves room for twenty-six, anyway. It shouldn't be an issue.
A is for antebellum. Claimed for Tenten and Neji by sonnie_skies.
He was staring out over the battlefield when she found him, still and gravely beautiful despite the blood flecked on his arms.
Tenten spared the blood only a glance to determine that it was not his. "Neji," she said, "it's time to go back. Lee and Gai are waiting with what's left of Team 8."
He turned, but then he stopped. He wasn't quite looking at her--at least as far as she could tell. Not that it mattered, with his eyes. "Was it like this before the war?" he asked suddenly.
"What?" Tenten frowned at him. "You were there just as much as I was."
"Sometimes I don't know," he said.
She was silent for a moment. Then she said, "Maybe. There was always fighting. We're ninja, after all."
"But did the battlefields always extend farther than I could see?"
She looked down. "No," she said. "They didn't."
B is for braided. Claimed for Ishida/Orihime by autumnflame.
When she flung her arms around him and buried her face in the crook of his neck, Ishida had the sudden feeling that the two of them were being twisted together, a braid of two-people-turned-one.
He dismissed the idea (although he found himself liking it). It was the sort of thing she'd think, and it would just be embarrassing to be picking up her thought patterns. Still, the thought kept him oddly warm as he dozed next to her on the couch.
When he woke up, he found out he'd been wrong. The braids were real, and they were in his hair. She'd wound in a ribbon and some beads, too.
C is for clay. Claimed for Itachi and Sasuke by askerian.
There were days, towards the end (what was the end of the world for Sasuke, anyway), when Itachi would look at the soft lines of Sasuke's face, the perfect skin and gentle features, and be able to think of nothing but clay, waiting to be molded.
Those were the days when Itachi wanted to touch Sasuke, take his chin in two fingers and stroke it fiercely, as if that could make his features sharper and harder.
He refrained. Instead, he waited, and he prepared the night that would be the kiln, with their clan's blood the heat that would fire the soft clay of Sasuke's spirit.
D is for dear
E is for elevate
F is for fuse. Claimed for Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke by cindelius.
On the nights when it happens, Sakura is always the first to wake up after Sasuke leaves the bed. She pulls on Naruto's shoulder, sometimes gives him a smack or two to get him to wake up, and then they both get up and head out into the courtyard.
That's where Sasuke is. He sits there in the center of a flickering mass of candles, utterly silent and gravely still as he watches them all burn. He never tells his teammates how he gets the candles, or where. It's not like there's much else he's capable of keeping from them, these days.
Naruto stalks irritably over to him, arms folded across his chest. "This is so stupid," he complains. "We have perfectly good lights inside the house." But after some such pointless comment, he always flops down next to Sasuke, leaning on the other boy just a little, and soon enough the candlelight is reflecting in his eyes.
Sakura takes a little while longer to walk through the sea of tiny lights and settle down next to her teammates, but she always follows, all the same.
Sasuke never says why he does it, but Sakura has the feeling that on some nights, he just wants to pretend that the candlewicks are fuses burning down to a swift, untimely end.
Once he was a fuse burning down to a single end. That was simpler and easier than what he is now.
Orochimaru is dead by his hand and Itachi by another's, and Sasuke sits between his teammates and watches the candles burn down in quiet peace.
G is for goodwill. Claimed for Sasuke by dragonsquee.
At first Sasuke thinks the indulgent smiles Kabuto gives him are false goodwill gestures. They couldn't be anything more. The man doesn't even like him.
But after a while he starts to notice that there is something sly beneath those smiles. There's a curious glint in Kabuto's eyes sometimes. It feels almost invasive. Sasuke takes to glaring that glint into nonexistence whenever he gets the chance.
(Kabuto is amused by the show, but he is more than amused by Sasuke. There is something so profoundly broken about the boy. Kabuto has never seen someone like that before. Orochimaru-sama takes in the damaged and distorted from all across the land, but never has he appropriated someone so broken before.)
(Sasuke is a dagger with a chipped blade and a broken hilt that digs into the wielder's skin.)
(Sasuke is a jutsu whose name trips and falls on the user's tongue.)
(Sasuke is a poison that stings deliciously when it gets on one's fingers.)
(Sasuke is an explosive note with the letters smeared.)
(Kabuto has rarely found anything quite so attractive.)
When Sasuke shakes Kabuto's hand off his shoulder yet again, the spy smiles at him and says, "I just want you to feel--at home. Orochimaru-sama won't give you such kindness, you know."
(What he means is: I want to slide my fingers into your cracks and pry until you moan.)
H is for habitat
I is for insensate. Claimed for Gin/Rangiku by ceylon.
There were days, long ago, when Rangiku would follow him around.
(She's better now.)
She'd lean on a railing and watch him train, and curiosity would grip her like a passion. She wouldn't so much long as she would wonder. She wouldn't yearn to taste him--she would think, Would he taste like apples?
(Now she can stand in the divisions with him at meetings and feel nothing, as if all her curiosity has been paced out of her, leaving her empty, insensate.)
J is for just. Claimed for Sasuke/Sakura by dragonsquee.
The train steamed its way back from the far lands they'd reached to find their fleeing quarry. It would have been a fascinating journey, so alien and yet so familiar, but Sakura had matters of greater importance to attend to.
She stepped into the cargo car, pushed aside some baggage, and pulled open the trunk. "Morning, Sasuke-kun," she said. "It's my turn to bring you breakfast." She leaned down, undid the ropes binding his wrists, and pulled out his gag.
He knew better than to try to escape by now, but he glared at her as he took the strange food she offered.
Sakura sat and watched him eat.
"'Just' is a four-letter word," Sasuke said eventually. He was still glowering.
"Justice is a lie just like anything else we were taught as children," he said. "Why are you going to such lengths to make me face justice for abandoning the Leaf?"
Sakura stared at him for a long moment. Then she laughed.
"It's not funny!"
"You know that's not why we came for you," she said quietly.
He stopped then, and for a moment he didn't even glare. She tipped her head curiously, and he looked away from her gaze.
Was there a hint of a blush on his cheeks?
Sakura reached out, stroking two fingers along the perfect line of his jaw. He lifted his head slightly, trying not to tremble. "I promise you," she whispered, "so much more than justice waits for you at home."
He shut his eyes tightly.
So she straightened up. "All right, Sasuke-kun. Breakfast time is over. Let's get you back in the trunk." And she bent down once more to tie him up.
K is for kindle. Claimed for Quistis by kisanthe.
One class Quistis particularly enjoyed when she first took it was survival training. She liked learning in general, of course, but there was something about going into the training center and proving one's worth there--
--and the best part was making the fire.
When the spark from her neophyte Fire spell finally kindled into a small but steady burning, she felt warm in ways that had nothing to do with the flames themselves. She had created something strong and vital out of nothing.
But when she left the training center, the fire was ashes, and once again there were gaps inside her that no single flame could fill.
L is for lunar. Claimed for Squall and Rinoa by joiedecombat.
In the legends, and sometimes in reality, what the moon presides over is an endless swarm of terrible monsters.
Squall has been much closer to the moon than most people will ever be, though, and he knows that mostly what the moon presides over is emptiness.
And really, it's funny that he should have to fight things from the moon, because once upon a time all he (thought he) wanted was that emptiness. It was perfect, serene and unfeeling.
But now when he thinks of the nothingness of space, all he can remember is the way Rinoa's face looked outlined against it, the way she looked brighter than a thousand stars to him.
M is for mire
N is for nettle. Claimed for Seifer/Rinoa/Squall by joiedecombat.
O is for opera. Claimed for Demyx by sunsitenthai.
"No," Xemnas said.
"Oh, come on," Demyx said. He found himself almost pouting for a moment--that was a close one.
"My Dancers think it's a great idea," Demyx said.
Xemnas fixed him with a narrow-eyed stare. "I will tell you again: your suggestion is inappropriate for this castle."
"Hey," Demyx said, "what if I call it the Operahouse of Infinite Ennui?"
Xemnas opened his mouth. Then he hesitated.
Demyx gave him a winsome look.
"No," Xemnas said. "You still may not build a concert hall in the Castle That Never Was."
P is for peril. Claimed for Tatsuki/Orihime by a_white_rain.
Beneath Orihime's head, Tatsuki's heart thumped reassuringly, and Orihime smiled.
"What is it?" Tatsuki asked.
"Oh," Orihime said, "it's hard to explain, but--I could tell you the story of the grave perils I faced to come here so that I could lie next to you like this, my head on your breast, your hand on my head, and how the pilots of the dragon-slaying mecha almost captured me in their trap before I could run to your side and save you, but--"
"I like the sound of your heart," she said simply.
"You can tell me that story," Tatsuki said. "Someday."
Q is for quick. Claimed for either Ino/Chouji or Naruto/Hinata by heron_advocate.
R is for rebellion. Claimed for Kakashi and Sasuke by a_white_rain.
The leader of the rebellion is a silver-haired man like none Sasuke has ever seen before. He is cool, competent, quiet, brilliant in a strange way--he is everything Sasuke wants to be.
When Sasuke comes to deliver the news of the enemy forces regrouping mere miles away, the weariness on the self-appointed general's face is beyond comprehension.
Kakashi looks at him, standing there in the entrance of the tent. "Sasuke," he says, and somehow there is sympathy in his voice. It says I know what you've been through even though Sasuke wants to resist, wants to say that nobody could know what he's been through, that nobody could understand why he had to join the rebellion.
But something about that hidden face teases him with understanding. "I have bad news," Sasuke says, and then he adds, "sir."
"It's always bad news," Kakashi says mildly.
He looks like he wants to simply sleep, and for some reason Sasuke wants to be there next to him when he does.
S is for synesthesia. Claimed for Urahara/Benihime by tiassa.
When she's rough and restless inside his head, sometimes entire weeks go by with her plaguing his dreams most nights.
(She is like a plague: infectious, bloody, feverish.)
She teases him in those dreams. She promises him a world full of senses he never knew existed, senses he could set to work discovering things he never imagined.
It's an old world, so many times older than he himself is, and more fluid than the thing called reality in every way. When she leans over him, her hair falling slickly around his face, her fingers stroking his neck feel like blood tastes, and the scent of her is like the sound of blood rushing in his ears.
Then she rocks against him and all the senses come together.
He wakes up to the thought:
Human blood has the same salinity as the ancient seas.
But it's not a statement that can be proven, not in this world of concrete boundaries and boxed-in sensations.
T is for tense. Claimed for Urahara/Yoruichi/Soi Fong by autumnflame.
"Like this," Urahara said with too smug a smile, as he knitted his fingers into the knots of tension in Yoruichi's back.
(It was bare. She didn't have anything on beneath or below it, either.)
Yoruichi purred, a familiar and comfortable sound.
Soi Fong shivered at the noise. But when she saw Urahara watching her expectantly, she lifted her head and gave him a sharp stare. "You take it too lightly," she said. "Yoruichi-sama's pleasure deserves more thought."
"Don't get riled up, Soi Fong," Yoruichi said, her eyes drifting closed. "Am I going to need to give you a massage?"
"I could always try," Urahara said, smirking.
Flushing hotly, Soi Fong looked down at the expanse of dark skin beneath her, and she drew her fingers down the line of the spine.
U is for unsaid. Claimed for Ino and Sakura by lynnxlady.
Somehow, Ino always knew that it would be Sakura who survived Team 7, and that when the others were dead, she would not come back to Konoha.
Ino also always knew she would go after Sakura, then.
"Come back home," she said.
Sakura did not even turn to look at her.
Ino did not say, Neither of us have a home anymore.
Instead she said, "Don't make me drag you, Sakura-chan."
Sakura turned, and she was almost smiling. She didn't say, What is there for us to go back to? Instead she said, "You couldn't if you tried, Ino-pig."
Ino didn't say, Then I'll stay the night at your side, the night and however long it takes. She just grabbed Sakura and pulled her into her arms.
V is for variant. Claimed for Naruto/Sasuke by a_white_rain.
W is for white. Claimed for Hitsugaya by tiassa.
Hitsugaya likes the cool white world that Hyourinmaru shows him sometimes, likes lying there with his arms making angel's wings in the snow around him.
Not that he wants to admit this. It's such a peaceful world, too peaceful--it makes him feel like he's slacking off. He has work to deal with outside his head, investigations and papers.
The papers are white because he hasn't written on them yet. It's an accusing white. But here, in the land of snow, the white only means that the world is pure. He can sculpt it if he wants to, but he doesn't have to.
Hyourinmaru moves at the edge of his vision, and Hitsugaya suddenly reaches down, balls up a handful of snow, and flings it at the ice dragon, smiling. Almost laughing. He could stay here all day. He could play.
He quashes the smile. He has work to do.
X is for xeric. Claimed for Roxas by farli.
When he wakes up after summer vacation, Roxas is in
(Sora's head and heart)
a dry place.
It feels like it's trying to grow, all the same. There are flowers shaped like keyholes still struggling out of the ground, and vines that twist into the form of keys. But their leaves are brittle and sere.
It feels like the whole landscape
But then one day, the dew falls for the first time since Roxas came here, and slowly, hesitantly, things began to grow again.
For some reason, more and more Roxas waits
to see a blond girl run smiling towards him.
Y is for yes. Claimed for Shirou and Saber by reynardfox.
There's something about the way her delicate (they only look that way) fingers settle on her chopsticks that bothers Shirou. It's just not right.
He finally pinpoints what it is one night. "Do you hold your sword like that too?" he blurts out. Then he's surprised at himself for saying it.
Saber pauses, eyeing him dubiously. "...what?"
"Like everything is a weapon," he says slowly, frowning faintly, "waiting to be honed..." And he's thinking that her fingers hold a power of reinforcement themselves, as if everything she touches becomes sharp and deadly.
"I suppose...yes," she says. "Wielding a sword is what I exist for. I am as much a weapon myself as anything else."
Shirou can't say anything to that. He shakes his head and goes back to his meal.
He can't tell her that her eyes are too blue to belong to a weapon, her lips too soft (he's sure they'd be too soft).
Z is for zero. Claimed for Mwu/Murrue by joiedecombat.
The cardboard boxes are useful for putting things away. That's all they are. It's a purely utilitarian matter. Murrue likes sensible things like that.
Lately, she's been trying to think about sensible things. The logistics of the journey back to Earth; the question of whether and when to wear her uniform; the taste of the coffee Andy sometimes offers her; the solidity of the cardboard boxes.
Well, maybe not the boxes. As much as she'd like to deny it, they're more than just a place to put things. She can't shake the feeling that when she's done putting his things into them, there will be nothing left of him at all. Possessions left? Zero.
But she thinks zero, and she realizes that there's no cardboard box big enough to hold the Moebius Zero, and no other man who'll fly it.
It is, perhaps, not too sensible of her to find this appropriate. But she can live with that.
Enjoy. Maybe once I've gotten some small ficbits done, I'll feel more up to working on "Spiral Out."
For now, though, I really need to nap.